St Mary's Chapel, Jesmond


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Newcastle upon Tyne (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
NZ 25937 66526

Reasons for Designation

A medieval chapel is a building, usually rectangular, containing a range of furnishings and fittings appropriate for Christian worship in the pre- Reformation period. Chapels were designed for congregational worship and were generally divided into two main parts: the nave, which provided accommodation for the laity, and the chancel, which was the main domain of the priest and contained the principal altar. Around 4000 parochial chapels were built between the 12th and 17th centuries as subsidiary places of worship built for the convenience of parishioners who lived at a distance from the main parish church. Other chapels were built as private places of worship by manorial lords and lie near or within manor houses, castles or other high-status residences. Chantry chapels were built and maintained by endowment and were established for the singing of masses for the soul of the founder. Some chapels possessed burial grounds. Unlike parish churches, the majority of which remain in ecclesiastical use, chapels were often abandoned as their communities and supporting finances declined or disappeared. Many chantry chapels disappeared after the dissolution of their supporting communities in the 1540s. Chapels, like parish churches, have always been major features of the landscape. A significant number of surviving examples are identified as being nationally important. The sites of abandoned chapels, where positively identified, are particularly worthy of statutory protection as they were often left largely undisturbed and thus retain important information about the nature and date of their use up to their abandonment.

St.Mary's Chapel is a well documented medieval chapel and legal documents involve both the Papacy and the Crown. The chapel was an important place of pilgrimage in the medieval period and may be associated with St.Mary's Well 100m to the west, which is the subject of a seperate scheduling. The chapel was also part of a larger complex which included a hospital, positioned by the first edition 10' Ordnance Survey map as 50m north west of the chapel.


The monument includes the remains of St Mary's Chapel, located above a tributary dene to Jesmond Dene in the Jesmond Grove area of Jesmond. It was a medieval place of pilgrimage. The chapel is sited on a level area bounded to the south by a steep slope, with traces of a stone boundary wall along its top. The remains, which are Listed Grade II*, include the chancel, chantry chapel and nave, constructed of coarse grained sandstone blocks. The chancel and chantry chapel survive to a height of about 6m. A 2m length of the north wall and a 3m length of the south wall of the nave survive at the chancel end. The original length of the nave, approximately 20m, is depicted on the 1859 Ordnance Survey 1:2500 map. The foundations of the nave survive up to the intersection with a residential road about 10m from the chancel arch. Three phases of construction are detectable. In the 12th century the chancel arch was built. The chancel was enlarged twice during 14th century and a chantry chapel was added in the 15th century. The earliest visible remains of the chapel are the chancel arch and semi-circular responds. The arch has some voussoirs with roll and chevron mouldings. The north respond has a cushion capital with a chamfered abacus and the south respond a scroll work. The 14th century enlargements to the chancel consist of an enlargement to the chancel arch and an eastward extension of the chancel. The arch is raised on three courses of stone blocks. The extension of the chancel is indicated by the presence of two piscinae in its southern wall. References to the discovery of human remains indicate that the chapel had a graveyard. The first reference to the chapel is in 1272. Numerous legal documents in the 14th and 15th centuries mention the chapel due to disputes over the right to present to the living. These documents involve both the Papacy and the Crown. The site was an important place of pilgrimage. Gray, in 1649, states that the Pilgrim Inn in Pilgrim Street was so named because the pilgrims lodged there on their visits to St Mary's Chapel. It was dissolved in 1548. The chapel was part of a larger complex which included a hospital. The site of the hospital is marked on the 2nd edition 1:1000 Ordnance Survey map of 1896 as approximately 50m west of the chapel and is now beneath a housing development. No known remains of the hospital are known to survive and it is not included in the scheduling.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Brewis, P, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in St. Mary's Chapel, and the Site of St.Mary's Well, Jesmond, , Vol. 4, V, (1928), 102-111
Knowles, W H, Dendy, F W, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in An Account of Jesmond, , Vol. 3, I, (1904), 130-143


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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