Merchants' Court

Venue Type & Location


Site Name: Merchant's Court
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
County: Newcastle upon Tyne (city-county)
Location Type: Town - in town at determined location


The Merchant Venturers' Court was located on the upper storey of the Maison Dieu in the Sandhill area on the N bank of the River Tyne.

Little is known of the 15th c. stone building that stood in the marketplace, an area radically transformed by various phases of architectural renewal during the past 3 centuries.

Performance History

Surviving civic records indicate that the Merchants' Court was the probable site for performances by touring entertainers before the mayor and city officials before 1642.

Current Status


History of the Venue

1400 First mention of a guildhall.

1425 Roger Thornton founded the Hospital of St Katherine the Virgin (also known as Maison Dieu) at the E end of the guildhall.

1456 Thornton's son granted the use of the hospital's hall and kitchen to the mayor and city of Newcastle (Mackenzie, Historical Account 1.153).

by 1480 Merchant Adventurers began meeting at the Maison Dieu (Middlebrook, Newcastle 59).

1629 Conveyed to the mayor and burgesses of Newcastle and their successors in perpetuity by Sir Richard Lumley.

ca. 1636 Refitted with 'a moulded plaster ceiling, oak panelled walls, a sandstone fireplace, and a magnificent carved oak overmantel that was probably of Flemish workmanship' (Middlebrook, Newcastle 80).

1655--60 New town court building, running E-W, erected at the W end of the site by Robert Trollope.

1794--6 N facade refaced by David Stephenson and William Newton in classical style after fire and damage by mob violence.

1809 S facade refronted in classical style by John and William Stokoe.

1823--5 E end, comprising the Maison Dieu and Merchants' Court, rebuilt in Greek Revival style by the architect John Dobson.

Record Source

REED Newcastle 30--156

Bibliographic Sources

  • Allsopp, Bruce and Ursula Clark. Historic Architecture of Northumberland and Newcastle upon Tyne. Stocksfield: Oriel P, 1977.
  • Bourne, Henry. The History of Newcastle upon Tyne or, The Ancient and Present State of that Town. 1736. Newcastle upon Tyne: Frank Graham, 1980.
  • Brand, John. The History and Antiquities of the Town of Newcastle upon Tyne. 2 vols. London: B. White & Son and T. & I. Egerton, 1789.
  • Grey, William. Chorographia, or, A survey of Newcastle upon Tine the estate of this country under the Romans . Newcastle upon Tyne: S.B., 1649.
  • Grundy, John, Grace McCombie, Peter Ryder, Humphrey Welfare and Nikolaus Pevsner. Northumberland. The Buildings of England. London: Penguin Books, 1992.
  • Hepple, Leslie W. A History of Northumberland and Newcastle Upon Tyne. The Darwen County History Series. Chichester: Phillimore & Co. Ltd., 1976.
  • Mackenzie, E. A Descriptive and Historical Account of the Town and County of Newcastle upon Tyne including the Borough of Gateshead. 2 vols. Newcastle upon Tyne: Mackenzie and Dent, 1827.
  • Middlebrook, Sydney. Newcastle upon Tyne: Its Growth and Achievement. East Ardsley: S.R. Publishers Ltd, 1968.