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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Sunderland Minster the historical church of Bishopwearmouth, along with the renovated village green in 2020.
Bishopwearmouth is located in Tyne and Wear
Location within Tyne and Wear
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtSR1
Dialling code0191
FireTyne and Wear
AmbulanceNorth East
UK Parliament
List of places
Tyne and Wear
54°54′21″N 1°23′20″W / 54.90582°N 1.388785°W / 54.90582; -1.388785

Bishopwearmouth is a former village and parish which now constitutes the west side of Sunderland City Centre, merging with the settlement as it expanded outwards in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is home to the Sunderland Minster church, which has stood at the heart of the settlement since the early Middle Ages.


Bishopwearmouth was one of the original three settlements on the banks of the River Wear that merged to form modern Sunderland. The settlement was formed in 930 when Athelstan of England granted the lands to the Bishop of Durham. The settlement on the opposite side of the river, Monkwearmouth, had been founded 250 years earlier.

The lands on the south side of the river became known as Bishopwearmouth, a parish that covered around twenty square miles (52 km2). This was divided into a number of townships including Ryhope, Silksworth, Ford and Tunstall, all now part of the suburbs city.

Within the parish was another settlement, Sunderland, which was a small fishing port at the mouth of the river. Over the centuries, the port grew in both importance and size, and in 1719 was made into a parish independent from Bishopwearmouth.[1]

Prior to modern urbanisation, Bishopwearmouth Burn used to follow adjacent to the village and into the River Wear. The Bishopwearmouth Christ Church was declared redundant on 11 February 1998, and later sold to become a Sikh temple and community centre.[2] The church of Bishopwearmouth, St. Michael's, became Sunderland Minster in 1998.

Notable residents

Major-General Sir Henry Havelock, a military leader during the Indian Mutiny, was born in Bishopwearmouth on 5 April 1795, as was Joseph Swan, famous for the invention of the incandescent light bulb, on 31 October 1828.

Rev William Scott Moncreiff FRSE was vicar of Christ's Church in the 19th century.[3]

The physician and antiquarian Thomas Coke Squance FRSE was from Bishopwearmouth.


  1. ^ "Sunderland's Music, Arts and Culture Quarter - Bishopwearmouth and the Minster". Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Church Commissioners | The Church of England". Archived from the original on 5 July 2008. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  3. ^ Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
This page was last edited on 10 May 2021, at 08:12
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