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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In this section
- HANOVER SQUARE CHAPEL (Unitarian)
- MEETING-HOUSE OF FRIENDS
- WALL KNOLL MEETING-HOUSE (Scotch Presbyterians)
- ST. JAMES' CHAPEL. (Scotch Presbyterians)
- GROAT MARKET MEETING-HOUSE (Scotch Presbyterians)
- HIGH BRIDGE MEETING-HOUSE (Soctch Presbyterians)
- SCOTCH CHURCH, BLACKETT STREET (Scotch Presbyterians)
- CASTLE GARTH MEETING-HOUSE (Scotch Relief)
- CLOSE MEETING-HOUSE (United Secession)
- CARLIOL STREET MEETING-HOUSE (United Secession)
- CLAVERING PLACE MEETING-HOUSE (United Secession)
- POSTERN CHAPEL (Independents)
- ZION CHAPEL, FOOT OF WESTGATE STREET (Independents)
- TUTHILL STAIRS CHAPEL (Particular Baptists)
- NEW COURT CHAPEL, WESTGATE STREET (Particular Baptists)
- FORSTER STREET MEETING-HOUSE (Glassites)
- BRUNSWICK PLACE CHAPEL (Wesleyan Methodists)
- NEW ROAD CHAPEL (Wesleyan Methodists)
- BETHEL CHAPEL (Methodists of the New Connexion)
- EBENEZER (Independent Methodists)
- SILVER STREET CHAPEL (Primitive Methodists)
- NEW JERUSALEM TEMPLE (Swedenborgians)
- BALLAST HILLS BURIAL-PLACE.
HANOVER SQUARE CHAPEL (Unitarian)
The society assembling in this chapel was, when the Act of Toleration passed at the Revolution, regularly constituted under the protection of the law. Their meeting-house was without the Close Gate, and they placed themselves under the pastoral care of Dr. Gilpin. (fn. 2) This is testified by the cups still used in the communionservice, which are marked, "Church Plate, Dr. Richard Gilpin Pastor 1693." He appears to have been assisted by Mr. Manlove, as well as by Mr. Pringle, and Mr. Pell, before mentioned. (fn. 3)
Mr. Benjamin Bennett succeeded Dr. Gilpin, the time of whose death is not recorded. He also seems to have had occcasional, if not constant assistants. From a MS. book of notes of sermons, it is certain that he preached alternately with a Mr. Nathaniel Fancourt, (fn. 4) from the year 1713 to 1716; after which, Mr. William Wilson was in Newcastle. This gentleman was very learned, and kept a private academy, where many of the neighbouring gentry received their education. (fn. 5) His two sermons published are highly creditable to his abilities and truly catholic spirit. Some scruples about baptism are the cause assigned why he declined accepting the pastoral office. About the year 1720, it was thought necessary to procure a more eligible place of worship; and a large field being procured, which had formerly belonged to the convent of the White Friars, the present chapel was built upon part of it by voluntary subscription. It had to be opened in 1726; but, on the very day before the time appointed, Mr. Bennett took suddenly ill, and died on the Thursday following. (fn. 6)
The new chapel in Hanover Square was not opened till March 26, 1727, when Mr. Bennett's successor, Dr. Samuel Lawrence, from Newcastle under Line, preached. (fn. 7) He continued but six years pastor of this congregation. He was succeeded by the Rev. Richard Rogerson, then a minister at Alcester in Warwickshire, (fn. 8) under whom, assisted by Mr. Wilson, the congregation continued in great harmony, till the death of the latter in 1751. (fn. 9) Mr. Wilson's situation of assistant was filled by the Rev. Samuel Lowthian, then of Penrith. This minister, who was educated at the academy of Dr. Caleb Rotheram, of Kendal, was remarkable for his fervent eloquence and fearless deductions. But his people freely allowed their minister the right of individual judgment, which they claimed for themselves. This liberal conduct he strongly recommends to other societies, in a sermon he preached (August 26, 1756) at the ordination of the Rev. Caleb Rotheram, his tutor's son and successor, at Kendal.
On Mr. Rogerson's death in 1760, Mr. Lowthian became the sole minister, and continued so till his death in 1780, after having been twenty-eight years connected with this congregation. (fn. 10) Dr. Hood, of Brampton, was invited as his successor; but he brought with him the seeds of a consumptive complaint, which, in the course of less than two years, carried him off. (fn. 11) He was succeeded by the present minister, William Turner, who, on the recommendation of his tutor and friend, the Rev. Dr. Enfield, came to preach as a candidate, August 26, 1782, and was chosen the 6th of December following. On the 25th of the same month, he was ordained at Pudsey, near Leeds, by the Associated Ministers in the West Riding of Yorkshire; and, at the request of the congregation, the whole service was published. (fn. 12)
In 1797, a small society of Unitarian Baptists, with their minister, the Rev. Edward Prowitt, united with this congregation. (fn. 13) "A Selection of Psalms, by various Authors," was introduced by unanimous consent in 1806; and, in 1810, the chapel was enlarged, in order to the introduction of an organ, which was purchased by subscription. The chapel is calculated to accommodate 600 persons. The chapel-yard was designed for a place of sepulture: but none have been interred here, except a child, and Mr. W. Robson and his wife.
It deserves remark, that the securities and papers belonging to Hanover Square chapel, though in the hands of the treasurer, are all copied into a book which lies in the closet in the vestry, and is always open to the inspection of every member. A yearly report is also made of the income and expenditure of the congregation. This regular and open manner of conducting affairs is not unworthy of imitation. Few of the Dissenting congregations in this town keep any regular books: and, in consequence of this neglect, combined with the death or secession of trustees and others, property and rights have sometimes been lost: nor. in most cases, are any documents preserved, from which a satisfactory history of our Dissenting societies can be derived.
MEETING-HOUSE OF FRIENDS (fn. 14)
It appears that a Society of Friends, commonly called Quakers, has existed in Newcastle since the time of the Commonwealth. George Fox, in his Journal, under date of 1657, says, "The Newcastle priests wrote many books against us; and one Ledger, an alderman of the town, was very envious against truth and friends." He continues, "As we could not have a public meeting among them, we got a little meeting among friends and friendly people at the Gate-side."
George Whitehead, in his Journal, under the same date, 1657–8, writes thus:— "Great endeavours were used for us to have had some meetings in Newcastle upon Tine, while I was in those parts: but the mayor of the town (influenced by the priests) would not suffer us to keep any meeting within the liberty of the town; though in Gateside (being out of the mayor's liberty) our friends had settled a meeting at our beloved friend Richard Ubank's house (as I remember his name was). The first meeting we then endeavoured to have within the town of Newcastle was in a large room, taken on purpose by some friends. The meeting was not fully gathered when the mayor of the town and his officers came, and by force turned us out of the meeting, and not only so but out of the town also; for the mayor and his company commanded us, and went along with us so far as the bridge, over the river Tine, that parts Newcastle and Gateside; upon which bridge there is a Blew Stone, to which the mayor's liberty only extends, when we came to that stone, the mayor gave his charge to each of us in these words, viz. 'I charge and command you, in the name of His Highness the Lord Protector, that you come no more into Newcastle, to have any more meetings there, at your peril."
The Friends, however, met again on a Sabbath day, near the river side, and within the liberties of Newcastle; and though in the open air, were again forcibly sent over to Gateshead, where, it seems, they could have their meetings without molestation. As they could not have a meeting within the liberties of the town, they had, however, agreed, for a certain sum of money, with the man who kept the Shire House (which, though in the town, was not in its liberties), for the use of it, to hold a public meeting in; but in this they were also, by the interference of a priest of the town, prevented. They, however, held their meeting out of doors, on the side of the hill near the Shire House, where they could not be disturbed by the mayor.
In 1674, the Friends seem to have met in a meeting-house of their own, and continued to do so up to 1698. This house, from its being registered as follows at Durham, appears to have been near the tollbooth (fn. 15) in Gateshead :—"Durham to wit. These are to certify whom it may concern, that at the general quarter sessions of the peace, held for the county of Durham, the fifteenth day of January, in the first year of our sovereign lord and lady, king William and queen Mary, it is registered, according to an act of parliament made in the first year of their majesties' reign, intitled, 'An Act for exempting their Majesties' Protestant Subjects dissenting from the Church of England from the Penalties of certain Laws,' That there is a meeting-house for the people of God, called Quakers, in Gateshead, nigh the tolbooth, in this county." (fn. 16)
After being disappointed of premises in Denton Chare, they, in 1698, purchased some in Pilgrim Street, to which they removed from Gateshead, though they retained their meeting-house there until 1699. In 1805, the old meeting-house was pulled down, and the present one built. In 1812, it was considerably enlarged, and is now calculated to seat about 500 persons. The burial-ground is behind; and, as Friends do not erect funeral monuments, the burying-place of each family is marked and numbered in a plan of the cemetery, which is carefully kept. In front, adjoining the street, is a dwelling-house, occupied by the keeper of the premises. A library belongs to the society. This sect, in Newcastle, at present consists of about 40 families. But several persons wear the garb of the society, who are not enjoying the privileges of its communion.
WALL KNOLL MEETING-HOUSE (Scotch Presbyterians) (fn. 17)
The suburb of Sandgate has long been the favourite resort of poor and industrious adventurers from Scotland, on their first arrival. This people, being deeply embued with the spirit of religion, seem to have opened several places of worship in this neighbourhood early in the last century. (fn. 18) A Presbyterian congregation met in a place in Sandgate still called "the Meeting-house Entry." Their first minister, as far as can be ascertained, was the Rev. George Bruce, who afterwards removed to Dunbar in Scotland. He published a Sermon on Personal Religion, to which was prefixed a well-written preface by the Rev. Thomas Walker, mentioned in the account of Hanover Square chapel. He was succeeded by the Rev. James Richardson, who resigned on being promoted to the governorship of Watson's Hospital at Edinburgh. During his ministry, the congregation built the present meeting-house on the Wall Knoll. It was finished in 1765, and is calculated to accommodate 500 persons. Mr. Richardson was succeeded by the Rev. Alexander Gibson, who was ordained by the Newcastle Presbytery on May 28, 1780. His ministry was short, but successful. (fn. 19) He died in April, 1786; and his successor, the Rev. Hugh Coulter, was ordained on the 6th of September, in the same year. Mr. Coulter died in November, 1800; after which, the present minister, the Rev. Andrew Robson, received a call, was ordained at Dunse, and admitted into the Newcastle Class on April 22, 1801.
ST. JAMES' CHAPEL. (fn. 20) (Scotch Presbyterians)
The members of this meeting-house recently removed from a building in Silver Street, of which the trustees have deeds of conveyance from the time of Edward VI. It was formerly occupied as a malting, but was converted into a place of worship in 1744. The first minister was the Rev. George Ogilvie. He occurs in August, 1763, as protesting against the assumption of the ministers who had met at Alnwick in the preceding June, and, in the name of the Presbytery, addressed his majesty on the peace. On February 18, 1765, the Rev. James Shields, from Adderstone in Northumberland, received a call, signed by upwards of 300 persons, as assistant and successor to Mr. Ogilvie, who died April 21, 1765. Mr. Shields died in 1785, (fn. 21) and was, in the same year, succeeded by the Rev. Adam Laidlaw, who continued in the pastoral charge of this congregation until the year 1818, when he was presented to the parish-church of Kirton in Roxburghshire. He was, while in Newcastle, a successful teacher of Latin, and of so frank and conciliating a disposition, that he kept together a very numerous and respectable congregation during the whole period of his ministry. His successor is the Rev. William Beattie Smith, A. M. who was ordained by the Presbytery of Selkirk, of which he is a licentiate. Mr. Smith received his preparatory education at Cleusburn academy, Dumfriesshire, after which he studied at the university of Edinburgh, from which he received his degree of A. M. In 1817, he was appointed professor of Latin and Greek in the college of Belfast, which he resigned at the close of the first session after his appointment.
In the year 1825, the trustees of Silver Street meeting-house resolved to build a new chapel, and purchased from the corporation the scite which terminates the south side of Blackett Street on the east, for £168, and the payment of a ground-rent of 10s. per annum. The chapel is a stone building, after the plan of Mr. John Dobson, architect. The east end is decorated with a grand portico of four massive pillars, which support a simple pediment, corresponding with the design of the edifice. The whole has an impressive effect, and affords a fine termination to this street. The interior forms a semicircle, and has a gallery supported by elegant metal pillars. It is lighted by windows on the north side, against which the pulpit stands. The whole has an air of great comfort and snugness; and the seats will accommodate nearly 600 persons. A vestry and other convenient apartments are formed in the angles of the building, which cost about £2150. It was opened on Thursday, August 31, 1826, when the Rev. Thomas Brown, of St. John's church, Glasgow, preached. It deserves notice and commendation, that the registers of baptisms belonging to this congregation, commencing in June, 1746, has been kept with great exactness up to the present time.
GROAT MARKET MEETING-HOUSE (Scotch Presbyterians)
This meeting-house is approached by a long, narrow entry, from the Groat Market; but another and more commodious entrance is by a gateway, opening into the Pudding Chare. It is a good, substantial, brick building, with a spacious gallery, and affords accommodation for above 700 persons. The Rev. William Arthur occurs as minister about the year 1715, when the chapel seems to have been built, as the books mention he was then absent collecting money. His successor, the Rev. Andrew Ogilvie, from Langholm, was ordained November 14, 1759. He removed to Linton in Scotland in 1781, and was succeeded by the Rev. David Grant, who was ordained on November 14, in the same year. He was considered to be a man of considerable abilities, and his congregation was numerous and respectable. In 1782, he published "A Sermon on the Necessity and Advantages of religious Consideration;" and, in 1785, sixteen "Sermons, Doctrinal and Practical, on several Subjects." He accepted the presentation to a church at Ettrick, in Roxburghshire; when the Rev. John Anderson received a call, and was ordained by the Newcastle Presbytery on September 12, 1786. He also removed into Scotland, having obtained a church at Dundee, and was succeeded by the Rev. David M'Indoe, who was ordained September 29, 1790. He was educated at the university of Glasgow, and was licensed a probationer of the Church of Scotland in 1786, after which he preached for some time at Borrowstoness. At the commencement of his ministry here, he frequently expressed from the pulpit his political opinions in strong terms; but his fervour on such subjects gradually declined. He published "A Fast-day Sermon," a Missionary Sermon, and, in 1823, a volume of "Sermons on important Subjects," which were published for the benefit of the fund for superannuated ministers and their widows. His temper being irritable, and his pronunciation defective, his congregation yearly diminished. Latterly, he was obliged to engage assistants, with one of whom, the Rev. W. Newlands, A. M. he had a violent quarrel. Both parties appealed to the public through the press. Mr. M'Indoe was an active member of the committees of the Bible Society and the Royal Jubilee School. He died April 17, 1826. The present minister, the Rev. Robert Kirk, from the university of Glasgow, was chosen his successor, and ordained at Chirnside, in Berwickshire, on August 18, 1826. (fn. 22)
HIGH BRIDGE MEETING-HOUSE (Soctch Presbyterians)
This meeting-house was built in 1765–6, for the Rev. James Murray, by a number of his enthusiastic admirers. He was not ordained to the pastoral charge by any presbytery, as he held that every congregation was at liberty to adopt such modes of government as seemed most conducive to their religious improvement. (fn. 23) On Mr. Murray's death. Mr. M.Kechnie was minister for a very short time, and was succeeded by the Rev. Allan Cornforth. who left Newcastle early in 1785; when the congregation, on their solicitation, was admitted into the class of Scotch Presbyterians. (fn. 24) The Rev. George Logan, their pastor, after this produced his credentials, signed by the Presbytery of Paisley and of Perth, and was admitted a member of the Newcastle Presbytery on August 22, 1785. He was succeeded by the Rev. John Hutton, who was ordained April 16, 1794. His congregation was numerous, (fn. 25) for he was a specious man, and preached apparently with uncommon earnestness; but it being discovered that he drank to excess in private, he was obliged to return to Scotland, where he shortly after died. His successor was the Rev. John Lockerby, who first preached here on August 7, 1808; but having obtained the chapel of Cryston in Scotland, he resigned the charge of this congregation, and was succeeded by the present minister, the Rev. Robert Fergus, of Glasgow university, who was ordained November 12. 1811.
SCOTCH CHURCH, BLACKETT STREET (Scotch Presbyterians)
A number of persons having formed themselves into a Presbyterian congregation, gave a call to the Rev. John Smellie, of the university of Glasgow, who was ordained by the Presbytery of Hamilton early in 1821. He first preached in the Butchers' Hall; but on October 17th in that year, the foundation of the present chapel was laid at the western extremity of Northumberland Court, and fronting into Blackett Street. It was opened on May 17, 1822, on which occasion the Rev. Dr. Hodgson, minister of the parish of Blantyre, Scotland, conducted the service. It is a snug brick structure, capable of containing above 650 persons, was built under the direction of Mr. Green, architect, and cost £1350. The windows are of a Gothic form, and the front gable of the roof is embrasured: but. as it does not stand in a line with the other buildings in this street, the corporation has offered £100, to enable the congregation to build a new front. For this purpose. Mr. Green has drawn a design, according to which it will be rebuilt with hewn stone, with Gothic windows, and flank walls, in each of which will be a Gothic doorway. The whole has a handsome appearance, though, perhaps, embrasures are not the most appropriate ornament for the sloping roof of a small place of worship. A school-room is attached to the north end of this meeting-house. Mr. Smellie, being of a delicate constitution, found the duties imposed upon him too severe: he declined gradually, and died at Edinburgh in December, 1825. He has been succeeded by the Rev. John Lockhart, A. M. who was ordained to the pastoral charge of this church by the Presbytery of Glasgow (by which he was licensed in 1822). on February 16, 1826, and inducted by the Presbytery of Newcastle on the 2d of March following. Mr. Lockhart took his degree of A. M. in the university of Glasgow. He was appointed assistant in the parish-church of Irvine in 1823, and in Kelbride, Arran, in 1825.
CASTLE GARTH MEETING-HOUSE (Scotch Relief) (fn. 26)
This congregation is supposed to have been originally formed by the famous Thomas Bradbury, who seems to have been an assistant to Dr. Gilpin. There still exists a manuscript, entitled, "A Speech delivered at Madam Partis' in the Year 1706," in which Bradbury complains bitterly at not being admitted a co-pastor. He appears, in consequence, to have separated from the Close (now Hanover Square) meeting-house, and to have established a new congregation at the Scotch Arms, by whom this meeting-house near the Castle was erected. The situation was well chosen for the convenience of the Scotch chapmen that inhabited the Castle Garth, and through whose influence the congregation was probably induced to join the Scotch Presbytery in Newcastle.
The lease of the ground belonging to this congregation was bought, probably, of the corporation, in 1705. No copy of this document can be discovered; though it must have given every possible security to the purchasers, as above £2000 must have been expended in building the meeting-house and minister's house, with the extensive premises adjoining. Another circumstance shews the confidence which the trustees had in their title: In the centre of the chapel is a tomb-stone, with the following inscription:— "Underneath this stone lies the body of Margaret Hall, daughter of Sir James Hall, of Dunglass, Baronet, who died the 31st day of March, 1721, in the seventh year of her age." Now, it is not usual to bury in places held by an uncertain tenure.
The register of baptisms commences in 1708, when the Rev. Mr. Dawson was minister, which office he appears to have filled upwards of 25 years. He was succeeded by the Rev. Edward Aitkin, who occurs, in 1736, as holding this chapel, in conjunction with William Robertson, linen-draper, of Dr. James Ellis, by the yearly payment of £4. In 1758, this minister and some members obtained a new lease, for 21 years, of the chapel and adjoining premises, from the executors of George Liddell, Esq. at the yearly rent of £7, 5s. The Rev. James Burn, in 1759, became assistant to Mr. Aitkin; but he returned to Scotland in 1761, and, on November 10, 1762, the Rev. William Davidson was appointed assistant and successor to Mr. Aitkin. In 1779, Mr. Davidson, in conjunction with Mr. Ralph Murton, a trustee, renewed the lease of the chapel and other premises for 21 years, at the annual rent of £10, 10s.; but, ten years before this lease expired, as was supposed, Mr. John Barber, attorney and agent for Sir J. C. Turner, obtained a new lease of the chapel. Accordingly, in 1800, he became landlord, and immediately deprived the congregation of their school-house, a range of houses on the east side of Queen Street, a house and smith's shop north of the chapel, and a house upon the Mount. He then raised the rent of the chapel and "parsonage-house" to £30 a year.
In 1801, Mr. Davidson was presented to the living of Mordington in Scotland, and was succeeded, in April the same year, by the Rev. David Gellatley. (fn. 27) In 1802, Messrs. John Petre, Robert Colhoun, and John Morton, paid £130 to Mr. Barber, as "consideration money," to get a lease of the chapel, for which, after the first year, £15 per annum was agreed to be paid. A long altercation followed between Mr. Barber and John Turner, Esq. on the subject of right: when, in March, 1807, the latter agreed to indemnify the trustees from the claims of Mr. Barber, and to let the chapel and minister's house for £25 per annum. Two years afterwards, Mr. Turner offered to sell the fee-simple of the premises for 1000 guineas. A negotiation took place on this subject, which was, in 1811, interrupted by a dispute between Mr. Gellatley and his congregation. The former, being ejected from the chapel, forcibly recovered possession, but was finally obliged to abandon his claims. After this, the congregation removed to Westgate Street chapel, formerly occupied by the Weslevan Methodists, where, for a short time, they were under the ministry of the Rev. James Chambers. When he and the congregation separated, the Rev. James Arthur was chosen to succeed him. He entered upon the ministry here in June, 1814. being ordained by the Relief Presbytery of Kelso. Mr. Arthur and his congregation have completed the purchase of the Castle Garth chapel for £600. Each end of it has been converted into dwelling-rooms; and the middle part, which is reserved for public worship, will still hold about 450 persons. Before this alteration, there were seats for 800 persons. On forming Castle Street, the "parsonage-house" was pulled down.
CLOSE MEETING-HOUSE (United Secession) (fn. 28)
This congregation of Anti-burghers was organized in the year 1751: for, in July that year, they sent a call to the Rev. Alexander Nimmo. The old meeting-house seems to have been in so crazy a state as to afford just grounds for apprehension. At one time, an alarm was raised that it was falling, when the people began to rush out; but mischief was prevented by the calmness and presence of mind of the minister. Shortly after, it did actually fall, just after the congregation had dispersed. The present commodious and substantial building was erected in 1764. It contains seats for 800 persons. Mr. Nimmo died February 5, 1770, and was, the same year, succeeded by the Rev. William Graham, who for thirty years discharged, with fidelity and honour, the duties of the pastoral office over this congregation. (fn. 29) On September 14, 1791, the Rev. William Syme, of the university of Edinburgh, was ordained assistant and successor to Mr. Graham, since whose death, in 1801, he has continued sole pastor of this congregation.
CARLIOL STREET MEETING-HOUSE (United Secession)
The Rev. James Robertson formed a congregation of Burghers about the year 1760: and having obtained a piece of vacant ground near the Sally-port Gate from the corporation, at the annual rent of 10s. they built a meeting-house upon it, capable of containing above 500 persons. Mr. Robertson died September 23, 1767, and was succeeded by the Rev. John Baillie: (fn. 30) but, after remaining minister of this congregation about sixteen years, a separation took place. His successor was the Rev. John Smith, of Stirling, who received a call August 31, 1784, and was soon after ordainedOn September 4, 1822, the Rev. Adam Dawson Gillon, from Linlithgow, was appointed his assistant and successor. The congregation, after this, resolved to procure a more commodious place of worship; and on May 22, 1823, the foundation-stone of a new church was laid by Mr. Gillon, on the north side of Carliol Street. It was opened for divine worship on December 25, in the same year, when the Revds. R. Hunter and J. Harper assisted. The front, which is of polished stone, is very neat and plain; and the interior arranged to contain about 800 people. The building cost £1430, and, if a little higher, would have been a very complete structure.
CLAVERING PLACE MEETING-HOUSE (United Secession)
In 1801, about one hundred persons separated from the Secession church in the Close; and, on application to the General Associate Synod in Edinburgh, were, on May 3, 1802, recognized as a new congregation. During eighteen months, they assembled in the Carpenters' Tower, near Sally-port; after which, they removed to the old meeting-house in the Postern. A variety of preachers were sent to them; and, at last, the Rev. James Pringle came on January 22, 1804, having been licensed by the presbytery of Kelso on the 10th of the same month. In March, they gave him an unanimous call, which, after long deliberation, he accepted, and was ordained on October 10, in the same year.
In 1808, the congregation began to form a fund for erecting a new church; and, in five years, £500 was subscribed. After much enquiry for an eligible situation, the house of William Cuthbert, Esq. in Clavering Place was purchased for £1100; and the requisite alterations being completed, it was opened for divine worship March 21, 1813. In November this year, a house, which was also the property of the congregation, and attached to the west wall of the church, being at that time full of materials, took fire, and was burnt down. The fire also injured the roof of the church. The loss of property was estimated at £400, of which only £200 was recovered from the office where the premises had been insured. Not discouraged by this loss, the congregation, in the following year, erected a comfortable house for their minister, and another, comprising a dwelling-house, a vestry, and two school-rooms. The whole sum expended on these buildings, including the church, and the original purchase of the ground, was about £3300. The debt thus incurred was, by vigorous exertions, in a few years reduced to £1300. In May, 1817, Mr. Pringle was appointed to preach for a few weeks at Kirkwall in Orkney, when the congregation at that place invited him to become their minister: but the synod, in May, 1818, decided he should remain in Newcastle. Two years afterwards, the church, it was found, wanted many considerable repairs; when it was determined to erect a new building, on a larger scale than the old one. The erection of the present building was soon after commenced, under the direction of Mr. Green, architect; and the congregation obtained the use of the Orphan House, in Northumberland Street, until it was ready to be opened for divine worship. This took place December 25, 1822, when, during the absence of Mr. Pringle on a mission to Gibraltar, the services were performed by the Rev. Dr. Mitchell of Glasgow, and the Rev. — M'Gilchrist of Dunse. The new building, exclusive of the old materials, cost £1020, of which sum £600 was raised by subscriptions and collections; and the whole debt, at the close of 1825, was reduced to £1536. This congregation, which consists of about 300 persons, recently presented to their minister a handsome piece of plate, bearing an inscription expressive of their continued and growing regard for him, after a period of 21 years, during which he had laboured amongst them.
POSTERN CHAPEL (Independents) (fn. 31)
This congregation was first formed by a number of persons who separated from the church of Silver Street, when under the ministry of the Rev. James Shields. They first assembled in the Old Custom-house Entry, from whence they removed to the Carpenters' Tower. They afterwards took an old malting-house in the Postern, which they fitted up for a place of worship. Their first minister was the Rev. John Knipes, who was ejected for marrying his former wife's sister. He was succeeded by the Rev. Mr. Barfield, who was followed by the Rev. Henry Atley. The Rev. John Cureton, who died December 1, 1793, was the next pastor of this congregation, and was succeeded by the Rev. Mr. Tissiers. The Rev. J. H. Browning succeeded next, when the congregation having considerably increased, it was found necessary to obtain a more commodious place of worship. Accordingly, the present convenient chapel was erected, and opened for divine worship on January 1, 1797. In it 800 persons may be comfortably seated. The late Mr. Robert Hood gave the ground on which it is built, and, besides many liberal donations, bequeathed £100 to assist in liquidating the remaining debt, which has lately been accomplished.
Mr. Browning was succeeded by the Rev. Richard Turnbull, and he by the Rev. George Lee, a native of Newcastle, who was ordained in this chapel in 1801. The Rev. Richard Spry succeeded him in 1805. Two years afterwards, the Rev. William Arbone became minister, who was succeeded, in 1809, by the Rev. James Shepherd. The Rev. Ralph Davison, the present minister, was chosen in 1810. A proposal was once made to purchase an organ for this chapel; but it miscarried.
ZION CHAPEL, FOOT OF WESTGATE STREET (Independents)
The congregation assembling in this chapel was first constituted by a few persons who separated from the New Postern chapel in the year 1820. These individuals rented for a short time the Cordwainers' Hall, when they were supplied by a student from Rotherham college. Afterwards the Rev. Richard Gibbs preached to them for two months, when he received an invitation to become their pastor. Having accepted this offer, the present chapel was engaged on a lease for ten years, from the trustees appointed on behalf of the Wesleyan Methodists, who caused it to be put into its present form, affording accommodation for 500 persons. The present congregation took possession on Sunday, February 4, 1821; and on the 15th of September, in the same year, Mr. Gibbs was ordained to the pastoral office, in the usual forms of the Congregational churches.
TUTHILL STAIRS CHAPEL (Particular Baptists) (fn. 32)
As early as the year 1651, a Baptist minister preached in the neighbourhood of Newcastle, and very probably in the town; but no record of the affairs of this people has been preserved previous to the year 1725, when they purchased the property they now possess in the Tuthill Stairs. This property extends 68 yards on the east side of the stairs, and is 43 yards in breadth. On it was a very large and highly ornamented room, which, from some figures on the wainscotting, seems to have been built in the year 1585. (fn. 33) Above this room was a dwelling-house, and a vestry adjoining to it. Here the Baptists assembled for public worship for 73 years, during which period the Rev. David Fernie, the Rev. John Allen, the Rev. William Pendered, the Rev. John Foster, and the Rev. Thomas Skinner, were in succession the ministers. Mr. Allen was an ingenious, lively, and voluminous writer. "The Spiritual Magazine," and his other works, are very popular, especially with persons of high Calvinistic sentiments. Mr. Pendered was an upright, sincere, and independent man. He was turned off for preaching against usury, two leading members of the congregation being pawnbrokers. The valuable writings of Mr. Foster have imparted a just cele brity to his name. His "Essay on the Evils of Popular Ignorance," has been highly appreciated by the severest critics. Mr. Skinner died in 1795, very much esteemed.
In 1797, the congregation resolved to erect a new chapel on the vacant ground above the old one. The foundation-stone was laid on the 17th of July that year; and the chapel was opened for public worship on February 19, 1798. It measures 55 feet in length, and 44 feet in breadth, and cost in building £1300. Half of this sum was contributed by one generous member of the body, Richard Fishwick, Esq. by whom the lead-works at Low Elswick were originally established and conducted. He also paid £200, to rescue the property belonging to the congregation from the hands into which it had fallen by the death of the former trustees.
The Rev. Thomas Hassel was ordained pastor on the day after the new chapel was opened. On his removal to Ireland, the Rev. M. Cracherode became minister, and was succeeded by the Rev. Thomas Berry, an amiable man, who died in 1804. The next minister, the Rev. W. Hartley, was succeeded by the present one, the Rev. Richard Pengilly, from the Bristol academy, who was ordained in August, 1807. A number of members, in 1816, seceded from this chapel, and formed another Baptist church; yet, notwithstanding, the congregation continued to increase so rapidly, that in 1820 a commodious gallery was erected at the west end of the chapel. Before the pulpit is a convenient baptistry, covered, except at times of initiation; and, at the west end of the chapel, two spacious vestries. The late Rev. Charles Whitfield, of Hamsterly, and the Rev. Joseph Kinghorn, of Norwich, were originally members of this church.
NEW COURT CHAPEL, WESTGATE STREET (Particular Baptists)
In 1816, a number of persons belonging to the old Baptist church, in the Tuthill Stairs, seceded, and formed a new congregation. They assembled for public worship in the House Carpenters' Hall, where their devotions were conducted by some of the members, until the Rev. George Sample was called to the ministry. He was ordained their pastor by the Rev. William Steadman, D. D. on October 21, 1818. The present chapel in New Court was opened for divine worship on September 22, 1819. It is a plain, neat building, capable of seating upwards of 600 persons. Commodious vestries, opening into the chapel, have been subsequently added, by the purchase of an adjoining house, formerly occupied as the Lock Hospital. The chapel has undergone a complete repair during the present year, 1826. (fn. 34)
FORSTER STREET MEETING-HOUSE (Glassites) (fn. 35)
The meeting-house of the Glassites stands on the north side of Forster Street, which forms a communication between the Wall Knoll and Sandgate New Road. It is a small, convenient place of worship, with suitable apartments adjoining. The Glassites, having dissented from the Church of Scotland, are mostly descended from Scottish parents. This small community has existed in this town for nearly 70 years. Amongst its most zealous members were the late Mr. Leighton, surgeon, and subsequently Mr. Jeremiah Spence, (fn. 36) slop-seller, a man of the most distinguished worth. He and a few others, who had belonged to the Rev. James Murray's congregation, joined the Glassites. as being the most exempted from, what they conceived to be, the unscriptural aristocracy of religion. Since his death, the influence of this sect in Newcastle seems to have been in a declining state.
BRUNSWICK PLACE CHAPEL (Wesleyan Methodists) (fn. 37)
The Rev. John Wesley, by his calm and dispassionate simplicity, gained a number of admirers in Newcastle shortly after the commencement of his apostolic labour; for the first stone of the Orphan House in Northumberland Street was laid on December 20, 1742, and was the second Methodist chapel built in England. It is a strong, commodious building, and held about one thousand persons; having also rooms for the families of preachers, and for the meetings of classes, &c. Latterly, this structure was found too small to accommodate the stated hearers, and it was resolved to erect a new place of worship. The trustees having purchased a large plot of ground between Northumberland Court and Elswick Court, the first stone of the present elegant chapel was laid May 5, 1820, when the Rev. Edmund Grindrod delivered a brief and appropriate address. It is built after the plan of Waltham Street chapel at Hull, constructed by Mr. Sherwood, architect, who liberally sent all the necessary drawings and specifications. It is, in the interior, one of the most handsome and commodious chapels in the north of England, and will, when crowded, contain about 2300 persons. The building of this large structure was conducted with the greatest economy, and, with the adjoining rooms and vestries, cost about £6726, of which sum £1323 was subscribed before the building had commenced. It was first opened for divine worship on Friday, February 23, 1821, when sermons by the Rev. Messrs. Newton, Atherton, and Wood, were preached to crowded audiences. (fn. 38) In the following year, a fine-toned organ, built by Mr. Dobson of London, was purchased, and set up in the music-gallery. Very neat dwelling-houses have been built on each side of the avenue leading from Northumberland Street to the chapel, which stands in a secluded situation, though the front faces the street.
NEW ROAD CHAPEL (Wesleyan Methodists)
The increase of the Methodists in Newcastle requiring proportionate accommodations, the trustees, after the death of the Rev. W. Warrilow in 1808, purchased the lease of the premises which he had occupied at the foot of Westgate Street, and very considerably enlarged the chapel, before used for Catholic worship. In a short time, the inconvenience of this situation was apparent, and it was resolved to purchase a scite for a new chapel at the east end of the town. The situation selected is on Sandgate New Road, nearly opposite to the Royal Jubilee School. Nearly £1000 was expended in forming a secure foundation. It is a very substantial building, with a handsome stone front, and was erected after a plan furnished by Mr. Dobson, architect. The building altogether cost about £4700, and will hold 1600 persons, threefourths of whom may be comfortably seated. It was opened for divine worship on October 10, 1813. On New Brunswick chapel being built, a number of pew-holders in this chapel removed to it, which induced the trustees to divide this building into two parts by a floor; the under part being let for a bond warehouse, and the upper part being appropriated for religious services. This arrangement proved very displeasing; and, in less than two years, the trustees restored the chapel to its original state; resolved to raise £30 yearly, the rent paid for the former warehouse, by subscription; and to make the chapel wholly free, without demanding any pew-rents. This has been found a great accommodation to the religious poor in the populous suburb of Sandgate.
BETHEL CHAPEL (Methodists of the New Connexion) (fn. 39)
The dispute which after Mr. Wesley's death ended in a schism of the Methodist body, seems to have been commenced in Newcastle; for, on January 8, 1792, Mr. Cownley, a preacher, gave the Sacrament at Byker, and was zealously and ably defended in several pamphlets by Mr. Alexander Kilham, another preacher, and who, in his Memorial, says, "When I went to Newcastle, I found almost the whole of the society had risen up in my favour, and not more than two or three opposed." When the New Connexion was first formed into a religious community in 1797, its members in Newcastle worshipped in private rooms; but, in 1798, the foundation was laid of Bethel chapel, in the Manor Chare. It is a light, convenient chapel, cost upwards of £1200 in building, and will accommodate about 500 persons. In March, 1799, it was opened for divine worship by the late Mr. John Grundell. (fn. 40)
EBENEZER (Independent Methodists) (fn. 41)
This division of Methodists first arose in Newcastle in 1819, and was then joined by some local preachers from the old connexion, who refused to be controlled in their political sentiments or conduct. Ebenezer chapel, wherein they assemble, was built by the Rev. John Knipes, after his separation from the Postern chapel, and is now rented of Mr. Smith, who holds a lease of the premises of the Keenlyside family. It is calculated to hold above 500 persons.
SILVER STREET CHAPEL (Primitive Methodists) (fn. 42)
As soon as this sect assumed the appearance of a distinct religious community, some persons seceded from the Methodistic body in this town, assembled together for public worship, and corresponded with their brethren in other parts The Butchers' Hall, in the Friars, was one of their first places of meeting; and in 1823, they rented the Sally-port Meeting-house of the lessor, Mr. Wood. They have recently removed from the latter place to the meeting-house in Silver Street, which they have purchased from the trustees of St. James' chapel for £305. The premises are subject to a fee-farm rent of 2s. 10d. a year, a moiety of which is paid by the purchasers. Three preachers belonging to this body are stationed in Newcastle.
NEW JERUSALEM TEMPLE (Swedenborgians) (fn. 43)
The doctrines of this sect being communicated by some soldiers of a militia regiment to a bustling, insane Methodist shoemaker, of Shields, named William Ellis, he promulgated Swedenborg's system at Walker, Bill Quay, Scotswood, and finally at Newcastle, where his converts were visited in 1808 by the Rev. James Hodson, minister of Dudley chapel, Denmark Street, Soho, London, who, in the Cordwainers' Hall, initiated by baptism 73 individuals into the New Jerusalem Church. Some time after this, they met in a school-room at the Nungate, when Mr. William Roberts becoming their minister, they removed, in December, 1816, to the Turk's Head Long Room, and, in October the following year, to the Smiths' Hall. Mr. Roberts died February 2, 1818; and in November following, the Rev. James Bradley arrived from Manchester, and was shortly after chosen minister of this society. In 1820, they removed to more convenient premises, fitted up for them in Low Friar Street by Mr. John Smith, builder. On May 7, 1822, the first stone of the present Temple in Percy Street was laid by the minister; and it was opened on February 16, 1823, by the Rev. Samuel Noble, of London. It is a handsome stone building, 48 feet long and 42 feet broad, and was planned by Mr. William Barkas, house-carpenter, of the firm of Pallister and Barkas. On the pediment in front of the building is the following inscription:—"New Jerusalem Temple, for the Worship of Jesus Christ, the only God. Anno Domini 1822—65." (fn. 44) Its interior is plain, but convenient, and will accommodate above 300 persons; though the building, when crowded, holds about 500. The pulpit is peculiarly neat. Nearly over the entrance into the vestry, a tablet is hung, with this inscription:—"Mrs. Elizabeth Birch, formerly Norman, of Stepnay near Hull, Foundress of this Temple by a liberal Donation of £422, 4s." (fn. 45) The building cost £1221, of which £600 was raised by loan and mortgage. The property is now vested in a local trust of twelve trustees. It was obtained chiefly by the indefatigable exertions of Mr. Bradley, who has also disinterestedly laboured in the ministry for three years without salary, and has been rewarded only with injurious suspicions and unjust reproaches. He has, probably in consequence of this and the cares of business, resigned the ministry. He delivered a course of lectures, elucidating the curious doctrines of this church, which has been printed. The delivery of these discourses was attended by a numerous audience, who were equally surprised at their novelty, and the calm, dispassionate mode in which they were defended. (fn. 46)
BALLAST HILLS BURIAL-PLACE.
This cemetery is situated a short distance east of the Ouseburn, and, as the name indicates, is covered with ballast. Some have inferred, from the silence of Bourne on the subject, that this place was not used for sepulture in his time; but, considering the peculiar cast of mind in this historian, such reasoning is certainly not conclusive. The probability is, that these hills, or wastes, were used by the earliest Scottish emigrants as a place for burying their dead; for the old, stern, unbending Presbyterians, considered the very entrance into an episcopal church as an overt act of idolatry, and would by no means suffer the funeral service to be read over their dead. This burialplace was formerly much larger; for houses have been built, and glass-house cinders poured over the graves of many who had been interred without the present enclosed ground. It does not appear that any enclosure was made until the year 1785, when the following order was made by the common council:—
"At a common council held the fourth day of April, 1785, the inhabitants of the East Ballast Hills petitioned, setting forth, that numbers of swine were daily observed working and grubbing among the graves there, near the petitioners' dwellinghouses, to the great annoyance of the petitioners, and of many others who pass and repass that way. That there were many persons Dissenting from the Church of England, who, of choice, make use of that ground for burying in; and who, if the common council would give them leave, would, by a contribution among them, enclose the said burial-ground with a wall or paling, and would keep such wall or paling in repair, in order to prevent the aforesaid disagreeable nuisance; but, nevertheless, would wish to have it as free for the burial of all manner of persons, without any advance of burial-fees, and as much under the power and direction of the common council, as the same hitherto hath been, and now is. They therefore prayed the common council to permit the said burial-ground to be inclosed for the purpose aforesaid.
"The said petition, being read, was referred to a committee; and thereupon Edward Mosley, Charles Atkinson, and Hugh Hornby, Esqrs, and aldermen, Mr. William Cramlington, and Mr. John Wallis, have reported, that they had considered the contents of the petition, and viewed the said burial-ground; and had received from Mr. Joshua Henzell, one of the owners or lessees of the glass-houses adjacent, the fullest assurances that a compliance with the request of the petitioners will not, in any degree, interfere with the liberties or privileges heretofore demised by this corporation to the owners of any of the said glass-houses, or their trustees. The said committee, therefore, recommended that permission be granted to Messrs. John Kidd, William Davidson, and John Day, to inclose, at their own expense, the said burialground (in the line and extent staked out and shewn to the said committee on their view), and to build, on some proper and convenient part of the said burial-ground, a small dwelling-house for the grave-digger; such inclosure and house to be made under the direction of the town-surveyor. Provided, that after such inclosure is made, all persons be permitted to bury there as heretofore, on payment of the usual fees, and that such fees be not raised or enhanced; and that the appointment of the grave-digger, and the direction and management of the said burial-ground, do continue in this corporation, as it hitherto hath been. All which the committee humbly submitted to the common council.
"The said report, being read, is approved of, agreed to, and confirmed. It is therefore ordered, that the said John Kidd, William Davidson, and John Day, be permitted to inclose the said burial-ground accordingly, and to build thereon such house, under such direction, and subject to such conditions and restrictions as aforesaid.—James Rudman, Mayor."
After the above grant was obtained, a committee of the Dissenting body in this town went from house to house, soliciting subscriptions for making a proper enclosure around this burial-ground, and erecting a house for the sexton. This work was executed in 1786; and the late Michael Callender planted a few trees around the wall for ornament, of which no vestige now remains. A stone was built into the south-east end of the sexton's house, recording the grant just made by the corporation; but the town-surveyor ordered it to be pulled down, and it now lies near the entrance of the gate. Considering the extreme jealousy with which the corporation have always guarded their rights, it is not probable that any grave-stones would be suffered to stand here without their special permission. This perhaps was granted before, or soon after, the Revolution. The oldest stone remaining records an interment near the commencement of the last century:—"The Buriall Place of Patrick Sandalls of ............. Baker And Margratt his wife she De Part ed ys life ye 16e of Decembr 1708." On an upright stone is the following inscription:—"The Burial-place of John and Margaret Brunton, with six children who died in infancy, and Joseph in the prime of life. In 1796, this stone was erected, in grateful remembrance of his parents, by Benjamin Brunton, their only surviving son, in place of one set up by his father, which, after standing 70 years, fell into decay. It is said the first one in this ground." The old stone still lies at the foot of B. Brunton's grave. Sandall's grave-stone shews that Mr. Brunton's information was incorrect.
There is not much literary taste or poetic excellence displayed in the epitaphs that cover this repository of the dead. But this defect is observable in most places of interment. The following, Brand observes, may truly be said to have been wrote by "th' unletter'd muse:"—
"When I enjoyed this mortal life,
This stone I ordered from Scotland's Fife,
To ornament the burial-place
Of me, and all my human race.
Here lies James, of tender affection,
Here lies Isabel, of suett complexion,
Here lies Katherine, a pleasant child,
Here lies Mary, of all most mild,
Here lies Alexander, a babe most sweet,
Here lies Jannet, as the Lord saw meet."
"J. Steel, 1757.
Here lies, avarice (averse) to strife,
A loving and a faithful wife."
On a table monument,—
"In memory of the Rev. Mr. Alexander Nimmo, late minister in the Close. Obiit Februar' 5th, 1770, in the 18th year of his ministry, aged 44.
"How vain the attempt to celebrate on stone
His character: his hearers hearts alone
Are monuments which longer shall proclaim
His praise, than marble rock or short-liv'd fame.
"Here also are deposited the remains of four of his children, viz. Christian, ob. Oct. 1, 1759, ætatis 3. Alexander, ob. Dec. 14, 1778, ætatis 16.
"Lo, here mix in one grave the dust
Of father, son, and sire:
Their kindred souls, adorn'd with crowns,
To heav'nly songs conspire.
"Jane Lesslie, daughter of Mr. Alexander Nimmo, departed this life January the 4th, 1788, in the 24th year of her age. And of her son James, September 21, 1785, in infancy. Done by the order of Mrs. Jane Nimmo, proprietor of this stone. Jane, relict of the Rev. Alexander Nimmo, died May 31,1808, aged 75."
On an upright stone,—
"Here lies the body of the Rev. Mr. James Robertson, late minister of the gospel in Sallyport meeting-house, Newcastle, who departed this life 23d September, 1767, aged 39 years.
"Modest, yet resolute in virtue's cause,
Ambitious not of man's, but God's applause;
Swift was his race, with health and vigour blest,
Soft was his passage to the land of rest;
His work concluded e'er the day was done,
Sudden the Saviour stoop'd, and caught him to his throne.
"Also George his son, who died August 18th, 1767, aged sixteen weeks.
"Erected by the congregation, as a testimony of their esteem for his memory."
On an upright stone,—
"The congregation of Dissenters in the Postern meeting, Newcastle, erected this stone in memorial of the worth and their esteem of the Rev. John Cureton, their late and much revered pastor, departed this life December 1, 1793, aged 32.
"After his short, but zealous and useful labours in various parts of this kingdom, Jesus Christ, whose ambassador he was, and whom he faithfully preached, received him into his presence for ever.
"Stop, reader, whosoe'er thou art,
And let my early doom
Impress with sacred dread thy heart,
And teach thee from the tomb."
"Here sleeps in Jesus the body of Thomas Skinner, late minister of the Gospel, of the Baptist persuasion, in Newcastle, who died the 11th of February, 1795, aged 42 years. The very high esteem which his congregation bore him caused them to erect this stone to his venerated memory.
"The soul has left its tenement of clay,
And soar'd to realms of infinite delight;
Angels convey'd him all th' ethereal way,
T' enjoy the wondrous, beatific sight.
"Now rob'd in purest white, he joyful stands
Amidst th' adoring, blood-bought throng above;
With tuneful voice, and high uplifted hands,
He sings the new, the heav'n-taught song of love.
"'To him who lov'd, and wash'd us in his blood,
'Be honour, glory, pow'r, dominion given;
'To him who made us kings and priests to God,
'Loud hallelujahs fill th' expanse of heaven.'"
"The Burial-place of Thomas Bulcraig and family, late innkeeper on the Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne. Three of his children died in infancy. Elizabeth his daughter, died March 28, 1800, aged 15 years. Also the above Thomas Bulcraig, departed this life Jan. 17, 1802, aged 56 years.
"He's gone who living could most justly claim
The lasting honours of an honest faim
By which we hope he gain'd undoubted right
To endless glory in the realms of light."
"Here sleeps in Jesus the body of Elizabeth, wife of Peter Wilkinson, clerk for the Tyne Ironworks. She died at Blaydon the 30th of Jan. 1802, aged 26 years.
"In faith she liv'd, in dust she lies;
But faith foresees that dust shall rise."
The following is according to the old Scotch custom, whereby the wife retains her maiden name:—"The mortal remains of Jean Adair M'Cracken, wife of the Rev. David Wilson, Kilmarnock, are deposited here. She departed this life, aged 43, on the 10th day of February, 1826."—"The family burial-place of the Rev. James Pringle. William, eldest son of the above James Pringle, and Ann Oliver, his wife, died April 11, 1822, aged 14 years. Margaret Ann, their daughter, died Oct. 5, 1822, aged 5½ years."
"The burial-place of Robert Elliott, whitesmith, of Newcastle. Mary, his wife, died Nov. 22. 1756, aged 36 years. Robert Elliott died Oct. 10, 1784, aged 86 years. Walter Elliott died March 1. 1807, aged 60 years. Jane Elliott died Oct. 12, 1810, aged 30 years. Isabella Elliott died Jan. 22, 1824, aged 83 years. Walter Elliott died July 20, 1824, aged 42 years."—"In memory of Thomas Paget, glassman, who died Sept. 20, 1814, aged 38 years. This stone is erected as a mark of esteem by his brother workmen."—"In memory of William Runchiman, schoolmaster, ob. May 12, 1776."—"The burial-place of James and Margaret Longmoor. Good Saxon, invade not this little spot with strangers. See all that is to be traced on earth is but a putrid mass."—"The burial-place of Henry Strachan, keelman, and family, where, with his two wives, children, and children's children, too numerous to mention."
"George Grieve, M. D. died 30th Sept. 1800."—"James Hainch, schoolmaster, died October 21, 1800, aged 81 years."—"Gilbert Grey, bookbinder, æt. 84, died Wednesday, 12th February, 1794."—"Alexander Murray, schoolmaster, who died April 1, 1785, aged 58 years."—"The burial-place of Alexander Cameron, schoolmaster. Here lies the body of Allan Cameron. late surgeon in Newcastle, who departed this life the 29th July. 1779, aged 32 years."
The burial-places of Alexander and Lilly Doeg; Thomas Fife and Margaret his wife: Nicholas Jackson and Grizel his wife; Alexander and Isabella Reid; William and Ann Loggie: John Beckington: Miles Ismay, master mariner; Andrew Murray, innkeeper: James Bishop, master mariner; Andrew Bell. tallow-chandler; John Common, tailor: Cuthbert Johnson, tobacconist; Edward Aitkine Davidson. grocer; John Reed, shipwright; Captain John M'Kenzie, of Perth: George Wilson, bricklayer: William Cathey, tallow-chandler; Walter Shields, warehouseman: Mansfield Gibson, of Elswick; N. F. Bowmaker, tailor; John Barry, a native of Pigri in Italy; Alex. Petree: Janet Jack; William and Allison Halbert: Kenneth M'Kenzie; Andrew Sessford, schoolmaster; James Fairweather, mariner; Alexander Russell, fruiterer; Robert Sinclair, master mariner, of Kirkwall; James Leslie, baker; Matthew Hall. smith; Thomas Atkinson, tailor; John Craig, cabinet-maker; James Wakenshaw, tailor; John Summerville, grocer; Alexander Wilson, tobacconist; Thomas Angus, printer; William Chapell, cutler; George Hodge, brewer; Robert Nichol, baker; Lewis Chapman, innkeeper; Benjamin Spoor, bottle-maker; James Moreland, linen-draper; Robert Millan, innkeeper; Aaron Scott, master mariner; Thomas Gray, tobacconist; John Murdock, rope-maker; George Wight, baker; John Read, master mariner; John M'Leod, brewer; John Hogg, mercer; John Harvey, tobacconist; James Anderson, malt-maker; Alexander M'Kenzie, tin-plate worker; Thomas Davison, merchant; James Morrison, heel-maker; George Kidd, miller; William Robson, tin-plate worker; Dougal Robertson; George Scotland; Robert Rowley; John Hood; James Faddy; Robert Colhoun.
It does not accord with the plan of this work to notice all the melancholy memorials of the dead which are crowded into this large burial-ground. In May, 1817, it contained 621 grave-stones; but the number at present probably exceeds 700. The average number of interments, from 1820 to 1825 inclusive, was 599 annually. The expense of interment is very moderate; for no funeral service is read, the ground not being attached to any church. Sometimes, however, an exhortation is delivered, or a prayer is pronounced, by the minister of the deceased. This ground is peculiarly well adapted for the purposes of sepulture: it is light and dry, while the calcareous nature of the ballast accelerates the decomposition of the dead. (fn. 47)
More bodies are interred in this burying-ground than in all the church-yards in the town; and, in consequence, it has recently been found inadequate to accommodate the numerous occupants, without prematurely disturbing the remains of those who had gone before, and thus distressing the feelings of the living. The Dissenting ministers, and some leading members of their congregations, held several conferences on this important subject; and at length it was resolved to hold a public meeting in the Orphan House, on the 14th June, 1825, to take into consideration the propriety of obtaining a new place of burial. At this meeting, James Losh, Esq. presided; and, on the motion of Mr. John Fenwick, it was unanimously resolved that three acres of freehold ground on the west or north-west side of Newcastle be purchased; that the sum of £2000 be raised in 200 shares, at £10 each; and that one-fourth of the ground be sold for family burial-places, the rest to be used as a place of general sepulture. (fn. 48) On the motion of the Rev. James Pringle, the committee then appointed were also instructed to adopt measures for obtaining the enlargement and improvement of the Ballast Hills burying-ground.
Accordingly, on the 6th July, 1825, the committee presented a petition to the common council, praying that the waste ground between the north wall of the present burying-ground and the Shields turnpike be granted, for the purpose of enlarging this public cemetery, agreeably to a plan made by Mr. John Bell, and accompanying the petition. On September 29, the petition was referred by the common council to a committee, chosen by themselves, called the Ballast Hills Burying-ground Committee. At this time, an application was made for leave to form a waggon-way across the waste ground prayed for; in consequence of which, the consideration of the petition was deferred. The committee petitioned a second time, and for a smaller portion of ground; and in September, 1826, the corporation decided to grant 23 yards northwards from the present burying-ground, provided that the whole be inclosed by a wall 4½ feet high, and surmounted by an iron railing also 4½ feet in height; that two lodges and a gateway be built on the north side; and that the present sexton's house be pulled down, and two slips of the present ground be added to the adjoining public roads. The waste ground granted by this order measures 1674 square yards, and the old ground measures 2 acres, 3 roods, 19 poles; so that, after the small angles mentioned above are taken off, this burial-place will contain above three acres of ground. The corporation have still the appointment of the sexton, and are paid sixpence for each body interred. (fn. 49)