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Research Notes

Parish Notes Northumberland

Newcastle St Nicholas

[Population 1911: 1,699]

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St. Nicholas's Church occupies a fine position on the top of a bold eminence, which rises abruptly from the river nearly to the centre of the town. It was erected by Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury, in the year 1091, subsequent to which it was destroyed by fire, and rebuilt in 1359. Since this latter period it has undergone many extensive alterations and repairs, and, as it stands, is at once the most conspicuous, as well as the most antiquely beautiful and imposing of all the town's rich assemblage of edifices. It is a cruciform structure, in the decorated style of English architecture, consisting of nave and aisles, transepts, choir and aisles, and a steeple which has been described by almost every writer who has spoken of Newcastle. This steeple is upwards of 200 feet in height. From the ground to the battlements it is divided into three stages, or architectural designs, the lower one being pierced by the principal entrance and a noble window. At the corners of the tower are bold buttresses, surmounted by octagonal turrets, with crocketted pinnacles. From the basis of these turrets spring four flying buttresses, of very graceful form, with crocketted edges, and from their points of intersection, near the centre, rises a very light and elegant square lantern, with a crocketted pyramidal spire at its summit and crocketted pinnacles for its angles. The whole appearance of this crowning termination is singularly graceful. The tower contains a peal of eight very musical bells, the largest of which was placed in the tower in December 1833. The extreme dimensions of this church are, from east to west, 245 feet, and from north to south, 128 feet. The grand entrance is in the west front, under a deep pointed arch over which is a fine large window of five lights, ornamented with tracery. The north side of the nave was, some time ago, newly faced, and, with the exception of its windows, the style of the original has been strictly preserved. The north transept is enclosed with an iron railing, and is remarkable for the beauty of its windows, especially the northern one, which is an exquisite piece of workmanship, consisting of five lights, separated by lofty mullions, and ornamented with elegant tracery. The east end contains a splendid seven-light window with flowing tracery, which lights the chancel. The south transept, usually called St. Mary's porch, contains a very fine window of five lights, similar in style to that at the eastern end of the church. Having now taken a hasty survey of the exterior, let us examine the interior of this venerable edifice: and, on entering the great west door, the stranger will immediately notice its cathedral-like appearance. The boldness of the elevated groined roof, and the massy pillars by which the lofty fabric of the tower is supported - the solemn effect of the light and shade presented through the arches by which the aisles are divided - all combine to produce mingled sensations of awe and gratification. The font is situated near the western entrance. It is a plain octagonal marble vase, supported by a fluted octahedral stone column rising from a similarly formed base, elevated on a broad stone pedestal two steps high, and its eight faces are are each sculptured with a shield of arms. Suspended over the font by four light pillars resting on its rim is a rich and lofty canopy, which, as a specimen of carved work, is a masterpiece of its kind. The south transept is handsomely stalled with a portion of the old oak furnishings which adorned the choir previous to the innovations of 1783. The chancel exhibits much of the character of the nave, except in its windows, which are considerably larger. The organ, a magnificent instrument, containing twenty-two stops, is placed over the principal entrance to the choir. The principal feature of the church is the great east window, already mentioned. The centre compartment is occupied by a fine figure of the Redeemer bearing the cross, with the sponge and other adjuncts of the passion annexed. Beneath this window there is a valuable altar-piece by Tintoretto, presented by Sir Matthew White Ridley, Bart., in 1818. The subject of this painting is Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. This church contains several fine specimens of sculpture, and a great variety of sepulchral monuments, which will amply repay a careful inspection. Of all the northern churches this is stated to have been the richest in the number and beauty of its chantries, which, at the time of the dissolution, amounted to nine or ten. These chantries were endowed with lands and other revenues for the support of the chaplains. The parish register commences in 1558. The living is now a vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Northumberland and deanery of Newcastle, rated at £50; gross income, £833. Patron, the Bishop of Carlisle. Adjoining the church on the south side is St. Nicholas's and Dr. Tomlinson's Library, containing many valuable and curious works. It is open to the public gratuitously every day (Sunday and holidays excepted) from ten to twelve. [Whellan's History, Topography and Directory of Durham (and Newcastle) (1856), pages 946-47.]

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The status of this area is not definitely determined for civil parochial purposes.

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Known vicars of Newcastle are recorded on a white marble monument erected in the sanctuary in 1903, and updated since then:

Richard de Aurea Valle          temp. Henry I
Gilbert de Lacy                          1218
William de Burdon                        1311
John de Hirlawe                          1340
Matthew de Bolton                   ante 1353
Henry Headlam                            1386
Nicholas de S                            1401
Roger de Thresk                     ante 1418
William Glyn                             1418
John de Heyworth                         1436
Alexander Cok                            1452
Thomas Harelred                     ante 1493
John Deye D.D.                           1494
William Fell                        ante 1499
John Sanderson                           1506
John Heryn L.L.D.                        1536
Henry Aglionby                           1543
William Purye A.M.                       1549
William Salkeld A.M.                     1553
John Magbrey                             1568
Richard Holdsworth                       1585
William Morton D.D.                      1596
Henry Power A.M.                         1620
Thomas Jackson D.D.                      1623
Yeldred Alvey D.D.                       1630
Robert Jennison D.D.                     1644
Thomas Nailor A.M.                       1662
John March B.D.                          1679
Leonard Welstead                         1693
Nathaniel Ellison D.D                    1695
William Bradford A.M.                    1721
Thomas Turnor A.M.                       1728
John Brown D.D.                          1761
Richard Fawcett D.D.                     1767
James Stephen Lushington A.M.            1782
Joseph Dacre Carlisle B.D.               1801
John Smith A.M.                          1804
John Dodd A.M.                           1826
Richard Charles Coxer A.M.               1841
Clement Moody A.M.                       1853
Henry John Martin A.M.                   1871
Arthur Thomas Lloyd D.D.                 1882
Edward John Gough D.D.                   1894
George Ernest Newsom A.M.                1917
John Norman Bateman Champaign A.M.       1928
George Edward Brigstocke A.M.            1938
Noel Martin Kennaby A.M.                 1947
Conrad Clifton Wolters A.M.              1962
Christopher Garnett Howsin Spafford M.A. 1976
Nicholas Guy Coulton B.D.                1990

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Non-Parochial Records

Newcastle Courant 3/4/1813 On Tuesday and Wednesday last the labourers employed in removing the hill of earth called the Mount, near the old Castle, in this town, found the skeletons of two men, about a foot and a half below the surface; one of them was lying with the face downward, and from the freshness of its appearance it would seem had not been buried many years.

Gateshead Observer 16/2/1850 WARD'S DIRECTORY. AMONG the many merits possessed by "Ward's Northumberland and Durham Directory," and freely acknowledged by the public and the press, it has been left to one of the most ingenious of our correspondents to discover its poetical beauties! He has culled from the Newcastle and Gateshead departments what he justly claims to be regarded as a truly ORIGINAL poem, although candidly confessing that he has STOLEN it, verbatim et literatum, from Mr. WARD; but then, he asks, was not MILTON indebted for his Paradise Lost to the dictionary? He is willing, however, to leave the copyright with the author of the Directory; and he congratulates that gentleman on having eclipsed poor THOMAS GRAY, whose "elegy" must now give place to the following immortal rhymes, "written in St. Nicholas's churchyard."

AYTON, Layton, John Clayton; Attey, Batty, James Latty;
Hood, Wood; Howse, Dowse; Giles, Smiles, Kyles, Pyles;
Wild, Child, Mister Lister; Hobson, Jobson, Robson, Dobson;
    Slowan, Cowan; Denham, Menham;
    Chater, Frater, Hayter, Slater;
    Horton, Morton; Hindhaugh, Longstaff;
    Carr, Parr, Violin Marr;
    Slowan, Cowan; Carrick, Warwick;
    Ann Grubb and John Chubb;
Park, Stark, Sarah Spark; Miss Mark and Robert Clark;
John Howard, Deborah Toward, and Robertus Shum Coward;
    Heaton, Deighton, Creighton, Leighton;
    Robinson, Dobinson; Waggett, Daggett;
Brighton, Crighton; Mew, Drew; Mary Thew and Ingledew;
Small, Gaul, Wall, Mackall; Ole Wall and Mrs. Dahl;
Hall, Maule; Crawhall, Cathrall; Ann Ball and Haniball;
    Bailey, Caley, Daley, Paley;
    Aydon, Graydon; Byers, Myers;
Mrs. Bansen, Peter Hansen, Mary Ann and Simon Danson;
    Bain, Crane, Dane, Kane;
    Main, Train, and Milvain;
    James Payne and Loraine;
    John, Charles, and Robert Rayne;
    Dean, Bean, Green, M'Queen;
    John M'Lean and Ann M'Leany;
Hird, Bird; Vint, Flint; Dobbie, Jobey; and Molteni;
    Tiffin, Griffin, Wharrier, Farrier;
    Hutton, Dutton, Mary Sutton;
    Cooper Abbs and the M'Nabs;
    Joseph Watson, 'Bella Batson;
Brice, Price, Paradise, and John Crosbie Allardyce;
Mr. David M'Corkle Lyon, and Mr. Frederick Peter Ionn;
Lill, Sill, Hill, Gill; Abraham Balmer, Robert Palmer;
    Mackinlay, Finlay; Barton, Marton;
    Bass, Cass, and Beadle Glass;
Beech, Leech; Moult, Bowlt; Love, Dove; Downs, Towns;
    Lowes, Bowes; Snowdon, Howden;
    Tench, French; Hodgson, Dodshon;
    Howley, Dowley, Rowley, Crowley;
    Patrick Mooney, Michael Rooney;
    Browell, Cowell, Powell, Rowell;
Lunn, Gunn, Martin Dunn; Bell, Fell, Kell, Ketelle;
    Humble, Dumble; Brydon, Dryden;
    Hewitt, Jewitt; Locke, Hancock;
Alex. Rhind, George Wind, and Hodgson Hinde;
    Garth, Scarth; Gamwell, Bramwell;
    Oates, Coates; Snaith, Wraith;
    Trotter, Potter; Ryott, Wyatt;
    Shackley, Wakley; Beldon, Wheldon;
Evans, Jeaveans; Coutt, Stout; Kelly, Gelley, and Tarelli;
Cully, Tully; Varty, Barty; Kasper Mayer, James Sayer;
    Sinton, Vinton, Clinton, Brinton;
Bewick, Trewick; Law, Shaw; Henry Brady and Tiplady;
West, Best; Tait, Wait; Pears, Spears; Kent, Dent;
    Smales, Wailes, and John Fails;
    Rosina Hails and Betsy Bailes;
    Hanks, Shanks, and John Banks;
    Ewart, Tueart, Charles Stewart;
    Nixon, Hickson, Dixon, Rickson;
Bews, Hughes, Plues, Muse; Cree, Lee, Gee, M'Phee;
    Boiston, Royston, Mrs. Oyston;
    Geddie, Peddie, and M'Ready;
    Bodger, Rodger; Goodger, Woodger;
    John Tonkin, Armorer Donkin;
John Origoni and Amony, and Mrs. Charlie Barnasconi;
Kyle, Pyle, Ryle, Carlisle; Dry, Pye, Guy, M'Kie;
Terry, Perry, William Ferry; James Paxton, Susan Claxton;
    Faddy, Gaddy; Mather, Flather;
    Straker, Baker, and Bowmaker;
    Cant, Brabant, Racket, Grant;
Dale, Cail, and Littledale; Joiner Naill and Dr. Hayle;
    Mary Pace and Edward Grace;
    Thomas Place and William Race;
Stott, Scott; Catton, Patton; Frederick Lundi, Mrs. Grundy;
    Crocker, Cocker; Brockett, Rocket;
    Moon, Calhoun; Boyd, Oldroyd;
John Knox, Coxe, and Fox; Enoch Burton, Michael Murton;
        Weddell, Waddell,
        Tweddell, Twaddell;
    How and Dow, Gow and Pow;
    Pole and Cole; Hope and Cope;
    Todd and Dodd; Crooks and Brooks;
    Captain Lake, Inspector Crake;
    Wake, Blake, and Mrs. Longcake;
Crow, Boe, Slow, Ingo; Rowe, Lowe, Snow, Pitloh;
Monro, Eno, Minto, Lithgo; Vittorio Mastaglio;
Cram, Lamb, mrs. Fram; Bone, Stone; Fryer, Prior;
    Christian Allhusen, Solomon Jewson;
Haig, Craig; Legg, Gregg; Ross, Moss, and Hulsenbos;
    Hoyle, Boyle; Corden, Jorden;
    Misses Binks and Mr. Winks;
Captain Wise, Maria Guise; Mackintosh and James Losh;
Charlie Steel and Ann Shell; John Neill and Robert Peel;
    Clemmy, Hemy; Rennie, Penny;
    Joseph Denison, Henry Rennison;
    Lawson, Mawson, Barbara Dawson;
Hay, Day, May, Clay; Gray, Ismay, Monsieur Bucquet;
Beck, Fleck, Peck, Speck; Black, Jack, Brack, Catnach;
Ayres, Faires; Bost, Frost; King, Pring; Wright, White;
    Buckley, Luckley; Renwick, Fenwick;
    Faulder, Caulder, Joshua Alder;
    Barrow, Farrow, Mrs. Yarrow;
    Hawdon, Fawdon; Rigg, Grigg;
    Samuel Twigg, and Bigge, Pigg;
Boag, Doeg; Blyth, Forsyth; Burr, Kerr; Harkus, Barkus;
    Moore, Spoor; Cutter, Rutter;
    Lough, Brough; Garnett, Barnett;
    Barrett, Garrett, David Carret;
    Crome, Glaholm, and Rosenbohm;
    Richard Downing, D.C. Browning;
    Riddell, Siddell, Matthew Lidddell;
    John Bright and Charles Knight;
Ayre, Blair, Faire, Ware; John Hair and Miss M'Nair;
    Pape, Snape; Mann, Swann;
    Lander, Mander; Naylor, Taylor;
James Watt, Robert Pratt; Wren Penn, and M'Venn;
    M'Court, Alport, Mort, Short;
    Porter, Shorter; Orpeth, Morpeth;
    John Megork, Hans Peter Mork;
    M'Culloch, Tulloch, Mary Bulloch;
Ann Mickle, Peter Nichol; Froud, Macleod, Joshua Proud;
    Gowland, Rowland; Clyde, Macbride;
    And Mr. William Keenlyside;
Patrick Quin, Jane Wynn; William Prynn, Ann Thynn;
Henry Glynn, Alice Lynn; George Tinn, Margaret Winn;
    Thomas Moran, Miss Megoran;
    Joseph Stappard and ROBERT WARD.

Newcastle Courant 10/4/1857 It is understood that there is a vacancy in the office of coroner for this borough, Mr John Geo. Stoker having, it is stated, left this country for Australia. The appointment of his successor rests with the Town Council.

Newcastle Courant 19/6/1857 On Tuesday night a lecture was delivered in the Lecture Room, Nelson-street, before a large audience, on the Australian Colonies, by the Rev. J.L. Poore, Independent minister, formerly of Manchester, D.H. Goddard, Esq., in the chair. The lecturer stated that he had been between three and four years in the colonies, having been sent there by the Colonial Missionary Society, to ascertain the condition of the colonies with regard to spiritual instruction. He had travelled through the whole of them, and gave an interesting and historical account of their progress. His object appeared to be to send out sixteen ministers to proceed thither, and to raise a sum of about £1,200 from the British public to assist his efforts. A subscription was entered into at the close of the meeting, to promote the cause.

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