Building » Langley Moor – St Patrick

Langley Moor – St Patrick

Goatbeck Terrace, Langley Moor, Co. Durham DH7

A stone-built Edwardian church serving a mining town, the design of which although not original for its date is consistently high, both inside and out. The church has a good collection of glass by the Hardman firm. 

A mission was established in 1876, serving the needs of mainly Irish pit workers and their families. A temporary iron school-chapel capable of seating 350 was opened on 4 March 1878, located on a site behind the present presbytery. The latter is a red brick building, added in 1885.  

In 1909 Fr John Parker submitted plans for a permanent church, seating 450 and designed by Edward Kay of Stockton. The foundation stone was laid by Bishop Collins on 1 October 1910 and the completed church was opened on 11 October 1911.

But for post-Vatican II reordering and enrichment over time with stained glass windows, the church is little altered. It is now part of the west Durham group of parishes, and is served from Willington. The presbytery is unoccupied. 


The church is orientated roughly north-south, but this description follows conventional liturgical orientation, i.e. as if the altar was at the east end.

A handsome stone-built church, with a slate roof, consisting of aisled nave, apsidal sanctuary, northwest porch and attached northeast sacristy. The church is in fourteenth century Gothic style. The north elevation towards the street has a double-height porch at the west end with a statue of St Patrick in an ogee-arched niche over the entrance and a raised bellcote on the gable with pierced oculus (no bell). The bay divisions in the lean-to aisles and in the clerestory above are marked by attached pilasters, with two-light traceried windows within square openings to the aisles and vesica-shaped clerestory windows with curvilinear tracery. All the windows have polycarbonate protection. At the west end there is an additional entrance, with triple lancet windows over, attached buttresses at the corners, and a stone cross on the gable.  On the south elevation, the western clerestory bay is windowless, while the other bays are as on the north front.  The canted apse has single lancet windows with cusped tracery on each face, and there are vesica-shaped windows with curvilinear tracery to the east walls of the aisles (side chapels).

Inside, the walls are plastered and painted, with the sandstone of the nave arcades, wall shafts and clerestory exposed.  The arcade piers are octagonal, with carved foliated capitals. The wall shafts rise from corbels in the arcade spandrels to the clerestory, from which level springs a timber roof of hammerbeam construction. The plaster panels of the ceiling are painted as canopies of honour over the altar and side chapels (Sacred Heart and Lady Chapel).  At the chancel arch there is a timber rood with gilded corpus.

The quality of the furnishings is consistently high throughout.  The sanctuary walls are lined with panelling with Gothic arcading, up to sill height. At its centre, the tabernacle is placed on a shelf. The sanctuary is carpeted, with a forward stone altar with columns at the corners, possibly using re-cut elements from the former high altar. The timber font is placed within a new baptistery area, with panelled dado, at the west end of the south aisle.  The nave seating consists of open-backed oak benches, with chamfered, elbowed ends. There are oak doors to the confessionals and sacristy off the north aisle, with inset leaded glass panels. At the west end there is an organ gallery, its underside now enclosed to form an entrance lobby or narthex, with delicate openwork tracery in the arches.

The church has a notably complete set of stained glass, mostly by the Hardman firm and of apparent mid-twentieth century date. This includes a crucifixion in the tympanum over the west door and scenes from the life of Christ in the two-light aisle windows. The lancet windows of the sanctuary may be by another designer; they depict saints and martyrs, with the dove of the Holy Spirit in the central light. The lancets at the west end over the gallery depict scenes from the life of St Patrick. The clerestory has shamrocks within clear glass.

The fine opus sectile and mosaic Stations of the Cross look to be the work of Earley’s of Dublin. 

Heritage Details

Architect: Edward Kay

Original Date: 1911

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed