St Helen • Kelloe  • Durham


The Church building


Parish church. C11 tower and nave; C13 chancel largely rebuilt 1854 and refitted 1901 by W.S. Hicks; Thornley Porch (Chantry Chapel) founded 1347, restored 1691 and converted to organ-chamber in late C19; late C18 vestry and early C19 porch. Dressed stone chancel, coursed rubble elsewhere; Welsh slate roofs. West tower, aisleless nave with south porch and north organ chamber, chancel with north vestry. Windows mainly renewed in C19, some with Geometrical and Decorated tracery.


3-stage tower has massive stepped buttress and C18 diamond sundial on south and small  round-headed belfry windows on each face. Long 3-bay nave: herringbone masonry in west end; 3 identical buttresses on south; in porch a round-arched south doorway of 2 worn orders on block capitals with shafts missing; 2 small blocked windows above porch and 2 C19 windows to east; blocked pointed window above similar north door; steeply-pitched roof. Long 2-bay chancel with C19 buttresses; C19 windows except for an original lancet on both north and south; diagonally-buttressed east end has restored 3-light window with Decorated tracery; steeply-pitched roof with coped east gable. Small gabled porch. Organ chamber incorporates medieval plinth and masonry from Thornley porch.

Vestry has pointed sash window.


Interior: pointed, double-chamfered partly-restored tower and chancel arches. Plastered nave with C19 barrel roof has Charles II Arms above tower arch, C18 circular stone font bowl and 1897 plaque to Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806- 61, who was baptised in the church). Chancel has 1901 barrel roof, panelling and reredos by W.S. Hicks, 2 medieval grave slabs in sanctuary, and elaborate unfinished aedicular wall monument of 1712 by Henry Porter. The St. Helena Cross, on north chancel wall, is a richly-carved, probably C12 stone cross with 3 panels illustrating the legend of the Invention of the True Cross with associated saints Helena and Constantine.




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