Cathedral Church of St Nicholas

Cathedral Church of St Nicholas

The elegant Lantern Tower (1448) is particularly ornate and the Cathedral’s crowning glory. Inside there are a host of interesting features (guidebooks are available). On leaving the cathedral turn left and left again (past the old the old church yard) and you’ll arrive at a paved area.

Rebuilt in 1359, it remained the tallest building in Newcastle for over 300 years. It’s now the sixth tallest structure in the city and the second tallest religious building. The Lantern Tower was nearly destroyed by Scottish invaders in 1644. The Tower survived largely because Scottish prisoners were placed as hostages inside.

Every year on Trafalgar Day a simple ceremony is held here to honour Admiral Lord Collingwood, now buried alongside Nelson in St. Paul’s, London.

Cathedral Church of St Nicholas
Cathedral Church of St Nicholas

The Cathedral Church of St Nicholas is a Grade 1 Listed Building and one of the most beautiful and historic buildings in Newcastle. The spire has dominated Newcastle’s skyline and served as a prominent landmark and navigation point for ships in the River Tyne for over 500 years.

The Cathedral is filled with beautiful stained glass. A beautiful roundel depicting the Madonna feeding the Christ Child is the only surviving medieval stained glass. More modern stained glass works such as in St George’s Chapel were erected in honour of two of Tyneside’s late 19th / early 20th century industrial pioneers who both died in 1931 within weeks of each other.A stained glass window in St George’s Chapel celebrates Charles Parsons, with an angel above St Christopher shown carrying Turbinia.

Turbinia was the first turbine driven steam yacht with which Parsons astonished the Queen’s Navy at the Spithead naval review in 1897.  There is also a stained Glass tribute to Charles Parson in Westminster Abbey.  On the north wall of St Cuthbert’s Chapel is a representation of the Mauretania with the Blue Riband, an award held for 22 years as the fastest liner crossing the Atlantic.

St Nicholas’ Cathedral is a lot older than most people think, its unusual lantern spire was constructed in 1448, for hundreds of years it was the main navigation point for ships using the Tyne.

The Cathedral hosts one of the finest Flemish brasses in the United Kingdom. Originally covering the tomb of Roger Thornton, three times mayor of Newcastle, several times Member of Parliament, successful merchant and great benefactor to the Cathedral, the Thornton Brass (pre 1429) is believed to be the largest brass in the United Kingdom. This commemoration to Roger Thornton, his wife, seven sons and seven daughters an be seen behind the High Altar.

The Chancel furnishings were designed by Ralph Hedley (1848-1913), a woodcarver, painter and illustrator, best known for his paintings of everyday life in the North of England.

Just to the north of the Cathedral stands a bronze statue of Queen Victoria erected to commemorate 500 years of the Shrievalty (the jurisdiction of a sheriff) of Newcastle. Sculpted by Alfred Gilbert and unveiled in 1903, two years after Queen Victoria’s death, the statue was a gift from W H Stephenson, a company director and politician who held the office of Mayor of Newcastle seven times.