Our history

St Thomas’ has existed in the city of Newcastle since at least the 1170s. For many years the church building was located down by the river in what is now the Quayside.

In 1826, the Revd Richard Clayton was appointed Master of St Thomas’ and by 1827 a new church building was being constructed for St Thomas’ in the Haymarket. The building was designed by the great Architect John Dobson, and was finished in 1830.

Revd Richard Clayton and another minister based at St Thomas’, the Revd Robert Wansey, had a profound impact on the life of the church. When they arrived the congregation was described as “small and unstable”. Their ministry and preaching drew many people to the church and by 1851 the average congregation on a Sunday was 2400, with 900 children and young people in attendance. It is said that the work of Jesus through the gospel ministry of St Thomas’ had a profound effect on the surrounding area. 

In more recent times the church has had a focus on social justice and has been heavily involved in campaigns such as the ‘Make Poverty History’ campaign and the Jubilee 2000 campaign. It has been a place that seeks to be: welcoming all people, working for justice in the world, listening and learning, caring for each other, questioning and reflecting theologically to disturb and change, encouraging dialogues between different approaches and connecting with the city.

In 2019, St Thomas’ is entering an exciting new phase in its life as new congregations are planted and the church becomes a centre of mission, ministry and church planting for Newcastle and the surrounding area.

St Thomas’ is an Anglican church in the Diocese of Newcastle.

Meet the team


Ben & Ellie Doolan

Church Leaders

Ben and Ellie are the leaders of St Thomas’. They were previously at The Belfrey in York before moving to the North East. Ben is on the National Leadership Team for New Wine and oversees their 18-30s ministry. Both Ben and Ellie have a passion for seeing young adults come to know Jesus. Ben is a huge Hull City FC supporter, Ellie is a gifted worship leader and they both love great food!

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Lee Kirkby

Resourcing Minister

Lee is our Resourcing Minister, working with Ben, Ellie and the team to grow a church that plants churches across the city of Newcastle and in the Diocese of Newcastle. He is also Head of Youth for New Wine England, helping to resource youth ministry nationally through their summer gatherings and locally through regional training events. Lee is married to Rachel and they have two daughters, Amara and Phoebe.


Margaret Proud

Operations Manager

Margaret leads the Operations Team at St Thomas’. She has previously been the Operations Manager at a large church in London and has volunteered for the Diocese of Newcastle on the Pathways Mission Team. She loves travelling, walking and cooking!


Alice Wilkinson


Alice is our Administrator. She works as an administrator for New Wine Youth and has previously worked with students and youth at The Belfrey in York. She was brought up in the British Virgin Islands, has a degree in Psychology and has recently completed a theology course.


Richard Barber


Richard is currently an ordinand at Cranmer Hall in Durham and is on placement with us here at St Thomas’. He was previously a primary school teacher in Yorkshire and is a gifted Bible teacher, worship leader and musician.


Will Johnson

Worship Leader

Will oversees worship at St Thomas’. He is married to Mim and they love writing and recording music together (head over to willandmimjohnson.com to have a listen). Both Will and Mim are secondary school teachers.


Luke Porter

Media Manager

As Media Manager Luke oversees all things media, creative and communications at St Thomas’. Luke was born in Sheffield and grew up in York. He loves design, photography, good coffee and travelling in his campervan!

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Brogan Hume

Student Worker

Brogan is our Student Worker. He’s from Sheffield and spent two years on team at St Thomas Crookes. He has been the Student Worker at The Belfrey for the past two years. His wife Beth is currently completing a PhD and working at the Laing Art Gallery in the city centre.


Joel Barwick

Youth Worker

Joel is our Youth Worker. He recently got married to Alicia and they’ve just moved to Heaton. Joel spent a year at Life Church in Bradford and has been on the Youth Outreach team at The Belfrey for the past year.


Naomi Watson

Children’s Worker

Naomi is our Children’s Worker. She’s from Harrogate and recently did the New Wine Discipleship Year. She has been on the Children’s team at The Belfrey for the past couple of years and works as an administrator for New Wine Youth.


Phil & Frances Harding

Team Pastors

Phil & Frances are our Team Pastors. They live in Gosforth and were previously at St Thomas’ Church in The Groves in York. They have a heart for family and building community, and are both amazing intercessors, prayer warriors and prophets.


John Pearson



Mary Swindells




St Thomas’ exists for everyone in Newcastle, which we think is an incredible city!

We are a community that is being formed by Jesus and we are praying for God’s Kingdom to come in Newcastle as it is in heaven. We believe that the good news about Jesus Christ is the best news for the world and so we do not exist for ourselves, but so that everyone might encounter the new life that Jesus has won for us. St Thomas’ is strategically located right in the heart of Newcastle and is surrounded by the two universities, retail, leisure and is right next door to some of the main transport hubs in the city. We long to see the many people who live, work, study and play in the city encounter the love of God.

Everyone is welcome to come and join us on a Sunday, whether you have been following Jesus for decades or have never been to a church before. We would love to meet you!

In the coming years St Thomas’ will be planting churches across the city of Newcastle and beyond, and we would love for you to be part of the adventure that God is calling us on.

Our partners

Diocese of Newcastle

We love belonging to the Church of England and we are part of the Diocese of Newcastle. The Diocese of Newcastle is all the Church of England churches in the region north of the river Tyne that are working to be a Christian presence in every community. You can find out more by checking out their website.

The Belfrey

The launch of St Thomas’ as a ‘Resource Church’ has been made possible by the generosity of a church in York, The Belfrey. The Belfrey exists to serve God’s Transformation of the North and a team from this church in York has moved to the North East to see Jesus transform many lives in the fantastic city of Newcastle.

New Wine

New Wine is a family of churches that seeks to equip those in the local church to see the nation changed. We gather throughout the year as a family of churches to celebrate together, learn from one another and pray for God’s Kingdom to come. We also gather in the summer at New Wine’s summer gathering: United.