Disused church where Stan Laurel was baptised has £100k slashed from asking price


THE church where Stan Laurel was baptised has had £100,000 slashed from its asking price after failing for sell for over three years.

Laurel was baptised at St Peter’s Church in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, in October 1891.

Despite its associations with two of the most celebrated comedians in cinema history, the property has lain empty since it was closed by the Church of England in 2013.

Now the 144-year-old church, which could be converted to a six-bedroom home, has been cut in price from £295,000 to just £185,000.

The church is over 140-years-old

A brass plaque inside the building states: “Arthur Stanley Jefferson. (Stan Laurel of Laurel and Hardy) was baptised here 21 October 1891.”

Another photo from the sellers shows the baptistery in which Laurel was baptised, standing in the middle of a room surrounded by large windows.

Laurel moved to Bishop Auckland shortly after his birth in Ulverston, Cumbria, and lived until he was five on Princes Street, a stone’s throw from St Peter’s Church.

The plaque commemorating Stan Laurel’s baptism

The church is listed with Hunter’s estate agents and is being sold at auction on the online site ‘Under the Hammer’ Tuesday afternoon.

The grade-listed two building also comes with a bell tower, chancel, numerous and stained glass windows.

The property has been described on auction site ‘Under The Hammer’ as “a beautiful yet simple, architectural style.

As well as the baptistery the church also boasts a bell tower

“In brief this grade two listed church comprises of a spacious and lofty nave, the chancel which includes the choir and sanctuary, both choir and clergy vestries and a bell tower with two rooms and a copper spire.”

The church is located just 10 miles from the city of Durham and 13 miles from Darlington.

After a brief stay in Bishop Auckland, Laurel moved to North Shields where his father became a local theatre manager.

The church has been out of service since 2013

Laurel began acting in his teens, and started his theatrical career at age 16 in Glasgow.

In the early 1900s, he posed as Charlie Chapman’s understudy as he travelled to the U.S. as part of Fred Karno’s vaudeville act.

1917 was when Stan first performed alongside Oliver Hardy, but it wasn’t until 1927’s ‘Putting Pants on Philip’ befre the comedy duo became box office stars.

Stan Laurel. Image: Photo by Stax/Wikimedia Commons

Laurel retired from acting in 1957 after the death of Oliver Hardy. Lurel died eight years later in hospital after suffering from a heart attack.

Controversy erupted in 2010 when Visit County Durham printed some 50,000 tourism flyers saying Bishop Auckland was the birthplace of Stan Laurel.

Craig Wilson from Visit County Durham at the time said “When we were putting the leaflets together, we knew he was baptised, went to school and grew up in Bishop Auckland where his parents ran the theatre.

“So unfortunately that was translated into him being born here.”