Cathedral Church of St Nicholas, Newcastle


Cathedral Church of St NicholasSt Nicholas is the cathedral for the Church of England Diocese of Newcastle and is named after St Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors and boats. It is the most northerly cathedral in England. The church as originally founded in 1091 but was destroyed by fire in 1216. The current building was completed in 1350, and underwent a major restoration in 1777. The church was given cathedral status in 1882. The cathedral has a strong association with music, including composer Charles Avison (1709-1770), who was church organist. The cathedral has many fine features, including  furnishings in the nave designed by the local artist Ralph Hedley (1848-1913).

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. It was built close to the line of Hadrian's Wall through Newcastle, which may have passed through the churchyard, 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.

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. With this, Newcastle was designated a City in the same year.

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 by and it is from the base to the top of the steeple.

On each corner of the lantern are gilded statues, of Adam eating the apple, Eve holding out the apple, Aaron is dressed as a Bishop, and David holds 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.

The interior of the church was badly damaged by Scottish invaders during their brief occupation of the city in 1640, and in 1644, during a nine-week siege, Scottish invaders threatened to bombard the lantern tower, but were deterred when the mayor Sir John Marley put his Scottish prisoners in it.

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. Newcastle Cathedral is the second tallest religious building in Newcastle and the sixth tallest structure in the city overall.

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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.

Inside the cathedral a finely carved marble monument commemorates Admiral Lord Collingwood (1748–1810), who took over command at the Battle of Trafalgar (21 October 1805) after the death of Admiral Lord Nelson. He was baptised and married in St Nicholas, and each year, on 21 October, a wreath is laid in his memory in front of the monument.

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 mediaeval 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.

The cathedral contains a number of memorials, the oldest being a 13th-century effigy of an unknown knight, probably a member of the household of Edward I. It is one of the oldest objects in the cathedral. Another celebrates Admiral Lord Collingwood, a hero of the Battle of Trafalgar, who was baptised and married in the cathedral. Another is the "Thornton Brass", a memorial to Roger Thornton, who 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 (may be pre-1429); it is believed to be the largest brass in the United Kingdom, and originally it covered Thornton's tomb. This commemoration to Thornton, his wife, seven sons and seven daughters can be seen behind the High Altar.

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.

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Visit the page: Newcastle Cathedral for references and further details. You can contribute to this article on Wikipedia.

The cathedral has a strong tradition of music. In 1503, Princess Margaret, daughter of Henry VII and engaged to marry James IV of Scotland, passed through Newcastle, noting in her journal a number of children in surplices "who sang melodious hymns, accompanying themselves with instruments of many sorts". Later, the baroque composer Charles Avison (1709–1770) was organist and choirmaster at the church.

The cathedral choir has been featured on BBC Radio 3's Choral Evensong, performed with the Northern Sinfonia at The Sage Gateshead and sung in concert with the Mediæval Bæbes. They have also recorded a number of CDs.

The cathedral is home to a fine organ, a four-manual Grand Organ built by T C Lewis, although rebuilt several times since, notably by Harrison & Harrison in 1911 and 1954 and currently by Nicholson & Co. of Worcester. This organ has been out of action since 2013 due to its deteriorating mechanics.

Text from Wikipedia, available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License (accessed: 08/04/2016).
Visit the page: Newcastle Cathedral for references and further details. You can contribute to this article on Wikipedia.
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New Bishop Enthroned (1941)

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St Nicholas Cathedral - official Website
- "Very soon after the building of a castle by Robert, William the Conqueror’s eldest son, in 1080, the first parish church on the site of St Nicholas Cathedral was ...

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Newcastle St Nicholas interior 1893

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E-M10 High ISO in St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle

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E-M10 High ISO in St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle

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E-M10 High ISO in St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle

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E-M10 High ISO in St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle

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St Patrick

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E-M10 High ISO in St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle

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E-M10 High ISO in St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle

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All in the Family

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Santa Claus

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top of St Nicholas's Cathedral spire

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Newcastle & Gateshead February 2011.

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Newcastle & Gateshead February 2011.

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Medieval baptismal font, St. Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle

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squirrel with foot

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St Nicholas Cathedral, 1958

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Charles Avison (1709-1770)
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Charles Avison (1709-1770)
- Overview About Charles Avison Charles Avison was born into a musical family in Newcastle and became one of the most important concerto composers in 18th Century England. Avison was organist at St ...
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Window in the South Transept of St Nicholas' Church, Newcastle

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St Nicholas Cathedral, 1956

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St Nicholas Church, Newcastle upon Tyne

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Pews in St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne

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St. Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne

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Interior of St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne

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St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne

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Pulpit at St. Nicholas Cathedral

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Image taken from page 53 of 'A descriptive and historical account of the Monuments and Tombstones in the Church of St. Nicholas, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Compiled by R. W., ... and illustrated, etc'

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Reflections of St Nicholas, Newcastle upon Tyne

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The Pulpit, St. Nicholas' Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne

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St. Nicholas' Cathedral, Newcastle

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St Nicholas Cathedral Newcastle

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Newcastle Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne

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View of Newcastle upon Tyne

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Vic And Nic

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Newcastle Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne

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The Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas

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The tower and west front of the Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas

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The Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas

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The Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas - royal coat of arms

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The Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas - choir stall, south aisle

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The Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas - choir stall

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The Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas - poppy head

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The Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas - bench end

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The Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas - bench end

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The Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas - the Bishop's throne (detail)

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The Font St. Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne

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The tower of St Nicholas Cathedral

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Carved alabaster lion on the pulpit, St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne

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High Altar and Reredos St. Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne

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The Pulpit, St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne

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The Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas - stone head, nave

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The Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas - the crossing

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The Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas - stained glass window, clerestory

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The Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas - stained glass window, crypt

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The Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas - memorials

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The Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas - stained glass window, St. Margaret's Chapel

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The Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas - the Lloyd Memorial

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The Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas - the Maddison Monument (4)

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The Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas - stained glass window, north choir aisle

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The Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas - Collingwood Monument

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