Building » Holy Island – St Aidan

Holy Island – St Aidan

Green Lane, Holy Island, Northumberland TD15

A post-War utilitarian structure successfully re-vamped in 2007 as a multi-purpose building with accessible church and social spaces.

The few Catholics resident on Holy Island were served by priests coming from Wooler or Haggerston in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but pilgrimages and growing summer tourism in the twentieth century attracted others on an ad hoc basis. Fr J. Corrigan established a more permanent Catholic presence in Lindisfarne House in the 1950s using a room for Mass, and the SVP Youth Camp was established behind the house in 1955. Fr Corrigan launched an appeal to build a hall to use as a chapel and dining room in 1957 and this is the existing building attached to the House. In 2005, Bishop Dunn launched an appeal to re-furbish it and he opened the present church on Easter Day, 8 April 2007. 


St Aidan’s church runs east-west parallel to Green Lane but with the altar at the west end. For the purposes of this report, conventional liturgical compass points are used, i.e. with the altar at the east.

St Aidan’s Church was first built in 1957 and extensively refurbished in 2005-7. It is built of brick, timber and stone with a blue mineral fibre asbestos cement slate roof with red tile cresting. It is a long rectangle adjoining the nineteenth century pebbledashed Lindisfarne House to the west, with a projecting gabled north porch to Green Lane and large sacristy/kitchen block to the south.

The north facade to Green Lane is faced with vertical timber cladding, solid west of the porch but for a small domestic window, but to the east interrupted by nine vertical rectangular windows. The five largest windows at the east end light the church, the four smaller windows nearest to the porch the meeting area. The east wall is faced with roughly coursed local stone. The porch is rendered and painted purple and the double timber and glass doors are approached up a stone-faced ramp with a solid timber handrail, decorated with painted wooden panels depicting St Aidan’s life. There is a wooden crucifix on the wall west of the porch.

Internally, the rectangular space is divided into two spaces by a glazed timber partition some way east of the double entry doors. However, there is a low ceiling above it over the western part of the church and eastern half of the western area. There is a rectangular opening between this ceiling and the plastered pitched roof to the west. Does this reflect the original layout with the church next to the house?

To the east of the low ceiling, the church has a pitched roof on simple exposed white painted trusses and is lit by vertical windows to the north with opaque white glass and three groups of five high level rectangular windows on the south with coloured glazing. Pointed arch timber frames filled with figurative stained glass with commemorative dates of 1940 are hung in the three eastern window recesses on the north side, presumably from another church: St Aidan, Our Lady and St Peter. They are probably by Atkinson Brothers of Newcastle.

Heritage Details

Architect: Not established

Original Date: 1957

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed