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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. 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 they can help you to find a seat if the Church seems full.   If you need to know something about our Parish, just ask - if they don't know the answer, they know someone who does!

On the last Sunday of the month, tea and coffee is served in the Millennium Room at the back of church. There is also a piety shop, selling cards etc.

Why not come along and join us?

Our Parish Groups and Ministries

Rosary Group: Meets most Mondays (not Bank Holidays) at 7.30 pm in the Millennium Room.  New members always welcome.  Contact: Ann Heron.

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: St Agnes Church provides 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. There are currently 4 adults and two young helpers who present the liturgy. New volunteers are always welcome.  Contact: Richard Lynch.

Youth Activities:   Our young people are encouraged to get involved in parish life. As well as getting involved in the ministries on Youth Sunday, some are involved in working towards the John Paul II awards, including helping out with Children's Liturgy. Contact: Margaret Brickland.

Friends of St Agnes: We’re a small & friendly group, meeting on the first Tuesday of each month at 7.00 pm   in the Meeting Room. 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!

This year our Parish is supporting projects in Ethiopia – see information on the CAFOD notice board – by means of your “Green Box” contributions, bookstall & individual donations.   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.  Contacts: Eileen Conner and Diana Carney.

MISSIO:  The Little Red Box is not just to hold coins, but also provide a regular reminder to pray for all missionaries and the communities they serve.

 ‘That little Red Box is the symbol of something very beautiful happening everywhere.’ Bishop Kevin Dowling, South Africa, whose diocese of Rustenburg and its work with HIV/AIDS orphans is supported through the Red Box. 

In our Parish we empty boxes, bank money and send off a cheque twice per year. In 2016, our contributions totalled £941. Do you have a Little Red Box at home? If you forgot to bring it in for emptying in November, please bring it in now.  Contacts: Sheila Jackson, Kathleen Horan and Joan Nicholson.

Church Cleaning: Our Parish has three teams, each meeting once every six weeks, on Thursday mornings at 10.00am or Thursday evenings at 6.00pm.  We vacuum, dust, wash floors, clean the kitchen & toilet, clean windows and polish the brasses. Volunteers always welcome!  

Flower arrangers: We have flowers in church for Holy Days, special occasions and most Sundays, 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.  

Minutes of recent meetings: