Haydon Bridge Church is hidden away in a copse of trees, up the side of a hill overlooking the little town of Haydon Bridge (pop. 2000) Yet again it is one of the places where those long suffering monks carting St.Cuthberts corpse around for a hundred years ended up to have a rest. (For more on ST.Cuthbert see HERE) . There is a great deal of doubt as to when this little church was originally built; if the bones of St. Cuthbert did rest there, it must have been in existence before the saint found his last resting place in Durham Cathedral in 995.
If that’s the case, it was rebuilt in the Norman style round about AD 1190, with re-used Roman stones, possibly from nearby Hadrians wall. It was given to the monks of Hexam Abbey by the Lord of Langley, the landowner at that time. The church was partly demolished, leaving only the chancel with the stones taken from it to build the new parish church in the village. It was then converted into a mortuary chapel before being restored in 1882.
We parked a little way down the other side of the hill where there’s a space my little car fits into, and there are lovely views all around.
Up the hill and there’s a gate to go through first
and then you walk through an amazing tunnel of Yew trees.
and then come into the grounds of the little church.
The door was open so we went in to have a look.
There are some lovely stained glass windows,
The church organ is a Packard from Fort Wayne Indiana of all places, and looking at their website were quite a famous company- these organs are collectors items now. I’m not sure how old this one is but the company made organs from 1872 – 1914, this one looks pretty old.
In the North wall is a blocked off doorway which probaby lead to a sacristy and there are carved figures on some of the block-stones.
There was a wonderful old grave slab set in the chancel floor, I think that’s the oldest I’ve come across on my travels
Outside the graveyard is quite unkempt, but full of old gravestones.
Both Sophie and I missed getting a photo of the font, made from a roman alter, though no inscriptions on it. Never mind as it wasn’t that aesthetic.
After that we still had some afternoon left, so decided to go to the place where the North and South rivers of the Tyne meet, which was on our way home and somewhere I’d always wanted to see, not sure why but hey-ho I have these odd needs. 😀 😀
so stay tooned for that!