Short History of St Paul’s Parish Church
Designed in the Decorated period of Gothic architecture by Anthony Salvin Esq., St Paul’s Church was built for the sum of £12,000 on the instructions of Hugh, 3rd Duke of Northumberland. When opened for worship in 1846 it provided much needed additional accommodation for the town’s Anglican community.
The East Window, one of only three of its kind in Europe, was designed and created in Munich and depicts St Paul and St Barnabus preaching at Antioch. It was installed in 1856 at a cost of £1639, raised by public subscription and a contribution from the 4th Duke. The Rose Window on the eastern side, no longer visible within the church since the lowering of the roof, can be seen without in the upper nave when illuminated at night.
Following the combining of the parish of St Paul with that of St Michael’s, in the pre-Reformation church near the castle, the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle acquired the redundant building and St Paul’s was dedicated by Bishop Hugh Lindsay on 11th December 1982 for use by the Roman Catholic community. Artefacts including the Lady Altar and statue, the reredos depicting the Northern saints, and the Stations of the Cross transferred to St Paul’s from the former Catholic church building. The latter is now converted into the Bailiffgate Museum.
A grant of £10,000 from the Millennium Trust via the Church Floodlighting Trust, £4000 from Parishioners/Friends and £10,000 from Alnwick Conservation Area Partnership enabled exterior lighting to be installed in 1999. Rewiring and new interior lighting was installed in 2002 at a cost of almost £100,000 and a new driveway was completed in 2008. Fundraising continues for past and future projects.
The interchange of church buildings is echoed in the inter-denominational services, meetings and activities which take place in the town, and former Anglican parishioners of St Paul’s welcome the opportunity to return for musical and other events.