Morpeth Chantry is a superb 13th Century Grade I listed building situated adjacent to the site of the ancient bridge across the River Wansbeck at Morpeth, parallel to the 19th century road bridge built by Thomas Telford.
It originally served both as a chapel dedicated to All Saints and as a toll house for the river crossing. The duties of the appointed chaplain also included those of schoolmaster.
History of the Chantry
In 1296, when Edward I returned from Scotland bearing the Stone of Scone he must have passed the newly built Chantry and its stone bridge over the River Wansbeck before spending the night in the first Morpeth Castle.
The Chantry was founded for its priest to say Mass, pray for all Christian souls, and keep a grammar school. The priest also collected tolls for the crossing of the Chantry bridge. Edward VI granted the school a charter in 1552, and it remained in the building till 1846.
The Chantry was then used for a wide variety of purposes, from a cholera hospital to a mineral water factory. The building was restored in the 1980s, and stands as a reminder of Morpeth’s medieval past.
Morpeth Chantry currently houses:
- Morpeth Tourist Information Centre
- the Northern Poetry Library
- Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum
- and a Craft Centre