Religious Place In Alnwick, Northumberland
The Parish Church of St James in Shilbottle
Like many villages in the UK, the spelling can differ greatly through time and the same can be said for Shilbottle. In the mid 19th Century the local Vicar felt it was “Shilbotel” and this is still used in the ecclesiastical parish's formal title to this day! Today most road signs show it as “Shilbottle”.... Except for the ones that have been subtly altered by those of a comedic bent. We cant really do a post on Shilbottle and not mention Shitbottle!? Its a mini tourist attraction in its own right.
The present St James Church in Shilbottle was completed in 1885 and was design by W.S. Hicks of Newcastle. There had been a Church on this site dating back to the Norman period, the earliest record is of Richard, Chaplain of Shilbottle in 1228 and parts of the building still date from that time such as the doorway arch, font and arch over the organ. There are some stone window slits which may be even earlier.
The current building is, like many churches, cruciform in shape with a central tower, which houses two bells. There is some excellent 19th Century carved woodwork on the ceilings of the crossing and chancel, which was carried out by Ralph Hedley.
The first wedding in the rebuilt church was of Dorothy Widdrington of the Hall at Newton on the Moor. She married Sir Edward Grey, later Lord Grey of Fallodon, who was the British Foreign Secretary at the outbreak of the First World War and who uttered the word “The lamps are going out all over Europe - we shall not see them relit in our lifetime.”
The community's war memorial can be found above the altar and is unusual in that it is a window, commissioned by the women of the parish and designed by Professor Richard Hatton. It was dedicated on Armistice Day 1921 and the names of those who died in conflicts of the 20th Century are carved on the reredos.
The surrounding churchyard has been in use for a thousand years and the gravestones can attest to the harsh realities of life in the area. There was probably a wooden church here during the Saxon period but none of this remains. The Shilbottle Parish Council maintains the churchyard.
Just backing onto the graveyard is the old vicarage house and pele tower which is now a private residence.
The famous sign.
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Walk east along Middle Road until you reach the junction with the main street through Shilbottle. The entrance to the churchyard is on your left.
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There are some parking space around 50m to the west of the church on Middle Road
Contributed by Andrew Gardner
I love being outdoors, in nature, and experiencing the relaxation it brings. Wandering through the northern countryside seeing unexpected buildings, historic places and occasionally surprised wildlife is one of life's great pleasures.
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