History of the Church

In 1860 Whitley was a group of small farms situated between the villages of Monkseaton and Cullercoats which was part of the estate owned by the Priory of Tynemouth

Details from Saint Paul’s Visitors Guide informs us that until 1860 Whitley was within the parish of Tynemouth and its parish church was Christ Church North Shields. Tynemouth was divided into six new parishes one of which included Cullercoats, Whitley and Monkseaton.

Because Whitley was more central between the three it was decided in 1860 to build the parish church in this location but the parish was named Cullercoats.

The land was given by the 4th Duke of Northumberland who paid for the building and contracted the architect Anthony Salvin and was built by George Smith of Pimlico London. At the time of building there were three main houses in Whitley besides the several small farms. The houses were ‘Whitley Park’, ‘Whitley House’ and’ Belvedere House’.

Building work was completed in 1864 and the church was consecrated by the Bishop of Durham and in the presence of the Duke and Duchess on 3rd September of that year. The church is built in the early English Gothic style but is unusual in that the bell tower rises from the corner of the South aisle and is supported by the chancel.

There are eight carved faces at the base of the spire that are supposed to represent the main persons associated with the churches construction.  One of the faces is supposed to depict Sir Charles Mark Palmer MP who at the time lived at Whitley Park. Sir Charles donated the initial six bells which were made by Taylor’s of Loughborough. The tower also contains the town clock which has two faces painted blue.  The clock has been recently authenticated as being manufactured by a London manufacturer donated by Sir Charles Palmer Esq local resident and owner of Palmers ship yard Hebburn on Tyne.

In 1912 the six original bells were augmented by two new light bells to make a ring of eight.