JULY 2012. UPDATE
WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE WORLD HERITAGE BID ?
In May 2012 we heard that the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) which provides advice to UNESCO, was recommending to UNESCO that the Wearmouth-Jarrow site should not be inscribed as a World Heritage Site. We decided to withdraw the nomination at that stage because if we had allowed it to go forward and it had been rejected at World Heritage Committee we could not have ever submitted it again.
WHY DID ICOMOS RECOMMEND THAT THE SITE SHOULD NOT BE INSCRIBED ?
ICOMOS did not believe that the site had the degree of Outstanding Universal Value which we believed we had shown it had. They did not accept that the site was as unique or special as we had claimed.
WHAT WERE THEIR REASONS FOR THIS ?
The ICOMOS report gave a number of reasons. Essentially, ICOMOS did not accept that the site had Outstanding Universal Value. Their opinion was that this was not the best surviving site of its period, or as influential as we had argued. This was partly because ICOMOS believe that greater above-ground 7th. century remains exist at other sites such as Lindisfarne, Hexham, Ripon and Whitby - which we dispute.
WHAT ELSE DID ICOMOS SAY ?
ICOMOS commended the way in which we had involved so many local people in support of the bid and the way in which all the bid partners have worked together. They were satisfied with what we were doing to conserve and care for the buildings. They described our Management Plan for the site as "exemplary"
HOW HAVE YOU RESPONDED TO THIS RECOMMENDATION ?
We are clearly deeply disappointed that the ICOMOS report was not favourable. The bid has involved an immense amount of work by a very large number of people over very many years and we all remain committed to the importance of the site.
We believe that there are errors of fact in the report and we have some concerns about the consistency with which criteria have been applied. There are also judgements that we do not agree with.
However, there was not time between the publication of the report and this year's World Heritage Committee to address the matters raised in the ICOMOS report. We therefore withdrew the nomination and the UK Government expressed our concerns, and our wish to explore the issues fully with ICOMOS and UNESCO.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW ?
Over the summer we shall be composing a detailed letter to UNESCOS's World Heritage Centre asking for their advice and asking them to respond to our concerns about the ICOMOS report. This will be sent on our behalf by the UK Government.
In the light of their response we shall take a decision towards the end of 2012 about whether and how to resubmit the bid.
In the meantime the Wearmouth-Jarrow Partnership is continuing to work to preserve and celebrate the sites and implement the Management Plan.
The Wearmouth-Jarrow Partnership remains of the view that the site meets the criteria for World Heritage Status and that there is a strong case for Inscription on the World Heritage List. This view has been endorsed by expert advisors.
Wearmouth-Jarrow remains on the official UK Tentative List of World Heritage Sites lodged with UNESCO; hence a future World Heritage nomination is still possible.
WHEN MIGHT A NEW WORLD HERITAGE NOMINATION HAPPEN ?
The earliest that our bid could be resubmitted is likely to be 2016. This is because the Government has already allocated the slots for the next few years to other sites and we now have to take our place in the queue again. However, there is a lot of work to be done between now and then to achieve success.
HAS THIS ALL BEEN A WASTE OF TIME ?
The work that has been done on the site has already helped to conserve the buildings and archaeological remains better, and to share them better with visitors and local communities. For example,we have undertaken conservation works to the church buildings, including the unique west porch carvings at St. Peter's, and installed a new window in the west tower to replace the one that has been vandalised. We have marked out the footprint of the monastic site at St. Peter's, and improved interpretation and displays across the site and its related visitor attractions as a whole. The partners have worked together to promote the site better to visitors, and increase educational opportunities for children, young people and adults across the sit as a whole.
We can build on this for the future whether or not we achieve World Heritage Status, but remain of the view that the site meets the criteria to be a World Heritage Site.
FEBRUARY 2012. UPDATE.
Since the World Heritage Bid for the twin monastic sites was first lodged, a great deal of work has been carried out to upgrade both sites to the standard required, hopefully to enable the bid to succeed. The work undertaken to date has been in line with the recommendations of the World Heritage Committee, after several visits to both sites by their inspectors. The process evaluates the progress made in line with their suggestions, and this process can continue until the end of February 2012, and the sites have until the end of this month to come up with the answers to any further points which may arise. In the meantime the monastery awaits the final decision of the Jarrow / Wearmouth World Heritage Bid to be announced in the summer. ~~~
St. Peter's church, Monkwearmouth.
KILN FORMED GLASS DRAWING BY KEVIN PETRIE ~2008
St.Paul's church, Jarrow.
KILN FORMED GLASS DRAWING BY KEVIN PETRIE ~ 2008
World Heritage Site status 2010.
Wearmouth - Jarrow is now confirmed as the UK's nomination for World Heritage Site Status in 2010. The final decision will be made in 2011 by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
To ensure that World Heritage Site Status is achieved we need to ensure the site is looked after and managed in a way that will both preserve it and increase the public's understanding of why it is so important.
The task is the responsibility of the Wearmouth - Jarrow Partnership, a body set up to ensure that future generations can benefit from and be inspired by what the site stands for. The Partnership will produce an overarching Management Plan for Wearmouth - Jarrow, setting out why the site is internationally important, how it will be looked after and how people can visit and learn about the immense legacy of the site.
The Wearmouth - Jarrow Partnership is also responsible for raising awareness of the nomination, engaging local residents and businesses so that there is a clear understanding of the value of this remarkable piece of heritage from the local and regional community.
World Heritage Site Status is awarded by UNESCO ( United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation ) to places with such cultural or natural significance, the international community has a duty to preserve for future generations.
Achieving World Heritage Site Status will help to protect the site for the future. It will also raise the profile of the site, and the North East region, attracting more people to visit, enjoy and learn - continuing the legacy of 13 centuries.
St. Peter's Monkwearmouth.
St. Paul's, Jarrow
"World Heritage Sites are places or buildings of outstanding universal value recognised as constituting a "World Heritage" for whose protection it is the duty of the International Community as a whole to co-operate." World Heritage Convention
Working towards World Heritage Site Status.
Partners across Sunderland and South Tyneside, with support from the whole of North East England, are working to gain recognition for the unique global significance of the site of the Wearmouth - Jarrow monastery.
As the UK's nomination for World Heritage Site Status in 2010, the Wearmouth - Jarrow Partnership believes that this incredible site and its inspirational story will receive the world-wide recognition, and protection for the future, that it richly merits.
The world can thank the innovation of the nobleman Benedict Biscop, who built the monastery in the 7th. century, for introducing ideas that have a lasting legacy more than 13 centuries later. Gathering inspiration from his extensive journeys across Europe, visiting Rome six times, Benedict Biscop created an exceptional monastery.
Stained glass window of Benedict Biscop ~ St. Peter's
Benedict Biscop was a cosmopolitan traveller who brought the best books, craftspeople, teachers and treasures from all over Europe to create an international centre of learning and culture at Wearmouth - Jarrow.
Before establishing his monastery at Wearmouth - Jarrow, Benedict Biscop had broad experience of monastic life elsewhere, and he took monastic vows at the monastery at Lerins, near Cannes, France. On a visit to Rome he was asked by the Pope to accompany the new Archbishop of Canterbury on the journey from Italy. He ended up being caretaker abbot of the monastery of St. Peter and St. Paul in Canterbury, and this inspired him to found his own monastery.
Wooden sculpture of Bede at St. Paul's church by Fenwick Lawson.
THE SCHOLAR: THE VENERABLE BEDE.
Bede's writing earned him an international reputation for scholarship that still lasts 13 centuries later. Born in 673, he remains one of the world's enduring influences - his work as a writer, historian, mathematician and teacher still has significance today. His work was so significant that it earned him official recognition by the Pope, who in 1899 declared him a Doctor of the Universal Church for his scholarship - the only English person ever to have achieved this accolade. He can be thought of as the Einstein, Darwin or Leonardo da Vinci of his time.
WEARMOUTH - JARROW'S OUTSTANDING UNIVERSAL VALUE.
The 7th. century building fabric of Benedict Biscop's great monastery, still standing on the site today, and surrounding archaeology, is witness to this exceptional centre of learning, which drew an international culture to become a leading influence in Europe, with a lasting legacy extending far beyond European boundaries today.
St. Peter's interior.
WEARMOUTH - JARROW IN THE 7th.CENTURY.
Wearmouth - Jarrow was a centre of the Northumbrian Renaissance, at a time when Northumbria was the most powerful of the Anglo - Saxon Kingdoms. It was a dynamic place which became an important centre of learning and culture, artistic and architectural innovation, attracting scholars and noblemen from all over Europe.
Benedict Biscop's monastery brought together the best thinkers and artisans from across Europe. This created a rich cultural melting pot, producing new ideas and artistic styles that were exported internationally, and inspired new generations of thinkers and writers. The monastery also had one of the best libraries in Europe - giving Bede access to ideas from all over the world.
The monastery founders, Benedict Biscop and Ceolfrith, travelled widely to bring back craftsmen and materials from across Europe to construct and decorate the monastery buildings introducing new architectural forms.
Excavations on site have uncovered more coloured window glass dating from the 7th. and 8th. centuries than anywhere else in Europe.
Wearmouth - Jarrow laid the groundwork for the Carolingian Renaissance which revived European learning in the late 8th. century, under the Emperor Charles the Great. Its influence on international learning has been felt ever since.
WEARMOUTH - JARROW TODAY.
In the late 7th. century, a twin monastic community on the banks of the Wear and the Tyne was founded by Benedict Biscop and worked together as one huge monastery - Bede describes it as "one monastery in two places". In its day it was one of the world's greatest international cultural centres.
Today the sites are still living churches, welcoming congregations and visitors, and play a busy role in their local communities, in their region and overseas. The surviving 7th. century building fabric in both churches testifies to a rich cultural legacy which has touched places and inspired people worldwide.
St. Peter's church is situated near the mouth of the river Wear, close to the University of Sunderland's campus, and next to the National Glass Centre. The N.G.C celebrates the legacy and the future of the glassmaking industry, which was introduced to the site 13 centuries ago by Benedict Biscop.
St. Paul's church in Jarrow overlooks the river Tyne, and is bordered by a busy port. Adjacent to the church is the award - winning museum Bede's World, which tells the story of the monastery and the work of Bede, re - creating life in the 7th. century through a demonstration Anglo-Saxon farm. Together Bede's World www.bedesworld.co.uk and St. Paul's church welcome over 70,000 visitors each year, including 25,000 schoolchildren.
Importantly both churches still incorporate some of the original 7th. century fabric of the churches Benedict Biscop built. It's very rare to find anything remaining of such significant early medieval sites but, at St. Peter's church, you can walk through the stone doorway Bede would have used and at St. Paul's church you can stand in the Chancel, which was a free standing church, and survives almost intact from Bede's day.
Archaeological work has uncovered the largest collection of 7th. century coloured glass in Europe. Bede's works, on every subject studied in his day, have remained in international circulation and continue to inspire people 13 centuries later. Remarkably, some of the manuscripts produced by the monks who worked at Wearmouth - Jarrow - including the oldest surviving one - volume Latin Bible in the world.
WHAT REMAINS OF IMPORTANCE TODAY.
. 7th. century building fabric, including St. Peter's west wall and porch, St. Paul's chancel and dedication stone, the oldest in an English church.
. Archaeological deposits, including 7th. century stone carving and coloured window glass, with rich potential for future investigation.
. Manuscripts, including the Codex Amiatinus, the oldest surviving one-volume Latin Bible in the world.
. Bede's exraordinary legacy.
BEDE'S LEGACY INCLUDES:
. Bede was the first to write a history of the English people, two centuries before there was an English nation.
. Bede was the first English person to use the term "English", giving a single cultural identity to a then disparate group of kingdoms.
. Bede developed the Easter calculation still used today.
. Bede popularised the BC/AD dating system.
. Bede explained how the tides are "dragged" around the surface of the Earth by the moon, the first author to make this connection.
At the time Wearmouth - Jarrow was founded, monasteries were the cities and universities of their day, providing the only international cultural network that extended beyond political boundaries. They provided education and hospitality for travellers ranging from royalty to pilgrims. Wearmouth - Jarrow was exceptional because of its size, its great wealth, its extensive library and, through Benedict Biscop, its international contacts.
8th.century stone carving - St.Paul's
The Wearside - Jarrow Partnership needs your support to ensure that this site gets the wordwide recognition it deserves, so that it will remain protected for future generations. Your help will benefit the Partnership in ensuring that the journey towards becoming a World Heritage Site is successful. Mail your views to the website, www.wearmouth-jarrow.org.uk spread the word and visit the sites to find out more.
Saxon glass window - St. Paul's.
WHO IS INVOLVED IN THE PROJECT.
The Wearmouth - Jarrow Partnership is a collection of organisations who have come together to make the bid for World Heritage Site Status.
The Partnership is chaired by the Bishop of Jarrow. Its members are the Parishes of Monkwearmouth and Jarrow, Bede's World, the Diocese of Durham, Sunderland City Council, South Tyneside Council, University of Sunderland, Tyne and Wear museums, English Heritage, National Glass Centre, ONE North East, University of Durham, University of Newcastle, University of Northumbria, ICOMOS-UK and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
8th. century commemorative stone - St. Peter's.