History of St Cuthbert's



The History of our Church


Though the history of Blyth can be traced back to the twelfth century, the town itself did not attain to anything like its present size and importance until the beginning of the nineteenth century. It was not until the beginning of the eighteenth century that its industrial possibilities were recognised and its development began in earnest. Up to that time it had a very small population, and until 1751 there appears to have been no provision at all for Christian worship, apart from the churches at Earsdon and Horton, of which parishes it formed a part.

At the end of the seventeenth century, Blyth began to increase in industrial importance and the advantages of its geographical position were recognised and exploited. Quays were built, the population increased and the need of more opportunities for religious worship began to arise and be recognised.



The Chapel of Ease


This was Blyth when the first Blyth Church - the Chapel of Ease was built in 1751. John Wallace, a Blyth historian, could find no evidence of any place of worship in Blyth before this date. Blyth belonged to the parish of Earsdon however pastors at Earsdon were few and far between. The Ridley family decided to build a Chapel of Ease at Blyth to ease the parish of Earsdon.

It was a small church built for a congregation of 500. It consisted of a nave and chancel, with a small belcote at the West end. As the town developed, 2 galleries were built (one was later removed). The church was never consecrated. The Ridley family retained freehold and the right to appoint chaplains.

When the new church was built, Sir Matthew White Ridley gave the Chapel of Ease to the Diocesan Society who held it "on trust". It was thoroughly overhauled and was described as "one of the most graceful looking halls in the town". In 1925, it was pulled down to make way for a new Parish Hall, built on the site. The brick arch at the entrance to the Parish Hall has a keystone of stone with 1751 engraved on it. This stone was the keystone of the arch at the entrance of the old church, and so was preserved in this way. A chalice, first used in the old church in 1754, is still on exhibition in the new church.



The New Church


It was announced in the "London Gazette" on November 9th, 1883 that the Chapel of Ease had become a Parish Church. No longer did it belong to the Parish of Earsdon. The next two years were a period of great activity to raise money to enable the new church to be built.

By 1892 the church was completed the baptistry, vestries, vestibule and porch were added in 1891 and in the following year, the tower and trancepts were completed. The tower when first built was adorned with stone pinnacles and a weathercock, but these were removed after one was blown off and damaged the roof of the nave, in the winter's gale in 1937. The window in the High Altar "The Crucifixion" is in memory of Dr. Henry Ward, who died in 1891.



The Church today


The clock tower was presented by Mr. G. Colpitts in memory of his wife in 1962. The West window "The Four Works of Mercy" was a memorial to Dr. Gilbert Ward.

In 2003 the bells have been completely refurbished. The new windows in the chapel were given by Mrs E. Holgeth in 2003.