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Tyne and Wear HER(7497): Ryton, Hexham Old Road, Ryton Cemetery, chapel - Details

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Ryton, Hexham Old Road, Ryton Cemetery, chapel



Religious Ritual and Funerary


Cemetery Chapel

Early Modern


Extant Building

STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE This chapel is the centrepiece of Ryton cemetery. It appears to have been the only chapel built here, and therefore, unusually, must have been used for both Anglican and Non-Conformist services. The building is situated at the junction of the main original pathways, along a broad carriage drive, and would have been clearly visible from the main entrance, where its simple but attractive architecture and interesting detailing could be appreciated. Constructed in sandstone rubble with ashlar dressings, the chapel is in a loose, simplified Victorian Gothic style with a feature octagonal spire surmounted by a weather vane. Other noteworthy features include a Welsh slate roof adorned with decorative terracotta ridge tiles and stone water tables, and unusual geometric kneelers. At one time a cross crowned each gable but one is now missing. Some lancets retain their leaded lights, and the doorframes are shaped as pointed arches. One door is now missing – the other being of green-painted timber in an unusual herringbone design with wrought iron hinges in a delicate floral design. 3 tall lancets dominate the west elevation, and stone buttressing surrounds the building. A funerary porch rests against the east elevation, with the vestry to the north crowned by a large and slightly eccentric chimney. These seem to be a distinctive feature of the architect’s palette, as the lodge building also features a somewhat whimsical design. It is a charming example of a cemetery chapel, with much of the original detailing remaining. The brightly coloured ridge tiles and door, and the spire and wrought iron door furniture are all distinctive and add to the interest of the building. It is a crucial part of the original composition of the Locally Listed cemetery, along with the lodge and boundary walls, which are also on the Local List. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION A fire was to be provided at the chapel by the Superintendant, but the committee minutes record (12 JAN 1885 (P182)) that the Superintendent reports an ‘intense coldness’ in the building despite this. Severe drafts were apparently caused by the mortuary partition. The suggested solution was to have the partition taken up to the roof, and to patch up the open spaces. The research assistance of Caroline Harrop is gratefully acknowledged. MATERIALS Sandstone, slate, timber, terracotta, wrought iron ARCHITECT Poss. Joseph Lish? BUILDER John Jefferson Salter & William Lishman DATES 1884 LOCAL LIST




Gateshead Council Local List Fact Sheet X20/LL/119; Tyne and Wear Archives UD.RY/1/3 (committee minutes)

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