"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln

Posted on January 16, 2016 by Sioux under General


St. Nicholas Cathedral.


An immense structure, located in the heart of the city. Combined with the Castle, it makes up an integral part of the core of Newcastle’s medieval history. A worship and prayer session has been held in this church every day for the last 900 years!


Most of the Cathedral dates back to the 14th century, however the stained glass windows are composed of mainly 19th and 20th century glass. The tower measures 11.20m x 11m at thebase and is 59.89m high from the base to the top of the steeple. Originally a parish church, built in 1091 which is the same period as the nearby castle was built, the original Norman church was destroyed by fire in 1216. The current building was completed in 1350.


The building was granted cathedral status in 1882, when it became known as the Cathedral Church of St Nicholas. Named after St Nicholas; the patron saint of sailors and boats, which is possibly the reason for the cathedral’s high position above the River Tyne. It was built close to the line of Hadrian’s Wall through Newcastle, which may have passed through the churchyard, but the exact location of the line through the center of the city is currently unknown. Due south of the cathedral is Newcastle Castle, which gave the city its name, and which was built on the site of the Hadrian’s Wall fort of Pons Aelius.


The cathedral is known for the unusual lantern spire, which was constructed in 1448. For hundreds of years, it was a main navigation point for ships using the River Tyne.

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The tower contains a complete ring of twelve bells, the tenor bell weighing almost two tons, plus three 15th century bells, one of which, the “St Nicholas”, is rung for daily services. The addition of a second treble bell – named “Gabriel” – in 1999 has made it possible to ring a lighter peal of ten bells. Newcastle Cathedral is the second tallest religious building in Newcastle and the sixth tallest structure in the city overall.

After work was done on the street in the 1860’s, the tower was found to be cracking and tilting, so two porches were added to buttress the structure. The tower has since settled and the ornate wooden font cover, which is suspended from the tower inside, does not hang in line with the font.

Entering through the huge wooden doors of the cathedral, the first thing I noticed was the ethereal beauty, the deep silence and total peace; despite there being a number of people inside the building. Visitors and clerics, talking in hushed tones; some faithful followers on their knees in the pews; lips moving in silent prayer. I stood in awe.

A priest walked slowly toward me, his long robes making a gentle swishing sound as he approached. Seeing the camera bag and tripod, a soft, yet strong voice asked if I wanted to take photos. I nodded and he smiled and said please do go ahead, just be appreciative of the sanctity within. I needed no second invitation. All they asked was a small donation. My wallet came out and their coffers were a tad richer – as was I when I left.


I am not a religious person by any stretch of the imagination but I felt totally at peace within the building. A truly magnificent place to visit.


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4 responses to “900 years of tradition”

  1. Chez says:

    Beautiful pics S! Thanks for sharing the info.

  2. Ursula Evans says:

    Beautiful pics and info. Thank you

  3. paul says:

    You get to hone your “low light long exposure” technique’s here?

  4. Karen says:

    Thanks for showing us, through your stunning photos,parts of the world many of us will never get an opportunity to explore….and…for the history lesson ???

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