Historical Account of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Including the Borough of Gateshead. Originally published by Mackenzie and Dent, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1827.
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ST. JOHNS CHURCH.
It is neither known at what time nor by whom this church was founded. Bourne saw a charter, dated 1287, in which were these words:—" Venellum quo iter ad ecclesiam Sancti Johannis," which shews that it was then erected. It probably had been finished just about this time, as the architecture displays those distinctive lineaments of the English style which began to prevail at the commencement of the reign of the first Edward. Great alterations were probably made, both in the steeple and body of the church, by the pious and munificent Robert Rhodes. His arms, which were in two of the other churches, are found here also, under the belfry: they are also placed over the window, on the outside of the south cross. One William Hutton is conjectured to have been one of the first benefactors to this church, from some punning devices, expressive of his name, after the manner of those times, which were long preserved in the glass of one of the south-east windows of the south cross, and upon one of the pillars before the western gallery. (fn. 1) In the year 1379, this place occurs with the title of "capella," or "chapel."
The porch of this church was rebuilt in the year 1710: and in the same year, the north gallery was built to accommodate 33 persons, by Mr. Robert Percival, pinmaker, who was a great benefactor to this church. In 1723, the steeple was new pointed by the corporation, and the church by the parishioners. At this time, it appears, by the common council books. September 20, 1724, that the names of the mayor. M. Featherstonhaugh. &c. engraved on a stone, were set up in the steeple of this church, with an order, " that lest it might be claimed as a precedent for such repairs, that the said steeple ought to be repaired by the parishioners." This church was beautified in the year 1765.
In 1785, the old organ-gallery was removed, and a new and enlarged one erected. The aisles also were levelled, and pews made in the north aisle. In 1800, Thomas Fenton, Henry Sunderland, Matthew Brown, and John Darnell, being churchwardens, the church was painted and ornamented, at an expense of £452. The parishioners resisted the imposition of a rate to discharge this debt, on the plea, 1. That the expenditure was wanton and profuse; 2. That it had not been sanctioned by a general meeting of the parishioners, and recorded in the parish-book; 3. That they, the church-wardens, had wasted the goods of the church. A case, containing these objections, was drawn up, and submitted to the consideration of R. H. Williamson, Esq. the recorder, who thought that a rate for the full sum expended might be legally resisted, but advised the parishioners to take the opinion of a civilian on the subject. Mr. Swabey was accordingly applied to. He thought the conduct of the church-wardens had been irregular, and that the expenditure was profuse. At length, the parishioners agreed to pay £320 by a church-cess, and to raise £140 by a voluntary subscription.
A drain, in 1809, was made from the north-west part of the church to the south door, near to which it joins the common sewer. In 1811, the church and the pews were repaired; and in 1818, the north gallery was erected, and a small vestry was built adjoining to the old one. But the internal repairs of this church are frequent and expensive, it being peculiarly liable to the dry-rot, for which no effectual remedy has yet been devised.
St. Thomas' Chantry was founded about A.D. 1319, by Adam of Durham, a burgess of Newcastle, for the souls of his father and mother, &c. and his own. Sir Roger de Burnet (fn. 2) occurs as first chaplain in the deed of foundation, by which the mayor and bailiffs of Newcastle are appointed patrons. The yearly value of this chantry was £4, 3s. arising out of property in the Sandhill and Westgate. John Ragge (alias Rige) was the last incumbent, and had an annual pension of £3, 16s. (fn. 3)
The Chantry of the Holy Trinity is said to have been founded by John Dalton, William Atkinshawe, and Andrew Accliffe, clerks. Its yearly value was £5 13s. 4d. arising out of tenements in Westgate and the Side, and one with a close without the Westgate. Bertram Bertley was the last incumbent, and had a pension of £5 per annum, which he enjoyed in 1553.
This church, agreeably to the opinion of Bourne, has probably been built about the year 1287, in the first stage of English or Pointed architecture, which was characterized by plainness and simplicity. The north side retains marks of the original style in which it was erected. The south side displays features of a more light and embellished order. The wall, instead of the plain parapet, is ornamented with battlements; and the buttresses, which project more boldly, are terminated in pinnacles, decorated with crockets. The windows, too, instead of being divided by one or two mullions, and surmounted with a single or triple circle, or quatrefoil, are portioned out by mullions into a variety of separate lights, and their heads are diversified by simple and chaste tracery-work.
This church is entered on the west by two doors; one on the north side of the tower, and the other in the south porch. These doors open upon the grand west entrance, which is 19 feet 7 inches in breadth. The choir extends from this place to the chancel, and measures 69 feet 6 inches in length. Three arches divide the aisles, which are 351/6 feet in breadth; but the breadth, including the north and south transepts, is 88½ feet. The chancel is 54 feet 10 inches in length, and 19 feet in breadth. (fn. 4) A porch near the communion-place leads into the chancel; and on the opposite side is the entrance into the vestries. Most part of the chancel is pewed. The church is low, and the ceiling plain and whitened.
Some time after the erection of the church, there has been an addition made to the west side of the north cross: and which, with great probability, is supposed to have been the chantry of St. Thomas. The old vestry is conjectured to have been another chantry. There is a niche in the wall evidently intended to hold holy water. In one of the south windows of the choir there was painted glass, said to be a representation of the Trinity. (fn. 5)
Many of the large windows of this church were formerly ornamented with painted glass; and the great eastern window of the chancel still contains many curious specimens. Brand says, "In the middle compartment at the top, within a crown of thorns, are the three first letters in the Greek name of Jesus. Underneath is a personage seated with a globe on his knee, with surrounding figures, in the act of adoration— probably meant for Christ. Below, the arms of England, quarterly, three lions passant gardant, and three fleurs de lis.—Supporters, a dragon on the side facing the spectator's right—the other seems a lion.—A skin mark.—In the compartment facing the spectator's left, the arms of the town of Newcastle—those of Thornton underneath. In the compartment facing the spectator's right hand, Lucy and Percy. Also the arms of Ord—with many inverted skin marks and mutilated inscriptions. 'Pro animabus,' &c." A brilliant specimen of painted glass, representing Jesus Christ with the Cup of the Last Supper, was lately inserted in this window. It was executed by Mr. John Gibson, an ingenious ornamental and house-painter, who has paid much attention to the long-neglected art of enamelling in glass.
The body of this church, the chancel, and the north and south cross, are crowded with seats. The north and west galleries are calculated to accommodate a great number of persons. The gallery, on the south side, is appropriated to the children of the charity-school. The pulpit stands close by the south-east pillar of the middle aisle; but the present archdeacon has suggested the propriety of removing it to the north-west corner of the chancel.
The communion-table of this church was given by Mr. Robert Crow in 1712; and Lady Musgrave, in 1754, bequeathed an altar-cloth and cushion. On the altar-piece there is a painting by Henry Mort, representing cherubs ascending and descending in the clouds, under a crimson curtain with gold fringe. In 1800, Mr. Fenton, the acting church-warden, and his associates, expended £125 in purchasing a new velvet covering, and in painting and gilding about the altar. (fn. 6)
The font, as in all ancient churches, formerly stood in the west porch, where the cover is still suspended. It now stands in the south cross. Bourne, quoting the Milbank MS. says, "In the year 1639, when the Scots sought to deface the ancient monuments, and said they were papistry, and superstition, they began with the spoon of this church's font, and broke it all to pieces. It had been given by one John Bertram. For there was written about it; 'For the honour of God and St. John, John Bertram gave this font stone.' Cuthbert Maxwell, a mason, observing the barbarity of the Scots, came in haste to St. Nicholas, and saved the spoon of that font in it's vestry, and also that of All-hallows. He lived, after the king return'd, to set them up again." The present font has probably been the gift of Andrew Bates, A. M. appointed lecturer of this church in the year 1689, as there is a shield on it with the arms of that ancient family.
An organ, or rather "organes," in this church. are mentioned in the year 1570. (fn. 7) The present organ was built by subscription in 1734, on which occasion the corporation gave 20 guineas. In 1736, Charles Avison was appointed organist, with a salary of £20 per annum, paid by the corporation. On removing to St. Nicholas' church, he was succeeded by James Clark Sadler. The organ soon became useless, until 1748, when Mr. Bridges, of London, proposed to put it in order for £160. Mr. Avison, on condition that he should be allowed to hold the office of organist by deputy, paid £100 towards repairing the instrument: the rest was raised by a subscription. On the resignation of Charles Avison. jun. in 1777. Mr. Simpson was appointed. In 1794. the organist's salary of £20. which had for 28 years been paid by the corporation. was taken from the church-eess. In 1785, the organ was repaired by Donaldson. at a cost of £132: and. in 1818, it was again repaired. and received additions, by Messrs. Wood and Co. Edinburgh. A subscription was made to pay the expense. which amounted to £126. This year, Mr. Simpson retired, and Miss Kinlock was elected organist.
The Steeple is a very plain square tower, containing a clock and six indifferent bells. In the Vestry there is preserved a curious specimen of old carving, on what has been part of an ancient chest: the subject, George and the Dragon. The vestry-books have not been well kept. The Register (fn. 8) begins in January, 1587.
FUNERAL MONUMENTS AND INSCRIPTION.
"The burial place of William Wallas mercer, and merchant adventurer of England. He departed this life the 23d day of September 1664. William Wallas son of the said William departed this life the 11th day of January anno 1688, ætatjs suæ 23." On the same stone, "The burial place of Christopher Fawcitt, Esq. and family. He died the 10th of May, 1795, æt. 82."—"The burial place of Charles Clark barbar chyrurgeon. He departed the 2d of August 1667. Margaret his wife departed this life the 30th day of March 1683." At the bottom of the arms, "De pretient' Dei."—"The burial-place of the Rev. Matthew Forster, lecturer of this church, who dyed October 23d 1723, aged 46."—" Oswold Chayter lining weaver 38 year clerk of this church, departed to the mercy of God July 21st A. D. 1623, aged 68 years."
"Sepulchrum Roberti Fenwick mercatoris & Dorotheæ uxoris ejus suorumque filiorum & filiarum. Ille obiit Sept. die 8vo. A. D. 1689, ætatis suæ 61. Robert filius natu maximus obiit 23 die Martii 1690. Illia obiit 15 Julii 1701. Petrus Potts Geners Annam filiam eorum natu maximam duxit uxorem ex quo liberos suscepit quorum sex sibi fuere superstites (viz.) Dorothea, Jana, Maria, Petrus, Robertus, Johannes; illa obiit 3° April A. D. 1719, ætatis suæ 63."
"The burial place of Mr. John Bell, merchant adventurer, & Margaret his wife Margaret Bell died the 21st of November, 1710, aged 55. John Bell died the 22d of June, 1716, aged 62."—"Sepulchrum Radulphi Scourfield generosi qui obiit Februarii 16, 1675, et Janæ uxoris ejus quæ obiit Maii 12°, 1689. Quorum filius Radulphus Scourfield Armiger, de comitatu Northumbrie quondam vicecomes, obiit Septembris 1°, 1728."—"The burial place of John Clutterbuck, gent, and Barbara his wife, and their children. Hannah buried July 16th, 1683. Catherine buried July 23d, 1683. James buried April 3d, 1692. Barbara his wife buried September 2d, 1695. Richard their son departed the 9th of November 1702. He departed the 3d of July 1717."
"Exuviæ Gulielmi Astell quas sub die resurrectionis spe fideliter hie custodiendas lubens deposuit... ....... Sept. 14. A°. Domini MDCL....III. Iterumque die illo magno....crucis Hinc
cum gaudio petendæ Gloriose induet immortalitatem.
Stay, reader, stay, who wouldst but canst not buy
Choice books, come read the churches library,
Which like Sybelline leaves here scatter'd flies
Perus'd alas here by men's feet, that lies
In single sheets, then neatly to be bound
By God's own hand, when the last trump shall sound;
Amongst the rest glance on this marble leaf,
"Tis Astell's title page and therefore brief.
"Hie jacet Johannes Astell Armiger & Maria uxor ejus, ille obiit 17 die Martii Anno Domini 1633, aetat. 73. Hæc 22 Maii 1658, ætatis suae 95."—"Here lies interred the body of Peter Astell, gentleman: he departed this life 19th March 1678, and had issue by Mary his wife two sons and a daughter. William his son departed this life 15 March 1672."
"To the memory of Bridget Featherstonhaugh, daughter of Henry Fcatherstonhaugh, B. D. formerly of St. John's College, Cambridge, afterwards master of St. Mary Magdalen's Hospital in this town, and successively lecturer of St. John's and All Saints' churches. Bridget was the last in descent from that branch of the ancient family of Featherstonhaughs, of Featherstonhaugh Castle, in Northumberland, which settled at Kirkoswald, in Cumberland, in the beginning of the 17th century. She died at Newcastle on the 24th Feb. A. D. 1815, aged 69 years."
"Sacred to the memory of Nathaniel Clayton, B. D. formerly fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, rector of Ingram. and vicar of Whelpington, in the co. of Northumberland, rector of Aberdaron in North Wales, master of the hospital of St. Mary Magdalen in Newcastle upon Tyne, and fifty years lecturer of tins church. He resigned his spirit to him that gave it Aug. 8th, 1786, in the 78 year of his age. His earthly remains were interred without the walls of this church, near the south aisle. He married Grace, one of the daughters and co-heiresses of Nicholas Fenwick, of London, merchant, by whom he had issue three sons and one daughter: Nathaniel, who died an infant; and Robert, Nathaniel, and Sarah, now living."
"To the memory of William Burnup, builder, who departed this life 15th Feb. 1819, aged 68 years, A man whose abilities and strict integrity gained him the respect, whilst his urbanity of manners and kind disposition secured him the esteem and love of all who knew him."
In the north aisle,—Henry Shaw, 1715—Sanderson—Whithouse—Thomas Hutchinson, sword cutler, July, 1655—Dawson—Aubone—Bacon—Peter Fewell—John Bennet. Escutcheon: "Thomas Wolfall, pastor of St. John's."—Christopher Cook— Thomas Robinson, merchant—Rayne—Robert Carr—Yielder—Hall—Edward French—"The burial place of Robert Bonner, Esq. of High Callerton."—"Sacred to the memory Charles Ilderton, of Ilderton, Northumberland, Esq. who departed this life the 10th day of Dec. 1793, aged 41 years. His remains lie interred in the middle aisle of this church."
"This stone was erected by the Master, Wardens, and Brethren of the Newcastle upon Tyne Lodge, No. 26, of Free and Accepted Masons, as their tribute to the memory and worth of their late brother, Richard Fennings, who departed this life on the first day of March, 1815, aged 31 years."
In the south aisle and cross,—On a very large stone, the arms of Bertram; and underneath those of the merchant-adventurers. Initials R. B. crest, seemingly a bull's head out of a coronet. Robert Bertram was sheriff of Newcastle 1522.—"The burial place of Robert Wheatley, (fn. 9) cordwainer, with Elizabeth his wife, and their children." Arms of the company of cordwainers.—"George Nicholson deputy townclerk: he departed 16 February 1624 and Margaret his wife;" with the following singular Latin inscription: "Corpus heus animus conclusum Libera clarus Est fruiter spectat carcere pace Deum;" which Brand thus translates: "The body, alas! is shut up in this prison; the bright mind enjoys free peace and beholds its God."—"Tomkins 1639–1666."—"Robert Bredy physician ob. 11 July 1723, aged 54 years."— "George Gatis."
In the south aisle a neat mural monument announces, that, "Near this place, by the side of his father, sleep the remains of William Cornforth Lowes, of Ridley Hall, Esq. who died November 17, MDCCCX. in his twenty-first year." Another adjoining monument bears this inscription, "In the middle aisle of this church are deposited the remains of Sarah Lowes, who died the 29th of May, 1808, aged 86 years. Also of her sister, Mary Lowes, who died Dec. 12, 1815, aged 85 years, daughters of John and Eleanor Lowes, of Ridley Hall, Northumberland. In gratitude and affection, this tablet is erected to the memory of departed excellence. The righteous shall be held in everlasting remembrance."—"M. S. Radulphi Waters et Annæ Michaelis Kirkhouse fille et hæredis exqua Percara conjuge prolem suscepit Gulielmum Margeriam Marguretum ab hae luce semotos Radulphum Henricum Thomam Annam jamnune superstites ille die Novembris XXIX. Anno Salutis MDCCCXI. Ætatis suæ XXXI. obiverunt Flebiles."
In the cross aisle, "Sepulchrum Edwardi Bell et Manse uxons ejus;—"Jhu have marcy nponn the soull of John Wilkenson marchant a venturer and draper, sometyme maior of this towne, and Margeree and Margaret his two wyffes and thre children, Anno 1570, the 16 of Marche."—" John Relief—" Adam Askew. M. B. died January 15, 1773, anno ætatis 77." He purchased the burial-place of Kellet, where he lies interred.
IN THE CHURCH-YARD.
On an upright stone,—"The righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance. Sacred to the memory of William Charnley. bookseller, who died August 9, 1803. aged 76. Elizabeth, his wife, who died March 29. 1814, aged 72. John, their son. who died July 4, 1797, aged 18. Elizabeth, their daughter, who died.October 16. 1815, aged 38; and of Ann, James, and Thomas, other three of the children, who died in infancy. William Charnley, son of the above, died July 1, 1819, aged 47. Holmes, son of Emerson Charnley, died in infancy."—"Erected to the memory of Sarah Maria, wife of John Gray, Esq. ob. May 24, 1819, æt. 21."—"The family burial-place of Cuthbert Pigg, many years surveyor of this town. He died Feb. 6, 1811, aged 73 years."—"In memory of Josiah Robinson, who departed this life the 1st Feb. 1792, aged 69 years. He was much respected in private life: and the propriety with which he filled an arduous department in the town's clerk's office, upwards of 30 years, will be long and deservedly remembered."—"Solomon Strologer, organist of All Saints', died Dec. 19, 1779. aged 77."—"William Yielder, Esq. ob. 15th Sept. 1807, æt. 79."—"Francis Hurry, ob. 8 March, 1808, æt. 79."—"Sacred to the memory of Robert Rumney, of Warden, Northumberland, Esq. who died August 6, 1816, aged 65 years. Elizabeth Crawford, sister of the above Robert Rumney, died 28th March, 1823, aged 69 years."
"Here lie the remains of John Cunningham. Of his excellence as a pastoral poet, his works will remain a memorial for ages, after this temporary tribute of esteem is in dust forgotten. He died in Newcastle Sept. 18th, 1773, aged 44 years. Also of his friend and associate, Robert Carr, printer. He died Jan. 1st, 1783, aged 45."
"The burial place of Thomas Slack, Newcastle. Frances Slack died June 29, 1765, aged 3 years. Margaret Slack died June 18, 1768, aged 2 years. Jane Slack died July 19, 1776, aged 21 years. Ann Slack, wife of T. Slack, died April 25, 1778, aged 58. Thomas Slack died June 13, 1784, aged 65 years. Ann Bell, his daughter, and wife of John Bell, merchant, died Dec. 11, 1784, aged 30. Elizabeth, fourth daughter, died June 20, 1789, aged 31."
"Sacred to the memory of Solomon Hodgson. In times of unexampled difficulty, the honest and independent conducter of the Newcastle Chronicle. As he would not stoop to court the smile of any man, so neither did he fear any man's frown; but, through the medium of an uncorrupted press, delighted in disseminating the principles of rational liberty and eternal truth. Nor was he less esteemed in private life. In his affections ever awake to the best sympathies of our nature. The manly vigour of his understanding found its equal only in the kindness of his heart. He died April 10, 1800, æt. 39. Hoc perpetuæ charitatis monumentum quaerga prestantifimum conjugem tenetur morens posuit Sara Hodgson."
"I. H. S. Here lies William Warrilow, who died on the 13th Nov. 1807, in the 70th year of his age. Requiescat in Pace."—"George Scott, gent, died Dec. 31, 1797, aged 40."—"Here lieth the body of Mr. Stephen Cleasby, late of Barnard Castle, surgeon, who departed this life on the 9th day of July, A. D. 1800, aged 60 years."—"In memory of Mrs. Abbs, who departed this life the 21st of Nov. 1816, aged 67 years. Also her daughter Hannah, who died in infancy."—"Sarah, wife of Rear-admiral Watkins, ob. 27 May, 1824, æt. 47 years."
On the north side of the church is the burial-vault of John Hodgson, of Elswick, Esq. Under the flagged foot-path are several burial-places:—"James Boucher, Esq. died Nov. 10, 1821, aged 78 years."—"The burial-place of Susannah Lowes, wife of Mr. George Lowes, late of Bellister Castle, Northumberland, died 8th of April, 1823, aged 77 years."—"The burial-place of William Thomas, Esq. of Charlotte Square, who died 20th April, 1824, aged 66 years."—"The burial-place of George Robinson, late of this town, collector of the tolls, who departed this life the 9th day of August, 1824, aged 42 years." North of the church, "The burial-place of John Bell, landsurveyor. He departed this life the 12th day of January, 1816, and was interred here the 16th of the same month, leaving two sons and three daughters, together with a widow (his second wife), to lament the loss of a kind and worthy parent." This stone also contains the date of the death of his first wife, Margaret, and of four sons. Adjoining is another large upright stone, which marks "The dormitory of John Bell, bookseller and land-surveyor," where Ralph Spearman Bell, his infant son is interred. Between the south wall and flagged foot-path is a flat stone, inscribed, "The burial place of Edward Chicken, who was 25 years clerk of this parish." (fn. 10)
Here are also the burial-places of John Leighton, surgeon—George Lee, grocer— Charles Whitfield Burnet, surgeon—William Woodman, merchant—William Alder, innkeeper—Thomas Brown, smith—Thomas Friend, merchant—George Todd, butcher—George Robison, cooper—John Harrison, baker—William Leadbitter, ironmonger—Matthew Forster, attorney-at-law—Samuel Brewster, coach-maker—Rev. William Pow, chaplain—John Wilson, cheese-monger—Joseph Atkinson, stationer —William Preston, ship-owner—William Richardson, currier—Joshua Straker, agent—John Robson, mason—John and Mary Horsley—Thomas Brown—William and Dorothy Scott—Robert Bell—John Hudson—Wilson Davison—William Tickle —James Proctor—Thomas Brown—Robert Howey—Henry and Edward Newbegin —Thomas Charlton—John Buddie—John Verty—George Fife—Moses Marshall— Richard Franks—William Cant—John Talintyre—John Hewitson—Ralph Hunter —Robert Hodgson—John Woodman—Gilfrid Ward—Cuthbert Berkley. Also the burial-place of the Featherstons, of Collingwood Street; of the families of Hemsley, Fenton, Ryle, Pollard, Birch, Dixon, Widdrington, Hindmarsh, Richmond, Nixon, Pringle, Hall, &c. &c.
In the year 1762, the Church-yard was inclosed by subscription with a brick wall and rail-work above, and planted round in the inside with lime and elm trees. The wall on the east side has lately been rebuilt, above which is placed iron railing, with an ornamental iron rail gate. This church-yard, though very spacious, is filled with the memorials of mortality. (fn. 11)
MINISTER, OR LECTURERS, AND CURATES. (fn. 12)
Jurdan. chaplain, occurs in a deed supposed about A. D. 1269. (fn. 13)
John Eland occurs (Randall's MSS. (fn. 14) ) in 1424.
Shaw, lecturer, occurs in 1614. (fn. 15)
Robert Urquhart appointed July 28, 1637. (fn. 16)
William Cole appointed March 25, 1652–3. (fn. 17)
Henry Leaver in December, 1659. (fn. 18)
John Shaw, A. M. on Leaver's ejectment, August 27, 1662. (fn. 19)
Andrew Bates, A. M. appointed July 25, 1689. (fn. 20)
Matthew Forster, A. M. succeeded Bates in 1710. He died October 23, 1723. (fn. 21)
Richard Cuthbert, B. D. appointed June 15, 1732. (fn. 22)
Nathaniel Clayton, B. D. September 29, 1736. (fn. 23)
Robert Wilson, A. B. appointed 1796. (fn. 24)
Christopher Benson, A. M. chosen early in 1812. (fn. 25)
Henry Baker Tristram, A. B. appointed in February, 1820. (fn. 26)
John Thompson, A. M. of St. John's College, Cambridge, next occurs. (fn. 27)
John Parkin, clerk, appointed in 1794. (fn. 28)