Ovingham – St Mary – again (outside to start with)

I came here on 28 December last year and found the church locked. Now I came with Ponteland’s Coffee Club – every year they go out for lunch (today at The Swan, Heddon-on-the-Wall – www.greatbritishcarvery.co.uk/our-pubs/swan-at-heddon – and I was allowed to have the Diamond Over50s Menu even though I haven’t hit the big 50 – excellent bread and butter pud). Then Prof Richard Bailey gives us a guided tour of a local church – this time, St Mary the Virgin, Ovingham (NZ085636).

We started looking up at the Tower, and it is a gorgeous tower. Late Saxon early Norman with a simple double arched window at the top and a door – relics for the exposing of (perhaps) – a little lower down.

Last time I didn’t find this grave. It is that of Isaac Jackson. He was a clock maker who made a three-legged escapement that was used in a clock for Robert Stephenson, and the design went on to be used in Big Ben.  http://britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-239472-memorial-to-isaac-jackson-c30-yards-sout. George Stephenson was baptised here – it was the parish church for Wylam.

This memorial is to John Wormald. “Erected by the workmen of Prudhoe Colliery in memory of John Wormald aged 59 years who accidentally lost his life on the first day of June 1874, on the engine plane while following his vocation as Overman in Prudhoe Mine. A constant friend to those under his charge – a man of an affectionate kind and amiable disposition, and endeared to all who knew him.” More information on the website of Durham Mining Museum – www.dmm2.org.uk/individ0/i04656.htm.

Thomas Bewick (the engraver) is buried just by the tower, though his memorial is in the porch. I haven’t been to Cherryburn yet – www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-cherryburn.htm – must rectify that failure. I have read Jenny Uglow’s excellent book “Nature’s Engraver”, and the website of the Bewick Society looks good – www.bewicksociety.org.

Also inside the porch is a good collection of cross slabs, and a good notice welcoming us in (and this blog is getting all out of line, so I’ll give up now and start inside tomorrow!).

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