Howick – St Michael

Howick Hall and its grounds are beautiful – the tearoom is rather splendid as well. It (the Hall not the tearoom) has been home to the Grey family since the fourteenth century. The tea was specially blended by a Chinese mandarin for Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, to suit the water at Howick, using – according to the guidebook – bergamot in particular to offset the taste of the lime in it. Bergamot is a type of orange. Lady Grey got Twinings to market it, but the family never registered the trade mark, so haven’t earned a penny. Apparently Charles fathered 15 children, all with the same wife – must be something in their tea!

The Hall was built in 1782 from designs by William Newton of Newcastle. I visited for the Snowdrops, and walked miles round the grounds enjoying them. Aconites gorgeous too, and the Daffs will be lovely … and the Rhododendrons, and the Rockery …

St Michael’s is just across Howick Beck, NU247175. A chapel of 1746 was remodelled in 1849 by F.J. Francis.

This memorial is that of Charles of Tea Fame – apparently it was covered with an ornate canopy, but a later Earl hated the canopy and took a hammer to it. I hope he had a Faculty.













I liked this plaque on the wall by the altar, and then realised a Coronation Chair was stuck underneath. By the door they had a pebble prayer stand – put a pebble in the water, and immerse someone you love in prayer. An idea I’d never seen before. The Hall Guidebook also tells all visitors “We celebrate a parish communion every 2nd and 4th Sunday in the month at 11 am to which all visitors are most welcome.” What a nice welcome – the church is part of the benefice with Longhoughton, Alnmouth and Lesbury.

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