The Parish of Horton embraces the areas of East Hartford, Bebside and Cowpen, lying to the west of Blyth, a former mining and shipbuilding community. The history of the original church there goes back as far as 1147, when Saint Mary the Virgin was a chapel-of-ease in the large and very old parish of Woodhorn. In 1650, the Church Commissioners recommended that Horton should be made a parish church. Other churches were later erected as both Blyth and Newsham increased in size and population; and the church at Horton became the mother church of Saint Mary’s, Blyth, and Saint Bede’s, Newsham.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, a mission church under the patronage of Saint Catherine was constructed to cater for the worshipping needs of the expanding community of Cowpen. In 1961, this was subsequently demolished and replaced by the church of Saint Benedict, which now lies at the heart of the Local Authority Housing Estate. This building originally served as both a centre of worship and parish hall until our new Parish centre was erected in 1987.
We now have two churches, Horton Saint Mary the Virgin and Saint Benedict, Cowpen, served by the Vicar and one Parochial Church Council. They are both rooted firmly within the Anglo-Catholic tradition of the Church of England, and this is apparent in respect of our worship and the ethos that underpins it. Pilgrimages are made every year to Walsingham, including the Youth Pilgrimage in August. We have also been to Rome and Assisi in recent years. A number of our people are members of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament and Society of Mary.
Among the recent projects undertaken as part of our strategy for mission and outreach has been the creation of a community garden on land adjacent to Saint Benedict’s and belonging to the churches. Grants amounting to over £100 000 were obtained from various agencies. The garden was officially opened by the Bishop of Newcastle and Mayor of Blyth in July 2006. The Parochial Church Council is currently considering other ways of reaching out to the local community, which include a review of our baptism policy, a new look at youth work, and the appointment of a publicity officer.
The Parish Centre is made available to organisations including Brownie Guides and the Embassy Tea Dance. It is also available for hire to other individuals and groups at a small cost. Further details can be found on the Home Page. Times of Mass and Worship for both churches can be found by clicking on “Services”.
St Mary's Horton is open to visitors on:
Wednesday: 10am - 11am
Friday: 2:30pm - 4:15pm
Sunday: 7:30am - 8:30am and 9:15am - 10:00am