St Paul in Jarrow must be regarded not only as an extraordinary site that has been kept in use from its foundation in the 7th century CE to the present. Its history is entangled to the exceptional resources of this area, which have boosted a variety of human activities since time immemorial. The monastery cannot be disentangled from the landscape in which it was founded and managed over the centuries. In this sense, the history of St Paul can be seen in strict continuity with the industrial past of Jarrow, and with the capability of the local community to value its cultural heritage in tackling the challenges of the dramatic shift from manufacturing to the tertiary sector that occurred during the last decades.
The site as it appears nowadays is the result of centuries of transformations. The standing buildings consists of a large two-aisled church, built in 1866, a tall and narrow chancel that incorporates significant portions from the 7th century CE such as the three small windows opened in its south wall, a structure that was constructed in the early Middle Ages to conjoin the church and the chancel and was later transformed in a tower, and conspicuous ruins of the medieval monastery.
The paving that nowadays can be seen in the green area between the church and the ruins of the monastery marks the outlines of the early medieval monastic structures that were excavated between 1963 and 1992 under the direction of Professor Rosemary Cramp.