The Church of St Michael the Archangel : Discussion
The structural history of the church is set out in some detail by Honeyman in the County History account (NCH XIV (1935), 562-9). As often happens, Honeyman identifies rather more constructional phases than there seems to be solid evidence for. These are here listed, with comments added.
Anglo Saxon: The eastern quoins of the nave. These are substantial side-alternate blocks, of generally Saxon character and probably indicate a date before 1100.
Late 12th Century: After William de Vesci gave the church to Alnwick Abbey, it was remodelled with a new west front, south chapel, north aisle, chancel arch and chancel. Honeyman's only evidence of the north aisle being as early as this seems to be in his interpretation of its broader western arch as having probably 'succeeded a smaller Norman or pre-Conquest arch with a long respond as at Whittingham'.
Mid 13th Century: The north arcade was replaced by pointed arches and the north aisle widened; it was intended to add a south aisle as well, but works may have got no further than the heightening of the eastern respond of the south transept arch, before the outbreak of war with Scotland. The earlier lower part of the respond might in fact indicate a former south aisle, removed either at this time or more likely as a consequence of the Scottish wars.
In the Later Medieval Period the ruined church was restored, the chancel being heightened (probably in the 15th century), the present south transept arch built, and the ruined north aisle demolished except for a section at its east end left as a chapel, and part of its west wall utilised as a buttress.
At some time after the Reformation, the south porch was built, and a round-headed window inserted in the blocked central arch of the north arcade. A restoration is recorded in 1664, from which the upper parts of the South Transept walls may date.
In 1759 a belfry was constructed in the gable of the south porch.
In 1840 the church was re-roofed and the upper portions of its gables rebuilt. The north chapel was rebuilt and widened, for use as Sunday school and vestry, at around this time.
In 1870 - 71 the church was restored, F.R.Wilson of Alnwick being the architect. Several sash windows were replaced by new ones in a Transitional style, and a new bell cote built on the west gable of the nave.