Whalton – St Mary Magdalene

The snow which started on Wednesday 23 November is still lying deep on Tuesday 7 December. We were supposed to be in the Lakes today seeing friends Joyce, Ye Min and Clare who are over here from Singapore, but that was not possible. Instead I got dragged round Newcastle shops. Having done that we needed lunch.

We drove up the main road to Belsay, then across to Whalton. I like the “Beresford Arms” and have eaten there on several occasions. The snow meant that the three of us were their only lunchtime customers – and apparently all their evening functions are being cancelled. It worries me that this snow will be the death knell of even more village pubs. My ham, egg and chips was delicious.

After lunch we drove down an icy slope to the car park outside the school and the church of St Mary Magdalene (NZ131844). It looked beautiful.

Lovely yew trees and table top tombs as I walked up to the door but, not surprisingly, I found the church locked. I didn’t even walk round the outside – the snow was too deep.



According to Pevsner the Tower is eleventh century, although the tower arch is more Saxon than  Norman. There was a north aisle by early twelfth century, and a comprehensive re-modelling took place early in the thirteenth. There’s an Ogle chapel worth a look too.


According to the village website www.whaltonvillage.co.uk/Church/ch_index.htm there is a photomontage in church – in Millennium Year (and I can spell “Millennium” which is more than the Whalton webmaster can) every family was given a disposable camera, and these pictures were later used to produce the Whalton Christ – www.flickr.com/photos/63008913@N00/322956250/.

Pevsner points out that the clock on the east side of the tower only has one hand – I hadn’t noticed – and the village website says it was installed by the Bates family of Milbourne Hall. I’d better go back in the summer when it’s warmer and I can get in. There is also an interesting lump of stone beside the road, and it turns out it’s the base of the Vicar’s private swing-bridge over the road. I want one!


We drove south along untreated roads to Ogle, and then turned right to go back to the main A696. Gareth was driving and it was a bit slidey – mum was not impressed. The scenery was gorgeous.

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