St Mary's Church, Gainford and
St Andrew's Church, Winston
In the Diocese of Durham
Gainford has a population of about 1675. It is an ancient settlement built around a large village green and was founded on a ford across the River Tees in Anglo-Saxon times.
Although the majority of housing is comparatively modern it still justifies its title of “Queen of Durham Villages”.
The riverbank, which is accessible through the churchyard, is owned by a community trust and is a much loved feature of village life.
The parish is part of a Local Ecumenical Partnership linked with Saint Osmund’s Roman Catholic Church and a Methodist House Group. The Roman Catholic Church has two congregations, one the original “Catholics” and one linked to the Ordinariate and the priest is a former Anglican vicar. However we work well together and our witness as Christians is strengthened.
St Mary’s Church is a grade 1 listed building, originally dating from the 8th century and founded on a monastery which was a centre of stone carving. It was re-modelled and extended in the Early-English style in the 13th century and still retains many features from that period. The Victorian restoration was sympathetic and left us with a legacy of a famed three manual organ and a ring of six bells, both of which are in regular use.
The building is in fine condition and has an accessible toilet and kitchen with the west-end opened up as a coffee area and meeting place.
Recently, interpretation boards have been installed to illustrate our long history and how it relates to our faith today. The P.C.C. has a policy to keep the church open every day and so use it as a silent witness to our faith down the ages. We have many appreciative comments in our visitor’s book and our recently created chapel, dedicated to St. Cuthbert, is used for prayer and quiet.
Sunday services are held at 10.45 a.m., mainly Eucharist but with a family service monthly. A Sunday school and play space are available at the west-end.
Winston parish comprises the village of Winston on the A67, with three hamlets to the north of the A67 namely Westholme, South Cleatlam and Little Newsham and one hamlet to the south over the river named Winston Gate, and seven farms across the parish.
The population is 430 and there is a mix of ages but the greater population consists of active retired people with a wide range of skills. There are no shops or schools within the parish, the nearest small shops and schools are in Gainford or Staindrop. 
St Andrew’s Church is a focal point for the area standing on a prominent hilltop, simple yet majestic in its setting with striking views over the Tees valley. The environment around the village is calm and peaceful and the church is listed in “Small Pilgrim Places” as a site for meditation. The church is well integrated into the local community and forms a focal point at key times in people’s lives as well as at harvest and carol services. The church is open for visitors at weekends and Bank Holidays, with a key available at other times by request
St Andrew’s Church was built in 1254 in Early English (lancet) style, set within what
is probably an ancient burial ground.
The wide 13th century Chancel is almost entirely medieval internally. The choir stalls incorporate 17th century bench poppy heads. The Nave was extended and pews installed in 1848 with a vestry, porch and octagonal bell turret with two bells added. Extensive work was done in 2014 for which a grant from English Heritage Lottery Fund was made (approximately half the cost) to replace the Chancel roof, the east and south walls of the Chancel were structurally tied and repointed, together with some repointing to other walls of the church.
We are flexible in our worship and the structure of our services. We have a service every Sunday at 9.30 am and a Sunday School in the village hall on the first Sunday of the month from October to May, with the children coming into church for the Eucharist.

'Sweet Winston' by Brian Clarke - A history of a Teesdale Village.
This fascinating book is still available in a limited number and can be obtained by calling 01325 730434 or using the contact form for further information.