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© Mr Brian Wilcockson ARPS

IoE Number: 385740
Photographer: Mr Brian Wilcockson ARPS
Date Photographed: 08 August 2000
Date listed: 21 April 1952
Date of last amendment: 21 April 1952
Grade I

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BISHOP AUCKLANDNZ13SESAXON GREEN, Escomb634-1/1/135The Saxon Church

BISHOP AUCKLAND NZ13SE SAXON GREEN, Escomb 634-1/1/135 The Saxon Church 21/04/52 GV I Parish church. C7 with C14 porch and some C13 and C19 windows. Eaves raised at unknown date. Restored 1875-80 by RJ Johnson and 1965 by Sir Albert Richardson. MATERIALS: irregular courses of squared sandstone, including stones of Roman origin probably from Binchester, with quoins and ashlar dressings. Roof stone slates with stone gable coping to chancel. PLAN: 2-cell plan of chancel and nave with south porch. Archaeological excavation in 1968 revealed sites of west annexe and of north porticus to chancel. EXTERIOR: proportions are high and narrow. All quoins up to raised eaves are of Saxon type, massive stones set with long face to alternate sides. Chamfered surround to C19 round-headed east window and to medieval lancets in chancel and south-east nave, and wide pointed arched C19 window with plain stone surround at centre of south wall. Chancel has re-used Roman gutter stones set vertically above east window, and blocked north door. South nave has 2 small C7 lights set high in wall, with round heads cut in big stone lintels. At lintel level between them a carved stone with round sundial with, around the upper part, a curved serpent-like animal with tassel-like tail hanging at right and pointed head at left. North wall has central door, and 2 narrow rectangular C7 lights set high in wall, with flat jambs, sill and lintel. High up towards east, a re-used Roman inscription LEG VI set upside down. West window round head with irregular voussoirs, and C7 small round-headed window in gable peak. Nave gables have small crow steps. West gable shows roof line of 2-storey porch below top window, and has small stone bellcote with plain arch. Porch has C19 boarded door in keyed round headed arch with voussoirs, plus eroded sundial above, and irregular quoins, skew stones to gable. Nave door in porch has flat stone lintel. INTERIOR whitewashed, with small section of plaster with red paint left exposed in north wall. Roof of tied trusses with diagonal struts, possibly contemporary with raised eaves. High round chancel arch with large voussoirs, the stones said without any evidence to have been brought from Binchester (Vinovium), rests on large uneven imposts and jambs of long and short type. Blocked north chancel door has thin lintel and jamb stones with simple carved tree at right. Early small windows deeply splayed, with grooves for shutters. Shouldered rear arches to lancets. Small medieval grave marker with carved cross set above altar. Bowl piscina in north wall of chancel. Octagonal stone bowl and pedestal font, possibly C12, with marks of lock holes. Section of cobbled flooring at west end said to be original. Porch contains fragments of carved stone, including inhabited vine from a cross shaft, and other objects from site and from excavations, with explanatory panels. (Surtees H C: History of the Parish of Escombe (with photographs of church): Mainsforth: 1922-: 11-26; Journal of the British Archaeological Association: Pocock: Excavations at Escomb Church: London: 1971-: 11-19; Buildings of England: Pevsner: County Durham: Harmondsworth: 1983-: 267-9).

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