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St.John the Baptist Church /History

Fun facts:

  • Grade II listed

  • Built between 1180 and 1190

  • Dismantled and rebuilt during the episcopate of Bishop Pudsy (l180-1190). All traces of earlier Saxon and Norman structures were removed.

  • The present Church building goes back to the l2th century.

  • A major restoration occurred in 1792. This work demolished the Norman walls within a few feet of their foundation.

  • In spite of these restorations, the Church still holds onto historical features.

  • There are in the present church various pieces of stone masonry which have been discovered during the periods of reconstruction. There is evidence of them dating back to the early Saxon structure of the Church.


   Early Church features:

  • 2 stone baluster shafts of later Saxon origin. Irregularly sized they bear indications of having been turned in a lathe.

  • These stone baluster shafts now support the Frosterley marble altar slab in the Sanctuary

  • Fragments of a Saxon cross - Part of a stone circle that connected the 4 members of a Greek shaped or Maltese cross, dating earlier than A.D.901

  • Fragments of a cross shaft or tomb slab with early Norman carvings.

  • Fragment of another cross shaft (1860) dating back to the time of Henry I. This can be found on the North wall of the Church

  • A Norman cross head found beneath the foundations of the west wall amongst stones calcined by fire, and some pieces of molten lead - possibly from the Danish raids of 901. In Shape it is a Maltese or Greek cross. This is an excellent piece of Norman carving not later than the 11th century.

More early Church features

  • Foundations of a small 1860 Saxon or Norman Church are found beneath the floor of the current Church building, and the substructure of the old chancel arch could be clearly traced.

  • These early foundations remain buried beneath the flooring of the present church.

  • A Frosterley marble font, possibly from the 12th Century, completes the evidence of these early buildings for Christian  worship in Greatham.


  • The current Church building has embodied an ancient centre of worship from over 1000 years old.

  • ​Mezzanine meeting room and kitchen areas were added in 1991.

  • The inside of the church has been redecorated and a boiler installed. The Cemetery in Greatham village is still in use for burials. 


Greatham village

  • Greatham is a village with a population of 1500, located in the south of Hartlepool with easy access to the A689, the major route into the town.

  • Greatham is within 3 miles of Seaton Carew.

  • Adjacent to the village there are constant housing developments, significantly increasing the population of our parish.

  • The village has a thriving community centre at its heart which provides activities for all ages, including a youth club, nursery and is the venue for the village pantomime.

  • The village has 2 pubs as well as a shop.


  • There is a regular bus service linking the village to Hartlepool and to the rest of Teesside.

  • People in the village generally travel to work.


  • The major employer in the village is The Hospital of God, a charitable trust established in the 12th century.


  • There is a good mix of houses rented by The Hospital of God, and by the local authority, as well as a range of owner occupied properties.

  • 25% of the population are retired, and unemployment is currently slightly higher than the national average.

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