The Churchyard of St. Paul's was the burial ground for Jarrow prior to 1869, when the new Jarrow cemetary was opened. There were only two interments in the Churchyard after this date and they are Thomas Drewett-Drewett, who died in 1870, and his Wife Isabella, who died in 1894. Their graves are the only two situated outside of the east-end of the Church building. Members of the industrialist Drewett family owned the nearby Georgian mansion house called Jarrow Hall, which overlooks the monastic site. In 1887, Isabella provided the funding for the construction of the West Porch of the Church, in memory of her late Husband, and this construction was timed to coincide with the commemoration of Queen Victoria's Jubilee.
There is a register of public burials at Jarrow from 1572 until 1894, when the last recorded burial took place and in total there are 222 marked recorded graves. There are no current records of any interments prior to 1572 and those prior to this date would appear to be unmarked.
At the time of the Jarrow Festival in 1951, it was decided to lay all of the headstones in the Churchyard in a horizontal position for safety reasons. Unfortunately this has caused greater erosion to the stonework by rainwater and frost and many headstone inscriptions are no longer readable.
GRAVE HEADSTONES LAID FLAT IN 1951.
Archaeological excavations of the monastic site took place between 1959 and 1988 under the direction of Professor Dame Rosemary Cramp and colleagues from Durham University. These excavations resulted in the finding of numerous artefacts and the analysis of ancient graves. Of the in-situ burials 132 were dated to the Anglo-Saxon period, but it could not be established which belonged to the monastic occupation.
The old stocks which were originally situated just inside the west gate of the Churchyard were still used in Victorian times and there is evidence of their use in 1877. ( see Archive Items page for further details )
BIRDLIFE IN THE CHURCHYARD.
The church grounds provide a haven for a wide variety of species of birds throughout the year and it is quite surprising to see how many of the rarer breeds come to visit. Some of the more colourful ducks that occasionally frequent the river Don area are most likely to be visitors from the nearby Washington Wildfowl Park. A local ornithologist and photographer has sent in the following photographs which represent just a few of the many of our feathered visitors to the churchyard and monastic site area.
GREATER SPOTTED WOODPECKER
LONG TAILED TIT