The Northernvicar is Peter. I’m Vicar of the Parish of Ponteland in the Diocese of Newcastle, in the beautiful County of Northumberland. I have two lovely churches – St Mary the Virgin (NZ165730) and Holy Saviour, Milbourne (NZ117751). St Mary’s is open every day, Holy Saviour at weekends and bank holidays during the summer. We also have an excellent parish website (he says modestly) – http://www.pontelandstmary.co.uk. I am slowly (sometimes very slowly) visiting Northumberland churches and taking some photos. I have – by popular demand – extended the blog to other churches I have visited as I have travelled round this lovely country of ours. My wife Julie is northernreader – she was a speedier blogger than I am, but at the moment both of us manage to do many things that delay blogging. She has a pile of books (actually several piles of books) and watches too many detective programmes on telly. I have just finished the Certificate in Railway Studies from the University of York – I could blog about Guidebooks of the Eastern Counties Railway if anyone is interested.


11 Responses to About

  1. Tony Stevens says:

    I would just like to complement you on you blog. I have always had an interest in churches, castles and the like, and recently I have started to photograph them, especially the churches, both inside and out. I prefer the smaller and more remote churches as I feel that they have a more intimate feel to them rather than the grander cathedrals. It is also easier to set up a tripod without having to worry about bothering other people.
    I came across your blog by accident whilst researching a feature of The Church of St John the Baptist in Edlingham, and now regularly refer to it for information and inspiration.
    As I do not believe in taking without giving, I will always drop at least £10.00 in the church’s collection box for the privilege.
    I would however like to ask you if there are any protocols I should adhere to in photographing the interior of churches. At the moment I tend to visit only when the church is empty and only enter the areas the congregation would have access to.


    • Thank you Tony. I am now feeling even more guilty that I have been so slow in visiting and blogging anywhere else. Thanks too for donations when you visit – I know how much these buildings cost to maintain. (And if they have Gift Aid envelopes handy, please fill them in so we can take the money the government gives us!). I know of no written protocols for photography. Assuming there isn’t a “No photography” or “Photography only with a permit” notice, you can go anywhere open to the public and photo. If I entered a church and someone was there – perhaps doing the flowers – I would chat first and say “May I set up the tripod for some photos?” Obviously, be careful with a tripod not to damage anything, and don’t do things like stand on pews. I am sure God wouldn’t mind if you were – as I sometimes do – to cross into the Sanctuary to take a particular photo. Again, if someone was there, i would ask first; if someone came in while I was doing it, I would be friendly and hope they weren’t upset. Unless you get a really stroppy person most are very happy you are interested in their church – and if they’re not happy, assume they’re having a bad day. (Even Vicars can have bad days!). Best wishes, Peter.


      • Tony Stevens says:

        Thank you for the advice, I’m happy to know that I am already following your advice re Gift Aid and respecting the sanctity of the churches.
        No need to feel guilty though, there is more than enough here to keep me busy for a long time.
        Tony S


  2. Simon White says:

    What a great blog. Love to see Felton on your next blog. Church always open and new artisan bakery in village is just fab. Keep up the good work. Simon


  3. Hi Peter,

    Wonderful blog. I wonder if I might use some of your beautiful photos of St Andrew Bolam in a personal YouTube I’m putting together. It involves Robert Reymes, the man in the effigy and possible family connections with my family in England.

    Thanks and please keep posting those beautiful photos.

    Kind Regards,

    Steve St. Clair


  4. Hi Peter,
    Congrats on the blog – I often dip into it for historical info on my travels both online and whilst on the road. Was wondering if I could use your picture of the Allgood headstone at https://northernvicar.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/ingram-st-michael-and-all-angels/ for my own blog post? I will credit you, of course, and provide a link back to your blog. I won’t be publishing my post for several months as I have a backlog of articles! You can check me out at http://www.northeasthistorytour.blogspot.co.uk/
    Mick Southwick.


  5. Jess says:

    Finally got round to reading your blog and I love it, especially the local stuff. What rich and dramatic history and …..right on our doorsteps. Your voice and personality really bring the buildings and their stories to life. This has definitly sparked further interest for me and I eagerly look forward to you next installment.
    Thank you for the history lesson.

    Jessica x


  6. C B Newham says:

    I’m not sure how long you’ve been in the benefice, but it might have been you that let me into Milbourne church in July 2009 so I could record it. Glad to hear it’s open on weekends. As for Ponteland – I’ve been twice. Lovely church.


    • Yes, it would have been me. Milbourne unlocking is a bit hit and miss – the problem when few people live close – but we try. The age-old problem: if it is unreliably unlocked, people don’t visit. If people don’t visit some in the congregation ask “why do we bother leaving it open?” Head, brick wall, bang! I really ought to blog about St Mary’s and Holy Saviour – a job for the summer.


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