• A bit from me...
  • Our next Vicar of Holy Island
  • Notice from the Fireworks Committee
  • Sorry no bonfires on Trust Land
  • Readers' Letters
  • Crossman Hall
  • Lindisfarne Castle
  • Return of the Brent Geese heralds Autumn
  • Natural England - Lindisfarne NNR
  • Northumberland Coast AONB
  • News from Ford & Etal
  • From the Community of Aidan and Hilda
  • St Mary's notices
Holy Island welcomes regular birdwatcher, Iain
A BIT FROM ME Geoff Porter

Dear Reader,

We welcome all our readers to the October edition of our newsletter and are delighted to announce that we are expecting the appointment of the new 'Vicar of Holy Island' early in the forthcoming New Year.

Those who have worshiped with us in the period following Paul's retirement will have noticed various several locum Priests who have come to our aid under our Archdeacon's watchful eye. Those familiar with the running of a busy church during an interregnum will appreciate that this is only the tip of an iceberg beneath which the churchwarden team are furiously paddling to keep St Mary's afloat. We are grateful for the continuing off-island help and give particular thanks to the inner PCC team without whom the church doors would never open.

And when visiting our church, you may well have noticed that memorial to a long past son of Holy Island - a grim reminder of that 'war to end all wars'. We remembered one of the Island's young soldiers, James B. Patterson, on his birthday. Next month we shall be thinking of the centenary of the end of the war of 1914 -1918. Previous residents: please send in any thoughts or family memories you would like to share with us.

Those who visited the island on the 19th September will have had their dreams of an idyllic island shattered by one of the strongest Autumn gales we have witnessed in recent years - the island went off until almost midnight! I was amongst traffic being forced into single file as the winds screamed and fought to prevent the tide ebbing from the causeway. N.B. Residents still await the council returning to complete the improvements to the causeway which they began (and ended!) in October 2016.

'Causeway Improvements  ceased in October 2016'

For yet another year I am reminded: Please beware that as the tide opens Holy Island Causeway and Coast Road can be littered with all types of flotsam as well as seals, sharp stones and potholes. During poor weather conditions it can become a perilous place. Be vigilant of other road users who may not be so wary as you - particularly cyclists and walkers. That puddle you decide to speed through, not only might it drench other road users with salt-water - but it might be disguising  a pothole waiting to damage your vehicle's suspension...

'Guy Fawkes Night': For our international readers: 5th November is when the nation remembers Guy Fawkes and those who plotted to blow-up King James and the Houses of Parliament in 1605. Sentenced for treason, Fawkes threw himself from the gallows to avoid the 'unpleasantness' of full punishment - 'hanged, drawn and quartered'. It is traditionally remembered by burning a straw effigy on a bonfire after children have used the dummy to collect money (for fireworks) using the call, "Penny for the Guy". Whilst individual island families might celebrate privately the community has traditionally come together having built a huge, communal bonfire at the harbour. A coffee morning might have been held to enable a large stock of fireworks which would be set off at a safe distance - usually by one of the fishermen. Last year it seemed that many traditional bonfire celebrations had been closed down in surrounding regions, possibly due to recent interpretations of health&safety and public liability insurance. Our Parish Council and the owner of the land were advised to investigate their public liability risk. As a consequence the landowner is unable to permit bonfires on their land and are notifying all who visit against the tipping of rubbish. We also re-publish the article from the Fireworks Committee cancelling the display.

Very many readers know us as an International centre of pilgrimage and so I regret we are again without a voice from the island's churches this month. But we do have very much still to offer with articles on the island's community, heritage, birdlife, natural history, coastal region, nearby Ford and Etal estates as well as from Ray who continues to write on behalf of the island's Christian retreat house. And, dear reader, we share with you a couple of readers' letters from Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) and USA.

We hope you enjoy our October newsletter and look forward to getting in touch again in November.

Geoff Porter
Editor (SitEzine)

St.Mary's awaits the next 'Vicar of Holy Island'

The Bishop of Newcastle is delighted to announce the appointment of the Reverend Canon Dr Sarah Hills as the next Vicar of Holy Island.

Sarah is currently serving as the Canon for Reconciliation Ministry at Coventry Cathedral and leads a global network of two hundred partner  organisations which are inspired by the story and spirit of Coventry Cathedral and committed to working for reconciliation and peace worldwide.

We are planning for Sarah's collation and induction early in 2019 and will announce the plans soon.

Sarah has written:

"I am honoured and delighted to be coming to serve the parish of Holy Island and the wider community.

My family and I are very much looking forward to being with you.

I would be grateful for your prayers for us all during this time of transition.

With every blessing

This announcement of our new Vicar is subject to the completion of the legal formalities.

The Parochial Church Council
St Mary's - Holy Island


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.


Over the last 6 months Holy Island of Lindisfarne Community Development Trust has been working with the Parish Council and the small, volunteer fireworks committee to find a way to ensure that the annual Bonfire Night celebration can take place.

The Trust owns the land around the harbour where the Guy Fawkes bonfires have traditionally been built. The Development Trust is a charity and so its Trustees are ultimately responsible for the safety of the event and any liabilities arising. This means that detailed safety plans for the event have to be approved by the police, fire service and local authority before the Development Trust can give permission and secure insurance cover for the event. Unfortunately the requirements are quite detailed, time consuming and expensive to implement. The volunteer fireworks committee has decided it cannot meet all these requirements - neither can the Development Trust trustees. Therefore, it is with regret that the Development Trust cannot give permission for the bonfire to go ahead this year. Trustees politely request that people do not place any material at the harbour for the bonfire as this will be viewed as fly tipping.

The Trustees
The Holy Island of Lindisfarne Community Development Trust


Dear Editor,

I thought I read in the latest Sitezine a request for people to give feedback on their visits to Holy Island. A search did not uncover this request, but I have gone ahead anyway. If you print it, please edit!

I am a member of the Third Order of St Francis. In 2005, when I visited Lindisfarne, I was living in Harare. From time to time, friars of the Society of St Francis used to visit Zimbabwe, and often stayed a night or two with us. In this way I got to know the late Brother Damian SSF. A friend joined The Community of Aidan and Hilda, led by Ray Simpson, and she and her husband visited Holy Island. This spurred me to add to my knowledge of Celtic Christianity, which I had discovered in theological training, and which had captured my interest. My two sons were both living in England. I took a month's leave in July 2005, and spent it in the UK, visiting family and friends, and I spent three nights at the rectory on Holy Island, when Brother Damian was the Rector of St Mary's Church.

My visit to Holy Island was a pilgrimage, treading in the steps of the great saints. Aidan came from Iona and started the first monastery on Lindisfarne, which became the springboard of a great missionary outreach to England and the Continent. In St Mary's Church there was a list of bishops and priests headed by Aidan, and including Br Damian. What a privilege to worship between those walls. I spent several days wandering around the island, which truly is a thin place connecting heaven and earth. I had hoped to meet Ray Simpson but he was away. I loved the island, of which every grain of sand, every pebble, and every grass-blade seemed imbued with holiness. I loved the birds and the seals and their song, and I circumnavigated the whole coast. I also loved what people have made of it: the castle (which I could not enter), the village, the shops and the fishermen's boats upended near the harbour. I contemplated Cuthbert's island, and gazed across to Bamburgh and the Farnes. And I loved the Causeway, periodically cutting us off from the mainland, a reminder that the ocean rules. There is a danger of romanticising the island. Ordinary people are living there, and the past has seen dark deeds. Our Saviour did not spurn the ugliness of humanity, but he transformed it. I thought that living on Lindisfarne was a wonderful privilege. So was my brief stay.

Here is what I remember about my visit to Holy Island, thirteen years later. Another visit is on my bucket list, plus a visit to Iona. And thank you for the Sitezine, which always brings back good memories.

David Bertram.

Hello, all!!

Thank you editor for sending me your bulletin!!  As you probably know, we have have had abt 3 months of fires, heat, dryness, etc. etc.  Thank the Good Lord it has cooled off to a mild lower 90s to high 80s.  This smoke and soot, fires, have been so hard on the birds this season.  My "Mrs. Bird" has not been back at all; my hummingbirds that nest in my bottle brush plant at the front of the house has survived beautifully!!  For days we woke up with white soot flakes on the driveways and actually had to wear nose masks for a couple of weeks IF we wanted to go out!!!

The dog/cat kennels were loaded with evacuated pets....some were just runaways due to fear; other were dropped off at local make do shelters.  At one point our local kennel had to deal with 600 dogs (so I heard).  So, having just lost my little Jessie dog, I journeyed down to the shelter and picked up a skinny little combo(?) doggie who had (I'm sure) just bolted out of the fire area.  Quite a few burned pets were doctored at the shelters.  We love our pets up this way.  Quite a number of them are bigger dogs that actually "work" on farm type areas and also hunting type dogs.

Thank the Good Lord I did not have to evacuate here in our park....however, the first 2 days of the biggest fire north of us we did pack our bags and get ready to RUN!

Well, my security is in the Lord, so I held it together pretty well.  Being 83 yrs old and evacuating your home is no easy thing to do.  But at least I had not picked up a rescued dog yet!!  It is quite a feat to evac with a pet!!! Which I have done in the past.

So goes our challenges in life.  My grandma survived diseases, tornadoes in the midwest, floods, Jesse James crew, and odds 'n ends of other happenings.!!!  She (her spirit) keeps me put together during these challenges.

AND, I always think about the challenges my British ancestors had leaving their homes in Scotland, Ireland and London area.  Think of the ship journeys!!!  Ugh!  Makes my life seem like a picnic!

God bless you all and your care for your birds and folks that live on your island(s).  Remember, my DNA is mixed with yours!

Regards and blessings to you all,

Barb Byington-Rosner (nee Nesbitt, Briggs, Sedgwick, Grisham)
Northern Calif, Redding


A modern day saga -  It all began in late 2000 when the Island met and voted unanimously to rebuild the old run down village hall. A full building survey indicated that the old premise was on its last legs. Trustees left that meeting charged with exploring the where-with-all of how to repair/build a new hall. It soon became clear that there was a long up hill road to follow and now 18 years later: Job done.

Fund raising began and it became obvious that success would not be rapid. As well as, money, we had to enhance our knowledge of the technicalities and procedures needed to   demolish the old hall and the requirements essential to produce a new building. It was decided that a small 'Working Group' of 3 or 4 would manage the day to day business and report back to the Trustees and Residents. We soon became enmeshed in fund raising and discovered the bureaucracy associated with demolition and construction of a community building in the centre of the village, underground was known archaeology and that plus numerous national and international designations impacted on the Island and our project.

Over the years, Residents and Friends of Holy Island and Trustees raised a huge sum c. £300K. Money in the Bank grew as a result of hard work and a range of initiatives. The Trustees then undertook a desk study to review the appointment of an Architect. We interviewed six Architects and the Practice; Ainsworth Spark Associates were appointed and there followed a long happy and successful relationship. The Architects went on to develop a plan for the new hall from our design brief; and we had to find a source of significant grant aid to complete the job.

The Big Lottery Fund (BLF) was approached and they agreed to consider our bid. Yes, but not that simple. We had to pass a three stage evaluation, each one was pass or fail and each step produced a rain forest of paper, all of which used a particular BLF format and in a language that was time consuming to understand.

It is worth highlighting at this point an early decision made by the 'Working Group', "let's do the job ourselves and not use hard won funds to employ Consultants to complete Grant Aid bids" and we did, and used all money raised to build the new village hall.

Having cleared the BLF due diligence process and won a significant grant, we then started the Planning Process with the Local Authority and contracting technical input, but hold hard. Although granted Planning Permission, there was another hurdle to clear, the archaeology. Having achieved Planner Consent, it was a requirement that we satisfy the County Archaeologist that known archaeology below the hall grounds would not be damaged! We were then faced with prolonged discussion and negotiation with the County Archaeologist who had very definite views. Eventually compromise was achieved and progress made. We could demolish the old building and clear the site, but the work had to be overseen by an onsite Archaeologist. Who paid, well guess, we did. It was a further required that when building the new hall, no digging below 500mm was permitted and whenever any digging was undertaken onsite, a Consultant Archaeologist had to be present to record and conserve any finds. For the most part they found nowt, why because the hall grounds had all been well dug over during the last 80 or so years.

Throughout fund raising, planning and construction, we enjoyed fulsome support and help from Col. Crossman and Lady Rose, our Charity Patrons. Sadly The Colonel lost his fight with long term illness in 2011. Lady Rose agreed to continue as our Patron offering full support and encouragement until shortly before her death in 2017. Acknowledging the generous support from the Colonel and Lady Rose the Trustees agreed that the new building would be known as the Crossman Hall.

Eventually the technical team led by Ainsworth Spark Associates, that included Structural Engineers, Quantity Surveyors, O&M Experts met with the Trustees Working Group to review the Tenders to Construct and appointed a Berwick based Company MT Richardson (MTR) as Principal Contractor the Trustees were happy a local Firm with long experience of working the tides were awarded the contract and that monies paid out covering for the works would stay local.

The building grew with the Principal Contractor, tradesmen, together with sub-contractors working well and now the Crossman Hall stands proud in the centre of the village.

Why write this brief review. It is to report that the work on the new Hall has finally been complete, yes, after eighteen years the job is done. Last month MTR's men were on site to finish the last element of outstanding work, work that had been delayed whilst we secured a Legal Easement to cross neighbouring land.

That's it, job done, many thanks to all, especially the Trustees and before I go I must also express our gratitude to Ainsworth Spark Associates, Designers and Project Managers, particularly Bill Ainsworth and David Pirie, MT Richardson, Principal Contractor and last but not least The Big Lottery Fund.

These notes will be back to normal next month; briefly, the hall has hosted 'the Pathway Mission' when the Island was knee deep in Bishops. They enjoyed food, drink and discussion in the hall, as well as, exercising their Pastoral duties. The exercise area continues to be very popular and has been much used this month, although the fitness area was much reduced when the hall was set up for a RNLI Coffee Morning.

Over 2 days, two groups of 50+ children and staff from North Tyneside enjoyed a study session and a comfortable indoor picnic lunch. Pipes & Fiddles were back mid-month and entertained an enthusiastic audience.

I will report next month of the Festival of Archaeology. Bye for now.

David O'


As the scaffolding comes down we finally get a glimpse of the finished harling and lime wash on the north elevation.

This area was first covered with a layer of lime harling in 1996 to protect the Dining Room, Ship Room and Entrance Hall walls against the worst of the weather. Traditionally the dampest rooms in the Castle - these rooms have the natural crag on one side, and the biting northerly weather on the other. Water runs down the solid imporous face of the natural rock behind the south and west walls of the Ship Room in particular, meaning it is effectively surrounded on three sides by moisture. The coat of harling was designed to absorb and then release water before it could saturate the stone and so impact on the rooms. This was a pretty successful intervention in that sense, but the initial colour selection of the external lime wash was controversial at the time - a sort of peachy colour which coupled with the pan tiled roof above gave the Castle a rather Mediterranean feel. That colour was only the top coat of lime wash; the base coats were in white with the idea being that as the coloured top coats wore away, the white would be revealed and you'd know it was time for a new top coat. But of course time, money and opportunity were not forthcoming until recently, so most people's recollection of the Castle's north elevation -as visible from the garden - was a rather awkward white block, with added green staining from failing drain pipes of course.

That was the situation before the recent work, and naturally a key part of the job was to sort out the north elevation. There was even talk of removing the 1996 harling altogether and sneck-harling the lot - as we have done elsewhere on the Castle walls - but it was quickly agreed after testing that the harling was in pretty good condition and was doing a decent job. To remove it would only make the Castle more vulnerable. Beyond a few patch repairs then all that would be done to the walls was to renew the top coats of lime wash. Colour choice then was critical, as we wanted to not only blend better with the rest of the built Castle, but also the natural rock below. Several different mixtures of wash were tried but eventually we settled on Umbria which is a sort of muddy grey. These trials were done on the wall while the scaffold was still covered by canvas cladding, so it was difficult to see how the colours would work with no natural light hitting the walls.
Now the scaffold is finally down we can get an idea of how everything looks and I hope you'll agree it is a vast improvement!

Best wishes

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


There are many signs around the island that autumn is upon us: rapidly dwindling numbers of Swallows, bright berries on Hawthorn and Rowan and the beautiful silver white cups of Grass or Parnassus along the paths through the dunes.

Then, of course, is also the noisy presence of the newly arrived pale-bellied Brent geese.  Large parties, squabbling excitedly on the sandbanks or dredging the eel grass on the mud, help to give the whole place its chilly autumnal atmosphere.

On a very blustery Sunday morning  early in September, I sat below the Heugh and watched a party of about forty of these small and dark geese beat steadily past the Black Law and St Cuthbert's Island. They were keeping very low, just over the wave-tops, and struggling into a strong westerly wind.

They crossed the main channel and then dropped in a flurry of wings on the far sandbar. It might be a bit fanciful to say it, but I couldn't help feeling that they were mightily relieved to have arrived after what must have been a difficult journey against the wind.

I scanned around with my telescope and in the distance, towards the oyster racks, other geese were ranged out feeding. There must have been five or six hundred present but, of course, by the time you are reading this many more will have flown in.

We tend to be a bit blasť about these geese. After all, they are nearly always present when we walk along the Heugh or go down to Jenny Bell's. We also see them along the edge of the flats as we drive on and off the island.  Perhaps we shouldn't because they are rare in world terms and ours in their only British wintering area.

Our Brent geese all come from breeding grounds on the Arctic Ocean island group of Spitzbergen, often referred to these days by its Norwegian name of Svalbard.  Brent geese come in several distinct races, the dark-bellied birds from Siberia being by far the most numerous. They are the birds familiar to many people in coastal areas of southern England. Other pale-bellied forms breed in Canada. But in numerical terms the Svalbard population is very small, probably around seven thousand individuals.

When a race is so small and particularly when their breeding in a limited locality they are especially vulnerable to natural catastrophe from weather,  predators or, in many instances, from the actions, either intentional or accidental, of us humans. That makes them all the more precious in conservation terms.

They leave the bleak coastal tundra during August to start their journey southwards. Like other geese, they often move in small groups made up of family parties, young birds obviously learning from the adults as they go.

A flight of pale-bellied Brent geese over the flats.- Photo: Mike S Hodgson

Many of these youngsters will have been lucky to survive many threats during the breeding season. These range from those predators mentioned above. On the wastelands of Svalbard these can include starving Polar bears stranded on land until the Arctic Ocean starts to ice up again to fast and opportunist Arctic foxes. Regular aerial predators include Snow Owl, Gry-falcon and various skuas and large gulls. All are ready to snap up vulnerable eggs or chicks.

Once with us they can lead a relatively peaceful life, feeding and socializing and moving about in response to the tides.  There always seems to be a rather harsh grunting cacophony from these flocks as squabbles break out. Birds will charge at each-other with open wings but none ever seem to actually come to blows.

They can be panicked into sudden noisy flight by the regular appearance over the flats and island of Peregrines, always present during autumn and winter. In autumn 2014, I was lucky enough to be on the Heugh when every goose, duck and wader on the reserve suddenly rose into the air as a huge White-tailed Eagle soared majestically overhead before drifting off out of sight over Beal. As it was the first of its kind recorded locally for more than a century I don't know whether it was the birds or us bystanders who got the biggest surprise.

The geese are also occasionally disturbed by people walking the Pilgrims' Way or when there is a fusillade of shots from folk after Wigeon along the mainland shore, But as they are no longer a lawful quarry for shooters, the geese often tend to be rather tame, simply wandering slowly off if they are approached too closely.

Geese are very gregarious creatures and enjoy life as part of a flock.  A lone goose always seems to look and sound a bit like a lost soul. I've occasionally noticed the odd goose left behind during summer and they really do look lonely and out of place. These are generally sick or injured birds which have been unable to migrate.

Now they are here they'll be a continual presence right through till next March and perhaps into April before they move off northwards. However, if the trend of recent years is continued, numbers will gradually fall by the New Year as some appear to then drift across to join their companions in Denmark.

The flats really are tremendous during autumn and winter and would be a much poorer place without these noisy visitors from the far north.


Autumn and Winter Grazing - Non-native Species Management
Invaders on Holy Island!

It is that time of year again when our four-legged colleagues arrive to undertake their work over autumn and winter.

The 22 sheep arrived last week and will intensively graze the dune slacks, removing the rank vegetation and opening up the sward to support biodiversity in the floral assemblage next spring.  They also help to manage non-native invasive species that have proliferated the dune slacks, species such as pirri-prri, michaelmas daisy, purple toad flack, contoneaster and Lady's mantle have all invaded this habitat. The timing of such grazing activity is imperative, the livestock will remove flower heads first, preventing flora from going to seed and propagating. If they're put on too early, they may graze orchid or grass of Parnassus heads, so grazing must be left until after important native species have seeded. Grazing in this way, with careful timing, has proven a useful method for managing these invaders!

Thirty cows will arrive early in October to extensively graze the dunes from Chare Ends over the entire dune system across Holy Island Links, with the same purpose as the grazing of the sheep.

The live-stock are checked daily but if you spot a problem you can contact the Reserve office: or Tel. 01289381470.

Annie Ivison (Reserve Manager)


Registration opens for Celebration Concert and Annual Forum

Registration is now open for the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership's 2018 Celebration Concert and Annual Forum on Thursday 11 October 2018 at Ellingham Hall.

This year, to celebrate sixty years of their designation, the Partnership are hosting a concert - following on from the Forum - which will feature song, music and drama celebrating the cultural heritage of the Northumberland Coast. There will be an award ceremony and prize giving for the Written Word competition winners and a performance of the winning entries.

Cllr Jeff Watson, Chair of the AONB Partnership said " Sixty years is a significant milestone and we have marked the occasion over the year with several events. The concert will bring it all to a close and allow us to celebrate the extraordinary amount of talent we have within the AONB".

The Annual Forum will provide an opportunity to reflect on how the AONB came into being and how it can be looked after for future generations. As well as an excellent range of speakers and presentation throughout the afternoon, there will also be the chance to network with others who have a similar interest in conservation.

We are delighted to welcome Robyn Brown, who is Assistant Director Operations with the National Trust, as one of our speakers. She will be talking about the work of the organisation on the Northumberland Coast. We also have a local resident, Jen Hall, giving us an insight into the preparation of a neighbourhood plan.

This year, there is no cost to attend either event. However, as afternoon tea will be provided between the Forum and Concert, registration to either or both events is essential.

To book your place visit our Eventbrite page: or access it via the AONB Partnership's Facebook page. For more information about the event  please contact: 

Catherine Gray
01670 622644,


Step forward to become a Coast Path Warden

Walkers on the Northumberland coast are being asked to become voluntary wardens to help maintain their favourite sections of the Northumberland Coast Path and other walking routes.

Coast Care, the National Lottery funded volunteering initiative on the Northumberland coast, are seeking walkers to step forward and help to look after the long distance path and to keep any eye on rights of way in their area.

Iain Robson from the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership, who manages the trail, explained the role. He said: "We want people who regularly walk a section of trail or paths in their area to help us keep them open and easy to use.

"This includes cutting back vegetation, picking up litter, replacing way markers and other simple maintenance. Walkers will also be 'eyes and ears' on the coast, reporting more serious issues to the path officers at Northumberland County Council. There will also be opportunities to join other wardens on bigger maintenance jobs."

The path wardens will be fully trained and supported by Coast Care - the new volunteering initiative which is run by Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership, Northumberland Wildlife Trust and Seahouses Development Trust and supported thanks to money raised by National Lottery players through a grant of £522,600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Ivor Crowther, Head of the HLF in the North East said: "The Northumberland Coast Path attracts thousands of walkers every year who come from across Europe and beyond to walk along the beautiful Northumberland coastline. Thanks to National Lottery players, local people who are passionate about their favourite section of the trail can help to look after it for the benefit of us all which is just what we wanted to see from Coast Care."

Volunteers will receive some basic training before being assigned a length of the trail to look after. Other volunteers are needed to monitor the wider rights of way network in their Parishes.

If you are interested in becoming a Northumberland Coast Path Warden or Parish Path volunteer, contact Coast Care via the website email or call 07813 563047.

NEWS FROM FORD & ETAL Elspeth Gilliland

14th October:  Etal Manor Open Garden Sunday - in aid of HospiceCare North Northumberland.   1pm-5pm, admission £5 adults, children free. Enjoy walking through the open spaces and looking at the trees, which should be showing good Autumn colour.  Plant stall, home made teas and live music.  Sorry no dogs.

If you are unable to make this Open Garden Sunday there will be an opportunity to visit the gardens between 1 & 5pm on Sunday 21st and 28th October, with entry by donation.

Etal garden in Autumn

29th October-2nd November - Half Term Hallowe'en Fun!

  • The Famous Scarycrow Trail - follow the trail around the estate and help to choose  a winner!  Contributions for Scarycrow Trails welcome, proceeds to Cash 4 Kids.
  • Carved pumpkin competition at Lavender Tearooms
  • Hallowe'en quiz at Etal Castle
  • 29th October: Spooky story night at Heatherslaw Cornmill from 6pm.  Finishes with soup and home made bread.  Entry by donation - proceeds to Cash 4 Kids
  • 29th-31st October: Beastly Baking at Heatherslaw Cornmill.  Kids come and make your own pizza! Sessions at 11.30 and 2pm.
  • 31st October: St Abb's Pop-up Market, Etal Village Hall, 11am-3pm
  • Spooky Carriage Rides at Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre (pre-booking required)

Through the week and on Hallowe'en itself there will be other Hallowe'en activities and treats to enjoy

For more - - Phone: 01890 820338


Last month, on one day on the island,  I experienced three things to treasure:

The first was Michelle Browne's brilliant conjectures about The Lindisfarne Gospels: She detects in the beautiful opening illuminated letter that begins each Gospel the influence of  the Irish, the Copts,  the Romans and the Byzantines - so early England was truly multi-cultural.

The second was the launch of the Mission to the North East by some twenty six bishops assembled on the Heugh in their purple cassocks. After they had processed across Sanctuary Field to join the assembled crowd in the Priory grounds Archbishop Sentamu told the story of Aidan, who witnessed invading warriors about to destroy Bamburgh by fire, and therefore to end King Oswy's rule and Aidan's mission.  He raised his arm in prayer and the winds changed, blowing smoke into the nostrils of the horses and warriors who fled. The Archbishop called us all to pray for God's winds to blow out what is false and blow in what is good.

The third was a talk archaeologist Dr. David Petts gave us on the site of the dig on Sanctuary Field. It is conventional belief that monasteries only buried monks in their cemeteries within the monastic rath, the general public were buried elsewhere.  The archeologists are digging up bones of children and adults on this site, so they assume they have still not found the monks' cemetery.  This is indeed possible, but an alternative possibility has also been aired. Augustine taught that unbaptised children should never be buried in a Christian cemetery, but an ancient Irish story says that its OK to bury children with monks because God sends the rain and baptises them that way!  Wouldn't it be great if all the residents were one big family?

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



  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 seasonal revision




meet our hospice team