Newcastle Cathedral

Last updated

Newcastle Cathedral
Cathedral Church of St Nicholas
Newcastle upon Tyne, England.jpg
Tyne and Wear UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Newcastle Cathedral
Shown within Tyne and Wear
Coordinates: 54°58′12″N1°36′40″W / 54.97000°N 1.61111°W / 54.97000; -1.61111
Location Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear
Country England
Denomination Church of England
Previous denomination Roman Catholic
Tradition High Church
Website newcastlecathedral.org.uk
Architecture
Functional statusActive
Heritage designationGrade I
Style English Gothic
Years built1091 c.1500
Specifications
Capacity1,000
Number of towers one
Spire height194 feet (59 metres)
Administration
Province York
Diocese Newcastle (since 1882)
Clergy
Bishop(s) Christine Hardman
Dean vacant
Precentor Clare MacLaren (Music and Liturgy)
Chancellor Peter Dobson Outreach and Discipleship)
Canon Pastor Jean Skinner (SSM)
Canon Missioner vacant
Archdeacon Mark Wroe (Northumberland)
Laity
Director of music Ian Roberts
Organist(s) Kris Thomsett

Newcastle Cathedral, formally the Cathedral Church of St Nicholas, is a Church of England cathedral in Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, England. [1] It is the seat of the Bishop of Newcastle and is the mother church of the Diocese of Newcastle.

Contents

It is the most northerly diocese of the Anglican Church in England, reaching from the River Tyne as far north as Berwick-upon-Tweed and as far west as Alston in Cumbria. [2] The cathedral is a grade I listed building. [3]

Founded in 1091 during the same period as the nearby castle, the Norman church was destroyed by fire in 1216 and the current building was completed in 1350, so is mostly of the Perpendicular style of the 14th century. Its tower is noted for its 15th-century lantern spire. Heavily restored in 1777, the building was raised to cathedral status in 1882, when it became known as the Cathedral Church of St Nicholas.

History

Looking down the nave, remodelled in 2020/21, towards the East Window. Newcastle Cathedral post-refurbishment 2021 .jpg
Looking down the nave, remodelled in 2020/21, towards the East Window.
The choir The Cathedral Church Of St Nicholas Choir.jpg
The choir

The cathedral is named after St Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors and boats. This may reflect the cathedral's position on the northern heights above the River Tyne. It was originally a parish church, built in 1091. [4] It was built close to the line of Hadrian's Wall through Newcastle, which may have passed through or near the churchyard to the south, but unfortunately the exact location of its line through the very centre of the city is currently lost. Close to the south of the cathedral is Newcastle Castle, which gave the city its name, and which was itself built on the site of the Hadrian's Wall fort of Pons Aelius. The Norman church was destroyed by fire in 1216 and the present structure was completed in 1350. [5]

The most famous notable of the cathedral was the Scottish reformer John Knox, who served as minister from late 1550 until 2 February 1553. [6]

In the mid-19th century Newcastle experienced a huge increase in its population, leading to the construction of over 20 new churches in the suburbs. As Newcastle continued to grow, so did its need for a diocese separate from Durham, and so in 1882 the Diocese of Newcastle was formed, with St Nicholas's as its cathedral. [7]

The cathedral is notable for its unusual lantern spire, which was constructed in 1448. For hundreds of years, it was a main navigation point for ships using the River Tyne. At its base the tower measures 36 ft 9 in (11.20 m) by 35 ft (11 m) and it is 194 ft 2 in (59.18 m) from the base to the top of the steeple. [8] [9]

On each corner of the lantern are gilded statues, of Adam eating the apple, Eve holding out the apple, Aaron dressed as a bishop, and David holding a harp. Following work on the street in the 1860s the tower was found to be cracking and tilting, so two porches were added to buttress the structure. Since then the tower has settled and the ornate wooden font cover, which is suspended from the tower inside, does not hang in line with the font. [10]

The interior of the church was badly damaged by Scottish invaders during their brief occupation of the city in 1640, and in 1644, during the nine-week Siege of Newcastle, Scottish invaders threatened to bombard the lantern tower, but were deterred when the mayor Sir John Marley put his Scottish prisoners in it. [11] The tower was repaired in September 1645, 1723 and 1761. A lightning conductor was added in 1777. [12]

In 2020 and 2021, the cathedral closed to visitors on account of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. However, the building work of the Common Ground in Sacred Space heritage project continued. The renovation works entailed removing the Victorian pews, installing underfloor heating, restoring and re-laying up to 130 ledger stones (gravestones), improving the churchyards, and adding an east entrance to the building. The cathedral re-opened in August 2021. [13]

In October 2021, the building was one of 142 sites across England to receive part of a £35-million injection into the government's Culture Recovery Fund. [14]

Bells

The tower contains a complete ring of twelve bells, the tenor bell which weighs almost two tons, plus three 15th-century bells, one of which, "St Nicholas", is rung for daily services. The addition of a second treble bell (named "Gabriel") in 1999 has made it possible to ring a lighter peal of ten bells. [15] Among the bells is a bourdon ('The Major') which weighs nearly six tonnes and is hung for swing chiming. [16]

Notable interior features

Medieval Madonna and Child roundel in St Margaret's Chapel Medieval stained glass roundel, Newcastle cathedral.jpg
Medieval Madonna and Child roundel in St Margaret's Chapel

The nave furnishings were designed by the local artist and craftsman Ralph Hedley in the early 20th century, after the parish church of St Nicholas became a cathedral in 1882. The high altar depicts Christ in Majesty holding an orb and sceptre, flanked by the Four Evangelists each with their special symbol. [17]

Inside the cathedral a finely-carved marble monument commemorates Admiral Lord Collingwood (1748–1810), born just to the south of the cathedral in a house in The Side, who took over command at the Battle of Trafalgar (21 October 1805) after the death of Admiral Lord Nelson. Collingwood was baptised and married in St Nicholas's and each year, on 21 October, a wreath is laid in his memory in front of the monument. [18] His body was buried in St Paul's Cathedral in London, near to that of Nelson. [19]

The cathedral is filled with beautiful stained glass. Much of the original glass was broken during the Civil War and most now dates from the 18th century onwards. St Margaret's Chapel contains the only known fragment of medieval stained glass in the cathedral, a beautiful roundel of the Madonna feeding the Christ Child. More-modern stained glass works such as in St. George's Chapel were erected in honour of two of Tyneside's late 19th-/early 20th-century industrial pioneers, who both died in 1931 within weeks of each other. Other references to industry can be found in the cathedral's stained glass, including in the Charles Parsons window, which features Turbinia , the first turbine-driven steam yacht, with which Parsons astonished the Queen's Navy at the Spithead naval review in 1897. [18]

Monumental brass of Roger and Agnes Thornton and their fourteen children. It was originally in All Saints' Church nearby. Roger and Agnes Thornton Brass.jpg
Monumental brass of Roger and Agnes Thornton and their fourteen children. It was originally in All Saints' Church nearby.

The cathedral contains a number of memorials, the oldest being a 13th-century tomb effigy of a knight in armour, thought to be Peter le Marechal, sword-bearer to King Edward I. It is one of the oldest objects in the cathedral. Another is the Thornton Brass, a monumental brass to Roger Thornton and his wife; he was a successful merchant, three times Mayor of Newcastle, several times Member of Parliament, and great benefactor to the cathedral. This is one of the finest examples of a Flemish brass and dates from at least as early as 1441 (maybe pre-1429); it is believed to be the largest brass in the United Kingdom, and originally it covered Thornton's tomb in the nearby All Saints' Church, Newcastle upon Tyne. This commemoration to Thornton, his wife, seven sons and seven daughters can be seen fixed vertically on the far side of the High Altar, facing the east window. A horizontal replica was previously kept near the north door of the cathedral for brass rubbing purposes. [18]

Just to the north of the cathedral stands a bronze statue of Queen Victoria erected to commemorate 500 years of the Shrievalty (the jurisdiction of a sheriff) of Newcastle. Sculpted by Alfred Gilbert and unveiled in 1903, two years after Queen Victoria's death, the statue was a gift from W. H. Stephenson, a company director and politician who held the office of mayor in Newcastle seven times. [18]

A plaque listing the colours hung in Newcastle Cathedral. Northumberland Fusiliers Colours.jpg
A plaque listing the colours hung in Newcastle Cathedral.

The cathedral is home to a number of standards presented to the cathedral for safe keeping at the end of the First World War; they are displayed in the Chapel of the Northumberland Fusiliers. [20] These include two belonging to the Royal Naval Division (Hood Battalion and Hawke Battalion), and 16 belonging to battalions of the Northumberland Fusiliers (8th, 9th, 10th, 11th 12th & 13th, 14th, 16th (Newcastle Commercials), 17th (North Eastern Railway Pioneers), 18th (1st Tyneside Pioneers), 19th (2nd Tyneside Pioneers), 22nd (3rd Tyneside Scottish), 24th (1st Tyneside Irish), 51st, 52nd, 53rd and 2nd Garrison). [21]

Dean and chapter

As of 9 December 2022: [22]

Music

The Lewis & Co/ Harrison & Harrison/ Nicholson & Co organ at Newcastle Cathedral. St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle - Organ - geograph.org.uk - 975763.jpg
The Lewis & Co/ Harrison & Harrison/ Nicholson & Co organ at Newcastle Cathedral.

The cathedral has a strong tradition of music. In 1503, the thirteen-year-old Princess Margaret, daughter of Henry VII and engaged to marry James IV of Scotland, while passing through Newcastle on her way north, noted in her journal a number of children in surplices "who sang melodious hymns, accompanying themselves with instruments of many sorts". [29] Later, the baroque composer Charles Avison (1709–1770) was organist and choirmaster at the church. [30]

The cathedral choir has been featured on BBC Radio 3's Choral Evensong. [31]

The cathedral is home to a fine organ, a four-manual Grand Organ built by T C Lewis, [32] although rebuilt several times since, notably by Harrison & Harrison in 1911 and 1954 [33] and by Nicholson & Co. of Worcester in 1981. [34]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Newcastle upon Tyne</span> City and metropolitan borough in Tyne and Wear, England

Newcastle upon Tyne, or simply Newcastle, is a city and metropolitan borough in Tyne and Wear, England. The city is located on the River Tyne's northern bank and forms the largest part of the Tyneside built-up area. Newcastle is also the most populous city of North East England. Newcastle developed around a Roman settlement called Pons Aelius and the settlement later took the name of a castle built in 1080 by William the Conqueror's eldest son, Robert Curthose.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Worcester Cathedral</span> Cathedral in Worcester, Worcestershire, England

Worcester Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral in Worcester, in Worcestershire, England, situated on a bank overlooking the River Severn. It is the seat of the Bishop of Worcester. Its official name is the Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Mary the Virgin, of Worcester. The present cathedral church was built between 1084 and 1504, and represents every style of English architecture from Norman to Perpendicular Gothic. It is famous for its Norman crypt and unique chapter house, its unusual Transitional Gothic bays, its fine woodwork, and its "exquisite" central tower, which is of particularly fine proportions. The cathedral contains the tombs of King John and Prince Arthur.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Derby Cathedral</span> Church in Derbyshire, United Kingdom

TheCathedral Church of All Saints Derby, better known as Derby Cathedral, is a cathedral church in the city of Derby, England. In 1927, it was promoted from parish church status, to a cathedral, creating a seat for the Bishop of Derby, which new see was created in that year. The original church of All Saints was founded in the mid-10th century as a royal collegiate church, dedicated to All Saints. The main body of the church as it stands today is a Georgian rebuilding by James Gibbs, completed in 1725. The tower dates from the 16th century, and a retroquire was added in the 20th century.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tyne and Wear</span> Metropolitan county in North East England

Tyne and Wear is a metropolitan county in North East England, situated around the mouths of the rivers Tyne and Wear. It was created in 1974, by the Local Government Act 1972, along with five metropolitan boroughs of Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne, Sunderland, North Tyneside and South Tyneside. It is bordered by Northumberland to the north and Durham to the south; the county boundary was formerly split between these counties with the border as the River Tyne.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Beverley Minster</span> Church in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England

Beverley Minster, otherwise known as the Parish Church of Saint John and Saint Martin, in Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire, is a parish church in the Church of England. It is one of the largest parish churches in the UK, larger than one-third of all English cathedrals and regarded as a Gothic masterpiece by many.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Truro Cathedral</span> Church in Cornwall, United Kingdom

The Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a Church of England cathedral in the city of Truro, Cornwall. It was built between 1880 and 1910 to a Gothic Revival design by John Loughborough Pearson on the site of the parish church of St Mary. It is one of only three cathedrals in the United Kingdom featuring three spires.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Whitley Bay</span> Seaside town in Tyne and Wear, England

Whitley Bay is a seaside town in the North Tyneside borough in Tyne and Wear, England. It formerly governed as part of Northumberland and has been part of Tyne and Wear since 1974. It is part of the wider Tyneside built-up area, being around 10 miles (16 km) east of Newcastle upon Tyne. Two notable landmarks are the Spanish City and St. Mary's Lighthouse, the latter on a small island near the town.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hexham Abbey</span> Church in United Kingdom

Hexham Abbey is a Grade I listed place of Christian worship dedicated to St Andrew, in the town of Hexham, Northumberland, in the North East of England. Originally built in AD 674, the Abbey was built up during the 12th century into its current form, with additions around the turn of the 20th century. Since the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1537, the Abbey has been the parish church of Hexham. In 2014 the Abbey regained ownership of its former monastic buildings, which had been used as Hexham magistrates' court, and subsequently developed them into a permanent exhibition and visitor centre, telling the story of the Abbey's history.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hereford Cathedral</span> Church in Herefordshire, England

Hereford Cathedral is the cathedral church of the Anglican Diocese of Hereford in Hereford, England.

The Bishop of Newcastle is the ordinary of the Church of England's Diocese of Newcastle in the Province of York.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Manchester Cathedral</span> Church in Manchester, England

Manchester Cathedral, formally the Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St Mary, St Denys and St George, in Manchester, England, is the mother church of the Anglican Diocese of Manchester, seat of the Bishop of Manchester and the city's parish church. It is on Victoria Street in Manchester city centre and is a grade I listed building.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">St Mary's Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne</span> Church in Tyne and Wear, England

The Cathedral Church of St Mary is a Catholic cathedral in Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, England. It is the mother church of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle and seat of the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle. The cathedral, situated on Clayton Street, was designed by Augustus Welby Pugin and built between 1842 and 1844. The cathedral is a grade I listed building and a fine example of the Gothic Revival style of architecture championed by Pugin.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Blackburn Cathedral</span> Church in Lancashire, United Kingdom

Blackburn Cathedral, officially known as the Cathedral Church of Blackburn Saint Mary the Virgin with St Paul, is an Anglican cathedral situated in the heart of Blackburn town centre, in Lancashire, England. The cathedral site has been home to a church for over a thousand years and the first stone church was built there in Norman times.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Portsmouth Cathedral</span> Church in Hampshire, United Kingdom

The Cathedral Church of St Thomas of Canterbury, commonly known as Portsmouth Cathedral, is an Anglican cathedral church in the centre of Old Portsmouth in Portsmouth, England. It is the cathedral of the Diocese of Portsmouth and the seat of the bishop of Portsmouth.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford</span> Cathedral in Oxford, United Kingdom

Christ Church Cathedral is the cathedral of the Anglican diocese of Oxford, which consists of the counties of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire. It is also the chapel of Christ Church, a college of the University of Oxford. This dual role as cathedral and college chapel is unique in the Church of England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ralph Hedley</span> British painter, woodcarver and illustrator (1848–1913)

Ralph Hedley was a realist painter, woodcarver and illustrator, best known for his paintings portraying scenes of everyday life in the North East of England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Church of St Thomas the Martyr</span> Church in Newcastle upon Tyne, England

The Church of St Thomas the Martyr in Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, England. Is one of the most prominent city centre landmarks, located close to both universities, the city hall and main shopping district in the Haymarket.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Roman Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle</span> Catholic diocese in England

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle is a Latin Church diocese of the Catholic Church, centred on St Mary's Cathedral in the city of Newcastle upon Tyne in England. The diocese is one of the six suffragan sees in the ecclesiastical Province of Liverpool and covers the historic boundaries of County Durham and Northumberland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Archibald Matthias Dunn</span> British architect (1832 – 1917)

Archibald Matthias Dunn FRIBA, JP, was a British architect. He was, along with his partner Edward Joseph Hansom, among the foremost Catholic architects in North East England during the Victorian era.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">All Saints' Church, Newcastle upon Tyne</span> Church in Newcastle upon Tyne, England

All Saints' Church is a late 18th-century church in Lower Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, which replaced a medieval church on the same site. All Saints' Church is the only elliptical church building in England, the third tallest religious building in Newcastle and the ninth-tallest structure in the city overall. It is a Grade I listed building.

References

  1. "What's in a name?". Newcastle Cathedral. September 2021. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  2. Diocese website Archived 19 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine , URL accessed 30 June 2007]
  3. Historic England. "Cathedral of St Nicholas (1355309)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 3 December 2022.
  4. "St Nicholas' church: History and architecture | British History Online". www.british-history.ac.uk.
  5. Mackenzie, Eneas (1827). "'St Nicholas' church: History and architecture', in Historical Account of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Including the Borough of Gateshead (Newcastle-upon-Tyne". pp. 235–255. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
  6. Jane Dawson, John Knox, (Yale University Press: 2015). 61-64
  7. "No. 25110". The London Gazette . 23 May 1882. p. 2393.
  8. Tower statistics Archived 22 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine , URL accessed 30 June 2007
  9. Flannery, Julian (2016). Fifty English Steeples: The Finest Medieval Parish Church Towers and Spires in England. New York City, New York, United States: Thames and Hudson. pp. 434–443. ISBN   978-0500343142
  10. "Cathedral". Timarchive.freeuk.com. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  11. History of the building at GenUKI website, URL accessed 9 March 2007
  12. "St Nicholas' church: History and architecture | British History Online". British-history.ac.uk. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  13. "Common Ground in Sacred Spaces". TGA Consulting Engineers. Retrieved 5 December 2021.
  14. "Heritage and Craft Workers Across England Given a Helping Hand"Historic England, 22 October 2021
  15. Description of the bells at the cathedral website Archived 22 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine , URL accessed 30 June 2007
  16. "Bell Ringing". Newcastle Cathedral. Retrieved 5 December 2021.
  17. Cathedral tour Archived 22 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine , URL accessed 30 June 2007
  18. 1 2 3 4 "St Nicholas Cathedral". Old Newcastle. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  19. "Memorials of St Paul's Cathedral" Sinclair, W. p. 453: London; Chapman & Hall, Ltd; 1909.
  20. "Collections and research". Newcastle Cathedral. Retrieved 25 December 2022.
  21. Clarkson, Georgina (27 April 2022). "Remembering lives lost in centuries gone by". Newcastle Cathedral. Retrieved 25 December 2022.
  22. Newcastle Cathedral – Meet the Team (Accessed 9 December 2022)
  23. "Retirement of the Dean of Newcastle, Geoff Miller". Newcastle Cathedral. 12 September 2022. Archived from the original on 31 October 2022. Retrieved 9 December 2022.
  24. "Events Archive". Newcastle Cathedral. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  25. "Announcement of the appointment of the Canon for Outreach and Discipleship - Newcastle Cathedral Church of St Nicholas". Archived from the original on 8 August 2019. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  26. "New Archdeacon of Northumberland Installed". Newcastle Cathedral.
  27. "The Annual Parish Vestry Meeting and Annual Congregational Meeting" (PDF). Newcastle Cathedral. 25 October 2020. Retrieved 5 December 2021.
  28. "The new Bishop of Penrith is consecrated". Diocese of Carlisle. Archived from the original on 15 July 2022. Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  29. Newcastle Cathedral Choir website, URL accessed 5 May 2009
  30. Charles Avison biography at Naxos Records.com, URL accessed 5 May 2009
  31. BBC Choral Evensong, 6 December 2006, URL accessed 9 March 2007
  32. Description of the Organ, URL accessed 9 March 2007
  33. Harrison & Harrison catalogue Archived 6 May 2006 at the Wayback Machine , URL accessed 9 March 2007
  34. Details of the organ from the National Pipe Organ Register, URL accessed 9 March 2007