St Peter & St Paul, Stainton
THE PARISH CHURCH OF
ST. PETER & PAUL, STAINTON IN CLEVELAND
In the early part of 2001 an archaeologist working on the building site of the Parish Room / Church extension found several items which have been dated to the 7th century . Perhaps the most important of these is a small gold and garnet pendant of significant local historic interest. It has become known as the ‘Stainton Jewel’. It is now the property of the Dorman Museum in Middlesbrough and is on display there.
Several stone fragments of pre-conquest origin are now built into the walls inside the Parish Room.
One fragment is part of a Hogback grave cover common in North Yorkshire in the Anglo-Danish period of the 10th century.
There are two Cross fragments and one with an example of Celtic knot work. While outside at the south-eastern
corner of the church there is a Saxon stone coffin.
Between 1110 and 1120, Robert de Brus gave the church at Stainton to the Prior and Convent of Guisborough . Whether this was a pre-conquest timber church or an early Norman stone structure is not known.
The Chancel arch and pillars are 13th century Early English Gothic. By the late 12th century improved construction methods allowed the tops of arches to become pointed instead of the earlier semi-circular shape. In the Porch is a list of Vicars of Stainton from 1247 to the present day.
Blocking the doorway on the south side of the Chancel is a stone figure believed to date from 1370-80AD
The Tower was added in the Perpendicular style of architecture. The north transept now used as a Lady Chapel (traditionally known as the Hemlington Aisle) is also believed to date from this time. In 1495, William Conyers of Thornaby left 10/- (ten shillings) for the fabric of the Parish Church at Stainton.
Stainton Church registers from 1551 onwards are now in the keeping of Middlesbrough Borough Archives. Several requirements and bequests were recorded from this time. In 1548, Sir Thomas Gower wished to be buried within the church. In 1588, Matthew Johnson put on record ‘my bodie to be buried in the church yard and I give unto the sacrament 12 pence’. Peter Ward, 1588, ‘for my mortuary as the church is so I give and bequeath’
On October 19th 1725, the marriage of Thomas Cook to Grace Pace from Thornaby was recorded in the registers. They would become 3 years later the parents of James Cook one of Cleveland’s most famous sons.
In 1765 the Nave walls were extended westward on both sides of the Tower to create two galleries. It was usual at this time to house the choir and musicians in a gallery. In 1771 new pews were installed and the floor was reflagged. A ‘Plan of allocation of pews’ still exists dated 22.5.1772 and shows all the local family names and their position in church and in society. The plan also shows a triple decker pulpit on the south side of the Nave. According to Archbishop Herring’s visitation of 1743, communion was 6 times per year- more frequently than usual at this time. In 1765 there was some repair work on the church roof and a churchyard wall and gate pillars were built. In 1767, sash windows were fitted and the roof was completely releaded with new lead.
19th century :-
In 1805 work was started to build a Vestry, it was reported by 1810 that the work had been completed. By 1833 additional new lead had been applied to the roof, and oak stalls had replaced the pews of the previous century.
In 1861 both the chancel and the vestry were renewed . In 1872 the nave was re-seated and a new floor was laid. It was found necessary to spend a further £1500 to make the church waterproof. In 1884 a chancel screen and in 1888 a new organ were installed. It was recorded in 1889 that the Hemlington aisle was in a
dilapidated condition and the Nave and Tower were in a poor state of repair. On the 4th April 1893 a public meeting was held at which it was decided to remove the church bells, re-cast them and re-hang them after an architect had examined the Tower. By 1897 the cracked bell had been repaired ‘ingeniously mended by a foreigner’ and the bells were re-hung.
The bells have inscriptions which read:-
Tonic B: ALMA DEUM, TIME DEUM (love God, fear God)
Dominant: GLORIA IN ALTISIMO DEO 1690 (Glory to God in the highest)
Subdominant: RICARDUS LUMLEY NUPER VICARIUS DE STAYNTON HANC POSUIT CAMPANAM 1690
In 1900 a legacy of £1,000 for the restoration of Stainton Church allowed work to take place to open up the walls north and south of the tower
and for arches to be inserted. New roofs were fitted to the Nave and Transept . Four new traceried windows were inserted with stained glass
to replace sash windows. In 1910 a new pulpit in stone and marble replaced the wooden one.( It was removed in 1998). Electric lighting was
fitted in 1932 at a cost of £38. 6s.0d and the sale of the old lamps raised £2.5s.0d .In 1935 the dilapidated porch was refurbished.
Between 1955 & 1957 the organ pipes were removed to a new loft at the west end although the organ console remained in the Chancel.
Roof repairs were needed in the Chancel and Transept .Yet again in 1990 major roof repairs were needed when dry rot was found in the
Nave and Transept roofs.
21st century :-
Began with the building of a church extension; the ‘Millenium Room’, on the north side of the Chancel. This was
dedicated on the 4th October 2001 by the Most Reverend and Rt. Hon.David Hope, Archbishop of York .
In 2005 essential maintenance work was needed on the south side external stone work and the rainwatergullies.
Rainwater was again finding its way into the building. In 2006 the church was significantly reordered, in part to
allow greater access for disabled people, but also to allow more flexibleuse of the building. Lighting was improved,
the organ console was re-sited under the organ loft, necessary repairs were carried out and the whole church was
cleaned and redecorated. Throughout the centuries the greatest expense and struggle has been to keep the building
weather-proof and this continues.
At the present time (2007) it costs around £750 per week to keep this church financially sound.
For the most part the cost has to be met through the generosity of the local congregation and supporters.
It is our legacy to be handed on to the next century.