Northernvicar moves South

Sunday 17 April, and at this morning’s services I have just announced that Julie and I are leaving Ponteland. This is what I said:

After eight years in Ponteland Julie and I have decided it is time to move on, and we will be moving, in the next couple of months, to the parishes of St Matthew’s Darley Abbey and St Edmund King and Martyr in Allestree. These are two parishes on the north side of the city of Derby. They are two busy parishes, both with good congregations, both with choirs, both with schools and children’s work. I’ll put some photos of the churches on my blog this afternoon. Derby city centre is just a few minutes down the road, and there will be opportunities to be involved in the life of the City. The Vicarage is large, so plenty of space for her books and I can have a model railway round the garden (a man can dream!). It will be hard to leave Northumberland – a county we have come to love over the last eight years – but it will be good to be much closer to Harry and Sarah in Sheffield and Hannah and Bertie in London. As I said, we are hoping to move before the summer – though as we’ve got to get Safeguarding checks and all the paperwork done, this might slip.

I have visited the churches on a couple of occasions, for the pre-interview visit and for the interview itself. Here are a few quick photos I took. Both churches have websites – St Matthew’s is here, and St Edmund’s here.

Darley Abbey was a C12 Augustinian Abbey, which was pretty comprehensively destroyed in 1538 at the Dissolution – there are some lumps of stone and buildings still standing, but it was not the case (as in Bury) that a church building survived. One of the earliest cotton mills of the Industrial Revolution was established here on the River Derwent, and an C18 industrial village grew. The church of St Matthew was designed by Moses Wood of Nottingham and built, at the expense of the Evans family, in 1819. A 1960s Church Hall is connected to the church, and everything looks to be in good repair.

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St Edmund’s is an older building – although largely rebuilt in 1865, it retains its C13 tower and Norman doorway. These faces are wonderful. They have a Church Hall a couple of minutes walk away, and the Vicarage is next door.

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We don’t know this part of the world very well, though we have had a couple of holidays in the south Peak district. I will enjoying exploring the countryside. Harry has found me the Derwent Valley Mills Trail – website – so I’ll do that when I finish Hadrian’s Wall. This is Darley Abbey Mill.

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The Ecclesbourne Valley Railway – website – is just up the road, and runs alongside the Bishop’s Garden. Here is The Titfield Thunderbolt, George Relph as the Reverend Samuel Weech, Vicar of Titfield, and Godfrey Tearle as The Right Reverend Olly Matthews, Bishop of Welchester.

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Derby is still a railway centre – I had a Cambridge University Railway Club visit to the Bombardier works last month, and got to sit in the driver’s seat of a new Underground train.



My brother asked if “northernvicar” is going to become “midlandvicar”? The answer is “no” – I come from Cambridgeshire, Derby is still “north”. More churches to blog and I hope my readers will enjoy exploring them with me.



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11 Responses to Northernvicar moves South

  1. Robert Forsythe says:

    Read this, sad but congratulations!

  2. Hello Peter
    It’s lovely to hear that you are heading down to Darley Abbey to be our vicar sometime soon. I am the Head teacher at Walter Evans Primary School, just up the road from St Matthew’s Church, please pop in if you are visiting the area before the end of the summer term. Looking forward to meeting you soon.

    • admin says:

      Thank you Helen – I look forward to meeting you all too. I’m just off to do an assembly for Her Majesty’s birthday. I’ll tell them about the time the helicopter landed on the school playing field in Bury St Edmunds, and the Head Teacher’s toilet was repainted in case Her Majesty had to use it. We must find another Royal occasion so I can do the same assembly in Darley Abbey.

  3. Jessica says:

    Wow! What news! How lovely to be closer to family. You will both be sorely missed! I’m surprised and happy all at once for you. xxxx

  4. Ray Ion says:

    Other than…surprised/shocked/saddened/disappointed (and best wishes/good luck etc. etc.) I am lost for words.
    Is it only 8 years (sorry, but it seems a lot longer!) since we first met in the Wylam Institute at a railway do when you were looking for pictures of Ponteland Railway Station.
    Thank you for all of the information, humour (?) and general entertainment that you have posted on this blog over the years – it won’t be the same not reading about Northumberland.
    After you have moved you will be living close to the chairman of the John Meade Falkner Society who I have told you about on a number of occasions….I’ll give him a ring and tell him to call in for a cup (or glass!) of something.
    All the very best to Julie and yourself, from,
    (a still flabbergasted)
    PS You will be coming back up to do the Railway Films, won’t you?

  5. Ray Ion says:

    PS You will be coming back up to do the railway films, won’t you?

  6. Keith Atkinson says:

    This Northumbrian in exile will miss your accounts and photographs of the county’s churches. They have given great pleasure and instruction and inspired some holiday visits. My good wishes for the next stage of your ministry.

  7. Carol Smith says:

    Hi Peter and Julie, Lovely to meet you recently and to have you coming to our two parishes. There is much to do and we have railways here as well!! Can’t wait to get stuck in!!

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