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Tyne and Wear HER(7402): Birtley, Birtley Lane, RC Church of St. Joseph and Presbytery - Details

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Birtley, Birtley Lane, RC Church of St. Joseph and Presbytery



Religious Ritual and Funerary


Roman Catholic Church

Early Modern


Extant Building

Opened by 1843 to replace the Birtley RC Mission which had been in operation since the seventeenth century. A school and other facilities were later added for the Catholic population {1}. This Dobson-designed church followed from a Catholic Benedictine mission of 1696, which had moved to Birtley in 1746. A Chapel was then registered in 1791 after the Catholic Relief Act came into force, but this became too small to accommodate the influx of Catholic Irish to the area and so this church was built. Designed in the Early English style, it is constructed of large coursed sandstone blocks with carved details. The roof is of Welsh slate with broad stone water tables, the western one having single-stone carved ‘gables’ to each end. To the western end is a carved turret with broad pinnacle atop, crowned with a cross. The cross is echoed to the eastern gable and to either end of the presbytery ridge, where there are also kneelers to the eaves. There is stone buttressing to the northern and southern sides, as well as a string course beneath the leaded, coloured, lancet windows. To these, and to the porch at the western end of the south elevation, are hood mouldings which are echoed in the presbytery. To the eaves is a shallower, even stone course. The boundary walls have tall gate piers with gabled capstones. Church cost £1500; Presbytery cost £1100. Once had an angelus bell (cost £55, 2’4” dia, 1 ½ hundredweight) rung at noon and 6pm. Originally dedicated to St. Mary & St. Joseph. 1851 Rev John Swale; 1906 Rev Felix Anselm Prior. DATE 1843 (Church), 1870 (Presbytery) LISTED GRADE II




Gateshead Council Local List; George Nairn and Dorothy Rand, 1997, Images of England - Birtley, p 70;; Harry Letch, 1970, Birtley: Gleanings from the History of Birtley; [accessed 7th March 2016]; Historic England (Designation), Consultation Report, 14 March 2016; Historic England (Designation), Advice Report, 18 Aug 2016;

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