title="Newton by the Sea Parish Council in Northumberland">

Local History


In the mid 13th century, the manor of Newton-by-the-sea was part of the barony of Vesci, which was "held by John Viscount for one knight's fee", Ownership of Newton passed to Simon de Montfort then to Edmund of Lancaster, Sir Lawrence de St Maur, and so on through the centuries. In 1725 the township, one of the ten constituting the Barony of Embleton, was divided, with part of it owned by several generations of the Forster family. Newton Hall is a late 18th century house built for Joseph Forster.

Low Newton (also called Newton Seahouses) was built in the early 19th century as fishermen's cottages, the gabled dormer windows being added in the mid 19th century. Some of these cottages are now owned by the National Trust. The Coastguard Station was built on top of the hill about 1828.

Census returns show a population of around 250 in Newton during the 19th century. The Northumberland County History, published in 1895, records that "Newton- by-the-sea is a township containing 1211 acres and a population of 220 persons".

Today, the population is a mix of residents, people with holiday homes, and visitors. The majority of residents travel out of the village to work, to nearby towns or to the Newcastle area. The National Trust owns much of the coastal land in the area, and also part of The Square at Low Newton

Church of Saint Mary the Virgin

A tin tabernacle is a type of prefabricated ecclesiastical building made from corrugated galvanised iron. They were developed in the mid 19th century initially in Great Britain. Corrugated iron was first used for roofing in London in 1829 by Henry Robinson Palmer and the patent sold to Richard Walker who advertised "portable buildings for export" in 1832. The technology for producing the corrugated sheets improved and to prevent corrosion the sheets were galvanised with a coating of zinc, a process developed by Stanislas Sorel in Paris in the 1830s. After 1850, many types of prefabricated buildings were produced, including churches, chapels and mission halls.

Saint Mary’s Church at Newton-by-the-Sea is part of the Parish of Embleton. It was originally built as a Mission Room towards the end of the 19th century. Parish records show that regular evening services were held there in the late 1890’s. In 1902 permission was granted for the building to be licensed for the celebration of Holy Communion and for Baptism. During the ensuing year alterations took place to create Newton Mission Church, and Holy Communion was first celebrated on 29th November 1903. James Richard Carss, was the first person to be baptised on 12th December 1903. The Vicar, Reverend W.E. Bolland, officiated.

In the early years the building was used as the Church and Village Hall, probably until the “Women’s Institute Hall” was erected after the First World War. When this hall was closed in 1996 Newton Church Committee agreed that, once again, the Church could be used for Village meetings. It has since been used for all meetings of the Civil Parish Council, Exhibitions and Concerts.


In 1994 the Church was re-roofed with steel sheeting. In 1997 the building was rewired and new lighting and electric heaters were installed. In 1998 the floor was carpeted.

In 2006 a ramp leading up to the door for wheelchair access was installed.

Today this little church bought in kit form over a hundred years ago, continues to serve the small population and holidaymakers of Newton and it plays an important part in the life of the village.