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Whitburn, South Tyneside

Whitburn Parish Church

Last Updated:

15 Jun 2020

Whitburn, South Tyneside

This is a

Place of Worship

48 Front St, Whitburn, Sunderland SR6 7JF

Founded in 

13th Century

Current status is


Designer (if known):


Grade II Listed

'A parish church on the south side of the village, behind the main street. Consists of an aisled five-bay nave, with west tower, a three-bay chancel without aisles, and a south porch. It seems to be agreed that most of the medieval fabric is early 13th century, suggesting that the chancel was built later than the nave, with the upper part of the tower being added in the 15th century. The principal post-medieval alterations were the replacement of all the windows except the vesica-shaped light in the south aisle, and the removal of a short spire from the tower. Damaged by unsympathetic restoration of 1865-8, though Surtees also notes a thorough repair before 1820.' - Sitelines

'The church is an old Gothic structure, with a tower, surmounted by a short spire. It was lately repaired and altered, and is now a neat and comfortable place of worship. The old raftered roof of the nave is covered by a modern ceiling, the dim mullioned windows are modernized under square labels, the floor raised with lime rubbish, and the church warmed by a stove. The whole is very handsomely pewed.

The most singular monument in this church is mentioned by both Hutchinson and Surtees. Upon an altar tomb lies a recumbent effigy of a plump, stout, elderly gentleman, in the full stiff dress of 1689; a full periwig, neckcloth with square ends, coat with large buckramed skirts, wide sleeve,s rolled breeches, and square laced shoes, with huge bows of ribands; the head rests on a pillow, and the right hand holds the book open at the text, “I shall not lye here but rise;” there is a skull between the feet. On the uprights of the tomb are represented, in bas relief, the same figure kneeling, with a lady in a corresponding dress on each side of him; on the east and west uprights texts of scripture. A tablet, placed against the wall, informs us that this is “The burial place of Mr Michael Mathew of Cleadon, and his wife, who had issue three sons and two daughters, of which only Hannah survives.”'
- Eneas MacKenzie, 1827

Listing Description (if available)

Whitburn Parish Church can be seen on both editions through the 19th century. The Church is to the south of the main thoroughfare on the road to the Lifeboat house. Whitburn was very rural at this point, with the church surrounded by greenery and Whitburn Hall.

Even the second edition does not exhibit much change. A second quarry was constructed but that is the extent of industry in Whitburn at this time.

Whitburn in 1921 is beginning to evolve into a small built up area. Terraced housing can be seen to the north of the village a small settlement has been constructed at the gas works to the south. The Chapel is still in the centre of the village as it is today.


Photograph of Whitburn Parish Church, 1890. The photograph could easily have been taken today as the site looks very much the same.

Retrieved from Co-Curate


Illustration of Whitburn Parish Church, undated.


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