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History of Dissenting Chapels 1700 - 1850

Dissenting Chapels.
The Dissenters in South Shields are very numerous, and possess many neat and comfortable places of worship. There has always been here, during the last 150 years, a considerable number of persons attached to the discipline of the Church of Scotland. The many vexatious restrictions imposed on strangers by the free burgesses of Newcastle, induced most of the poor, industrious adventurers from Scotland to settle in this port or at Sunderland. Hence there is a tradition of a Presbyterian meeting-house being opened in South Shields so early as the days of the Commonwealth.
The old Presbyterian chapel was built by a Mr. John Ware, in the year 1718, on a portion of the Military Road, or King's High-way, which was abandoned when the present passage down the Long Bank to the river was formed. From this Circumstance, it became a freehold in the midst of dean and chapter property. About the year 1772, there were two candidates for the ministry in this congregation: the one Mr. Gilhespie, and the other Mr. Hart. The friends of the latter, though forming a minority, took possession of the chapel; but the majority, after four years of expensive litigation, recovered possession of it, on paying the ousted party i?50. About i?1000 was spent in this foolish and indecent law-suit. After this, Mr. Laidlaw and Mr. Mitchel were successively ministers. In 1786, the present minister, the Rev. Charles Toshach, was unanimously chosen, and who has laboured assiduously and successfully, during 44 years, in maintaining the bond of peace and Unity amongst his flock. In 1790, the old chapel was pulled down, and rebuilt on a more commodious plan, at a cost of £350, exclusive of the old materials. In consequence of the dispute mentioned above, another, the Dairy Lane Presbyterian chapel, was built in 1779, and enlarged in 1817- It contains 200 sittings. The Rev. Joseph Matthews has discharged the pastoral functions here upwards of 42 years.
The United Secession Church, East Street, is freehold, and was purchased of the Wesleyan Methodists, in 1808, for £535. Since that time, nearly ,£400 have been expended in improving the interior, which is now very chaste, and even tasteful. It affords accommodation for about 500 persons. The Rev. Henry Lawson is the present minister.—The Congregational or Independent Chapel, in Wallis Street, was built on glebe land, near the Market-place, in 1824, and cost above ^llOO. It is subject to an annual ground-rent of £4, 16s. payable to the incumbent of St. Hilda. The chapel, which is very neat, will contain almost 800 persons, and has attached to it a schoolroom, in which also a Sabbath-school is ably conducted by some members of the congregation.— The Baptist Chapel, in Barrington Street, belongs to the General Baptists, and was built in 1821. It contains nearly 500 sittings, and cost about £1400. Being erected on glebe land, it is subject to an annual ground-rent of £7, 4s. payable to the minister of St. Hilda's church. The Rev. Robert Crook at present officiates in this chapel.—Salem Chapel, in Queen Street, was built by the Particular Baptists in 1824, and cost £821. It contains upwards of 400 sittings, and is under the ministry of the Rev. George Brown.

The Wesleyan Methodist chapel, in Chapter Row, is a freehold, and was built in 1808, and cost £3800. It is a handsome, substantial, and well-finished brick building, and contains sittings for 1500 persons, though there have been upwards of 2000 in it. There are 200 free seats. The society consists of about 600 members. Another Wesleyan chapel, in Shadwell Street, was opened in 1814, and contains seats for about 300 persons. There is also a small Wesleyan chapel in Temple Town, chiefly for the use of the colliers.
The Metliodist chapel in Johnson Street, West Holborn, belonging to the New Connexion, was originally built in 1785, and rebuilt in 1814. The interior of this chapel is very neat and commodious, and contains 650 sittings, but will hold about 1000 persons. The Primitive Methodist chapel, in Cornwallis Street, was built in 1823, and cost £1600. It is subject to the payment of £7, 4s. annual ground-rent, received by the incumbent of St Hilda. This chapel contains 600 sittings. There is a small chapel in connexion with this one, at Temple Town, near the colliery.

Presbyterian Chapels

Saville Street.
This chapel is situated in Saville Street. It was erected in 1841-2, and contains 650 sittings, 100 of which are free. It is called St. John's New Presbyterian church: minister, the Rev. John Storie.

Heugh Street
United Presbyterian Chapel.—
This chapel occupies the site of a previous one, erected in Heugh Street in 1718. The present building was reared in 1779, and enlarged in 1817. There are 300 sittings, none of whieh are free ; but nothing is charged for seatrent when parties are supposed to be unable to pay. The building is licensed for the solemnization of marriages. About 80 children attend the Sunday-school. This chapel had its origin in the disputes which took place amongst the congregation of the old Presbyterian church from 1772 to 1776. It is at present under the pastoral care of the Rev. Thomas M'Creath.

East Street
United Presbyterian Chapel, this building was purchased of the Wesleyan Methodists in 1808. It contains 400 sittings, none of which are free. About 70 children attend the Sunday-school. The chapel is licensed for the solemnization of marriages; and the Rev. Henry Lawson is the present minister.

Laygate
English Presbyterian Chapel. This place of public worship is situated in Frederick Street: it was erected in 1849, the expense being principally defrayed by Messrs. Stevenson and Partners, of the Jarrow Chemical Works. The building is in the early English style of architecture, with a high pitched roof, and a neat square tower surmounted by an elegant spire. There are 500 sittings, none of which are free. It is licensed for the solemnization of marriages. Minister, the Rev. W. O. Allan.
A Sunday-school is held on the basement floor of the chapel.


Methodist Chapels

Wesleyan Methodist Chapels
Chapter Row, was erected in 1808, and has
arrangements for 1,000 sittings, 100 of which are free.It is licensed for marriages. Sunday-schools are attached.
Westoe Lane. This is the old Presbyterian chapel, built in 1718 and rebuilt in 1790. It is the property of the Wesleyan Methodists by purchase, and is in connexion with the Chapter Row chapel. It has 300 sittings, 50 of which are free. A Sunday-school is attached
Temple Town, is also in connexion with Chapter Row Chapel. It has 220 sittings, 120 of which are free. It has a Sunday-chool attached.
Baring Street PM The Alma Street Mission, subsequently became the Baring Street society—for nearly half-a-century.
little place, in Baring Street,which was built in the second half of the 19th century to accommodate a Primitive Methodist congregation, before it was eventually able to establish a purpose-built church opposite, on the corner of St Aidan's Road. John Hunter who had held the office—first at the Glebe, thereafter at this little mission for over half a century.
Methodist New Connexion.—This chapel was huilt in j 1785, and re-built in 1814. There are 500 sittings, 50 of which are free. Above 100 children attend the Sunday-school, which is held in the chapel.

Primitive Methodist Chapels
Cornwallis Street In 1823, the Primitive Methodists erected a spacious chapel in Cornwallis Street, containing 900 sittings, 300 of which arc free. It is licensed for marriages. About 100 children attend the Sunday-school, in a room attached to the chapel. The building is subject to the payment annual ground-rent, received by the incumbent of St. Hilda.
Temple Town.This place of worship is in connexion with that in Cornwallis Street. It was erected in 1840, and has 320 sittings, 160 of which are free. The Sunday-school held in the chapel is attended by about 250 children.
Salem Association Chapel, Queen Street, was built by the Particular Baptists in 1824, and has since become the property of the Wesleyon Association, by whom it has been enfranchised. A gallery was added in 1839 ; and the building contains 714 sittings, 170 of which are free. A Sunday-school is held in the chapel and adjoining room, attended by about 250 children.

Baring Street PM The Alma Street Mission, subsequently became the Baring Street society—for nearly half-a-century. The little tin hut
in Baring Street,was built in the second half of the 19th century to accommodate a Primitive Methodist congregation, before it was eventually able to establish a purpose-built church opposite, on the corner of St Aidan's Road. John Hunter who had held the office—first at the Glebe, thereafter at this little mission for over half a century.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army organisation had a widely distributed presence in the town over the years.


Primitive Methodism

By 1832 Primitive Methododism had reached a peak of 800 and the following year had falling to 472, slowly rising and falling over the next few years in 1840 had reached 619. There was two main reasons for there flucating fortunes, the obvious one which was drifting away and the other more importaint one was the relocation of families to other areas. The second was the principle cause of Primitive Methodism's flucatings in South Shields.

Another reason was the some early trade unionists moved away from the PM most notably Thomas Hepburn the Miners leader who left the movement after the 1832 strike.

Meetings in South Shields
Sunday, June 25. — Temple Town. I attended a Camp meeting at this place. The day was fine, and a large congregation was collected. The praying companies were well supported. The preaching services were short and powerful. Present salvation was enforced, and a Holy Unction rested on the people.

South Shields. This was the day appointed for our Annual Camp meeting. It was previously arranged for the society to meet in the chapel at eight o’clock, and then proceed to the head of the town and sing down to the Camp ground. The morning was very unfavourable, and not a single local preacher, leader, or member came to the chapel; only myself and two or three of the officers of the school. However I repaired to the head of the town, and was joined by one local preacher, and one leader, with a few of the members. Shortly after we were joined by some of -the country friends. We then commenced singing, and held several prayer meetings as we proceeded, until we came to the market place, the distance of a mile. We were now joined by several of the local preachers and leaders, with the children of the Sunday school. After we had held a short prayer meeting, we formed a procession, the children leading it, preceded by the banner of the school, which had a striking effect. The singing and prayer meetings were most effective. Many were seen in tears as we passed down the town, and the glory of God rested on the people.
On the Camp ground the preaching and praying services were powerful. The doctrine of a full, free, and present salvation was enforced, and the praying services were lively and well supported.
In the Lovefeast, the glory streamed down; the speaking was interesting and powerful; sinners cried for mercy, and believers were quickened. Six souls professed to find the Lord.

The Lovefeast was very powerful, and three souls professed to find the sinners’ Friend.

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Topographical accounts of South Shields |Parish Churches | Dissenting Chapels & Churches |Early Years |Electoral and Census records |Commerce & Industry |Cemetries & Graveyards | Memorials |Streets of South Shields |Schools |Communties |South Shields History |Industry in South Shields 1856 |Port of South Shields |Trade Directories |Roman era |Historic Images |Investors in South Shields |Victorian notables |Poor Law |Land Leases and Buildings |South Shields Local History Group |Population of South Shields and district |Mariners and Shipwrecks |South Shields 1787 |North East History e books |History of Northumberland 1907 |The Boldon Burke |Message Board |Guestbook |Event Calendar |Mail Form