St Thomas' Church, Newcastle upon Tyne

4.0
#15 of 19 in Historic Sites in Newcastle upon Tyne
The Church of St Thomas the Martyr, Newcastle upon Tyne, is one of the most prominent city centre landmarks, located close to both universities, the city hall and main shopping district in the Haymarket. It is a 19th-century Anglican re-foundation of a medieval chapel, traditionally said to have been created by one of the assassins of Thomas Becket.
Dedication and foundationThe church is dedicated to St Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was murdered in 1170 by a group of four English knights acting – so they mistakenly believed – on the orders of Henry II. Since Becket had defended the privileges of the Church against Henry, he was regarded as a martyr and canonized in 1173. The four murderers were instructed, in order to atone for their sins, to serve a period as confreres (associate brothers) of the Knights Templar, but it is believed that one of them, Hugh de Morville, also elected to found a chapel dedicated to the saint as a private penance. It was this chapel which would eventually become the Church of St Thomas the Martyr. The precise foundation date is uncertain, but probably in the 1170s, and certainly by the early 13th century.
De Morville’s chapelDe Morville – if indeed he was responsible – set up his chapel at a riverside location, next to what is now the Swing Bridge but what was then a wooden affair and the only bridge across the Tyne at Newcastle. By 1248 both bridge and chapel were in the care of a Keeper, known only as Lawrence. In that year much of the town was destroyed by fire; the chapel escaped, but the bridge was badly damaged and Lawrence was given responsibility for raising money for rebuilding, which included the reconstruction of the bridge in stone.
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St Thomas' Church Reviews
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Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • It is a remarkable Anglican Gothic-style church, located in the centre of Newcastle, very close to the two universities and the City Hall. The church is dedicated to St Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, murdered in the 12th century by English knights, for which he was considered a martyr. Outside we appreciate the main tower with its clock in front and the beautiful gardens, while inside we saw a beautiful altar, the huge organ and the magnificent ornamentation.
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  • It is a very ordinary church. It’s is really basic but I do like seeing the bell being rung. Not good.  more »
Google
  • really nice place to spent some time on one of benches with friends.. and can learn some history if you care..
  • Lovely church in centre of Newcastle which could do with a clean outside to show off amazing brickwork - dirty black not ideal! Friendly staff and history boards were useful. Great freetraid shop selling coffees, teas, sweets, etc with some nice eco friendly products. Would have loved to go into gallery area but was told no-one goes/is allowed up there??
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