A Visit to Trinity House in Newcastle

Some 30 Rotarians and their friends gathered at 12.15 by the Abbey┬á for a visit to Trinity House in Newcastle. The bus picked us up on time and, after picking up more from Corbridge, put us safely down outside the “French Quarter” restaurant in Newcastle. Here we had an excellent lunch with Tapas type dishes being served together with some excellent wines and Beaujolais Nouveau.
HallTrinityLunch being over it was back to the coach which took us to Trinity House just behind the Quayside. We assembled in the magnificent Banqueting Hall having passed through the entrance hall with its interesting stuffed creatures brought back from all over the world. We then split into three groups and were given an extensive tour of the building.
Trinity House, originally named the “Guild of the Blessed Trinity of Newcastle upon Tyne”, formally came into being on 4th January 1505, securing some land, previously known as Dalton’s Place, in Broad Chare on Newcastle’s Quayside, from Ralph Hebborn, in exchange for a “peppercorn rent”, being a red rose, to be paid yearly on demand, on the feast of John the Baptist (now known as Midsummer’s day). It eventually had the responsibility of looking after the navigation aids and pilotage from Berwick down to Whitby.
We were shown many of the treasures including a chair speciallywindow made for King Charles 1 and the antique linoleum which originally covered the entire floor of the Banqueting Hall but could not stand up to stiletto heels and is now covered by carpet.
The Trinity House Chapel is believed to be the oldest part of the House and the oldest private religious premises in continuous use within the City. The Chapel falls within the parish of St. Annes, a church which it predates by some 260 years! It is interesting to note that the Brethren also leased pews and maintained an altar and gallery within All Hallows Church, which stood on the hill above Trinity House until replaced in entrance1786 by the present All Saints Church. While the building of the chapel was amongst the objectives defined by the Brethren on 4th January 1505, its appearance has changed over the years. The pews are made of oak that has been verified as over a thousand years old and reputedly came from the Venerable Bede’s Monastery at Jarrow. They are decorated with cherubs.
The Master’s Room is understandably the warmest and most intimate room in the House. It is used as an informal gathering place for the Brethren and for entertaining private guests. The room bears testimony to the many naval wardrooms whose members have visited the House, leaving mounted crests of their ships as gifts and which form a colourful and interesting display around the room. The tall George I Walnut 8-day Longcase clock was made for the House by William Kipling of London in 1725 and the House Coat of Arms is engraved into the armorial in the arch. The centre light has been created from the wheel of the Royal National Life Boat “Tynesider”. To one side is a low desk, known as “Nelson’s table” which arrived subsequent to the Admiral’s death.
All in all an excellent visit to an historic part of Newcastle for which we thanked our guides before departing back to Hexham