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Tyne and Wear HER(311): Newcastle, Bridge Chapel of St. Thomas the Martyr - Details

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Newcastle, Bridge Chapel of St. Thomas the Martyr



Religious Ritual and Funerary

Place of Worship




Documentary Evidence

The chapel was sited on the east side of the north end of the medieval Tyne Bridge. Because it was dedicated to St. Thomas Becket it presumably postdated his murder in 1170, although the earliest reference to it is 1248. The master of the chapel was usually also the keeper of the bridge. There are said to have been 3 chantries in the chapel, and 3 cellars beneath it. In 1611 it was annexed to the Hospital of St. Mary Magdalene, and in 1732, after being "lately beautified and pewed", it became a chapel of ease to St. Nicholas. It was twice reduced in size in the late 18th century to improve access to the bridge, and was finally demolished in the 1820s/30s. St Thomas' church at Barras Bridge was built by John Dobson in 1827-30 to replace the medieval chapel. Some medieval masonry fragments, possibly parts of the tracery from one of the windows of the old chapel were donated to the Society of Antiquaries by Edward Spoor on 3 May, 1854.




<< HER 311 >> W.Gray, 1649, Chorographia 1883, reprint, p. 38 H. Bourne, 1736, History of Newcastle, p. 130 J. Brand, 1789, History of Newcastle, Vol. I, pp. 31-35 E. Mackenzie, 1827, History of Newcastle, pp. 357-61 T.M. Richardson, 1880, Memorials of Old Newcastle upon Tyne, Plates V and XXIV Photo R.Fraser, 1987, Watergate Buildings- Historic Environment Record F. Burton, 1987, Watergate Buildings - Historic Environment Record Calendar of Common Council Books, 1826, 589/20-21, p. 143 (and pp. 149-53)- Tyne and Wear Archive Service N. Pevsner, 1992, The Buildings of England: Northumberland, p 471 V. Histon, 2000, Nightmare on Grey Street, Newcastle's Darker Side, p 21; Grace McCombie, 2009, Newcastle and Gateshead - Pevsner Architectural Guide, p. 20

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