It is thought that a wooden chapel was built on this land by Edwin the great king of Northumbria about 627 a.d. This was replaced by a stone church during the reign of Oswald.
In 875 a.d. the Viking raiders completely destroyed Tynemouth Abbey, murdering the nuns and burning to death the monks who took shelter in a little church dedicated to St. Cuthbert.
For almost 200 years there was no monastic life. It was not until Norman times that monks began to return and rebuild. In 1090, under the protection of Robert de Mowbray, Earl of Northumberland, Benedictine monks from St. Alban's settled at Tynemouth and began to make improvements. It was Robert who introduced the shield that is the centre of the borough coat of arms.