The Bowes Museum – May 2019

The Bowes Museum can be found in Teesdale, in the market town of Barnard Castle, and houses a phenominal herd of treasures and art works collected during the lifetime of John and JosĂ©phine Bowes. Shall we do the History Bit? (Rhetorical question 🙂 ) John Bowes  (19 June 1811 – 9 October 1885) was born in London, to a commoner called Mary Millner. Mary went to work for the 10th Earl of Strathmore & Kinghorne,  (14 April 1769 – 3 July 1820) a Scottish nobleman and peer, at his stately homes in County Durham, and ended up having a long…

Watersmeet & The River Tyne

Any Geordie native will tell you he/she has the waters of the River Tyne running through their bloodstream, and I think it’s conceivable that after 15 years of drinking the tap water up her, that I have too. The Tyne has been romanticised in many a song, who can forget Jimmy Nail & Big River, or Lindisfarne’s Fog on the Tyne, or the beautiful Sailing to Philadelphia by Mark Knopfler and James Taylor. It’s even mentioned in a song by the country singer Gretchen Peters, in her song England Blues. When I first moved up here 15 years ago, I…

Haydon Bridge Church

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…

Cleadon – March 2019

After Sophie and I had finished looking around Souter Lighthouse we decided to go and have a look around Cleadon Village, but before we do lets have a quick look at the Lime Kilns just across the road from the Lighthouse. These mahousive kilns were built in the 1870’s. Limestone from the quarry and coal from the colliery were fed into the top of the kilns and heated to produce lime for use in agriculture and in the steel & chemical industries. The lime was loaded onto railway wagons known as the Marsden Rattler, and transported to the docks at…

Souter Lighthouse ~ March 2019

The History Bit On the coast near the village of Marsden on the outskirts of South Shields, stands the rather magnificent looking Souter Lighthouse. This lighthouse was the first in the world to be designed and built specifically to use AC (alternating electric current) and was the most technically advanced lighthouse of its day. Opening in 1871 it was described as ‘without doubt one of the most powerful lights in the world’.  Originally planned to be built on Souter Point, from where it gets its name, it ended up being built on Lizard Point which had higher cliffs and therefore better…

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…

Ormesby Hall ~ March 2019 ~ Part 3

See here for history and part 2 Most of the Stately Homes we visit have well-appointed kitchens which I duly photograph, and Ormesby Hall is no exception. But it’s much of a muchness and we’ve seen similar in previous posts. What was unusual at Ormesby was a fully kitted out laundry, so that’s what we’ll look at today. There’s no need for me to explain anything as that was done brilliantly by the info sheets in there.   Love that they call it WEE BEN, 🙂 so that was a nice surprise for Sophie and me as laundries are usually not…

Ormesby Hall – March 2019 -Part 2

PART 1 HISTORY HERE This week we are going to have a wander around the house. Sophie and I thought it was a bit like a tardis, as it seemed to have far more rooms than the outside appearance would have you think. You can see examples of  bold Palladian plasterwork and the more delicate neo-classical plasterwork ceilings in the drawing and dining rooms. Firstly the padded doorway.  This was installed by James Stovin Pennyman (1830-96) to help prevent the sounds of conversation disturbing the household  – he worked in York Lunatic Asylum so it’s possibly where he got that…

Ormesby Hall & St.Cuthberts Church March 2019 – part 1

Ormesby Hall is one of the National Trusts smaller properties. Barely a Stately Home, more of an historic house really, but Sophie and I don’t mind small, and the place was surprisingly interesting. Shall we commence with the history bit? (Rhetoric question, gotta be done 🙂 ) *Long post alert ~ get the kettle on* The History Bit The Estate of Ormesby has been around since before the Norman conquest, and possibly takes its name from Orme who was a tenant thereabouts registered in the Domesday Book.  The Hall has a long history with the Pennyman family and was acquired…