Church of England

Below are listed a number of events, mostly drawn from local newspapers, in the history of the Anglican Church in the Bowburn area. Some weddings and funerals are included, where reports of them mentioned people of significance in local churches.

4 April 1865

Formation of the Cassop-cum-Quarrington “ecclesiastical district”, from parts of Kelloe and Bishop Middleham parishes. In the same year, Rev. Thomas Henry Thompson, M. A. (Durham) was installed as the first vicar of Cassop-cum-Quarrington Parish, though St. Paul’s Church was not built till 1867 and vicarage in 1870.

(See also 1887 for change of civil parishes.)

The ecclesiastical district was formed by an Order in Council made on 31 March 1865, following a petition signed by Rev. T. H. Thompson, G. D. Menzies, R. H. Philipson, Wm. Story, Wm. Gibson, John Richardson, W. H. Wood, Geo. Stokoe and Robert W. A. Southern. It was subsequently known as “the Parish of Cassop-cum-Quarrington with Bowburn” (for instance on the occasion of its 99th birthday in 1964). The church was not built till 1868.

Ecclesiastical parishes originated in the Mediaeval period, when the tithe or teind (a proportion of the annual produce or income) was paid by the parish inhabitants to support the Church. These units were distinguished from the Civil Parishes after 1597 with the passing of the first Poor Relief Act. This Act also led to many subordinate areas, such as chapelries, being raised to parochial rank and the creation of many new parishes. The Order in Council is in Dur. Uni. Library.

Mr. Thompson was born in Cramlington, the son of a clergyman, and educated at Hatfield Hall, Durham, graduating in Maths in 1851, obtaining his LTh in 1852 and his MA in 1854. He was ordained deacon in 1854 (in Durham) and priest in 1855 (in Manchester). He was senior curate at Tynemouth, 1854-61, and was then at Alston, Cumberland (1861-62) and St. Paul’s, Darlington (1862-65) before moving to Quarrington. He remained vicar till his death on 29 March 1902.

Mr. Thompson’s wife, Sarah (née Metcalf), was from a shipbuilding family, of Monkwearmouth.

(Sources: Kelly’s 1921Whellan 1894, p.258; Durham County Advertiser 27 November 1964, p.14 + 15 October 1915, p.5; Kelly’s Directory 1890; THT’s memorial stone in OQ cemetery; Monument 83, St. Paul’s churchyard – CA McLee (1991) Monumenal Inscriptions, Quarrington, Co. Durham (Cleveland, N. Yks & S. Durham Family History Society); Dur. Uni. Library DDR/EA/BEP April 168; Crockford’s directory 1896;


St. Paul’s Church was built, at Quarrington Hill.

It was the first Anglican parish church of Cassop-cum-Quarrington. Before that, the parish church was St. Helen’s, at Kelloe.

30 January 1868

St. Paul’s Church and burial ground consecrated.

The church’s architect was Robert Jewell Withers (c.1823–1894), of London. It could accommodate a congregation of 290. The first vicar, the Rev. Thomas Henry Thompson, had been installed in 1865.

(Sources: Whellans 1894; Kelly’s 1921; www. churchplansonline. org; Dur. Uni. Library DDR/EA/CHC March C/17; Crockford’s directory 1896.)


Cassop-cum-Quarrington vicarage was erected at Heugh Hall / Old Quarrington, about a mile and a quarter NW of St. Paul’s Church, at a cost of £1, 750.

Later named “Grey Gables” and subsequently (c.1990) “Heugh Hill” but then “Grey Gables” again (c.2000).

In 1850, Bishop Maltby set up a fund for Durham diocese to promote new vicarages/rectories. It set out rules re their size, cost etc., including that they should have six bedrooms, a study, to sitting rooms, a kitchen, scullery and “usual offices”. The “coalfield mission” to expand clergy in the Durham coalfield began in 1860.

(Sources: Whellans 1894; re Bishop Malby’s fund and “coalfield mission”–R. Lee (2007) “The CofE and the Durham Coalfield, 1810-1926”, p.262.)


Joseph Fleetham & Priscilla Wilson were married in Coxhoe Parish Church, by Rev. Thomas Lawson. They celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on 22 March 1934.

(Sources: Dur. Co. Adv. 23 March 1934, p.10.)

14 June 1888

Rev. Thomas Lettsom Gronow, curate of Cassop-cum-Quarrington Parish, died, aged 25 years. He was the son-in-law of the vicar, Thomas Henry Thompson, having married his daughter, Ethel Maud, early in 1887. They had a son, Wilfred, aged 5.

Rev. Herbert G. Croft was curate in 1890 and was boarding in the household of Ethel Maud Gronow, TLG’s widow, at Old Quarrington, at the time of 1891 Census.

(Sources: Monument 221, St. Paul’s churchyard – CA McLee (1991) Monumenal Inscriptions, Quarrington, Co. Durham (Cleveland, N. Yks & S. Durham Family History Society); Kelly’s 1890;


Rev. Charles Parkinson became curate at St. Paul’s, Cassop-cum-Quarrington.

He served under Rev. T. H. Thompson and was curate till 1898. That year he married Mr. Thompson’s eldest daughter, Henrietta Elizabeth, and he then became curate of All Saints, Newcastle (1898-1902) and of St. Nicholas’ Cathedral, Newcastle (1902-1905), before becoming Vicar of Sherburn in 1905.

W. E. Latimer became Vicar of Sherburn in 1937. Mr. Parkinson was perhaps vicar there till then.

(Sources: Crockford’s directory 1896 + 1925 + 1948; Dur. Co. Adv. 17 April 1930, p.3; Guardian 5 June 1905;

29 March 1902

Rev. Thomas Henry Thompson, first vicar of Cassop-cum-Quarrington parish, died, aged 71 years (born 18 January 1831).

He became vicar in 1865. His widow, Sarah, was born 23 July 1838 and died 2 July 1917.

(Sources: Kelly’s Directory 1890; Memorial stone in OQ cemetery; Monument 83, St. Paul’s churchyard – CA McLee (1991) Monumenal Inscriptions, Quarrington, Co. Durham (Cleveland, N. Yks & S. Durham Family History Society).)

May 1902

Rev. William Connor was installed as vicar of St. Paul’s, following death of Rev. Thomas Henry Thompson.

Born in Wexford, Ireland, he married Elizabeth Latham at Blackburn in 1874 and they had four children. (One of them, Stanley Latham Connor, was living with them in 1911, unmarried, also a Clergyman.) WC was previously curate at Sedgefield. He died on 11 January 1912, aged 62.

(Source: Memorial stone in OQ cemetery; Guardian 29 May 1902;

16 October 1903

St. Paul’s Church closed for repairs, including re-slating the roof, making entrance steps, fitting additional doors to the porch entrance, installing hot air heating, and wood panelling, reredos, choir screen, pulpit and stalls.

The boundary wall was rebuilt and the vestry enlarged. A new entrance was made to the cellar and an organ installed. Altogether the cost amounted to £650. Later, in 1922, electric lighting was added.

(Source: K. L. Turns, 2007.)


A brass lecturn was presented to St. Paul’s Church, Quarrington, inscribed “H. Richardson”.

(Source: CtK Terrier.)

11 January 1912

Rev. William Connor, vicar of St. Paul’s, Cassop-cum-Quarrington, since 1902, died, aged 62 years. Funeral on 15 January 1912.

Rev. Arthur John Gadd, rector of St. Vincent, Edinburgh, was appointed in his place, in November that year.

(Sources: Obituary in the 'Durham Directory', 1913 – in Durham Record Office; Memorial stone in OQ cemetery: Monument 52, St. Paul’s churchyard – CA McLee (1991) Monumenal Inscriptions, Quarrington, Co. Durham (Cleveland, N. Yks & S. Durham Family History Society); Manchester Guardian, 20 November 1912, p.5.)


Rev. Arthur John Gadd was installed as vicar of St. Paul’s Church, Cassop-cum-Quarrington.

Mr. Gadd was later an army chaplain and the parish was in the hands of a curate-in-charge, Rev. H. C. N. Renner, till Rev. Thomas Wardle was installed in 1916. Gadd returned to Bowburn for the dedication of the WWI war memorial in the Miners' Welfare in 1921 (q.v.). On 14 May 1922, he was inducted by the Bishop of Durham as Rector of St. Barnabas’, Bournmoor, where he remained till 1951.

(Sources: Kelly’s Directory; Cooper & Berriman (1999) “The People’s History–Fencehouses, Lambton, Burnmoor & Chilton Moor”, p.92.)

26 September 1915

Church Parade to the morning service at Coxhoe Parish Church, where the sermon was given by Rev. Griffin, curate.

The parade was by Boy Scout troops from Cornforth, Bishop Middleham, Coxhoe (scoutmaster = T. Smith), and Quarrington Hill (scoutmaster = A. Gillett) and by Girl Guides from Bowburn (under Miss Smith and Miss K. McIlwain). Cornforth troop provided the bugle bands and drums. The Durham Co. Advertiser reported in October that the newly formed Quarrington Hill troop had 27 members.

(Sources: Dur. Co. Adv. 1 October 1915, p.5 + 15 October 1915, p.5.)

17 October 1915

The Cassop-cum-Quarrington Parish Jubilee was celebrated by special services. The Bishop of Durham celebrated the Matins and the curate-in-charge, Rev. H. C. N. Renner, was preacher at the evening service.

The morning services began with Holy Communion at 9am and the matins included a detachment of the Coxhoe & District Volunteer Training Corps [VTC] under the command of Mr. John Wood, JP, of Coxhoe Hall, with Boy Scouts under Mr. A. Gillett and Girl Guides under Miss K. McIlwain.

(Source: Durham County Advertiser 15 October 1915, p.5.)

30 April 1916

Rev. Renner presided over the Easter Vestry meeting at St. Paul’s, Cassop-cum-Quarrington, as the vicar, Rev. A. J. Gadd, was on military service as chaplain to H. M. Forces.

(Source: Dur. Co. Adv. 5 May 1916, p5.)


Installation of Rev. Thomas Wardle, of Durham University, as vicar of St. Paul’s

Mr. Wardle was born at Gainford and educated at Rev. W. Bowman’s School at Gainford (where he was later a tutor) and at Queen’s College, Birmingham (1881) and Univesity of Durham (1887). He was ordained as a deacon in 1883 and as a priest, by the Bishop of Worcester, in 1884. He was curate of St. Gab’s, Birmingham, 1883-84; St. Anne’s, Newcastle, 1884-89; Gateshead Fell, 1889-92; Evenwood, 1892-97; Harton, 1897-99; South Hetton, 1899-1908; Hamsteels, 1908-11, and Usworth, 1911-16.

(Sources: Kelly’s 1921; Northern Echo(?) (or Durham Advertiser?) 1938(?) – Rita Irwin’s scrapbook; Durham Diocesan Calendar 1936.)


Ground has been given by the colliery for erection of an Anglican mission church.

Meanwhile services were being held in the council school. See 1926.

(Source: Kelly’s 1921.)

26 February 1921

The Bowburn Miners’ Institute was opened and a Roll of Honour, on which “the names of 35 men, belonging to the district, who fell in the war, are inscribed”, was unveiled by Rev. Thomas Wardle, vicar of St. Paul’s. The roll of honour was on brass, mounted on marble and framed in oak. It was dedicated by Rev. A. J. Gadd, former vicar of St. Paul’s and honorary chaplain to HM Forces. Prayers were said by Rev. G. R. Bell.

The Institute was built by Bell Bros., who also donated the memorial. (According to the UK National Inventory of War Memorials (www. ukniwm. org. uk) it was an ex-army hut, given by the colliery owners.) It was later known as the Green Hut Welfare, in contrast to the one built over the road, later called Bowburn Community Centre, in 1961. Under the 1920 Mines Industry Act, provision had been made for establishing a fund to improve social conditions for miners and their families. Many NE collieries opened new welfare halls and built parks, sports grounds and other amenities. The institute was leased by the colliery company to the workmen. The memorial plaque is now in Bowburn Community Centre.

(Sources: Durham County Advertiser 4 March 1921, p8 and 30 August 1928; 20 May 1966; www. ukniwm. org. uk.)

25 December 1921

According to the Durham County Advertiser, the Christmas Day Carol Service was held in Bowburn Mission Church, on behalf of the St. Dunstane’s Hostel for Soldiers and Sailors Blinded in the War.

The organist was Herbert Ramsay (since 1914). The Carol League was organised by Mrs. Wardle (vicar’s wife). The address was given by Mr. D. H. Thompson, lay missioner in charge of the mission.

However it is not clear where this Mission Church was, as its construction was still being planned in August 1922. (See 28 August 1922.) Perhaps it was in the Council school? (See 1920.)

(Sources: Dur. Co. Adv. 30 December 1921, p1 + 13 January 1922, p3.)


St. Paul’s Church had electric lighting installed.

(Source: K. L. Turns, 2007.)

February 1922

The funeral of William Kemp Wheatley, who was killed at Bowburn Colliery on 7 February 1922, was held at Quarrington Church. It was conducted by Rev. T. Wardle.

(Sources: Co. Durham Advertiser 10 February 22, p.5 and 17 February 22, p.8.)

28 August 1922

Rev. T. Wardle, vicar of Cassop-cum-Quarrington, presided over a meeting in Bowburn Institute where architect J. G. Burrell showed plans for the proposed new mission church (St. John’s).

They had hoped to start building in summer of 1922. Now fund-raising was still to be done through winter, with the hope of erection in 1923. Durham RDC approved revised plans in 1923. It was built c.1926

(Sources: Durham County Advertiser 1 September 1922, p6; City of Durham Building Control; M. Richardson “Around Durham”.)

March 1923

Mr. D. H. Thompson, missioner in charge of Bowburn Mission Church, resigned to take up similar appointment in Healey & Slaley, Northumberland.

Mr. N. Wright, on behalf of the parishioners, presented a fitted dressing case “in recognition of the admirable work he had carried out at Bowburn”. Mr. T. Robinson and others also bore testimony to his “energetic efforts”.

(Source: Durham County Advertiser 23 March 1923, p6.)

April 1923

The annual vestry and parochial meeting in connection with Cassop-cum-Quarrington Church and the Mission Church, Bowburn was presided over by the vicar, Rev. T. Wardle.

Accounts were presented by Mr. Pluck (churchwarden), Mr. Ramsay (Bowburn) and Mr. J. Dunn. Mr. Ramsay was re-appointed churchwarden by the vicar and Mr. Pluck was elected by the parishioners. Other parochial council appointments were: chairman–Rev. T. Wardle; vice-chairman–Walter Tuesday (lay missioner); secretary–Mr. Morgan; treasurer–J. Dunn, and sidesmen, for the parish church–Mesdames Morris and Dunn and Messrs. H. Price, J. Dunn, G. Morgan, A. Perryman, J. Pluck senior, M. Platts, V. Richardson and R. Turnbull, and for Bowburn Mission Church–Mesdames R. Ramsay and Lindsay and Messrs N. Wright, J. Heron, P. Blackburn and J. Brown.

(Source: Dur. Co. Adv.)

3 February 1924

St. John’s Mission (“the Little Church”) was formally opened, between the colliery officials houses and the Hare & Greyhound in Durham Road North. Services in Bowburn had been prior to this been held in the Institute.

The new church was built of brick, to seat two hundred, on land donated by Dorman Long & Co.

Durham RDC had approved revised plans in 1923 (after initial plans had been submitted in 1921) and the church was formally opened on Sunday 3 February, when Mr W. Tuesday, lay missioner, conducted the services. The furnishing was not yet complete. The Bishop of Durham was expected to dedicate the church within a few weeks.

The church was later converted into a house named “Annkirk”, then “Ravenswood”.

The Lambeth Palace Library gives the date of 1910, with reference to ICBS M1256 and Minutes Volume 32 page 132. But it says that the folios are missing and this date may be when a grant for the church’s construction was agreed, or at least submitted. The correct date was obtained from the contemporary Durham Advertiser report.

(Sources: Durham County Advertiser, 8 February 1924, p.4; City of Durham Building Control;

10 September 1924

Mary Ramsay, only daughter of J. G. Ramsay, under-manager of Bowburn Colliery, married James Bowman, of Aldin Grange, at St. Paul’s Church. Rev. T. Wardle officiated.

The Bowmans lived at 23, Burn Street and later 14, Tweddle Terrace. Mrs. Bowman (b. 1897) was organist at St. John’s Church and a leading member of the W. I..

(Sources: Dur. Adv. (12 September 1924?); Brian & Mary Hall (21 February 07); Who’s Who in Co. Durham 1936 (re JGR).)

April 1930

The new church hall was opened at Quarrington Hill by Rev. Charles Parkinson, Vicar of Sherburn (and former curate of St. Paul’s). Rev. T. Wardle took the service, Mr. F. Wormersley led the choir and Mrs. Wardle played the piano. A concert that evening was presided over by Mr. W. Tuesday.

The brick building was built by Mark Walker, of Trimdon. The architect was J. G. Burrell, of Durham. Land had been donated by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners (who also gave £200). Other donors included Durham Diocesan Board (£100) and the Governors of Sherburn Hospital (£20). The Mothers Union donated 24 chairs. The Hall was 50ft by 22ft 6ins, not including the kitchen, cloak rooms and lavatories. It had a new piano and chairs.

(Source: Dur. Co. Adv. 17 April 1930, p.3.)

19 April 1930

Rev. T. Wardle conducted the wedding of Charles Witham and Sybil Ramsay at St. Paul’s Church.

(Source: Dur. Co. Adv. 24 April 1930, p.9.)

8 November 1931

“Armistice Service in Cinema

“Minister Refused Permission to Preach in Church

“The Remembrance Day service at Coxhoe, Durham, on Sunday [8 November] afternoon will be held in a cinema instead of at the parish church, as arranged. The Bishop of Durham has declined permission to the Rev. Arthur Watson, the Primitive Methodist minister at Coxhoe, to give the address in the parish church unless he gives an assurance in writng that he personally accepts the conditions of reunion formulated at the Lambeth Conference. Mr. Watson is not prepared to do so, and, in consequence, has been informed by the Bishop that he cannot give the address in the parish church.

“The Vicar of Coxhoe will take part in the service at the cinema with Mr. Watson and Captain Statham, of the Salvation Army.”

(The Manchester Guardian, Saturday 7 November 1931, p.7)

June 1934

Bowburn Mothers Union entertained 60 members of Carlisle M. U. to tea, then a special service was held in St. John’s Mission Church and there were evening entertainments.

The service was conducted by Rev. T. Wardle, with Miss Tuesday at the organ. The evening entertainments included a sketch, “The Family Group”, a solo by Miss Lynn and a monologue by Mrs. Brown. The same sketch was performed at a W. I. event that month (possibly by the same people?)

(Source: Dur. Co. Adv. 29 June 1934, p.4.)

December 1935

The funeral of Joseph Platts, who was killed at Bowburn Colliery on 14 December 1935, was conducted at St. Paul’s Church by Rev. T. Wardle, assisted by Rev. R. Tuesday. He was buried in Quarrington Churchyard. The gravestone also remembers his widow Margaret, who died 19 July 1954, aged 65 years.

(Sources: Durham Mining Museum website and DMA (1995) Fatal Accidents Book 1920-1950 both give "Platts"; Headstone(Monument 62), St. Paul’s churchyard (photo ); http://www. trimdon. com/html/tree/marr_john/pafg05. htm; BMD Index (c/o Ancestry); Dur. Co. Adv. 20 December 1935, p.2.)


Rev. Thomas Wardle, vicar of Cassop-cum-Quarrington since 1916, retired after 55 years in Holy Orders. He was succeeded by his son-in-law, Harold Percy Hansen. Mr. & Mrs. Wardle went to live at Gainford. Their eldest son, Thomas, was vicar of Hayton.

(Sources: Northern Echo(?) (or Durham Advertiser?) 1938(?) – Rita Irwin’s scrapbook; Dur. Co. Adv. 5 February 1943, p.8 + 31 October 1941, p.8 + 21 December 1945 (? pr 1944?)p. 2 + 12 March 1948, p.6.)


Rev. Harold Percy Hansen became Vicar of Cassop-cum-Quarrington, succeeding his father-in-law, Thomas Wardle.

Mr. Hansen was born in Russia in 1905 and came to England in 1913, where he attended Berkhamstead School. In 1923, he went to Egypt with his parents but returned in 1926 to study at St. Chad’s, Durham. He was ordained deacon in 1930 and priest in 1931, serving at St. Aidan’s, Leeds, 1930–32. In 1931, he married Eileen Mary Morris Wardle, daughter of the vicar of Cassop-cum-Quarrington. He became vicar of All Saints’ Church, Keighley, in 1932; Assistant Curate of Stella, Blaydon, in 1935, and vicar of C-c-Q in 1938.

During the War, he served as chaplain with the 8th Army in Egypt, Iraq, Italy and Greece, during which time the parish was served by curates or priests-in-charge including Rev. C. K. Burdon (appointed 1941), Rev. E. G. Casey (1944-45) and Rev. R. B. Burle (in 1945).

HPH left to become Rector of St. Barholomew’s, Croxdale, in 1950. There he was a parish councillor for six years and a Rural District Councillor for three. He left to become Vicar of Whipsnade, in the diocese of St. Alban’s, in 1958. He and his wife had two sons and a daughter.

Rev. C. K. Burdon became priest-in-charge in 1941 (cf event on 24 October 1941). In December 1945, a funeral service at St. John’s was conducted by Rev. R. B. Burle.

(Sources: Northern Echo(?) (or Durham Advertiser?) 2/1958 – Rita Irwin’s scrapbook; BMD July–Sept 1931; Elect. registers; Dur. Co. Adv. 31 October 1941, p.8; Dur. Co. Adv. 21 December 1945(? or 44?), p.7.)

14 March 1938

The funeral of Thomas Bird (72), of Cornforth Lane, Coxhoe, was held at Cornforth Churchyard, conducted by Rev. T. F. Hampton, curate.

The underbearers were T. Dawson, T. Herring, W. Adams, W. F. Burdess, W. Hewitson and J. Johnson – all formerly workmen under TB, who had been foreman blacksmith for the last 38 of his 51 years at Tursdale colliery. (He had retired in 1931.)

(Source: Co. Dur. Adv. 18 March 38, p.11.)

15 August 1940

Bombs fell on Cassop, Quarrington Hill and Thornley, during the most significant day of the Battle of Britain as far as the North East was concerned. The Luftwaffe tried to saturate the British Defences. The whole east coast was attacked, including c.65 Heinkel 111s, 50 Junkers 88s and 35 Messerschmitt 110s deployed against the North and the North East. German losses over the whole country amounted to 75 lost, with a further 15 returning to base damaged. The Germans never repeated the experiment.

Peter Witham, son of Charles Witham, says that his father used to tell of when part of the graveyard at Quarrington Hill was destroyed by a bomb and an man [name unknown] was killed. If correct, this was possibly on the same night.

(Sources: Brian Pears at www. swinhope. demon. co. uk/Ne-Diary/Inc/ISeq_06. html#D348; Bill Higgins; Clive Lawson; Peter Witham.)


Rev. Charles Kingsley Burdon was appointed priest-in-charge of Cassop-cum-Quarrington, during Rev. H. P. Hansen’s absence with the 8th Army.

Mr. Burdon attended St. John’s College, Durham, obtaining his BA in 1933 and MA in 1936. He was ordained deacon in 1934 and priest in 1935, by the Bishop of Durham. He was curate of Ryton 1934-36 and of Stranton from 1936 till [unknown].

(Sources: Dur. Co. Adv. 31 October 1941, p.8; Durham Diocesan Calendar 1937.)

3 February 1943

Children from West Cornforth presented a pantomime, “Sleeping Beauty”, in Bowburn Welfare Hall. £25 November 6 was raised for Red Cross funds by the event, which was arranged by St. John’s Mission Church, chaired by Mr. G. F. Holmes and included songs by Mr. Tuesday and accordian playing by Mr. Stan Bulman.

Mr. Tuesday’s receipt of a letter from Mr. R. G. Pinney, general Appeal Secretary, Duke of Gloucester’s Red Cross Fund, thanking the Mission Church’s donation of £25 December 11, was reported two weeks later.

(Sources: Dur. Co. Adv. 5 February 1943, p.8 + 19 February 1943, p.3.)


Rev. E. G. Casey dedicated the Quarrington Hill Mothers Union banner at a service in St. Paul’s Church. Ten new members from Bowburn and Q. Hill were enrolled.

“Best wishes were extended to Rev. & Mrs. Casey for their future happiness in their new parish of Chilton Moor.” He can’t have left immediately, though, as he officiated the next week at the wedding of Miss isabel Longstaff and Mr. Harold Wood.

(Sources: Dur. Co. Adv. 22 June 1945, p.3; Dur. Co. Adv. 29 June 1945, p.3.)

Late June / early July 1945

Rev. Ernest George Casey left his temporary curacy of Cassop-cum-Quarrington to become Vicar of Childton Moor. He remained Vicar of Chilton Moor till 1959, when he became Vicar of Gilesgate.

(Source: Durham Diocesan Calendar 1967.)

8 July 1945

St. John’s Mission Church was filled for a memorial service to Mrs. Jessie Moore, Mr. Francis Lawson and Mr. Thomas Lamb Wharrier. The service was conducted by Rev. A. Burle, the new priest-in-charge, who had recently come over from Australia with his wife, Eileen, and was making his first appearance in the pulpit in Bowburn.

Mrs. Moore was the wife of Thomas T. Moore, of 11, Burn Street. Her funeral on 5 July 1945 had been conducted at Coxhoe cemetery by Rev. M. A. Shepherd, assisted by Rev. R. Tuesday. Francis Lawson, of 2, Durham Road, had lived in Bowburn for over 30 years and had been average taker for Bowburn Miners’ Lodge. He died aged 59. His wife had died in 1929. They left four daughters, Misses V. & E. Lawson, Mrs. Stephenson and Mrs. Platts. He also was buried in Coxhoe churchyard. Thomas Lamb Wharrier died aged 19. He worked at Bowburn colliery, and had been a keen member of the National Fire Service, prior to his illness. He was the youngest son of Mr. & Mrs. G. B. Wharrier, of 4, Steavenson Street. He was buried in St. Paul’s churchyard.

(Sources: Dur. Co. Adv. 6 July 1945, p.3 + 13 July 1945, p.3.)

December 1945

The funeral Mrs. Margaret Chapman, wife of John T. Chapman, of 8, Tweddle Terrace, was conducted by Rev. R. B. Burle at St. John’s Mission Church. The organist was Mr. Graham. Mrs. Chapman was a former secretary of Bowburn W. I. and a member of the WVS and the Mission Church.

(Source: Dur. Co. Adv. 21 December 1945, p.7.)

December 1945

Rev. Harold Hansen wrote to one or more parishioners, with seasonal greetings. He was at that time stationed in Greece, where the weather was “quite like Quarrington in the wet” which, “though I don’t like such weather it makes me quite homesick!”

(Source: fragment of letter found in Ann Patterson’s family bible.)

January 1947

Rev. H. P. Hansen, vicar of Cassop-cum-Quarrington, addressed Tursdale W. I. on “The Life of an Army Padré”

(Source: Dur. Co. Adv. 31 January 1947, p.6.)

March 1948

Rev. H. P. Hanson officiated at the funeral, in St. John’s Church, of Mrs. A. V. Chitty, of Tweddle Terrace.

(Source: Dur. Co. Adv. 12 March 1948, p.6.)


Rev. Harold Percy Hansen left Cassop-cum-Quarrington to become Rector of St. Bartholomew’s, Croxdale.

(Sources: Northern Echo(?) (or Durham Advertiser?) 2/1958 – Rita Irwin’s scrapbook; Durham Diocesan Calendar 1962.)


Rev. Ronald Kent became Vicar of Cassop-cum-Quarrington.

He had attended St. John’s College, Durham, gaining his BA in 1943 and his MA in 1946. He was made deacon in 1945 and ordained priest by the Bishop of Durham in 1946. He had been curate at Norton 1945-50.

(Sources: Northern Echo(?) (or Durham Advertiser?) 2/1958 – Rita Irwin’s scrapbook; Durham Diocesan Calendar 1962.)

8 March 1952

The funeral of Mrs. Margaret Roddam, of 13, Norton Avenue and formerly of 8, Clarence Street, was conducted at St. John’s Church, Bowburn, by Rev. R. Kent.

Chief mourners were: Mrs. M. Stewart, Mrs. E. Hinton, Mr. J. Roddam, Mr. & Mrs. A. Gibson, Mrs. Harper, Mrs. A. Wilson, Joan Hinton, Marguerite Wilson, Mr. T. Burke, Mr. E. Burke, Mr. J. Mitten, Mrs. Mary and Hannah Mitten, Messrs. Smith, Gilmore and Todd, Mesdames Gent, Ansley, Wright, Harper, Coate, Howe and B. Howe, Miss H. Harker.

(Source: Durham County Advertiser, via Bowburn Interchange no. 19.)

22 March 1952

Rev. M.A. Shepherd officiated, at St. Mary’s Church, Coxhoe, at the wedding of Marion Harker, elder daughter of Mr. & Mrs. J. Harker, 117, Park Avenue, Bowburn, and Kenneth Henson, younger son of Mr. & Mrs. A.D. Biles, 39, Balmoral Terrace, South Gosforth. The organist was Mr. L. Dennison. The Bridesmaids were Misses Gwendoline and Jennifer Biles and the small attendants were Jean Harker and John Bell. The Best Man was Mr. E. Biles and the groomsman was Mr. G. Bell.

(Source: Durham County Advertiser, via Bowburn Interchange no. 19.)

22 March 1952

Rev. R. Kent officiated, at St. John’s Church, Bowburn, at the wedding of Mary Ridley, second daughter of Mr. & Mrs. G. Ridley, 36, Steavenson Street, Bowburn, and Griffith Wilding, elder son of Mr. & Mrs. W. Wilding, 33, Bell Vue, Quarrington Hill. The Bridesmaids were Miss Sylvia Owens and Miss Ann Simpson. The Best Man was Mr. R. Simpson and the Groomsman was Mr. G. Knox.

(Source: Durham County Advertiser, via Bowburn Interchange no. 19.)

29 March 1952

Rev. M.A. Shepherd officiated, St. Paul’s Church, Quarrington Hill, at the wedding of Cynthia Dixon, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. J.W. Dixon, Clarence Street, Bowburn married William Corbett, son of Mr. & Mrs. W. Corbett, Ellis Leazes, Durham. The organist was Mr. L. Dennison. The Bridesmaids were Misses Verna Williams and Dora Wilkinson. The Best Man was Mr. John Walters and the Groomsman was Mr. Edward Luke. The Reception was at the Black Horse, Coxhoe. The honeymoon was spent at Windsor.

(Source: Durham County Advertiser, via Bowburn Interchange no. 19.)

March / April 1952

Rev. O.N. Gwilliam officiated, at St. Michael’s Church, Houghton, at the wedding of Miss Jean B. Bailey, only daughter of Mr. & Mrs. John Bailey, Rainton Bridge Farm, East Rainton, married Mr. Harry Hopper, younger son of Mr. & Mrs. Frederick Hopper, 16, Bow Street, Bowburn. Organist was Mr. Shenton. The bride was attended, amongst others, by Norah Hopper, the groom’s sister.

(Source: Durham County Advertiser, via Bowburn Interchange no. 19.)

5 April 1952

The funeral of Mrs. Catherine Lynn, of 31, Durham Road, Bowburn, was conducted in St. John’s Church, Bowburn, by Rev. R. Kent.

She had lived in the village for 44 years and had been an active church worker and a founding member of Bowburn W.I.

Chief mourners were Mr, N. Lynn, Mr. J. Lynn, Mr. & Mrs. J. Lynn, Mr. & Mrs. Harrison, Mr. & Mrs. Rushling (sons and daughters-in-law); Mrs. Bullock, Mrs. Stephenson, Miss I. Lynn, Mr. & Mrs. J. Lynn, Mrs. H. Wilkinson, Mr. & Mrs. N. Wright.

(Source: Durham County Advertiser, via Bowburn Interchange no. 19.)

July 1952

Richard T. Minnis, 99, Park Avenue, was appointed verger and clerk of St. Peter’s Church in Bedford. He had held every lay office in the church and was diocsan secretary of the Guild of Vergers.

(Source: Durham Co. Adv. 11 July 1952, p.3.)

1 February 1955

Rev. Ronald Kent left Cassop-cum-Quarrington to become Vicar of St. Luke’s, Darlington. According to K. L. Turns, he was the last vicar to live in the Old Quarrington Vicarage.

(Source: K. L. Turns, 2007.)

12 September 1955

Rev. Theodore John Lee-Warner became Vicar [perpetual curate] of Cassop-cum-Quarrington.

Educated at University College, Oxford, and Wells Theological College, Mr. Lee-Warner was ordained deacon in 1951 and priest in 1952, by the Bishop of Durham. He had been curate at South Westor [i.e. Westoe?] 1951-55. According to one verbal source, he lived at the old vicarage. If he did so, it was for a very short time. He certainly didn’t want to live there and applied for a Council house, before he arrived and was inducted, but was refused because he was unmarried. K. L. Turns records that he lodged “in or near Norton Avenue”. In 1957 & 1958, his address was given in the phone book as 7, Castle Street, Bowburn (tel. no. = Coxhoe 347). (The vicarage was sold in 1956.)

Mr. Warner came from a long line of very wealthy clergymen, from Walsingham, Norfolk, and was descended from the Bishop of Rochester and the Speaker of the House of Commons, who played important parts in the Restoration of Charles II. A cousin, Maria Lee-Warner, had married Charles Louis Buxton, of the Gurney banking family.

(Sources: Electoral Registers; Durham Diocesan Calendar 1962; K. L. Turns, 2007; Durham Cathedral Library Ferens Service Papers; The Manchester Guardian, 10 August 1955; Burke’s;;; etc.)


Cassop-cum-Quarrington vicarage was sold. K. L. Turns reports that letters were exchanged on 15th/16th March 1956, recommending acceptance of an offer of £2,300.

(Source: K. L. Turns, 2007.)

October 1957

The funeral of Surtees Simpson, of 123, Park Avenue, who was killed at Bowburn Colliery on 4 October 1957, was conducted at St. John’s Church, Bowburn by Rev. J. T. Lee-Warner.

(Sources: Dur. Co. Adv. 11 October 1957, p.3 and 18 October 1957 pp. 1&5.)


Work started on the building of a new vicarage, in Prince Charles Avenue, Bowburn.

(Source: K. L. Turns, 2007.)

7 December 1959

Rev. J. T. Lee-Warner left Cassop-cum-Quarrington to become Vicar of St Cuthbert’s, Peterlee. (Like the position at C-c-Q, this was a perpetual curacy.)

(Sources: Durham Diocesan Calendar 1962; K. L. Turns, 2007; Durham Cathedral Library Ferens Service Papers.)

12 September 1960

Rev. William Armstrong became Perpetual Curate / Vicar of Cassop-cum-Quarrington and moved into the new vicarage.

WA was born in 1929 and brought up near Stanley, where his father was land agent for the Derwent Coal Co. at Hare Law. He had attended King’s College, Newcastle, in 1946, University College, Durham, in 1950 and Salisbury Theological College in 1952. He was ordained deacon in June 1954 and priest in 1955, by the Bishop of Durham. He had been curate of St. Cuthbert’s, Hebburn, 1954-55, Ferryhill 1955-57 and St. Mary’s, Gateshead (in the curacy of Holy Trinity) 1957-60.

(Sources: Durham Diocesan Calendar 1965; Northern Echo (or Durham Advertiser?) 17 November 1965; K. L. Turns, 2007.)

July 1961

The Bowburn New Church Building Fund held a whist drive. It was hosted by Mesdames Brown, White and Willey (jun.). Mrs. Colledge presented the prizes.

(Source: Dur. Co. Adv. 21 July 1961, p.12.)

24 July 1961

The newly formed joint Bowburn & District Youth Committee took possession of the old miners’ welfare, including fittings, furnishing and attachments, gifted to it by the Welfare Committee, who had now moved into the new centre over the road.

The premises were to be used by all three of the village youth clubs – those run by the Parish Church, the Methodist Church and the Boys’ Club. These would maintain their own identities but each would assist in the financial upkeep of the new centre, which was expected to cater for some 400 youths. A care-taker committee was chaired by Cllr. J. E. Wright, with Norman Strong (treasurer) and Ralph Jackson (secretary). The committee would consist of five representatives of each of the three organisations. It was planned to engage a part-time caretaker.

This arrangement did not survive, however, and the old Miners’ Institute / Welfare Hall was demolished in 1966.

(Sources: Dur. Co. Adv. 28 July 1961, p.7; Dur. Co. Adv. 20 May 66.)


The church bus, Samson, which Rev. Wm. Armstrong had originally used in Gateshead but had since bought for Cassop-cum-Quarrington, was replaced by Samson 2, reg. no. JHN 399.

Samson 2 was a half-cab, dual purpose bus with rear doors and 31 seats, and had been new to United Automobile Services in 1948. It was used to transfer people around the parish and for the Youth Club Continental Tour in July/August 1962 and later for a second parish weekend in Scargill. (The first had been in Samson 1 in 1961.) Annual trips to Scargill and to the continent resumed in 1964, having not taken place during 1963. There was no continental visit in 1964 but one was planned (but did not take place) in 1965. A second bus, Delilah (reg. no. GKA 278) was added in June 1964, bought cheaply from Arthur Gillett, churchwarden. This had been new to Liverpool Corporation in 1942, as a double decker, and the chassis had been bought by J. J. Baker, in 1953, and re-bodied as a front entrance single decker.

(Source: K. L. Turns, 2007.)

July 1962

St. John’s Church Youth Centre reported a successful season, with a number of prizes and awards.

They were 5th in the Netball League. The girls were 2nd and the boys 3rd= in the Table Tennis. John Malkin & George Charlton came third in the Public Speak competition and G. Reed and B. Noone came 5th. John Malkin also came 1st in the Prose Reading and Christine Thom came 3rd. The team won the George Kudge Cup. Wilfred Heightley was one of nine boys representing the diocese at the Archbishop of York’s Conference at York. Miss Joan Marr received her Youth Club Leadership Certificate from Durham County Education Committee.

(Source: Dur. Co. Adv. 13 July 1962, p.14.)

August 1962

A whist drive and dance was held for the new Anglican church. Mesdames Wright, White & Willey were hostesses.

(Source: Dur. Co. Adv. 10 August 1962, p.6.)

9 September 1962

Jehovah’s Witnesses held their semi-annual circuit assembly in Bowburn Welfare Community Centre. Over 700 attended to hear Mr. Rieger’s “The Bible’s Answer to Our Problem of Survival”.

It was said that this was the first religious assembly in the new £65,000 centre. However George Scott, of 19, Burn Street wrote to the Advertiser to point out that there had already been two united services of village churches and one Durham Road Methodist Church Sunday School anniversary.

(Source: Dur. Co. Adv. 14 September 1962 pp. 1 + 11.)

18 October 1962

St. Paul’s Church re-opened after eight months’ closure, after the East wall was endangered by subsidence.

The opportunity had been taken to remove the choir-stalls, fill in two cellars and re-concrete the floor, repaint the interior, strip and re-varnish the pews, rewire the Church, repaint the exterior and make new paths and roadways around the outside. The NCB had provided much of the necessary finance. 3,500 man-hours had been given by 120 parishioners.

(Source: K. L. Turns, 2007.)

February 1963

Foundations began to be laid of Christ the King Church, designed by Harold Wharfe of Newcastle University (who also designed Fountains Hall at Grey College). Most of the work was to be done by local parishioners, supervised by Father Bill Armstrong – in addition to a World Council of Churches work camp in 1965 – and many materials and equipment were donated or loaned by local businesses. The dome represented Christ’s crown of thorns.

The 50ft high fibre glass and steel camponile (spire) was erected in May 1963. It had been made in Blyth, Northumberland, and was pictured there by The Guardian on 31 March 1963. The foundations were completed in a year and the threshold stone, with the words “Friend, why do you come here?”, was laid by the Bishop of Jarrow on 5 May 1964 (the eve of St. John before the Latin Gate).

Three concrete downcomers on the church were moulded, on their three exposed sides: “63”, “1964” and “65”. The Youth Wing was formally opened on 13 March 1966. The copper dome had been finished but decoration and furnishing were still to be done, and there was no roof, when Rev. John Stringer arrived in 1966. According to K. L. Turns, the roof was eventually finished by Evode Waterproofing Systems, after the original supplier had gone out of business, but not to the original specification. It was now a reddish colour, not burnished copper… and soon leaked! The church was later to be known as “the pineapple church”, because of the roof, and Bowburn became “Rocket city” on Citizens Band radio, because of the spire. The new church did not open till 1978.

The church was described unflatteringly by Elizabeth Williamson, in a revised edition of Pevsner’s “County Durham”: “By Harold Wharfe of Newcastle University 1963-78. Designed to be built cheaply. Blank concrete panel walls, topped by a glass-fibre geodesic dome of an ugly rust colour which looks like a playground inflatable. Gimmicky free-standing spire-cum-cross. The interior is forthright and more acceptable, lit by triangular openings at the base of the dome. Sturdy furnishings and splendidly simple chancel decoration: timber boarding stained in rainbow colours to symbolise the post-Flood covenant.”

As far as local residents were concerned, it was always a “love-it-or-hate-it” building. (See 2006, re attempt to have it listed.)

(Sources: Pevsner; Joe Irwin scrapbook; K. L. Turns, 2007; Guardian 31 March 1963.)

11 April 1963

Rev. Wm. Armstrong (“Father Bill”), Vicar / Perpetual Curate of Cassop cum Quarrington, was arrested and charged with indecency. He was bailed on two sureties of £100 but forbidden to visit Bowburn. Services were carried out in his absence by Mr. Brown, lay Reader, with communion administered by various clergy, with the help of the Bishop of Jarrow. Work on the new church continued in his absence.

The first trial started on 10 July 1963, at Durham Assizes, during which the police dropped nine charges but pursued four. The jury failed to reach a decision and a second trial was ordered for 29 July 1963, at Newcastle.

Two assistant curates were appointed, at the same time: Allan George Scott , who had studied at The College of the Resurrection (at Mirfield in West Yorkshire) and subsequently went to Manchester Diocese and later became Rector of Stoke Newington in North London; and Thomas Molyneux Steel, who had studied at Ripon Hall, Oxford, and went on to Newcastle upon Tyne Diocese and eventually to Buckinghamshire.

(Source: K. L. Turns, 2007.)

May 1963

The funeral of George (‘Micky’) Milburn, of 1, Margaret Court, Bowburn, who was fatally injured at Bowburn Collieryon 20 May 1963, was conducted at St. Mary’s Church, Shincliffe by Rev. C. Moore and buried in Bowburn Cemetery.

(Source: Durham Co. Adv. 24 May 1963.)

24 May 1963

The funeral of Mrs. Monica E. Story (née Pickering), of Heugh Hall farm, widow of James Story, was conducted at St. Paul’s Church by Rev. E. Pateman.

(Source: Dur. Co. Adv. 7 June 1963, p.7.)

June 1963

Rev. H. P. Absalom conducted the wedding service of Eileen Wilson and Harold Latue, at St. Paul’s church.

(Source: Dur. Co. Adv. 21 June 1963, p.15.)

July 1963

Rev. William Armstrong (“Father Bill”), 34-year-old vicar of Cassop-cum-Quarrington, was acquitted of three charges of gross indecency and one of indecent assault on a male person.

The jury, in Newcastle Assizes, acquitted him on three charges of gross indecency, on the direction of the Judge, Mr. Justice Streatfield, after his counsel submitted there was no case to answer. It then found him not guilty of a fourth charge, of indecent assault.. This was the second trial, the jury in the first having failed to agree. The following week (on 30 July 1963) Father Bill took a mixed party in Samson, the parish bus, on a camping holiday in Scotland. Churchwarden Arthur Gillett, of Steetley Terrace, said WA would resume his duties on his return on Sunday 11 August 1963. “There will be no change. He has done a lot of good work here”, he said. On a later youth club holiday, “Father Bill” drove a party to Holland, in Samson 2.

The alleged offences had taken place in his vicarage in Prince Charles Avenue against young men of the parish. Two had been alleged to have occurred when WA encouraged two young men to carry him upstairs and another when one slept in the same bed as WA. The fourth offence alleged was when WA asked a young man why he hadn’t been to church and “grabbed at” him. Each of the prosecution witnesses said that WA had done a lot to bring young people into the church. Another witness, George Reed, of Cassop, now in the RAF, said WA had been a wonderful example to him and that he had considered taking Holy Orders himself.

(Source: Co. Durham Advertiser 2 August 1963; Northern Echo (or Durham Advertiser?) – Rita Irwin’s scrapbook.)

8 August 1964

Arthur Hutchinson, farmer, of Pilmoor Farm, Old Cassop, was killed when his tractor overturned. He had only recently bought the 260-acre farm, where he had worked since he was 14. He was a church warden at Thornley Parish Church.

His effects valued at £20,820 were administered at Durham on 8/11/1964, to his widow, Doris Hutchinson, and the reverent William Dobson Heads, clerk in Holy Orders.

(Source: Joe Irwin scrapbook; National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, via

30 September 1966

The resignation of Father Bill Armstrong took effect – he’d sign it on 19 July 1966 – after he had led his final tour to Europe in the meantime.

He emigrated to Australia, where he was first with the Bush Brethren of St. Barnabus, Ravenshoe, Queensland (1966–68), after which he was in Brisbane (1968-69), Miriam Vale (1969–71), Geelong College, Melbourne (1971–4), Tamparuli, Sabah (1975-6), St. Paul’s School, Woodleigh (1977-8), Majeediyya Boys Secondary School, Maldives (1979) and the Australian Commonwealth Dept. of Education, Aboriginal Housing Companies & Co-operatives (1980). He returned to Britain to be Vicar of Aintree St. Peter (1981–88) and Assistant Director of Education to the Liverpool Diocese till his retirement to live in London in 1990. (He visited Bowburn in 1992.)

(Sources: Crockford’s Directory 1989/90; Northern Echo (or Durham Advertiser?) 17 November 1965– Rita Irwin’s scrapbook; K. L. Turns, 2007.)

March 1967

St. John’s Mission, which had been bought for £1,000* by James Grainger, haulage contractor, of 15, Durham Road, was converted to “Annkirk”, partly (or wholly?) by Derek Walton, joiner, of Rosa Street, Spennymoor.

JG did intend to make it into a garage for motor lorries but his wife, Anna, thought it would be better converted into a bungalow. It was initially named after her but was later (by 1978) re-named “Ravenswood”.

The first occupants were Kenneth & Jocelyn Simons. He was a Canadian-born quality control manager with RCA, the record company. A photograph in the Northern Echo showed him with the concrete font filled with flowers. Meanwhile churchgoers were still using a special bus to take them to St. Paul’s, as the new church in Prince Charles Avenue, begun 11 years earlier, was still without any internal fittings.

The conversion was planned to take six months. 3,000 ft of 3" X 2. 5" timber was used to partition the church into a 31 ft long dining room/lounge, bathroom, kitchen, three bedrooms and a wide T-shaped hall. A false fireplace, window sills and decorative pelmets camouflaged the (very efficient) heating system. Special features included a cupboard-lined hall with oak panels and Tudor-style lounge.

*K. L. Turns (2007) reports that £650 (not £1,000) was raised towards the new church from the sale of St. John’s.

(Sources: M. Richardson “Around Durham”; Northern Echo (or Durham Advertiser?) – Rita Irwin’s scrapbook.)

21 March 1967

Rev. John Roden Stringer was installed as Perpetual Curate / Vicar of Cassop-cum-Quarrington.

Born in 1933, he attended King’s College, London, and was ordained deacon in 1962 and priest, in Durham, in 1963. He had been curate of St. Helen’s, Bishop Auckland (1962-63) and Hebburn-on-Tyne (’63-67).

(Sources: Joe Irwin scrapbook; Crockford’s Directory 1975/76.)

28 March 1967

With the permission of the bishop, midweek services began to be held in the Bowburn vicarage, as the new church, Christ the King, was still not complete.

Services continued in the vicarage till 19 October 1978.

(Source: DurhamRecord Office–Ref No. EP/Bb. CK 2/1 = a Register of these midweek services..)

February 1972

Arthur Gillett, Quarrington Hill, died, aged 76.

AG and brother Albert H. Gillett were founders of G&B (later Gillett Bros. Motor Services Ltd.), Arthur being responsible for business management and Albert in charge of the engineering side. Married to Maude Jane Smith, he was a church warden at Cassop-cum-Quarrington and a freemason (in the Caradoc & Wingate Lodge). All GB buses were draped in black on his funeral day (as they were to be on Albert Gillett’s funeral day two years later).

(Sources: Northern Echo(?) (or Durham Advertiser?) Feb 1972 – Rita Irwin’s scrapbook; Geoffrey Coxon (March, 1975) “A Family Concern Goes National”, in Buses [388. 3/L], p.87.)

26 October 1978

The Church of Christ the King, in Prince Charles Avenue, Bowburn, opened as an Anglican place of worship, being dedicated by the Bishop of Durham, John Hopgood. Rev. John Stringer was the vicar.

The delay in opening the church had been due to problems with floor.

However it was felt it would do spiritual harm to the parish if this and St. Paul’s had completely separate Sunday services, so it was decided that the Sung Eucharist would be held on alternate weeks in each church, and Evensong taking place in the church which did not have the Sung Eucharist. This arrangement continued until 1990. St Paul's was closed in 1991 and demolished in1993.

Christ the King was technically never actually a church, only a worship centre. As such, it (and the land on which it stood) belonged to the Parochial Church Council, not the Diocese. Decisions therefore on, for example, what furnishings etc. could be put in it, and how they were disposed of when the church closed, were up to the PCC, without permission being necessary from the Diocese.

(Sources: Dur. Uni. Library DDR 4 March accession: box of service sheets etc.; Maureen Robinson; htm.)

August 1982

The funderal of Bill Stokoe, of 18, Burn Street, Bowburn, who was killed at East Hetton colliery, was conducted at Christ the King Church conducted by Rev. R. Stapleton.

He was secretary of Kelloe Mechanics Lodge.

(Source: Dur. Adv. 27 August 1982, p.2.)

31 October 1988

Rev. John Stringer left Cassop-cum-Quarrington to become vicar of Christ Church, Great Lumley. He was not immediately replaced.

He had been Rural Dean since 1984 and became an Honorary Canon of Durham Cathedral on leaving Bowburn. He retired to Spennymoor ten years later but his wife, Margaret, died soon afterwards. He later moved to Carlisle.

Parishioners were told Mr. Stringer would not be replaced unless they agreed to close St. Paulʼs Church, at Quarrington Hill. They did so and Father James Thompson was appointed in the following year.

(Sources: Northern Echo (or Durham Advertiser?) 3 November 1988– Rita Irwin’s scrapbook; K. L. Turns, 2007.)

13 July 1990

Fr James Thompson was inducted as vicar of Cassop-cum-Quarrington parish, at St. Paul’s Church, Quarrington Hill.

He had attended the College of the Resurrection, at Mirfield, Yorkshire, and was ordained in 1967. He had served as curate of Shieldfield Christ Church 1967-9; curate of Hendon S. lgnatius 1969-74; vicar or Gateshead S. Chad, 1974-85, and rector of Easington 1985-9.

According to K. L. Turns (2007), Father James Thompson was inducted in 1989.

(Sources: Bowburn Interchange no. 35; K. L. Turns, 2007.)

25 December 1990

The last service at St. Paul’s Church, Quarrington Hill, was held on Christmas morning, 1990.

April 1991

Rev. Richard Masshedar, formerly curate of Cassop-cum-Quarrington, became vicar of St. Andrew’s Church, Gateshead.

(Source: Northern Echo (or Durham Advertiser?) 12 April 1991– Rita Irwin’s scrapbook.)

26 June 1991

Closure of St. Paul’s Church, Quarrington Hill, which was declared redundant by an order in council of the Church Commissioners. The last service had been held on Christmas morning, 1990.

Despite attempts by Durham City Council and the Church Commissioners to find some one to buy or lease it for alternative use, none was found and the church was demolished in 1993.

(Sources: Father J. Thompson; Northern Echo (or Durham Advertiser?) 26 November 92 & 2 April 93– Rita Irwin’s scrapbook; Dur. Uni. Library DDR/EA/BEP April 803; K. L. Turns, 2007.)


Christ the King Church PCC was told by Archdeacon of Auckland that its church must close.

(Source: Father James Thompson.)

11 December 1993

Demolition of St. Paul’s Church, Quarrington Hill. It had been put off for over a year, while alternative uses were unsuccessfully sought. (Bulldozers were “preparing to demolish” it in June, according to the N. Echo. Demolition had been authorised by order in council on 23 June 1993.

(Sources: DRO gives year as 1994 but Clive Lawson, Quarrington Hill, gave precise date; Northern Echo (or Durham Advertiser?) 7 June 1993– Rita Irwin’s scrapbook; Dur. Uni. Library DDR/EA/BEP April 811.)


The Archdeacon of Auckland announced at Deanery Synod that Christ the King Church, Bowburn, was to be closed and not replaced. Parishioners would have to attend the Methodist Church or travel to Coxhoe or Durham.

The diocese changed its mind in 1997.

(Source: CtK website 9 June 04.)

April 1996

The Youth Club at Christ the King Church closed, after 30 years.

Youth workers Keith Armstrong and Harry Cairns later worked at the DJ Evans Youth Club but at first transferred to Ludworth. The youth worker at the DJE club was at that time Dominic Sharp.

(Source: Vince High; Fa. James Thompson.)


Christ the King Church was transferred to Archdeaconry of Durham. This paved the way to a change of heart on the future of the church building, as it had been the Archdeacon of Auckland that had ruled that there would be no funding for repairs or replacement. Later that year, the diocese announced that, if the congregation could raise the money, they could repair the church or build a new one: Christ the King Church was reprieved.

(Source: CtK website, 9 June 04; Bowburn Interchange no. 5.)

26 April 1998

Christ the King Parochial Church Council decided at its AGM to invite architects to advise re repairs etc.

23 June 1999

The last service was held in St. Paul’s Worship Centre, Quarrington Hill. A brass memorial plaque, in memory of 78 parishioners who had been killed in action during World War 1, which had originally been erected in St. Paul’s Church but moved to the Parish Centre when that was closed in 1991, was now moved to Christ the King Church, in Bowburn. It was moved from there to Quarrington Hill Community Centre when the church was demolished but returned to the new church in 20XX.

(Source: Father J. Thompson; Bowburn Interchange 31.)

December 2000

Father James Thompson, vicar of Cassop-cum-Quarrington with Bowburn, reported that it would cost £176,000 to repair the roof of Christ the King Church, £200,000 to repair the walls and about £75,000 to repair everything else. Fund-raising was set to begin shortly, whether for repair or demolition and replacement.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 15.)

Bowburn Interchange no. 15

25 December 2000

Rev. John Allison took the Christmas Day service at Bowburn Methodist Church. Other services that month were taken by Mr. Aspinal (a Carol Service) and Mrs. Offler.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 15.)

8 August 2001

Planning approval was granted for a new Christ the King Church in Prince Charles Avenue. It was designed by Malcolm Cundick of Alpha Architects.

(Sources: City of Durham Council Development Contol Service; www. christtheking. bowburn. net/history. htm.)

25 December 2001

Rev. John Allison took the Christmas Day service at Bowburn Methodist Church. He also took services on Sunday 16 December (an all-age service, with nativity tableau) and Sunday 23 December (a Carol Service).

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 18.)

2002 [before May]

The Bowburn Local Advisory Group (LAG) recommended a grant of £250 to the Christ the King Church Bingo Club. This was then approved by the Durham and Chester-le-Street Community Alliance. A bingo session was held at the church every Wednesday evening.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 19.)

January 2003

Maureen Robinson, Church Warden of Christ the King Church, invited readers of Bowburn Interchange to look at proposed plans for a new church on the site of the old one. “We are a small friendly group”, she wrote. “We have coffee mornings and Bingo nights and would love you to join us. Every penny you spend goes towards a new church.”

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 21.)

23 November 2003

A Building Fund Appeal, for funds to build new Christ the King Church, was launched by the Archdeacon of Durham, Stephen Conway, when he visited to celebrate the Patronal Festival of Christ the King.

(Source: CtK website, 9 June 04; Bowburn Interchange no. 25.)

About December 2003

Christ the King Church launched a new website:

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 25.)

December 2003

Children from Bowburn Junior School attended a Christingle Service in Bowburn Methodist Church, after which the offering was sent to the Children’s Society.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 25.)

22 January 2004

Tom Wright, the new Bishop of Durham, visited Bowburn. He was here for about an hour with the Area Dean, Rev. Adele Kelham, looking at the state of Christ the King church, talking about the parishʼs future and meeting members of the congregation. He was reported to be very positive and supportive of the idea of a new church, on the site of the old one, and expressed great interest in the history of this church and its future.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 26.)

2 March 2004

A course for Lent, called “Face to Face”, brought together a group of Bowburn residents from the congregations of Bowburn Methodist Church, the Church of Christ the King, Bowburn, and Emmanuel Church, Durham. The course was written by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, an ecumenical group that drew from all major Christian traditions. It was held every Tuesday over Lent.

Monthly meetings continued after that, with a course of study based around Saint Paulʼs letters to the Corinthians, for instance, in the autumn. For these they met in individualʼs houses, the first meeting being on 21 September, at the home of Richard and Liz Walsh.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange nos. 26 & 29.)

22 May 2004

Christ the King Church held their annual Summer fair in Bowburn Community Centre. It raised just over £1,400 – the most ever for a summer fair.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 28.)

June 2004

Rose Barnes, from Ferryhill, with her grandchildren, Thomas and Laurin, took part in the Great North Walk, raising £177 for the Christ the King Church building fund.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 29.)

June 2004

Bowburn Interchange no. 27 reported that Bowburn Methodist Church had a website:

(This no longer exists. It is now: )

It also gave the URL of the new Christ the King Church website,

(This too no longer exists. It is now: )

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 27.)

5 September 2004

The last service was held at the original Church of Christ the King, Bowburn.

The service featured the vicar, Father James Thompson; the Bishop of Beverley, the Rt. Rev. Martyn Jarrett, and the Archdeacon of Durham, the Ven. Stephen Conway. After the service, drinks were served in the vicarage garden. Then the majority of the congregation joined the Archdeacon, Fr. James and Mrs. Thompson for lunch at Bowburn Hall.

Subsequent services were held at Bowburn Methodist Church, on Durham Road, until the new Christ the King Church opened in 2008. The Methodist Church moved its services to 10.45am and Christ the King Church held theirs at 9.15am.

(Source: Durham Advertiser w/e 11 September 2004, p.5, Bowburn Interchange nos. 29 & 30.)

9 November 2004

The World War I memorial plaque that had originally been in St. Paul’s Church was taken from Christ the King Church and placed for safe keeping in Quarrington Hill Community Centre. pending the building of a new parish church at Bowburn.

Fr. James also decided that a lectern which had been donated by Quarrington Hill couple Joe and the late Rita Irwin should be returned to the village, to hold a book of remembrance which had been commissioned by members of the Quarrington Hill history group. When completed, the book was to be on view in the community centre there.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 31.)

21 November 2004

On Sunday, the feast of Christ the King, the Rt Rev Martyn Jarrett, Bishop of Beverley, celebrated the eucharist and confirmed four candidates in Bowburn Methodist Church.

This was the first time there had been either a bishop or a confirmation in the Methodist Church.

After the service, all (bishop and Mike Amos, from the Northern Echo, included) retired to the vicarage to celebrate with a glass of wine and then on to Bowburn Hall Hotel for lunch.

(Sources: N. Echo 27 December 2004; archive. thisisthenortheast. co. uk; Bowburn Interchange no. 31.)

4 September 2005

Father James Thompson announced that he was to retire at the beginning of following year. He and his wife, Catherine, were planning to go back to their roots and retire to a bungalow in Sunderland.

According to K. L. Turns (2007), Father James Thompson left Bowburn in 2006, to become honorary curate at St. Aidan’s, Grangetown, Sunderland.

(Sources: Bowburn Interchange no. 35; K. L. Turns, 2007.)

8 January 2006

Rev. James Thompson retired from Cassop-cum-Quarrington parish.

(Source: K. L. Turns, 2007.)

3 March 2006

The first of three banner cases in Bowburn Community Centre was commissioned by Norman Emery, the banner historian. This one was to contain Bowburn Miners’ Lodge’s 1959 “Racecourse” banner, which had been returned by the NUM Colliery Officials and Staffs Association, who had held it since 1967, when Bowburn Colliery closed. The repaired and conserved banner was unveiled, in its new case, on 11 March by Roberta Blackman-Woods MP and former Bowburn miner Walter Hinton. The three new cases were all made by local ex-miner John Johnson, using timber from pews donated from the soon-to-be-demolished Christ the King Church.

(Source: Bowburn Interchanges nos. 31 & 37.)

June 2006

Maureen Robinson, churchwarden of Christ the King Church, issued a warning to children of the dangers of climbing on the roof of the abandoned church. “The roof is in a very dangerous condition!”, she warned. On the last week of term, she led a party of teachers and children round the building, showing them the damage that had been done and the dangers this caused.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 38 & 39.)

12 June 2007

Christ the King Church was demolished.

Work had started on 24 May 2007 and the first days were spent railing off the site and making it secure. Then small amounts of asbestos had to be expertly removed, before the main body of work – the demolition – could begin. Clearance continued after 12 June 2007, that date marking the demolition of the “pineapple” dome.

It had been planned to retain the “rocket” camponile (spire). However this was blown over by gales in October 2009.

(Sources: Bowburn Interchange nos. 43 and 53.)

27 June 2006

After some one [unknown] attempted to have Christ the King Church listed, to prevent its demolition, the building was inspected by English Heritage (Listing) Advisers, led by Dr. Tolan-Smith. They concluded, however, that “the unusual use of a geodetic dome patented in the USA in 1948 is insufficient to compensate for the poor quality of construction and materials used and the rather spartan interior lacking high quality decoration and fixtures. It therefore does not possess the high levels of special interest necessary in a national context for a building of this date to meet the criteria for listing.”

(Sources: English Heritage (Listing) Adviser's Report 28 Sep 2006; Interchange no. 41.)

About August 2007

Christ the King Church’s application for Lottery Funding to build a new church in Bowburn was unsuccessful.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 44.)

Autumn 2007

Questionnaires were distributed by Christ the King Church, to ask residents what facilities should be available in the new church building. Plans were submitted to Durham City Council and to the Diocesan Council; tenders were sought from a number of builders, and an application was made for a grant from the Bowburn Village Improvement Fund (the “Regeneration Pot”).

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 45.)

18 December 2007

The Bowburn & Parkhill Community Partnership agreed to recommend allocating £100,000 from the Bowburn Village Improvement Fund (the “Regeneration Pot”) for the construction of a new Christ the King church centre. (This was in addition to £2,605 previously granted from the Community Chest.) The Durham Villages Regeneration Company subsequently endorsed this.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 46.)

31 January 2008

Planning permission was granted for the construction of a new Christ the King church centre and community hall in Prince Charles Avenue. The application, submitted on 6 December 2007, was a revised version of the larger building originally intended, which had received permission on 23 May 2007.

6 April 2008

The Bishop of Jarrow will gave the sermon at the Christ the King Church service, held in Bowburn Methodist Church. After the service, he will join parishioners for drinks in the vicarage and then lunch at Bowburn Hall Hotel. The party included Father Keith Lumsdon, the Area Dean, and Fathers Mel Gray and Les Barron.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange nos. 46 & 47.)

April 2008

Construction of the new Christ the King Church Centre began. Maureen Robinson, church warden, donned a hard hat and wellies before climbing into a mechanical digger to cut a giant ceremonial first sod. The Area Dean, Father Keith Lumsden, joined Father Mel Gray in conducting a short service. The church’s oldest parishioner, Mrs Ruth Harker, was photographed at the scene, as were the two youngest, Jack Armstrong and Ellie Grayson – both sporting hard hats.

The building was constructed by NECHO Ltd of Sunderland.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 47.)

2 Jun 2008

A 50-tonne crane lift the first roof struts into place of the new Christ the King Church Centre in Prince Charles Avenue. The rest of the roof followed and interior work then began in time for the centre to open in September.

The original marble step was to be placed at the side door and a feature made of it.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 47.)

13 September 2008

The Bishop of Durham, the most Reverend Dr. Tom Wright, and the Bishop of Beverly, the Right Reverend Martyn Jarrett, officiated at the opening of the new church of Christ the King at Bede Terrace / Prince Charles Avenue. With the Area Dean, Keith Lumsdon, and Fr. James Thompson, Fr. Mel Gray and Fr. Les Barron all taking a part in the blessings, the dedication was completed in “a beautifully simple ceremony”. Among those present were the Mayor and Mayoress of Durham, Roberta Blackman-Woods MP, Council and village representatives, Mr K. Dobson of Necho Ltd, the builder, and many who had helped with donations and gifts.

At the end of the service, the two Churchwardens gave a short speech thanking all who had helped. Then a buffet meal was served and the change from church to parish hall was quick and easy.

On Sunday 14 September, the first service in the new church was well attended. The Bowburn Centenary banner and Junior School banner were both displayed. The service was officiated by the Venerable Ian Jagger, the Arch Deacon of Durham.

The new font, commissioned by the PCC and bought with donations from members of the church, was first used for the baptism of Catherine Ann Potter, on 21 September.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 48.)

March 2009

The people of the church of Christ the King thanked Crowtrees W.M. Club Committee and staff, Mr. & Mrs. H. Stephenson and Juke Box Jive, for their generosity when staging

a charity event for the church. £1,000 was donated and allocated to buying a dividing sliding door, so that the main church could be separated from the parish hall.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 50.)

About May 2009

The area to the rear of the new Christ the King church was fenced off. It was planned to use this as a car park when funding allowed. Meanwhile neighbours had been concerned about the unkempt site. A new church noticeboard had also been erected at the corner of Prince Charles Avenue and Bede Terrace.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 51.)

13 September 2009

The Bishop of Beverley officiated at the Christ the King church service to celebrate the first anniversary of the church’s dedication

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 52.)

3 October 2009

The camponile (bell-tower / spire) of Christ the King Church was blown over in a gale. As Bowburn Interchange put it, “The landmark that gave the village its CB radio handle of “Rocket City” in the late 1970s was brought to earth by gales on 3rd October and then launched into the stratosphere of a Newcastle scrapyard three weeks later.”

The spire had been built in 1963, to stand alongside the original church, and it had been intended to keep it. Indeed it was due to be cleaned only a fortnight later, on 15 October.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange nos. 52 & 53.)

24 July 2010

Father John Livesley was inducted as vicar of Cassop-cum-Quarrington with Bowburn, moving from Manchester to take up his first parish.

No less than three bishops were in attendance – The Bishop of Durham, Tom Wright, the Bishop of Beverley, Martyn Jarret, and John Gaisford, formerly Bishop of Beverley. Also present were people from Manchester, where Fr. John had served as a curate; Roberta Blackman Woods, MP; the mayors of Durham and Spennymoor; the Chairman of the Council, Cllr. Mac Williams; Cllr. Blakey, and representatives of schools, local groups and community centres.

At the same time, Mr. Livesley became vicar of St. Andrew’s, Tudhoe Grange, and took up residence at the vicarage there, with his wife, Naomi.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange nos. 55 & 56.)

14 December 2010

A Salvation Army Band gave a carol concert at Christ the King Church, Bowburn.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 57.)

8 May 2011

Margaret Wilson and Maureen Robinson retired as churchwardens of Christ the King Church in Bowburn, having served the Parish for a combined total of 26 years (11 for Maureen, 15 for Margaret). During the time when the parish was without a priest, and when the old church building (“the pineapple”) was condemned and subsequently demolished, “it was Maureen and Margaret who for several years motivated the congregation in the enormous effort of planning and building the new church”, wrote Father John Livesley in Bowburn Interchange. “Without their vision there would be no Anglican church in Bowburn today to serve the wider community in the three villages.”

During a civic service in the church on their retirement day, Cllr Mac Williams, then Chairman of Durham County Council, awarded them the “Chairman’s Medal”, in recognition of their services to the community.

(Source: Bowburn Interchange no. 59.)