A North East England Historical Marvel

St Andrew’s Church (foundations are from 1165) & Hopper Mausoleum came later in 1752

Situated just a short 14-minute drive from Consett (6 minutes according to Google Maps), nestled on the grand Greymare Hill in Northumberland, the silhouette of St Andrew’s Church stands proud. This landmark offers not just mesmerising panoramic vistas of North East England but also unfolds a tapestry of regional history that dates back centuries.

Discovering North East England’s Pinnacle of History
St Andrew’s Church, set amidst the tranquil surroundings of Kiln Pit Hill, is more than a distant silhouette on the horizon. It’s a living narrative of North East England, connecting the modern with the medieval.

Photograph of St Andrew's Church in Bywell, showcasing its historic architecture against a backdrop of the serene village.
St Andrew’s Church, Bywell: A historic gem from the Anglo-Saxon era. This church, with its Saxon-dated tower and west wall, has witnessed the ebb and flow of the now-quiet village of Bywell. Most of its structure hails from the 13th century, with restorations in 1871. No longer a hub for regular worship, its preservation is now under the dedicated care of The Churches Conservation Trust. Image © Copyright Andrew Curtis and licensed for reuse

St Andrew’s Through the Ages
From the vision of Walter de Bolbec in 1165 sprang the foundational stone of St Andrew’s. This church, woven into the fabric of North East England’s spiritual landscape, boasts ties to Bywell’s St Andrew and its historic chapels, bearing the whispers of medieval devotion. A solitary bell capital from Shotley’s chapel is a silent sentinel to its ancient roots. But its journey wasn’t without its storms. Echoes from the 1680s reveal a church in dire need, its wardens clamouring for essentials. Yet, through the dedication of individuals like Humphry Hopper, St Andrew’s was not only rescued from its challenges but revitalised to stand tall in our times.

Photograph of the Hopper's Mausoleum, an ornate domed structure, within the St Andrew's Church grounds, signifying Humphrey Hopper's tribute to his wife Jane Hodgson from 1752.
Hopper’s Mausoleum, built in 1752 by Humphrey Hopper in memory of his wife. A symbol of enduring love and a nod to the Hopper family’s roots in the area, dating back to Nicholas Hopper in 1573. Photo credit: Ken Brown, licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence.

The Hopper Mausoleum: An Architectural Marvel
Adjacent to the church stands a monumental ode to dedication and grandeur: the Hopper Mausoleum. Commissioned in 1752 by Humphrey Hopper, this Grade I listed edifice, dedicated to his wife Jane, captures the architectural zeitgeist of its era in North East England history.

Nature’s Touch: The Graveyard’s Distinct Character
Managed by The Churches Conservation Trust, the church’s graveyard exudes a raw, natural charm, reflective of North East England’s rugged beauty. Yet, as you wander, take note of its uneven terrain. Among the 49 headstones, three bear the unmistakable artistic touch of the renowned sculptor, John Graham Lough, whose works pepper various North East landmarks.

Visiting the Relics of the Past
For those keen to tread the paths of history, St Andrew’s Church throws open its doors daily from 10am – 4pm. For a truly immersive experience, consider reaching out to the Local Community Officer or visit: https://fabulousnorth.com/st-andrews-church-and-hopper-mausoleum/

Within just 6 minutes of Consett, St Andrew’s Church and the Hopper Mausoleum are not just historic landmarks; they’re narrators, regaling tales from bygone eras, inviting one and all to listen, learn, and linger.

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