Last week I posted about mine and Sophie’s trip to Bolam Lake, and for regular followers you’ll know that in the afternoon the clouds came over and we decided to visit St.Andrews Church, which is only around the corner and a minute or so away from the lake. In spite of that, and in spite of having been there before, I managed to not find it and got lost for 1/2 an hour. I’m blaming the sat-nav for confusing me! Anyway eventually we got there and took a few pictures.
The church is ancient, a grade I listed building, and has been there for 1000 years.
The tower was built at that time, by the Saxons, with a belfry at the top. The main belfry window opening has a classic Saxon rounded shaft in the middle, said to be made by applying wood turning techniques.
The porch’s round arched doorway has 13th century dogtooth carving around it and reaching all the way down to the ground . The pattern at its best is usually shaped like four flower petals. The outermost nutmeg carving is more a 12th century style. Above it in the church wall is a reused gravestone.
The chancel is typically long and narrow, with an east window of three lancets, which were glazed in about 1880 by F.R. Wilson. The original Saxon chancel was lengthened in the 13th century by the Normans and parts of the former sanctuary arch can be seen, reused. The beautiful altar frontal was donated in 1909 by Augusta in memory of her brother Charles Perkins who died at 2am on25th August 1905.
The chapel, currently referred to as the Shortflatt Chapel or sometimes Dent chapel, is now so named because it was built by Robert de Reymes, who had inherited half the barony of Bolam. He was a knight and lived at Shortflatt, as did his descendants for the following three hundred years. Shortflatt eventually passed to the Dent and now the Hedley-Dent family.
Robert rebuilt Shortflatt Tower in stone with a licence to crenellate in 1305, after it had been burnt down. The town of Bolam was granted a market and a fair the same year, but Bolam castle was described as dilapidated. He died in 1324 and there is an effigy of him (without legs) in the chapel. It is thought the effigy was shortened to fit in the niche, which originally almost certainly would have contained a statue of The Virgin Mary.
On April 30th 1942, a German bomber was on a bombing run over England when he was chased by 2 RAF fighters, in trying to get away he offloaded his bombs and flew low. He didn’t make it, but one of his bombs flew into the chancel. On 5th May the vicar’s wife, wrote to her son Flying Officer John Hutton stationed in the Middle East:
‘…Jerry paid us a visit at 4am May 1st. He was being hotly pursued by two of our fighters who were on his tail. He was very low down, and discharged the whole of his load in order to get away, but he failed and lies at Longhorsley. 4 bombs 2 1/2 tons in all. One fell, just missing the walnut tree, which still stands, 30yds from houses wall. An unexploded one lay in the chancel, it had passed through the lower part of the wall in the H>D> Chapel, smashing all the furnishings in that part of the church, none of any value, injuring some windows…the remaining two bombs only made large craters in Windmill field…’.
The churchyard has no less than 16 listed monuments, including the gate, but mostly ancient graves.
The oldest legible inscription on a headstone is dated 1697 and reads:
Hic jacet corpus Marci Ansley de Gallow-hill. Obiit II de Aprilis anno etatis……: salutis humanae 1697.
I think most photographers like a good graveyard to explore, and St.Andrews is one of the most interesting. And old!
Well that’s enough for a post I think. For more of the medieval stonework, mushrooms and ancient graves, the full album can be seen HERE
For more interesting info on the church, the website is HERE
Stay tooned 🙂