Great Bavington URC

Built in 1693, Great Bavington church is the oldest former Presbyterian church in Northumberland which is still used for worship (and the second oldest in England, after Tunley in Lancashire).

About this church

The church continues as the centre of the community and has grown over the years. The porch was added in 1725, with the date over the door. Look carefully, and you will see that the stone of the porch is different to that of the church walls. On the south side of the church you can see the remains of original doors and windows, and the remains of a high level window on the north side. Revd Forsyth made alterations to the church in 1869, which may have been when the windows on the south side were enlarged. The meeting room was added in the 1970s and, architecturally, is ‘of its time’.

The stained glass west window was added in 1962 to mark the 300th anniversary of the Great Ejectment. Then, anyone who did not agree to follow the Book of Common Prayer was ejected from the Church of England and faced fines, restrictions on employment, possible imprisonment and even execution. Robert Blunt, the vicar of Kirkharle was ejected, and he set up this Presbyterian congregation, who were able to build the church following the Act of Toleration in 1689. The stained glass in the window was made by Hartley Woods of Sunderland.

The house opposite the church (with the Victorian letterbox in the wall) was originally the school, first set up by the church, which educated local children until 1946. After that it became a popular youth hostel. Kathleen Raine, poet, lived in the manse next door when she was a child, evacuated here during World War I.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Spectacular stained glass
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • National heritage here
  • Famous connections

Visitors information

  • Steps to enter the church or churchyard
  • Non-accessible toilets in church
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome
  • Church shop or souvenirs

Other nearby churches

St Wilfrid

Enjoy a gentle walk from the courtyard to discover this simple but beautiful 14th century church, built in the Decorated style.

St Aidan

A small Grade II listed church in a unique and beautiful location, the current church was consecrated in 1100.

All Saints

A simple but beautiful little country church, with some ancient Norman gravestones embedded in the wall.

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