Memorial Details

NEWMP Memorial Image
St.James & St.Basil Church. Photo: Tony Harding


Church of St. James and St. Basil, Knott Bros., 1914-18





Map ref

NZ 226656

Original Location

St. James and St. Basil Church, Corner of Fenham Hall Drive and Wingrove Road North NE4 9EJ.

Which war


Dedication, Creation or Publication date

Cornerstone laid 25th July 1928 by Lt Col Sir Alexander Leith, Bart., in the presence of the Lord Bishop of Newcastle, Dr Bilbrough, church consecrated Saturday 6th June 1931 by Bishop of Newcastle.

Memorial Description

Church, gardens and Church Hall, Vicarage and Parish hall.
Inside the church, above an arcade, is the dedication in gilded Roman capitals.

Materials used

Stone from Kenton Quarry


To the glory of God this church is built by Sir James Knott, Baronet / in memory of his sons James and Basil killed in the Great War 1914-1918


(In memory of James Leadbitter Knott and Henry Basil Knott)

Who commissioned

Sir James and Lady Knott

How money was raised

Public subscription. Donated by Sir James and Lady Knott.

Present condition

Restoration Appeal in 1996 raised a total of £71,315.

Sculptor, Artist or Designer

Architect was Mr. Eric Edward Lofting; Building contractor was Alexander Pringle of Gateshead; Stained glass by Mr. Edward Woore and George Jack; Organ installed 1931 by J.W. Walker & Sons Ltd., Newcastle, overhauled 1975 by Nigel Church & Co., Stamfordh


1. The tenor bell, one of a chime of 17, cast at Whitechapel Foundry, by Mears and Stainbank in 1930, bears the inscription round its waist "We ring in memory of James and Basil Knott God knows".

2. The Knott Charitable Trust was set up by Sir James Knott, a Newcastle shipowner and founder of the Prince Line, in memory of his two sons, James and Basil, killed in action on the Western Front.

3. Sir James promised Newcastle a new church on condition that it should be called St. James and St. Basil. The bishop expressed doubts about Basil, a saint unknown to the Anglican church. Sir James replied, “No St. Basil, no church.” So Basil was duly canonised - at least on Tyneside.” Daily Telegraph?? 29/06/1996

4. The rest garden, behind the railings, was sold in 1972 to boost Church funds and Allan House, sheltered accommodation, was built on the site.

5. The stones used in the building are said to have come from John Dobson’s 1830 prison in Carliol Square, Newcastle which was demolished at that same time. The facing stones are from Kenton.

6. “It is announced that the . . . Vicar of Horton has been informed that Sir James Knott is prepared, as soon as arrangements can be made, to begin the building of a new church, vicarage and parish room . . . at Newsham, as a memorial to one of his two sons who was killed in the war”. Illustrated Chronicle

7. James Leadbitter Knott –see Every Name a Story

Henry Basil Knott see Every Name a Story

Thomas Garbutt Knott see Every Name a Story

8 In May 2016, to commemorate the outbreak of the Great War, two seats were purchased and placed in the memorial garden surrounded by seeds of poppies and cornflowers.

Newspaper cuttings, photos or archival material

Photos: Tony Harding; Kevin Milburn

A Visitor's Guide to the Parish Church of St. James and St. Basil (author and date unknown)

The Parish Church of St. James and St. Basil, Fenham. A Guide Book, published 2000.

A History of the Knott Family Joan R. Duckett, 2001.

Welcome to the Church of St. James and St. Basil’s

Illustrated Chronicle 19/12/1924. reports proposal in Note 6 above.

13/09/2017 tells the story of the Knott Family. It also includes the story told in Note 9 above.

External web link

Research acknowledgements

Fenham Local History Society; the late R.W. Gould; Joan R. Duckett; Tony Harding; Kevin Milburn

Research In Progress

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Church of St. James and St. Basil, Knott Bros., 1914-18 (F31.03)

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Parish Notes

Every Name A Story