In response to the urgent social, political and economic challenges facing the global community, the Las Casas Institute at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford, is launching a series of major initiatives over the next five years. Read more
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St. Dominic's Priory
The Dominican church is a much-loved part of Newcastle. The small Dominican community here serves the parish of St Dominic’s, maintaining a Dominican presence in the north-east - and one that contributes to the religious life of a cosmopolitan city.
The friars are also involved with chaplaincy ministry in Newcastle's universities, and following re-development, a vibrant and growing student population now surrounds the priory. Cultural outreach work also takes place, in collaboration with various other groups in the nearby Ouseburn creative district.
In 1239 the Dominicans arrived in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and settled in what is now called Monk Street, just within the old city walls. Royalty visited the medieval Blackfriars on several occasions, notably in 1334 when King Edward III of England and Edward Balliol of Scotland met there to sign the Treaty of Newcastle. In 1539 the priory was dissolved by Henry VIII.
The return to Newcastle
The return of the Dominicans to Newcastle resulted from the decision of Fr Rudolf Suffield, who had charge of a parish in Newcastle, to become a Dominican in 1860. As fr Bede Bailey OP put it: “we gave him the habit and Bishop Hogarth gave us the greater part of his parish of St Andrew”. The work of the Order at this time consisted above all of meeting the spiritual needs of the growing number of Irish immigrants, many of whom lived in conditions of extreme poverty. By 1863 the Dominicans had obtained a large site at Red Barns and in 1869, the foundation stone was laid for a new church by Dunn & Hansom. The church was opened in 1873.
The modern Dominicans made their mark on the city too. It is thought that fr Dalmatius Houtmann OP was a keen supporter of Newcastle United (founded in 1892) and gave the nascent team their first strips. By 1894, these had adopted the Dominican colours of black and white!