at St Cuthbert's Bellingham
7.00 p.m. Christmas Eve


For information about church services in North Tyne & Redesdale parishes see



St Cuthbert's Bellingham
9th - 14th December 2016

Bellingham Middle School's tree made entirely from recycled materials

St Cuthbert's Festival Walk
3rd September 2016

After breakfast we set out from St Cuthbert's church, Elsdon and here we are listening to the story of St Cuthbert, the horse and the finding of the warm bread in the thatch of the derelict house.  (God will provide!)

Time for a drink

A pause for the story of St Cuthbert's sharing the fish with the eagle that caught it and with his companion and the strangers in whose house they ate it.  (God provides again!)

Rough going as we approach Coldtown below Corsenside

Welcome to St Cuthbert's Corsenside where...

 ...we were given lunch.  (God provides through other people!)

Fitting through the squeeze stile after lunch
 The story of Cuthbert's vision in the hills, which convinced him of his vocation to join the monastery
 Wet going...
...and along here we remembered the St Cuthbert's walk about three years ago: Huw said he was very hungry and looking forward to tea, when round the corner came a Buddhist monk with a paper bag full of scones which he offered to Huw.  The monk had been given them at the baker's but couldn't eat them as he was keeping a Fast day.  (As St Cuthbert kept teaching, God does provide!)

The old packhorse bridge over the River Rede

and on towards Bellingham

Our first glimpse today of St Cuthbert's Church, Bellingham

St Cuthbert's Family Fair
9th July 2016

"Homecoming" Carol Service 2015
at St Aidan's Thorneyburn

The musicians prepare

Symbols of "home" at the altar

an event in the Methodist Mission Week    26th October 2015
The United Reformed Church from the old railway line

The railway line takes us to the dam.

"Waterstones" above Kielder Water, quarried from Nothumberland fell sandstone to symbolise strong foundations

Easterly view from the dam above Falstone
and zooming in to see the three Mesling Crags

The North Tyne from the shelter of the Stell

 Ancient coppicing on the riverside path as we return to..
Falstone where we started 

 25th October 2015
Celebrating baptisms, weddings, confirmations and other special events in St Cuthbert's Bellingham  – past, present and future!  [See blog for 25th October on Home Page]

Sunday 20th September

Thanking God for Harvest



Saturday 5th September

started in St Cuthbert's church Elsdon with

"continental" breakfast at 8.30 a.m. 


Setting out from Elsdon

Our first view of St Cuthbert's Corsenside
(in the middle below the horizon behind the trees)

zooming in on the view above

wishing that there was a bridge over the Rede to take us direct to Corsenside  --  a future project!

St Cuthbert's Corsenside from the road between Elsdon and East Woodburn

It really is quite a long detour!

The welcome sight of Corsensiders opening the gate for us..

...and providing soap and water before lunch!

The altar frontal (depicting the otters who warmed St Cuthbert's feet) made by the boys of the Sunday School in the first year that we did this St Cuthbert's Festival walk

The Rede valley from the crag...

...where we re-told the story of Cuthbert's vision in the hills

Along the old railway towards Redesmouth

Lexie scales the ladder stile


Final prayers in St Cuthbert's Bellingham at 5.30 p.m.


4th May 2015

Bellingham Deanery welcomes pilgrims from Cuddesdon
7th - 14th April 2015

Commemoration of the start of World War 1

Bellingham on Sunday 7th September


Tableaux of the requisitioning of horses, recruitment of men and departure of troops from the station will re-create photographs taken by W.P.Collier in 1914





[See separate WW1 page]

St Cuthbert's Festival Walk 2014

About to set out after breakfast at St Cuthbert's Elsdon

Above Elsdon looking westwards
A pause for story-telling above a pool on the River Rede:
the story of Cuthbert, the eagle and the salmon, illustrating the justification for St Cuthbert's trust that God would provide.

At St Cuthbert's church Corsenside, God provides through the kindness of local people serving us drinks...

...and lunch (burgers and salad).

On to the crag between West Woodburn and Redesmouth

and a pause on the old bridge over the Rede

Finally visiting Cuddy's Well (St Cuthbert's Well)  before going into the church at Bellingham and accepting more hospitality in the shape of a very good tea!
 Bellingham Show 2014
A fine day for the Bellingham Show
Fancy dress for four-footed competitors:
these two are the Red Arrows display team!


Today's view from the Church stand
The Churches Together stand offering cool drinks and
a chance to sit down for a rest  --  as well as a prayer pool and
the request to "Name that foal!"
She was to become "Amazing Grace" ("Gracie" for short).
However, she couldn't be registered with Wetherbys in that name.  So she is now officially "Independent Star" (known as "Indie").
Thank you for 120 good suggestions!

Livestock: the real origin of the Show
Children on the climbing wall
Pipe band

The quad bikes set off on the
Inter-hunt Challenge
Quad bike picks up a rider

Riders take horses over fences...

... to the excitement of a large crowd.

The field begins to return to normal after volunteers have done a hard morning's clearing up

St Aidan's Club enjoy God's creation

Easter Gardens

Mothering Sunday

with refreshments made by Bellingham First School

Shrove Tuesday 2014
Mixing the batter, remembering that people used to finish up any eggs and milk before Lent, regarding them as luxuries that they would give up as part of the season of prayer and fasting.
Frying the pancakes

Washing up

Enjoying the feast before the Lenten fast.  We're going to try to be more disciplined over the things that we're tempted to be greedy about  (which includes chocolate and computer games).


Bellingham Christmas Tree Festival

Tarset Marmalade's orange tree and
Bellingham Community Orchard's apple tree


Greenhaugh First School snowmen and robins

Bellingham First School

Please don't eat the biscuits during the sermon!

Decorations by
 every child in the school

The Angel Gabriel lurking in the shadows

The Town Hall's decorations include the clock from the top of the building and the yellow and red pennants of the Northumbrian flag which always flies at the Town Hall

Bellingham Middle School

Happy at the end of the day's viewing
And cheerful (wooden)  snowmen at Evening Prayer
Upper RedesdaleShow
(28th September 2013
Sheep are central to the Show

Children's fruit and veg animals

Adult exhibits

Stick dressing entries

Lindisfarne Gospels (facsimile) display

at St Cuthbert's Bellingham

(Saturday 21st - Thursday 26th September)


War Memorial opposite the door on entering
Harvest decorations



A school visit

Beginning of St Matthew's Gospel

Carpet page before the beginning of St Luke's Gospel

Why has such a great artist-scribe left part of the word Quoniam undecorated?  Is it because he is so humble that he wants to show that only God can complete something to perfection?
Notice the wildcat at the bottom of the righthand margin  --  a famous part of the decorative design with much fine detail on a very small scale.

Dressed up as a monk

St Cuthbert's Festival Walk
(7th September 2013)
Telling the first story of St Cuthbert, the horse and the bread
as we leave Elsdon

The story of Cuthbert and the otters on the Rede bridge
at the boundary of Elsdon and Corsenside

Gathering for the story of Cuthbert's vision in the hills
as we pause between Corsenside and Bellingham
[photographs by Helen Adamson]

Bellingham Show
(31st August 2013)


Falstone Border Shepherds' Show
 (24th August 2013)
Getting down to the serious business

"That was quite satisfactory, don't you think?"

Glider looks around whilst Lancer relaxes

St Oswald's Pilgrimage
Hexham Abbey in the centre distance

Setting out from the Abbey
[photograph by Sheila Cameron]

Walking through Tyne Green, Hexham

towards Tyne bridge

...with a window depicting Oswald
in the centre

and on to the church of
St Oswald in Lee...

A pause for prayer in Acomb

Putting a dog on the lead above Acomb

and looking back down to Hexham in the valley

On past Fallowfield...

and here they come, toiling up the last hill


to Heavenfield and the view

towards the border


Elsdon Lindisfarne Gospels Flower Festival
The chancel of St Cuthbert's Elsdon

The story of the eagle catching a fish
for St Cuthbert and his young companion

A representation of
"Cuddy's duck"

close-up of the "nest"

St Cuthbert's Island

Spot the duck in a display on St Cuthbert, the conservationist Lindisfarne

Tide coming in on the causeway...

The story of the otter drying Cuthbert's feet on the seashore

A "carpet-page" from the Lindisfarne Gospels book

Lindisfarne laid waste by Viking invaders 

Cuddy's cave

Cuthbert's cross

Artwork of the Gospels


Pigments and paints


Bellingham DiamondOrchard picnic
Balloons are bigger than apples at the moment

but all the trees have survived their first winter

and the ground has been cleared enough for a picnic

The dancing dog is

the star of the show.

St Cuthbert's Strawberry Tea

West Woodburn dog show
Waggiest tail

Happiest dog?

The owner says "What? Us?" whilst the dog looks nonchalantly away: "It goes without saying"   (Best Six Legs)

Dog most like the owner (You can't see Zeb's clerical collar  --  or mine, come to that.)

Easter 2013

Raising the flag for Easter

Easter Garden

The bulbs open
Reminders of death and new life
in the light of the Resurrection

Bellingham Leek Show
8th-9th September 2012

Produce from Bellingham Middle School gardenng group

St Cuthbert's Festival Walk
1st September 2012

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee weekend
Bellingham Street Party
Words of welcome

Father says Grace
The Bellingham cake
The bring-and share Tea begins
Ready for what comes next
What comes next?   A wedding at Thorneyburn
Ready for after the service
Into St Aidan's
Ringing the bell
Relaxing after the service
The hoy oot

Sunday morning at St Cuthbert's Corsenside

 Only natural light in this church
The candle represents the life of the various groups and societies in the different parts of the parish,
East Woodburn, Ridsdale and West Woodburn.

Picnic under the Ten Commandments

Well wrapped up for the picnic
More sheltered inside
A DIAMOND is strong, multi-faceted,
long-lasting, precious, pure and sparkling.
Some of the vital facets that the Queen has
shown are                        duty and service,
                                       quiet constancy,
                 commitment and perseverance,
                                faith and faithfulness.
Much of this is unfashionable; but these qualities
can transform society, transform the world and
transform our lives as we reflect the light of
sacrifice and forgiveness that are central to the
Christian faith to which the Queen holds firmly.

Wearing the Coronation medal

After lunch on to West Woodburn
Not sure if this was a tribute or part of the village scarecrow competition
Near East Woodburn  --  definitely a scarecrow

So I moved on to Elsdon Green
where the Churchwarden was dressed for the occasion

as were others:

Preparing the ground for the planting

of the memorial tree
Diamond Jubilee Thanksgiving Service at Elsdon
The Jubilee Service of Thanksgiving
Too young to appreciate the presentation of his memorial mug?

Cakes at the Elsdon tea

I was too late to see the sports at Otterburn but enjoyed some more tea!

Monday 4th was a day-long peripatetic party (after I had conducted a wedding at Otterburn)

Up the North Tyne valley to Kielder and a barbecue

Children's activities in the marquee

A family enjoying the afternoon
 Down the valley to Falstone where the tea was in full swing
 and there was still plenty for all-comers
 The weather stayed fine right till the clearing up

and I moved on to Corsenside parish!
The parish tug-o-war at Ridsdale

between West Woodburn

and Ridsdale

A result!               
  Corsenside beacon to be lit across the valley on the hill opposite.

The children's turn

The ceilidh begins 

and continues until dusk and the lighting of the beacon

The beacon is lit across the valley

It was a twenty minute drive to reach the beacon which was still the size of  several giant straw bales

being guarded by the "Corsenside fusilliers" at 11.15 p.m.

And so to the last day of the celebrations, where Byrness had their party on Tuesday 5th June
Children's activities

Pinning the jewel on the crown

Dress the Queen



The races

The tea

The end

 Faith and the Future of the Countryside

DEANERY EVENT 2012: 27 April – 28 April 

Friday Evening Discussion  at Gunnerton
In the Deanery there are
nineteen churches, several of them listed and ancient. 
The total population at the last publicised census was about six and a half thousand. 
The area of the four benefices is hundreds of square miles.

          The many parishes cannot share practical resources or work closely together on a day to day basis.  So we looked (in 2008) at what we had in common and from that came our ongoing Tourists > Pilgrims programme..
          The “Eternal Horizons” leaflet was a simple start to this, a first step in enhancing the spiritual dimension of tourists’ visits to this area.  The follow-up church welcomes, prayer resources, parish trails, leaflets, histories etc are supposed to deepen the faith of churchgoers and their  knowledge of the faith as well as to draw other parishioners into involvement with the church.

          Now we are beginning to look at the countryside in which this our faith is played out.
          What are the major developments, problems, challenges, possibilities, issues, concerns in our local countryside at the moment?
          At this stage we are not concentrating on tourism; though it may be relevant to ask how some of the current developments affect them  --  and how their presence affects life here.  It is possible that some of the projects design to appeal to visitors and to attract them to come here may actually alter the  environment to which they are being attracted.
          It is the Church’s responsibility to minister to all who live and visit here.  We need to become more aware of what is going on, of changes that need our support or encouragement or intervention or lobbying or pastoral care or opposition or initiative or enabling or stimulating…..

…This is an open-ended exploration.

Susan Ramsaran
27th April 2012

Canon Dr Jill Hopkinson led a discussion setting the scene for our exploration of developments in this part of the country

Faith and the Future of the Countryside
The Church’s Response

DEANERY EVENT 2012: 27 April – 28 April

Friday Evening Discussion  at Gunnerton

(Page 1  on flipchart)

Good things about the area of the deanery

The people
Beautiful countryside
Straightforward and genuine communities not out to impress

Problems, challenges etc

families / carers
older couples
50 + men – social exclusion

8 First Schools
            One Middle School in the Deanery: most children have to go out of their own parish/community
Ø      upper school away / boarders
Ø      leads to a push to move away from area and from culture

no low cost (i.e. affordable) housing

must have a car

community benefit
good mental health

(Page 2  on flipchart)

Considerations and questions for our Saturday morning visits

Ø             Is the business profitable?
Ø      Does it serve the community?
Ø      Are the enterprises sustainable?

Ø      What is good about what you are doing?
Ø      What does the future look like?

Social impact
Ø      What does fair trade mean for our communities and farmers?
Ø      What does it mean for us?

Environmental impact
Ø      Altruism
Ø      What role does the church have?
Ø      What contribution can people of faith make?
Ø      Where is God in all of this?

What if we don’t do this?     What if we stop doing this?

(Page 3  on flipchart, arranging……)


Community Shop


Demesne Farm

Wind Turbines
Wannies Site
Elsdon Middle Hill site

Tower Knowe Visitor Centre       and  Falstone  Tea Room
(Page 4  on flipchart)

AGENDA FOR SATURDAY afternoon at Gunnerton

1. Feedback on visits
Ø      What key issues had emerged?
Ø      Learning from experience of Leader  (uplands)
Ø      What is responsible stewardship in our context?

2. What is the role of the church in response to these issues?

3. Questionnaires

4. Where do we go from here?

CHURCH RESPONSE      (page 9 on flipchart)

1. Supporting farming families, eg. FCN

2. Justice – supporting those without a voice

3. Church using renewables as an example to others

4. Cultural – lack of historic memory, especially of agriculture

5. Sustainability: economic obvious when out of balance, but social and environmental more difficult. Therefore need to have balance. Church has a lot to offer in addressing life balances

6. Integration between incomers and established community, leading to greater cohesion. Creative friction between the two will bring new life and growth in church and community

7. Fostering / enabling a creative atmosphere to get change / facilities commonly needed

8. Personal responsibility in terms of energy consumption / fuel use, etc.

9. Church should take a lead on:
-          agriculture – especially new entrants / young farmers
-          local housing (
-          local communities
-          rural health issues (FOBS)
(www. > RuSource)

10. Worship

11. Community development

12. Mission + evangelism


1. Use less energy ourselves

2. Checking actions of energy suppliers – ethical behavious

3. Paying comm. / individuals not to challenge

4. lanning gain for community?


Taking the lead in local communities by
-          commitments
-          enabling / encouraging
-          working partnership with others
-          finding out what is already happening
-          publicising
-          voices to be heard
-          good communication channels
-          establishing shared communication networks, e.g. email / Deanery website / news-board on Deanery website for new information, suggestions, possible partnerships, important community events, etc.


1. At Parish level:    Take the lead in enabling shared, corporate activity in whatever is the topical local issue of real importance.

2.  At Deanery/Diocesan level:  The re-instatement of real farm apprenticeships may be an issue that the wider Church needs to work for.

3. At individual level:    Take  personal responsibility in revising lifestyle e.g. consumption or environmental impact etc.  (relevant to greed, altruism etc)

These last three are our first Deanery priorities for action.

Remembrance Sunday 
13th November 2011

(The following pictues were taken by Neil Denham)

Opening of Tarset Community Orchard path
1st October 2011
Gathering at Greenhaugh

Setting off led by the piper
Up the new path

In the orchard
Tea on the hilltop
Cutting the apple pie

St Cuthbert's Festival
St Cuthbert's Festival took place over the weekend of 2nd-4th September.
Some pictures taken on                    ST CUTHBERT’S TRAIL
                    Elsdon  -  Corsenside  -  Bellingham
       St Cuthbert's Corsenside



  8.30 a.m.   Breakfast at St Cuthbert’s Elsdon

10.30 a.m.  Storytelling above salmon pool


                                                storytelling at East Woodburn  Bridge

12.00 noon – 2.00 p.m.  Barbecue at
                        St Cuthbert’s Corsenside
                stories of St Cuthbert & the animals;
                prayers and building of prayer cairn
                Water brought from Cuddy’s Well

   2.30 p.m.       storytelling at The Crag

                 St Cuthbert’s Bellingham