|SITEZINE: HOLY ISLAND'S E-MAIL MAGAZINE
- A bit from me...
- A farewell to Mr Stafford
- Repairing the Chancel of St Mary's Church
- The Holy Island of Lindisfarne Community Development Trust
- Crossman Hall
- Lindisfarne Castle
- Summer? It's already autumn for the birds
- Peregrini Lindisfarne landscape partnership
- AONB Partnership
- From our United Reformed Church minister
- From the Vicarage
- Holy Island Festival - programme
- Pause for thought
the Heugh - June 2017
(Photo: Thelma Dunne)
|A BIT FROM ME
Dear *|MMERGE3|* ,
Welcome to our latest issue of 'SitEzine'.
As I write it is a wet June day.
At breakfast this morning the Visit England
inspector remarked, "it only takes a few days of rain and
all those weeks of experiencing the most blazing temperatures since
1970 will be forgotten". I wonder if it is just us Brits who enjoy a
grumble. It's either too hot, too
cold, to dry or too wet - never just right...
A caution if you are planning to
visit the island: please be aware that little seems to have
been done to improve sand obscuration of road markings on the
causeway nor potholes. Do take care if you are using this, our only
access road, particularly if the tide has only just opened.
And some news : whilst the
UK election results on Thursday 8th June might be construed as just
'interesting ', historians are absolutely agape after, continuing
on from last year's dig, Richard Carlton of "Archaeological Practice" and their '2017 team' appear to have literally unearthed what
could turn out to be the sandstone foundations of Aidan's original church atop
the Heugh. Our newsletter includes articles covering this 'find' by David Suggett
and Jessica Turner.
In addition to David and Jessica, this month we
are also pleased to present articles from Rachel P, David O, Ian K,
Nick L, Paul C. Unfortunately, we still await 'Natural England' appointing a new warden
to replace Mhairi.
Finally, readers who have been with us over
the years will remember (!), we give our authors a month off and
will not be publishing until the end of August. Meanwhile, we hope that you enjoy our newsletter and look
forward to getting in touch in September.
ED: Thank you to 'Islander' Thelma Dunne who sent
in pictures of the excavations taking place on the Heugh. And
congratulations to great granddaughter, Olivia Rose Mann, who was
christened at St.Mary's by Rev.Dr Collins. Although parents,
Grandparents, Godparents, Great Grandparents and guests
were present, Olivia was definitely the star of the show. And
well behaved too!
|A FAREWELL TO MR STAFFORD
||Revd Dr Paul Collins|
We were all very sad to learn that our school
teacher Mr Stafford had decided that it was time to move on from
Holy Island. We will all miss his calm and genial presence, in
school, in the village and at church.
Over the past three years we have very much
enjoyed his company and his contributions to the life of village -
enabling the learning of the school children and serving on the
Development Trust and Church Council. Thank you for all that you
have done to enrich our community's life.
We wish you Nick, and Erne, Luke and Lilly
all the very best in your new life in Northern Ireland.
ED: From us
| REPAIRING THE CHANCEL OF ST MARY'S CHURCH
For the next 4 to 6 weeks the chancel of St
Mary's will be being repaired. The cement mortar will be removed and replaced with
lime mortar which allows the walls to breathe and conserves the stonework much
During the repairs the interior of chancel will not be accessible
to the public and will not be used by congregations in worship. We
are required by our insurers to do this, to avoid any risks.
Donations to support the conservation of the ancient stonework of
St Mary's are very welcome and can be made in the donation boxes in
the church or by contacting the Vicar or PCC Treasurer.
| THE HOLY ISLAND OF LINDISFARNE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT TRUST
The Holy Island of Lindisfarne Community Development Trust are
delighted to announce that the "Lifeboat House" is nearing
completion and now open. We are grateful to the Heritage Lottery
Fund for project funding and particularly to the archive group for
their research into the island's proud lifeboat
I am out of the country at the moment and expect to be
back shortly to help arrange the formal opening of the new hall, by
arrangement, early in August.
Sorry to be brief.
David - firstname.lastname@example.org
It's taken until now for me to be able to write
this monthly article and not have any need to
refer to scaffolding being built. That either means I am getting boring
or there has been rather a lot of it to talk about. We
have reached a point now where there is a period of calm in
terms of the scaffolding and attention can turn to what is actually being done inside.
Now that the temporary roof is up the joiners
and roofing contractors have being stripping lead and constructing
the new roof levels designed by the architects. This reconfiguration
of the roof at the Castle will see water moved away from the
building in a totally different way than previously. Given that the
roof of the building isn't one of the most recognisable features at
Lindisfarne I don't suppose it will be something people really
notice, but I think it will be interesting perhaps in a future
edition of this newsletter to post a 'before' and 'after' photo of
the roof - particularly the central area - to show the changes that
have been made. As I mentioned last month all that will be
noticeable to visitors will be the introduction of three new downpipes on
the Upper Battery, and a new spitter on the west
side of the Upper Battery's southern buttress. This spitter
is the only major new introduction we are making to the Castle
fabric which has required Listed Building Consent. It is being modelled on the
existing spitters or spouts around the building and will take water which falls
on the Upper Gallery roof (near the flagpole) and runs under the
Upper Battery surface.
Stone replacement works have continued around
the building and where previously this had mainly be limited to
window work paving the way for the glaziers to fit refurbished
panels, we have recently seen more elaborate work undertaken. A large lintel above
one of the Long Gallery's windows has been installed replacing
the old one which has been ravaged by water
and wind damage. The old stone is being reused in repairs elsewhere
in the Castle. Other replacements have been installed in the gatehouse buttress above
the front door so will be noticeable to visitors, but the stone will
of course weather quickly so it won't be long before they look
like the others.
The large tracery windows on the north side
have been worked on by the glaziers but issues have come up
regarding the tracery itself - the elaborate decorative stone work
at the head of the arches. The main rectangular leaded panels which
make up the bulk of the window have been successfully removed to be
taken away and refurbished, but the more detailed stonework was
found to be in very poor condition, and any attempted to remove the
glass would result in the stone being lost. We are
looking at options for how best to repair these
windows and it may mean some of the stone work has to
be replaced with new pieces of tracery. Ideally we want to retain as
much of the original material as possible, but where this impacts on the
main aims of the work then we may need to look at
new stone tracery.
01289 389244 (press 1, then 1903)
| SUMMER? IT'S ALREADY AUTUMN FOR THE BIRDS
It's high summer as far as we are concerned with the island at its
busiest. But it's already autumn for many of our visiting birds, particularly
for thousands of waders.
While this edition is appearing at the height of our summer season and
probably before many of us have had their main holiday, it's very
different for these birds.
As far as they are concerned summer is over and
migration is in full swing. I always watch my
first returning northern waders during mid-July. That's when high
Arctic breeders such as Bar-tailed Godwits, Knot and Northern Golden Plovers suddenly
begin to appear.
It often provides a very short period to
enjoy them while they're still at their finest in breeding plumage.
Godwits and Knots appear in glorious shades of dark red and
orange while the Golden Plovers are still resplendent in
glossy black, gold and white. All will quickly moult into more sober
winter browns and greys.
Many of these early waders are failed
breeders which lost eggs or young. There is nothing to keep them on
the tundra of Iceland, northern Scandinavia and Russia and they
immediately move out. They are strong and fast flyers and can
reach us within days. When they arrive they mingle
with our British breeding waders, including growing parties of Curlews and Lapwings
around the island's meadows.
They aren't the only birds on the move.
Across on the Farne Islands, many breeding seabirds, including
Puffins, Guillemots and Razorbills, have departed. As soon as their young can get into
their true element, the open sea, they desert the breeding burrows and
cliffs for another year.
Smaller species, particularly among our
summering warblers, have fledged young and are drifting down the
east coast, the first stages of migration to traditional wintering
areas of Africa or around the Mediterranean. The smaller species
include many Willow Warblers and Sedge Warblers. The peak movements of Sedge Warblers, those
very noisy little inhabitants of reedbeds and wetlands, are usually in late
July and early August.
All of this activity lends credence to an old saying: "The birdwatcher's autumn
begins on August 1st."
It really does. From now on when I'm not
concentrating on ringing the island's second broods of Swallows, my
mind is certainly going to be on autumn migration, always the most
exciting period of the year. The island is wonderful places
to be at any time but as far as birders are concerned,
particularly during autumn migration.
Year after year, because of its position thrusting out into
the North Sea, it manages to attract many of the species sought
by more dedicated birders.
With an incredible 336 species on the
island's bird list, there's always the hope that other new and
spectacularly rare birds will turn up. Last autumn was
a prime example with four new species, all incredibly
rare eastern visitors, being added to that list, three of them within
a couple of days.
Raptors were represented by an elegant young
Pallid Harrier which hunted low over the fields towards
between the Castle and the Crooked Lonnen. It was only the second
ever found in Northumberland.
By an amazing coincidence, two other
newcomers were named after the same Spanish queen, Isabella of
Castile (1451-1504). The Isabelline Wheatear, a large and pale
desert-dwelling cousin of our own familiar upland Wheatears, was on
the North Shore. It provided the second county record. An
Isabelline Shrike, in the willow patch west of Snook House, was only
the fourth for Northumberland.
Isabella and her husband, Ferdinand are in
the history books for despatching Christopher Columbus to search for
a new sea route to India. He failed in that and instead found
America. There's also a bizarre legend involving Isabella, a very
pious lady. She vowed that she wouldn't change her under-garments
until the last Moors and Jews were either driven out of Spain or
forced to convert to Christianity. As that no doubt
took a considerable time, it's probably just as well that history doesn't
dwell on the outcome.
As if these species weren't enough, another
mega-rarity occurred. Siberian Accentors, close relatives of the Dunnocks most
of us see in our gardens, are normally sedentary and had never
been recorded in Britain.
Last October for unknown reasons, Accentors
sudden began to wander and an influx occurred into northern Europe.
One turned up in Shetland, causing great excitement. Others quickly
followed in East Yorkshire, Cleveland and closer to home, in the
unlikely setting of a derelict dockyard at Sunderland. The Holy
Island bird was discovered a few days later on a path through
the dunes, the first for the county and only the fifth for Britain.
Pallas's Warbler: this tiny brightly striped species is a very rare visitor from Siberia.
Photograph: Andy Mould
It was the climax of an incredible autumn for
birdwatching in general and on the island in particular. The presence of the accentor tended to overshadow
a host of other rarities on the island which made it the best autumn on record.
The others included another Siberian
super-rarity, a White's Thrush, only the third ever found in
county. It turned up in Robert's willow patch in
the Straight Lonnen 102 years after the county's first was found, naturally enough on the island.
The autumn was also marked by the presence on the
island of other Siberian and eastern species, all rare but not quite
in same super league.
These included record influxes of dainty
Red-breasted Flycatchers and of tiny and striped Pallas's Warblers, named
after a German zoologist and explorer who first identified them in Siberia
in the 18th Century.
Of course, every autumn is different. It's difficult to think that this one could
possibly be as good as 2016. But you never know. That's what
makes birding so fascinating.
| PEREGRINI LINDISFARNE LANDSCAPE PARTNERSHIP
||David Suggett |
Peregrini Heritage Festival shines bright
Our festival over the weekend of the 17th and 18th June was
bathed in sunshine and shone the spotlight on a number of Peregrini
activities. Around 3000 people visited us over the course of the
weekend and got to try their hand at a range of heritage skills
including candle making, wool spinning, pot making and willow
weaving. The Immersive Northumbrian Landscapes art exhibition was a
huge draw with the volunteer led art project bringing in over 400
people. Also creating a buzz was the community archaeology dig on
Lindisfarne Heugh which continued the excavation of what is thought
to be an early Medieval church site.
Richard Carlton from the Archaeological Practice said:
"Excavation on a number of sites on the Heugh, known from earthworks
and previous exploratory archaeological work, began on 12th June and
will continue until the end of the month. The focus of
investigations is on a site just west of 'the beacon' where the
substantial foundations of a large rectangular building have been
unearthed. The foundations consist of large stone flags set on the
natural boulder clay, defining a rough rectangle approximately 16
metres long and seven metres wide, with the east end more roughly
constructed and slightly stepped-in to form a distinct component
which is best interpreted as the chancel of an early chapel or
church. The construction of the chancel against a partially
robbed-out wall between chancel and nave suggests that the chancel
may have been a later addition. Other features of the building
include a doorway in the north part of the west wall and another at
the west end of the south wall, with remains of an external flagged
floor. Apart from some crudely dressed window surrounds, including
arched lintels, few artefacts have yet been found to elucidate the
dating or phasing of the structure, but all suggestions are that it
is very early, certainly pre-Conquest in origin. Work will continue
here, as well as on three more sites on the Heugh, until the end of
June in order to uncover more evidence to elucidate the origin and
function of these interesting and potentially very important
We only have 6 months left before the end of the project so
anyone wishing to be involved can contact David at email@example.com.
For a full list of our events please visit our website www.peregrinilindisfarne.org.uk/events
|NORTHUMBERLAND COAST AREA OF OUTSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTY
||Jessica Turner |
Is this St Aidan's
first church on Holy Island?
The remote and beautiful Holy Island of
Lindisfarne holds a special place in history. Known as the 'Cradle
of Christianity' in the North East, it was here that St Aidan
established a monastery in AD635 and set out to convert the pagan
Northumbrians. The monastery developed into an international centre
of learning and craftsmanship and it was during this Golden Age of
Northumbria that exquisite items such as the Lindisfarne Gospels
were produced. All this came to a crashing end with the arrival of
the Vikings in the late 8th Century.
Archaeologists working for the National Lottery funded Peregrini Lindisfarne Community Archaeology
project have made exciting new discoveries which may well have turned a
long held belief about Holy Island on its head.
Many in academic and ecclesiastical circles
have long maintained that the close linear arrangement of the the
Parish Church of St Mary's with the Priory church is evidence of the original locations of the two
Anglo-Saxon churches on Holy Island. This close linear relation is evidenced at
other early Northumbrian monasteries such as Hexham and Jarrow.
The Venerable Bede, writing in c.731,
records that St Aidan arrived in Northumbria from St. Columba's
monastery on Iona in 635AD at the request of King Oswald and was
gifted the Holy Island of Lindisfarne to establish his own
monastery. The parallels between the islands of Iona and Lindisfarne
are remarkable and it is easy to understand how this was a suitable
location for Aidan to evangelise and convert the Northumbrians,
especially given the close visual relationship between the island
and the royal court of Oswald at Bamburgh. Contemporary historical sources refer to at least two churches
on Lindisfarne, a small timber one built by Aidan and later one
built by Finan which was dedicated to St. Peter.
Until this summer the assumption has been
that the original Anglo-Saxon churches stood down in the shelter a
high rocky ridge known as of the Heugh in the area now occupied by
the Parish Church and the Priory. But excavations during the last
four weeks up on the Heugh suggest a very different configuration.
The excavation has revealed the stone foundations of a small rectangular building
with a chancel type configuration at the east end.
The crude and unmortared walls, very
simple window arches and positioning of a possible alter stone all suggest an
an early date which has led to speculation that this is a
church building which could date from the 7th century.
Richard Carlton, the director of The
Archaeological Practice running the community archaeology dig on
behalf of the Peregrini Lindisfarne HLF Landscape Partnership Scheme
said "This second year of investigation on the Heugh has
exceeded all my expectation. And with work still to be done to
revisit the watch tower structure identified last year and work in
the Lantern Chapel building there is potential for the Heugh to
yield more of it's secrets". Excavations last year further west on
the Heugh revealed a massive foundation wall that archaeologist are
now speculating is a foundation for a 'watch tower'. The Venerable
Bede, in his 'Life of St. Cuthbert', made reference to
a signal from Inner Farne being seen from the watch tower on
Holy Island to mark the death of St Cuthbert.
Sara Rushton, the Conservation Manager at
Northumberland County Council said "This latest discovery of a
potential church building on the Heugh cements Holy Island as one of
the most significant early medieval sites in Britain. It is
incredible to think that we have uncovered two very significant
buildings associated with the early Christian foundation of the priory that provide
tangible links to both St. Aidan and St. Cuthbert".
The monastic tradition on Iona, where Aidan
came from, was much more dispersed than the patterns that developed
at Hexham and Jarrow. The Irish monastic tradition was for small
chapels and 'turas' type buildings defining the monastic precinct.
The scatter configuration of buildings on Heugh certainly seems to
have parallels with Iona where there were at least six chapels and
this new discovery could be one of a number of chapels within the
monastic complex. In addition the close visual relation between the buildings
on the Heugh and the castle at Bamburgh, which the priory does
not have, is significant and supports the early date.
The Peregrini Lindisfarne project is a
Landscape Partnership Project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) thanks to National Lottery players and
has been developed to conserve, enhance and celebrate the natural and cultural
heritage of Holy Island and the wider shoreside landscape.
Cllr John Riddle, portfolio holder for
Planning who host the Peregrini Lindisfarne HLF project commented
that "Community participation is at the heart of the Peregrini
project and this Community Archaeology has been a brilliant opportunity for
people to get hands-on experience of absolutely fantastic archaeology which illustrates how
wonderful the cultural heritage of our beautiful county is".
Ivor Crowther, Head of HLF North East, said:
"The North East is full of incredible heritage and this find shows
that there is still so many stories left to discover. Thanks to
money raised by National Lottery players we're delighted to support this project which is
putting communities at the heart of celebrating the history of their landscape
and creating strong partnerships to ensure its bright future."
Tel. 01670 622648
|FROM OUR UNITED REFORMED CHURCH MINISTER
Regularly at St Cuthbert's we pray for "all
who are on this Island this day, for those who are visiting, for
those who are on holiday, for those who are on a spiritual journey,
for those who are working, and for those who are getting on with
their day to day lives". I hope that covers all the bases of
who is inhabiting this space on any one day, but
the prayer also illustrates the different
threads of community here - sometimes they are intertwined, sometimes
they do not connect at all.
I am struck by the focus of those who are
here on a spiritual journey. From the moment they reach the
causeway they travel with hope and expectation of
encountering something luminous and hopeful. The way they engage with the landscape, and
often, with the various acts of Christian worship on the
Island, reveals a desire to find
stillness and truths that can be elusive in the rush
of their day to day lives.
The experience of living and working here is
very different to that of those who we welcome as visitors, but
maybe in the midst of the rush of life there is something to learn
about moments of focus, however fleeting they are. How often
we do stop to fully appreciate those things
we take for granted as we hurry on to the next job ?
Our landscape, the people around us, simple everyday joys are
all gifts of life with which
we are blessed, and absorbing their riches can enrich us
when life is demanding or rough.
Rev Rachel Poolman
|FROM THE VICARAGE
||Revd Dr Paul Collins|
Our island has inspired
many to write and paint in our own times and indeed to
create the Lindisfarne Gospels those many centuries ago.
The Holy Island Festival seeks to celebrate that inspiration particularly in
music and performance. This year the Festival will run over 3 weekends beginning
on 30th June and finishing on 16th July. For those with
an island address the ticketed concerts are available - two
for the price of one: or if you just wanted one ticket
- then of course ½ price. Tickets are available to purchase beforehand
at the Vicarage or at the concerts themselves.
For the two ticketed concerts on the final weekend the Festival
organisers have commissioned the artists: Christian Forshaw and
Kathryn Tickell to write new pieces which celebrate Holy Island.
Those pieces will be given their premiere at these concerts.
Together with Paul checking out
progress on the chancel refurbishment Simon Lillywhite (left:
from Purcell's the architect's practice) and Jacob Ward
(right: one of the conservation men)
Christian is working with a special text
which celebrates the island called 'The Lindisfarne Benedicite'.
angels of the Lord, bless the Lord,
O Gabriel and Michael and
all the hosts of heaven,
O blessed maiden and mother, Mary to
whom our church is dedicated, bless the Lord
O Aidan and
Cuthbert and all the saints of this island,
O followers of
Jesus who here have sung praises to God, through many generations,
bless the Lord,
O souls of the faithful who rest in Jesus,
O kindly folk of this place, bless the Lord
O sheep and
lambs that jump in the fields,
O fish and seals that glisten
in the waters, bless the Lord
O sea creatures that navigate the
O ducks and terns that fill the beaches with your song,
bless the Lord,
O flowers that gem the earth with colour,
piled rocks, fashioned by nature's might through countless ages,
bless the Lord,
O sand and shingle, O shallows, and blue deeps
of ocean, bless the Lord,
O winds and cloud, O all the works
of the Lord, bless the
the Iona Benedicite
A printed full
schedule of the Festival events will be available..
(Abrahams's Children in Crisis)
Tuesday August 8th
IN THE CROSSMAN VILLAGE HALL
10:30a.m. - 1p.m.
ACIC is a small charity seeking to care for the education, health and welfare of children in crisis living in the Holy Land.
A Registered Charity in England and Wales
meet our hospice team