NothumberlandELSDONStCuthbert(philthirkellCC-BY-SA2.0)1 PhilThirkell

St Cuthbert

A 14th century church with Roman tombstone, medieval grave covers, exquisite windows, historic churchyard, 18th century carved headstones and two medieval stone coffins.

Elsdon, Northumberland

Opening times

Open 10am to 6pm in summer, closes at dusk in winter.


NE19 1AA

St Cuthbert's, known as the Cathedral of the Rede was the mother church of Redesdale, once the largest parish in England covering 120 square miles of wild border country. The church is dedicated to the Celtic saint Cuthbert. In 875 AD seven monks, fleeing Viking raids on their island monastery of Lindisfarne, rested here with St Cuthbert's coffin which contained the saint's bones. The present building dates from the 14th century with evidence of earlier 12th and 13th century architectural features, such as the narrow, round arched windows in the west wall. A number of alterations were carried out in 1837. In the course of removing a huge pile of earth from behind the north wall of the church a mass grave was found. The closely packed skeletons were the dead from the Battle of Otterburn 1388. More extensive rebuilding in 1877 was the work of the Alnwick architect FR Wilson who raised the pitched roof in the chancel and installed the beautiful clear glass leaded windows. Of special interest in the church are the Roman tombstone, the medieval grave covers, the skulls of three horses found in the bell turret and the three sedilia (niches) in the chancel where priests sat during the service. The historic churchyard is one of the finest in the country. Apart from two medieval stone coffins propped against the west wall, there are a number of 18th century headstones with high relief carvings. All are listed.

  • Spectacular stained glass

  • Magnificent memorials

  • Glorious furnishings

  • Fascinating churchyard

  • Enchanting atmosphere

  • Captivating architecture

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Parking within 250m

  • On street parking at church

  • Level access to the main areas

  • Dog friendly

  • Café within 500m

  • Bus stop within 100m

  • Church of England

Contact information

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