Chapels: Church of England

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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Eneas Mackenzie, 'Chapels: Church of England', Historical Account of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Including the Borough of Gateshead, (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1827), pp. 357-362. British History Online [accessed 16 June 2024].

Eneas Mackenzie. "Chapels: Church of England", in Historical Account of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Including the Borough of Gateshead, (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1827) 357-362. British History Online, accessed June 16, 2024,

Mackenzie, Eneas. "Chapels: Church of England", Historical Account of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Including the Borough of Gateshead, (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1827). 357-362. British History Online. Web. 16 June 2024,

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No records exist of the foundation of the chapel of St. Thomas the Martyr. From the circumstance of its being dedicated to St. Thomas a Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, it must have been erected posterior to the assassination of that prelate, which took place in 1171. It is first mentioned when the Tyne Bridge was burnt in 1248. Robert Valesine, in 1255, gave an annual rent to the support of Tyne Bridge, and to a chaplain, to pray for the souls of his father, his late wife Emma, and his own soul, in this chapel of St. Thomas the Martyr. In 1269, one Lawrence was keeper of the Tyne Bridge and of this chapel. These offices were often united in one person, to facilitate the collection of alms and benefactions.

There are deeds of a rent-charge, payable to the keeper of the chapel and bridge of Tyne, dated 1311 and 1349; and in the escheats, 1370, several rents occur for the reparation of this chapel. In Hilary term, 1408, before the king, it was determined by the verdict of a jury, that three acres of land called Sandy-ford Flatt, with a wind-mill below Jesmond, near Newcastle upon Tyne, were not held of the king in capite, but of the keeper of the chapel of St. Thomas the Martyr on Tyne Bridge. Roger Thornton, by his will, dated 1429, left six fothers of lead to the reparation of this chapel. In 1445, the Earl's Inn of Northumberland, in the Close, was held in burgage, and paid 20s. per annum to this chapel.

Chantries.—William Heron. in 1329, founded a chantry in this chapel, dedicated to St. Ann. Its yearly value, at the suppression, was £4, 17s. arising from tenements in the Sandhill. Richard Softeley. clerk, was the last incumbent. There was also in this chapel a chantry dedicated to St. Mary, the founder of which is unknown. Its annual value was £5, 2s. 6d. out of five messuages in the Close and the Side, John Littell was the last priest, and had been presented by the mayor of Newcastle for the time being, and Christofer Therkeld, patrons. By an inquisition taken at Gateshead. October 6, 1536. it appeared that Roger de Thorneton gave three acres of meadow, and three acres of land in Whickham. to a chantry in the chapel of St. Thomas, on Tyne Bridge, without licence of the bishop of Durham.

In the 9th year of the reign of king James I. this chapel was, by a royal charter, annexed to the hospital of St. Mary Magdalen. (See page 145.) (fn. 1)


Laurence, as before stated, in 1269.

William of Stanhope occurs in 1289 and 1297.

Nicholas de Stockton occurs in 1341.

William Spynn was master and keeper of Tyne Bridge in 1347 and 1352. (fn. 2)

John Wernmouth occurs in 1411 and 1413.

John Crofte appointed by the corporation in 1426. (fn. 3)

Thomas Scott occurs in 1498.

John Brandlyng, clerk, appointed August 30, 1538. (fn. 4)

Cuthbert Ellison held this office before March 13, 1556.

Sir George Carr, priest, appointed July 24, 1565.

Robert Jennison, A. M. confirmed June 12, 1611. (fn. 5)

Cuthbert Sydenham succeeded on November 24, 1652.

Samuel Hammond appointed February 24, 1653.

Robert Bonner, A. M. on Hammond's removal, August 27, 1662.

Thomas Davison, A. M. appointed October 2, 1676.

John Chilton, A. M. succeeded March 6, 1716.

Robert Thomlinson, A. M. (afterwards D. D.) on April 3, 1717.

Henry Featherstonehalgh, B. D. succeeded January 18, 1748.

Nathanael Clayton. B. D. appointed June 14, 1779.

Henry Ridley, A. M. (afterwards D. D.) succeeded September 21, 1786. (fn. 6)

John Smith, A. M. appointed December 22. 1825.

Richard Clayton, A. M. of University College. Oxford, appointed July 10, 1826.


This ancient chapel of Thomas à Becket was, in 1732, beautified and pewed; and on Sunday, September 10, in that year, the magistrates went to it with the usual formalities, it being then set apart by the corporation of Newcastle for a chapel of ease to the church of St. Nicholas. In 1770, the west end of the chapel was pulled down; and after the angle was rounded off, to widen the entrance to the bridge, it was rebuilt with brick, in a motley manner. After being curtailed a second time, to widen the north avenue to the bridge, it was opened on Sunday, February 17, 1782. On this occasion, part of the chapel was rebuilt, and the other part chipped over. At the east end a cross was put up, which gave great offence to rigid Dissenters. It is calculated to hold about 300 hearers.

It is now finally determined to pull down this chapel, the Tyne Iron Company's warehouse, and the offices of Messrs. Nichol and Ludlow, which will render the entrance to the Tyne Bridge safe and commodious. A range of shops and offices will be erected to front the street behind the spacious warehouses of N. Clayton, Esq. The new chapel is to be built in the Magdalen Meadows, near the Barras Bridge, a situation singularly beautiful and convenient. The mayor and common council have evinced both taste and spirit, by adopting a design done by Mr. John Dobson, architect, which combines all the unity, harmony, and elegant lightness of proportions, which render the early English style of architecture so peculiarly attractive. The arches are to be acute: and the windows will be of a narrow oblong form, pointed like a lancet, and simply decorated: the buttresses prominent, and surmounted with crocketted pinnacles. All the other constituent parts will display a chaste uniformity of design and ornament, which will render the structure an excellent specimen of this order of architecture, before the introduction of that redundance in embellishment which gradually deprived our sacred edifices of that impressive air of solemnity invariably cultivated in the early ages.

This chapel is intended to accommodate twelve hundred persons. The cost of building (exclusive of the ground, which, of course, costs nothing) may amount to about £4500. The present master has offered to give up his salary for a stated time, the corporation is expected to give a sum equal to the value of the scite of the old chapel, and also to contribute liberally to the new building. The sale of pews in the new chapel will likewise produce a considerable sum; and if the generous offer which is understood to have been made by some public-spirited gentlemen, to aid the execution of this superb design by a private subscription, be generally imitated, the sum required will be raised without difficulty.

It is also proposed to pull down the remains of the old hospital of St. Mary Magdalen, and the adjoining public house; likewise the steam saw-mill and work-shops of Messrs. Brown and Son; and to build a neat row of stone-fronted dwellinghouses behind the north side of Vine Lane, and extending from Northumberland Street to the east limits of the hospital grounds, on the margin of Pandon-burn. This airy and pleasant row of houses will be opposite the new chapel, the grounds around which will be carefully preserved by neat inclosures.


THERE exists no account of the origin of this chapel. After the Reformation, it was neglected and fell gradually into decay; but the corporation, in 1682, repaired it. A lecturer was then appointed, who was to preach every Sunday morning, and expound the Catechism in the afternoon, for which he was to have £30 per annum. (fn. 7) A new gallery was built in 1710. The present chapel was built by Mr. Newton, architect, with the stones of the old wall which formerly ran along the Quayside. It is a plain, neat, and spacious structure, with a light steeple and a good clock; and was consecrated by Bishop Trevor, September 8, 1768. The consecration sermon was preached and published by Dr. Faweitt. St. Ann's is a chapel of ease to All Saints'. It is advantageously situated on a gentle declivity above the Shields road, a little to the east of Sandgate.


  • 1. The charter by which this chapel is incorporated with the hospital of St. Mary Magdalen is dated June 12, 1611. The preamble sets forth, that because the ancient deeds of endowment, &c. of these two places had either been lost or destroyed by time, and some persons were attempting to appropriate their several possessions to their own use, the king therefore united them, and decreed that the hospital of St. Mary Magdalen, and the chapel on Tyne Bridge, so incorporated, should consist of a master, who was at least to be a master of arts, and three old poor and unmarried burgesses of the town, who should be a body politic in law, have a common seal, power to sue and be sued, let leases, &c. the mayor and the rest of the common council of Newcastle upon Tyne to be patrons, have the presentation of the mastership, and power to review and alter the statutes. The king gave them, at the same time, the hospital of St. Mary Magdalen, and the chapel on Tyne Bridge, with all the possessions of each of them, for which they were to render and pay such rents and services as had before been accustomed to be rendered and paid. The master, after the death of the first named in the charter, to have a third part of the rents, and the other two parts to be divided amongst the three brethren. In 1721, a case was stated, and the opinions of Serjeant Comyn and Mr. Lulwich were taken thereupon, whether the above charter had power to restrain the term of leases granted by the master and brethren here to ten years or three lives. They both were of opinion that such usage was an evidence that by the endowment they had such right: of which original right this charter could not deprive them. But Serjeant Cuthbert was of another opinion. During many years, the corporation of Newcastle exercised the right of granting leases of the property of this hospital. Dr. Ridley, as master, conceived it to be his duty to resist the usurpation of this right; and the matter was litigated from the year 1800 to 1816, when the right of the master and brethren of the hospital to lease their own property was established, and the corporation was adjudged to pay, for rents, £3500. This was a joyful event for the brethren, whose income was thus raised from an average of £16 a year to £100. One year lately, it reached £120. The three brethren (commonly called beadsmen) now belonging to this hospital are, William Clarke, Robert Yellowly, and Lancelot Atkinson. The property of this hospital consists of the ground and buildings from the Barras Bridge to Vine Lane, all the north side of that lane, and then, including Mr. Lax's stack-garth, down to the Pandon Dean-burn on the east. Also, all the ground from the east end of Ridley Place to the garden-wall of David Cram, Esq.; and the house, garden, and grounds lately occupied by the Rev. R. H. Williamson, and now by George Shadforth, Esq. The first field in Jesmond township, on the east side of the north turnpike, the adjoining public house, and the premises occupied by Mr. Cuthbert Burnup, builder, leased to the late Sir Thomas Burdon, knt.; and the ground on the opposite side of the road, called St. James's Place, with the Sick Man's Close, leased to Thomas Carr, Esq. The house and garden occupied by Mr. James Pollard, between the Leazes and the Town Moor, and the adjoining tenements, held by John Gibson; also the Spital Tongues, leased to Mr. Newbegin Kent. Part of the scite of the premises belonging to Middleton Hewison, Esq. in Percy Street; and the banks on the south side of Pandon-burn, and east of the gardens belonging to the heirs of the late Mr. Glynn, which ground is let to Mr. Richard Burdon. A house on the north side of the Close, near to where the Close Gate stood; and a moiety of ground-rent for the premises occupied by Mr. John Armstrong, publican, at the Bridge-end. The leases are renewable every eleventh year.
  • 2. Spynn, with the consent of the corporation, in 1347, confirmed by his own charter to Gilbert de Mitford, burgess of Newcastle, the middle one of the three cellars, or crypts, under this chapel, on condition of an annual payment at Martinmas, of 14s. to the said master. This grant, sealed by the town's seal, was witnessed by Peter le Draper, mayor, William de Acton, Hugo de Angreton, Hugo de Carliol, and John de Emeldon, bailiffs.
  • 3. He is mentioned, in 1457, as having lost his eye-sight. In the archives of the corporation there is a grant in fee, from the said John Croft to William Hunter, of a messuage and garden, "prope Pampden-yate" extending "usque muros domus Sancti Michaelis de Walknoll retro versus orientem"—6 Edward IV. Ibid, 12 Edward IV. a lease from the same to John Syde, of a messuage and land in Ravensworth.
  • 4. From the original, in the archives of the corporation of Newcastle. There appears, at that time, to have been a little garden at this place; "cum mansione, camera magistrali et gardino capelle predict' spectan' & adjacen' &c." There occurs, ibid. 32 Henry VIII. a grant in fee from the said John Brandlyng, to Thomas Pattinson, cordwainer, of a house and garden without Pilgrim Street Gate, "inter fossas vocat' lez Kinges Dickes et muros dicte ville ex parte occidentali." All these grants of the masters here are said to be with the consent of the mayor and burgesses.—Brand.
  • 5. He was declared the first master by the charter—during his life, each brother to have £3, 6s. 8d.
  • 6. Formerly, different clergymen belonging to the churches in town assisted in performing the duty of this chapel; but the late master, Dr. Ridley, appointed the Rev. Robert Wasney to discharge the duties exclusively. He eatered upon this situation May 28, 1808.
  • 7. Preachers at St. Ann's. John Rawlett, first lecturer, March 30, 1682. Andrew Bates succeeded October 4, 1686. John Metcalf, A. M. appointed April 17, 1710. John Chilton, A. M. March 6, 1716. Salary stopped, by order, December 16, 1723. Robert Thomlinson, forenoon preacher, April 3, 1717. The Rev. John Ellison assisted Chilton, 1724. Salary £50. Joseph Carr appointed at Michaelmas, 1725. Thomas Maddison, on Carr's removal, September 21, 1726. Salary £50. Henry Bourne, William Hall, and John Thompson, June 26, 1727, to preach by turns on Sunday mornings—10s. for each sermon. Richard Cuthbert, morning preacher, September 5, 1727. Nathanael Clayton appointed June 15, 1732. Salary £40. T. Maddison, forenoon lecturer, May 6, 1736. Salary £50. John Thompson, afternoon lecturer, appointed same time. Salary £40. R. Brewster, afternoon preacher, succeeded Thompson December 21, 1761. Cuthbert Wilson, A. M. morning lecturer, June 15, 1772. Cuthbert Wilson, curate of Gateshead, afternoon lecturer, same time; died May 8, 1773. William Hall, A. M. afternoon lecturer, appointed June 17, 1773. Robert Thorp, A. M. afternoon lecturer, appointed in 1781. Thomas Hornby, A. M. morning lecturer, December 7, 1783. Moses Manners, A. M. of Lincoln College, Oxford, appointed morning lecturer September 21, 1786— salary £90 per annum, and £5 for administering the sacrament. In March, 1812, he was presented by the lord chancellor to the rectory of Carlton St. Peter, co. of Norfolk.