St Hilda's, South Shields
Taken from the Church's brochure
614 Birth of Princess Hild. She lived at the court of her great-uncle Edwin of Northumbria.
627 Hild and Edwin were baptised at York on Easter Eve by Bishop Paulinus.
647 St Hild's Church founded in South Shields by St Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne
on 15 acres of land endowed by King Oswin, with Hild, non a nun, in charge of
649 Hild transferred to Hartlepool to succeed Abbess Hieu.
657 Hild founded a double-monastery (for monks and nuns) at Whitby, a place which
became famous for learning and religion.
680 Death of Hild on 17th November, aged 66.
c865 The Nunnery of St Hild destroyed by the Danes.
1093 St Hild first mentioned in the Venerabilibus Patribus Charter.
c1100 The rebuilding of the church by the Normans.
1154 The church is mentioned in the charter of that year.
1204 A charter of King John mentions the Church.
1256 Chaplain Walter (a monk of Jarrow) in charge of St Hild's Chapelry.
1296 Robert the Clerk (curate) of St Hild's is mentioned in the Halmote Court Rolls of the
Prior of Durham.
1653 First Extant Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths.
1688 The Masters and Mariners of Whitby requested permission to build a gallery at
their own expense. The request was granted.
1784 The Church extended at great expense to meet the needs of the rapidly
1812 The Chapel of St Hild being greatly dilapidated, was rebuilt at a cost of £6,860 ,
a sum which plunged the people of the Church into such difficulty that a special
Act of Parliament was passed authorising the levying of Church rates until the debt
1819 The Church was consecrated by the Bishop of Oxford on 30th July.
1845 The Chapelry of St Hild separated from the Parish of Jarrow, and became a
Parish in its own right, the Parish Church of South Shields.
1941 The Church was extensively damaged by enemy planes during an air raid
on the town centre.
1949 Restoration work completed.
1978 The Church was extensively re-ordered in line with modern liturgical thinking.
The present High Altar was brought down from the east wall to form a
Nave Alter resting upon a wooden dais.
1991 A screen was built at the west end of the Church and a visitor's centre was
formed, the font being re-positioned in the Lady Chapel. The screen is dedicated
to Canon Gordon Berriman, Vicar of St Hilda's from 1958-76.
1998 St Hilda's was awarded £241,800 from Heritage Lottery Funding to enable a
a major restoration scheme be carried out to the outside of the building.
Matching funding was made available through the Single Regeneration Budget
for the re-ordering and upgrading of the church yard.
1999 Restoration works were completed and included partial re-roofing, restoration
and decoration of windows and replacement of gate piers with the introduction
of new church gates.
On either side of the main entrance, the base of the Norman Arch is visible, the upper section being in the bellringers' chamber.
The Font, 1675, is the work of the Newcastle Architect, Robert Trollope (Designer of the Guildhall) - cost £5.10.0d.
Central Aisle of the Nave - the model of Henry Greathead's lifeboat made by Stephen Laverick, one of his apprentices, in 1802. The figures were made in Newcastle and added later.
The 24 light candelabrum, hanging in the nave was purchased in 1802 at a cost of 33 guineas (the model of Greathead's lifeboat being appended to it). The total cost, including installation, was £59.16.10d.
The three stained glass windows in the apse are the work of Harcourt Doyle of Liverpool and were dedicated in 1952. These replace the Victorian windows destroyed in 1941. The centre shows the Crucifixion, to the left the three wise men visiting infant Jesus, on the right Christ appears to the two Marys after the Resurrection.
The ceiling in the apse portrays the Ascension with St Peter and St John at either side.
The old-fashioned three-decker pulpit was replaced by the present Victorian-Gothic pulpit in 1881. It is of oak and scroll brass on a pedestal of marble and Caen stone and is a memorial to William Anderson of Bents House left by his sisters. He was a Justice of the Peace in the County of Durham for 40 years and Head of the Board of Guardians in South Shields for 20 years.
The present magnificent organ by the great Thomas Lewis was installed in 1867, together with the choir stalls, the old choir-stalls and organ originally having been in the West Gallery.
The brass eagle lectern was a gift to the church in 1879 by the children of Jane Maxwell in her memory.
Fixed to the wall about the west end of the south aisle is a painted panel which was part of the original west gallery in 1764. The panel records: "The gift of the Singer and others of this Chapelry. Lovers of Psalmody AD 1764."