Churches & Chapels

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Monkseaton Chapels & Churches

Looking North along Chapel Lane, towards Front Street in 1910. The Wesleyan Chapel is to the extreme left, followed by the old Blacksmith's shop, and Rose Cottage (formerly the Three Horse Shoes Inn).
Chapel Lane derived its name from the old Wesleyan Chapel which stood to the west side of this road, opposite South West Farm stack yard.

The stone-built chapel was built in 1843 by the village grocer, shoemaker, blacksmith and two labourers, and in 1890 some restoration work was carried out, which included the addition of a porch.

In 1913, the Wesleyans vacated the premises, and the building was purchased by a Mr. Henry B. Saint — a local benefactor, who dedicated it for use by the Congregationalists. The chapel later became known as Fairway Hall and was used as a general purpose meeting house.

During the Second World War, on 29th August 1940, the chapel was completely destroyed during an air raid and was never rebuilt. The site was later used as a builder's yard and covered glass store, which eventually became a store and a glazier's workshop. These premises are still evident to this day. Next door to the chapel, a blacksmiths shop adjoined a house known as 'Rose Cottage', formerly the Three Horse Shoes Inn.

The Church, which stands on Front Street, opposite the Black Horse Inn, was originally the turnip house for Monkseaton Village Farm and first came into use as a place of worship in 1899, when it was purchased by a local dignitary; Col. T.W. Elliott, who converted the building into a little church for use by the Anglicans.

Col. Elliott presented two cannons to the church when it was first opened, and they remained in place at the front of the building until 1942, when they were removed in a salvage drive for the war effort. For many years the church was often referred to as the 'Gun Chapel'. The Anglicans left this church in 1913 when it was taken over by the Wesleyans who had moved from Chapel Lane during this year. In the years that followed, it became a Methodist Church and was also referred to as the 'Mission House'.

Other places of worship in Monkseaton Village include Gourd Cottage (No. 23 Front Street), which stands next to Alder Court. This house is used by the Quakers and better known as the Friends Meeting House.

As the population of Monkseaton Village increased, two more churches came into being; St. Peter's Church on Elmwood Road which was built in 1938, and St. Andrew's United Reformed Church on Eastfield Avenue which was built the following year, in 1939.

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St. Peter's Church

Records indicate that in 1886 Monkseaton Cottage (58 Front Street) was used for Church of England Services which were usually led by visiting Clergy from St. Paul's at Whitley.

The early origins of St. Peter's Church in Monkseaton probably began in the early 1900s at what is now the Methodist Chapel opposite the Black Horse on Monkseaton Front Street. However when the building reverted back to the Methodists, two old Army huts on nearby Chapel Lane were hurriedly acquired. These buildings were converted to one and became known as the 'Tin Chapel' because the huts were made from wood which in turn were encased in corrugated iron for strength and protection.

Until such time as funding allowed for the erection of a permanent building the small 'tin chapel' was sufficient to accommodate the small congregation. Over the years, fundraising efforts took place in the hope that a new Church could be built nearby, and the original proposal was that the building would be erected between Chapel Lane and the back of the present houses at the end of Closefield Grove, however these plans were abandoned when a more centralised site was secured on the corner of the present Woodleigh and Elmwood Road.

With a grant from the Bishops Church Extension Fund, the land was purchased in 1937 for 2,000 from John Robert Hogg, a North Shields leather merchant and building work commenced soon afterwards.

The church was designed by a Mr. George Holmes and built by the Monkseaton firm of Gofton and Sons at cost price which equated to a gift of over 2000. The entire structure was built on a concrete raft which gave it the same strength as many medieval churches. Building work was completed in 1938, and the Church was consecrated by the Rt. Revd. Harold Bilbrough, Lord Bishop of Newcastle on the vigil of St. Peter, at 7pm on Tuesday 28th June, 1938.

In October 1939, the Church Commissioners met to arrange the boundaries and declared St. Peters as a separate Parish. It was not until 1940 that the church received its first curate; the Reverend George Earle.

On 29th August 1940 during an air raid over Monkseaton, a bomb fell close to the church causing some structural damage and blowing out many of the windows. Blackout material was used to cover them and they remained that way until the end of the war years before being replaced with new glass. The vestry however was completely destroyed and not rebuilt until after the war. The church and Lady Chapel were partly affected and apparently, during the blackout days, evensong was held in the afternoons.

During the same air raid, a bomb also fell on Chapel Lane, completely destroying the former tin buildings which once housed the Church.

In 1951, a proposal recommended that a new window of three lights should be placed at the east end of the church as a war memorial, and when eventually completed in 1955, was dedicated as such on the Remembrance Sunday of that year.

In the meantime 1954 had seen further building work commence on the new adjoining church hall, better known to many as the Cross Keys Community Hall.

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Monkseaton Methodist Church

Standing on Front Street, opposite the Black Horse Inn, Monkseaton Methodist Church dates to around 1660. It was originally part of Village Farm, and formed the turnip house, byres barns and stables.

The structure first came into use as a place of worship during 1899 when it was purchased by local dignitary and benefactor, Col. T.W. Elliott, of Monkseaton Cottage, who converted the building into a little church for use by the Anglicans. The chapel was entrusted to the care of the Reverend G.M.J. Bailey.

Often referred to as the 'Mission House', Col. Elliott presented two cannons to the church soon after it opened, and which remained in place at the front of the building until 1942, when they were removed in a salvage drive for the war effort.

It was due to the presence of these cannons, that for many years the church was often referred to as the 'Gun Chapel'. These cannons once formed part of the ordinance of Scarborough Castle.

The church itself had an adjoining hall which opened on 21st December 1906 to become known as the Monkseaton Village Room which was used for concerts, lectures and non-sectarian events to benefit the moral and social well-being of the area.

In 1913, the Anglicans left the building to move into their new church in Claremont Road (St Mary's). The 'Gun Chapel' was immediately taken over by the Wesleyans who had moved from Chapel Lane during this year, and on 12th May 1913, in an opening ceremony, the keys were formally handed over to the Wesleyans. A celebratory meeting was held in the evening where many of the local churches on the circuit were represented.

In 1914, at the outbreak of World War 1, the military authorities requisitioned the church premises which were used as a billet for troops of the 3rd Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment, during which time the Wesleyans temporarily returned to the former chapel in Chapel Lane for their services throughout the duration of the war.

The church later became better known as Monkseaton Methodist Church and still exists with a strong congregation.
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