Last time I went to Tweedmouth I said they needed a decent noticeboard. Box ticked. This time I got inside. They have a task on their hands. The north transept has a large, redundant, organ (only installed in 1988), and the area round is a dumping ground for all sorts of things. A gallery at the back is another dumping ground. In the vestry a photo of “Vicar Henderson” takes pride of place – he was here from 1938 to 1981.
The guidebook was hand-written and illustrated by The Reverend R.M. Robertston Stone in May 1998 and has been photocopied several times since then. It says the church is dedicated to St Bartholomew and St Boisil – Boisil being re-established in 1995. Boisil was the prior of the abbey that Aidan had founded at Melrose, and it was to him Cuthbert went when God called him out of the fields into the monastery. As a young man, Cuthbert accompanied Boisil on his journeys – perhaps they both came to Tweedmouth, then a little fishing hamlet. Boisil died of the plague in 661, and Cuthbert became abbot. The first written record of the church is dated 1145 “the church of Boisilius at Twedemuthe”. Bartholomew was a later dedication – thought better to have an apostle? There was also a leper hospital in Spittal, dedicated on Bartholomew’s Feast Day. The booklet has a succession of line-drawings showing how the church building has changed over the years – we felt it would be useful as discussions start as to how the building needs adapting for the next century. How to move the place on, revitalise the church and ministry, is an uphill struggle. They have my prayers.