THE "Lady of the North" is welcoming visitors throughout September. The 12th Century Lady – also known as Darlington's St Cuthbert's Church – is holding a concert on Friday, September 8, from 11am, to kickstart the Heritage Open Weekend.

The church is open from 11am to 1pm every day, except Sundays, in the month for visitors to look at its heritage, plus there are special events.

For example, last Saturday's coffee morning was organised by volunteers from the National Citizens Service, and Friday's concert features the Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College rock and classical choirs.

Loading article content

On Saturday, September 9, there will be guided tours of the church between 11am and 1pm, and the belfry will be open from 10am to 1pm. There will also be a display of pictures from the church archives.

If you do manage to visit in September, here are ten of St Cuthbert's most treasured curios that you really shouldn't miss:

1. Misericords

These are the hinged seats for clergymen to discreetly rest upon. They were installed between 1406 and 1437 and on their undersides are curious carvings, including a naked, bearded man who is snoozing in only his boots. No one knows who is – perhaps he is poking fun at the Prior of Durham as it was traditional to bury a dead prior in his boots – but the remarkable misericords were recently restored, thanks to the Friends of the church.

2. The Bradford Memorial

An impressive marble plaque, unveiled by Lord Daryington, on July 25, 1925, to Roland Boys Bradford, the youngest brigadier-general in the British Army, who had been killed on November 30, 1917, on the Somme, having won the Victoria Cross. Although born in Witton Park, Bradford had spent most of his life in Darlington.

3. Site of the original Darlington Grammar School

A grammar school is first mentioned in the town in 1291, and it is believed that the first lessons were conducted in the north transept of the church. The grammar school is now the Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College.

4. Parochial Library

In 1708, an Act of Parliament ordered that 32 of the most "meanly endow'd" parishes in the country (ie: the poorest) should be sent a library of 72 specially-printed books. Darlington was one of those parishes, and 50 of its volumes survive, now housed in a bookcase dedicated to members of the Royal Signals Regiment killed during the Second World War.

5. The Bishop's Chair

A 16th Century oak armchair with a tiny wooden mouse climbing a leg.

6. The last Supper Mosaic

The reredos behind the altar is by local artist John Dobbin – he painted the most famous view of the opening of the Stockton & Darlington railway. He intended it for Westminster Abbey, but when it was rejected, he cut it down a bit and gave it to his hometown church in 1875.

7. The clock

St Cuthbert's has had a clock in its spire since 1760 – although the current one needs restoration as it goes slower as the hands move uphill towards 12 and then faster as they drop downhill afterwards. It will be possible to see inside the clock during the belfry tours from 10am to noon on Saturday, September 9.

8. Henry III

Henry reigned from 1216 to 1272 and visited Darlington in 1260 – perhaps the residents were so impressed they carved him into their church. It is one of the oldest depictions in stone of a monarch in any church in the country.

9. The Nave Roof

It dates from the 13th Century, making these the oldest wooden roof timbers in County Durham. They are due to be restored next year thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

10. The Font

Made of Frosterley marble around 1375, sitting on a base which dates from about 1200, the font has a 15ft high oak cover – the tallest in the county – made in 1662. The cover, or canopy, used to be raised and lowered by a pulley and chain.