Prior to the foundation in 1868 of St. George's church in Bell's Close, across the river Tyne, the parish of Stella stretched northwards across the River Tyne and westwards to it's nearest neighbour Hexham. There was no Newburn Bridge and the faithful crossed the river for Sunday Mass by means of the local sculler (boatman). When the weather was unfavourable they gathered on the far bank of the River Tyne and followed the course of the 11 o'clock Mass by means of the church bell. This summoned the congregation to worship and when it ceased tolling they knew the mass had begun. At the Elevation of the Host, the bell was tolled thrice and at the conclusion of the Mass, the Angeles prayer was said and the bell was rung. After saying this prayer, the Newburn congregation turned from the riverbank and made their way home.