I’ve now found the website for the North Tyne and Redesdale churches – http://sites.google.com/site/ntyneredesdalechurches/home – it is not linked from the Newcastle Diocesan Website.
Susan has a four-wheel drive car and we headed out of Bellingham along the North Tyne (and the line of the Border Counties’ Railway) to the village of Greenhaugh, which has a school but no church. Another mile or so, across Tarset Burn, to St Aidan’s church at Thorneyburn NY786876. Susan told me that in the snow she and her four-wheeler got through the snow to find two visitors had come to church – another local came when she heard the bell ringing, and one woman walked through the snow from village and got there in time to make the coffee. That’s dedication – I felt guilty that one of my churches had closed for three Sundays.
Like Humshaugh, the church was built by the Greenwich Hospital Commissioners in 1818 to provide a living for Naval Chaplains after the Napoleonic War. What on earth did a retired naval chaplain make of being sent to the middle of nowhere – sorry, I’m using that phrase too often. It makes you wonder why they built so far from the village – presumably they owned a plot of land here, or it was cheap. The original name was Draper Croft but, as the Commissioners had a Parliamentary Bill prepared for a parish elsewhere in the country called Thorneyburn and did not proceed to build it, they used the Bill and the name! We assume these hatchments have a Greenwich link – Susan did refer to the “mermaids”, I pointed out the man with a beard was no maid!
Susan says that the school walk to church a couple of times a year – they always arrive late as they stop to look at things en route – and there’s a lovely poster of their “thank you’s”. Also pictures of the annual lambing service.
When the youngsters came in they understood sowing and reaping – and pointed out that sowing is in spring, reaping in autumn, and that the young man is sowing and the old man is reaping. Bet you hadn’t noticed that!