Whittingham – St Bartholomew

DSC03075Yes, I know it’s May, but I never finished writing up our morning out in March. As we drove from Bolton Chapel, we passed the old station – a gorgeous building; photos and details at http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/w/whittingham/index.shtml. You can have a guided tour at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bc9Y7VO2ej4. I am having an evening of railway films on Saturday (actually, 3 pm and 7.30 pm) commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Beeching Report. This station closed to passengers in 1930, 33 years earlier than Beeching!

DSC03076DSC03049St Batholomew’s church is on the top road in Whittingham village, at NU066120. The name means “The home of Hwita’s people” and it is possible that the assembly which met in 684 and named Cuthbert as bishop of Lindisfarne was held here. There is a Saxon arch into the tower, which I failed to photo, so this bit dates to the 10th century. Here’s the inside of the tower – fat bellringers need not apply.

DSC03048The Saxon Chancel was replaced by a Norman one in the 12th century, and the arch was “gothicised” in the 19th century rebuilding. The Normans also built a North Aisle. During the 13th and 14th centuries the landed families of the area, at Callaly, Eslington, Shawdon and Lorbottle, funded extensions, including the south aisle with its row of 13th century arches (on the left of the photo). The Victorians rebuilt the Norman north side in 1840 and knocked the top half off the Saxon tower. The Northumberland County Council produced leaflet “Walks in Whittingham” says that the 1,000 year old tower was “blown up … by John Green, the Newcastle architect, aided and abetted by the rector of the day, the Reverend Goodenough”. When John Grundy, local TV historian, tells the story, he says that they had the explosives in place when the village revolted and told the vicar it was not good enough to blow up their tower. Methinks accuracy is being lost in the search for a good story …

DSC03071The church has six hatchments – four in the nave, and two in the chancel. There is a very good little guide to them all, which explains all the heraldry. My photos of the nave ones were not very good – this one is for Henry Liddell, 4th Baronet, Baron Ravensworth, who died in 1784. It would have hung in his house for a while, then taken to church. The two in the Chancel are (left) Thomas Liddell, 6th Baronet, Baron Ravensworth, who died in 1855. “Fame lives forever”. On the right is Adam Atkinson who died in 1844. This motto means “Rest in heaven”.

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DSC03058I loved the East Window. The guidebook doesn’t mention it. Pevsner dates it as 1880, describes it as “vigorous”, and says it is unsigned. Jesus and the four gospel writers along the bottom, each with their symbol. I’ll add each photo separately – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. And the Pelican in her piety. Rather nice.

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