Edlingham – St John the Baptist

I won’t ask what happened to March – perhaps I’ve been working too hard. As April dawned, dad came up to stay, and on Thursday 7 April we had a drive up to Cragside and then on to Edlingham. Last time I came here, Harry’s pushchair collapsed on the track down to the church – Harry is now 19 and one of the authors of the redplog blog (if we can’t be extremely left wing when we’re a student, when can we be …???).

The entrance to the village is off the lovely road from Cragside to Alnwick, and the daffodils were lovely. The church of St John the Baptist is at NU114091, lots of parking (for church and castle) outside. The sign simply says “Welcome, the church is open” – how marvellous!

The name Edlingham is Anglo-Saxon for the homestead of the Eadwulf family, and is first mentioned in 737 as being one of several villages given to the monks of Lindisfarne by King Ceowulf of Northumbria when he resigned his throne to become a monk. A[nother?] Anglo-Saxon church here was consecrated in 840 by Bishop Egred. A stone building was begun in about 1050, when the Gospatric family held the village. In 1130 the church was granted to the monastery of St Albans through the daughter house of St Oswin at Tynemouth, and an 1170 charter confirming this is held in Durham Cathedral. A charter of 1174 transferred it to the Dean and Chapter of Durham. The registers themselves date back to 1658.

It is a wonderfully solid porch – you can imagine the whole church being barred against the Scots. As you enter the church, a 14th century grave cover, inscribed with sword and shears, forms the threshold.

I assume the church was limewashed quite recently – it does rather stand out. I wasn’t very keen on the pulpit, but rather liked the Victorian East Window – dad vica versa. Pevsner doesn’t like the Victorian window either – 1864, to the wonderfully named Lewis-de-Crespigny Buckle who died at sea on the SS Nemesis (not a good name for a ship I would have thought!). His father was Vicar here for 52 years – that’s quite a stint.

Dad and Pevsner could be right – the plain window is rather lovely.

There’s a nice collection of memorial stones from all centuries.

The arches are lovely, and the door in the west wall is intriguing.

Their Lent Course this year is based on “Tales from the Madhouse”, a BBC series of a few years ago. The DVD is available – http://www.bibleresources.org.uk/9780564036769/ – and it sounds a good idea. We’ve used the Bishop of Sheffield’s Lent Course this year, and have all been a bit disappointed (bang goes my preferment to the Sheffield Diocese!). Since I’m stuck in Northumberland, let’s have another photo of this lovely church. Why should anyone want to go elsewhere?

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