They’ve managed to have a Great Crested Newt or 2 in one of the ponds. This threatened creature has suffered a massive decline and is now legally protected. It can be easily identified as it is our largest newt and the males have vivid breeding colours. Not that you can see those on my rather blurry photo, but I’m including it anyway as they are rare as rocking horse poo due to young boys back in the day hoying them out of the water and taking them home in a plastic bag, where of course they died.
So that’s the end of our flowerfest, but stay tooned for whatever comes next.
I’m not sure why it’s secret, it’s on a map and everything. Anyway it’s a great place for photography. Started in 1978 when Christine and her Hubby moved into Birkheads, and decided to become self sufficient. They grew organic vegetables, fruit, kept ducks & bees and saw how the wildlife were attracted to their land. In 1987 they started to to make an environmentally friendly garden on a site that had been surface mined (opencast) for coal. Most of the gardens have been created using recycled materials, paving, slates, wood etc. Garden features and sculptures are made from mainly recycled metal and driftwood, others have had a past life in some other place. They were one of the first Green Tourism Businesses to achieve a Gold Award.
Sophie and I love visiting here, there’s always something new to see and obviously different times of the year have different flowers and plants for us to focus our cameras on. So here we have it, The Flowerfest! 💐🌷🌸
We spotted some dragonflies gettin’ jiggy with it.
the gardens are potted with featured items amongst the flowers
I think that will do for this week, we’ll have a look at some more flowers and features next time, and there will be a film on friday post to accompany this series. Stay tooned!
After our inspection of St. John the Baptist church, we walked down the path to see the ruins of Edlingham Castle.
The History Bit ☕️ 🍪
This one has been a bit of a nightmare, as researching Sir William Felton has lead to some confusing possible discrepancies, but I’ll do my best to sift through to the salient points.
Although a manor house of the 13th century is probably concealed beneath the later building, the earliest standing remains are those of the hall house, built in 1300 by Sir William Felton at a time when Northumberland was relatively peaceful.
William’s family had estates in Norfolk and Shropshire and was an important family, but William made his fortune independently through military service, royal favour and marriage to a Northumberland heiress, Constance de Pontrop. In about 1340–50 his son, also named William, of course, improved domestic comfort by building a magnificent solar tower, the best preserved part of the castle. The Pesky Scots were still at war with the Irksome English in this era, so Will 2 also strengthened the defences with a gate tower and stone curtain wall. Towards the end of the 14th century William’s grandson, Sir John, completed the enclosure walls and enlarged the gatehouse.
Later owners of the estate included the Hastings and Swinburne families. Sir Edmund Hastings married Elizabeth, the daughter of Sir John Felton, and in In 1514, George Swinburne, constable of Prudhoe, purchased Edlingham Castle from the Hastings family. Upon ownership by the wealthy Swinburne family, the purpose of the castle slowly changed from defense to comfort. Interestingly, ground floor rooms of the hall were converted to lodging for farm animals. Swinburne kin owned the castle until the 18th century at which time both solar tower and vaulting of the lower room began deteriorating. Further ruin and theft of stonework continued into the 20th century. In 1978, English Heritage began excavations of the castle, and a few years later in 1985, secured portions of masonry for safety purposes, as well as prevention of further structure collapse.
Some pictures then..
Two views of the castle from the road towards it.
This railway viaduct is located under half a mile north-east of Edlingham in Northumberland, and close to Edlingham Castle. It was built in c.1885 for the North Eastern Railway Company, as part of the former Alnwick to Coldstream (Cornhill) railway, which opened in 1887. Passenger services on the line were discontinued in 1930, although it was briefly in use during the Second World War, to serve RAF Milfield. The line continued to be used for freight, until finally closing in 1965. The track across the viaduct has been removed and the viaduct is now a Grade II site listed on the National Heritage List for England.
Inside the castle
One of the octogonal corners of the hall house.
Finally here’s a nice little drone take on the castle that I found on youtube, you can really see the shap of things from above.
That’s all this week, but stay tooned for a flowerfest next time when we visit Birkheads Secret Gardens.
Sophie has returned from Spain for a couple of weeks, so we have been on some outings at the weekends and our first visit was to Edlingham in Northumberland, where there are castle ruins, and yet another (guess what) medieval church worth exploring.
The History Bit 🍪 ☕️
The Church is set in a beautiful landscape in the tiny village of Edlingham, formerly Eadwulfingham, in Northumberland. There is evidence of a church on this site, a wooden structure which was granted by King Ceolwulf of Northumbria to the Lindisfarne Island monastery, when he abdicated his crown to become a monk there in 737AD. It was replaced by another wooden one and consecrated by Bishop Egred in 840AD.
The first stone church dates to about 1050AD and there are fragments of the late Saxon building which can be seen in the west wall of the nave. The rest of the church is mostly 12th century though the tower was added around 1300 and was more than probably built as a defence against the Pesky Scots, who were raiding along the borders between Northumberland and Scotland. There are slit windows in the tower for the use of archers. In the 17th century it was likely that the church was used to imprison Moss Troopers, these were disbanded Pesky Scottish soldiers turned brigands, and quite happy to attack Parliamentary troops and civilians alike, as well as raiding livestock along the borders.
Inside the church is the tomb of Sir William De Felton, and an arched tomb recess in the wall bearing the arms of Sir Will who died in 1358. We’ll delve into his history when we get to the castle next time, as it was himself who had the castle built. The niche would have held the effigy of Sir Will in full armour, but that was presumably removed after the Restoration. In the recess now are several pieces of stone, including part of the shaft of a stone cross believed to be 8th Century, which is probably the cross that originally stood in a socket outside the porch.
There is an unusual late 11th century south porch, with a barrel vault. The chancel arch is typically Norman in design dating back to the early 1100s. This is also the date of the chancel itself, which may have replaced an earlier and smaller structure attached to the church that was built in the 1050s.
The north aisle arcade is 12th century and the nave pillars feature scalloped capitals and nail head decoration.
At the east end of the aisle is an early cross slab, apparently dating from before the Norman Conquest. Another stone, dating back to the 1300s, and carved with a sword and a pair of shears, has been set into the floor immediately inside the door from the porch. That doesn’t seem like a great idea as people walking on it will wear it away, but I’m not in charge so that’s that.
Most of the current windows were installed during a restoration in 1902. The window at the east end of the chancel is a little older and is especially glorious. This was installed in 1864 in memory of Lewis-de-Crespigny Buckle, (which has to be our best found name ever!) who died when the S.S. Nemis was lost at sea. It carries the inscription “The sea gave up the dead which were in it”.
One of his relatives also has a wall memorial.
Edlingham is a lovely little hamlet mainly consisting of farm buildings and a couple of cottages and the church and castle are set in a beautiful landscape, but back in the eighth century it was one of four royal villages given to St.Cuthbert by King Ceolwulf, and had a population of 600. Nowadays there are more cows than people living there.
Sophie and I love these old churches I’ve been posting of late, and this is likely the last for a while as Sophie is back in Spain now, and we’ve done most of them over the past 12 years! We love the feel of them, being in one and reading the memorials, seeing the remnants of anglo saxon stonework, or Norman arches, it’s like walking through history.
William was born in 1675, when Charles II, the ‘Merry Monarch’ was King of England, and died in 1737 when King George II was on the throne, 5 monarchs later. When William was 10 years old, James II of England and VII of Scotland became King, he was really unpopular because of his persecution of the Protestant clergy and he was generally hated by the people. TheMonmouth Uprisingthe Bloody Assizes of Judge Jeffreys after when more than 200 rebels were hanged, drawn and quartered, and 800 transported to the West Indies to work on the sugar plantations all happened during his reign.
Parliament asked the Dutch prince, William of Orangeto take the throne and he did so in 1688 when our Will was 13. King Will landed 450 ships in Torbay in Devon, and with an army 20,000 strong, including many deserters from James’ army, he marched into London and effected the Glorious Revolution. William was married to James II’s protestant daughter Mary, and they ruled together until she died in 1694. James plotted to regain the throne and in 1689 landed in Ireland where William defeated James at the Battle of the Boyne and James fled again to France, as guest of Louis XIV.
Then came Anne, whose tenure started in 1702 when our Will was 27. She was the second daughter of James II and during her reign the United Kingdom of Great Britain was created by theUnion of England and Scotland. Probably Scottish people haven’t forgiven her.
After Anne’s death in 1714 when our Will was 39 yrs old the succession went to the nearest Protestant relative of the Stuart line. This was Sophia, daughter of Elizabeth of Bohemia, James I ‘s only daughter, but she died a few weeks before Anne and so the throne passed to her son George. He was 54 yrs old lived happily in Hanover, Germany. He turned up with 18 cooks and 2 mistresses and couldn’t speak a word of English. Sir Robert Walpole became Britain’s first Prime Minister and ran the country for him. A year later in 1715 the Jacobites (followers of James Stuart, son of James II) attempted to supplant George, but the attempt failed. George spent little time in England – he preferred his beloved Hanover.
George I died in 1727 and in came his son George II who at least could speak English, though Walpole still ran the country. Our Will was 52 by then and only had 10 years left to live, so he missed out on the second attempt by the Jacobites to restore a Stuart to the throne in 1745 when they had their Bonnie Prince Charlie moment and got slaughtered at Culloden Moor by the army under the Duke of Cumberland, known as ‘Butcher’ Cumberland.
Impossible of course, to know how the historic events affected our Will throughout his life, and the villagers, if at all. But that’s what happens when you’re walking through and looking at the past, you can’t help but wonder!
Next time we’ll have a look at the Castle, or what’s left of it!
“If Marilyn Manson would write a song that says, ‘Do your damn homework,’ it would make the world a better place, and it wouldn’t hurt him at all. And if he doesn’t like it, to hell with him. He can come fight us – by the bicycle racks”. ~ Gary Rossington
“It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels.” ~ Heinz Stucke, German former professional long-distance cyclist
“The city needs a car like a fish needs a bicycle” ~ Dean Kaman
“I never want to abandon my bike. I see my grandfather, now in his seventies and riding around everywhere. To me that is beautiful. And the bike must always remain a part of my life.” ~ Stephen Roche, Irish former professional cyclist.
“When I go biking I am mentally far, far away from civilisation. The world is breaking someone else’s heart.” ~ Diane Ackerman, American poet
“My father got a phone call to bring me in to meet with Spielberg for ‘E.T.,’ partially because they knew I was a physical kid, and I was known in the business somewhat as a stunt kid, and I could do all the bicycle riding”. ~ C.Thomas Howell (Tyler in E.T)
“Whoever invented the bicycle deserves the thanks of humanity.” ~ Lord Charles Beresford, late British admiral and MP
“Happiness is always the inaccessible castle which sinks in ruin when we set foot in it” ~ Arsene Houssaye
“Huge knots of sea-weed hung upon the jagged and pointed stones, trembling in every breath of wind; and the green ivy clung mournfully round the dark and ruined battlements. Behind it rose the ancient castle, its towers roofless, and its massive walls crumbling away, but telling us proudly of its own might and strength, as when, seven hundred years ago, it rang with the clash of arms, or resounded with the noise of feasting and revelry.” ~ Charles Dickens
“You don’t need planning permission to build castles in the sky” ~ Banksy
“All British castles and old country homes are supposed to be haunted. It’s in the lease.” ~ Bob Hope
“We admire the castles, because we admire the security!” ~ Mehmet Murat Ildan
“Way back in the old days, say in Europe of the Middle Ages, you had an aristocracy, and they could afford to pay for musicians. The kings and queens had musicians in the castles, and that developed into symphony orchestras and what we call “Classical music” now.” ~ Pete Seeger
“The ideal of happiness has always taken material form in the house, whether cottage or castle; it stands for permanence and separation from the world.” ~ Simone de Beauvoir
“The narrow path had opened up suddenly onto the edge of a great black lake. Perched atop a high mountain on the other side, its windows sparkling in the starry sky, was a vast castle with many turrets and towers.” ~ J. K. Rowling
“Nothing will turn a man’s home into a castle more quickly and effectively than a dachshund.” ~ Queen Victoria
“I passed under an arch out of that region of slabs and columns, and wandered through the open country; sometimes following the visible road, but sometimes leaving it curiously to tread across meadows where only occasional ruins bespoke the ancient presence of a forgotten road”. ~H.P. Lovecraft
“When we look at the ruins, we always get the same feeling: It’s as if the ruin will suddenly come alive and tell its own interesting story!” ~ Mehmet Murat ildan
C’est finis! That’s all my castles curated, stay tooned for who knows what next time!
The last church on our list that we visited is actually in Rock, and our favourite café is 2 minutes away so it had to be done. Unfortunately it isn’t open to the public. A notice on the front door says “A recent electrical inspection of the church building has revealed significant failings in the electrical wiring to the extent that it is not safe to use. Until the church can be rewired, the building will remain closed”. That notice was put up on 1st December 2021 and 5 months down the line it’s still closed, so the job must be quite extensive and expensive.
Still, we had a wander around the outside, and there’s a little history we can look at.
The History Bit ☕️ 🍪
The church was constructed in or about 1176, and consisted of a chancel and a nave with a rood screen at their junction. Unfortunately it fell into disrepair and by the end of the eighteenth century was in such a dilapidated condition that no services could be held. Luckily a chap called Charles Bozanquet rebuilt it at his own expense in 1806. In 1855 the Rev. R. W. Bosanquet (Charles’ son) decided that further improvements should be carried out, and the architect employed was Anthony Salvin, then residing mainly at Alnwick to supervise the Duke of Northumberland’s alterations at Alnwick Castle. The principal works were the construction of the semi-circular apse at the east end of the chancel, the rebuilding of the vestry, and the restoration of the old Norman and Early English windows, In 1866 an aisle was added on the north side of the nave, the architect being F. R. Wilson. The north wall was moved stone by stone, including a Norman window and the corbel table.
Charles was born on 23 July 1769 at Forest House, Essex, the second son of Samuel Bosanquet and Eleanor Hunter. He was educated at Newcome’s School and then in Switzerland. He married Charlotte Anne Holford on 1 June 1796 and fathered seven children, three of whom survived him. He served as sub-governor of the South Sea Company from 1808–38, and governor from 1838–50. From 1823–36 he was chairman of the exchequer bill office. He served as Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant for the county of Northumberland, and was High Sheriff of Northumberland in 1828. In 1819 he was lieutenant-colonel of light horse volunteers, later rising to colonel. He maintained a London residence at the Firs, Hampstead, and spent his later years at his estate of Rock Hall near Alnwick in Northumberland. He died there on 20 June 1850, and is buried in the church.
I did read up on Charles and he was an anti- bullionist economist who got into a row with some chap called David Ricardo who was a pro- bullionist and a) I didn’t understand a word of it and b) got bored trying to, so we’ll park that.
The Bozanquets are still in Northumberland at Rock Hall, which is a private residence, sadly for us. The Notice on the church door is signed by Jay Bozanquet and the church history on the website is written by the latest Charles J Bozanquet in 2012.
So onto the pictures!
The west door, with its rich zig-zag work, and the north wall of the nave are, from the outside, much as they appeared about 1176.
There is a fine Norman chancel arch, partly moulded and partly zig-zag. The outer order is cut away at the top centre, and on the surface (facing the floor) can be seen a rough outline of a dove, incised with a knife or small axe, as was sometimes done in the mid-twelfth century. On the floor of the chancel is an interesting grave cover, showing a floriated cross between a sword and an axe. The font near the west door is partly ancient.
There’s a lot more to see inside the church, but I like to have pictures to go with my descriptions, so I’m going to leave this as a kind of part 1, and hope they get their fingers out and get the bliddy electrics sorted so I can go back and do a proper job!
This is the last of my outings with Sophie for now, but stay tooned for some Fraggle Curateds and other stuff until we get out and about again.
Chillingham Castle is still on top of the list of my favourite castles, though it does alternate with Raby and Bamburgh Castles depending on which one I’m visiting! Next to the castle is St.Peters Church, which we hadn’t visited when we went in 2016, which was remiss of us as it’s one of the best so far.
LONG POST ALERT
The History Bit☕️ 🍪
St. Peter’s as we see it today occupies the site of a 12th Century church, and retains some of its Norman stonework. The interior is an unusual mixture of old and new. Contrasting with its ancient stone work, there are 19th century boxed pews. The sanctuary was completely refurbished in 1967, and the large plain-glass east window remains controversial. There is a glorious view of the trees behind, where you might expect to see stained glass, although Storm Arwen wreaked violence on them. A millennium plaque recognises that Christian worship has been offered on this site for over a thousand years. The nave is C12th but the chancel is probably C13th. The roof was replaced in the C16th and the bell cote added in C18th. The porch is C19th, it’s been a work in progress for a long time!
The main thing about the church though is the splendid C15th alabaster tomb of the crusader knight Sir Ralph Grey and his wife, Elizabeth which you can’t see as you enter the church, as it’s contained in the south transept.
It’s been a hard slog to find out much at all about Sir Ralph, which seemed odd as he’s got this great monument to him. He doesn’t even rate his own page on wiki, still, there are many rabbit holes to find on the internet, which I went down, only to find there are quite a few Sir Ralphs about in this time period, and some of the websites I’ve visited attribute one Sir Ralphs doings to another Sir Ralph and so on, so it’s been a pig to sort out. Nevertheless this is what I found that I’m reasonably certain of.
He was born on 9 September 1406 at Chillingham Castle, the younger son of Sir Thomas Grey and Lady Alice Neville. Grandson of Sir Thomas Gray and Joan Mowbray, direct descendant of Magna Carta Baron William de Mowbray. Now Sir Thomas the Dad does get his own page because he was a traitorous ingrate. Having been favoured by King Henry IV in the kings early reign, by August 1404 he had been retained for life by Ralph Neville 1st Earl of Westmoreland, but by May 1408 was in the service of Henry, Prince of Wales. But then he went and cocked things up by conspiring with Richard, Earl of Cambridge, and Henry, the 3rd Baron Scrope of Masham (honestly this not a Monty Python sketch!) in what’s known as The Southampton Plot of 1415, which was a plot to assassinate King Henry V at Southampton before he sailed to France and to replace him with Edmund Mortimer, the 5th Earl of March. Anyhoo lets not digress too far, Thomas got beheaded and that was that. Shakespear dramatised the plot in his Henry V play if you want a longer version.
So that was Dad. Mum was Lady Alice Neville, and she doesn’t get a page either as she is not the Lady Alice Neville who was great grandmother to Catherine Parr (Henry VIII’s last wife).
Sir Ralph’s wife, Elizabeth Fitzhugh, was the daughter of Sir Henry FitzHugh and Elizabeth de Grey, heiress to Sir Robert de Grey, and descendant of King John. They were married 01 July 1435 at Ravensworth, Yorkshire and had four sons. The eldest, named (of course) Ralph, also became a Sir, was Warden of Roxborough Castle. However he inherited the traitorous knob gene from his grandpa and was beheaded in 1464 for betraying Alnwick Castle to the Lancastrians in the War of the Roses. Our Sir Ralph died in France in 1443 and was buried at Chillingham. I am thinking, though can’t be certain, that he possibly died during The Siege of Dieppe (2 November 1442 – 14 August 1443) which took place during the Hundred Years War. The English forces led by John Talbort, Earl of Shrewsbury, besieged and failed to capture the French-held port of Dieppe in Normandy.
After her husband died in 1443, Elizabeth was sent out to France with other ladies of the English court to escort Margaret de Anjou, the intended wife of King Henry VI, to England. Elizabeth served Queen Margaret as an attendant and her name appears on the list of recipients of gifts of jewels from the queen. She remarried Edmund Montfort, son of Knight William and Joan Alderwich, but asked to buried with Sir Ralph at Chillingham after she died. Though she obviously didn’t ask it after she died, as she was dead, but made it known prior to conking out that that’s what she wanted. 🥴
Northumberland History is so very convoluted with the important families, Nevilles, Fitzhughes, Greys, Percys et al and they all have different branches but the same names! Drives me batty. Anyhoo, on with some pictures!
Now, just a bit more history 🙂 Lord Ford Grey was the 1st Earl of Tankerville, though he didn’t have much to do with Chillingham, but he’s an interesting catch ~ In 1682 Grey achieved notoriety for being found guilty of seducing his wife’s sister, Lady Henrietta Berkeley, for which he was arrested, tried and ultimately freed. In 1683 he was arrested for involvement in the Rye House Plot ( a plan to assassinate King Charles II of England and his brother (and heir to the throne) James, Duke of York) but escaped from the Tower of London in July and fled with Lady Henrietta and her new husband to France. He later became one of the leaders of the Monmouth Rebellion, landing with Monmouth at Lyme Regis in June 1685. He was in command of the cavalry, and its defeat on two occasions may have been caused by his cowardice, possibly even by his treachery. He was taken prisoner and condemned for high treason, but he obtained a pardon by freely giving evidence against his former associates, and was restored to his honours in June 1686. Pfft, sounds like a right cad!
A couple of hundred years later Charles Bennet, the 6th Earl of Tankerville and styled Lord Ossulston entered Parliament as Member of Parliament for North Northumberland in 1832. He held this seat until 1859, when he was summoned to the House of Lords through a writ of acceleration in his father’s barony of Ossulston. He succeeded his father in the earldom only a month later. On 8 March 1833, he was appointed a deputy lieutenant of Northumberland. He served under the Earl of Derby as Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms from 1866to 1867 and under Derby and then Benjamin Disraeli as Lord Steward of the Household from 1867 to 1868. In 1866 he was sworn of the Privy Council. He died at the family seat of Chillingham Castle in December 1899, aged 89, which is bliddy good innings for those times!
Some of the medieval cross slab grave covers have been incorporated into the renovations
And so to the South Transept and the effigies of Ralph and Elizabeth. The remains of red and blue and black paint are still visible and it must have been stunning.
A couple of detail shots…
If you managed to get through all that, well done, you are my favourite reader!
So that’s it. Stay tooned for next weeks much shorter post (yay!) (on account of the church being shut 🙄) on St Peter & James Church.
After we had visitedSt.Maurice’s Church we drove up the road 15 minutes and turned down a narrow country lane to find the rather lovely Holy Trinity Church settled in a secluded glen.
The History Bit 🍪 ☕️
( Actually a lot of this is supposedly, and apparently, so there’s history and a bit of lore.)
The oldest part of the mostly Norman Church is believed to be 12th century and built by the monks of Tynemouth after Queen Maud ~ (Matilda of Scotland who was the wife of the Henry I ) gave the Manor of Bewick toTynemouth Priory in 1107. She did so in memory of her royal father Malcolm Canmore (or Maol Chaluim mac Dhonnchaidh in his native tongue), King of Scotland, who was slain at the Battle of Alnwick in 1093 and buried at Tynemouth. He had snatched the crown of Scotland from Macbeth (the one from Shakespear) in 1054, and in 1091 brought an army south across the border, laying waste to much of Northumberland. Due to the ongoing battles with the pesky Scots in the late 13th century, the church was damaged but restored in the 14th century. There is a possibility that the restoration was done by the husband of a lady who’s effigy can be found in the chancel. She is wearing C14th century costume, and is thought to be the work of sculptors who had a workshop near Alnwick until about 1340. But it is also said to be of Matilda, aka Queen Maud!
A bell dated 1483 was found in the rubble of the vestry suggesting that at this time it had a tower or belfry. Inside the church and porch are several examples of C13th and C14th tomb slabs. Although the church went through more damage around 1640, Ralph Williamson, Lord of the Manor, restored the nave. However, early in the next century, the roof was blown off and the chapel fell to ruin although still used for burials. In 1866 Mr J C Langlands (whose monument stands at the end of the lane) had the church restored, and it opened for services in 1867.
As usual we went hunting for interesting gravestones and found a few..
Someone took the trouble to work this out!
“In the year of our Lord God 1720, here lieth the body of Roger, who departed this li(f)e at bueck (Bewick) mill race, muera (?died ~ possibly meant mori, latin or less possibly muerte, Spanish) 1720″.
This seemed sad,
Grand Master Burdon and his wife, the last surviving daughter of Major Thomas Packenham Vandeleur of Belfield, Co. Limerick.
The bushes behind the robin on a cross are not bushes, that’s a full length fallen tree courtesy of Storm Arwen, and a few of the headstones got battered.
Going inside there are both anglo saxon and Norman features
The church was re-roofed in Victorian times, thanks to Mr J.C. Langlands.
So that’s the end of our initial foray into the churches nearest our favourite café in Northumberland. The following week we did two more, and had lunch again 😊 and they’ll be up in the next couple of posts. I bet you’re all agog so stay tooned!
clickable pics for embiggerment.
Full album HERE for last week and this weeks posts.