History and Architecture of
St.Charles' Church, Gosforth.

Beginnings of the community

The parish of St. Charles' came into being at Coxlodge in 1861. The acre or so of land on which the church now stands in Gosforth was donated by George Dunn Jnr.
in 1896.

An iron church was opened on 20th December 1896. It measured 23.47m by 9.14m. These “temporary iron structures” were not very popular as they were very cold in winter and like ovens in summer.   original 'tin' church circ 1896
Architects line drawing of the proposed new church   Building of the current stone church began with the blessing and laying of a foundation stone by the Right Rev. Richard Collins, Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, on 14th August 1910.
St. Charles’ new church was dedicated in 1911. The solemn opening was a Pontifical High Mass celebrated by Bishop Collins on 3rd December 1911.   St.Charles' Church at the opening circ 1911
The Presbytery (house) circ 1911   The church is east-west orientated. The plan is apsed chancel, with a vestry on the south side linking with the presbytery; four-bayed aisled nave with transepts, west porch, and north-west and south-west towers.
The church is mainly built of sandstone. The internal dimensions are 85.75 ft by 48 ft in the nave, 65 ft in the transepts. The height of the nave is 52 ft and that of the spires 81 ft.

interior at the opening circ 1911

The original interior before the marble cladding was added

sanctuary at the opening circ 1911

The sanctuary before the baldacchino and altar rails
were added

 

south nave isle looking towards the Lady chapel circ 1911

The Lady chapel before the altar was added. This view shows the bare brick walls and pillars.

sanctuary circ 1950

The sanctuary Pre-Vatican II dressed for 40 hours devotion

To provide additional space and remove some of the drafts from opening doors, a large glass porch spanning the two original main west entrance doors was added in 1970. It was designed by parishioner, Bill Stoner.


The re-ordering of the church

Post Vatican II, the altar rails and ornate baldacchino were removed during the re-ordering of the church in 1986. The sanctuary was extended into the nave to accommodate the forward facing altar.

views of the sanctuary circ 2000  

Parts of the baldacchino were incorporated into the baptismal font and new lectern. The corner pillars of the baldacchino can be seen at the back of the sanctuary, each with a concealed lighting above.

The re-ordering reduced the ground floor seating capacity of the church, so the upper West Gallery, which had been added in the 1920's to accommodate the organ, was replaced by a larger one to allow space for additional members of the congregation.

The north transept, originally the location for the organ pre 1920, became St. Joseph's Chapel. During re-ordering, the Blessed Sacrament chapel took its place. The new altar and tabernacle was constructed from parts of the original high altar.

 

The Blessed Sacrament altar circ 2000

The Lady chapel and Font circ 2000  
The Lady Chapel in the south transept of the church was donated by the Farnon family and includes the modern baptismal font built from the baldacchino as mentioned above.
There are some wonderful stained glass windows. The large window in the south transept is of The Nativity, which includes the Magi on the left and the shepherds on the right.   just one of the many stained glass windows in the church circ 2000

In 2003, work commenced on the construction of a new parish centre on the land adjacent to the church on the north side, formerly occupied by the original St. Charles' Primary School.

Parish Centre circ 2004

Inside looking South East towards the church

Parish Centre circ 2004

Official opening ceremony

Parish Centre circ 2004

Outside looking North West from the garden area

This was officially opened in September 2004 by Canon Bob Spence who's family are from this parish.

Click here, copies available at 5.00

A full and detailed history is available

“A PARISH IN ITS TIME
A history of St Charles' Parish Gosforth”
by Frank McCombie and Michael Cullen.
Price £5.00 + £1.50 carriage

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Page last updated :-
01-Jan-2017 6:36