St Mary's Church, Barnard Castle
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: 14th-century effigy of a priest
The oldest part of the building we see today is a part of the north chancel wall. The original Norman church was a simple building, consisting of an aisleless nave and a long chancel. Bernard Balliol II added a north aisle around 1150, with Norman columns decorated with odd beak-like carvings.
In the north transept, added in 1380, are two recessed tomb niches. The westerly one contains a very nice recumbent 14th century effigy of a priest named Robert de Martham, vicar of Gainford, holding a chalice in one hand while the other hand is raised in blessing. The easterly niche contains a finely carved 14th century grave slab of a priest, decorated with a floriated cross. Set on the wall nearby is perhaps the most intriguing memorial carving in the church; a fragment of a 14th century sculpture depicting St Anthony the Egyptian Eremite, flanked by a pair of upright boars. This fragment my have formed part of a larger tombstone.
The chancel arch is 15th century, and was built at the time when Richard of Gloucester was lord of the manor at Barnard Castle. On one side of the arch is a carved head that may represent Edward IV, and on the other a very worn head supposed to be Richard III himself. In the chancel itself is a Jacobean communion table dating to the early 17th century. It stands beneath a very finely made east window in Geometric style, inserted around 1260.
Most people come to Barnard Castle to visit the castle and the Bowes Museum, each only a short wak from the market cross. How many leave without seeing this beautiful church? St Mary's was open when we visited, even though it was well past 5pm.
About Barnard Castle
Address: Newgate, Barnard Castle, County Durham, England, DL12 8NQ
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: Directly facing the market cross in the centre of Barnard Castle. Well signposted paid parking lots less than 100 yards away. The church was open when we visited.
Website: Barnard Castle
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest
Barnard Castle - 0.2 miles (Castle)
Bowes Museum - 0.3 miles (Museum)
Egglestone Abbey - 0.9 miles (Abbey)
Rokeby Park - 2.3 miles (Historic House)
Bowes Castle - 4.1 miles (Castle)
Raby Castle - 5.8 miles (Castle)
Stanwick Iron Age Fort - 8.3 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Stanwick. St John's Church - 8.8 miles (Historic Church)
Nearest Accommodation to Barnard Castle: