Edlingham Castle ~ May 2022

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.

Edlingham Castle

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.

Edlingham Castle and viaduct.

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.

📷 😊

all photos embiggenable with a click.

full album HERE

refs:-
https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/edlingham-castle/history/
https://great-castles.com/edlingham.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_William_Felton
http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1386-1421/member/felton-sir-john-1339-1396

St John the Baptist Church, Edlingham May 2022

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.

cross slab

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. The Monmouth Uprising the 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 Orange to 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 the Union 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!

Stay tooned folks!

😊 📷

St.Philip and St.James Church ~ Rock ~ March 2022

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.

West Door

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.

church interior picture by Simon Cotterill
exterior of the semi-circular apse
old and new
you CAN see the join.

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.

📷 😊

St. Peters Church ~ Chillingham ~ March 2022

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!

Entry is through the south porch which has stone benches along the sides
and a Norman doorway with a round arch. 
the controversial plain glass window and the 19th century boxed pews in the 12th century nave.
a 17th century stone memorial to Lord Ford Grey’s steward.

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!

Charlie.

Some of the medieval cross slab grave covers have been incorporated into the renovations

new roof, old grave markers.
cross slab

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.

the tomb.
Sir Ralph
Elizabeth
Headress in the High Flemish style of Edward II
Sir Ralph’s feet rested on a lion but one of his feet is broken.
Around the base are carvings of bishops, saints and angels set beneath highly carved arches. 
In the centre of each side are two larger angels holding a heraldic shield.

The reredos behind them has an angel holding a shield with a lamb on it. On either side are demi-angels with helmets with a ram’s head. Above is a Royalist motto, a C17th addition,  “De bon vouloir servir le Roy”. (to be willing to serve the king)

A couple of detail shots…

leg detail
the other side’s angels.

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.

All pictures are clickable to embiggen.
refs:- https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/61779508/ralph-grey
http://www.thepeerage.com/p15420.htm#i154193
http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/churches/england/north/northumberland/northumberland_one/chillingham/index.html
https://howardwilliamsblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/29/symbols-on-medieval-memorials-bolton-le-sands/

Holy Trinity Church Old Bewick ~ March 2022

After we had visited St.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 to Tynemouth 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.

Sophie entering the church grounds. (Contax Aria, Kodak UM 400)

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,

so young
? Cap’n Jack 🏴‍☠️

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.

Snowdrops and Robin

Going inside there are both anglo saxon and Norman features

the Norman arches of the chancel and apse.
apse

The church was re-roofed in Victorian times, thanks to Mr J.C. Langlands.

nave, roof, and font at the end.
effigy of a lady ? Queen Maud.

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.

refs- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matilda_of_Scotland
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_III_of_Scotland
https://www.northernvicar.co.uk/2019/10/26/old-bewick-northumberland-holy-trinity/

St. Maurice’s Church, Eglingham. March 2022

Sophie and I love pottering about in old churches, so much history can be found within and in their graveyards. We also love a certain café in Northumberland, and as lunch is also an important part of our day we decided to do a few churches around the area thus enabling our visitations to the aforementioned café.

Saint Maurice. This was a first for us, Saint Peter and Saint Paul’s churches are all over the shop up here, but this was the first time we heard of a Saint Maurice, you possibly have, but I’ll do a little bit on him in case you haven’t.

The History Bit ☕️ 🍪

Maurice was an Egyptian military leader who headed the legendary Theban Legion of Rome in the 3rd century. Now right there I’m thinking really? Maurice n’est pas Français??  But apparently not. He was born in 250 AD in Thebes, Luxor as it now is and joined the Roman Army at some point when he grew up. He must have been a good soldier as he ended up commander of the Theban legion which meant he was boss of 1000 other soldiers. Somewhere along the line (I know, vague, but we are talking ancient times here peeps) he became a Christian, which wasn’t his best idea as Christianity was in it’s infancy and Rome considered it a great threat to their empire. Still, he wasn’t all holier than thou and was happy enough being pals with pagans as well. Anyhoo, his legion was sent to Gaul (a huge swathe of Western Europe) to assist Emperor Maximian defeat a revolt by the peasants.

Mo and his men,entirely composed of Christians, were sent off to clear the Great Saint Barnard Pass through the Swiss Alps, and before going into battle, they were instructed to offer sacrifices to the pagan gods and pay homage to the emperor. That didn’t go down well and whilst Mo pledged his men’s military allegiance to Rome, he also said service to God superseded all else, and that to engage in wanton slaughter was inconceivable to Christian soldiers. To cap it off he and his men refused to worship the Roman gods. When Emperor Maxi-boy ordered them to harass some local Christians, they refused that as well.

Not surprisingly Maxi-boy was well naffed off with Mo and his not so merry men, and ordered the unit to be punished. In Roman terms that meant the killing of every tenth soldier in the legion, which was known as Decimation. More orders got refused, and another decimation was carried out, and then Maxi got really naffed off and had the whole legion wiped out. This occurred in a place in Switzerland known then as Agaunum, and is now Saint~Maurice, and the Abbey of St.Maurice stands on the site.

So reads the earliest account of the martyrdom of the Theban Legion, contained in the public letter which Bishop Eucherius of Lyon (c. 434–450), addressed to his fellow bishop, Salvius.

Maurice is the patron saint of the Duchy of Savoy (France) and of the Valais (Switzerland) as well as of soldiers, swordsmiths, armies, and infantrymen. He is also the patron saint of weavers and dyers. Manresa (Spain), Piedmont (Italy), Montalbano Jonico (Italy), Schiavi di Abruzzo (Italy), Stadtsulza (Germany) and Coburg (Germany) have chosen St. Maurice as their patron saint as well. St Maurice is also the patron saint of the Brotherhood of Blackheads, a historical military order of unmarried merchants 😳 in present-day Estonia and Latvia. He is also the patron saint of the town of Coburg in Bavaria, Germany. He is shown there as a man of colour especially on manhole covers (strange) as well as on the city coat of arms. There he is called “Coburger Mohr” (“Coburg Moor”).

The picture up there is of a 13th century statue of him in Magdeburg Cathedral, Germany.


In the 12th century Ceolwulf, the Saxon king of Northumbria, granted the hamlet of Eglingham to the monastery at Lindisfarne. A church was built on the site of St.Maurice’s of which only the chancel arch remains today. In the 18th century restoration was carried out by John Green who built the Theatre Royal in Newcastle.

St. Maurice Church and Graveyard

Firstly though we looked around the grave yard for old souls.

William Shell and family.
John Story and family
William Dickson and Mary Bickerton

The west tower is 13th Century and two ancient bells occupy the belfry; one, formerly from Old Bewick Church, is dated 1489.

The tower (contax aria & kodak ultramax 400)

Inside there are some very old features,

the original chancel arch.
15th Century cross-slab
ancient font bowl with stone masons marks.

The octagonal font at the back of the nave is perhaps the church’s oldest feature and thought to be the work of William Butement. It is dated 1663 with the initials C.R. (probably referring to Charles II). It bears several masons’ marks and inscriptions.

st maurices church eglingham
Font

There are some nice stained glass windows, the East window is by William Wales, dated 1908 and depicts the transformation of Christ

and a memorial window for the Collingwood family.

Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood, 1st Baron Collingwood (26 September 1748 – 7 March 1810) was an admiral of the Royal Navy, notable as a partner with Lord Nelson in several of the British victories of the Napoleonic Wars, and frequently as Nelson’s successor in commands. He was born in Newcastle so there are statues and roads and buildings etc all over the shop up here, and any family association is up for grabs, especially as they’re all military chaps.

That will do I think. It is so peaceful to wander around these old churches, and marvelling at what they could accomplish architecturally speaking 3 or 4 hundred years ago. We love to see graves from the 1700’s and are amazed when someone is buried at an old age, as in William Shell above. Dying at age 84 was some feat for that time! More often we come across young people as in Mary Bickerford who only got to 13 yrs old.

stay tooned for next time when we’ll be popping up the road to Holy Trinity Church.

all pictures clickable to embiggen.
ref: http://www.eglingham.info/st-maurices-church-eglingham

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Maurice

📷 😊

Gibside ~ November 2021 ~ part 2

Gibside is the childhood home of Mary Eleanor Bowes and I figured it would be nice to do her history. You may need a ☕️ and 🍪 if you’re going to wade through it!

The History Bit

Mary was born in Mayfair, London on 24 February 1749, the daughter and heiress of Sir George Bowes and and his second wife, Mary Gilbert. She spent her childhood at Gibside and at the age of 11 her father died, leaving her a vast fortune from his mining cartel. Mary became the wealthiest heiress in Britain. Taken to live in London by her Mum Mary became a bit of a flighty girl, batting her eyelashes at a fair few Dukes and Marquesses before getting engaged to an Earl at the age of 16, John Lyon the 9th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne.

A Scottish nobleman and peer famous for his appearance and known as “the beautiful Lord Strathmore”. He was described thusly by his friend the surgeon Jesse Foote ~ “The late Earl of Strathmore was not calculated to make even a good learned woman a pleasing husband. His Lordship’s pursuits were always innocent and without the smallest guile, but they were not those of science or any other splendid quality. A sincere friend, a hearty Scotchman and a good bottle companion were points of his character.”

As was stipulated in George’s will, Lyon had to get his surname changed to Bowes, which further down the line became Bowes-Lyon. They married on her 18th birthday in 1767. They had 5 children, the oldest son being John Bowes who became the 10th Earl and has his own history which you can read about in my post The Bowes Museum. Thanks to Mary Eleanor’s fortune, she and her hubby lived high on the hog. Hubby spent a lot of time and money restoring his family seat – Glamis Castle in Scotland, whilst Mary wrote a poetical drama entitled The Siege of Jerusalem in 1769 and got interested in botany, financing an expedition by explorer William Paterson to collect plants in the Cape of Good Hope. It wasn’t the happiest of marriages, they didn’t have much in common, and his family didn’t care much for her, John’s brother often insulted her in public. John got sick with tuberculosis and his Doctors advised him to go for treatment in Bath and Bristol, which he did for long periods of time. Mary stayed in London partying and having dalliances with young men of her aquaintance. On 7 March 1776, Lord Strathmore died at sea on his way to Portugal.

As a widow Mary regained control of her vast fortune, and paid off John’s debts of £145,000 without blinking an eye. Mary’s lover at the time was a chap called George Gray, a Scotsman but born in Calcutta in 1737 where his Dad worked as a surgeon for the East India Company, and Mary was pregnant by him. She didn’t want to get hitched as he’d proven a bit of a numpty by making and squandering a small fortune for the company as well as the considerable inheritance of his first Missis, resulting in him returning to England under a cloud in 1766. Really Mary, what were you thinking?? Anyway Mary induced an abortion by drinking some sort of “black, inky kind of medicine” according to her diary, (her candid account of these abortions is one of very few available first-person descriptions of secret abortions in the era before legalised abortion) but had to do the same again when she got pregnant again, and yet again. I can only eye roll.

On her 4th pregancy she decided she really should just marry the guy, and they got engaged in 1777.

But in that same summer of ’77, along came the charming and suave Anglo~Irish adventurer Andrew Robinson-Stoney, who seduced our lady and manipulated himself into her home and bed. The cad! He’d been a Lieutenant in the British Army but called himself ‘Captain’ Stoney. Stoney was a serial gold digger, and had started that career when he married Hannah Newton, a twenty-year-old heiress from County Durham. He married her, returned to the army, and convinced her to settle £5000 on him if perchance she died childless, and then proceeded to mistreat her, beating her up and starving her. She finally croaked during childbirth after several still-births, as did the baby.

He tricked our Mary good and proper by arranging a fake duel with the editor of a newspaper The Morning Post, the Reverend Sir Henry Bate Dudley, who had published scurrilous articles about Mary’s private life. But it was Stoney himself who wrote the articles both criticising and defending the countess. The duel was supposed to appeal to Mary’s romantic nature, and when he pretended to be mortally wounded, Stoney begged her to grant his dying wish – to marry her. Taken in by the ruse, she agreed.

I am quite staggered at Mary’s stupidity really, she had been well educated as a child, was reasonably intelligent and richer than God, but a complete nincompoop when it came to blokes. Anyway, I digress, and she suffered for her stupidity.

Of course, after marrying Mary in church, on a stretcher, mortally wounded, he made a fast and complete recovery. Attempting to take control of his wife’s fortune he discovered Mary had made a secret pre-nuptual agreement safeguarding the profits of her estate for her own use, but he forced her to sign a revocation handing control to him. He then went on to subject Mary to eight years of physical and mental abuse including confining her to her own house. He later took Mary and her daughter Anna Maria (the Earl’s daughter) off to Paris, whence they returned only after a writ had been served on him. He is also said to have raped the maids, invited prostitutes into the home and fathered numerous illegitimate children. A real nice guy.

In 1785 her loyal maids helped her escape Stoney’s custody and Mary filed for divorce through the ecclesiastical courts. But it didn’t end there, Stoney abducted Mary with the help of some accomplices and carried her off to the North Country. She later alleged that he threatened to rape and kill her, that he gagged and beat her and carried her around the countryside on horseback in one of the coldest spells of an unusually cold winter. The country was alerted; Stoney Bowes was eventually arrested, and Mary rescued.

The divorce trials were sensational and the talk of London. Although Mary initially won public sympathy, she didn’t do herself any favours by having an affair with the brother of one of her lawyers, which became public knowledge. Stoney made known other ‘salacious details’ of Mary’s past excesses and ensured the publication of the ‘confessions’ that she had earlier made in writing to him – he even purchased shares in a newspaper to publish these memoirs. There was also a general feeling that Mary had behaved badly in attempting to prevent her husband’s access to her fortune. Pfui!

Thankfully Stoney and his accomplices were found guilty of abduction and banged up for 3 years, should have been much longer IMHO! The divorce case continued and Stoney lost the battle to retain control of the Bowes fortune whilst the case was still ongoing, which was a nice interim judgement as the case was still not resolved by the time Mary died in 1800 when it became pointless for it to be continued. He was let out of prison on her death and had the effrontery to attempt to have her will invalidated. He lost that case (yay!) and was then sued by his own lawyers for their expenses. Unable to pay these debts, he came under prison jurisdiction (in that era, bankruptcy was punished with prison), although he lived outside the prison walls with his mistress, Mary ‘Polly’ Sutton. He died on 16 June 1810. And good riddance.

After 1792 Mary lived quietly in Hampshire, Purbrook Park firstly, and then Stourfield House, an isolated mansion on the edge of the village of Pokesdown, Christchurch. She took with her a full set of maids and servants including the maid who helped her escape from Stoney, Mary Morgan. When Morgan died in 1796 Mary gave up socialising all together and spent her time looking after her pets, which included a large number of dogs who had hot dinners cooked for them daily. The locals thought she was a bit bonkers, but she did reach out to them now and again, sending dinners and beers to the men working in the fields. Her three sons visited occasionally, not stopping long, but two of her daughters lived with her. In her will she left presents of dresses and other items to the community and an annuity for the widow Lockyer of Pokesdown Farm.

Mary died on 28 April 1800. Undertakers came from London with a hearse and three mourning carriages and transported her body to London. She can be found in Westminster Abbey, and her tombstone is in Poet’s Corner there.

Well done if you read this far, you are my favourite visitor! 😊

The mansion built by Sir William Blakiston in the 1600’s, became vacant in the 1920s after death duties forced the Bowes-Lyon family to scale back its lavish lifestyle and give up some of its great houses. The building was stripped of its fixtures and fittings, with many of the fireplaces and other items being transferred to Glamis Castle. 

Mary’s childhood home. Sadly not restored and cordoned off.

The orangery is Mary’s only original contribution to the buildings of Gibside. When she commissioned plant collector William Paterson to explore South Africa in search of rare and new species, the orangery – or green house – would have been home to this brilliant and diverse collection of unusual plants.

the orangery.
inside the orangery

The original layout of this space was into three rooms to the north, known as ’garden rooms’. There was also one large room to the south, purely for the display of plants. Especially in winter when the more exotic species were kept heated throughout the colder months.

The large south-west facing windows provided a huge amount of light and a heating system would have kept plants warm during the winter.

Mary requested that she be buried wearing her first wedding dress, and it has been painstakingly recreated and stands in the chapel at Gibside.

I do
I did

And that’s the end of Mary’s story. Gibside is a lovely place to walk around, especially in autumn, so I’ll finish with a couple of random pictures!

in the walled garden
all done.
hanging on

That’s all folks! Stay tooned for next week and a visit to someotherwhere.

all pictures clickable to embiggen.

refs:-
https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/gibside
https://professorhedgehogsjournal.uk/2020/08/07/the-unhappy-countess/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Bowes,_Countess_of_Strathmore_and_Kinghorne
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibside

Full album HERE

Gibside ~ November 2021

I last did a small post on Gibside back in 2013, that no-one just about has seen. Sophie and I did visit in 2016 but the 365 back then got in the way of me doing a Fraggle Report that time. Anyhoo, in November gone, we went looking for autumn, the best time to visit there.

The History Bit ☕️🍪

Gibside,  a country estate, set amongst the peaks and slopes of the Derwent Valley.  Previously owned by the Bowes- Lyon family. It is now a National Trust property. The main house on the estate is now a shell, although the property is most famous for its chapel. The stables, walled garden and Banqueting House are also intact.  It is also the childhood home of Mary Bowes, Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne (24 February 1749 – 28 April 1800), known as “The Unhappy Countess”, who was an 18th-century British heiress, notorious for her licentious lifestyle, who was married at one time the 9th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. She and the Earl are ancestors of Queen Elizabeth 2nd. We’ll get to Mary in part 2.

The Gibside Estate was aquired by the Blakiston Family through marriage around 1540, and Sir William Blakiston (1562–1641) (Willy 1) replaced the old house with a spacious mansion between 1603 and 1620. Jumping forward to 1693, Sir William’s great-granddaughter, Elizabeth Blakiston, married Sir William Bowes (Willy 2) (1657–1707) and as a result the Gibside property came into the possession of the Bowes family in 1713. The joined forces of the two influential families and the aquisition of Gibside gave the Bowes family an even greater influence in the north of the county and a share in the immense wealth that was to be acquired from the coal trade. The Blakiston estate included some of the area’s richest coal seams.

After Willy 2 came George, who inherited the estate in 1722. Dad to Mary, the “Bowes heiress” who married John Lyon, the 9th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. John had to change his surname to Bowes due to a provision in her father’s will that any suitor had to take the family name. This was a device to continue the Bowes lineage in the absence of a male heir. The estate remained in the Bowes and Bowes-Lyon family until the 20th century. In the 18th and 19th centuries though they carried out many improvements including landscaping, Gibside Chapel, built between 1760 and 1812, the Banqueting House, a column of Liberty,a substantial stable block, an avenue of oaks and several hundred acres of forest. The top floor of the main house was remodelled as a giant parapet and the building was also extended to the side.

Following the death of  John Bowes (the 10th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne) in 1820, it belonged to his legitimated son, yet another John Bowes 🙄 until his death in 1885 (he is buried in the Gibside chapel), when under an established trust, it reverted to his cousin Claude the the 13th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. It had been the main residence of John Bowes’ mother, Mary Milner, by then Dowager Countess of Strathmore, and her second husband, the politician, Sir William Hutt, (who had been John Bowes’ tutor), until the latter’s death in 1882, which was the last time it was permanently occupied by the family.

I’ll be using photos from across the 3 visits, as we didn’t do everything everytime.

Gibside Chapel (2013)

The mausoleum chapel at the south end of the ‘Grand Walk’ was built following the death of George Bowes owner of the estate, in 1760. The Greek Palladian-style building was designed by James Paine for Lord Strathmore, who had inherited the estate. George Bowes was finally interred in the mausoleum on its completion in 1812. The building is Grade 1 listed on the National Heritage List for England.

Interior (2016)
ceiling detail (2016)
pulpit (pulpit)

The Banqueting House is an 18th Century gothic folly, built 1751 by Daniel Garrett for George Bowes. Restored in 1980 by Charlewood, Curry ,Wilson and Atkinson and is now a holiday home you can rent from the Landmark Trust, so you can’t go in it unless you book a ticket for one of their public heritage days, hopefully we’ll do that this September. Of course if you have £900 and 3 people to share it with you can have a 3 night stay there. It sits atop a small hill with views over the Derwent Valley, and there’s an octagonal pond at the bottom of the hill.

The Banqueting House (2021)
and in 2013
View of Derwent Valley. (2013)

The ‘Column of Liberty’ was commissioned by Sir George Bowes and begun in the 1750s. It reflected his politics as he was a Whig – a liberal political party in the UK which in the 1680s and the 1850s contested power with their rivals, the Tories -(Conservative Party). Set at the top of a steep hillock, the monument itself is a Doric order column, and topped by a standing bronze female figure, originally gilded, carrying a cap of liberty on a pole.

You can see it for miles and here it is, very tiny, seen from the far end of the avenue of oaks known as the Grand Walk.

Column of Liberty. (2021)

Hope you’re not seeing it on a phone screen 🤣

A bit closer then..

And then we’re right there..

Lady Liberty

That will do for today and next time we’ll have a look at the Countess Mary Bowes’ life and times, and see the main house and the orangery.

📷😊

Wallington Hall Estate ~ October 2021

Sophie and I go to Wallington Hall quite often, the grounds are extensive and there’s always lots to point a camera at. I’ve done a few blog posts from there, in 2018 and 19, but missed 20 for obvious reasons.

You can click on the little arrow below to read the history bit if you are interested and it will expand for you. If you are a philistine however, you can just look at the pictures 🤣.

Wallington is a country house and gardens located about 12 miles west of Morpeth, Northumberland, England, near the village of Cambo. It has been owned by the National Trust since 1942 after it was donated complete with the estate and farms by Sir Charles Philips Trevelyan, the first donation of its kind. It is a Grade I listed building. The estate was originally owned by the Fenwick family back in 1475. The Fenwick Baronetcy, of Fenwick in the County of Northumberland, was a title in the Baronetage of England. It was created on 9 June 1628 for Sir John Fenwick, of Wallington Hall, Northumberland. He sat as Member of Parliament for Northumberland and Cockermouth. The second and third Baronets also represented Northumberland in Parliament. The title became extinct when the third Baronet was executed for treason on 27 January 1697. The third Baronet, also a Sir John, was a Jacobite conspirator. I’m not going into Jacobitism here as it’s a very diverse and quite complicated political movement but basically a whole bunch of Brits aimed to restore the House of Stuart to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland. You can google it for further info. Back to Sir John. He had succeeded his father to become an MP, and also later got to be a Major General in the army in 1688. He was a strong supporter of King James 2nd, the last Roman Catholic King of England, who was deposed in what was called the Glorious Revolution in 1688, and succeeded by William 3rd, or William of Orange, as he was known, a staunch Protestant. Our Sir John remained in England when William came to the throne, but had money troubles which led him to sell Wallington Hall to the Blackett family. Then Sir John decided to plot against William, insulted Williams Missis, Queen Mary, and was involved in a couple of assassination attempts on William. Eventually he was nabbed, and was beheaded in London on 28 January 1697. So on to the Blacketts. Also given a Baronetcy, they were a wealthy Newcastle family of mine owners and shipping magnates. They shared the Fenwick’s love of parties and Jacobite sympathies, but the Blacketts managed to avoid both financial ruin and treasonable activities. Sir William Blackett (1657-1705) bought Wallington in 1688 as a country retreat from the family’s main home at Anderson place in Newcastle, and knocked down the medieval house and pele tower that the Fenwicks had built, though he converted the ground floor into cellars, which still remain. The new building was quite basic, it consisted of four ranges built around an open central courtyard. The upper floor was reached by ladders and had no internal dividing walls. It wasn’t meant to be a permanent home, but a residence for when the family wanted to have shooting parties for their poshknob pals. The Fenwicks had also been known for their parties and hospitality, and the Blacketts followed the tradition. Sir William’s son took it to excess and employed six men simply to carry him and his drunken guests to bed after their grand parties. Upon his death he left debts of £77,000 and an illegitimate daughter, Elizabeth Ord. Wallington passed to his nephew Walter Calverley on condition that Walter married Elizabeth and adopted the family name. Walter agreed to this and in 1728 Wallington passed to the 21-year-old Sir Walter Calverley Blackett (1707-77). Surprisingly, and fortunately Sir Walter proved a better household manager than his uncle had. He had the house completely remodeled, adding staircases and partitioning the upper floor into rooms. The gardens and grounds were extensively redesigned with the introduction of pleasure grounds, the planting of many trees, and the digging of watercourses and ponds. Sir Walter also built the clock tower which dominates Wallington’s courtyard. Amongst the many figures involved in the recreation of Wallington was Capability Brown who may have contributed to the work in the East and West Woods and was certainly responsible for designing the pleasure grounds at Rothley Lake. Sir Walter’s children died before him, so Wallington passed to his sister’s son: Sir John Trevelyan. The Trevelyans were Baronets as well, and Wallington stayed in their family until 1942. The family includes authors, artists, MP’s and their history is far too long for a little blog post, but also quite fascinating. Sir Charles, the 3rd Baronet was the last to live there. He was first a Liberal and later a Labour MP. He served under H. H. Asquith as Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education between 1908 and 1914, when, as an opponent of British entry into the First World War, he resigned from the government. In 1914, also, he founded the Union of Democratic Control an all-party organisation rallying opposition to the war. In the 1918 general election, he lost his Elland seat, running as an Independent Labour candidate, but won Newcastle Central for Labour in 1922 and held it until 1931. In early 1939, following Stafford Cripps and with Aneurin Bevan among others, Trevelyan was briefly expelled from the Labour Party for persisting with support for a “popular front” (involving co-operation with the Liberal Party and Communist Party) against the National Government. He was the last surviving member of the first British Labour cabinet. He had 6 kids, the eldest being Sir George, the 4th Baronet. He was effectively disinherited when his Dad gave Wallington to the National Trust. In 1925, George went to read history at Trinity College, Cambridge, in accordance with family tradition. Whilst there he began his 42-year-long association with the famous ‘Trevelyan Man Hunt’, an extraordinary annual event which involved a chase on foot over the wild Lakeland fells, with human ‘hunters’ hunting after human ‘hares’. This energetic event was started in 1898 by Trevelyan’s historian uncle G. M. Trevelyan and the Wynthrop Youngs, and still continues today, as a kind of hide and seek game without dogs or weapons. He also became an educational pioneer and a founding father of the New Age Movement. Not sure why Dad didn’t pass on the Hall to George, perhaps George was just too busy to look after the place, another fascinating chap.

After morning rain it turned out to be a lovely Autumnal day, the sun was mostly out and the sky that wintery pallid blue that contrasts so nicely with the greens and oranges of the landscape. We didn’t bother with the hall this time, but instead headed for the lake and the glass house.

Love these Japanese katsura trees, beautiful colours in autumn and their heart shaped leaves.

♥️ katsura leaves

On the way we walked through woodlands and I got a couple more shots for my mushroom collection.

possibly Piptoporus betulinus, Birch Polypore or Razor Strop Fungus
probably Artist’s Conk (Ganoderma applanatum) also at the top on the right Velvet Shank (Flammulina velutipes)
Woodland Inkcap, (Coprinellus silvaticus.)

Always weird to see butterflies in October, this one was on it’s last days I think, missing an antenna thingy and looking a bit ragged

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
small tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)

and still quite a few flowers about too, with stupid names.

Black Eyed Susan (rudbeckia fulgida)
Kiss-me-over-the- garden-gate 🙄 (persicaria orientalis)
no idea about this one!

So that will do for this time round, we’ll get to the lake and the glass house next time so stay tooned!

📷 😊