Staindrop and St.Mary’s Church – August 2019

After Sophie and I had finished photographing the butterflies at Raby Castle, we decided to go and have lunch in the nearby village of Staindrop, and visit the church there. Staindrops earliest history begins in Neolithic times, though there is little left to see of that as the current village is built on top of it. Nearby roads and settlements bear evidence of it’s expansion in Roman times. The History Bit It is known that the first church in Staindrop was a saxon building made around 771 when Alhred was the King of Northumberland, but not much else is known…

Embleton Church ~ April 2019

After Sophie and I had our walk on Embleton Beach we decided to have a look around Embleton Church. Known as the Church of the Holy Trinity, the oldest part of it is the lowest level of the tower, and is the only identifiable bit from the 12th century, and it has two blocked Norman windows. At this point in time the church would have had a Nave without aisles and a chancel only. The aisles were added around 1200. The upper levels of the tower were added in the 14th century. At the top is an open battlement, which…

St Cuthberts Church ~ March 2019

The History bit The Domesday Book, is a manuscript record of the “Great Survey” of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086 by order of King William the Conqueror. Both Ormesby Hall, and St Cuthbert’s church, are mentioned in this record and listed as belonging to ‘Orme’, to whose name the suffix ‘by’ (the Viking word for habitation or dwelling place) was added to make Ormesby.  There has been then, a church on this site for at least 933 years, maybe more. Unfortunately the church as it stands today has been largely rebuilt between 1875 and 1907 to…

Seaham ~ part 3 ~ St.Mary’s

The Church of St.Mary The Virgin, is on the list of the top 20 oldest churches in Britain.  It’s also the only surviving building of the original Saxon Village of Seaham Harbour. (now just Seaham). It was founded by King Æthelstan in 930AD and has 7th C late Anglo Saxon masonry and early Norman masonry in its nave, and a 13th-century chancel and west tower.  Over the 16th-century porch door is a late 18th-century sundial with an unusual verse, now illegible, which begins: “The natural clockwork by the mighty one wound up at first and ever since has gone…” which…

Mere Knowles Cemetery~ April 2018 ~Part 2

Part 1 HERE We noticed that the chapels were not in the most habitable state of being and in noticing the roofing issues then noticed carved stone heads around the (technical term alert) stone rim thingy that went around it.  There were a lot, so I’ve just chosen the ones I recognised, (see if you agree) and one I don’t but if you know who they are do say…         I’m wondering if it’s bad of me to have fun with what are obviously serious religious icons, but I find it hard to be obviously seriously religious…

Fraggle report – Mere Knowles Cemetary – April 2018

There’s nothing better (in mine & Sophie’s opinions) than wandering around cemeteries reading and photographing old graves and monuments.  For us it is history with a personal view, the lives (and mostly deaths!) of real people and sometimes their families, chiselled into headstones.  Names, ages, dates and symbols to be pondered on, sometimes researched (googled 🙂 ) and kept for posterity in digital files, while they crumble away in the graveyards over the years. We decided a few weekends ago to visit a couple of cemeteries in Sunderland, firstly Grangetown cemetery.  Although we have been there before, we like to…

Washington Old Hall~July 2016 part 3

Part 1.  Part 2.   Technically speaking these shots are from the Holy Trinity church right next door to the hall, but we did it on the same day so I’ve chucked it in with the Hall report. 🙂 The History Bit Holy Trinity Church is known locally as the ‘Church on the hill’ and has been central to Washington’s large parish for centuries. The oval mound on which it stands, once within a rounded enclosure, suggests the re-use of a pagan site. Rounded churchyards usually have Celtic origins. Unfortunately the Domesday Book (1086-7) excludes places north of the Tees and…

Day 201~366

The hottest day of the year, 27° and it was pretty but also horrid. I do not live in a country where these temperatures are the norm for any length of time, so I never acclimatise.  I am acclimatised to 16° and lower, maybe 18/19° on a good day, with intermittent rain. I pine for lovely weather, and when I get it I can’t cope. Couldn’t sleep, felt vaguely rough, but still went out for a photography trip with Sophie. We stuck local incase I felt worse, so visited Washington Old Hall, which has a tenuous link to George Washington,…

11/11

In 2009 Phil and I went to France, to follow in my Grandad’s footsteps in the 1st World War, and to find the grave of his best friend William Harrold, who he had joined up with.  Grandad made it through the war, but William died on 30 October 1917, 3 weeks after coming back to the war after having leave at home, where he had married his sweetheart Doris. I have both their military records, and neither had distinguished medals or mentions in despatches, but  William died for his country, and Grandad lived to bring up a great family. They…