Treasures show the love for cathedral

PARISHES have offered their treasures to celebrate a cathedral’s special birthday.

PARISHES have offered their treasures to celebrate a cathedral’s special birthday.

More than 70 parishes donated around 250 items to the Treasures of Northumberland exhibition at St Nicholas Cathedral in Newcastle until July 22.

The event marks the 125th anniversary of St Nicholas’s cathedral status and also of the Diocese of Newcastle.

“We asked parishes to lend us what they most treasured and loved, for whatever reason,” said cathedral senior verger James Adams, who has organised the exhibition.

“Most of the objects have never been seen outside of their churches and the exhibition offers the chance for them to be displayed to a much wider audience.

“It’s a fun way to celebrate our 125th anniversary.”

The display features a collection plate from Humshaugh in which are set medals from the Battle of Trafalgar. The plate was presented to Humshaugh by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty.

Also on show is a walking cane made of wood from Newcastle’s original Mansion House, which was built in 1691 on the Quayside, near where the Copthorne Hotel now stands, and was destroyed by fire in 1895.

Two framed lead engravings from the building are also included.

A plate painted with flowers named after the Virgin Mary, by North-East artist Barbara Bailes, is another exhibit, as are pebbles painted by a nun living as a solitary on the North-East coast.

An unusual First World War memorial is a font cover from St Cuthbert’s Church in Bellingham. Wood carvings of the stations of the cross by Whitley Bay’s John Carr, for St Alban’s at Earsdon, are flanked by gilded angels made by First World War Belgian refugees, who lived in Birtley in Gateshead.

There are also carvings by Christopher Lewis, vicar of Riding Mill, from trees felled near his church.

A colourful range of Mass vestments is on display, including 19th Century examples from France and Italy which were acquired for Cowpen in Blyth.

Beautifully worked altar frontals have been set up, including a pristine version of 1890 from Ulgham.

Banners include a 1900 example from St George’s Church in Cullercoats, showing the village’s lifeboat, the Millennium Banner from Hexham Abbey and a banner from Bedlington, to which the local parishes contributed and which features a wind turbine and a colliery wheel.

Not all of the exhibits are from churches. St Nicholas Hospital in Newcastle has contributed a tree of hope, made from recycled metal, by patients and staff.

The Archbishop of York will preach at a 125th anniversary service at the cathedral on July 25.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
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