SITEZINE: HOLY ISLAND'S E-MAIL MAGAZINE 1st May 2016
  • A bit from me...
  • Holy Island Causeway: user safety
  • Letter from a reader
  • Holy Island village hall rebuilding appeal
  • HM coastguard Holy Island
  • Lindisfarne Castle
  • Spring arrives late but all the more welcome
  • Natural England Lindisfarne NNR
  • The "new" Berwickshire and Northumberland marine nature partnership
  • Northumberland little tern project
  • The non-Jurors
  • News from Ford & Etal
  • From the community of Aidan and Hilda
  • Pause for thought
  • Letter to a Fanciscan
A BIT FROM ME Geoff Porter

Dear !*NAME*!,

Welcome to our latest issue of Sitezine and already over a third of the year has disappeared into the distance!

Firstly, my apologies to any who were inconvenienced when our ISP developed an issue preventing emails being generated from a huge swathe of websites - including ours. Annoyingly it took several days before it was 'brought to their attention' and needed second line engineers to overcome it. Then, as if that hadn't cause enough sleepless nights, along came a series of intermittent, black-screen, personal computer failures presaging a hard disc crash - not to be ignored! Coming in the midst of newsletter publication, one might imagine stress levels ratchetting up somewhat ...

With 'The Crossman Hall' now about to open, the valient work of the Village Hall Committee switches to the 'operational phase' which I am sure will bring 'some completely different' headaches. Very well done to all and I shall definitely take advantage of the Coffee Morning on 30th May to enjoy it!

This month we are sadly without inputs from both Paul and Rachel. In their place we have a thought-provoking 'Pause for Thought' written by our Kate (Rev Canon Tristram to others), a rather lovely poetic reminiscence on the late Br.Damien from Sue Rylance and a really informative article, 'The Non-Jurors' sent in by Shaun Spencer. With what might help save lives, Islander, Ryan Douglas, now working with HM Coastguard in East-Yorkshire, sends some practical advice. Other interesting, topical articles have been sent in by RSPB and 'Berwickshire & Northumberland Marine Nature Partnership'. Thank you to all of you and particularly to regular writers, Elspeth, Ian, Mhairi, Nick and Ray without whom we would have no newsletter.

Dog Fouling: Dogs are welcomed on the island so long as they are accompanied by responsible owners. Visitors write to express disgust occasionally when they find dog waste on our pathways, beaches, in the churchyard! You might imagine that the expressions of residents are far worse when left to tidy up - especially when there is risk of it being trodden into exhibition centres, shops and homes. Please be a responsible dog owner.

Shetlands' Gain: A confirming letter that all is well in the 'Shetland' island of 'Feltar':

"Dear Friends,

We were very touched to receive a lovely picture of Holy Island and a book on pilgrimage our last Sunday at St Marys. We will treasure both, thank you very much.

We have now moved into our new home although parts are like a building site! We are enjoying its superb location and gradually getting the house in order. We have been thrilled to see otters, seals, porpoises, grey lag geese, great skuas, snipe and whimbrel. We were invited to a wedding celebration our first Saturday- great fun, but our Shetland dancing skillls definitely need improving!

With best wishes from the far North (rather cold at present!)

Graham and Ruth"

Holy Island Causeway:  In this issue I include further contact with our county councillor, Cllr Dougie Watkins. Watch this space!

Have a wonderful May and enjoy our newsletter. We look forward to getting in touch again in May.

God Bless - Geoff Porter

Stop Press: At the last moment I remebered to include a reader's letter...

HOLY ISLAND CAUSEWAY: USER SAFETY Editor

Dear Dougie,
(Tue, 19 Apr 2016 13:54 )

I understand that the PC are taking this matter up but at the moment are unable to comment.

However, through our newsletter readers are aware your support was sought on 9th March.

Would you please share with our community (and/or international circulation - your preference) the progress you have made or are making on our behalf?

Meanwhile, what was a beautiful, new, expensive road surface completed by the county just a few years ago continues to deteriorate - facilitated by the building salt marsh flush up against the road which results in salt puddles that accelerate surface erosion to threaten user access and safety.

Kind Regards,
Geoff Porter

On 21/04/2016 07:11, Douglas Watkin responded; "I have had full discussions with the relevant executive member --Cnc. Ian Swithenbank who also shares our frustration and is working with officers hopefully to get some action--he is fully aware of the problem --- I need a member of island community at next area committee to raise issue !!!!please--I will do it if necessary but would be good from parish council member --Doug"

LETTER FROM A READER Senan of Somerset

Life is not defined by the number of breaths that you take, but by the number of times your breath is taken away!

On a whim, and with a sense of urgency, I decided to to walk over to Cuthbert's Island from the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. (The urgency due to the incoming tide).

This was a good decision as this is, to date, the thinnest place on which I have ever set foot upon. This saintly man, Cuthbert, at this point in his life being so famous; yet on the island all I had was an overwhelming sense of, 'I want to be alone!'. Perhaps the impending pressure of, not his achievements, but the veneration by others, of him and his achievements were pressing in like trying to blow up a balloon inside a milk bottle.*

Then as I left the island and stood in the salty water watching the gentle currents of the incoming tide, a new feeling. Not just "I AM", but also "I AM PEACE". It was simply beyond all comprehension.

I now sit on the shore as the sea now completes a ring around this small  rocky out crop of basalt, this is now a island in the true sense. A place of isolation. No food, no water, no shelter, no company apart from the big bumble bee that saw there. Just you and your Creator. You can keep all the great Cathedrals and ruined Abbeys, This is a Holy Island!

Senan of Somerset.

ED: * An interesting concept for a physicist

HOLY ISLAND VILLAGE HALL REBUILDING APPEAL David O'Connor

The Crossman Hall

As April draws to a close it's more like winter than spring and minor work on the new hall continues. The Contractor has still to complete a number of minor works the biggest job is the linking the rainwater drain to the main drain. Then after snagging it's yours!

A number of smaller works were identified when we went around snagging, these have been notified to and agreed with the Contractor and action will follow. The biggest fault is in the main hall where sections of the floor covering have blistered - the specialist responsible for the floor covering has been informed and will take appropriate action.

The first of the furniture, tables and chairs was delivered mid-month and I'm pleased to note the chairs are more comfortable than those we had in the old hall.

As yet a formal opening day has not been chosen, but it looks like we will be hosting the Spring Coffee Morning for our Parish Church, St Mary's.

There have been several expressions of interest from those looking for an Island venue and whilst the new hall is primarily for the benefit of the Island we will need off-Island users to help cover annual running costs.

In recent days I have spent an hour or two watering the newly laid turf and have been able to overhear many passers-by expressing their admiration of our new hall and I must say I think it looks good.

David (April)
Contact: doconna@hotmail.com

HM COASTGUARD HOLY ISLAND Ryan Douglas

"Which service do you require do you require, Police, Fire, Ambulance...Coastguard?

When you dial 999 in the United Kingdom, firstly you are connected with a BT operator, who asks the question, which service do you require? Once you have stated which service you require, the BT operator then connects you to the appropriate control room. If you are unsure which service you need the Operator will connect you with the Police.

As a Coastguard Officer working at Coastguard Operations Centre Humber I regularly take 999 calls for the area between Berwick upon Tweed and Felixstowe, Suffolk, a coast line stretching over 450 miles.

Generally when a member of the public calls 999 the emergency call handler is their last resort. As you can imagine most of the emergency calls that we handle the persons on the other end of the telephone is in a state of panic. The hardest part of our job can be calming the person down so that we can extract the vital parts of information from them.

Unlike the other Emergency Service, we deal with emergency situations on the Coast where it can be very difficult to pin point a person's location (every sand dune looks the same), as beaches don't have post codes as there aren't sign posts at sea. During our training it's instilled into us that we must locate, locate, locate where the emergency or person is. Before we have the position we can't do anything to help the situation. 

As it can be very difficult to ascertain a person's location when I take a 999 call and the person on the other end of the telephone states to me that they are on Holy Island this makes my job that so much easier as I can visualise exactly what they can see.

Last week I took a 999 call from an Islander reporting that a school group were cut off by the tide on St Cuthbert's Island. My colleague then took a second 999 call from a member of the public reporting the same incident, here I have the advantage as in my mind's eye I can visualise exactly what's happening.

As we move now into the busier summer month and activity on the Island increases please do not hesitate to dial 999 and ask for the COASTGUARD if you come across anything untoward! We'd rather know about an incident and have not have to do anything, compared with not knowing about an event and then it being to late to do anything about it!

However, becoming more common is emergency situations going unreported as people think that someone else will reported it, as happened last month in Belfast.

On the 31st March 2016 Belfast Coastguard reported that 'At 1114 this morning we received a 999 call reporting a person in the water at Bangor Marina. A gentleman noticed a crowd looking into the marina from the promenade and had a look to see for himself what was going on, to notice an elderly man struggling in the water after falling from his boat. Bangor Coastguard Rescue Team was tasked. A Senior Officer from our station attended and rescued the elderly male from the water. Bangor CRT transported the male to a local hospital. No one from the crowd of on lookers dialled 999, or threw any lifesaving equipment.'

To stop any incident like this occurring please ensure you call the Coastguard in a timely manner!
Coastguard - 999
Coastguard Routine - 01262 672317

Ryan Douglas
Maritime Operations Officer
HM Coastguard. 

LINDISFARNE CASTLE Nick Lewis

May 2016

During the trial building works at Lindisfarne, we had been concerned by the presence of some corroded metal joists in a couple of rooms. This prompted an investigation of most windows in the building, including one in a bay window in our conference room; formerly the bedroom used by Edward Hudson on his visits here. We made a hole in the ceiling above this bay window to check for metal but instead found a small void. Opposite the wall above the window in this void was a lath and plaster wall, the reverse of which showed some pencil markings; 'Tom Bruce, Berwick', and 'Tom Bruce, 1905'. Digging through the 1901 census, we found a Tom Bruce who was an apprentice joiner in this area so this was likely the same man. We filed the information and left it at that.

Fast forward a couple of months to 13 April, and a volunteer came into the office with an enquiry from a lady. The visitor - Pam - said that her grandfather had worked on the Castle during the renovation by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1903-6 and did we know anything about him. His name was Tom Bruce...

Apart from a single tweet asking if anyone in the local area had heard of him or was related (which had no replies), the discovery of Tom Bruce's pencil markings were not made public. Pam said she was not a Twitter user and had visited the Castle to see where her ancestor had worked; only asking the question on the off-chance. There was no way she could have known we had discovered these markings. Only one member of staff had been up and looked closely at the markings, and they had only been found in that one spot - which was a contentious hole to make as there was little other evidence of a metal beam being there. We also have little or no evidence of the individuals who worked on the Castle back then, and these markings are the only personalised marks by a craftsman we have ever found here. Add to that the fact that Pam and her husband Steven had travelled from Western Australia - over 9,000 miles away - on a holiday mainly to look into both of their family trees and the amazing coincidence of this story is complete. 

Tom Bruce died before Pam was born, so this was the closest she has ever got to him. We showed her photos of the markings and the census entry, but then realised we could go one better.

We haven't yet filled in the hole in the ceiling, so 111 years after her grandfather had been in that exact spot Pam - with the help of a lamp and a stepladder - was able to peer into the ceiling void to see what to him would have been a quick scribble at the end of a job, but to her was an unexpected glimpse of the grandfather she never knew.

Nick
Lindisfarne Castle
nick.lewis@nationaltrust.org.uk
@NTLindisfarne
01289 389903

SPRING ARRIVES LATE BUT ALL THE MORE WELCOME Ian Kerr

Spring really is the most wonderful season although this year with those bone-chilling northerly winds and cruel easterlies, it has seemed a long time acoming in.

Those winds kept the temperature down for long periods and made it fell more like January than April during the first half of the month, forcing everyone to stay in winter clothes when they yearned to put them away until autumn.

Then there were those days of incessant rain. They filled the Rocket Field again to mid-winter levels and returned the Straight Lonnen to mud. If any further reminder was needed about the true nature of the season, you'd only to admire the distant gleaming white tops of Cheviot and Hedgehope away to the south west.

Coming after a dry March with many sunny days and even a little bit of warmth in the sun, it was a bit of a shock to the system. Yet, despite the worst endeavours of the weather, spring did arrive as it always does.  Jimmy and Martin's lambs, born in March, looked splendid. Island gardens blazed with daffodils, polyanthus and other spring colour. Wallflowers yellowed the rocks and lanes. Mid-way through the month, the first whorls of pink Thrift unfurled on the sunny south face of the Heugh, already shining white with Bladder Campion.

If you could take your eye off the mud at your feet while trying to get along the Straight Lonnen, the Blackthorn was white with full flower and the Hawthorns were greening up nicely.

In contrast, the arrival of spring birds was affected by the weather, particularly low temperatures. Chiffchaffs, tiny members of the warbler family, are always amongst the earliest of migrants. I noticed my first in the village on March 26th. The same day a little group of migrating Goldcrests gleaned bare branches in the Straight Lonnen. They might be Europe's smallest birds but they are tough characters and always among the earliest of migrants.

The first Swallows were at the beach sheds on April 8th but didn't seem to stay. In chillingly low temperatures, they must have found it incredibly hard to get insect food. In some years these early arrivals, having just completed a migration of around 9000 miles from South Africa, perish in the low temperatures. It wasn't until much later in the month when Swallows became plentiful and House Martins arrived.

The first Sandwich Terns, always the earliest terns to arrive, didn't appear off the island until April 10th, a couple of weeks later than usual. Also a fortnight late, were two other long-distant migrants from Africa, Sand Martins and Wheatears which arrived on 10th. Ring Ouzels, mountain cousins of our own familiar Blackbirds often appear at the end of March but this year none were seen until April 15th.  The first Redstart, also from wintering grounds in Africa, was found on 17th.

Goldcrests, Europe's smallest birds, are always among the earliest spring migrants passing through the island. [ Photograph: Andy Mould ]

This spring we had the position that flowers and plants were right on time but migrant birds were later than usual. The explanation is basic science. Plants have everything they need at their roots in the soil and in the lengthening hours of daylight rather than warmth of the sun. On the other hand, birds are totally reliant on the sun's warmth to produce their food and that was sadly lacking during the first half of April.

One of the frustrations of writing a column, particularly one about the arrival of birds, is that it's out of date by the time it's written and most certainly by the time it appears. By the time you're reading this many more of our summer birds will have arrived to settle down to breed.

A much greater number of species, particularly waders, will have merely passed through the island on their way to breeding areas in Scandinavia and the further reaches of the Arctic. Perhaps that's something for me to consider next month.

My column last month about Brother Damian seems to have struck a chord with many readers. Their general message was that the dilemmas Damian found himself in brought back many happy memories of his time with us on the island.

Thanks to everyone who's been in touch..

NATURAL ENGLAND LINDISFARNE NNR Mhairi Maclauchlan

April 2016

It's a changeable time of year on the Reserve with numbers of geese such as light-bellied brent and pink-footed reducing as they start migrating back to their breeding grounds. At the same time we welcome back swallows, sand martins and terns to the Reserve. With the many skylarks and meadow pipits breeding throughout the dunes new signage has gone up to help encourage visitors to keep to paths and keep dogs on leads to give them room to nest.

We started the month with a series of litter picks including litter survey which is feeding into a Newcastle University postgrad project looking at micro-plastics in the environment. The surveys involved volunteers as well as a group from Berghaus clothing brand on their away day. We also held a spring celebration craft day where staff and volunteers made crafts with the kids and talked to visitors about the NNR. We had a great day and the children went away with badges, flapping lapwing and little terns.

If you have visited the Lough Hide recently you may have seen our floating rafts. We are trialling the rafts as a way of increasing safe breeding areas for birds. They are designed with steep sloping sides to help keep predators away and topped with gravel to encourage birds such as terns and gulls to nest there. Our three seasonal wardens started at the end of April and they will be working with our volunteers throughout the shorebird breeding seasons. We also put out a well-received press release asking for anyone interested in volunteering on the shorebird project to get in touch -we had a great response but if you would like to help there are details on the blog.

As mentioned the numbers of geese have reduced greatly with only 35 light-bellied brent geese, 44 pink-footed geese on the Reserve at the end of April while short-eared owls continue to be seen on the dunes. Sandwich terns are now back with around 40 being seen on Goswick and we expect to welcome back our other terns such as common and arctic terns over the next couple of weeks.

Mhairi Maclauchlan
Reserve Warden, Beal Station,
Tel: 01289 381 470

ED: Mhairi's blog and facebook page can be found at http://lindisfarnennr.blogspot.co.uk/ and www.facebook.com/lindisfarnennr .

THE "NEW" BERWICKSHIRE AND NORTHUMBERLAND MARINE NATURE PARTNERSHIP Claire Hedley

The "NEW" Berwickshire and Northumberland Marine Nature Partnership is a collaboration of more than 20 Scottish and English organisations responsible for managing our local inshore waters. The original partnership was established 16 years ago to proactively manage the Berwickshire and North Northumberland Coast Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and the Lindisfarne Special Protection Area (SPA). The new partnership will coordinate management for the entire network of inshore marine nature conservation designations between Fast Castle Head in Scotland, and the River Tyne in England.

Partnership members include statutory regulators such as Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Environment Agency and Marine Scotland, together with ports and harbours, local authorities, Northumberland Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, and conservation charities. Working together, the partnership will develop a toolkit to help them manage this suite of important marine areas.

The toolkit will provide management organisations with the resources they need to effectively manage these sites, such as accurate mapping, up to date condition assessments and an inventory of local monitoring activity. It is hoped that the toolkit will eventually sit on a publicly available web-hub, so anyone interested in the management of the local marine environment can learn more.

The partnership project officer, Claire Hedley, said: "Management of the marine environment can be really complex, especially in the intertidal zone where land and marine legislation, policies and organisations overlap. It's even more complicated when we have sites that cross the Scottish-English border. Working in partnership is really important and we're excited to be developing a coordinated approach for the area."

The iconic coastline of Northumberland is famous for its large sandy bays like those at Bamburgh, Beadnell and Druridge. The bays are punctuated by rocky headlands that tumble into the sea to form offshore reefs that support large kelp forests. Extensive sand and mud flats between Holy Island and the mainland support large seagrass meadows and dense mussel beds, providing a rich food source for over-wintering seabirds. The high coastal cliffs of Berwickshire and the rugged offshore Farne Islands and Coquet Island support thousands of breeding seabirds in the summer months. Sea caves created by the pounding waves can plunge for hundreds of meters into the depths. One of Europe's most important breeding colonies of grey seal resides on the Farne Islands and at St Abbs, regularly hauling out on Fenham Flats, while the Tweed and Aln estuaries are important havens for fish. 

The Partnership chairman, Tom Cadwallender, said: "the shallow sea, shores and estuaries of Berwickshire and Northumberland are home to some of the most spectacular marine life in world. With so many people involved in management, the partnership really helps us to work together to protect these special areas."

Summer 2016 Events Programme

Jellyfish Walk
The Berwickshire and Northumberland Marine Nature Partnership
Monday 21st July 10.00am - 11.30am 
Beadnell Bay/High Newton-by-the Sea 
FREE
Join us on a short walk along the shore to survey stranded jellyfish. Learn about jellyfish ecology, species identification, and how the results help us to understand about the effects of climate change. Family event but participants must be able to walk for about 1km along the shore. Children must be accompanied by an adult. To book your places and to receive your joining instructions please follow this link www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/jellyfish-walk-tickets-24458474957
Places are limited so book early!
Contact Claire Hedley for enquiries:
claire.hedley@northumberland.gov.uk  Tel: 01670 622 651.

Rocky Shore Safari and Jellyfish Walk
The Berwickshire and Northumberland Marine Nature Partnership
Monday 22nd July 10.00am - 12.30am 
Coldingham Bay, Berwickshire     
FREE
Come and explore the wonderful plants and animals of the rocky shore, then join us on a short walk to hunt for stranded jellyfish. Learn about the influence of the daily tides, species identification, jellyfish ecology, and fun facts about the plants and animals living in the marine environment. The shore can be uneven and slippery so please wear sturdy footwear that you don't mind getting a little wet. Family event but children must be accompanied by an adult. To book your places and to receive your joining instructions please follow this link www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/rocky-shore-safari-and-jellyfish-walk-tickets-24458535137  
Places are limited so book early!
Contact Claire Hedley for enquiries:
claire.hedley@northumberland.gov.uk  Tel: 01670 622 651.

Rocky Shore Safari
The Berwickshire and Northumberland Marine Nature Partnership
Friday 5th August 10.00am - 11.30am
Seahouses
FREE
Come and explore the wonderful plants and animals of the rocky shore with a guided tour from Claire Hedley, the Berwickshire and Northumberland Marine Nature Partnership Manager. Learn about the influence of the daily tides, species identification, and discover fun facts about the different plants and animals living in the marine environment. The shore can be uneven and slippery so please wear sturdy footwear that you don't mind getting a little wet. Family event but children must be accompanied by an adult. To book your places and to receive your joining instructions please follow this link www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/rocky-shore-safari-tickets-24458798926
Places are limited so book early!
Contact Claire Hedley for enquiries:
claire.hedley@northumberland.gov.uk  Tel: 01670 622 651.

Rocky Shore Bioblitz
The Berwickshire and Northumberland Marine Nature Partnership
Northumberland Wildlife Trust - Living Seas
Newcastle University - Capturing Our Coast
Monday 19th September 10.00am - 12.00 noon 
Beadnell
FREE
Join us on a rocky shore recording bonanza! This is an exciting opportunity to learn about marine plants, animals and survey skills. Beadnell is one of the most diverse rocky shores in Europe, so we should find plenty of interesting species. Open to all levels of knowledge but participants should be 16yrs or older. The shore can be uneven and slippery so please wear sturdy footwear that you don't mind getting a little wet. Recording equipment will be provided, but please feel free to bring your own ID guides if you have them. To book your places and to receive your joining instructions please follow this link www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/rocky-shore-bioblitz-tickets-24458959406
Places are limited so book early!
Contact Claire Hedley for enquiries:
claire.hedley@northumberland.gov.uk  Tel: 01670 622 651.

NORTHUMBERLAND LITTLE TERN PROJECT Chris Collett

Volunteers needed to protect rare seabirds in Northumberland

The Northumberland Little Tern Project is looking for volunteers to protect vulnerable nesting shorebirds this summer.  This includes endangered little terns, ringed plovers and oystercatchers.

Little terns spend their winter on the west coast of Africa and return to our coastline at the end of April. These rare birds nest on the beach along with other shorebirds and are very susceptible to disturbance.

In Northumberland, little terns are predominantly found on the National Trust Long Nanny site at Beadnell beach and Natural England's Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve (NNR), which stretches from Budle Bay to Berwick.

The Northumberland Little Tern Project is a partnership between the National Trust, Natural England, RSPB and the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which provides additional funding to the sites that Natural England and the National Trust have been protecting for many years.  With this support, extra seasonal staff help protect the sites, provide new information signs and additional fencing to enclose nesting areas.

Chantal Macleod-Nolan, EU LIFE Little Tern Project Co-ordinator, said "Last year we had a really good outcome with 44 pairs of little terns nesting on the Northumberland coast and 52 chicks fledging by the end of the season. The terns had a difficult summer with high tides, human disturbance and persistent predators, and only persevered due to the continued efforts of nine staff and a team of 20 dedicated volunteers working around the clock across both sites. Without this hard-working team, we wouldn't be able to protect these birds and as a result, volunteer recruitment is crucial to the little tern's breeding success again this summer."

Volunteers are essential for the protection of our breeding shorebirds, as engaging beach-users about the significance of the fenced off areas and the importance for dog-walkers to keep their dogs on leads makes a huge difference to the breeding success of these small visitors. The observational research data collected by these volunteers also contributes to a wider national shorebird protection scheme, with the information used to further the protection of these sensitive birds.

The enthusiastic team of wardens and volunteers monitor the shorebirds throughout the breeding season and raise public awareness, all while enjoying the stunning Northumberland coast.

The Northumberland Little Tern Project is hosting a volunteer information meeting on Friday 22 April 2016 between 10:30am-12:30pm at the National Trust Office, Low Newton by the Sea.

Take a left after the Tin Church, Newton Point, Alnwick, NE66 3EL.

To book a place, please contact:  northumberlandlittleterns@gmail.com or call Natural England (01289 381470) / National Trust (01665 576874)

THE NON-JURORS Shaun Spencer

One has to start somewhere, I guess. Imagine that this is the 'June issue'; one of the lives to be remembered this month is that of the Non-Juror, Thomas Ken. The reader may be well aware of who Thomas Ken was ; and who or what was a Non-Juror. Just in case, however... let us take the month of June in the year 1688. At that time 7 Bishops of the Church of England enjoyed the status of 'national treasures'. It didn't last. Only a few years later five of these Bishops and 400 clergy besides were turned out ; their places were filled by Low Churchmen.

What, then is the story?

The Seven Bishops were Sancroft ( Archbishop of Canterbury), Lloyd (Saint Asaph), Turner (Ely), Lake (Chichester), Thomas Ken, the hymn writer (Bath and Wells), White (Peterborough) and Trelawney, the Cornishman (Bristol).

They had spent time in the Tower charged, at the instigation of King James II, with seditious libel. In brief, they had presented to James a courteously-worded Petition contradicting the King's claimed entitlement to dispense with the Acts of Parliament imposing civil disabilities upon the Roman Catholics and Dissenters ;further protesting against the order that the dispensation be read from every pulpit in the land.

The proceedings aroused great popular feeling in favour of the Bishops. Readers will recall the contemporary ditty :

"And shall Trelawney die? And shall Trelawney die?

There's twenty thousand Cornish boys will know the  reason why!"

The trial took place in the Court of King's Bench. The bishops were acquitted, to tumultuous applause. Public celebrations knew no bounds. The trial and its outcome contributed to the downfall of King James and the usurpation of the throne by Prince William of Orange and his wife, Mary (James' elder daughter).

Attempts by the House of Stuart to reclaim its inheritance failed, bloodily, in 1715 and 1745.

William, having initially been greeted as a saviour, was not popular. Let's face it, he was an immigrant; from Europe; he had taken an Englishman's job ; his religion, if he had one, was Calvinist. Worst of all, he favoured his Dutch henchmen: think of Bentinck (later Duke of Portland), Keppel (later Duke of Albemarle), Ginkel (later Earl of Athlone). English aristocratic noses well out of joint.

William thought it prudent then to require oaths of allegiance from all those of any account. After all, the English had ratted on James: no doubt they could rat on him, if inclined.

The requirement to swear allegiance applied to all bishops and clergy. Of the Seven Bishops mentioned above, Sancroft, Lake, Ken, White and Lloyd refused to take the oaths. They were 'Non-Jurors'. They had sworn allegiance to James II; they could not, in conscience, swear allegiance to another.

The consequences were drastic. The Non-Jurors were turned out of their places. All except Lake who had had the good sense to die first. The vacancies thus created were filled by men of a different stamp. Some would say the Church never recovered from this.

The Non-Jurors carried on for a while as a small separate Church. Strength resides, however, in numbers : they wished to ally themselves to some greater and legitimate authority. The Church of Rome was out of the question . Like the Lutherans before them ( and with the same lack of success) they paid court to the Eastern Orthodox Churches. There is (a minority taste, perhaps) a most interesting correspondence between the Non-Jurors and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. The object was to establish if there was sufficient concordance on points of doctrine. Their differences were too great. The discussions foundered. The congregation of Non-Jurors simply petered out.

NEWS FROM FORD & ETAL Elspeth Gilliland

May Events at Ford & Etal

2nd & 30th May "Bubble Trains" at Heatherslaw Light Railway
Free bubbles for all children travelling on the railway (while stocks last) - blow a cloud of bubbles as the trains leaves Heatherslaw!

14th May  Live Music at Etal Village Hall - Sunjay
With a relaxed and confident manner, vocal style and mastery of his instrument as he walks onto a stage and addresses an audience as though he is sitting down to play music with a group of close friends; a completely natural approach for a young man who picked up the guitar when he was just 4 years old and hasn't put it down since.
Contact Helen or Steve for tickets and further information.  All 'Etal Live Music' events have a bar. Tickets 12.00 - can be paid by cash or cheque by calling at 22 Etal or Taylor and Green's furniture workshop at the riverside, or by post to Steve Taylor, 22 Etal Village, Cornhill-on-Tweed TD12 4TW.
Doors open 7.30, music starts 8pm.

14th & 15th May National Mills Weekend - theme 'vintage power'
To celebrate National Mills weekend Heatherslaw Cornmill is offering half-price admission on Sunday 15th May.  Visit Heatherslaw Mill to see vintage power at its best - the restored 19th century machinery makes delicious flour from locally grown wheat.  Then pop up the road to Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre - as seen on Countryfile, not only is the centre home to the rare breed Clydesdale Horses but it has an array of vintage machinery and farming memorabilia on display.

15th May North Northumberland Bird Club annual Dawn Chorus Walk
The annual North Northumberland Bird Club Dawn Chorus Walk meets at 5am in the car park beside Etal Castle.   All are welcome, with non-members of the Club being asked to pay a modest contribution. Breakfast will follow, with a donation to a nominated charity charity (to be confirmed).
It's been a slow spring across the area this year but the first summer migrants have arrived. The first Chiffchaff was heard close to Heatherslaw on beautiful sunny Good Friday morning (25th March) and there are now plenty in the woods. There was an 'exultation' of Skylarks on the estate on 31st March - some 30-40 on a newly-sown corn field, very probably on their way further north. The first Sand Martins have just arrived and we are now listening out for Swallows and Willow Warblers. Sightings of birds around Ford & Etal are always welcome, via the main contact e-mail address for this website. Also, check here for other interesting bird news from the area.

15th May Farmers Market 9am-3pm
This year a traditional farmers market is being held every third Sunday in the month at Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre - visit to buy fresh locally produced food, gifts and crafts - and meet the horses while you're there.

29th May Antiques & Collectors Fair 10am-4pm
Held in Etal Village Hall, there will be a range of quality antiques and collectable items including:
Books, Furntiure, Ceramics, Fabrics, Pictures, Silverware & Jewellery, Vintage Clothing, Watches, Fishing Tackle and more!
Tea, coffee and home baking.  Entry fee 50p

29th May British Dressage Event, Etal
Annual dressage event with proceeds to charity.
30th May Craft Fair, 11am-3pm
This popular craft fair returns to Etal Village Hall with a range of excellent foodies and crafters selling a selection of local delicacies and crafts made in North Northumberland. Whether you're treating yourself or looking for a special gift this is the place to find it.  Free admission, free parking.

FROM THE COMMUNITY OF AIDAN AND HILDA Revd Ray Simpson

Graham and Ruth Booth have settled in successfully to their house in Fetlar, Shetland Isles. Their nearest rail station is in Norway. Two of our Liverpool community members, who are touring Scotland in their camper van, will be the first to visit them next month. In July Carol Few and in August I hope to make the long trek there. They say their season is one month - July. So Carol is the lucky one!

Meanwhile interviews for possible new Open Gate wardens take place in May. Graham's great interest in local nature will continue to be reflected. In May at The Open Gate Mark Winter (of Even Sparrows) offers guided bird watching walks for beginners and keen bird watchers. After that geologist and bird watcher Paul Swinhoe leads a Saints and Seabirds week with Carol Few offering spiritual direction.

Several pilgrim groups who have walked from Iona to Holy Island have incorporated the newly extended nature trail called John Muir Way in their route http://johnmuirway.org/ . This ends at Dunbar and walkers continue south along the coast to here. Through our members or friends there we are developing links with Dunbar, which houses the John Muir Centre at the birth place of this increasingly well-known naturalist and writer. He describes his sudden splash into pure wildness as 'baptism in Nature's warm heart', and wrote 'it is a great comfort to learn the vast multitudes of creatures, great and small and infinite in number, lived and had a good time in God's love before man was created.' In USA he is often known as the Father of National Parks.

Ray Simpson
Founding Guardian,
The International Community of Aidan and Hilda
aidanandhilda.org

PAUSE FOR THOUGHT Revd Canon Kate Tristram

A comment on the words in St. John's Gospel ch.14: 'In my father's house there are many dwelling-places...I go to prepare a place for you.'

One of the happiest words in our language must be the word 'welcome'. Think of a light shining through an open doorway on a dark night and your friend standing at the door and saying, 'Welcome! It's lovely to see you.' Then think of that poor Prodigal Son on his way home to his father, hoping that he would at least be given work and food. That his father would welcome him with open arms and the fatted calf - that must have been beyond the wildest fantasy of his starved and aching body and mind. That parable has given many people the strength to journey through life with greater hope: the hope that at journey's end the gates of heaven would swing wide open for them and the trumpets would sound a welcome for yet another of God's returning children.

You can't tell the Gospel story without using the word 'welcome'. Jesus was that kind of person. He received tax-collectors and sinners into his friendship and at his table. He welcomed the leper and even touched him; he welcomed the Gentile Centurion and praised his faith. He blessed small children and their mothers, whom the disciples would have sent away. He affirmed a group of women and let them travel in his company. He welcomed the prostitute who washed his feet with her tears and the notorious chief tax-collector who climbed a tree to see him. He responded to the thief on the cross and took him with him through into Paradise.

We know that Jesus was not always welcome in return. But we Christians have learned to look at the Cross and see, not merely a man's arms forcibly held apart by nails, nor even merely an incredibly loving man opening wide his arms for us, but right to the heart of God himself. Jesus is our clue to the nature of God. If Jesus had a loving welcome and open arms for all then there is a loving welcome in that mysterious depth and centre of all life we call 'God'. 'He who has seen me has seen the Father'.

A welcoming God asks us to become welcoming people. When we meet anyone we can help we may be sure God is there too. When anyone offers to help us there also is God. He comes to us in the things that happen, to transform these things; 'not to lift us out of life but to prove his power within it.'. And then, at the end of our time here, he does lift us out of life, and into what? Jesus tells us that the Father has many dwelling-places. Just as Jesus on earth welcomed such a rag-bag and hotch-potch of people, he will welcome into heaven perhaps many who never knew him under his earthly name but yet shared something of his spirit. And then he assures us that there will be a place for us: our own place, which we can call home, a right place for us to continue to grow into the people God means us to be. And he will be there and we shall know him as he is. And then the word 'welcome' will continue to be, there as here, one of the happiest words in the language.

LETTER TO A FRANCISCAN Sue Rylance

LETTER TO A FRANCISCAN

Your voice echoes in your letters and emails
despite you lying in your coffin, or possibly
you have made it to the Alnwick Crematorium with Brother John.
Your funeral was a masterpiece in spirituality and kindness.
Your brothers in their brown habits
leant an air of the monastery
which perhaps silenced the congregation.
Other funerals I've attended have seemed
more like a cocktail party
in the Nave
whilst the deceased lies silent
in the Chancel.
You would have been amazed at the number of friends
who came to say goodbye.
There was a Homily - you would have laughed
out loud
as many of us did at your habit
of collecting stacks of parking tickets.
Why, dear Damian, did you not tell me
that you played the ukelele ?
You would have enriched our Peruvian Patchamankas.
The brothers placed your ukele
on a chair draped with your brown habit.
A photo, perhaps thirty or so, very good looking Damian
setting hearts fluttering.
I am at a loss now your body has gone.
As a poet friend said to me this morning
these losses stack up like pancakes
take us ever deeper so we are able
to tune into others and help them.
Sue Rylance.


Holy Island Festival 2016

Friday 24th June
Royal Northern Sinfonia
 
Saturday 25th June
Ex Cathedra
 
Sunday 26th June
Festival Eucharist 10.45am
with the Scholars of St Martin in the Fields
preacher: Very Revd Christopher Dalliston
[Dean of Newcastle Cathedral]
 
Sunday Evening
Headline Concert: The Unthanks
 
also performing during the weekend
 
Pons Aelius
Anna & Martha Raine
The Five Ring Circus
 
www.holyislandfestival.org