|A day in Wooler for a church conference looking at hardship in rural communities|
|and admiring the entrance to Butler Court (named after the Northumberland social reformer Josephine Butler)|
|Looking down from Thorneyburn church over the Tarset valley to see if the school are on their way...|
|...and, chattering in excitement, here they come ... for a morning at St Aidan's:|
We started by wondering why the church had been built in the middle of nowhere and then searched the graveyard for the oldest headstone we could find. 1838. (Some were too worn to read.) So the church must have been here for at least 180 years. Inside, recalling that every parish church is supposed to have a Bible on its lectern (so that all parishioners have access to Holy Scripture), we worked out from the Roman numerals on the title page that the church was dedicated in 1818. We noted the naval coat of arms which gave us a clue as to the origin of this building: it was built along with the neighbouring rectory to provide a living for a naval chaplain demobilised after the Napoleonic Wars.
After looking at the font, the altar, the tapestry depicting Jesus' Last Supper with his disciples (when he instituted the practice of Holy Communion) and at the paten and chalice used for the bread and wine of Holy Communion, the children and accompanying adults knelt for each of them to receive a blessing before they went on their way happy and calm.
The two hundred years of St Aidan's will be marked in the bicentenary celebrations at the beginning of August.
Meanwhile Otterburn First School is celebrating its bicentenary this weekend. So I made my way from Thorneyburn to Otterburn to enjoy their exhibition and the children's excellent singing.
|From Thorneyburn churchyard|
Greenhaugh School had a first briefing on the remarkable history of St Aidan's Thorneyburn in preparation for their contribution to the bicentenary exhibition. (Imagine being sent as Rector to this location after life as a naval chaplain in the Napoleonic wars.)
|Spot the builder!|
I found him putting the final touches to repairs (in time for this summer's celebration of the 200th anniversary of St Aidan's Thorneyburn) when I called for a baptism register after taking an assembly at Greenhaugh First School.