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Tyne and Wear HER(13595): Sunderland, Silksworth Lane, Church of St. Nicholas - Details

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Sunderland, Silksworth Lane, Church of St. Nicholas



Religious Ritual and Funerary

Place of Worship




Extant Building

Built in 1939. Magnificent stained glass windows designed by Leonard Evetts and made by Hartley Woods Glassworks {1}. The creation of a new suburb in the southern part of the extensive parish of Bishopwearmouth, Sunderland, led to plans to divide the parish and acquire a site on which to construct a church, parish hall and vicarage. The district of St Nicholas was created in 1926 and funds were secured to buy a site for the church buildings. Although a church hall was built in 1932 and the population of the district continued to grow, it was not until 1939 that St Nicholas' parish church was built at a cost of £9000 (including a £6000 donation from the Bishop of Durham). The foundation stone was laid by Mrs G Gordon on 4 February. Although war was declared ten days before the consecration of the new church, this took place as planned on 13 September 1939, performed by the Bishop of Durham. The church remained unscathed during the war, and its footprint is unchanged to the present day; with the exception of the insertion of an organ in the 1950s, the interior remains largely unaltered. The church was designed by the architect Donald McIntyre, an ecclesiastical architect in the North East as well as Cathedral Architect at Durham from 1935 to 1969. During his time as resident Cathedral architect, he was responsible for the Miner's Memorial in the south aisle (1947) and the Lectern (1940). Other known works include the chancel extension to All Saints' Church, Egglescliffe, Cleveland (1957-9), and a factory for Armstrong Cork Company, Team Valley Trading Estate, Gateshead (1948). The church was built by Messrs. Gordon Durham of Boldon, established in 1928. In 1954 stained glass windows by Marion Grant were placed in the Baptistry, and between 1955 and 1998 47 of the church's original plain leaded window frames were removed and replaced with various stained glass pieces by Leonard Evetts. Leonard Evetts' (1909-1997) trained at the Royal College of Art under Martin Travers and became Master of Design in the Department of Fine Art at Newcastle University; he is known for his ability to combine creative thought with fine workmanship in the Arts and Crafts tradition and as a creative artist executing a range of commissions including alter frontals, ecclesiastical vestments, watercolours and stained glass. His work can be found in churches and Cathedrals throughout the UK and Europe. The collection in this church, spanning a generation, is considered to be the largest collection of Evetts work in one location and comprises various subjects all inspired by Biblical texts, Christian themes and the lives of the Saints. It is also thought that this is the largest collection of C20 stained glass by a single artist anywhere in England. Evetts's windows were made of glass from Hartley Wood and Co. in Sunderland, which used traditional manufacturing methods to produce glass considered to have a texture of great richness and character. MATERIALS: reinforced concrete, faced in plain red/brown brick in Flemish bond with brick, stone and concrete dressings, and a tile roof. PLAN: rectangular nave with side aisles and an apsidal east end. Lady Chapel is attached to the south of the chancel and a vestry to the north. Square tower at the south west end a small circular baptistry at the north west corner. EXTERIOR: main (south) elevation comprises a three-bay rectangular chancel with a pitched roof and tall, narrow round-headed windows; it has a blind, apsidal east end, carrying a depiction of a cross detailed in slightly different coloured brick. The attached rectangular Lady Chapel has a flat roof and four rectangular windows. The five-bay nave has a single roundel and paired round-headed lancets within rectangular-headed openings; the aisle is pierced by four small square windows. The west end comprises a tall square tower with a main entrance to the ground floor, reached by a set of stone steps. The entrance has fluted stone reveals and double wo



NZ38605554; English Heritage, Advice Report, 27 October 2011; St Nicholas: The Genesis and Growth of a Parish 1927-39, 1989; Peach, MT (Revd), St Nicholas' Church Stained Glass, n.d.; Ruscoe, J , Obituary: Leonard Evetts (The Independent, Oct 7th, 1997) e_id=12462a.tif, 25.06.2010

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