A Short Timeline of St Johns History
1835. Feb 11th – Foundation stone laid by Frances Anne, Marchioness of Londonderry.
1840. June 7th – Consecrated & dedicated to St John the Evangelist
1845 – Rev. Angus Bethune became St. Johns first vicar
1860 – Rev. George Wilkinson became Vicar
1861 – Extention built
1863 – Rev. George Wilkinson moved to Bishop Auckland (later became Bishop of Truro & Bishop of St Andrews, Primus of Scotland)
1863 – Rev. Daniel Mitford Cust became Vicar of St. Johns
1865 – Frances Anne, Marchioness of Londonderry died at Seaham hall. A stained-glass window was erected in St. Johns in her memory.
1874 – Rev. Cust resigned and was succeeded by his Senior Curate, Rev. James Colling, who would continue at St Johns for the next 49 years
1907 – Harrison & Harrison organ donated by the 6th Marquis of Londonderry, in memory of his parents.
1910 – Font donated in memory of popular young Curate Rev. Bertie William Thompson, who died in 1908
1915 – Rev. Jas. Colling became Hon. Canon of Durham Cathedral.
1923 – Rev. Canon James Colling retired and was succeeded by Rev. Charles Reginald Appleton
1929 Nov – A chime of eight bells installed at St. Johns to commemorate the centenary of the town of Seaham Harbour.
1932 Nov – A quickly built asbestos construction was provided for the people of Deneside as a combined church, hall and Sunday School, it was opened on All Saints Day and dedicated by the Bishop of Durham. It became known as ‘The Mission’.
1940 – Rev. Appleton was moved to Chester-le-Street and Rev. Oswald Noel Gwilliam was installed as Vicar of Seaham.
1943 May 16th – A huge landmine destroyed 113 houses and a methodist church only 200 yards from St. Johns. It killed 37 men, women and children and more than 1000 properties were damaged. Every window in St. Johns was blown out, except the Frances Anne Memorial Window.
1948 April – Rev. Gwilliam accepted the position as Rector of Houghton-le-Spring and Rev. Norman Maddison was inducted.
1953 – All stained-glass windows replaced following the explosion in 1943.
1961 – Rev. Maddison moved to Wolsingham and Rev. Vernon Roy Brain became Vicar of St Johns.
1965 Jan 30th – Foundation stone laid for new church at All Saints
1980 June – Rev. Brain retired
1981 March – Rev. Neil Heavisides inducted as Vicar of St. Johns.
1985 – Previously a church warden at St. Johns, Rev. Les Hood was ordained and became Curate in the parish.
1989 July – Rev. Heavisides moved on and was succeeded by Rev. Canon Paul Jobson
1997 Nov – Canon Jobson licenced at St Saviours, Pimlico, leaving St Johns in what was to become its longest interregnum.
1999 – Clock Tower Fund began, the total raised would be near £250,000
2005 – Work could finally begin on Clock Tower restoration
2007 – After a 10 year interregnum, Father Peter Twistleton was licenced as ‘Priest in Charge’ of St Johns, All Saints and St.Hild & St Helens, Dawdon.
2008 Jan 1st – St Hild & St Helens, Dawdon closed and the new parish of Seaham Harbour & Dawdon was born.
2015 Nov 15 – Father Peter Twistleton retired, once again St Johns was in interregnum but this time with retired priest Father Chris Collings caring for the spiritual needs of the parish.
2016 Nov – Father Paul Kennedy became Vicar of St Johns