Hepple – Christ Church

We had been away for a fortnight down South – Hampton Court is splendid. We met Anne Boleyn – she stood and waited while I pushed Julie through a door in her wheelchair. I apologised for keeping her waiting. “The king has kept me waiting for six years”, she replied, “a couple of minutes waiting for you makes no difference.” She was a beautiful young lady – I can understand why the king broke from Rome.

On Saturday 2 February we went for a drive, and parked in Rothbury. As I got out of the car I slid down the icy parking space, so I got back in – my beloved doesn’t do ice. We drove along Upper Coquetdale – it is beautiful. Then we stopped at Christ Church in Hepple – NT985006.

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DSC02897In the Middle Ages there was a church and village on the western edge of the current village, but by the early Eighteenth century it was in ruins. This church was built on a new site and consecrated on 5 July 1894. It was built to a design by Charles Hodgson Fowler. Born in 1840, he trained under George Gilbert Scott, and was Durham’s clerk of works by the age of 24. There is a flickr page if you want to find more photos – http://www.flickr.com/groups/charleshodgsonfowler/

DSC02881The church guide describes it as “simple, but dignified, tasteful, and devout small church”; Pevsner comments that “the nicely kept interior gains much from its richly painted colour scheme”. And some fun kneelers.

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The high altar and reredos are quite stunning – including a copy of Perugio’s Passion. I just did a google, misspelt Perugio, got “Perugia Passion” and found “Perugia Chocolate Festival – passion for italy.com”. Another attempt got me to incredible photos at http://stevemccurry.com/blog/colors-italy

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DSC02883The font is “very primitive Norman” (Pevsner) and comes from the old church. This is a bearded figure. I wonder if the bearded figure who write northernvicar will ever be carved for posterity?

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