Whittonstall – St Philip and St James

A reminder that you can keep up to date with the life of a busy parish church at http://www.pontelandstmary.co.uk – lots of good photos of the delights of Christmas. We had over a thousand people through the door on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day – to say nothing of several hundred in the days leading up to it. My photo of Wharlton church in the snow was the Christmas cover picture on the Diocesan website – www.newcastle.anglican.org.

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On Boxing Day I wanted a ride on the Tanfield Railway – Julie came too on the understanding that afterwards we would go on to Hexham and I would take her round Waterstone’s AND NOT COMPLAIN. I have sent some photos to the Tanfield’s blog – http://www.tanfield-railway.blogspot.co.uk. Here is one of them (the signalwoman’s name is Angela).

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The Tanfield Railway is in Durham (so we drove past Tanfield church!). I stopped at Ebchester – which has some good Roman stuff – but was locked. Whittonstall is the next village along the Dere Street. I found parking – the pub was open – church grid reference NZ071572. There must have been a church here for centuries – after the Norman Conquest the Balliol family settled at Bywell; Wittonstall was a chapel-of-ease. In 1569 it was objected that the curate was allowed “to churche three women and maybe certaine persones in latton [Latin] , in such rites and forme as was prescribed by the Pope.” In 1818 the chapel was described by a curate as “a perfect hovel” and by 1830 it was in ruins. The new church is a simple little Victorian building, 1830 by Jonathan Marshall – Chancel added in 1893.

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DSC02685A couple of interesting lumps of stone – C17 in the foyer (and my photo was blurred), and a C13 stone by the Chancel. This is interesting lettering on a memorial tablet.

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Lovely view from the churchyard over the hills looking north, nice headstone, and a pleasant little church. I wonder what the future for it is in such a small community?

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2 Responses to Whittonstall – St Philip and St James

  1. Jo Holmes says:

    I have just happened upon your blog about a visit to Whittonstall Church. Much has changed ni the last month since you visited in 2012. I rather liked your last sentence, for now we have made many changes to the nave to allow us to use our simple church both for worship and for community activities. It is becoming a hive of activity once again.

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    • Thanks you Jo. I had heard of the work done, which is marvellous. I look forward to coming back. If you want an illustrated talk on Northumberland churches, or something railway connected – you know who to ask!

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