St. Peter's is open for visitors
Monday - Friday, 10.30am - 2.30pm and Tour Guides are available during these times.
Saturday - Closed at the moment unless pre-booked by contacting the Parish Office on 0191 5160135
Sunday - not open for tours
Groups of 10 or over must be pre-booked via the Parish Office.
Our address is:
St. Peter's Church
St Peter's Way
Parish Tele: 0191 5160135
Facebook Page: Parish of Monkwearmouth: St Andrew's, St Peter's & All Saints
Please Note - we are not open on Bank Holidays
We have a small car park
Baby Changing Facilities
Ramped Entrance to Church
Hearing (Induction) Loop
Assistance Dogs Welcome
We have a small cafe (Bede's Bakehouse) open Monday, Wednesday & Friday 10.30 am - 2.30 pm. Please note this is not open on Bank Holidays.
We are currently closed due to the coronavirus situation.
When visiting St. Peter's take a look at some of the lovely gifts, provided by Bede's Way Jewellery, on display in the Bakehouse which can be purchased as a remembrance of your visit to this historic site.
Click the button to take a look at Bede's Bakehouse and Bede's Way Jewellery gifts
Want to know what we've got going on at St. Peter's at the moment? It's all on our 'A Church Near You' page.
We welcome school visits and have information, worksheets and ideas to make your class visit to St. Peter's truly memorable. Please click on the button to find out more about booking your school visit.
The activity sheets can also be used by visitors with children so print them off and your children can learn about the history of St. Peter's in a fun way!
Read all about the building of a Community Garden in the historic grounds of St. Peter's - combining quiet beauty and prayer with quality fruit and veg!
This site is currently being updated so please check out the facebook page (A Space 2 Grow- help us create a growing community) for an up to date view of what's happening.
Find out more about the history of St. Peter's Church and check out the photo gallery below.
View from the north side with the Bakehouse on the left
St. Peter's, Monkwearmouth is one of the oldest churches in Britain, where Christians have gathered for more than 1300 years. This is a place of worship and prayer, ministry and mission.
St. Peter’s was built in 674AD by Benedict Biscop (Patron Saint of Sunderland), a pioneering monk who was given a grant of land by the Northumbrian King, Egfrith. There is a stained glass window in the church dedicated to Benedict Biscop. The area was part of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria. Stonemasons and glassworkers from Gaul were brought to Northumbria to build the church as the craftsmen were skilled and these crafts were not yet well established in Anglo-Saxon England. Benedict built an important complex of church and monastic buildings in the Roman style, probably on the site of a settlement founded by Hilda of Whitby. It was one of two churches of the Benedictine double monastery of Monkwearmouth-Jarrow Abbey - the other church being St. Paul’s, at Jarrow.
Another famous Saint connected with St. Peter's is the Venerable Bede who was born in Sunderland. At the age of 7 he joined the monastery taking holy orders. Little is known about Bede's background although it is accepted that he came to the monastery as an orphan and was welcomed by Benedict Biscop.
St. Peter's was originally built as part of a monastery and had a famous library which contained many original documents and manuscripts. It is a Grade 1 listed building and now a parish church. Of the original building only the west wall and porch survive. The ground floor of the porch is barrel vaulted. Its outer arch at the west end of the porch is of an elaborate design and is decorated with stone reliefs. The rest of the church dates from around the 13th century when the north aisle was first built and in the 14th century a five-light east window was inserted in the chancel. Much of the interior dates from a major restoration carried out in the 1870s, though medieval stonework is visible at the south side of the chancel arch. Following an arson attack in 1984, there were more changes during which the nave sanctuary and exhibition area were built, the chancel ceiling was repainted, and a fine Copeman-Hart organ was installed on the north side of the chancel.
Nowadays, St. Peter’s Church is still a well used church with regular Christian services and numerous activities take place within the building and grounds. There is also a small cafe - Bede’s Bakehouse - which is very popular and well used by tourists and visitors to the church.
Ever wanted to follow in the footsteps of St. Bede? James McRoy has created a virtual tour inside St. Peter's hosted by Google Maps Business View.