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National Gazetteer (1868) - Tynemouth

"TYNEMOUTH, a parish, sea-port, municipal and parliamentary borough, and bathing-place, locally in the East division of Castle ward, county Northumberland. It gives name to the municipal and parliamentary borough, of which the town and suburbs of North Shields form the principal portion, The Newcastle and North Shields section of the Blyth and Tyne railway extends nearly to the baths at the village of Tynemouth, where it has a station. This parish, which is bounded on the S. by the river Tyne, and on the E. by the German Ocean, is of great extent, occupying the south-eastern section of the county, locally termed Tynemouthshire. It abounds in coal, ironstone, and magnesian limestone, and contains the townships of Chirton, Cullercoates, Monkseaton, Murton, Preston, Tynemouth, Whitley, and the town of North Shields [which see]. The village of Tynemouth, situated about 1 mile E. of Shields, occupies a promontory at the mouth of the Tyne, jutting out into the sea and overlooking the sheltered bay called Prior's Haven, to which many visitors resort during the season for the enjoyment of sea-bathing. It is supposed to be the Penbal Crag of the ancient Britons, and has traces of a Roman fort, and the picturesque ruins of Tynemouth Priory, originally founded by Edward, the Saxon king of Northumbria, in 625, and afterwards rebuilt with stone by Oswald in the 8th century. Of this structure there are still remains, consisting chiefly of an arch and the eastern part of the church, which was made parochial at the Dissolution, and so continued till 1657, when, having become ruinous, a new parochial church was built at North Shields. Near the ruins of the priory is a lighthouse with a revolving light, and a magazine of military stores, adjoining which at the E. end of the village is a small fort called the Spanish Battery, occupying a peninsula of rocks at the mouth of the Tyne. This fortress was defended by the Earl of Newcastle during the civil war of Charles I., but was eventually captured in 1645. In 1672 Clifford's fort was constructed, and in 1758 barracks were erected for 1,000 men, but have since been converted into dwelling-houses, which now constitute Percy Square. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Durham, value £298. The parish church, dedicated to St. Oswin, is situated at North Shields. In addition to the parish church are the district churches of Trinity St. Saviour's, Cullercoats, Low Town, and Percy, the livings of all which are perpetual curacies, value about £200 each. The church, or chapel-of-ease situated in the village of Tynemouth, is modern. The Wesleyans have a chapel, and there is an infant school. The Poor-law Union of Tynemouth comprises 25 parishes or townships."

"CHIRTON, a township in the parish of Tynemouth, in the eastern division of Castle ward, in the county of Northumberland, 1 mile W. of Shields; it is a station on the Newcastle and Tynemouth line. The river Tyne passes through the township, which is decreasing in population, owing to the collieries being worked out."

"CULLERCOATES, a township in the parish of Tynemouth, Castle ward, in the county of Northumberland, 2 miles N. of Shields, and three-quarters of a mile from Tynemouth. The village, which is small, is included within the boundaries of the borough of Tynemouth. It is situated on the coast, and is chiefly inhabited by fishermen, excepting in the summer season, when many visitors resort to it as a watering-place. There are several new houses, and a terrace has been erected upon a cliff overlooking the sea, for the accommodation of visitors. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Durham value £200, in the patronage of the Duke of Northumberland. The church has been recently hamlet There is a place of worship used by the Independents and Primitive Methodists jointly."

"HOTSPUR-PLACE, a hamlet in the chapelry of Whitley, and parish of Tynemouth, county Northumberland, 3 miles N. of Shields. It is situated near the coast of the North Sea."

"MONKSEATON, a township in the parish of Tynemouth, E. division of Castle ward, county Northumberland, 3 miles N.W. of North Shields. In this township is a large brewery and several collieries. On Monkhouse farm is the stump of an old cross with a modern inscription, called the Monk's stone. There is a place of worship for the Wesleyans. The Duke of Northumberland is lord of the manor and chief landowner."

"MURTON, (or Moor-town), a township in the parish of Tynemouth, E. division of Castle ward, county Northumberland, 2 miles N.W. of North Shields. The village, which is considerable, is chiefly inhabited by colliers. There are quarries of freestone, and coal is abundantly worked. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans.

"NORTH SHIELDS, a township, market town, and seaport in the parish and borough of Tynemouth, E. division of Castle ward, county Northumberland, 7½ miles N.E. of Newcastle, and 16 N.E. of Durham. It is a station on the Newcastle and Tynemouth railway, and is connected with South Shields, in the county of Durham, by a steam ferry across the Tyne, and steam vessels ply every half-hour to Newcastle. The town of North Shields, which forms the principal part of the borough of Tynemouth, is situated on the northern bank of the river Tyne, which divides it from South Shields, but which together form one port, called the Port of Shields. Belonging to this port, which is a bonding port, are 208 steamers, and about 1,100 ships of the aggregate tonnage of 265,600, employing above 10,000 men. Although so admirably located for commerce at the mouth of the Tyne, it was not till near the commencement of the present century that Shields became a place of any considerable importance. So early as the reign of Edward I. the Prior of Tynemouth, to whom the whole of this district then belonged, seeing the advantages of its position, made great efforts to form a harbour, and established a market, but by a decree obtained by the citizens of Newcastle was obliged to abandon the works. The district suffered much from the plague in 1635. In the time of the Commonwealth Cromwell selected it as an eligible site for a new town, and caused an Act to be passed for forming quays and establishing a market. It was not, however, till the close of the last century that the restrictions upon the trade of the place were removed, and from that time the town dates its rapid growth in wealth, population, and commerce. The town extends about a mile along the river bank, occupying, besides the township of North Shields, and the greater part of the townships of Tynemouth, Preston, and Chirton. The streets in the older part of the town are narrow and overcrowded, but in the modern parts there are a number of streets and squares containing many well-built houses. The principal public buildings are the custom-house, situated on the New Quay. The townhall, a structure in the Elizabethan style, erected in 1844; the House of Correction in the Tynemouth road; the union workhouse, situated in the Preston road; the mechanics' institute, in Howard-street, erected in 1858; the temperance hall, in Norfolk-street, erected in 1845; a theatre, subscription library, assembly rooms, and commodious baths and washhouses in Saville-street, built in 1854; also salt-water baths at the Lower Lights, where is Clifford's Fort, a battery constructed in 1672, and commanding the entrance of the harbour. There is a spacious quay at which vessels of 300 tons burden can load. Many of the vessels entering the port are designed for the Newcastle trade, but are of too great burden to cross the bar, which has but seven feet water at ebb tide, though the river afterwards deepens to 8, 12, and even 24 feet up to the harbour. On the W. side of the bar are many dangerous rocks, rendering three lighthouses necessary; one close to the shore, called the Low Light, is 77 feet high; another at Dockway-square, is 133 feet high; and the other is built upon the cliff a little to the N.E. of Tynemouth Castle. North Shields is a place of great trade, especially in coals and iron, which are largely exported to London. Many vessels are employed in the foreign and colonial as well as in the coasting trades, and some are engaged in the Greenland and Davis Straits whale fishery. There are floating, dry, and graving docks, where shipbuilding is carried on, also several iron founderies and extensive works where chain cables, anchors, and windlasses are made. The manufacture of sail-cloth, cordage, masts, blocks, hats, and tobacco furnishes employment to many hands, as do also the breweries, salt pans, tile and earthenware works. The town of North Shields, together with the townships of Chirton, Cullercoats, Preston, and Tynemouth, forms the borough of Tynemouth, covering an area of 7,158 acres, and having a population in 1861 of 34,021, of which number 9,595 are in the township of North Shields. It was created a parliamentary borough under the Reform Act, and returns one member to parliament. In 1849 it was made a municipal borough, comprising the three wards of North Shields, Percy, and Tynemouth, and is governed by a mayor, six aldermen, and eighteen town councillors. A local board of health was established in 1851. It is a polling-place for the county elections, and a petty sessions town, the borough magistrates meeting once a week, and the magistrates for the eastern division of Castle ward every Tuesday. The new County Court is held monthly, and the poor-law guardians meet every alternate Thursday. The parish church of Tynemouth is a plain stone building with a square tower, situated at the eastern end of North Shields, in the Preston road. The new church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, is situated in Collingwood-street, and was completed in 1836 at a cost of about £4,000. It has an octagonal tower, and contains 1,200 sittings, half of which are free. A chaplain is also attached to the Tyne Sailors' Home, where Divine service is performed twice every Sunday. In 1864 the Bishop of Durham consecrated three new churches in the borough in one week-viz: St. Peter's, North Shields, containing about 600 sittings; St. John's, Percy Main; and St. Paul's, Cullercoats. These churches were built and endowed by the late Duke of Northumberland and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. At the same time and by the same means parsonage houses were built for the mother church and five districts-viz: (in addition to the above for Holy Trinity and Holy Saviour, which are also district chapelries, and where incumbents receive £200 per annum from the same source as the three above named. The Scotch church, in Howard-street, is a Grecian structure, erected in 1811, at a cost of near £2,300. The United Presbyterians have two places of worship, one in Northumberland-square, erected in 1857, and the other in Norfolk-street. There are also places of worship belonging to the Wesleyan, Primitive, and New Connexion Methodists, Wesleyan Reformers, English Presbyterians, Baptists, Independents, Society of Friends, and a Jewish Synagogue. There are in the town National, British, and infant schools, also a school of industry for girls, partly endowed; the Royal Jubilee school in Albion-street, for boys, girls, and infants, also a Roman Catholic and a Presbyterian school. Excellent mutual insurance clubs against shipwreck, &c., flourish here. There are numerous charitable institutions, including the North Shields and Tynemouth dispensary, situated in Church-street; the Tyne Sailors' home, situated on the New Quay, and presented to the town in 1856 by the late Duke of Northumberland; the Master Mariners' Asylum, on the Tynemouth road, erected in 1838 at a cost of above £5,000, in front of which is a full length statue of the late Duke of Northumberland; the soup-kitchen in Wellington-street, besides various other local charities. There are two cemeteries; one in Albion-street, and the borough cemetery at Preston, which latter covers an area of 28 acres, and was opened in 1857.Market day is on Saturday. Fairs are held on the last Friday in Aril and the first Friday in November.

"PHILADELPHIA, a village in the parish of Tynemouth, county Northumberland, 2 miles from Shields. The inhabitants are principally engaged in the collieries."

"PRESTON, a township in the parish of Tynemouth, E. division of Castle ward, county Northumberland, 1 mile N. of North Shields. In this township is the borough of Tynemouth Cemetery, which was opened in 1857, and comprises an area of 28 acres. Here are the old barracks, which have been converted into cottages, also a linen manufactory and two breweries."

"WHITLEY, a township and chapelry in the parish of Tynemouth, county Northumberland, 24 miles N.E. of North Shields. It is a station on the Tynemouth branch of the Blyth and Tyne railway. The township is situated near the sea-coast, and includes the hamlets of Whitley-Row and Hotspur Place, with the reservoir of the North Shields water-works. The substratum abounds in coal, ironstone, and limestone, which are extensively worked."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]