A BIT FROM ME Geoff Porter

Dear Subscriber,

A very warm welcome to the October issue of our online newsletter.

British readers will be only too aware that October promises to be the culmination of our participation in the European Union. Whilst some might regard the results of the national referendum of 2016 as being marginal, from one of the highest turnouts in modern times the democratic result was in favour of leaving the EU. Of course those on the losing side are not happy. There are splits between political parties, countries, regions, families and friends. For those looking in on our democratic systems it is obvious that feelings are very high. Regardless of affiliations, individually very many will feel powerless and helpless to affect this critical final phase. And in this frame of mind I noted and share the editorial in our community newsletter written by Revd Canon Kate Tristram:

Our newspapers have recently advised us to be optimistic: you live longer that way.  But how can we?  Think of the world situation.  Our Supreme Court has just delivered its decisions.  What will happen next?  What will be the final solution for our brexit-problem and related problems?

In this moment of bafflement my mind went back to those who lived here long before us, the monks of our first monastery. After the meeting of the Synod of Whitby in 664 half of their community broke off and departed. Those who remained must have felt defeated.  They could no longer run a country-wide mission.  What could they do?

I have wondered whether it was some genius among them who suggested that they should now concentrate on the other monastic craft, that of book production.  So, perhaps, they did that.  Within 50 years they had produced one of their greatest claims to fame, the Lindisfarne Gospels.  This book was not written by an isolated novice in the art; it was written by an experienced master.  There must have been here a really flourishing scriptorium. There must have been many more books.

So when we don't know what might happen, be optimistic!!

Thank you to our authors who have again made time to produce our newsletter this month. In particular Dr.David Petts who brings news of the continuing DigVentures exploration in Sanctuary Close - adjacent to the east side of the priory. We're so fortunate that they did not have paper money!

We hope you enjoy your newsletter and look forward to getting in touch in November.

Geoff Porter
Editor (SitEzine)


The first few weeks of term seem to have flown by and we've managed to have a few warm, sunny moments on the field and in the garden.  We've had a great start to the new school year - Scarlett-Beau and Lily-Ella were very excited to see that a magical fairy toadstool had appeared in the classroom over the holidays. Me and Mrs Ward have absolutely no idea where it came from! There are fairies, a secret door and even a fairy washing line. This led to some lovely conversation and imaginative play from the girls and was followed by letters to and from the fairies and the making of a very cute fairy puppet theatre.

The way the tides have been has meant that we have spent a lot of time at Lowick this month. The girls were eager to meet their friends and teachers again and they always enjoy being part of a larger group and the opportunities and possibilities that brings. Part of our day involves the journey, in my car, to and from Lowick. This must be one of the most beautiful journeys to and from school in the world! Every day is different and the girls use the time to play counting and alphabet games, singing and telling stories, and looking around at the sea and the sky and the wildlife. We've noticed lots of wading birds recently and Scarlett-Beau has written a report for you about one of her favourites.

Our garden is doing well. The vegetables are growing and we have harvested our potatoes, broad beans, green beans, chard and radishes. The sunflowers are looking especially beautiful as the sunlight illuminates their rich golden and russet red petals and the bees nuzzle in the nut brown centres. We are getting ready to plant some bulbs in the next few weeks. We have daffodils and bluebells and plan to plant them in drifts in the wild area at the bottom of the garden.

We are looking forward to the rest of the term - our topic is travel and transport and we will be visiting the National Museum of Flight in North Berwick. I'm sure this will be an interesting day out and the children will be taking part in workshops and looking at the different aircraft on show. We have a skipping workshop coming up in October - look out for skipping girls on the island!

On Friday 11th October our Harvest Service will take place at St Mary's Church on Holy Island at 10.30am. Please join us if you can - all are welcome.

Heather Stiansen


At the end of March 2019, having looked after and maintained the Reading Room for 23 years, Marygate House gave up the lease and day to day control reverted to the Trustees of the Charity, the Robert Crossman Public Library and Reading Room.

During this process, the Trustees themselves changed following the succession of Paul Collins as Vicar of St Mary's Church by Sarah Hills and the decisions taken by the holders of two traditional Trustee positions. Namely by the current Harbour Master not to take up the post and by Ralph Wilson, the Chief Pilot, to step down after many years' service. The new board consisted of Jane Crossman; Sarah Hills; Church Wardens Thelma Dunne and Maureen Bushnell and Archive Group Member John Bevan. Thelma also being a member of the Archive Group.

Although Jane Crossman had officially opened the renovated Reading Room in October 2018, much still needed to be done to complete the archive room and it was during April and May that the installation of new furniture, an overhead projector and screen and IT equipment was completed. Digital and physical archive records were gradually built up and finally at the end of May high speed broadband was installed. On June 18th Islanders and those from the mainland who had been involved in the project were invited to see what had been achieved. The changes received an enthusiastic reception with many islanders spending hours poring over the old Parish Records.

The Reading Room itself is suitable for groups of up to 12 or 15 and to date has been used for meetings by among others the PCC; HIP (the Holy Island Partnership) and the Holy Island Community Archive Group. It is also available without charge to all residents and for a fee for hire by groups visiting the Island. Access to archive material held on site or on approved digital records is available on request through the Holy Island Community Archive Group. The IT equipment including a printer, scanner and laminator is also available by arrangement for use by residents.

A major part of the renovation of the Reading Room was the creation of the separate Archive Room, intended to bring home Island records and to be the base for the Archive Group. Physical records include transcripts of census records 1841 - 1911; Registers of Births, Marriages, Baptisms and Deaths with some of these dating from as early as 1578. A record of the Lifeboats and the men who manned them, and Elfreda Elford's fascinating memories of the island from 1916 until well into this century together with a collection of maps and charts and comprehensive digital records will allow the Archive Group, and other interested parties in conjunction with the group, to research the social history of the Island and its residents. These archives are being progressively built up in stages.

With the work completed, the funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund ended and the Trustees and Archive Group now need to ensure that finances are available to maintain and develop the Reading Room and Archive, so enabling the Trustees to fulfil the Charity's historic function in a modern context. While Holy Island Parish Council has agreed to give support if necessary and the Development Trust has already made a donation to the Archive Group, a steady income is required. As the room is used more this will come from donations and hire charges, but the Archive Group also produced a 72 page photo book - Time & Tide on Holy Island - which went on sale in time for the opening in June 2019 with all profits going to the Group. To date over 170 of the initial print run of 600 have been sold.

Access to the Reading Room can be arranged by contacting one of the Trustees.

A Bright Future.

The world in general and Holy Island in particular is a very different place to that of 1873 when the Reading Room was established as a charity but with the support of friends of the Island and its residents, and thanks to the investment by HLF Peregrini Lindisfarne Landscape Partnership, the Reading Room and associated archives can be not only a useful facility for the community but can help todays Islanders connect to their forebears. 


Greetings all, and as we old codgers say at this time of year; "have you noticed how the days are cutting in and the mornings are chilly" and there have been noticeable bird movements as the journeys begin to seek warmer winter quarters. On Sunday 22 September, as the tide opened, I was crossing the Causeway when 250/300 Brent came in low over the Sand Rig, crossed the Causeway at 3or 4 metres and dropped into the Low to rest and recover. These were likely to have just crossed the North Sea, possibly from their breeding grounds in Svalbad.

I've still got a Swallow in my outbuildings and I shout at it that it telling it it's time to head south and when I look up there are still a few House Martins to be seen. As the summer visitors go, there are silver flashes of Dunlin flying across the sands and stopping to feed on the Swad and Dolphin Stones. Autumn is a grand time.

During the first two week of the month the Hall looked like a cross between a Greek restaurant after a party night and Smithfield Market. Boxes of broken pottery and remains of animal bones, yes, the Archaeologists were in residence cleaning, processing and conserving their latest finds.

It's been an exciting time with new 'name and knot-work stones' recovered and most unusually a finger bone unearthed complete two copper rings. DigVentures will return and present a report to Islanders on this seasons dig activities.

As the Archaeologists moved out for another year, less exciting users continued with schools, churches and charities basing their visits to the Island in the Hall.

Crossman Hall Trustees met mid-month and welcomed two new members, as well as, conducting more usual business, such as renewing our insurance cover and electricity supplier for 2020.

Currently the Trustees are:

  • Sue Massey, Chair
  • Jane Crossman (new appointment)
  • Chris Douglas
  • Rev Canon Dr Sarah Hills (new appointment)
  • Andrew Johnson
  • Jeanette Johnson
  • David Lishman
  • Sam Quilty (retired)
  • David O'Connor, Secretary

As the month drew to a close preparations got underway for the first Island Wedding for many a year. After the Service, the Celebration will be held in the Hall.

Reminder: The fitness area is closed when an event is being held in the main Hall.

David O' - Contact
OR via the new Crossman Hall website:


With thanks to Max Whitby for providing all the photos used in this article

Coastal gardens with good cover are always wonderful places for migrant birds, often tired and hungry after often making incredible journeys of thousands of miles.

Along the north east coast few have a greater reputation for turning up mouth-watering rare species than the Vicarage garden here on the island.

While the island is justly famed as the cradle of Christianity in the north, the Lindisfarne Gospels and the first Viking raid on England, is also a hotspot during autumn and spring when it has the reputation of turning up many sought-after rare bird species.

Over the years, the Vicarage garden has hosted a superb list of rarities with the stone wall on the south side at ideal elbow height for resting binoculars. It and the churchyard trees are usually the first spots to be checked by bird-watchers visiting the village.

In autumn it can be wonderful if wind and weather are favourable for attracting species colloquially referred by known to birders as "Sibes,"  - short for Siberian - the breeding places of many of them.

For example, it's not unusual during October for garden's mature Sycamores to hold up to half a dozen Yellow-browed Warblers at a time, hyper-active tiny birds from beyond the Urals, searching for insects and grubs through the crumbling leaf cover.

Other goodies on the garden list include even rarer Siberian specialities including Pallas's and Radde's warblers, both named after early Siberian explorers. Other Siberian breeders, Dusky and Arctic warblers, Red-flanked Bluetail and Red-breasted Flycatcher have also been recorded. In addition, the garden also attracted an Eastern Black Redstart, only the fourth ever seen in Britain. It is also a haven for all the more common and regular warblers and Scandinavian and Russian thrushes and finches for which the island is such a magnet as they move southwards to escape harsh northern winters.

In spring the garden can be equally rewarding, having hosted Red-backed Shrike and more southern and Mediterranean species such as Subalpine and Marsh warblers and a supporting cast of all the common migrants which pass northwards.

The Vicarage has even attracted species not normally associated with gardens, including even a Kingfisher and a Nightjar.  At the bottom of the garden is the beach and, 50 yards away, St Cuthbert's Island which provides a high tide roost for hundreds of waders.

Stretched out behind is, of course, the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve. Its avian celebrities, the Svalbard or Spitzbergen race of Pale-bellied Brent Geese, are always present between September and March along with thousands of other wildfowl and waders and huge gatherings of "singing" Grey Seals hauled out on the sandbars.

All are within sight and sound of birders at the garden wall. Now, following a suggestion I made earlier this year to Canon Dr Sarah Hills, the vicar of St Mary the Virgin, our parish church, it's hoped that is that visiting birders can give something back to the community.

They're being invited to drop a donation into a collection box which has been installed at the wall. Contributions will help the upkeep of the church which, like all old buildings, is in need of almost constant repair.

"We are extremely lucky to have such a wonderful garden which attracts so many birds. We want birders to continue enjoying them and if they can help a bit, all the better," said Sarah.

She's got my full support and I'm pushing the idea with the many readers of my hard-back guide, The Birds of Holy Island, now in its second updated edition.

Regular island birder Mike Carr gives the first donation

I'm hoping that everyone who checks the garden will show their appreciation of this wonderful facility. After all, the sight of a good rare bird is surely worth a bob or two of anyone's money.

The box has been donated and installed by Dr.Max Whitby, co-founder of the leading national bird information service, BirdGuides, who has a house at Chare Ends. He is now chairman of the publishers of my book, NatureGuides.

The book is, of course, available in the village at the Post Office and at the Lindisfarne Centre. It can also be obtained direct from WWW.NATUREGUIDES.COM.

As many of you will already know, it provides a comprehensive account of island's history and its naturalists down the centuries from St Cuthbert to modern-day visitors. There are full seasonal accounts and details of 337 species recorded up to the date of publication. In addition, an update, bringing the species list to 341, is now available to download free from the publisher's website. Books sold on the island already include this update.

The wealth of the area's birdlife can be judged by the fact that of the 400-plus species recorded in Northumberland no fewer than 34 made their first (and often only) appearances here on the island.


This September the team of archaeologists from Durham University and DigVentures returned to the island for their fourth season of archaeological excavation in Sanctuary Close. We continued to explore the trench we opened up in previous seasons. The area we are exploring partly comprised a cemetery associated with the early medieval monastery; it is clear from the extent of intercutting burials that this had been used for a considerable period. We also discovered three more fragments of carved name stones- small grave markers of roughly 8th century date. This brings to seven the number of name stone element we have found since we started. All of the stones carried fragments of Anglo-Saxon names including one partially in runes and we hope to decipher these over the winter.

We also made a series of other interesting finds including increasing numbers of Anglo-Saxon coins, some minted in Northumbria, but others from southern England - a nice reminder of how important monastic sites were as places of trade and exchange. Elsewhere on site we continued to work our way through a layer of animal bones and seashells, probably all that remains of an early medieval midden. It may not be glamorous, but it should tell us lots about the diet of the early monks. We also continued to unpick our early medieval building, which has been badly damaged by having later burials inserted through it. However, if we can get radiocarbon dates from these later burials it should help us tie down the date of the building more precisely. As ever, some of the most exciting discoveries came in the final day or so, as we realised that the building itself seems to have been placed over a substantial industrial feature, and we started to collect increasing quantities of industrial residues, perhaps from the working of copper alloy or maybe even glass. Over the winter, the finds from our excavation will come down to Durham for analysis, and in the future we will ensure that all human remains are interred back in the churchyard, and that as many of the objects as possible will be placed on display in venues on the island. We will also come back in the new year to give a public lecture about what we have discovered. As ever, we are immensely grateful to all the villagers for their friendly welcome. In particular we need to acknowledge the Crossman Estate and Mr Patterson for access to the land, David O'Connor and the Crossman Hall for providing space for our post-excavation room, the SVP Ozanam Camp for accommodating many of our diggers, Jutta Hahn for keeping us fed and all the pubs, cafés and shops on the island for tolerating muddy boots. If anyone has any questions about our work please don't hesitate to contact me on  

Dr David Petts - Associate Professor
Dept. of Archaeology,
Durham University


Ringed plovers have been nesting on the Island since the 1970s but their numbers have declined dramatically in recent years causing their UK conservation status to be moved from amber to red, meaning they require urgent conservation action.

Earlier in the year we installed a simple post and rope fence on an area of the Castle Headland, just down from the lime kilns, in an attempt to encourage shorebirds such as oystercatcher and particularly ringed plovers to nest on the shingle. These birds are rather keen on shorelines like the castle headland - shingle rather than sand - and as one of the only examples of that type of shoreline in the area we thought it would be a good thing to try. Add to that the ever-dwindling numbers of ringed plovers, it made sense to do something practical.

The fence was installed by the National Trust Northumberland Coast Volunteer Group in April and consisted of oak posts and a hemp rope. Signage was installed to inform the public but was kept to a minimum so as not to disrupt the setting too much.

The main news from this experiment is that there were no successful nests although two nests were made there and that is a positive for next year. If we secure funding, we will could look at extending the roped-off area, improving the signage and the frequency of monitoring.

In the meantime we have recently raised awareness and money to help with this project. Most notably one of our staff, Hannah Kirkby, took it upon herself to cycle from Lindisfarne to St Michael's Mount (admittedly the equivalent mileage on a static bike next to the boat sheds!) and set up a fundraising page online to raise money for the work. Several other members of staff and even a few passing members of the public did a stint on the bike to give Hannah a rest. After a week of pedalling the mileage target was reached which was a fantastic achievement, but if you do want to help out the Just Giving page is still online:

Away from nature conservation the Castle has come out of the main season somewhat and thoughts now turn to the darker nights when maintenance work and winter deep cleans take place. We'll be getting various jobs done around the site once the castle is closed to the public in November such as pointing and limewashing, and a little bit of high level work on the end of ropes (not me I hasten to add), but in the meantime there is still plenty of dusting and vacuuming to keep on with. We do try to spread some of the deep clean out through the year so for example on the recent Heritage Open Day, our Conservation Assistant Vicky dusted and waxed the Bacon Settle in the Kitchen, and the smell of beeswax no doubt delighted the thousand or so visitors who took advantage of the free entry offer. Deep cleaning is best kept to a minimum so as not to inadvertently cause wear and tear to the very thing you're trying to protect, so the Settle shouldn't need another coat of wax until this time next year.

Best wishes
Nick Lewis
01289 389903


Autumn has arrived!

Late September is such a special time on the Reserve where you can still see a little bit of everything. Grass of Parnassus can still be seen in flower. Swallows are still in good numbers as they mass on fence lines and furiously flycatch above the dune system. You can also occasionally hear the squark of a passing Sandwich Tern with a couple of mewing chicks in tow. These birds are the last breeders feeding up and heading south. In their place the newcomers from the high arctic arrive. Thousands of waders: Bar-tailed Godwit, Knot, Golden and Grey Plover to name but a few can be observed on the mudflats frenetically sticking their beaks into the gloopy mud looking for a  prize meal. In the last couple of weeks, thousands of Pink-footed Geese have been arriving. At morning and dusk their 'wink-wink' calls fill the coastline as they move from fields to mudflats.

Light-bellied Brent Geese have also now returned. Up to half the world's population winter here. The numbers are steadily building and they have been seen feeding on the extensive eel grass beds within the intertidal area showing why Lindisfarne NNR is such an important wintering ground for them. Other wildfowl numbers are also increasing.

The first Grey Goose count of the year was undertaken this weekend and found 6,500 split between Budle Bay and Goswick Sands.

It's also that time of year when natures lawnmowers (the cattle and sheep) return to the Links and the Snook to graze over the winter months. The livestock do a very good job at removing the rank vegetation and grazing some of the invasive species that are found here. This enables the natural floral biodiversity of the dune system to flourish come spring.

The livestock are checked on a daily basis but if you see a problem you can report it to: or ring the reserve office on 01289381470

Andy Denton
Reserve Manager
Lindisfarne & Newham NNRs
Natural England


In the eighties the London Boat Show was held in Earls Court Exhibition Centre. If you spent time at sea, it was the place to visit to catch up on developments, we usually planned a two day excursion. A full day at Show, then some good food and a little 'culture'. In the past we'd visited the National Martine Museum, St Catharine's Dock and the British Museum, etc etc...

Included in our group that particular year was an Architect and a Builder with experience in restoring classic buildings. The Architect suggested visiting a nearby Grade One listed building, a church. The name of the Church St Cuthbert's, attracted me immediately. Was there a link to the Island,? little did I know when we agreed to visit, that there was a link and what a link that was!

In 1880 a Curate Rev. Henry Westall, living in the London was approached by a group from the large of Parish of St Philip's and asked to build a new Church. A patch of waste ground was found and a temporary church was erected, and the new build began.  By 1887, the church of St Cuthbert was ready for the off and consecrated by the then Bishop of London.

When Father Westall, the founding Curate died in 1925. After more than forty years active work in 'St Cuthbert's & St Matthias'. The church he built was now one of the best known churches of the Catholic Revival in the Church of England.

On day two we strolled around to Philbeach Gardens to look for the Church and saw a tall imposing and interesting red brick building. But the greater surprise came the moment we stepped inside, an ornately flamboyant interior, with splashes of vivid colour, a wealth of paintings, almost Italianate in style, and a very 'high church' atmosphere. We were almost stopped in our tracks by the opulence. The interior design reflecting the high church and the arty district of Kensington & Chelsea; should you wish to know more of this elaborately decorated church has a web site.

What of Cuthbert and the Island. In the church there were several stained glass windows dedicated to Cuthbert, one of which shows him at play. When I researched this window for 'The Cradle Island' there was speculation that it was St Cuthbert who initiated golf on the Island. But no alas no, after close examination, it was decided that he was using a hurling stick, not a golf club.

However, there is a more direct link from the Island to the church. The Foundation Stone marked   A M D G (ad majorem Dei glorium) and showing the Cuthbert pectoral cross. The stone dated 2 July 1884 stands proud as a visual and physical link to and from the Holy Island of Lindisfarne.

Rev Westall, whilst planning the Schedule of Works, agreed that the Foundation Stone would be laid on 2 July 1884, followed by an appropriate celebration. A Committee Member then suggested that it would be very special if the stone was acquired from Lindisfarne.

Contact was established with the Islands Incumbent Rev. WWF Keeling who was a bit of a go getter and agreed immediately, without considering the potential difficulty of quarrying a large chuck of rock and sending it to London, let alone carting it over the sands to Beal Station.

The main quarry on the Island, near the Ness End, produced soft stone that was not suitable for use as a foundation block. However, running west - east from St Cuthbert's Island along the Heugh, up to Beblow Craig and beyond to the Plough Seat is the Holy Island Dyke, part of the Great Whin Sill, a geological feature of hard dolerite stone.

The nearest exposure lay just below the Vicarage; St Cuthbert's Island and that's where the Vicar chose to work. Armed with hammers and wedges and helped by a local, he set about sourcing an appropriate block from the perimeter of the island.

It's not recorded how long it took to quarry out the block and load it into a cart for transport to Beal Station, but it is known that partway across the sands the cart collapsed and the load had to be trans-shipped. But it got to London and was dressed, carved and set in the centre of the east wall by skilled masons, where it can be seen today.


Registration opens for Annual Forum

Registration is now open for the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership's 2019 Annual Forum. It is one of the highlights of their calendar and this year will be held at the Crossman Hall, Holy Island on Friday 18th October, 10am - 3pm

Speakers include Professor John Hoborough. With over sixty years of bee-keeping experience and as the local representative of the Adopt a Beehive campaign, John will be updating us on his recent survey work on pollinators and phacelia.

Bridie Melkerts from Mudlarks is passionate about connecting children with nature and as one of the successful Sustainable Development Fund applicants, will be telling us about the work they have been doing with school groups along the Northumberland Coast.

Other speakers include local Bamburgh businessman Ralph Baker-Cresswell, who will be talking about his grandfather Captain Joe Cresswell, commanding officer of HMS Bulldog which captured the U-110 in 1941.

We are also pleased to welcome Becky Waring, who is the Project Manager for Coast Care. Having worked with the team and volunteers over the past year in order to deliver this initiative, she will be providing information on progress and events.  Becky will be joined by Katherine Williams, who is evaluating Coast Care on behalf of the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Cllr Jeff Watson, Chair of the AONB Partnership said "This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in the Northumberland coast to come together and contribute towards the work of the AONB Partnership. Yet again, we have an excellent range of speakers adding to what I am sure will be an interesting and thought provoking day".

Lunch as well as mid-morning and afternoon refreshments will be provided.  Places are free, but limited, so registration is essential.

To book your place visit our Ticketsource page or access it via the AONB Partnership's Facebook page. For more information about the event contact the AONB Partnership on 01670 622644

Catherine Gray
Tel. 01670 622644

FROM FORD & ETAL Elspeth Gilliland

Lady Waterford Hall and Heatherslaw Cornmill change opening hours in October, being open daily from 11am-4pm with last admission 30 minutes before closing.  Both venues close for the season on Sunday 3rd November.

The Lady Waterford Hall is closed all day for a private function on 27th October.

Hallowe'en Celebrations take place across the villages from 28th October - 1st November. From bat hunts to spooky baking, quizzes to carriage rides, and a pop-up market in Etal Village Hall there's something for all ages.  Full details can be found at

The Scarycrow Trail takes place during the same week and if you haven't already got your entry in but would like to take part, please send your name, address where the scarycrow will be exhibited and the name of your entry to

Christmas Comes Early to Heatherslaw!

Thursday 17th October 5.30pm-8.30pm

On your marks, get ready, the goose is getting fat!

Get ahead with a late-night shopping event at Heatherslaw Gift Shop.

Join us for tastings and stock up on English sparkling wine, local beer and gin for the big day. We have wonderful local produce, including Heatherslaw Mill flour and cereals, the most delicious Christmas cakes, hampers, Christmas decorations and cards, and masses of stocking fillers. On top of this there are gifts that celebrate the best of local talents and British design.

There will be live music and free admission to the Mill, so come and join us on the evening of the 17th, we can promise you a warm welcome.

Put the date in your diary!

Details of all the above can be found at


We do our bit to take planet earth's environmental crisis seriously.  The reason we lost our Open Gate cellar chapel was that we replaced gas heating with an environmentally friendly pellet system pumped down there.  Jutta is developing a delicious range of vegetarian meals.  My sister Sally and I spent a week's working holiday at Whitehouse, followed up by volunteers for three weeks who have transformed the garden - and supplied gooseberries and rhubarb for Open Gate meals!

Kayleah oversees our resources and has now completed an attractive programme of retreats for all shapes and sizes next year,  This has been sent to the UK Retreats Association for inclusion in its 2020 brochure.

A highlight of Aidan and Hilda Week on the island was the taking of Life Vows by Heather McDonald of Glasgow before the Bishop's representative. Her family played exquisite music and members of the CAH Scotland group attended.

Joel McKerrow, who gave a gig at St. Mary's in St. Aidan's Week, preceded this with a Poetry and Prayer workshop for our Aidan and Hilda Week retreat. In his new book Woven: a Spirituality for the Dissatisfied published by Acorn Books Australia (BRF) he describes how some years ago he holed up at the top of Open Gate for five weeks when we were closed, and wrote poetry.  He was in a period of 'deconstruction' which has since led to what he calls 'reconstruction'. His visit to Holy Ireland began a journey which has now led him to become a world-famous performance poet. To see his You Tube broadcast from the island visit  .


FROM OUR CHURCHES Rev Canon Dr Sarah Hills & Rev Rachel Poolman

Ed: For various reasons, I regret that we are unable to provide the last word 'From our Churches'. However, by coincidence, I have received and include a letter from one of our subscribers.


Dear Editor,

I just enjoyed reading septembers e-zine, particularly enjoyed snook which brought back many memories of my times with Sue and Clive. Below is a verse copied from the walls of the tavern (now the Ship Inn) many years ago by my dad. I am surprised no-one has ever mentioned it or published it. I'm not sure if it has a title but it always stirs my heart:

Naturalist & Author Ian with Sarah and the new donation box.

Dear Lord our Father
Give me strength to leave my bed
To see again the distant Emmanuel head.
To walk again the castle slopes
To hear again the voices of the village folks.
To walk again the mussel beds
To see the mallards lift their heads.
To walk across to St. Cuthberts isle
To sit and ponder there awhile.
Surrounded by the golden sand
Away from trouble in many lands.
Here, peace and contentment reign supreme
Holy Isle, thou art my Queen.

George A Mitchell '65

I'm not sure if it is still in the pub and I don't recall any info of the writer.

Keep up the good work

Kevin Exley

Ed: Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Kevin. Can readers shed any light on the author of this lovely prayer?


  Pattern of worship for Sundays
8am    Holy Communion (BCP) 
10.45am    Parish Eucharist 
5.30pm    Evensong
Pattern of worship (Monday - Saturday)
   8 am Morning Prayer Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
   8 am Eucharist Wednesday and Friday
   5.30 pm Evening Prayer every day

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