York, Yorkshire – St Martin, Coney Street

Now for church 4, St Martin’s Coney Street was the next one we visited on our crawl of medieval churches in York – https://stmartinsyork.org.uk/ I have walked past this church lots of times, as the City Screen Picturehouse next to it does a very good fish finger sandwich (they show interesting films too). We also looked across the river to All Saints’ North Street – we’ll be there later. York was a port city, and this would have been a useful route to the quayside – logically it would also have led to a  bridge, but there are no remains of that. Apparently the newspaper was the last firm to receive its supplies by water.

On this occasion we went into the church rather than the cinema – and there is a wow as soon as you enter the door. The church was practically destroyed in the Blitz in 1942. The west window had been put into storage, and when the church was rebuilt in the 1950s (the south aisle becoming the Nave), it was installed in the north wall, opposite the door. George Pace was the architect for the rebuilding, and he cleverly rebuilt the C15 church, which was a rebuild of a church of about 1080.

The window was made around 1447 and shows the life of St Martin of Tours. He was born circa 316 in Pannonia (in modern-day Hungary), and was a soldier in the Roman army. He was also a Christian and found the two roles conflicted. The legend is that he chopped his army cloak in half, and gave half to a beggar. Under the influence of Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, he founded a monastery in 360, the first such foundation in Gaul. It was a centre for missionary work in the local countryside, setting a new example where, previously, all Christian activity had been centred in cities and undertaken from the cathedral there. In 372, Martin was elected Bishop of Tours by popular acclaim and he continued his monastic lifestyle as a bishop, remaining in that ministry until his death on 11 November 397. Always makes me ponder that his feast day is Armistice Day. The window was paid for by Robert Semer, the Vicar – the point was made that this is the window the priest sees. (I remember on one occasion I told the choristers to open their eyes and turn and look at the west window as the sun shone through). We also discussed the role of the bishop in medieval York, and how the story of Martin fitted in. The tower and west wall had been rebuilt in 1411, then the window was added. The church was one of those under the control of the Minster. York would have been a fascinating city in the middle ages – Robert Semer was Vicar 1425 to 1443, imagine being able to sit and talk to him!

Some other windows with old glass – I love this St George and the dragon.

There is also an amazing East Window – Harry Stammers again, 1965.

The Last Supper is by Frank Roper, and was installed in 1968. He was a Yorkshireman, taught sculpture at Cardiff College of Art for many years, and retired back to York before dying in 2000. There is a book review about him at https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2004/19-november/books-arts/book-reviews/the-religious-art-of-frank-roper-an-introduction and a Cardiff church, the Church of the Resurrection in Ely, looks worth a visit – https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2019/8-march/books-arts/visual-arts/art-review-frank-roper-centre-in-the-church-of-the-resurrection-ely-in-cardiff

Let us enjoy three of the older monuments. Sir William Sheffield and his wife Elizabeth – he was knighted by James I in York in 1617, and died in 1633. Robert Horsfield was Sheriff 1672/3 and thrice Master of the Merchant Taylors. If I read the notice right, four of his five wives and eight of his children are buried here too. I love the script on the brass plaque.

The font is medieval, with a cover which dates to 1717. Margaret Clitherow was baptised here in 1553 – you can read about her here http://www.historyofyork.org.uk/themes/tudor-stuart/margaret-clitherow

Looking up is rather good too. Most of the bosses are medieval, and there are others in the Yorkshire Museum. All restored and painted in the reconstruction.

We went outside. This area was planned as a memorial garden, but is now locked and barred – makes you think how our town centres have changed since the 1960s. The clock is the part of this church most people know – and I failed to go any closer! 

And let us remember it was not just buildings that were destroyed in the Blitz – many men lost their lives too. Yves was one of the lucky ones – he lived on, dying in the year I was born.

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York, Yorkshire – All Saints Pavement

The third church we visited on our crawl of medieval churches in York, was All Saints Pavement. I have reached the stage of photoing the name boards. Fortunately this church has a good leaflet.

The leaflet suggest this was probably the first medieval street in York to be paved – I want a footnote to state their source (this is what doing an MA does to you!). Ancient tradition says the church was originally built in 683 for St Cuthbert, but the church is probably later as it stands on Coppergate and High Ousegate at the heart of the Viking town. There is a  carved Anglo-Danish carved stone here, and other bits of stonework from an earlier building are in the Yorkshire Museum.

The current church dates to a major rebuild in the C14, although the Chancel of that church would have been longer. The west lantern tower was added c1400 and the clerestory circa 1443. The blue-panelled nave ceiling is from the C13. The leaflet tells me that until 1386 the church possessed a relic, the plate on which John the Baptist’s head was given to Herod. My big question is what happened to it in 1386 – why 1386? It was a prestigious medieval church.

The pulpit was ordered in 1632 to mark the appointment of Henry Ascough, a puritan Civic Preacher, as rector of the church. It was made of oak, by Nicholas Hall, a joiner from Gossgate. “Preach the word in season and out of season” 2 Timothy 4.2 and “Where there is no vision, the people perish” Proverbs 29.18. The sounding board says “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe”. If you want an example of the importance of the Word after the Reformation, here it is.

The chancel was reduced in size in 1782, and the nave pews date to 1848. This remained an important church  – the benefaction boards and lists of mayors shows that. No doubt you can trace a lot of York’s history here. The west window dates from 1370.  It was formerly the east window of St Saviour’s church, and was installed here in 1937.

The east end was re-modelled in 1887 to a design by George Street. The three east windows (I only photoed two) are by Kempe. One of them shows three Holy Mothers, Hannah with Samuel, Mary with Jesus, and Elizabeth with John. The window was installed in memory of Mary Craven, whose family ran a confectionery factory.

There are several war memorials and items of military information in the church. The church is the Regimental church of the Royal Dragoon Guards, and the left hand window was installed in 2002. It features the Regimental badge, the badges of the six antecedent regiments and the Prince of Wales’s Feathers. The right hand window is a Commemoration to the many York men and women who served in Afghanistan, and in memory of Marine David Hart, Lance Bombardier Matthew Hatton and Trooper Ashley David Smith, who paid the ultimate price. It was designed and made by Helen Whittaker, and paid for by donations from many local people. We have the dove of peace (and the Spirit), the winding pavement (the earliest in York), and a glimpse of the Heavenly City, the final resting place of all our journeys. The coloured lines refer to the three Regiments who lost men, and the men are individual stones with their regimental badges. There are more examples of Helen’s work at https://www.helenwhittakerart.com/.

The church has an interesting mix of old and new – obviously a huge part of the city for centuries. Obviously an important part of the life of the city in the C21 – https://allsaintspavement.org.uk/.

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York – Holy Trinity, Goodramgate (again)

Holy Trinity, Goodramgate, the second church we visited on our crawl of medieval churches in York, was one I’d been to, and blogged before – http://www.northernvicar.co.uk/2015/06/15/york-goodramgate-holy-trinity/. It is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust, and has an excellent new guidebook (and 60,000 visitors a year). It is great that this walk is bringing people into the CCT church and other Anglican churches in the City – how else do we share the tourism potential? Have a look at the previous blog for the history.

This time we entered via Hornpot Lane – they made cups, combs and window panes out of cow horn – and walked past the bell. I flicked through the guidebook to see if I could find out about the bell. I failed, but I did find out that George Hudson, the Railway King, married Elizabeth Nicholson here on 17 July 1821. The guide comments that “the railways opened up the city to the world and beckoned a flurry of entrepreneurs, tourists, industrialists and also confectioners who made York the centre of chocolate production.” My MA dissertation is on railways, tourism and pilgrimage at Walsingham and Lindisfarne – but here’s a quote I can use. (Perhaps I can also do a dissertation on chocolate).

Looking up is rather good – note the way the vaulting works. The font is late C15, with the oak cover of 1787.


The pews are C17, and they are lovely box pews – very good at keeping everyone in place. I had not noticed how the benches go round all four sides of the box, so you can sit with your back to the preacher and do your own thing. If I was the preacher in the pulpit, would I shout at the child looking in the other direction? Interesting point made in the guidebook about families being together – the links between religion and the family unit in this new Protestant faith.

The light is lovely, as is the Mayoral board, communion rail and benefaction board. And a gorgeous view out of the window to York Minster.

I love the East window – given by Rev John Walker in 1461. There is a representation of the Trinity – the Son on the left (note the Crown of Thorns), presumably the Father in the middle and the Spirit on the right. The old guide didn’t give details of the other window, and nor does the new one.

In the churchyard is this plaque to Anne Lister – or at least, there is a plaque to Anne Lister. Since our visit it has been changed, and now says “Lesbian and diarist; took sacrament here to seal her union with Ann Walker, Easter 1834”. The Civic Trust website says “Having previously exchanged rings and made marriage vows, Anne Lister and Ann Walker attended the Easter Sunday service [here] on 30 March 1834. Anne records the event in her diary: ‘At Goodramgate church at 10.35; Miss W- and I and Thomas staid [for] the sacrament… The first time I ever joined Miss W- – in my prayers – I had prayed that our union might be happy – she had not thought of doing as much for me.’ Receiving communion side by side was interpreted by the two women as a blessing of their union.” http://yorkcivictrust.co.uk/heritage/civic-trust-plaques/anne-lister-1791-1840/

The omission of the word ‘Lesbian’ caused upset, so a new one was made. (I think it should be ‘the sacrament’, but I won’t take offence). There is another report here : https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-york-north-yorkshire-47404525. If this was still a working Anglican church they would have needed DAC permission – I wonder if they’d have got it for a plaque celebrating this relationship (somehow I doubt it). Not every church is as inclusive as mine!

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York – St Olave

York University has a post-grad course in Parish Church Studies – https://www.york.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-taught/courses/pg-dip-parish-church-studies/. There is a blog too – https://parishchurchstudies.wordpress.com/. A chap called Rob Andrews is a student on the course – he is on twitter at https://twitter.com/roberrttoa – and he had organised a church crawl of medieval churches.

St Olave’s church is in Maygate – SE 599522, right on the side of the Abbey walls. The church website is https://www.stolave.org.uk/, and you can download an app for all the York city churches. Olave (or Olaf) was Norwegian King between 1016 and 1029 – quite a brutal man from all accounts, so he’s often pictured with a Viking axe. This church was founded before 1055 by Siward, Earl of Northumberland – so it was dedicated to Olave not very long after his death. It is probably a minister church, built on a busy road from the city down to the river, a centre for priests to go out and minister. After the Norman Conquest it was granted to Alan of Brittany. Around 1080 he granted land to Benedictine monks to form an Abbey, and work began on the Abbey church in 1089. Exactly how St Olave’s fitted in has been much debated, but it is physically attached – much of the defensive wall round the Abbey was built in 1266.

The relationship between church and monastery does not seem to have been easy – in 1313 the acting Prior Alan de Ness decreed that the church be put into good order, but without any effect. The Archbishop tried in 1395 – again to no effect. Records show that in 1413-22 St Olave’s was by far the richest parish in the city, valued at nearly twice that of the next. There’s never any tension between clergy when one church is better off than another, so I’m sure that didn’t cause any problems … . In 1466 another Archbishop made the order for it to become a parish church, and a financial arrangement was made between the congregation and the abbey.

When the Abbey was dissolved in 1539, the church’s power grew. King’s Manor became the seat of the President of the Council of the North, and this became his parish church. Damage was done in the Civil War when the roof was used as an emplacement for a Royalist cannon, and it wasn’t until 1720/1 that there was a major restoration – by this time this area of York was rather fashionable. In Victorian times there was re-building for more seats and more liturgical worship, and the Chancel was added. The roof was repaired, and the pews date to 1860 – apparently I missed “a leg rest for a man’s wooden leg in the third pew from the front on the north side”. It still looks to have a good worship tradition – looks like my sort of church!

Under the tower is an 1860 font (with 1963 cover), a memorial to Ronald Dove (bell ringer) – even I have heard of Dove’s guide, a memorial to William Thornton (an architect who did a lot of work on Beverley Minster), and a rather nice holy water stoup. (In the old wordpress I could have put these pictures side by side – but they have changed and everything has to be in blocks. Why can’t people leave things alone?)

As we explored the church, there are other memorials, a War Memorial (57 men from the parish served in WW1, and there is an excellent book listing them all), and when you look up there are all sorts of interesting carvings.

Most of the stained glass is Victorian – but there is C15 glass in the East Window. The reredos is described as “a Victorian period piece”, but wasn’t actually made until 1908. They need to sort the damp problem out.

There is an Annunciation window by Harry Stammers on the south side of the church. There is a blog of his work at Bristol at http://www.sashaward.co.uk/blog/2017/2/20/harry-stammers, one in Burnley – https://sites.google.com/site/stmatthewsburnley/home, and a rather nice general blog here – https://www.yarnstormpress.co.uk/glazed_expressions/harry-stammers/. There is a book about his work – http://www.blurb.co.uk/b/6921351-the-stained-glass-windows-of-harry-stammers – which you can download as a pdf. There is a better photo of this window at https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/3950307.

So this was the first church of the day. I’ve sent a wet Sunday afternoon writing it up, and there’s another four churches to go. Enjoy the outside of this one, and the snowdrops.

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Chester, Cheshire – St Peter

Having been to Grosvenor Museum we walked back through the town and stopped at St Peter’s Church – https://www.chesterstpeter.org.uk/. It is right in the centre, SJ 405663, at the crossing of Eastgate, Northgate, Watergate and Bridge Street, on the foundation of the Roman headquarters. It was founded by Ethelfleda, the daughter of Alfred the Great, in 907 AD. Much of the building is C15. It comes across as a lively Evangelical church, and they have a good café – highly recommended. Interesting monuments by the snacks.



I like this gentleman, Gulielmo Wall, but my Latin is not good enough to translate it. Hopefully one of my contacts can.

By the door is a niche in a pillar – before the Reformation this would probably have contained a statue of the Virgin and Child. It is surrounded by pre-Reformation fresco, covered over during the Civil War. You can make out scenes of the nativity and crucifixion. They also have a Breeches Bible, 1579 – Genesis 3.7 “and they sowed figge-tree leaves together, and made themselves breeches” (one of my favourite translations!).

The lights on the font work rather well in a rather gloomy church entrance.

Most of the stained glass is Victorian, though there is some nice modern glass too.

The lighting board made me smile, as did the blackboard.

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Chester’s collection of Roman gravestones

Chester is not a city I know particularly well. We had a couple of nights here on a narrow boat when we were young and in love – I remember going to early Communion in the Cathedral, and taking the boat down the staircase locks at the end of a long day. I’ve changed trains here on a few occasions since, but haven’t visited the Cathedral for years. On Saturday 26 January we drove across and met our friends Jeremy, Sue and Ella. The girls went shopping – Jeremy and I did the museum and a church.

I wanted to go to Grosvenor Museum – http://grosvenormuseum.westcheshiremuseums.co.uk/ – as they had a exhibition entitled ‘Dead Normal’, exploring the ways different cultures and communities have tried to make sense of the end of life. There was another entitled ‘Memento Mori’ which had a collection of images showing how Cheshire had commemorated its dead. Both interesting little exhibitions – and the Art galley was a lovely place to sit and contemplate.

I enjoyed the Roman galleries most. In one is an extensive collection of gravestones (or should I write ‘memorial stones’?) which were discovered during repair work to the city walls which started in 1883. The City Surveyor, Mr I. Matthews Jones, was overseeing work on a length of the Wall near to the tower known  as Morgan’s Mount. He noticed that fragments of Roman stonework were packed into the fill of the lower courses of the walls, and rescued them – we should be very grateful to him.

Caecilius Avitus, an Optio (a junior officer, next in rank to a centurion). He is dressed in a heavy cloak, wears his sword, carries his staff of office and writing tablets. We rarely see these stones in the colours they must have been.

This stone shows Sextus, son of Sextus and shows him on horseback – he may have been a member of a small cavalry squadron attached to the legion, based here in Chester. The boy walking next to him, carrying a shield, might be a captive slave – I wonder what sort of life he lived. There is a portrait of Sextus at the top, and on either side are the heads of two lions – lions are commonly shown on Roman stones because they symbolise the suddenness by which life can be turned into death.

This is the lower part of the tombstone of a man who died in a shipwreck. The inscription reads “… optiois:ad:spem ordinis;>:Lvcili ingenvi:qvi navfragio:perit; S : E” which means “… optio ad spem ordinis in the century of Lucilius Ingenuus, who died by shipwreck. He is buried …”. An optio ad spem ordinis was an optio who was designated for promotion to the rank of centurion. The last section of the inscription would usually read “H.S.E” which stands for ‘hic situs est’, ‘he is buried here.’ On this stone the H has been missed off indicating that the body was never recovered from the sea to be given a proper funeral. I appreciated the lesson in Roman abbreviations, and wondered who mourned the Optio enough to erect a stone to him – and grieve that they had not got his body.

This stone shows a Roman cavalryman on horseback trampling a naked barbarian. The cavalryman is wearing a long shirt of chain mail, and the barbarian is clutching a six-sided shield.

This is a Sarmatian cavalryman – they were a nomadic people who lived north of the River Danube in the area that is now southern Ukraine and northern Romania. The horseman is show wearing a tall conical helmet, his cloak streams behind him and his sword scabbard can be seen at his side. He is carrying a dragon’s head standard of which only the tail survives on this damaged stone. The dragon’s head was designed to make a horrible noise as the wind rushed through it when the soldier raced into battle. We heard one of these at an English Heritage display at Corbridge years ago – quite fascinating. I did a bit of researching – “Corbridge trumpet” found me brass bands in Northumberland, but “Corbridge Roman trumpet” got me a carnyx – have a google and you can listen to one being played.

Two stones show banquet scenes in the afterlife. On the left a man and his son are together. The deceased man was called Flavius Callimorphus and his son was called Serapion. They are reclining on a couch next to a three-legged table and a large wine amphora. The stone was discovered in 1874 not too far from the museum. It was found with two skeletons – I wondered if they reburied them, or if they’re in a box somewhere. On the right, and giving a view of the gallery, this lady is called Curatia Dionysia.

This stone shows a centurion called Marcus Aurelius Nepos and his wife. She is shown much smaller than him and her name has not been inscribed. The Centurion has a vine staff in his right hand, which is the symbol of his rank. He is bearded and wears a heavy cloak, she wears a mantle and is lifting the hem of her overdress to show the skirt beneath. A space was left for epitaph to be carved, but it was never done. The caption panel had a drawing of the two, and there was a video playing nearby of her talking about her husband, how she loved and missed him. It was quite moving – reminded us that these are not just stones, they are memorials to ordinary people, people who loved and lost.

A few other Roman things worth photoing. I wonder how many pigs of lead were transported from the Peak District south through my parish to the rest of the Roman Empire.

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northernvicarwalks – Beside the Tyne to Dunston Staithes

After a morning in Newcastle we crossed the Tyne and had a late lunch at the Sage. Then Julie sat with a book, and I went for a walk. I did about 5 miles west along the river to Dunston Staithes and back. As I blog it I need to go back and add up what I really did in 2018 – and the total was 500 miles exactly. I last recorded it at the end of August when the total was 408. In September I managed 32 miles, October was 24, November 17 and December 19. That makes 500 – so I am a Proclaimer. I managed 2 miles on 4 January, and now 5 miles on 18 January. So that is 9 miles in the first month of the year … . Could do better.

I walked down from the Sage under the Tyne Bridge, by the Swing Bridge, and under the High Level Bridge. The old oil terminal has been derelict for years, but we have some modern art – this is called Rise and Fall, and is by Lulu Quinn (2007). I wonder if it is still “animated with white light”.

Under the King Edward Bridge and the Redheugh Bridge. The art on the old bridge parapet is called Once upon a Tyne, Richard Deacon 1990.

I continued along, past the nice flats, many of which were built after the 1990 National Garden Festival was held here in Gateshead, to Dunston Staithes. These were built in 1893 for the North Eastern Railway. Here trucks of coal from the Durham coalfield were loaded onto colliers on the Tyne. 5.5 millions tons of coal at its peak. They closed in 1977 – much more information at https://www.ourgateshead.org/news/dunston-staithes and http://www.dunstonstaiths.org.uk/. They are open in the summer months, so I must come back for another explore.

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Newcastle upon Tyne – St Andrew

Friday 18 January. We drove into Newcastle and I went for a walk while Julie and our friend Katie spent a happy few hours in Waterstone’s. I went to J&M Sewing Services to buy new clerical shirts – they have a website at https://www.jandmsewing.com/. I have been a happy customer since they came to Lincoln Theological College in 1992. They are such an Anglican institution I think they should really have their own blog page.
I walked back via St Andrew’s church. It is silly that in the seven years I lived here, northernvicar went into the depths of Northumberland, but failed to visit all the churches in the centre of Town.

St Andrew’s is on Newgate Street, not far from Eldon Square, and has a websit – http://www.standrewsnewcastle.org.uk. It has a busy ministry working with Chaplaincy across the City, and traditional Book of Common Prayer services in church. The nice thing was I found it open, lit and warm. Thank you! Excellent guidebook too. Good to see the heritage of Inspired North East too.

Traditionally St Andrew’s is the oldest church in Newcastle, probably having Saxon origin. The earliest building work in this church is the Normal Arch between nave and chancel, which dates from the middle of the C12. It is said that the church was founded by David I, King of Scotland – he and then his grandson occupied this part of the world between 1139 and 1157. The rebuilding started in 1140, and ended with the addition of the tower by 1207. By 1265 the good folk of Newcastle were building a town wall to protect themselves  from the Scots – I should have a proper look at the remains of the Wall sometime. In 1644 the church was in the line of Scottish gunners, and the fabric was damaged. (In Ponteland we used to host the Northumbrian Police Carol Service. On one occasion they paid a piper to stand by the church door and play as we arrived. I told the Chief Constable it was her job to keep the Scots out, not invite them in). John Wesley worshipped here in 1745 and wrote in his journal that “I never saw before so well-behaved a congregation in any church in Newcastle as was that of St Andrew’s this morning.”

Here is the Nave and the Norman arch, and a lovely collection of Offertory bags. Beauty in masonry and embroidery.

They had a lovely selection of Cribs on show – here are three of them. They had obviously been working with local shops and businesses.

There are some interesting memorials in the Chancel. The Reverend Henry Griffith died in 1837. The tablet is by David Dunbar and shows a seated classical figure above the text and a portrait of Griffith below. William Chapman (1750-1832) was born in Whitby, and was captain of a merchant vessel by the age of 18. He trained as a civil engineer and found work as consulting engineer to the Grand Canal of Ireland. In 1795 he was involved in a survey of a proposed canal from Newcastle to the Irish Sea (a project which never came to fruition – eventually the Newcastle-Carlisle railway did the job. Apparently he was involved in a design of the first skew bridge, invented the coal drop (patented circa 1800), and the bogie. Luke Clennell (1781-1840) was one of the most gifted pupils of Thomas Berwick. Sadly he had a mental breakdown, and his last years were spent most as an inmate of the lunatic asylum on Bath Lane. He was buried in an unmarked grave, but friends later subscribed to this marble tablet.

The organ is a Binns of 1895, rebuilt by Harrison in 1971. There’s a couple of Paupers’ benches, East Window, and a Nave altar.

Some Victorian stained glass, and one with no colour in.

Outside is the grave of Charles Avison, a Georgian musician – https://newcastlecollection.newcastle.gov.uk/charles-avison. I don’t know his music, I can listen to a Radio 3 podcast – more to discover!

Back at Waterstone’s the girls were still discovering.

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Elsdon, Northumberland – St Cuthbert (for the third time)

From Hartburn we drove on through Cambo, and the gorgeous road to Elsdon – stopping before the village to get a few photos. I do love Northumberland.

St Cuthbert’s church is a favourite. I’ve blogged it twice, but visited a couple of times more. On one occasion I came here for a meeting to discuss what adaptations they could make to the building to make it more of a tourist centre in the village – although nothing like on the scale of Derbyshire, Elsdon is one of those hub villages. I wanted to see what they had done in the three years since we met.

I was very impressed with the War Memorial displays on the north wall. They have done an excellent job researching those who gave their lives. I had two complaints – the sun was in the wrong place (and they can’t do anything about that). My other is that there is a headstone of Rufinus, a Roman soldier. He was commanding officer of the fort at High Rochester, and it was erected by his wife Lucilla, the daughter of a senator. I would love the display to make a link between the soldier of the Roman Empire, and the soldiers of the British Empire.

Lots of pews in this church, and a lovely view through the East Window. Some nice memorials, and the plans to remove some of the pews are on display. A refreshment area in the north transept, a display area in the south, and the area around the font was going to be levelled. They have done a good job of the south transept floor, and they are displaying a model of Harbottle Castle, but no sensible noticeboards or proper displays. Nothing done on the north or west ends – rather depressing.

Inspired North East was set up while I was in Northumberland – £¼ million of lottery funding, a “Spirit in Stone” website listing exciting churches in Durham and Northumberland, a guide book, display boards in various churches, links to the visit of the Lindisfarne Gospels returning to Durham in 2013, and projects for churches to work on their heritage. Less than a decade later, Durham diocese seems to have withdrawn, Newcastle seems to have one part-timer, neither the Spirit or the Inspired websites have been updated recently, and you won’t find “Churches to visit” on a visible page of the Diocese of Newcastle website. Search for “tourism” and you will find just one reference – leading to Inspired, and their out of date website. So depressing.

I cheer myself up with the knowledge that this church, the West Window, and the life of the village will last longer than a diocese and its slogans.

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Hartburn, Northumberland – St Andrew (for the third visit)

Monday 14 January was a beautiful day. We’re on holiday in Northumberland, so we went for a drive. We went through Morpeth, and stopped at Hartburn. St Andrew’s church is rather lovely, and this is the third time I have visited. I left Julie in the car park with a book, and strolled across. The Norman tower is very impressive, even if the strong Winter sun made it difficult to get the right exposure. Nice arch over the door, and it is a pleasure to open the door and enter.

It was also nice to meet another photographer – Ian Lees, who is a photo-archivist. We discussed lots of places we had visited, and places we would like to. His work is on the website of Scotland’s Churches Trust – which is full of lovely places I want to visit. Please can I retire? Have a look at the stained glass blog posts – https://scotlandschurchestrust.org.uk/the-blog/. There is a page of his stained glass photos on the website of Crichton Collegiate Church –http://www.crichtonchurch.com/gallery/ – another one to visit. He takes a lot longer about his photos than I do – and I stand in awe. Here is the gorgeous Evetts window in Hartburn.

I like the Victorian window which has Hilda and Cuthbert (she’s holding Whitby abbey, he is holding the head of St Oswald – the way one does).

I need to play with the exposure setting for the East Window. The first time I came the church was locked for building work, the second time they had a Nave altar and I wrote about “what do you do with a Chancel?” They have now gone back to a proper East End altar – the Chancel is back in use. Napoleonic flags, a wonderful light, and two beautiful memorials. The lady is Mary Ann Bradford, the gentleman James Henry Hollis Atkinson.

It was good to visit this church again, to chat to Ian, and my wife understood why I had been gone so long.

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