Jarrow - St Mary

Glasgow Road, Jarrow, Tyne & Wear NE32

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A plain post-war church, the internal plan reorientated in the 1990s. The new furnishings are of some quality and include a stained glass screen by local artist Fenwick Lawson. 

The parish was erected and church opened in 1952. There is later correspondence in the diocesan archives with the architect David Brown, but the church is here attributed to Robert Burke of Newcastle on stylistic grounds (Brown took over Burke’s practice after the latter’s death); compare for example with the church at Backworth, qv. The contractors were Messrs Glen. In 1993-94 Vincente Stienlet undertook the reordering and reorientation of the church. As part of this, a small hall was created at the former west end, a new porch added and a Blessed Sacrament Chapel created in an extension behind the new altar at the east. New doors, a shelf and a porch table were made from the oak from the old pews. The stained glass sanctuary screen was designed by local artist Fenwick Lawson (born 1932). 

The church formerly faced west but in 1993-94 was reorientated to face east. The church is faced in brick laid in garden wall bond and has a tiled roof. The plan is roughly rectangular, with a projecting straight-ended narrow Blessed Sacrament Chapel at the east, and several other projections housing ancillary spaces. The former orientation is still obvious from the exterior which has double-transepts near the former east end. All windows are oblong and of metal, with concrete drip-moulds in the shape of elongate omegas with the arc above the space between groups of windows.

A porch at an angle to the church leads into the narthex at the northwest. At the west of the church is the hall, toilets, a kitchen, a link to the presbytery and the sacristies. The four-bay nave has a canted ceiling and a trabeated arcade. The stone font with glass bowl is placed near the entrance at the northwest, and the organ is in a small niche at the northeast. The sanctuary has exposed brick steps, a stone altar (incorporating a former millstone) and ambo. Behind the altar is a screen by Fenwick Lawson with a large abstract stained glass panel with a cross motif. This is placed between two groups of three windows on the east wall with similar glass. On the other side of the screen is the brass tabernacle set on a square stone pillar with a niche on the south side for the monstrance. This forms the Blessed Sacrament Chapel with a small number of chairs to the east for use as a weekday chapel. A niche at the southwest forms the Lady Chapel with a statue of the Virgin Mary on a timber shelf. The Stations of the Cross are oblong timber reliefs.

Diocese: Hexham and Newcastle

Architect: R. A. Burke (unconfirmed attribution); Vincente Stienlet & Son

Original Date: 1952

Conservation Area: No

Modifications: 1993-94

Listed Grade: Not listed