Last time I tried to get into St James it was locked, so I wasn’t very hopeful as I drove back from Slaley. I came down past Shepherd’s Dene, the Diocesan Retreat House. They do some lovely things here – see their website – and they are very welcoming. The food is excellent (which is a mark of any good retreat centre). We often use the Wellington Hotel when we want a decent meal – recently taking about 25 people for supper after Evensong at Hexham Abbey.
This time the church was open – marvellous! Now all we need is a guidebook … . Pevsner gives it two lines “St James. 1858 in a free C13 style by Matthew Thompson, with rather more grandiose E parts of 1879.”
I came in at the east end, and was faced with this stained glass window. Holman Hunt’s “Light of the World”, but not quite … You might like to look at the original. There’s also a Luke window, and a Cuthbert, Bede and Oswald.
A very Victorian East End, and quite an organ – wonder what it sounds like. The font is actually in the porch – bet that’s difficult to use. I liked the mirror in the porch, so you can check what you look like before you enter into the presence of God!
Pevsner tells me I need to take the path down the east end of the church, along the line of the old Dere Street to cross the roman bridge. I will then reach the railway station, which is one of the original Newcastle and Carlisle Railway stations. I will be back!