I came to Ryton just a couple of weeks ago to pick up an Argos order from the little branch of Sainsbury’s, but fortunately I checked as the church of Holy Cross which I wanted to visit this Heritage Open Day (17 September 2023) is not the church in the centre of the town. It is down nearer the river at NZ 151648, so I parked on the old village green. Most of the other cars were parked for walking down towards the river and railway. The map marks a Motte nearby – must go and explore properly. The church has a long drive, but it was open, welcoming, with no guidebook or leaflet – fortunately Pevsner has far more to say that he did about Leadgate. The church website is at https://www.holycrossryton.org.uk/ and they have a heritage page with a series of links (but no where does it say when the church is open). I got a nice welcome and they had had quite a few people through for Heritage Open Days.
The church is Early English, dating to about 1220, with the addition of the spire in 1360. Nice porch and what a wonderful noticeboard – please refresh the notices!
A large church – it must cost a fortune to heat – and a font which dates to around 1660 (the original was, of course, destroyed by Commonwealth troops), but where the fish comes from, I didn’t ask.
They have done a nice job with a kitchen/servery at the back, though I wonder what Frances feels about always being in the kitchen. You have to be thin to get up the (1886) spiral stairs to ring the Millennium Bells – four original, four added, see the church website.
A couple of hatchments, though no details anywhere – I’m trying to think if I’ve ever seen Hatchments with dates and ages on before.
There is a splendid list of Vicars, but – like most of them – it has no space for anyone else. Is this the monument Pevsner describes as “Deacon with book, late C13”?
There is some lovely woodwork in the Chancel. Pevsner says the altar rails are C16 and the stalls and screen date to post-1660. I wondered if some were Victorian additions.
The pulpit looks later. The lady is Helen, mother of Constantine, finder of the true cross.
Finally, let’s photo the side altar, and go outside to enjoy the churchyard. One booklet says this is where industrial Newcastle meets the countryside – you certainly feel a long way from the City when you are here.