Work is continuing at St Helen’s Church from Eston, where the team are slowly re-creating its interior. The church was greatly remodelled in 1822 to cope with the increasing size of the local congregation, and this included the rebuilding of the the nave. A fire in the 1980s destroyed the inside of the church, but prior to this its Georgian interior had already been altered during the twentieth century, predominately with the removal of its box pews.
This morning Paul has been filling up the gaps around the window frames in the nave with lime mortar. Shaun and Dan have carefully re-created all of the wooden window frames from photographs of the church’s exterior. These windows will soon be glazed with cylinder glass. Cylinder glass is an early form of blown sheet glass, made by swinging the hot bubble of glass over a trench so that it spreads and elongates into a cylinder shape. The cylinder was then cooled, before being re-heated and flatten to be cut into sheets. Look out for a further post on the glazing of the windows.
Paul and Cos have also reinstated a font into the west end of the nave. This is not the font that was originally at the church, as it was lost many years before Beamish dismantled it. The basin is probably Norman and was donated by a couple from Staffordshire, who were using it as a planter in their garden. The stem has been created from reclaimed Georgian corbels. Although this may seem peculiar, older masonry or even Roman and Saxon stonework, was often reused and incorporated into more modern ecclesiastical objects. The age and presumed rarity of the stonework helped to increase the sense of veneration.
Additionally, Shaun and Dan have been busy making the front doors, which are based on those of the church in nearby Skelton. Architectural similarities between All Saints at Skelton and St Helen’s, have lead us to believe that it may have been the inspiration for St Helen’s Georgian remodelling.