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St Paul's Church, Jarrow
St Paul's is the historic church of the Parish of Jarrow, the site of worship over many centuries. Our regular services include the Sunday and Wednesday celebrations of the Eucharist, and Morning Prayer is said in the chancel daily (not currently on Fridays). The church frequently hosts baptism and marriage services and is a major site of pilgrimage for those following the Venerable Bede and the Northern Saints.
Visitors are welcome to explore the building - see the opening times below. We welcome many individuals and groups throughout the year, whether as visitors, tourists or pilgrims. We can offer a short history of the site, and the opportunity for quiet reflection and prayer. Come along to one of our regular services (see the calendar page) and share with us in refreshments and chat afterwards.
The chancel is a direct survival from the 7th century in which Bede worshipped when it was a free-standing chapel of the monastery.
The Chancel of St Paul's - the original monastery chapel of AD681
Inside the church, cemented into the wall of the tower, is the original stone slab which records in a Latin inscription the dedication of the church on 23 April AD 685, which is the oldest church dedication stone in England.
The inscription reads:
SCI PAUL VIIII KL MAI
ANNO XV EFRIDI REG
CEOLFRIDI ABB EIUSDEM
Q ECCLES DO AVCTORE
CONDITORIS ANNO IIII
This translates as:
The dedication of the basilica
of St. Paul on the 9th day before the Kalends of May
in the 15th year of King Ecgfrith
and in the fourth year of Abbot Ceolfrith founder,
by God's guidance, of the same church.
Behind the church you can see remains of the Benedictine monastery of the Middle Ages which was re-founded on the site of Bede's monastery. Remains of buildings, from the days of Bede, were found in excavations and their positions have been marked out on the ground.
To contact St Paul's Church, phone: 0191 489 7052
Some Key Facts about St Paul's:
St Paul's Church and Monastery was built on land given by King Ecgfrith of Northumbria in AD681.
It was founded by Benedict Biscop, who seven years previously had built the church and monastery of St. Peter's at Wearmouth. The chancel of St. Paul's is the original Saxon church built as a separate chapel possibly dedicated to Our Lady.
A large Basilica was built on the site of the present nave and dedicated on 23rd April, AD685. The present nave and north aisle are the work of the Victorian architect Sir George Gilbert Scott. The monastery, to which the Venerable Bede came as a boy, thrived in the 7th and 8th centuries. It was here that Bede lived, worked and worshipped. His bones now lie in the Galilee Chapel of Durham Cathedral. In AD794 the Vikings sacked the church and monastery, but in AD1074 the church was repaired and the monastery re-founded by Aldwin, Prior of Winchcombe Abbey in Gloucestershire. The monastery then became a daughter house of the Benedictine Priory at Durham (now Durham Cathedral).
At the Dissolution of the Monasteries, St. Paul's became the Parish Church.
Today the church is one of the three churchs of the Parish of Jarrow (Team Ministry)
7th CENTURY FOUNDATIONS
Exposed in the main aisle is part of the north wall of the larger Saxon Church, opened in AD685.
In the centre of the North Nave Exhibition, the foot of a fine Saxon Cross with its Latin inscription
"in hoc singulari signo vita redditur mundo"
'In this unique sign, life is restored to the world'.
THE DEDICATION STONE
Now situated high above the Chancel arch. (See above).
Look for:- Three single splayed Saxon windows - the middle window containing Saxon glass made here in the Monastic workshops.
The Saxon Aumbry - in the south wall of the sanctuary.
An Ancient Chair- known and traditionallu venerated as Bede's.
Late 15th Century Choir stalls - on the north side.
EXHIBITION OF SCULPTURE
A unique collection of Anglo-Saxon Sculpture in the North Aisle.
The three wooden sculptures:
The Risen Ascended Christ
The Venerable Bede.
St. Michael and the Devil.
are the work of Fenwick Lawson.
THE MONASTIC SITE
Outside the Church are the remains of the domestic buildings of the Monastery.
The standing ruins date mostly from the eleventh century. The monastic site is in the guardianship of English Heritage.
THE PRAYER OF THE VENERABLE BEDE
(one of our most famous past residents)
I pray you, good Jesus,
that as you have given me the grace
to drink in with joy the Word that gives knowledge of you,
so in your goodness you will grant me
to come at length to yourself,
the source of all wisdom,
to stand before your face forever.
VOLUNTEERS AT ST. PAUL’S
St. Paul’s Church, Jarrow is seeking new volunteers.
Have you a few hours to spare each week? We are looking for enthusiastic people to welcome visitors to the church. Volunteers work in twos or threes in shifts as follows:
Summer Hours (BST) Monday to Saturday either 10.30am. to 1pm., or 1pm. to 3.30pm., Sunday 2pm. to 4pm.
Winter Hours (GMT) Monday to Saturday either 11am to 12pm., or 1pm. to 3pm., Sunday 2pm. to 3.30pm. Volunteers are needed to either work 1 shift per week or go on a rota to work some ~Saturday or Sunday afternoons.
Anyone wishing to become a volunteer please email, ,phone or text
Freda Carney Volunteer Co-ordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org, 0191 4214964 / 07790 306849.