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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ALL SAINTS CHURCH
THE circumstances in which the dedication of this church to All Hallow or All Saints originated are unknown, nor can any satisfactory conjecture be formed respecting the date of its erection. Bourne, from an account in which the church-yard is mentioned, ascertained that it existed previous to the year 1286. The records of the church, after the year 1630, appear to have been kept tolerably regular. (fn. 1) In 1635, the choir and south side of the church were repaired; and, four years afterwards, the whole underwent a thorough repair, the walls were whitened, and the pillars marbled. About this time, the rood-loft was taken down, by the chancellor's special mandate. A new vane was also put up; the bells, clock, and chimes were repaired; and new lead added to the windows.
In 1643, a sessment of 1s. in the pound was laid upon all the houses and lands in the parish, to repair the east wall of the church-yard and three windows in the church. This wall was again repaired in 1651. In 1655, the church-wardens petitioned the corporation for stone out of the Manors, "to build up the east end of the church." They also had recourse to another expedient to defray their expenses, which was the revival of the use of bells at funerals, which had been discontinued since the year 1644. The steeple was repaired in 1657: and in 1661, the Four and Twenty and the "Auncients of the Parish" were assembled, in consequence of the east wall, and other parts of the church, having become "very ruinous and if not timely prevented would fall into utter ruine and decay;" when it was agreed that £200 should be raised by a cess, to defray the expenses of their repair, and that no land should be valued above half its rent. (fn. 2)
In 1694, a cess of £100 (which in the following year was increased to £150) was ordered to be levied for the repair of the church. The old wall at the east end of the church fell down in 1699, and damaged the house of John Ogle, Esq. in Cowgate, for which he received a compensation of £12 from the parish: the rebuilding of the wall cost £35, 16s. In 1704, a notice occurs for building a new gallery between the north and east galleries; and in 1712, the altering of the west gallery and repairing the organ amounted to £143. Several of the church windows were repaired in 1753; and in 1764, the interior of the church was repaired, and the church-yard enclosed and beautified. Three years afterwards, the middle aisle of the church was ceiled; but in December. 1785, the south pillars in the interior gave way, which prevented the performance of divine service on Sunday the 18th, and also prevented the magistrates from attending on the afternoon of the following Sunday.
The decayed and ruinous state of the church having now excited considerable alarm, which was further increased by the south wall shrinking considerably, the church-wardens, on the 29th of December, gave directions to Mr. William Newton, architect, to examine the building, and to deliver a report of its condition, with an estimate of the expenses likely to be incurred by the necessary alterations and repairs. This gentleman proposed various alterations and repairs, the expense of which he estimated at £1688, 13s. His report was referred to a committee appointed to carry it into execution; and the proceeding obtained the approbation of Vicar Lushington, then residing at Latton in Essex. However, Dr. Sharp, the archdeacon of Northumberland, objected to the design of shortening the chancel 26 feet, and altering the form "of an old Gothic church." Doubts being thus raised on the expediency of the plan proposed, the committee desired the professional opinions of Messrs. David Stephenson and John Dodds; and, in communications from these gentlemen on the 28th of March, 1786, it appeared that the south wall was in danger of falling by the pressure of the roof, one of the pillars of the steeple had considerably shrunk, and the steeple itself inclined to the east, the stone of the groined arches under the bells were decayed, the timber and bells in great danger of falling in, the stone in several windows decayed, the walls were rotten, and the lime had lost its cement, and become almost dust. Mr. Stephenson stated that, from the number of unforeseen circumstances that would occur in the prosecution of the work, no correct idea of the expenses could be estimated; and Mr. Dodds concluded his report, by observing that "this decayed building cannot be repaired but at as much expense as building a new one. If one part is taken down, the rest will follow."
On the 7th of April, a meeting of the committee was held in All Saints' vestry, the archdeacon of Northumberland in the chair, when the matter was thoroughly discussed; after which, it was proposed by Dr. Hall, and carried unanimously, that "the propriety of building a new, or repairing the present church," be referred to the parishioners and land-owners. Accordingly, a general meeting, consisting of upwards of an hundred of the most respectable inhabitants of the parish, was held in the vestry-room on Easter Tuesday, April 18, when the proposal of erecting a new church was carried unanimously. Arrangements were now made for the demolition of the church, a considerable part of which was taken down previous to the following August; but the eastern extremity of the chancel was suffered to remain for some time. The demolition of the steeple was, on the evening of September 2, attended by a melancholy accident. It was found necessary to blast some parts of the tower with gunpowder; and one explosion not producing an immediate effect, Captain William Hedley incautiously stepped within the great west door, when some stones fell upon his head, which instantly deprived him of sense, and, in a few hours, of life. (fn. 3)
There were seven chantries founded at successive periods in this ancient church.
1. The chantry of St. Thomas is supposed to have been founded by John Pulhore, clerk, about 1356. Its yearly value was £4, 8s. 4d. William White was the last incumbent, and had a pension of £3, 10s. or 18s. 6d. per annum. This John Pulhore, in 1346, was rector of Whickham; and, in 1352, he resigned the rectory of Whitburn for Warkworth vicarage. He was also constable of Durham Castle, and receiver-general to that magnanimous prelate, Bishop Hatfield, but was removed by the bishop from these two offices.
2. Our Lady's chantry was an old establishment; but the name of its founder, and the time of its foundation, are lost. In 1334, Thomas de Kariol, of this town, granted to Peter Draper and Cecily his wife, and their heirs, his patronage of the chantry of the Virgin Mary, in All Saints' church, reserving to himself one turn of presentation. Its yearly value was £4, 5s. 10d. Robert Manners, chaplain, was the last incumbent of this chantry, during the years 1518 and 1527. He had a pension of £4, 6s. 4d.
3. The chantry of St. John the Evangelist was founded by Richard Willeby and Richard Fishlake, "to fynde a prieste for ever to pray for their sowles and all Christen sowles and to kepe two obitts yerely for the founders sowles." Its yearly value was £4, 15s. 4d.
4. St. Peter's chantry was founded by that celebrated patron of Newcastle, Roger de Thornton, who also founded, at the same time, the hospital of St. Catherine, or La Maison Dieu, on the Sandhill. (fn. 4) This chantry was above the vestry, and opposite to Thornton's tomb. The window at its east end was formerly adorned with images of St. Lewis, St. Barbara, St. Laurence, St. Elizabeth, &c. The adjoining window contained a representation of several figures kneeling before an altar, supposed to have been the children of its pious founder.
5. The chantry of St. Catharine was founded in the reign of Edward III. who, by a charter, granted licence to Robert de Chirton, burgess of Newcastle, and Mariot his wife, daughter and heiress of Hugh Hankyn. to give a stipend to a chaplain to perform divine service in the church of All Saints, for the souls of the said Hugh and Beatrix his wife. Gilbert Hankyn, his father, &c. (fn. 5)
6. The chantry of St. Loye, or St. Elgie, was founded in the reign of Edward III. by Richard Pickering. Its yearly value was £3. 8s. 4d. The last incumbent, William Brown, had an annual pension of £3. 2s. 8d. John Ward, merchant of Newcastle, in 1461. left a salary of eight marks per annum, for a priest to perform divine service at the altar of St. Loye, in All Hallows church. By an inventory of the ornaments, their value was estimated at 71s. 8d.
7. The chantry of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist was founded by John Warde, "to fynde a preest for ever to say masse and pray for all Christen sowles. Yerely value 106s. 8d. value according to this survey £7, 15s. 8d. as apereth by a rentall whereof is paid owt for a rent resolut' 38s. 6d. and for the kingis majesties tenthes 10s. 8d.—49s. 2d. and remayneth clerly 106s. 6d. whiche ar employed to the sustentacion and relief of William Hepson priest incumbent ther accordyng to the said foundacion Ornaments &c. nil here because all the goodes and ornaments of this chauntrie be charged before in the value of the goodes and ornaments of St. Loye's chauntrie within the sum of 71s. 8d. as is ther declared. Ther were no other landes &c." As this chantry was founded at the same altar as that of St. Loye, these ornaments were used indifferently for both.
In the old records of the Trinity, frequent mention occurs of an altar in this church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, where divine service was performed by a chaplain, who was supported by the Trinity House, and whose salary in 1540 was £4 per annum. The situation of this altar, and of some of the other chantries, is unknown. It was most probably in the porch, behind the Trinity Gallery, which Brand supposes to have been a chantry, founded by the Trinity House, on their having first become a secular guild. In the Trinity books are the following items:—"1541 Item pd for weshin the alter close in the churche 12d. 1542 Item pd to Wyllm Hette for helping the morne mess 2s. 1545 Item pd for sallmes and deryge 6s. 8d. 1539 Item pd for a deryge and pawper &c, 8s. 6d.
THE OLD CHURCH.
This ancient structure had no pretensions to architectural beauty, though its internal arrangements were convenient, and afforded accommodations for upwards of two thousand persons. It was 166 feet in length, and 77 feet in breadth. The steeple and west end occupied the scite of the present structure; but the chancel extended eastward over part of what is now the burial-ground.
The steeple was a low, square, inelegant tower, supported by buttresses at the corners of the west side, and terminated with large embrasures. From the centre rose a small square turret, surmounted by a short spire, and terminated with a gilt vane. The belfry windows, except the south one, were narrow, and divided by a single mullion; but above the west door was a large and beautiful Gothic window.
The principal entrance into the church was by the west door of the steeple, which corresponded in size with the western entrance into St. Nicholas' church. This led into an open area, or porch, of considerable extent, lighted by a large pointed window, and communicating with porches at the north and south extremities, the former leading into Silver Street, the latter projecting a few feet beyond the body of the church, to a flagged passage, which extended from thence to Pilgrim Street. At the junction of the stately groined arches which supported the belfry, was the same legendary prayer noticed at St. Nicholas':—"Orate pro anime Roberti Rhodes." But the grandeur of this noble and lofty ceiling was destroyed by the bell-loft. From the middle of this porch an aisle extended eastward into the body of the church, and terminated in a small area, on each side of which were stalls similar to those in cathedrals. It was here that the rood-loft anciently marked the entrance into the chancel, and which was afterwards supplied by a new erection, called the Butcher's Gallery. East of this gallery was the chancel, which was supported by a large crypt or vault, described by Wallis (fn. 6) as "of a square figure and spacious: a strong pillar in it, the support of eight large stone arches, the entrance on the north side of the church-yard." It was visited by Brand in 1783, who observed traces of windows in it, which had been built up greatly below the level of the floor of the old church, which he suggests might have been raised by the great number of burials in it during a long course of time. The chancel was inclosed with handsome wainscot pannelling in the beginning of the last century, and was adorned with several allegorical ornaments. The communion table was of marble, the gift of John Otway, merchant, February 6, 1684. There was also a prothesis, or side altar, on the south side of the chancel. In 1776, a miserable painting of "The discovery by the breaking of bread," was put upon the altar-piece.
The pulpit stood on the south side of the middle aisle, against one of the pillars _ which supported the roof; a line of these, with rudely formed capitals, supporting Gothic arches on each side, separated in the middle from the north and south aisles, which were furnished with pews similar to those in St. Nicholas'. They both contained numerous burial-places. (fn. 7)
The Seamen's Porch and Gallery were in the north aisle. By an inscription on the front of the latter, it appears to have been built and finished by the Trinity House in Newcastle, A. D. 1618, John Holbourne then master. In the year 1720, it was beautified by the Trinity House, Robert Bailiff being then master. The following devices were painted on the pannels of the front:—"St. Paul cast ashore on the island of Miletis."—"Our Saviour asleep in the storm." The centre was decorated with the arms of the Trinity House, and the remaining two pannels contained representations of "Our Saviour taking Peter by the hand when he was sinking in the waves," and "Jonah vomited up on the dry land."
The windows of this church were large, divided by stone mullions, branching into compartments, and ornamented with stained glass. The south-east window of the chancel contained a full-length figure of Our Saviour, which, during the time of the rebellion, was wholly taken away. On the adjoining window, on the south side, was the picture of a boy standing upon chequered pavement, and beneath him was inscribed—
"Like as the Jamen moist and cold,
Is full of tempest day by day,
So is one child of ten years old,
Hath no understanding but all on play."
It is conjectured that the other months were also represented in this window, but the above is the only one seen by Bourne. It also was taken away during the time of the rebellion. In the windows above the choir door, on the south side of the church, were the figures of two men and three women, kneeling at altars. In Bourne's time, only one of the women remained. He supposed them to have represented the children of Roger Thornton, an opinion which has been doubted by some. In the second window from the porch were formerly the effigies of the twelve apostles. Of these, in Bourne's time, there remained St. Matthew, St. James the Less, St. Andrew, St. Philip, St. James the Greater, and another. They were also destroyed long before the demolition of the church. These, and a few fragments with which the windows had occasionally been repaired, constituted the whole of the stained glass of which any account has been transmitted.
The exterior of the east end of the church was formed by three gables, separated by square buttresses, and containing four large pointed windows with stone mullions, divided by arches in the middle, and branching into plain compartments at the top. Two of these windows were contained in the gable on the north side, and were also divided by a small buttress. The whole of the roof was covered with lead, and that of the middle aisle was ceiled.
The west gallery extended from side to side, and, besides many pews, (fn. 8) contained accommodations for the children of the charity-schools of the parish. The organ was placed under a pointed arch, in the middle of this gallery. This instrument is first mentioned in 1631, about which time it seems to have been purchased. In 1633, is a charge of £2 for "a pair of new bellowes for the organnes:"—"paid to Thomas Tunstall for playing the organs, 10s." and to John Pattison, "for blowing organs 4s." As the organ is not mentioned for many of the subsequent years, its use was probably discontinued during the prevalence of puritanism.
The font stood near the entrance into the body of the church. It was a plain, octangular, stone pillar, the sides of which, extending outward at the top, formed large cavettos, supporting an octagon of larger size, with concave sides, decorated with armorial bearings. It was new painted and gilded in 1700, and, on the demolition of the church, was given to Alderman Hugh Hornby. It is accurately delineated in Brand's History of Newcastle.
The steeple contained a good clock, with chimes. The machinery was placed in the bell-loft, and communicated with two painted dials, one on the south side of the steeple, the other in the inside of the church, against the south pillar of the great west arch. The bells, five in number, were cast in 1696, by Christopher Hodgson, of London, and weighed 58 ewt. 3 qrs. 18½ lbs. Bourne says they were founded in the ground belonging to St. Austin friars, behind the hospital of the Holy Jesus, and describes their sound as not being so melodious as the others in the town, but their note exceedingly exact, and more tuneful than the others.