ABOUT THE PARISH
Read about the parish of St Aloysius and St James...
Hebburn - St Aloysius
A large red brick Gothic Revival church and early work by Charles Walker of Newcastle, replacing an earlier school-chapel. The church was reordered for its consecration in 1999.
Hebburn expanded considerably during the mid-nineteenth century due to the growth of the local colliery, the shipbuilding industries, and chemical works. The mission was established in the 1860s from St Bede, Jarrow. Mass was initially said in the Ellison Buildings, and the first resident priest arrived in December 1871. The following year, a school-chapel opened on part of the present site. The present church was opened beside it by Bishop Wilkinson on 3 June 1888. The architect was Charles Walker and the principal contractor Mr Lumsden of Jarrow. At the time of opening, the Newcastle Daily Journal described the church as being in the Early French style. The tinted glass windows were provided by Messrs Reid & Millican of Newcastle and the benches by Messrs George Clark & Co of West Hartlepool. The overall coast was £5,000. Several additions were planned as a second phase, including side chapels, a tower and belfry, and an organ gallery.
In 1912, a porch was added to the church. After the end of the First World War, the Lady Chapel was added as a war memorial. During the interwar years, the presbytery was extended (the extension is now used as the parish office). In 1947, an organ gallery was erected in the (liturgical) south transept. The old school-chapel was demolished in the late 1970s and a new parish hall built on its site (opened 1984).
The church faces southwest. The following commentary uses conventional liturgical orientation, whereas the list description uses the actual orientation.
The church is described in the list entry (see below). However, that description requires a few updates and additions.
As noted above, there are several later additions to the church: the northwest porch (1912) and the Lady Chapel (c.1919). The south transept gallery (in the list entry ‘north transept gallery’) was installed in 1947 and was removed following a fire in the 1980s or 1990s. As far as is known, a gallery in the opposite transept was never realised.
Following the most recent re-ordering, few of the original sanctuary furnishings described in the list entry are still present. The side screens, the communion rail and pulpit have all been removed. The pierced timber screen set against the east wall may be a remnant of the original scheme. Tabernacle stand, altar and lectern (part of the 1999 reordering) are all of stone and incorporate one or more columns with unfinished capitals inspired by the capitals of the nave arcade and transepts.
The original octagonal stone font is set against the west wall on a raised railed pavement. Behind it is a cast-iron rail with angel heads in the balusters.
On corbels on either side of the west windows are a few painted organ pipes (disused).
The Lady Chapel has a statue of Our Lady of the Rosary framed by a timber reredos on a timber altar. Other statues in the church include: St Anthony, St Teresa, St Patrick, the Sacred Heart, St Agnes, St Aloysius and St Joseph.
There are few stained glass windows in the church. The east rose has modern glass depicting ecclesiastical symbols in the eight circles around the centre window with a stained glass cross. The west window has decorative patterned glass. The Lady Chapel has three pairs of lancets depicting the Annunciation (c.1921), the Coronation of the Virgin (c.1918) and the Nativity (c.1916).
An uncarved corbel in the north transept bears the date of the opening of the church (1888), while another opposite commemorates its consecration (1999).
The Stations of the Cross are paintings in gabled and crocketed timber frames.
The south gallery was destroyed by fire and removed. In the late 1990s, the church was reordered by the architect John Waugh, who also replaced some of the windows and the floor. The church was consecrated on 28 October 1999.
RC parish church. 1888 by C Walker of Newcastle. Polychrome brick with terracotta and sandstone dressings; roof of Welsh slate. 4-bay nave, with north and south aisles and south porch; 2-bay chancel. Double transepts, apsidal chapel to north transept. North and south elevations : 3 over 3 lancet windows to each transept gable, with 3 slit openings in the peaks : 3 lancets to each aisle bay, 2 to each bay in the clerestory; angle buttresses with 1 set-back and gablets at east and west ends, buttresses with 3 set-backs to transepts and aisles. West elevation: round window, sandstone, with plate tracery in round-headed brick recess having gauged brick arch; small lancets in peak flank corbelled pilaster bearing cross finial. Hood moulds, beast and flower stops, strings, gable and buttress copings of terracotta.
Interior: boarded roof with scissor- braced trusses, alternate ones having strutted arch braces and resting on corbels of stone and brick, continuous over nave and chancel; Lady Chapel apsidal with arch-braced wood roof; north transept contains gallery with organ case, but only corbels show position of south gallery either removed or not built; central arcaded beam supports transept roofs; corbels of angels and mythical beasts; glass, mostly original, by Reed Millican of Newcastle. Furnishings: altar and reredos by John Gallagher of Newcastle, are Gothic, as are the side screens and communion rail and pulpit of similar design. Source: Jarrow Express 8th June, 1888, p.7: report of opening.
Hebburn - St James
A large church conceived before and built after the Second Vatican Council, conventional in plan and design. It has a tall southwest bell tower and a projecting baptistery. The original sanctuary has been divided off to form a small hall.
The tender for the construction of the church was dated March 1963. By c.1965 the church was approaching completion. It was opened in 1967. The architect was David Brown ARIBA of Newcastle. The contract sum was £57,740 4s 8d. At some point, a hall was created in the former east end of the church, also used as a weekday chapel. The presbytery is now used as the chaplaincy for the adjacent St Joseph’s RC Secondary School. The church is served from St Aloysius, Hebburn (qv).
The church was built with external brick walls in stretcher bond, relieved by cast stone dressings and black and white aggregate panels. The pitched roof is copper-covered. The plan is rectangular, with a narrower sanctuary (now the hall), a tower at the southwest and an octagonal former baptistery at the northwest. The west elevation has a gabled five-light window with aggregate panels above and below, framing the segmentally-headed doorway. The north and south sides of the church each have five tall two-light nave windows, with aggregate panels below, while the chancel has a tall three-light window. The east end is blind. In the northeast angle between nave and chancel is the flat-roofed Blessed Sacrament Chapel, with further flat-roofed ancillary spaces along the south side of the nave.
The roofs of the tower and baptistery are pyramidal; the former is copper-clad, the latter covered in asphalt. The tower has a segmentally-headed south door and three square ground-floor windows set into the rendered face of the west side. Just below the eaves are four vertical openings on each side. The baptistery walls are covered in black and white mosaic panels.
Above the narthex is the gallery with the pipe organ. The inside of the west window is dominated by a large sculpture of the Risen Christ. The flat ceiling of the nave is decorated with four coffered bands, the coffering picked out in red and in some cases containing the lights. The former baptistery at the northwest has blue glass in the clerestory window band, the original octagonal marble font, wrought-iron gates and a statue of Our Lady. Set against the east end is a glazed timber screen. The stone sanctuary furnishings date from the post-Vatican II re-ordering. At the northeast is a skylit recess housing the brass tabernacle on a marble pedestal. The Stations are unframed modern reliefs. The hall in the former chancel has a suspended ceiling and the remains of plain vertical panels along the east wall.