The first Parish Church of Tynemouth stood within the walls of Tynemouth
Castle. The west end of the monastery church was set aside for parochial
use and there was often friction between the religious and military
authorities. During the troubled times of the English Civil War parishioners
were frequently prevented from attending the Parish Church of St. Mary
and services took place, either in the open air or in Ralph Gardner's
brewery at Chirton, North Shields. Following a visit in 1652 by Oliver
Cromwell's Commissioners it was decided that a new church was needed
outside the castle and near to a centre of population.
A parcel of land was given by the Earl of Northumberland at Brock's Close, North
Shields and in 1659, the same year as the roof of the old church collapsed,
Robert Morley, 'Master Builder' was appointed to carry out the work.
Work progressed slowly due to lack of money and the unsettled times
at the end of the Commonwealth. Christ Church was consecrated by the
Bishop of Durham, John Cosin, on the 5th July 1668.
The church was built in the plain style of a Presbyterian preaching house with
four arms of equal length and the pulpit in the centre. It was not long
before it was found to be too small and over a period of about 125 years
the four corners of the building were built over to provide space for
extra seating. In 1792 the walls of the building were raised over 3
metres and galleries built above the north and south aisles.