• A bit from me...
  • Holy Island Parish Council
  • Crossman Hall
  • Lindisfarne Castle
  • Swallow bounce back after early disasters
  • Archaeology- newsletter
  • Peregrini Lindisfarne landscape partnership
  • Results of Lindisfarne Community Archaeology on the Heugh 
  • AONB Partnership
  • News from Ford & Etal
  • From the Vicarage
  • You are responsible
  • Pause for thought

St. Mary's Church
'Dressed for an August Wedding'

A BIT FROM ME Geoff Porter

Dear *|MMERGE3|* ,

After our short summer break, welcome to our latest issue of 'SitEzine'.

It appears that visitor numbers have risen significantly this year with our main car park being filled throughout the July/August period. Regretfully, if you came to see us on Tuesday afternoon (29th August) you might have noticed that there was the restricted entry to the churchyard whilst the community joined together in St. Mary's to bid farewell to a great lady. As well as a respected and much-loved member of our community we are so grateful for the many ways in which Lady Rose and the Crossman family have supported Holy Island over the years. She will be sadly missed.

Staying with our parish church, where work on the chancel is now complete, this has been a very busy summer with tens of thousands of pilgrims and visitors interrupted on occasion by a local wedding and a couple of baptisms. One of these was for 'George' great-grandson of Jenny and the late and well-remembered Eddie Douglas who recorded the highest annual collection towards the 'Northern Air Ambulance'.

For 2017 archaeological excavations on the Heugh and Sanctuary Close are now complete. Included in this issue are reports from their respective lead-archaeologists as well as from David Suggett from the 'Peregrini Lindisfarne Landscape Partnership'. In addition to our regular contributors, also included are reports from AONB and a poem by Holy Island resident Andy Raine which regular users of our island causeway might find topical.

We hope you enjoy the fruit of our work and look forward to writing for you again in October.

Geoff Porter
Editor (SitEzine)

HOLY ISLAND PARISH COUNCIL Clerk to the Parish Council

Windsor Cottage, 3 Lewin's Lane, Holy Island, Berwick-upon-Tweed, TD152SB
Clerk: John A Bevan   Tel: (01289) 389359

The Parish Council has been considering how to manage the Public Question period during Parish Council Meetings to allow members of the public to air any concerns they have without prejudicing the smooth running of the meeting. I have based the following on the policy laid down in the Holy Island Parish Council Standing Orders adopted at the Holy Island Parish Council Meeting on Monday May 20th 2013 and on the guidance and legal advice given by the Society of Local Council Clerks.

It is important to remember that a Parish Council Meeting is not a general public meeting. It is a meeting of the Parish Council to discuss items on the formal agenda. Members of the public may only speak during a specified period set aside for public questions and statements. Outside this period the public are present as observers not participants and may only speak if invited to do so by the Chairman.

The Council's intention is to have a procedure which enables members of the public to make the best use of the Public Question time and to be able easily to raise matters of concern to them with the expectation that the matter will be considered by the Council. To do this the Councillors and Clerk may need to do some research. Therefore, if the matter is to be discussed by the Parish Council and, as far as possible, an informed answer given or a decision taken at the meeting at which the question is raised, then the Clerk must be given notice of the question at least 5 clear days before the meeting.

If a question is asked without due notice then it will be recorded but cannot be discussed at that meeting. If the question is solely seeking information then a Councillor or the Clerk will respond orally or in writing directly to the questioner when an answer is available. Only questions covering matters which are the responsibility of the Parish Council can be accepted.

The format of the Public Question time as laid out in the Holy Island Parish Council Standing Orders and based on the best practice advised by the Society of Local Council Clerks is as follows:

  • All questions must be addressed to the Chairman.
  • Only one person can speak at one time.
  • If more than one person wishes to speak the Chairman shall direct the order of speaking.
  • The questioner may speak for no more than 3 minutes.
  • A maximum of 15 minutes will be allowed for public questions.

While questions can be given directly to the Clerk it is preferable for them to be discussed with a Parish Councillor first. They are the elected representatives of the community and are there to take up matters of concern. The Councillor could then, if appropriate, raise the matter on behalf of the member of the public as part of the main agenda. This does not prevent the questioner also raising the matter during the Public Question time period.

There are some restrictions on the questions that can be considered. The following are excluded:

  • Matters over which the Parish Council has no authority or influence.
  • Where they are in furtherance of a person's individual circumstances.
  • Are about a matter where there is a right of appeal to the courts, tribunal or government.
  • Have been the subject of a decision by the Council in the last 6 months.

John Bevan.
Clerk to Holy Island Parish Council.


There has been an appropriate volume of concern voiced over the disastrous fire in the Glenfell Tower Block, London where so many lives were lost and other suffered devastating injuries, as well as those who lost all of their possessions.

I would like to reassure all users of our new hall that it is a safe meeting place and meets all fire safety requirements. When the Hall is used by others their 'risk assessment' is reviewed. For example, the Trustees, following the Risk Assessment process, prohibit naked flame(s) albeit lighted candles at a service or a plumber soldering a joint.

If open flame is required then a 'hot work permit must be obtained from the Trustees. In addition, deep fat/oil fryers are not permitted. And I am sure most of you will remember that we use heat exchange pumps and PV Panels backed up by mains electricity to provide hot water and heat. As a consequence the Hall fire risk assessment is low.

The spring/summer has seen the hall used for a wide range of activities. This has resulted in hard work for a gallant few, but worthwhile because funds raised from fees have made a substantial contribution towards the annual running expenses.

The hall has provided a venue for charity events, music and drama performances, the creative arts and latterly the Coldingham Pop-Up Market - The Pie Lady's stall is well worth a visit, excellent home baking, and of course access to the fitness equipment.

The Hall grounds looking spick & span. Thank you Billy.

As we progress towards the end of August there has been a successful Coffee Morning in aid of providing fireworks for the 'Bonfire Celebration in November.

But the big test, yes even bigger than Lindisfarne playing in the Hall will be over the last weekend in August. It's the Twins "BIG 40 PARTY". Have a good one Christopher & James and make the event as memorable as your birth. Most of us can remember which pub they were in when the news of your arrival spread quickly through the village.

Forthcoming events

Following this year's exciting excavations, late in September 2017, the Principal Archaeologists from Durham & Dig-ventures will give a presentation in the Hall highlighting their recent work on the Island.

For a small village, in recent times, Holy Island appears to have had more than its fair share of Cancer! Or is it because we are a caring and supportive community that Cancer is more noticeable here?

A patient has suggested we should try and help a small local Charity that has been of great support to us and others. Tuesday 24 October is a good tide day to host a Coffee Morning in the Hall, all proceeds donated to Berwick & District Cancer Support Group.

This group in particular, helps share the logistical burden of Families and Patients attending Oncology Departments in the Borders and North Tyneside Hospitals. Public transport from North Northumberland & the Borders cannot provide for those required to attend Hospital for regular treatment appointments.

The Berwick & District Support Group, a Registered Charity, provides Patients and occasionally their carer's with private car transport to and from Hospital. Travelling time to and from hospital is a round trip of more than 2 hours depending on traffic and weather.

The Group is run by Volunteers and financial help is needed to keep this vital service running. Please help us organise the fund raising Coffee Morning. All of the usual things are required; Volunteers to make buns and cakes, chutney & jam, donations for the raffle, tombola and Bric-a -Brac tables, as well as helpers to man the event.

If you live away from the area and want to support this fund raising event,. Please sent your donation to B&DCSG c/o Crossman Hall, Holy Island TD15 2WP.

A big thanks to St V de P camp for the donation of two splendid table-tennis units, which together with the new Badminton set helps to build up our fitness area.

Julia Waters, a recently retired Teacher popped into the hall last week to enquire should anyone be interested in an introduction to Pilates and Yoga during the later part of the year. Julia runs several classes in the area and could set-aside time for an Island class. Please let me know if you are interested and I will pass on her contact detail.

Following a successful fund raising event earlier this year the RNLI have expressed an interest in holding another fund raiser in the hall, more news later.

Finally, what of the 'easement' that will allow our Contractor to link the freshwater drain to the main sewer. Despite much pressing - no news!

Hopefully, I didn't forget any items.

David -

An appreciation: Lady Rose Maureen Crossman MBE

It was with deep and heartfelt sadness that the Trustees learnt of the death of Lady Rose Crossman, long standing Patron of Holy Island Village Hall Charity.

Some years ago Lady Rose and her late husband Humphrey became Patrons of The Holy Island Village Hall Charity. Bringing help and support to the group of hard working volunteers, appointed by the Community and charged with building a hall.

Lady Rose continued as Patron following the death of Humphrey in 2011, she gave immense support and encouragement to those involved in the project in that quiet determined way of hers helping us complete the project and open The Crossman Hall for the community.

David O', for and on behalf of the Hall Trustees


The traditional busy period on the island has coincided with an upsurge of work at the castle, or at least it feels that way. That is probably because some significant milestones have been achieved in the last month or so, which were always in our minds as important steps, and so are major points in the course of the project.

The 'sneck-harl' is a term which is often met with a quizzical expression even from those familiar with building practices. Over the last four of five years we have gone over the approach needed with the external walls of the inhabited castle with specialists in this field and come to the conclusion that to meet the needs of the building we needed something in-between a full harl (such as the north elevation of the castle, installed with no little controversy in the mid-90s) and bare stonework. The idea is to give the stonework itself a protective coat like the north wall, but show off the stone work as per the Country Life magazine photographs from c.1910. How this will pan out at Lindisfarne is that stones that stick out from the wall, and even just parts of stones that aren't quite flush will be visible, while the rest will be protected. The sneck-harl itself is a mix of lime and sand which is applied in two stages; the lime mortar is spread on with a trowel and then the sand is thrown, or 'harled', onto the wet mortar. Gradually as the wall dries out the excess sand will fall off, and the dark colour of the wet mixture will fade to a silvery colour. We will then be limewashing the walls for extra protection, and the colour of the limewash will be sympathetic in colour to both the crag and the old perimeter walls (which are not being worked on). This process, which will include the full harl on the north elevation, will restore the appearance of the castle being at one with the crag and almost rising up from it - certainly one of Lutyens' intentions here.

So much for the detail; the milestone here is that recently both the south and east elevations have been sneck-harled. In order to avoid day-lines (marks where one day's work ends and dries before the next day's work begins), both elevations were completed in a single day. In the case of the south elevation this was a huge task, with 140 square meters of wall being finished in 13 hours. Over on the east side, the finish was applied with the added complication of needing to 'show off' the whin stone draw arches above each window, a significant Lutyens feature. This along with the clean lines of the window and door quoins has been beautifully achieved although as with much of the work; it won't be until this phase of scaffolding comes down that we will get the full picture.

Last issue I talked about the tracery window repair in the Ship Room and Dining Room. This has progressed in that a specialist stone conservator has been onsite and taken measurements, stone has been ordered and dates organised for the work to be done. We were even able to locate a couple of original drawings from Lutyens' office showing the tracery design which is a massive help to the conservator. One of these drawings was held in the V&A, along with the original triangular design for St Oswald's, which itself was interesting to see. Another drawing down there was of one of the stone 'gargoyle' or water spitters at the Castle, and as I mentioned last month, the new spitter is now onsite and due to be installed soon. This required an individual cantilevered scaffold (supported with water tanks) to be installed on the Upper Battery which can be seen from ground level - it is a fantastic construction in itself and I just hope I am allowed to go on it!

Best wishes

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


The sheer resilience of our Swallows in the face of adversity has proved one of the highlights of the breeding season which is now drawing to a close.

During April and early May when they were arriving on the island after their spring migration from South Africa it was immediately obvious that all was not well. Numbers appearing around the village were much lower than usual, something which was commented on by many people. I was constantly being asked: "What's happened to our Swallows?"

The answer seems to have been that they had a very poor migration northwards, probably because of weather conditions and that mortality was high. When they arrived the weather wasn't particularly encouraging and for a couple of weeks they seemed more intent on just finding enough food to stay alive rather than getting down to breeding.

This meant that we started the breeding season with fewer than normal pairs. Even around their prime nesting sites at the sheds at the beach far fewer than normal were present and for the first time I can remember none were breeding at St Coombs Farm.

The first young hatched during late May and into June when our island birds faced their bleakest period. Three days of chilling northerly winds and rain in the final week of the month disastrously reduced the number of flying insects leading to widespread failure.

On June 29 I checked around some of my more regular nests and found five broods comprising 19 young had perished. Several people also told me that their young Swallows were also dead in the nests.

All the casualties were between eight and 12 days old, their period of most rapid growth, when they need to maximum amount of food. At that stage feathers are just developing and the youngsters are also very susceptible to the cold. Presumably adults were spending more time than usual frantically trying to find food leaving the vulnerable youngsters for longer periods without the warmth of a brooding bird. It was all just too much for these young birds.

Broods which were more advanced and better feathered, survived this short but very difficult period and successfully fledged.

At that stage I thought we were going to face an absolutely disastrous breeding season but I failed to take into account the sheer resilience of Swallows. Within a week of me clearing out and disposing of handfuls of dead young, I noticed that the bereaved pairs were again flying in and out and were refurbishing the nests. Fresh clutches of eggs followed and I'm delighted to say that this time in all cases the birds were successful.

During August, I spent a lot of time going around and ringing these replacement broods and, at the time of writing, most have successfully fledged. When birds fail the first time around their second clutches they tend to be smaller, generally with three eggs rather than the four or five. That was generally the case on the island although one pair in the Long Passage produced a second brood of five youngsters.

By the end of August with all these late youngsters on the wing, there seemed to be as many Swallows as ever around the village and the beach. Even though numbers were obviously swelled by migrating birds pausing to feed, it was nevertheless a complete turnaround of the early situation.

Although my final calculations have still to be made, from 30 nests which I was able to closely monitor around 109 chicks successfully fledged. If there was similar success at other nests right across the island - and I've no reason to think otherwise - it will have been a good season rather than the disaster I'd originally feared.

It also seems to have been a good year for our House Martins. I was amazed to discover in early August that half a dozen pairs had forsaken traditional sites in the village and had built their nests on the cliffs at Coves Haven.
I'd walked out there to check on the breeding pairs of Fulmars when I noticed a dozen or so House Martins feeding along the cliff-top and over the old quarry. I vaguely wondered why they were feeding so far away from the usual sites in the village before it dawned on me that they might be nesting on the cliff.

I returned next day when the tide was down and I was able to get along under the cliff and quickly located several nests all with large young.

Cliff nesting by House Martins is now very rare although at one time before us humans got around to building houses it must have been normal. One cliff colony further down the coast at Howick faded out in the 1990s and a few pairs still breed on cliffs north of Berwick. However, such instances haven't been recorded on the island previously.

It all goes to prove that there's always something new and surprising in the world of our island birds.


This has been a busy summer for archaeology on Holy Island. In addition to the exciting discoveries by the HLF Peregrini team on the Heugh, the joint Durham University/DigVentures team has also been working hard to uncover evidence for the early monastery. This year we focused in an area of Sanctuary Close where we had great success in 2016. Last year we discovered two fragments of Anglo-Saxon sculpture and lots of scattered human bone. Radiocarbon dates from some of this material showed it to be clearly early medieval in date. Over the winter the bone was analysed and found to include not only adults but also children and even two babies. This suggests that we were looking at the badly damaged remains of a cemetery where lay people were buried rather than monks. If the Peregrini team found a church, we like to think we found some of the congregation.

This year our aim was to find out whether any of the graves actually survived intact. Pleasingly, after moving a huge amount of rubble and soil we came down to a layer which contained intact skeletons. We fully uncovered two skeletons and there are still clearly other complete burials in the ground. It appears that like many early medieval graves, deposits of quartz pebbles had adorned the graves and sometimes the graves were also marked by lines of stones. The burials will return to Durham for further work and analysis, but once this is complete, the bodies will return to the Island and be carefully placed somewhere appropriate.  Although it was the burials that took most of our resources, we did find other features too. In one corner of our trench we found part of a simple rectangular building, with crude stone foundations that probably once supported a wooden superstructure. These were remarkably similar to Anglo-Saxon buildings found on other early medieval monastic sites, such as Hartlepool and Whithorn.  Nearby, we found a deposit of animal bones; this included not only the usual range of farm animals, such as cattle, sheep and pigs, but also a number of seal bones, suggesting that they were also being eaten, as well as being exploited for their oil and hides.

We plan to return to the island for another season next September (2018), but we will be giving a public talk alongside the HLF Peregrini Archaelogy team in the Crossman Hall on November 15th 7pm and if anyone would like a copy of our interim report on our 2016 fieldwork please contact me ( Finally, we'd like to thank everyone on the island who helped make our time so wonderful, particularly to Mr Patterson the farmer and the staff of the various pubs and cafés who kept us fed and watered. 


Summer season of community archaeology has revealed more tantalising insights into Holy Island's past.

The second Summer season of the Peregrini Lindisfarne Community Archaeology project on Holy Island has been successfully concluded with spectacular results.

In addition to the significant and well publicised discovery of the foundations of a possible early Anglo-Saxon chapel on the crown of The Heugh, other exciting remains were uncovered in the vicinity.

To the West of the chapel, close to the existing war memorial, further investigation was carried out on the remains of a substantial stone-built platform structure partially uncovered last year, which has been tentatively identified as the base of a tower, again possibly of Anglo-Saxon date. Mortared into the south face of the platform structure, which consisted of a single course of rough cobbles, the excavators discovered a socketed stone, thought to be a reused stone cross-base, and an external surface of small rounded cobbles in the same area. The presence of a cross-base suggests the possibility that the platform feature may have originally been the site of a ceremonial cross.

The Lantern Chapel, at the west end of The Heugh, was also investigated. This has been a poorly understood building and, in its current form, bears little resemblance to a chapel, although a chapel-like structure is depicted in this position on a map of the island dating from 1548. Excavation here seems to have confirmed the existence of this chapel by uncovering the footings of an east-west wall sitting directly upon the natural bedrock, apparently the remains of an older, narrower building on an east-west axis beneath the visible walls. A grave had been cut into the bedrock within the chapel and the disturbed remains of several individuals were found above it, but left undisturbed.

Although the dates of construction and use of the three major structures excavated on The Heugh in 2017 remain unclear, it is likely that they represent a long period of sacral activity and it is hoped that the analysis of samples taken from all three sites will provide significant additional information in the coming months.

In addition to the cultural heritage of The Heugh, the natural environment has also been studied and appreciated as part of the wider Peregrini Lindisfarne project, which has been made possible by National Lottery players thanks to a £1.37m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The whin bedrock upon which two of the excavated structures are founded has been studied by geologist Ian Kille, while the plants and animals of The Heugh and its southern shore are as inspiring now as they were to St Cuthbert and his contemporaries. Prior to this season's excavations, the natural environment had already given some clues to the hidden secrets of The Heugh, when a botanist working on the Peregrini Whin Grassland project recently questioned why different non-whin type plants were present on parts of The Heugh; the archaeology project has answered this question, showing that these plants were growing over the sandstone chapel.

This season's work on and around The Heugh has confirmed the importance of Holy Island in terms of its natural history and cultural heritage which combine to produce a unique and inspiring landscape. Conservation Manager, Sara Rushton said 'The results of this year's excavations on The Heugh have exceeded all our expectations and will cause us to radically re-think how this narrow, exposed rocky ridge was used in the medieval and early-medieval period. These discoveries will make an important contribution to our understanding of the development of the monastery on Holy Island'.

The significance of the archaeology and the national importance of the natural environment will require a careful balancing act and much thought as to how best to holistically manage both. The archaeological sites have been temporarily backfilled and the nationally important habitat restored in order to give the community and other stakeholders time to develop a new project to look at, interpret and manage the whole Heugh - a real legacy for the Peregrini Lindisfarne project.

Berwick Youth Project's Beehive Service Crew supports Peregrini

Over 3 weeks during the summer holidays, Berwick Youth Project gave a helping hand to help clean and improve local facilities. One of the projects was to fill pot holes on Church Lane, currently used for those visiting St Cuthbert's Beach and as disabled access to Lindisfarne. They also took part in clearing the dunes of litter at Cocklawburn Beach. A big thank you to all those who took part and who give back to their local community.

Peregrini history boxes go public!

The Peregrini Lindisfarne Lending Boxes can currently be seen at Baillifgate Museum in Alnwick!  The museum have borrow the boxes until the end of September and will the using the artefacts in a 'time-line' exhibition. Periods covered include Prehistoric, Iron Age, Anglo Saxon - domestic and monastic as well as Tudor Reiver.

We are delighted to know these will be enjoyed by the general public and schools who will be visiting the museum.

Peregrini takes part in Heritage Open Days 2017

Find out more about the history of the World War II Scremeston Gun Emplacement that sits on the former battery of lime kilns above the dunes of Cocklawburn Beach. Over the past year as part of a wider Military Defences project, our volunteers have cleared the structure of rubbish and debris, removed graffiti and researched its story.

This research into how the gun emplacement would have operated will be presented in a variety of ways including guided walks, informal talks, large-scale illustrations of the gun housed here and WWII refreshments!

Come along to find out more - Saturday 9th September 11am - 3pm.

Peregrini beach busters!

Join Peregrini and some of our dedicated volunteers to take part in this year's Marine Conservation Society Great British Beach Clean on September 16th! Taking place between 9.30am - 4.00pm we'll meet at Chare Ends Car Park and take a circular walk around Holy Island.

As part of the MCS Beachwatch we'll then be taking part in the national beach cleaning and litter surveying programme - helping people all around the UK to care for their coastline.

Some of our best-loved marine wildlife is under threat from the waste and litter in our seas, with hundreds of species accidentally eating or becoming entangled in litter. It's also dangerous for people and damaging to our tourism and fishing industries. We all have a part to play in turning the tide on litter.  For booking information go to our website events page.

September events and activities

Please go to our website to see the full list of our events


Community Archaeology excavations continued under the umbrella of the Peregrini Lindisfarne Partnership on Holy Island in June and July, 2017.

The most well publicised remains revealed in 2017 were those of the foundations of an Anglo-Saxon chapel on the crown of the Heugh, next to the beacon tower. Although a small part of this structure was revealed in 2016, it was not confirmed as a religious structure until its east end was exposed in June this year, showing that it comprised a narrower chancel or sanctuary attached to the wider, longer nave. The building, which survived only as a foundation course, measures some 16 metres east-west and between 6 and 7 metres north-south and runs on an east-west alignment overlooking the later priory, with unimpeded views to Bamburgh and the Farnes. Indeed, the position of the building is one of the factors supporting its early origin, although its stone-built construction suggests that the current structure may not be the earliest on this site. Apart from abundant fragments of facing stone and some rather crudely-tooled architectural features, few finds were made to assist with dating the church. Nor were any floors or other securely-dateable original deposits found, but it is possible that the analysis of samples taken from under the foundation stones may yet provide some clues. The church has now been recovered with topsoil and turf, leaving low banks to indicate the course of its walls, allowing the grassland to recover before decisions are made regarding any future display and interpretation of the site.

West of the church remains, close to the existing war memorial, there was further investigation of a substantial stone-built structure also partially uncovered last year, which has been tentatively identified as the base of a watchtower, again possibly of Anglo-Saxon date. In addition to the squared foundation platform of rough cobbles, the excavators discovered a socketed stone, thought to be a reused cross-shaft, mortared into the south face of the platform and an external cobbled surface in the same area. Once again, no artifacts were discovered which could shed light on the date of this structure, but it is hoped that samples taken from beneath the platform, which sits directly upon the whin bedrock, will provide important clues.

The Lantern Chapel, at the west end of the Heugh, was also investigated in Summer 2017.  In its current form this building bears little resemblance to a chapel and it is commonly thught to have originated as a later- or post-medieval lighthouse, although a chapel-like structure is depicted in this position on a map of the island dating from 1548. Excavation here seems to have confirmed the existence of this building, and of its ecclesiastical origins, by uncovering the footings of an east-west wall sitting directly upon the natural bedrock, apparently the remains of an older, narrower building on an east-west axis beneath the visible walls. There were also indications that multiple burials had taken place inside this building.

This season's work on and around the Heugh has confirmed the importance of  Holy Island in terms of its natural history and cultural heritage which combine to produce a unique and inspiring landscape, The significance of the Heugh itself in the history of Lindisfarne has been considerably enhanced and it is hoped that a continuation of this work will further confirm this.

Although managed by professional archaeologists, the successful results of excavation are entirely due to the hard work of numerous volunteer excavators who not only shifted tons of earth and stone, but provided valuable interpretive insight and helped to manage and enlighten the thousands of visitors to the site throughout the month of June and into July. Thanks are also due particularly to Dick Patterson and his colleagues on the Lindisfarne Landscape Partnership for permitting work on the Heugh, and to Natural England for providing consent to work in an SSSI.  Thanks are also offered to the island's fishermen who allowed storage of tools in the harbour, put up with general disturbance over an extended period and offered encouragement and advice on a range of subjects. It is hoped that the results of this work are of interest to them and the wider island community, and that it will be of benefit to all in cementing and enhancing the status of the island in the history of early Northumbria. 


REGISTRATION OPENS FOR ANNUAL FORUM:Registration is now open for the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership's 2017 Annual Forum on Friday 29th September at Bamburgh Pavilion.

Speakers include Mark Eaton, who is a Principal Conservation Scientist with RSPB and will be putting the 'State of Nature Report' into a local context. The report, published in September last year, has been compiled by 50 wildlife organisations and is a stock take of our native wildlife. We are also delighted to welcome Tim Morton, who is the Co-ordinator for the new Coast Care initiative on the Northumberland coast. He will be bringing us up to date with their work.

Other speakers are Helen Griffiths. She has worked on the Peregrini Lindisfarne Project and as it draws to a close at the end of this year, Helen will tell us about the work that has been carried out and its impending legacy. We also hear from speakers and performers about Wilson's Tales, one of the projects we supported through our Sustainable Development Fund. Jessica Turner will give a lively talk on the recent archaeological dig at the Heugh on Holy Island, which revealed the possible siting of St Aidan's first church.

We are also pleased to introduce Phil Dyke, a coast and marine advisor from the National Trust, who will look back at the Enterprise Neptune Campaign, which allowed them to buy 574 miles of coastline. Phil will look at how that has shaped the lessons for coastal management in the past, present and future.

Cllr Jeff Watson, Chair of the AONB Partnership said "I am delighted to be more involved in the Annual Forum this year, having only recently taken up the reins as Chairman. We have a tremendous range of speakers which is sure to provide an entertaining and thought provoking day. It's a marvellous opportunity for those interested in the Northumberland coast to come together and contribute to the work of the Partnership".

Lunch as well as mid-morning and afternoon refreshments will be provided. Places cost £10 to cover our costs and are limited, so registration is essential.

To book your place visit our Eventbrite page:
Visit: or access it via the AONB Partnership's Facebook page. For more information about the event contact the AONB Partnership on 01670 620306

Media Contact
Catherine Gray
Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership
c/o County Hall, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 2EF
Tel. 01670 622 644
Email. /

NEWS FROM FORD & ETAL Elspeth Gilliland

Sunday 3rd September Etal Flower Show
[Gates open 12 noon.  £4 adults, children and parking free.]

Open exhibition with over 170 classes plus music from Summerland, aerial dance and workshops from All or Nothing, log carving, clog dancing, archery, children's sports, bar, refreshments and much more! (sorry link removed)

Saturday 16th September Bullnose Morris Vintage Car Run

The Bullnose Morris Vintage Car Club is staying in Northumberland over the weekend and taking a run up to Heatherslaw Cornmill where they will stop for coffee.  Cars will be on show from around 10.30am - a great spectacle!

Sunday 17th September Monthly Farmers Market - 10am-4pm

Lots of local foods and crafts to browse and buy in the charming surroundings of Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre.  While you're there take the opportunity to meet the Clydesdale horses and other rare breeds and have a look around the centre which is packed full of information and artefacts about the heavy horses, food production and farming in bygone years.


A few years ago a delegation from Norway met in my home after walking Cuthbert's Way.  There was someone from their Tourist Board, the Arts, the Church and Business. They wanted to create a pilgrimage route to their Holy Island of Selje, but it was difficult terrain -uncrossable mountains, fjords with few boats, and hamlets that lacked accommodation. Last month I met a member of this delegation, the publisher Torkjell  Djupedal, at his café, gallery and guest house at Selje.  They have achieved their goal and published a guide.

Selje consists of an inhabited peninsular and an almost deserted island on Norway's north-west  coast. My hosts, members of The Community of Aidan and Hilda, took me by boat to the island. We sat in the ancient monastic ruins and climbed into the cave of Saint Sunniva, which they described as 'Norway's earliest church'.

Holy Island women lost many loved ones at sea. On Selje it was the women themselves who lost their lives, This is how Selje's church describes the legend:

Sunniva was the daughter of a Scottish king who lived under a Norse ruler.

Sunniva rejected the advances of a Viking. Enraged, he attacked her father's kingdom. She and other women fled by boat. They landed, in winter, at a deserted Selje and survived on fish. In summer, farmers arrived and informed their Earl Hakon that there were women on the island.

He arrived with armed men. The women fled into a large cave where they prayed for God to proptect them from these rapists. Rocks fell on them and they died there.

Many years later, in the time of Olaf Trigvarsson, a farmer found a human skull surrounded by a strange light. It emitted a sweet perfume. He took it to their chief who took it to their Bishop Sigurd. They recognised this as a sign of sanctity.  They investigated the cave and found it full of relics.

They built a shrine and many miracles took place there. This confirmed people in the belief that they had a saint in their midst.

Sunniva's Feast Day is July 8. A marvellous new sculpture of her greets visitors as they disembark from the boat from Bergen. She is defiant against the tricks of men and the cruelty of nature. She is protected by a Cross of Christ. This is in the form of a mast which steers a ship safely to land, and in the shape of rocks which come between her and her predators.

Before I departed I met a group in a nearby town who made a pilgrimage to Holy Island a few weeks later last month. The Viking links - with their theme of turning terrorists into trusted friends - seem to grow.

FROM THE VICARAGE Revd Dr Paul Collins

The approach of Autumn is heralded by the beginning of the month of September and reminds us that the year is now headed for its conclusion in Winter. Before that we will celebrate the Harvest on October 8th this year and then Remembrance Sunday this year, is November 12th.

These two different days remind us that we have much to give thanks for and much to remember.

At the heart of Christian faith is a profound sense of thankfulness: for the gift of life itself - for all that sustains life both in a practical and emotional sense: food and warmth and love and care. These are God's gifts to us in the abundance of his creation. And they are constantly renewed and refocussed in God's love shown to us in Jesus.

But we also remember the sacrifice made by so many due to the realities of human conflicts and the human propensity for violence.

This year has seen so many acts of political / religious violence; and incidents of knife and acid attacks have often been in the news. We are faced not only by the need to condemn violence and aggression; and but by the much greater challenge of putting before those who turn so easily (it seems) to violence another vision for their own and other people's lives.

We face the need to reaffirm the values which speak broadly and loudly about the common good and the possibility of a 'good life' for every person under heaven. This is no easy task either within our own country let alone more widely across our fragile world. The appeal to a set of common values upon which a vision of the common good might rest has been dissipated over the past several decades in our own country. Nonetheless I believe that within and between the Abrahamic Faiths there are shared values which can be identified which could form the foundation of a renewed understanding of the common good and offer the possibility of a vision of justice, love and peace for all.

Paul Collins
The Vicarage, Holy Island
Berwick-upon-Tweed, TD15 2RX
Tel. 01289 389 216

from Andy Raine

We have saunterers ahead of us,
eking out their last few moments,
drinking in their atmosphere,
gawking at the picturesque,
and dawdling along the causeway
in the way of those of us
with lives to live, a train to catch,
a tide to beat,  a meal  to snatch,
who need to overtake
the saunterers along the causeway.

Not too bad:  the tide is fine...
but one just walked across the road,
eyes on the view, not on the car,
just sauntered out ahead of us!

They're better than the splashers
who plough into the water
just like it was a car-wash
specially kitted out with salt-spray
(that agent of corrosion,
the leprosy of vehicles )
waving local cars out of the way,
trying to soak us for good measure,
considerate  or what?
- it's sodding salt-water, idiots!
....Don't get me started.

And when you've driven half the country's length
to get home before the tide,
been stuck at traffic-lights for Sunday roadworks
and followed the DIVERSION signs
and still arrive on time,
they will be gawping at the water's edge,
lining up like skittles,
pulled up with the vehicles
to block the road.
'Too late to pass,' they think,
'we checked the County Council Tides'
-  smugness of saunterers!

Try to explain, again.
'Out of the way,' we say,
'some of us live here -
shift your car ower there..'

Come back another year.
you're welcome.


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