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An Ancient Church

Much research was done into the history of an old chapel amongst the Coatham sandbanks by Thomas McA11 Fallow, M.A., F.S.A. He had retired to Coatham in 1872 and was an active member of the parish church and served on several public bodies. The chapel probably stood near to Marsh House Farm, in the shadow of the Redcar Steel Complex. Mrs. Faith, who had lived at the farm as a child in the first half of the nineteenth century, knew of the chapel and remembered seeing the remains of the walls near the farm. Stones were removed from the walls to repair outbuildings of the farmhouse. A Mr. Suggett remembered finding several skulls and other remains while digging in the vicinity of the chapel site, at the same period as Mrs. Faith. A prominent sandhill, immediately north-east of the farm was known as “Church Hill” from its proximity to the chapel. The earliest written reference to the chapel occurred in the will of Robert Taylor of East Coatham, dated 5th October, 1470; twelve pence (5p) was bequeathed towards the repair of the chapel of Saint Sulpitius. Another man of East Coatham made his will on 10th December, 1473. In it he bequeathed his soul “to God the Father Almighty, to Blessed Mary, and to all the Saints,”

Saint Sulpitius

Mr William Hutton of Birmingham, who at the age of 85 years started upon a journey to the remote part of Yorkshire accompanied by his daughter and servant, His visit took place in the year 1808, 44 years before Mrs Theresa Newcomen laid the foundation stone of Christ Church,Coatham. Mr Hutton says "After a journey of 184 miles we arrived at Coatham and Redcar, which although two villages or rather hamlets; they are in the infancy of their existence. "Coatham" he writes" is half a street that is built only on one side and consists of about 70 houses and is 400 yards long, We then pass over an open space in the same line 400 yards more, which brings us to Redcar which is one street built 500 yards long and containing about 160 houses" Writing in "A History of an ancient church at Coatham" Mr T.M. Fallowes, M.A., F.S.A., says "There is no mention made of Coatham in the Domesday Book, but the existence of a church and priest at Kirkleatham is recorded, and from the silence as to Coatham it may be assumed that the chapel there was of later origin, and that it was not in being when the great survey was made. The port of Cleveland was at Coatham, and it was then,and for some centuries later of very considerable importance relatively to the other ports, on the coast. We are, therefore,confronted with the existence of a considerable population at the far end of and beyond Warrenby, and the consequent necessity for a church or chapel there. This chapel was called, St Sulpitius. An excerpt from a book named A Century & A Quarter of Christian Teaching at Christ Church Coatham