A response to Vanessa’s query
Kath StoneDog is creating a fantastic Scottish Gazetteer at http://www.wunderkabinett.co.uk/emporium/index.php?topic=1520.msg25282#msg25282 and has sent us a response to Vanessa’s query:
My first thought was a rededication at the Abbey but I think it’s firmly St Andrew’s. Does have some lovely misericords with some fine GM though. There’s a good web reference to them at http://www.greydragon.org/trips/Durham%20County/index3.html
Looking at the postcode (NE46 2EB) for the later RC St Mary’s Vanessa points out on the OS map shows how close it is to the Abbey/Priory grounds. Could we be looking at an oral confusion of the two sites now perpetuated in the Newsletter? There’s an interesting looking field just south of St Mary’s on the satellite aerial photograph too.http://home.btconnect.com/stmaryshexham/History.html is the site for the late RC church
“For the period 1721 until 1827, Hexham had two Catholic chapels, a Dominican chapel on Battle Hill and a secular chapel in Cockshaw. In
1827, it was agreed that there would be only one church to serve the town.” So there are two earlier sites, either of which could have had carvings – “chapel” doesn’t necessarily mean simple or unadorned – especially if they were traditional sites (re)adopted by the Catholics as the
political and social situation eased. 1827 is a suitable date for “new” church GM too, although I’m not sure if the RC used them in the same profusion as the Episcopalians.
“In 1858, the Sisters of Mercy arrived in Hexham from Oaklea, Sunderland. Their convent was built behind the church. The nuns taught
in St Mary’s school, visited the sick and helped in the parish in many ways. A new school was built beside the church in 1930.”This is another interesting possibility: depending on the Rule and the resources could a cloister be included in this complex? It says that their convent was built behind the church so it maybe that the 1830 building that Vanessa has highlighted actually /is/ the site we
are looking for?
“In 1979, the school was again used for mass while the church was completely renovated. The sanctuary was re-ordered to comply with the
needs of the liturgy of the post-Vatican II era. Where possible, the materials of the former altar were re-used to retain the character of the original church… [snip]…The old convent was also given a new lease of life when it was refurbished for use as the presbytery.”
After all that I think my theory is that Vanessa has found the right place, at the least it needs to be shaken hard before we can dismiss it.