Beadnell, Northumberland – St Ebba

Tuesday 1 September was a glorious day and I had a meeting at Bamburgh. We had a lovely journey cross-country from Hexham via Rothbury, and I deposited my wife in Barter Books before I went on to the Coast. I was running a bit earlier so called in at Beadnell. I had never been into the village, and found a nice looking pub and a café, with the church opposite.

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The parish church of St Ebba – grid reference NU229292. Ebba was the sister of King Oswald. I’ve driven down the A68 many times on the border of Northumberland and Durham, and not realised that in 660 she founded a monastery here on the banks of the River Derwent. She also “managed” (according to Wikipedia) the abbey at Coldingham, just in Scotland, north of Berwick – “manage” sounds a very C21 term. The original church was founded in the C7 on Ebb’s Nook, a rocky point near the harbour. You can imagine King Oswald coming down from Bamburgh, perhaps in the company of his sister, for the celebrations. It was rebuilt on this site in the C13 and I’m told the ruins are still there. I need to go and explore. It was ruined by 1734 – past generations have looked after their churches well …

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A chapel was built in the village, near the present church, but this was in poor order by the early C18. In 1746 the current church was built, enlarged in 1792 and largely rebuilt in 1860 (the parish of Beadnell had been created out of Bamburgh in 1854). The spire and stone screen around the font both date to this time.

august d 015There is a little guide card, and the church features on the new church trail “Bamburgh to Warkworth” produced by Spirit in Stone – website. I am a little surprised that these new trails (and they have also done one for Kirkharle and the churches north of Ponteland) are not mentioned on their website, and there is no point having a “What’s On” searchable diary if there are no entries to search. There are lots of things happening in churches for Heritage Open Days this coming weekend – website – so, at the very least, direct people to that website and the diary on the Diocesan website – (which is better than nothing).

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There is some Wailes stained glass (above), and at a quick glance I would have assumed this – Mary? – was an Evetts’ window, but it isn’t listed in the book about his work.

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This window (no note of the artist) is a WW2 memorial window – rather lovely. It commemorates Oswald and Ebba and several other saints. In the porch was another WW2 commemoration.

august d 037august d 017august d 018WW1 is commemorated too. This is a kneeler the design of which I have not seen before. The reredos is also a memorial. I like the list of names. The bottom paragraph reads “Non parishioners who were included in the church prayer list”. In so many parishes there seems to have been arguments over who should and who should not be on the memorial – I love the idea of the good folk of Beadnell holding their own men in prayer, and all those who were loved and worried-over by the good folk of the village.

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One or two nice memorial tablets, and a collection of things nautical – I liked the pulpit fall. Some very nice woodwork in the Chancel Screen.

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august d 034august d 033A lovely little church, well cared for, open and welcoming in the middle of the village.

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3 Responses to Beadnell, Northumberland – St Ebba

  1. Christopher Hull says:

    Ebb’s Nook is easy to find out on the promontory, and worth a visit, if only to appreciate what a remote and windswept spot it was to build a chapel, specially before the days of glazed windows and central heating! As for the chapel, there is nothing left but a section of early masonry. An excavation a few years ago revealed nothing to confirm the masonry as 7th century, but did unearth a lot of human bones, mostly of infants. Perhaps a sad reminder of less tolerant times, when some deceased infants could not find a resting place in consecrated ground…

  2. John Scurr says:

    The window you refer to as Mary? Appears to be Tabitha (or Dorcas), I think it says this in script across the top of the window.
    It is reminiscent of a J. E. Nuttgens window at Flamborough.
    But I don’t think it is by the same hand.
    Thank you for your interesting blog.

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