Built between 12th and 14th centuries (with a tower rebuilt in 1740), St Mary's church was the only Anglican church in Gateshead until 1825. Until the late 18th century all baptisms in the town were performed here. It was the only place to get married before 1825 or buried before 1811. Although for centuries it was the centre of life in the town, it was severely damaged by the fire of 1854 and again in 1979. It lay empty for some years and was deconsecrated. The building is now home to Gateshead Heritage @ St Mary's.