Gibside Chapel was built as a mausoleum for George Bowes in 1760's. George Bowes was a coal magnate who moved to Gibside from Streatlam in 1727. A number of important buildings on the estate, which is a few miles west of Newcastle. The hall built in 1603 onwards was enlarged in the mid eighteenth century and is now roofless. The stable block was designed by Daniel Garrett in 1746, a banqueting house also by Garrett dated 1751 is now owned by the Landmark Trust, Column of British Liberty designed by James Paine, completed in 1757 and also an Orangery, probably also by Paine.
On George Bowes death in 1767 the estate passed to the ninth Earl of Strathmore, and the Strathmores owned the estate until very recently when it was bought by the National Trust.
The Chapel was begun in 1760 to the design of James Paine, but it was left unfinished internally and George Bowes was not finally buried in the mausoleum until the tenth Earl completed it in 1812. The mausoleum beneath the chapel is a plain circular vaulted chamber with a central column and burial niches placed radially around the walls.
The chapel is Paine's only free standing ecclesiastical building and is a perfect example of a Georgian church in a strict classical style, inspired by Vitruvius and Palladio. The plan is a Greek cross, with its crossing covered by a dome raised on a high drum, with the angles filled with lower domed spaces. Inside there is rather dull nineteenth century plaster work.
The principal movement that is occurring at Gibside is spread of the main arches under the weight of the drum and aisle roofs. In order to redecorate, the inside of the chapel was filled with scaffolding, which gave an opportunity for direct measurements to be taken at the springing level of the arches. Measurements showed and outward movement of 50mm.
Externally there has been some quite severe vertical cracking at the centre of each of the main walls. This was evidently noticed in the 1960's and tie rods were installed at high level within the walls. Repairs were carried out and monitoring is continuing.
Client: The National Trust, Northumbria Region
Architect: Ralph Pattisson