About St. Peter’s Church, Monkwearmouth

  • One of the UK’s first stone churches
  • Archaeological remains from 7th century
  • See original Anglo-Saxon features such as the tower and west wall

In what had been a promontory clifftop overlooking the north of the harbour and estuary of the River Wear, 60 hides of land were given by King Ecgfrith for Benedict Biscop to found the monastery of St. Peter in the name of the Archbishop Theodore of Canterbury in 673 AD. This was the beginning of a new project a movement to bring learning, culture and the Christian religion to the north of Saxon Britain.

This was the monastery on whose lands the Venerable Bede was born and it was here at Wearmouth that at the age of 7 he entered the schooling of the monastery. This was the time in the dark middle ages known as the Golden Age of Northumbria, when monastic communities spread from Ireland to Iona to Lindisfarne: from Rome via Canterbury to here.

Most of the monastic settlement lies under the churchyard of St.Peter’s having been largely excavated and recorded by Professor Rosemary Cramp of Durham University in the 1960’s and covered over again for protection. Some of the stones and artefacts were unearthed and brought into the church where they can be seen on display today.

The western wall and the porch and lower tower visible today date from the foundation and still stand as part of the St.Peter’s church where the Christians worship as in earliest times.

Parish of Monkwearmouth

St. Peter’s is part of the Parish of Monkwearmouth – which comprises of St. Andrew’s, St. Peter’s and All Saints churches.

There is a seperate website which provides full information about what is going on in the parish and about the other churches that it consists of. If you would llike to find out more and see the website please click on this link.

If you are someone who uses Twitter you can follow the parish using the Twitter ID @MonkwearmouthCE. If you are a Facebook user then you can like or join the Facebook page for the parish – to visit the page please click here.

Virtual Tour of St. Peter’s

A Google Earth virtual tour of inside the church site is now available. If you would like see this tour by James McRoy please click here (opens in a new window). Use your mouse or finger gestures (on tablets and smart phones) to move around the various screens.