• A bit from me...
  • Calling the holy island region
  • Notice from the fireworks committee
  • Holy Island Archives - a reminder
  • Crossman Hall
  • Lindisfarne Castle
  • Whatever has happened to our Swallows?
  • Shorebird season: our first little Tern egg.
  • 'Dignation' aka Digventures
  • AONB - Beach Litter Survey
  • AONB - Capture the front cover image for the 2019 Visitor Guide
  • News from Ford & Etal
  • From the community of Aidan and Hilda
  • From our United Reformed Church minister 
  • St Mary's notices
maintaining a welcome
to Holy Island  village
A BIT FROM ME Geoff Porter

Dear Reader,

Welcome back to our newsletter after the August break. Of course, with many of our authors looking after the island's huge numbers of visitors it's not been a break for all of us....

St Coombs Farm: An apology to Alison who reminded me that the name of the farm at the bottom of our garden is St Coomb's and not St Combs. Her stall continues to supply the discerning visitor with oodles of delicious produce, grown on Holy Island - fruits of the year-round hard work by her and Nass. And if you visit her stall wish her well and let her know I said sorry....

Bonfire Night 2018: The Bonfire committee have asked to include their apologies as they will not be arranging any future public celebration for Guy Fawkes. Many of us regret this situation forced upon landowners through recent interpretation of legal liability law. The landowner (Holy Island Trust) asks that locals do not deposit rubbish for burning in the harbour area as there will not be a bonfire.

Holy Island Archive: A community has existed here since at least the Stone age. It has continued to live here for thousands of years influenced by the various European migrating tribes and occupations, throughout the rebirth of Christianity to modern times. In the same way that Lindisfarne and the names of our northern Saints have permeated the continents so have our kith and kin left their island and families to seek their future elsewhere in the world. From time-to-time we get an occasional email to let us know that they are touch. Local resident, John Bevan, has asked that I repeat his article on the island's archive room where he is 'Editor Holy Island Section' of the Islandshire Archives. He is looking forward to hearing from all who have links with Holy Island past.

Holy Island Times : As well as requesting articles from Islanders with family memories that will be lost if they are not recorded, we are also interested in recollections from visitors of an eventful visit? 

St Mary's Parish Church: the interregnum goes on. With the Parish Profile now submitted we wait news from Archdeacon Peter of hope for the future. At the 'coal face' our churchwardens and locum priests continue to ensure that St Mary's remains open.

Island Picture by Paul Armstrong

Island Picture: Thank you to Paul Armstrong for sending in a lovely Island picture to enhance the slide show on our website home page. Our galleries link to where, in addition to our own we host examples of the work of island residents Emma Rothera (professional photographer) and Paul's drone gallery. Paul works at 'The Ship' where we had a memorable evening last Friday. As well as tasty food I particularly recommend a pint from their new 'Cheviot Brewery' pump and a glass (or maybe a bottle!) of incredibly-flavoured Gin manufactured on the premises.

Thank you to the many readers who have written with words of encouragement. I include one, from Australia, specifically hoping to trace any relative who might be still living s in our area. If you have information please contact me.

I am delighted to announce that all our regular authors have made the time to write this month and are publishing on St Aidan's day. And I am reminded that our next bank holiday it will be Christmas!

We hope you enjoy the fruit of our labours this month and look forward to getting in touch again in October.

Geoff Porter
Editor (SitEzine)


Hello Geoff,

As a subscriber to Enzine I'm wondering if you can help, when you get time or have somebody over there help me.

My name is Clive Pattie, live in Melbourne Australia but am interested in finding more on my paternal side & in fact if I have relatives still living or buried either on Holy Island or in the mainland village of Lowick which I believe is not far inland.

My family came to Australia in the early to mid 1800's. Below is what I do know from records I have been able to find.

Birth: July 5 1846 - Holy Island, Northumberland, UK
Death: Feb 7 1917 - Talbot, Vic, Aust
Parents: James PATTIE, Grace PATTIE (born HORNE)

Great-grandfather's uncle
Birth: Circa 1828
Parents: James PATTIE, Jane PATTIE (born CURL)

I believe that my Great Great G'parents, James & Grace, lived in Lowick. They were married in Bethel Chapel close to Lowick.

I have no idea of what became of John Pattie or his family whether they came to Australia or not.

Geoff, I'm hoping I still, after all this time, still have family in Northumberland and I'd dearly love if someone can give me an address if still standing where James & Grace lived in Lowick.

The Pattie's after coming to Australia lived in Ballarat in the Gold Rush days & I believe James senior was a lay preacher on the goldfields. They were miners in the U.K.  Why James 2 was born on Holy Island is confusing as his parents lived in Lowick.

Other children of James & Grace were Isabella & Elizabeth to the best of my knowledge.

Anything you or anyone else could do to help would be greatly appreciated & feel free to pass on my email address

Sincerely & fraternally

Clive Pattie J.P.


We are writing to inform you all that as of 9th August 2018 onward we will be stepping down from organizing the fireworks display. Due to concerns raised about liability we regrettably cannot do this without further support. We have explored all avenues and unfortunately there is no way around this. We understand that most of you will be disappointed, but would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support over the past years.

Rob Massey, Sarah Massey, Stuart Johnson, Ashleigh Clarke-Johnson, Charlette Rodgers and Jonny Gray.

HOLY ISLAND ARCHIVE - a reminder John Bevan

The Reading Room is currently being upgraded to incorporate an Archive Room in addition to its traditional function. The work will be completed this summer and further information will be available then.

Alongside this project an On-Line Archive is also being created with the intention of making available a wide range of information concerning the Island and the history of its community and of the adjoining mainland.

The site is due to go live by the end of June and can be accessed at where the very first articles can be seen. These will be added to on a regular basis in the future and to help to build up the Archive we welcome contributions from Islanders and friends of the Island who may have interesting facts of their lives, their visits to and memories of the Island and who may have photographs they are prepared to share with the Archive.

For more information on how to contribute information email

John Bevan
Editor Holy Island Section


It has been an active month or two with the hall being used on several occasions by Youth Groups for exercise activities and am dram rehearsals. We have provided facilities for a range of different denominational Pilgrimages, including a first visit from a West African Church Group based on Tyneside.

The two traditional Musical Evenings were a great success. Pipes & Fiddles played in-front of a combined audience of almost 200 and their folk evenings were well received by Folk Music enthusiasts.

You will recall that last month we appealed for Volunteers to help provide goodies for the sandwich and sticky bun table and for volunteers to help man the food tables, bric-a-brac, tombola and raffle stalls, as well as appealing for prizes.

Well the Ladies of the Village surpassed themselves. The hall was packed out with a huge range of prizes for the Raffle and Tombola and most important of all, the event was well attended and a huge sum 1,400 was raised for the Berwick upon Tweed based Charity 'Cancer Cars'. Once again the Island Community came together and successfully raised funds to help this vital Charity continue its good work.

A special thanks to the Boys from the SVP Camp who boosted funds by spending their pocket money at this special charity event. WELL DONE ALL.

NB This charity provides car transport for those with cancer attending Treatment Centres in Edinburgh, on Tyneside and in the Borders. More information:

Festival of Archaeology The next big event in the hall will be the DigNation archaeology festival, Saturday 22 & Sunday 23 September 2018, when the Hall accommodates DigVentures festival of archaeology hosted by Sir Tony Robinson. The weekend celebrates the work of Late Professor Mick Aston who helped prove archaeology can be exciting with a wide appeal as shown by Time Team and other programs. Themes to be covered over the weekend are; Monastic Archaeology, Medieval Settlements, Landscape and Public Archaeology.

All tickets have been sold, but the weekend will live stream from the Village Hall. All lectures, live updates from the dig in the Sanctuary Close, podcasts and other footage will be available on-line.  Our IT Consultant, Mikael Vrieling van Tuijl, also known as Mikey, will sort out our system together with the Technicians from the Maltings. Residents are very welcome visit the Fringe events around the town and pop down to the dig. For more information see DigVentures Festival web site.

Rainwater drain from Hall to main sewer the job is done, yes truly the job is done. The work was all done and dusted in less than a week, not like the near two year struggle we had to obtain the Legal Easement!

That's it for now.

David O'


My confidence last month regarding the scaffolding coming down has once again been proved to be misplaced as at the time of writing there is still a substantial structure looming on the north slope of Beblowe Crag. As I type the eastern end of the north scaffold is coming down, but the larger section to the centre and west remains.

Having said that this isn't due to anything other than caution and a desire to do the job properly and, importantly, once! If the architects identify defects in the work then we are surely correct to leave the scaffold up while the work is done, rather than leave it for a future project or do the work via rope access. This hasn't been an issue with any other part of the job - for example defects on the Lower or Upper Battery elevations did not affect scaffolding programmes as remedial work could be done with ladders or a scaffold tower. However with the north side being so inaccessible we have to be 100% confident in the work before dismantling the scaffold. As I have been saying throughout this job; we want to do whatever needs to be done now and not miss anything - there won't be anything like this happening here for a long time!

Some of the final touches being carried out involve slight changes to drainage routes (so leadwork and stonework need to be modified) and repairs to the pantile roof on the north side.

One area which has been totally completed in the last few weeks is the Upper Battery, which had its white tent removed and scaffold dismantled in early July and Datim have just finished relaying and pointing the last of the replacement flagstones. It is a huge boost to the visitors to have the Battery back as not only is it a wonderful viewpoint but it also relieves pressure on the rooms inside, which are cosy at the best of times, but without the 'overspill' area of the Battery have been tight at times. The removal of the Upper Battery scaffold and covering has also brightened the rooms up a lot by allowing natural light in, and we can now open windows and get fresh air in, alleviating some of the humidity problems being stuck inside what was effectively a marquee can bring.

Despite all this the visitors have continued to come and see us, with numbers being about where we would expect them to be. The art installation has of course had a mixed reaction (as art installations tend to) but it has certainly got people talking. Most are interested in what work has been done here and they can learn more in the West Bedroom we have a small display and a video running. We have just started doing regular history talks during the day on the Lower Battery which is proving popular, and fills some of the gap left by the collection being in storage - I had the office window open the other day and heard a hearty round of applause at the end of one talk - don't remember getting applause when I used to do them!

I'm still on parental leave officially but am keeping in touch by coming in one day a week until the end of September, so apologies if you have been waiting to hear from me or wondering where on earth I've disappeared to. I'm looking forward to getting back to normal but still making the most of the family time.

Lindisfarne Castle @NTLindisfarne
01289 389244 (press 1, then 1903)


Right through the summer, many people have been commenting on a general shortage of Swallows around the village and island with pairs missing from some regular breeding sites.

The reason is simply that far fewer birds than normal managed to reach us during spring with bad weather probably the main cause.

Our Swallows start to leave their wintering areas in South Africa in late February and March and face an epic 9,000-mile journey back to their breeding sites in Britain and Europe.  They face numerous hazards along the way from predators and starvation but principally from weather conditions.

After feeding up on the abundant insects of central and West Africa, the vast majority of Swallows have to cross the Sahara Desert, one of the world's greatest physical obstacles. With very little food or water available there they face a race against time and conditions to reach the Mediterranean where they can re-fuel for their onwards migration to reach us during April and May. Birds must be in peak physical condition to endure the desert crossing.

Tragically, during March there were widespread reports of sandstorms covering huge areas of the Sahara.  Winds were severe enough to carry sand right across the Mediterranean and into Europe and southern Russia where ski slopes were left with a yellow and orange coating.

For Swallows, probably already tired and hungry, the storms must have been an absolute disaster. Countless numbers appear to have perished leaving only the fittest or perhaps luckiest to complete their journey.

The Swallows which did arrive on the island were generally a week or so later than usual and the numbers involved were certainly low. The result was that far fewer pairs have occupied even the prime breeding sites around the island.

Swallows at St Coombs Farm

This just wasn't a local problem with widespread reports of similar situations right across the country and across Western Europe. 

On the island, the shortage was noticed at the beach where lower numbers than usual occupied the fishermen's sheds and other spots where three or four pairs would normally be present have attracted only one or two. I reckon that across the island numbers are down by half.

Fortunately, those which have bred have done well.  I've come across some really healthy broods of up to five youngsters. The hot settled and dry weather of June and July certainly produced an abundance of flies and other insects, as most people plagued by them in their homes will know.

This meant that there were very few casualties among the broods compared with previous summers, particularly last year, where there were widespread deaths due to starvation during a period of  unseasonally cold  northerly weather during late June.

The first fledged broods were around the village by mid-June and some pairs then went on to lay second clutches which hatched during July and August. So despite everything, the pairs which did make it have had a very successful season.

Swallow populations do fluctuate. Swallows are one of our few long-distance migrants to display a positive trajectory with numbers increasing by 50% between the mid-1980s and 2010. However, since then there has been a change in fortunes with numbers dropping sharply with some poor breeding seasons and weather and food problems during migration.

But they are a robust species and all they need are a few good breeding and migration seasons to boost the population again.

While Swallows have been fewer than normal the same can't be said for their close relatives, House Martins. We know a lot about Swallows and their migration strategies but much less about the martins. Although they are a very common summer visitor, there is still even uncertainty about where they winter in Africa and about the migration routes they follow. Because of the construction of their mud nests with a very small entrance hole, it's impossible to safely reach their young so very few have been ringed, the usual method of  tracing their movements.

This year there seem to be more than ever around the village and for the second year running a few pairs have nested on the cliffs at Coves Haven, their only known natural nesting site in Northumberland. I checked out the cliff during July and August and found two pairs still feeding broods of large young which were literally hanging out of their mud nests high under sheltering overhangs. Other pairs had already fledged their broods.


It may come as a surprise to the reader to learn that there is a Duke of Berwick ; more surprising, maybe, that the title is held by a Spanish nobleman, the 19th Duke of Alba ; more surprising still, that the Duke of Alba's family name is FitzJames Stuart. Funny name for a Grandee of Spain, you may think. Well, thereby hangs a tale.

The first Duke of Berwick, as he was later to become, was born on the 21 August 1670. He was the natural son of James Stuart, Duke of York, younger brother to Charles II, and afterwards James II of England. His mother was Arabella Churchill, daughter of (an earlier) Sir Winston Churchill and sister to John Churchill, our greatest general ever, later created Duke of Marlborough.

James did right by the lad, having him properly educated in France ; when he was 16 James created him Baron Bosworth, Earl of Tynemouth and Duke of Berwick. The young man took up a military career joining the Imperial armies and campaigning against the Turks in Hungary.

After the 'Glorious Revolution' of 1688 William of Orange became King of England ; James II decamped to France and lived out the remainder of his life in exile. Berwick, perforce, continued his military career in France and Spain. He did plenty of active soldiering during the War of the Spanish Succession. He and his uncle, the Duke of Marlborough, were on opposite sides in that conflict, though in different theatres of war. He became, in time, both a Marshal of France and a Grandee of Spain.

The FitzJames Stuart line, and the Berwick title passed down the centuries through the original Duke's descendants. Early in the 19th century the FitzJames Stuart family acquired the titles and lands of the Dukes of Alba. The direct Alba line had died out. For want of direct descendants, the Dukedom passed to a more distant family connection, Carlos Miguel FitzJames Stuart, Duke of Berwick. He became the 14th Duke of Alba.  His line continues to this day. The reader may recollect Cayetana, the 18th Duchess a colourful and much married lady.Her family lands were so vast that it was said she could have walked the length of Spain without having to tread on any land other than her own.

As appears from the above, the Dukes of Alba and Berwick are, however distantly, related to the family of the Churchills. The 17th Duke, father of Cayetana, was the Ambassador of Spain here, during World War II. Thus it was that Winston Churchill, Prime Minister, would refer to him as 'my cousin'.


Breeding success for Little Terns on Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve

Thursday 9th August saw the last 2 of our 17 little tern juveniles fledge. This season has been a great success for these small but mighty birds, who have overcome so much to reproduce. Little terns are the second rarest shorebird in the UK and the additional 17 birds are the only fledglings between Aberdeen and Norfolk. So many rangers, across a great many sites throughout the UK work tirelessly to protect these birds. On sites or during seasons when little or no success is realised, those who have endeavored to support the birds are left feeling deflated; yet every year they begin again with renewed hope.

Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve's Ceris Aston reflects on her first shorebird season:

It is the end of shorebird season. The signs and fences have been removed, the netting rolled up, our small warden's hut taken away - and we look out upon just another stretch of beach, indistinguishable from that 100 metres to the north or to the south. For the past three months, this small area of dune, sand and sea has been the centre of our hopes, thoughts and fears - or one of the centres, for this season we protected five nesting sites for little terns and ringed plovers. Both species have seen declines in their breeding population in the UK, with a major factor being human and dog disturbance. Happily, efforts of reserve staff and volunteers, and the co-operation of walkers, have enabled these charismatic birds a small window of space and time to court, lay eggs, and rear chicks and fledglings.

We fenced off areas of the shore across the reserve, chatting to locals and holidaymakers about the birds and the reasons for access restrictions. Look - we pointed - those are little terns! The UK's second rarest nesting seabird. People squinted hopefully into the sky. Occasionally a little tern would oblige, fly near enough to point out the sand eel hanging from its bill. More often, they were visible only as a white dot on the sand or in the sky.

We proffered binoculars. Some were fascinated; delighted to watch as a little tern fished in one of the tidal lagoons. Others were harder to convince of the need to close off areas of beach. Yet we feel we must do what we can to protect these tenacious creatures, who travel so far to breed - from West Africa to Northumberland - and whose decline is attributable to changing human behaviour. There are so many more of us, for one thing - and fewer and fewer remote spots for these birds to safely breed. Some things we can't change - the weather, for one; Storm Hector hit the little terns hard with both sand-blow and flooding. The tides - with tide tables and surge charts anxiously scanned. Aerial predation of chicks by gulls, kestrel and crows, whose presence we noted but could not alter. But we can speak to people - show them the nesting sites - try to share what it is we find so special about these birds.

It's hard to describe what it has been like here. This patch of sand and sea rocket, fenced off by yellow netting, bordered by the sea. Those small grey-white terns - a black cap raised briefly from a scrape. Those sand-coloured chicks against sand, so still and then suddenly frantically flapping for food. The ringed plovers, such loyal, concerned parents, and their chicks like fast-moving pom-poms on stilts. The sites have seen some high drama. Fish-waggling courtship, love triangles, high-speed aerial battles, tempests, flooding, mortal peril. Shakespeare couldn't write it better.

Our little terns will soon farewell the Northumberland coast, making their way back towards West Africa for the winter. With the adults will fly an additional 17 juveniles, making the journey for the first time. The ringed plovers may move south or choose to overwinter here - but they too have grown in number; with new fluffy pom-poms becoming doughty fledglings. This is what we have been working towards.

It's a strange feeling; the end of shorebird season. Our gaze, so tuned in to these small areas of beach, expands - the reserve has 3,500 hectares, covers 65km of coastline. Soon the geese and waders will come to overwinter here - 50,000 migratory wildfowl will fill the reserve. We stack the fence poles in the reserve yard, untangle the netting and roll it up neatly. Some will be used this autumn, as we graze the dunes with sheep leased from a local farmer. We empty sand from our pockets and our shoes; look forward to the next chapter of life on the reserve.Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve is situated on the North Northumberland coast and includes not only the Holy Island of Lindisfarne but 3500 hectares covering 65km of coastline. It is managed by Natural England. Our work with shorebirds is powered by both staff and volunteers and is part of The Little Tern Recovery Project - this work is part funded by the EU Life+ Nature Programme. If you are interested in volunteering on this or other projects on the reserve, please contact Annie Ivison at or on 01289 381470.

Ceris Aston
NNR Apprentice, Beal Station

Ed: Little terns are a schedule one species and may only be photographed by those with a license to do so. We are please to repeat this picture and note that NNR have given permission for us to use this copyrighted photograph by Kevin Simmonds.

'DIGNATION' aka DIGVENTURES Lisa Westcott Wilkins
'Sanctuary Close' Activities from Dr D A Petts 2017 report

22nd - 23rd September 2018

This September, DigVentures and Durham University are returning to Holy Island to continue searching for evidence of the original Anglo-Saxon monastery.

At the end of the two-week excavation (4th - 19th September 2018), DigVentures will be hosting the world's first archaeology festival in honour of the much-loved Time Team archaeologist Mick Aston.

Taking place at the Crossman Hall, the festival has been crowdfunded by Time Team fans from all over the world, and will comprise a weekend of talks by well-known archaeologists and historians, as well as family-friendly 'Fringe' events.

Fringe events will include archaeology demonstrations, historically-themed stand-up comedy, and opportunities to meet the Festival speakers, with food and drinks being provided by a number of Holy Island businesses.

Managing Director
Skype: digventures
M +44 (0)7787188184
T +44 0333 011 3990


Nearly done and dusted!
Volunteers needed to bring year-long litter survey to an end

Volunteers surveying beach litter at Berwick-upon-Tweed Photo: Anna Chouler

A year-long survey of litter on beaches within the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) will be completed by volunteers taking part in this year's Great British Beach Clean.

The volunteering initiative - Coast Care - has recruited a small army of volunteers who have been out counting and recording every single piece of litter they have found over the last year. The final survey takes place over the weekend of 14th-17th September to coincide with the Great British Beach Clean and with 18 beaches to survey in four days, Coast Care needs more volunteers to take part.

Laura Shearer and Anna Chouler from Coast Care have organised the surveys and Laura said "The Great British Beach Clean weekend is the ideal event to collect the last data and bring the survey period to a close. The data will be analysed and compare to a similar survey in 2007 which will provide an insight into how the composition and amount of litter has changed.

"A report will be produced which will provide us with the data we need to target litter at source rather than waiting until it hits the beach before we do anything about it."

Community Foundation, serving Tyne Wear and Northumberland have provided funding for the project through their LEAF programme. Newcastle-based law firm Muckle LLP have supported LEAF and specifically this project.

Andrew Davison OBE from Muckle LLP said "Litter on beaches is a growing problem across the globe and the North East is no exception.
"This volunteering initiative not only helps clean our beaches today but the report findings will help to ensure they will be cleaner in the future and will be very valuable for activists and decision makers alike.

"We are very pleased as a local business to have been able to support it."

450 volunteers have contributed over 1500 hours of time so far, cleaning beaches and completing surveys and they will be rewarded with a beach BBQ at the end of the project.

With 18 clean-ups planned between Berwick and Low Hauxley, Coast Care is urging people to come along and help at events across the weekend. Information about each event can be found below with more information at or you can search and book onto your local event at

For further information please call Iain Riddell, Communications and Engagement Officer
Phone 0191 222 0945, or email

ED NOTE: For The Holy Island of Lindisfarne:
Lindisfarne Headland- Run by National Trust
Date & time: Friday, 14 September 2018 - 11:00am - 1:00pm
Meeting location: Lindisfarne castle entrance gate.
Current a list of events see:


Capture the front cover image for the 2019 Visitor Guide

The Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) are once again holding a competition to find an image for the cover of their 2019 Visitor Guide.

Photos submitted can be of virtually anything, but to be eligible, the photo must have been taken within the Northumberland Coast AONB in 2018. The closing date for entries is Friday 19th October 2018.

The winner will not only see their image on the front cover of 50,000 copies of the guide, but also receive a voucher for 150 to spend at Stait Photo of Morpeth and Hexham, who are once again sponsoring the competition. The runners-up will receive a canvas print of their image. Ken Stait will be acting as one of the judges.

Jane Coltman, Image Manager for Johnston Press Northumberland titles is also a judge. She said: "It is always a pleasure to look at the pictures and discover the photographic talents of people who love the Northumberland Coast as much as we do". 

Last year's winning entry was taken by Ben Wayman, a photographer who lives in Newcastle. Ben explained how his shot captured the beauty of the landscape saying: "As a change from my usual Northumberland woodland or hill walk, I decided to head up the coast. I was familiar with the great sweeping beaches but thought I'd head to Holy Island/Lindisfarne early to watch the sunrise. Luckily, the clouds began to break up and the Sun burst through, lighting up the island. What better way to begin your day? We are so very lucky to have such a beautiful landscape on our doorstep; if we deserve to have it, then it serves to be looked after and cherished"?.

Images need to be submitted in an electronic format and be of a high enough resolution to  be used on the cover of the guide. More advice, previous visitor guide covers and the full set of rules are on the latest blog on the AONB website. 

Catherine Gray
Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership
01670 622644,

NEWS FROM FORD & ETAL Elspeth Gilliland

New Micro Brewery

The newly formed Cheviot Brewery moved into the former North Northumberland Hunt kennels, on Ford & Etal Estates, earlier this year and, after a lengthy period of renovation, the brewery is now fully operational.

The team behind the brewery are all united by a passion for good beer and rambling through breath-taking scenery, so their base in the shadow of the Cheviot Hills is the perfect location from which to create their ales - all of which are inspired by the landscape of this part of Northumberland.

With a production facility able to produce over 2000 pints in every brew, Cheviot Brewery is now supplying its cask ales to pubs and restaurants across the North East, Cumbria, Yorkshire and the Scottish Borders and are also looking to support local events and markets in Northumberland. For more information contact Peter Nash, Director of Sales on  07778 478 943 or email

September Dates - As Autumn approaches there are still lots of events at Ford & Etal:

2nd September: Etal Show - over 170 classes; music; foodie stalls; bar; 'have a go' dog agility; kids rides, free face painting.  Gates open at 12 noon.  Adults 4.00, children and parking free.

8th, 9th & 15th September: Heritage Open Days at the Lady Waterford Hall.  The HODS theme 'extraordinary women' fits perfectly with the celebrations marking 200 years since the birth of Ford's extraordinary woman, Louisa Waterford.  Exhibitions, talks and tours.  Free admission (donations welcome). 

15th September:  Live Music at Etal Village Hall with Anthony John Clark. Doors open at 7.30pm, music starts at 8.00pm.  Tickets 12.00 - please book and pay for tickets in advance.  Contact Tel 01890 820566

23rd September: Flour Festival, Heatherslaw Corn mill.  A brand new festival at Heatherslaw Miill, celebrating all things floury! Classes, competitions and activities throughout the day, with free entry into the mill (donations welcome). See  for full details.

29th & 30th September: Looking Back, Hay Farm Heavy Horse Festival Looking back at  how life was in the era of the working horse, visitors are able to watch horses and vintage tractors at work, learn about old working skills, and visit the indoor market where there is a range of local food produce and crafts on offer.

For more information go to or find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - - Phone: 01890 820338


In the summer I escorted Canadian Community of Aidan and Hilda members around the island's   Lindisfarne Centre. When they saw the large depiction of birds from the Lindisfarne Gospels one of them said 'That's just like Canada's First Nation art.'

I also accompanied Swedish pilgrims who had completed Saint Cuthbert's Way. They informed me of a recent archeological find which has led Swedes to change their views as to how Christianity reached their country. They had previously thought that (apart from a temporary work of Anskar in the 9th century) Christianity did not take root until the 11th century and came from the east.  But recent excavations at Kata Farm in Varnhem led to a change in accepted Swedish history, since it proves that Varnhem became Christian one century earlier than the rest of Sweden. The pilgrims assume that Christianity here was brought to them from the west, perhaps from a place such as Lindisfarne, if Vikings returned there with Christian women and slave monks. See

Towards the end of August I led an Aidan and Hilda Studies Week.  On August 25 Saint Hilda was placed in a shrine at York; on August 31 Aidan died.  This year we learned about people they met or influenced

One of these was Oswald. On Saint Oswald's Day I preached at St. Aidan's Church, Bamburgh, and reflected on the great mentoring he must have received among the Irish Christians who gave him (with his family) refuge from the age of twelve. He grew outstandingly physically, mentally and spiritually. Dr. Frank Lake suggested that good adolescent formation can be likened to an upright chair with four legs. The four legs are trust, autonomy, initiative and industry. The seat is identity and the back is intimacy.  Only when a person develops all those things can weight be put upon them. Oswald developed all those qualities.

Ray Simpson
Founding Guardian, The international Community of Aidan and Hilda


I suspect that I am not alone in finding that August on Holy Island has passed by in a bit of a blur.  Every day has brought interactions with visitors who come here for many different reasons.  At St Cuthbert's I have hosted exhibitions which have provoked diverse conversations, welcomed many groups from home and abroad, and been alongside guests on individual retreat in our Bothy.

Some of my interactions aren't face to face ones; we have many requests for prayer made every day and, when there isn't an exhibition on, many people sign our visitors book commenting on the peace of St Cuthbert's.

This experience of interacting with visitors is replicated, one way or another, in all of the churches, shops and businesses on the Island, and in the midst of serving others, there is also still time to keep up the interactions with our neighbours.

That is quite a volume of conversation for one small island !  Sometimes it can feel that with so many different stories and needs, our personal ones are insignificant or invisible.  A prayer request we received in a child's handwriting expresses something of that - they wrote 'I love you God and Jesus. Can you see me ?'

The Bible assures us that we are all uniquely precious to God; there is no hierarchy in divine love, with some being more worthy to receive it than others.  In all the changing seasons of life God sees each one of us, and our needs, and also sees the way in which through our interactions we serve and help others.  And I think that makes God smile.

Rev Rachel Poolman
St Cuthbert's Centre



  Pattern of worship for Sundays
8am Holy Communion (BCP) 
10.45am Parish Eucharist 
5.30pm Evensong
Pattern of worship for Weekdays
(Monday - Saturday)
Morning Prayer 7.30am
Holy Communion 8am
Evening Prayer 5.30pm

please check notice board in church porch in the event of a late revision




meet our hospice team