Byrness – St Francis of Assisi

The weeks have passed, and nothing has been blogged – sorry. On Monday 10 October we had two friends staying. Over lunch at the Blacksmiths Tearoom in Belsay Julie and Anne said there was a nice patchwork shop in Jedbergh, and Rob (mad fool/loving husband … take your pick) offered to drive North. Shame the shop is shut on a Monday.

On the way back we stopped at Byrness church NT023771 – St Francis of Assisi – a tiny little church, sadly locked. (You used to get the key from the petrol station next door. That is now closed, along with the nice cafe that used to be there – I remember superb apple crumble on one long journey north along the A68).

The colours are marvellous. The church is dated 1796 and was paid for by the Reverend Dutens, the Vicar of Elsdon. The most noteworthy feature is a 1903 stained glass window which commemorates those who died in the building of the Catcleugh Reservoir. Rob’s camera was capable of photographing it through the opposite window. Pevsner says it is surely the only window to illustrate a narrow-gauge steam railway. Pevsner is wrong – the Reverend Teddy Boston’s engine “Pixie” is in a window at Cadeby in Leicestershire. See

I visited Catcleugh Reservoir in July last year. There is one of the Workman’s Huts which is open occasionally as a museum, and we had a good walk round the dam too. There is more about the reservoir at on the National Park website and they also say it’s the only railway in a stained glass window. Amazing how one wrong fact gets reported again and again.

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