Building » Washington – St John Boste

Washington – St John Boste

Crighton, Oxclose, Washington, Tyne & Wear, NE38 0LG

A well-detailed and functional modern church of hexagonal form with an open plan worship space.

Washington was one of the second generation of post-war New Towns, created after 1961. It was designated a New Town in 1964 and intended to house the overspill from towns in Tyneside and Wearside.  A masterplan was published in 1967 embracing eighteen old villages and development has continued intermittently since then. Regular Mass began to be said in Blackfell Community centre in 1979. 

The parish of St John Boste was established in 1980 to serve the villages of Blackfell, Harraton, Rickleton, Lambton, Ayton and Oxclose. [St John Boste was executed at Dryburn in 1594, and was canonised as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales in 1970]. The church was built at a cost of £300,000 and was opened by Bishop Swindlehurst on 22 June 1983. Since 2002 the parish has been clustered with the other two Washington parishes.


The church is a hexagonal building with a concrete raft foundation and a steel frame supported on columns of reinforced concrete. The external walls are faced with buff-coloured brick lain in stretcher bond. The roof is covered in Welsh slate. The main structure is expressed externally, with the main columns standing outside the screen walls with the main horizontal steel girders exposed. The screen walls are partly brick and partly timber with glazing and there is a continuous strip clerestory under the eaves of the roof.

The roof itself has a glazed lantern at the apex. Over the main entrance is a tall projecting open canopy with a pitched roof. Internally the modern worship space is dominated by a single central column with steel struts supporting the main roof members. The fittings are all contemporary with the church.

Heritage Details

Architect: Napper Collerton Partnership of Newcastle on Tyne

Original Date: 1982

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed