Jesmond Parish Church, Newcastle upon Tyne

dedicated

in memory of the late Rev. Richard Clayton.

[Chaplain of St Thomas's Chapel, Newcastle, from 1836 to 1856.] 



Other pictures wanted please

 
 

The church, better known as the Clayton Memorial Church,  was built between 1859 and 1861 with galleries above the north and south aisles and across the west end where initially there was a small organ.  (Richard Clayton was Chaplain of St Thomas's Chapel, Newcastle, from 1836 to 1856) 

The west gallery was taken down in 1907, following many changes made within the east end of the church from the 1890s onwards. This was when the church was extensively refitted, and choir stalls and a larger organ built in the east end. The lateness of this construction of a west gallery church reflects the conservative evangelical nature of this Anglican church's foundation. (For a history see A.F. Munden's book, available in the church - see web page.) (Information from Robin King)

The dedication of Jesmond Parish Church is unusual, being "in memory of the late Rev. Richard Clayton", chaplain of St Thomas's Chapel, Newcastle from 1836 to 1856.

The church was built to was to fulfil three resolutions of an organising committee of parishioners after Clayton's death:

1. "To testify the veneration and affection of a bereaved congregation for their departed minister....";

2. "To provide additional church accommodation and spiritual superintendence for a town in which such provision, in connection with the Church of England, is at present so fearfully inadequate";

3. "To erect a church, which by having the patronage in perpetuity vested in trustees nominated by the promoters, will form a central point for the maintenance and promulgation of sound scriptural and Evangelical truth in a large and prosperous town...."

There is another agenda in these resolutions. In the early 19th century there were four ancient parishes of Newcastle - St Nicholas, St John, St Andrew and All Saints, plus a new chapel, St Thomas, which had been built to the north of the town, replacing an older chapel near the Quayside.  The incumbent at St Thomas's had derived his income partly from Mastership of the local hospital and partly as priest in charge of St Thomas's Chapel.  In the early years of the nineteenth century the two incumbents, Robert Wasney and Richard Clayton (Clayton for ten years 1826-36 also being Wasney's assistant) were, unusually for the churchmanship of the C of E at the time, evangelicals.  

Upon Clayton's sudden death in 1856 there was a real danger that the evangelical flame in Newcastle would be extinguished as the Vicar of Newcastle (St Nicholas, now the cathedral), who was patron of St Thomas's, sought to impose a non-evangelical against the will of the St Thomas's congregation.  (St Andrew's was already in the hands of the Oxford Movement, and all three of the other ancient Newcastle churches eventually followed towards this tradition.  As far as I [Robin King, 2002] know, incense is still swung at the cathedral (St Nicholas) and St John's, while All Saints has now been handed over to the "Anglican-Catholic Church" following a period of redundancy. Its fittings suggest a "High Church" pedigree, while its acoustics make for a splendid venue for choral concerts.) 

Therefore the congregation of St Thomas's voted by an overwhelming majority to establish their own church under the auspices of the Church of England, and to keep the patronage under a Board of Trustees.  In this, it seems, they were facilitated by the then Bishop of Durham in whose diocese Newcastle then was, and aided and guided by leading Anglican evangelicals of the day.

The proper title of Jesmond Parish Church is "The Clayton Memorial Church"  (see the Diocese of Newcastle (Newcastle Central Deanery) website http://www.newcastle.anglican.org/ ). The foundation stone was laid by the Charles Longley, Bishop of Durham on 20 October 1859, and the church consecrated by the bishop's successor, Henry Villiers, on 14 January 1861.

The date for the demolition of the west gallery, mentioned in Alan Munden's booklet, was 1907, following many of the changes made to the east end of the church from the 1890s onwards.  Alan Munden's booklet  "Jesmond Parish Church, Newcastle upon Tyne" was published in 1981 by Clayton Publications,  ISBN 0 9507592 0 1. 

Alan Munsden was one of the curates at Jesmond Parish Church from 1976 to 1983 before taking up a parish in Coventry and now a group of parishes around Nuneaton.  Jesmond Parish Church has its own web-site: http://www.church.org.uk .

 

Information from Robin King, Newcastle University
 

ACCESS :

Map reference :  Landranger Series Sheet 88,  Ref: 253654
Regrettably, because of vandalism and theft, Jesmond Parish Church does not have open access, but visitors may be permitted to view the church on application to the church offices to the rear of the church in Eskdale Terrace (Monday to Friday), while while regular Sunday services are held at 9.30 am, 11.15 am, and 6.30 pm.  Additional services of Holy Communion are held at 8.00 am on certain Sundays.  

Jesmond Paris Church lies alongside the A1058 Newcastle-Tynemouth Coast Road (Jsmond Road) at its junction with the Newcastle Central Motorway.  By road the church is approached via Osborne Road, Clayto Road and Eslington Terrace.  The church is outside the station.


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This site has been constructed by, and remains the copyright of, its authors,
Edwin and Sheila Macadam,

Shelwin, 30, Eynsham Road, Botley,
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July 2001 -