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Blaydon, Shibdon Road, Blaydon Cemetery, chapel



Religious Ritual and Funerary


Cemetery Chapel

Early Modern


Extant Building

This beautiful composite chapel is wholly worthy of its status as the centrepiece of Blaydon Cemetery. Designed by the well-known local architect Matthew Thompson, his talent shines through in the proportions and the fine detailing, as well as the way in which the building is carefully placed within the landscape he also designed. A courtyard-like space was allowed to the front of the chapel for carriage turning and congregating, and from here a wonderful glimpse can be seen through the porte-cochere (covered carriage arch) of the serpentine central path rising up through the cemetery. Now, also the Listed war memorial is set in the heart of this courtyard, and therefore framed views of this are attractive from the south. Architectural elements are applied with eclectic decorative forms, but the principal influence is the gothic revival style. The balanced composition is formed of 2 modestly sized chapels set transversely, with set-down chancels at the extremities and gabled vestries, set perpendicular to the north. Each end is gloriously punctured with large quinto acuto arched windows embellished by bar tracery, with the remaining windows simpler pointed lancets. A curious detail draws attention to the small voussoirs (purely decorative devices, as lintels are present beneath), as alternate stones feature a raised, rough square panel although these have been affected by weathering. Aside from this the detailing is comfortingly intact – with deep columnar mouldings enriching the arches of the porte-cochere, fanciful curved kneelers, partly cylindrical chimneys and stepped buttresses. Even the ironwork is still in place, including sinuous wrought hinges on the timber batten doors, and cast rainwater goods, boasting moulded guttering. The whole is constructed in relatively rough stone – it is difficult to discern weather this was a result of rough dressing or tooling, but the former is more likely. The steeply pitched slate roof is visually prominent, as is the lynchpin of the architectural design – the slender and graceful crowning spire -remarkably still housing the bell that could originally be tolled for a charge, whatever the occasion! MATERIALS Sandstone, slate, timber ARCHITECT Matthew Thompson BUILDER Robert Smith DATES 1873 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Internally, to the eastern (Church of England) chapel, some interesting features remain, including the pews and the lectern, and the attractive roof is open to the internal space, with moulded rafters and purlins, and plaster on timber laths. In the western chapel a cast iron fireplace is still intact in the vestry area. The research assistance of Caroline Harrop is gratefully acknowledged. LOCAL LIST




Gateshead Council Local List X20/LL/228; TWAS CB.GA/8/1; Gateshead Observer 18/5/1861, 28/5/1870

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