Archive items

Archive photos. produced by kind permission of Norman Dunn. Website address :-

Verger’s House.

The following photographs were kindly sent to St.Paul’s by a lady whose Grandfather, George Alma Johnson, was Verger of St. Paul’s from 1902 until his death in 1932, at the age of 74 yrs.

The Verger’s House was built inside the Saxon and Norman ruins and the below picture shows the house partially demolished in the mid 20th. century after the new Verger’s Cottage was built in the NE area of the churchyard.

The Verger’s house was erected in the mid 17th. century and modified in the 18th.century. The first picture below shows the garden of the house and the second picture shows the Saxon doorway behind the wooden fence with the house to the right of the photo.

Also erected around the same time as the Verger’s House was a Church Rectory, shown in the photographs below. This was demolished in 1878 and replaced by an Old Schoolroom which was the first school to be built in Jarrow. It was extended with a further 2 classrooms in 1886.

The above photograph shows the south side of the Verger’s House amid the monastery ruins.

Archbishop of Canterbury’s visit to Jarrow.

In 1973, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Ramsey, visited St. Paul’s and the below two photographs record his visit.

The Archbishop with St.Paul’s choristers. Included are :- The Revd. Harold Saxby, Syd Harrison (organist), Shiela Young (deputy organist), Stuart Hemmer, Mandy Hemmer, Gordon Riddle, Les Knowles

The Revd. John Hodgson (1779-1845)

On a south wall windowsill of the nave stands a bust of the Reverend John Hodgson, who was Rector of the Jarrow Parish from 1808 until 1823. A very talented man, Hodgson was also a prominent local historian, who managed to find time in his busy schedule to write books on the local history of the north east of England.
In 1812, an explosion occurred at Felling Colliery, killing 92 men and boys. This was in the same parish at that time, and many of the victims and their families were known personally to Hodgson,who had to conduct many of their funerals.
The disaster impelled him to set up a relief fund and establish a “Society for the Prevention of Accidents in Coal Mines.” He became a close friend of Sir Humphrey Davey, and the outcome of their joint efforts resulted in the perfection of the Davey Safety Lamp. The continued high incidence in mining tragedies led to his continued involvement in campaigns to promote safety issues within the Coal Mining Industry.

Felling Pit Sketch by Charles Taylor.

After completing his Clerical duties at Jarrow, Hodgson moved north of the river Tyne in 1823 to take up his Ministerial post in the rural community at Kirkwhelpington in Northumberland. It was here at St. Bartholemew’s church where he wrote his classic seven volume “History of Northumberland.” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  He remained Vicar or St. Bartholemew’s for eleven years, and in 1834 took up residence in the Vicarage at the nearby St. Andrew’s, at Hartburn after repairs had been completed. He remained here until his death in 1845 and is buried at the east end of the churchyard.

Bust of the Revd. John Hodgson, St. Paul’s, Jarrow.

Hodgson bust. — Negative image.



In the 20th. century the site of the Jarrow monastery was excavated by achaeologists under the direction of Professor Rosemary Cramp and colleagues from Durham University. The excavations were undertaken in a series of short periods between 1959 and 1988, and resulted in the finding of numerous artefacts and the analysis of ancient graves. The churchyard was Jarrow’s main cemetary prior to its closure for burials in 1880, after which interments were made at the new Jarrow cemetary 1 mile south west of the church.

Several architectural fragments from past restorations and rebuilding work are displayed inside the church. Most excavated material of interest (with the exception of some Anglo-Saxon window glass) is held in the museum at Bede’s World, just north of the church.
The excavations unearthed 523 in-situ burials for all periods prior to the churchyard closure for burials. In addition to this figure the remains of up to 280 further individuals were comprised as fragmentary remains used as infill for graves or included in excavations of other deposits. The archaeologists could not establish the exact extent of the Anglo-Saxon nor the medieval graveyard. These could not be determined due to the periods being dispersed and mixed and with no apparent evidence of segregation or zoning.
In the cloister area to the south of the church the excavations discovered Anglo-Saxon burials which lay very close to the surface. They were only sealed by post- medieval deposits of earth and archaeologists could not determine even approximately at which level individual graves had been cut.
Of the in-situ burials 132 were accurately dated to the Anglo-Saxon period but it could not be established which belonged to the monastic occupation, which ones may have been earlier, or which ones could be dated mid-9th. to mid-11th. centuries after the monastic buildings were abandoned.


Adult ———- 65%
Sub-adult —– 35%
Male ————— 64%
Female ———— 36%
Supine burial ———- 49%
Right-side burial —— 49%
Prone —————— 2%


The two photographs are of the stocks which used to be situated at the entrance to St. Paul’s churchyard prior to 1960. The 1910 photograph shows the stocks in their original position on the south side of the path. The 1932 photo. shows them being inspected by Mr. George Proud.
The stocks were a method of punishment for petty offences where offenders were kept restrained usually for several hours at a time. They were used as early as Anglo-Saxon times, but began to die out in the 19th. century.
A church guide book dated 1960 reports the Jarrow stocks as being in a good state of preservation, but adds that there is no evidence of when they were originally put there or when they were last used.
There is evidence of the use of the Jarrow stocks around 1877. A Newcastle Evening Chronicle archive report on 27th. July 2006, brings attention to the above photograph dated 1932, and a previous article from their Chronicle of that year relating to the photo. After the stocks had been refurbished they were moved to the north side of the churchyard path and put in a cage for display purposes. The man inspecting them in the photo. is George Proud, who could remember being forced to spend a day in them 55yrs. earlier for skylarking as a boy.(who would ever forget?) (see Newcastle Evening Chronicle report)
Does anybody know why the churchyard was chosen as the location as the site of the stocks in the first place. Perhaps the idea of imprisonment on location in the graveyard or superstition was regarded as additional punishment ? St. Paul’s churchyard was Jarrow’s burial ground prior to the opening of the new cemetary in 1869.



This is a 13th.century three-light window with intersected mullions. In the 19th. century it contained Victorian glass depicting “The Death of Bede” (see image above left)
Destroyed by a bomb in World War 2, which fell on waste ground at the rear of the church site, the glass was replaced post-war by the work of L.C.Evetts of Newcastle. (see image above right). The window depicts three figures :~ In the centre is the Risen Christ, to the left is St. Paul and to the right is the Venerable Bede.
There does not appear to be a coloured image of the Victorian glasswork, but people who remember it say it was a dour window of dull colours.

incident occured in May 1921 and was given news coverage at the time in the Newcastle Evening Chronicle. The photograph below, taken at the time shows the Don bridge, the Bridge Inn public house, St.Paul’s church, and the houses of St. Paul’s Square. The following story relates to the event :-

“During the early part of the 20th. century the treatment of the Irish people by the British government particularly over the potato famine has led to unrest and increased IRA activity. On 21st. May 1921, two members of the Jarrow branch of the IRA attempted to cause a large explosion at Jarrow by planting an explosive device on the Jarrow bridge. They only succeeded in causing a temporary disruption to the town’s gas supply and minor damage to the stonework of the bridge”.