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With One Voice

The Catholic Parishes of St Agnes’ Crawcrook, St Joseph’s Highfield and Our Lady of Lourdes Chopwell

Part of the Ovingham Parish Partnership in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle

St Agnes’ Crawcrook

Facilities: WC, Loop system, wheelchair friendly access.


St Agnes' Church occupies a prominent site, on land acquired from the Dunn family. In 1886 A. M. Dunn, of the architects Dunn & Hansom, whose family home was at Castle Hill, Crawcrook, gave land for a Catholic school. This was probably built from designs by Dunn; a small chapel was added in 1892. The first resident priest was also installed in 1892 and a presbytery built six years later.

In 1905 a temporary corrugated iron church was built, at a cost of £1000. Fundraising for a permanent church started under Rev. Dr Wheatley, appointed parish priest in 1935, but this was delayed by the onset of war.

The present church and presbytery were finally built by Fr Aherne in 1959, on a new site acquired from Commander Dunn, the grandson of A. M. Dunn. The church, originally seating 375, was built in a modern Romanesque style, with an Italianate tower, from designs by Pascal J. Stienlet & Son; the contractor was J. W. Lowry of Newcastle. The cost of the church (including fittings) and presbytery was £60,000.

The church was re-ordered in 1976 by Alan Greenall of Wylam, an architect and parishioner. At this time, the altar rails and the canopy over the altar were removed and the altar brought forward into the nave. New liturgical furnishings were made using the old marble.

In 2000, the narthex was enlarged using the rear portion of the church under the gallery, providing space for meetings, known as The Millennium Room.

In 2011, St Agnes' School moved into the building of former Kepier Chare Primary School, ,about 15 minutes walk away, which was extensively refurbished and altered. The old school building (and Catholic Club)  has since been demolished and the site is now occupied by houses.

In summer 2018, the church was redecorated and new lighting installed. Much-needed repairs were also carried out on the fabric of the building.

Find Us

St Agnes' Church, Westburn, Crawcrook, NE40 4ET.


Sunday Mass, which is celebrated at 9:15am, is the main community gathering of the week, with a good cross-section of age groups usually present. We are blessed to have an active music ministry. Music is provided by our organists, singers and our Parish Music Group. Many of our parishioners are actively involved in other ministries, such as reading, serving and as Eucharistic Ministers. Although it has been suspended temporarily since the onset of Covid, there is also a Children's Liturgy during term time.

Our welcomers are on hand at every Sunday Mass to greet you. They will give you a Mass card and parish newsletter as you arrive, and if you need to know something about our Parish, just ask - if they don't know the answer, they know someone who does!

Each Wednesday and Sunday, tea and coffee is served in the Millennium Room at the back of church. 

Why not come along and join us?

Our Parish Groups and Ministries

Music: We have a fine Makin organ in the church, played by our organists; we also have cantors who sing psalms. Our music group is made up of a small, but enthusiastic group of musicians of all age groups and abilities. We welcome new members; if you are interested, please come for a chat with one of our musicians after Mass.

Gardening Group: St. Agnes’ Gardeners are an informal group of all ages, six to sixty plus, meeting as & when necessary to maintain the strip of garden at the side of the church drive and the small area by the main entrance. Volunteers always very welcome, no expertise needed, only enthusiasm.  Contact: Margaret Kelly.

Children's Liturgy: We usually have a children's liturgy of the word during Sunday Mass in term time. Children from babes in arms up-over attend and parents are welcome to attend or remain in church. The children leave the main church just after the entrance hymn and enter our special Children's Liturgy Room. The Gospel is presented at a level that the children can easily understand.

A variety of activities and materials are used to re-enforce the Gospel message, including colouring in, singing and acting out the gospel.  The children re-join the main body of the church at the offertory, bringing artwork they have done to illustrate that week's Gospel. They also bring the offertory gifts when required. The children from the group present a Christmas Carol at the annual Carol Service. New volunteers are always welcome.  Contact: Richard Lynch.

Friends of St Agnes: We’re a small & friendly group, meeting on the first Tuesday of each month at 2.00 pm at St Agnes'. We organise social & fund raising events for the Parish & provide refreshments for special occasions such as Ecumenical Services. New members are always welcome.  Contact: Norah Dixon.

The Piety Shop: This has a great selection of cards for all occasions, gifts for Baptism, First Holy Communion & Confirmation, Missals, Rosary beads and much more.

The two ladies who look after all this could do with more help: this would involve opening the shop before & after Sunday Mass, sorting & tidying stock, and occasional trips to the wholesaler for more supplies. Contact: Eileen Conner.

CAFOD: Our CAFOD group is very small – we could do so much more with more members!

We organise the collection of the Green Boxes & World Gifts in Advent, and join with local Churches to prepare & celebrate our joint CAFOD / Christian Aid Advent Service. Could you take a Green Box? Your “small change” can help make a big difference.  

Church Cleaning: The church is cleaned thoroughly once every four weeks by a squad of volunteers, co-ordinated by Graham Coleman. We vacuum, dust, wash floors, clean the kitchen & toilet, clean windows and polish the brasses. New volunteers always welcome - keep a look out in the newsletter!!  

Flower arrangers: We have flowers in church for Holy Days, special occasions and Our Lady’s Grotto is decorated all year round except in Lent. At present there are only three on the team, so we’d love to have more volunteers.  Can you help?  Contact: Norah Dixon.

Churches Together: We enjoy excellent relations with our fellow Christians. Wylam and District Churches is chaired by Rev. Jane Cook, while Greenside and Crawcrook is chaired by Rev Tom Brazier.