I wrote “!It is ridiculous that I have never blogged my two churches.” Later I realised I have blogged Mllbourne, in 2011. I have lots of photos, but it is never easy to find them. I went out on 10 April to take another set – if I find better ones I will edit the blog. You will find our superb church website here – I only have to look at it to tell you the grid reference is NZ117751. Indeed I could simply tell you to look at this page and stop blogging. The church is on the minor road south of the hamlet. I’m afraid it is usually locked, but we try and open it on Sunday afternoons in the summer – if you visit, please sign the Visitors’ Book (the more signatures, the easier it is to get people to believe it is important to have it open). The church is very important to us, and not just because Gareth and Theo are buried here.
Holy Saviour is a Chapel of Ease for St Mary’s. The first church open in the village was a Methodist Chapel which opened in 1841. It is still open, having an evening service every Sunday. The foundation stone of Mibourne Hall was laid in 1807, and it was the Bates family of the Hall who funded the church. If one is charitable we say that they wanted to save themselves and their servants the trip into Ponteland every Sunday, if we are less charitable we say that they didn’t want their servants having all this time off – much quicker if they just went across the fields and back.
They started building the church in 1867. Miss Jane Anne Bates lad the foundation stone on 15 May – the Newcastle Daily Journal says she did so “in a very elegant and workmanlike manner”. Sadly she did not live to see the church consecrated on 27 February 1871, but her gift to the Parish is commemorated in a memorial tablet in St Mary’s: “Her good works will be held in undying remembrance by her friends and relations the last of which was to build a chapel upon the estate and to provide liberally for the endowment.”
Christ is seated over the door. The church key is rather wonderful – you put it in, turn it, then put it in the other way up, and turn it again. I have never seen one like it.
The Easter Garden in the porch – I like the use of barbed wire as the crown of thorns.
It is a lovely little church, and we get a congregation of about 30 most Sundays – often ranging in age from a year to nearer 90. It is worth mentioning that in the 1930s the Reverend F.W. Langton would come out on his pony and trap, presumably after his service at St Mary’s. He’d lunch at the Hall, then do Evening Prayer. I assume he would then return to Ponteland for another Evening Prayer. The average attendance in those years was only 12.
The West Window is a Millennium Window. It was designed and made by Cate Wilkinson. It symbolizes the rural landscape of the church and the Northumbrian landscape beyond.
The windows on the north side are War memorials. In the First World War the Bates family lost two sons, both of whom are remembered in this church. Edmund Mortimer was a Lieutenant in the 6th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers, died at St Julien on 26 April 1915 at the Second Battle of Ypres. Less than two months later, on 13 June, his brother William Brian Mortimer, a Lieutenant in the 4th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry was also killed near Ypres. You can read my sermon preached at a memorial service in 2015 here. In the Second World War their eldest brother’s son, John Bates Mortimer, was killed in Burma.
The East Window shows the Ascension, with the Last Supper underneath. I like the oil lamp and the metal detailing on the quire stalls.
A happy, welcoming church – very special.