Our history

The Church of the Holy Saviour in the Parish of Tynemouth Priory is the only church of the church of England in Tynemouth. The Parish covers 730 acres, from Northumberland Park in the South West to Beach Road in the North. The total population was 9620 in 2006, although in common with other churches only a minority are active church goers.

In September 1839 the foundation stone of Holy Saviour's Church, Tynemouth, was laid by Mathew Bell member of Parliament for South Northumberland. The Duke of Northumberland, who donated the site and £200 towards building costs, was to have performed the ceremony, but was indisposed.

John and Benjamin Green of Newcastle were the architects, and they used a simple aisle-less plan. The chapel was 83 feet long, 41 feet broad and had a 95 foot high spire with a wooden framework surmounting the stone tower at the west end. The main access was by the door, now bricked up internally, in the south transept.

Holy Saviour's was consecrated by Bishop Edward Malby on 11th August 1841 as a chapel of ease to Christ Church North Shields. The first service actually took place 18th April 1841. The Vicar of Tynemouth (i.e of Christ Church North Shields) continued to be responsible for the services, although in 1846 a curate the Revd George Latimer resident in Dockwray Square was in immediate charge.

During the first twenty years of the chapel's existence, the Church of England was becoming increasingly aware of the need for greater accomodation and preferably free pews. Otherwise its membership would be predominantly upper and middle class, and the poor would have no place to go. Tynemouth's church was built before the panic of 1851, when it was estimated that only 18% of the urban population could have been accommodated in church, should all have been so minded. Holy Saviour's Church was needed to serve the inhabitants of "Tynemouth" parish from the mouth of the Pow Burn by the Fish Quay and as far north as Earsdon.

Looking at the 1841 census returns for Tynemouth, one is tempted to wonder if the needs of the distinguished visitors requiring sea-bathing may have dictated the site of the new church. The actual population of Front Street and its associated lanes was little more than 1000. However there were 33 lodging-housekeepers and five inns.

Sir John was an assistant Poor Law Commissioner, responsible for reforming the Poor Law system in the North East.

On 16th April 1861 by Order in council, Holy Saviour's was formally separated from the mother church of Tynemouth (Christ Church) and described as "the district Chapelry of Tynemouth Priory". The new living had been offered by the Patron, the Duke of Northumberland, to the Revd Thomas Featherstone on 21st November 1860.

The church has gone on from strength to strength and is still a large part of life in Tynemouth, 11 vicars have followed in Thomas Featherstone's footsteps with the help of 21 curates to date.

Keepers. By 1846, when the village had begun to spread westwards, 91 lodging houses were advertised and there were 15 inns. this floating population might not have prompted ecclesiastical recognition, but in 1841 the occupant of Tynemouth House was Sir John Walsham, with his wife, 6 children, a governess and 8 servants.


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