BELLS at a Tyneside church which were rung to celebrate victory at the Battle of Trafalgar will tomorrow commemorate the man who eventually led the British fleet to success.
On Sunday it will be 200 years to the day that Newcastle-born Admiral Lord Collingwood died at sea. As part of the Collingwood 200 Festival, the bells of Christ Church in North Shields will sound for half an hour from 5.30pm.
The church has strong links with the Collingwood family. They owned nearby Chirton House, where John, the Admiral’s brother lived. It was demolished in 1901.
John worshipped at the church. He died in 1841 and is buried in its vault.
An account of the time reported: “A vast concourse of persons, of all ranks, attended the ceremony.”
Inside the church is a memorial to John and sister-in-law Sarah. The Admiral’s widow, Lady Sarah, lived with her daughters Sarah and Mary at Chirton House until she died in 1819.
In 1837, the vicar of Christ Church, the Rev Christopher Reed, married John Collingwood’s eldest daughter Ann.
The church dates from 1668 and its tower with six bells was added in 1788. Four more bells were installed in the 1860s.
Michael Scott, ringing master at the church, said: “The bells were rung to mark national events such as Trafalgar, and the funerals of important people like Lord Collingwood and Lord Nelson.
“Ringing the bells as part of the Collingwood festival will be a way of marking the church’s links with the family. We are very proud of our link with Admiral Lord Collingwood.”
As part of the festival, Newcastle will tomorrow stage one of the biggest naval parades this year.
The parade of more than 200 Royal Navy representatives leaves Newcastle Civic Centre at 11.45am for St Nicholas Cathedral where a public commemoration service will be held at 12.30pm.
At 3pm at the Tynemouth Collingwood Monument, the cannons from the Admiral’s Trafalgar flagship, Royal Sovereign, will be “fired” – using pyrotechnics – to signal the start of a remembrance service. There will also be an exchange of gun salutes between the frigate HMS Cumberland and Territorial Army field guns on shore.
HMS Cumberland will be open to the public today from 1pm to 4.30pm at the Northumbrian Quay in North Shields.