Parish life

Thoughts on Remembrance by Revd John Wylam.
by the Revd. John Wylam 2020
In the First World War Dick Sheppard (1880 – 1937) left St. Martin in-the-Fields to become the chaplain to a military hospital in France. As he comforts a dying soldier whose wife was about to give birth to a baby, the soldier said “I hope it is not a boy because I do not want him to go through the hell of war”.
The sort of hell he was talking about is illustrated by the battle at Passchendaele in 1917 which lasted 15 weeks. Conditions were terrible – an unusual amount of rain had fallen with the result that troops, tanks and horses were struggling in, and being overcome, by the quagmire conditions. Shell holes, a usual refuge for soldiers, were filled with water so that there was no shelter from the enemy bombardment. Trenches were indescribably offensive.
David Cooper, a chaplain in the Falklands War in 1982 wrote, “War is a dung heap but it is a dung heap upon which grow some remarkable blooms.” Despite war being evil the Spirit of God is active. I have detailed some episodes which should remind us of the activity of God in conflict situations, and what God requires of us in our daily living, to preserve the legacy of those who made the supreme sacrifice by dying in conflict.
At the start of the First World War a sixteen year old was overjoyed to join the Royal Navy. He was overjoyed because, after living on meagre rations shared with 7 brothers and sisters on a farm in Norfolk, the Navy fed him well. For some reason he found himself on dry land, wounded in battle and unable to walk. Two enemy German soldiers found him, bathed his wounds, carried him 3 miles to a field-hospital where a German surgeon operated on his wounds to restore him to fitness. This episode has parallels with the parable of the Good Samaritan (the soldiers) who do not pass by, but go to great lengths to care for the victim (the seaman). (Luke 10, v25 -37). There is the need to look for the good in every person. On the personal level,“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” springs to mind (Luke 6,v27,28).
Father Maximilian Kolbe (1894 – 1941) was a Polish Franciscan friar. He rescued Jewish people by hiding them from the Nazis. He was caught and and interred at Auschwitz where he was executed. This came about because he voluntarily took the place of a family man who was to be put to death as a reprisal for an attempted escape. The saying of Jesus comes to mind: “Whoever loses his life for me and the Gospel will save it” (Mark 8,v35-36). The result was that Fr. Maximilian was walled up and executed. He was declared a martyr; he is one of those honoured by a statuette above the west door of Westminster Abbey. It reminds of the Christian virtue of self-sacrifice, or simply “others before self”.
Martin of Tours (316 -397), a soldier who became a French bishop was riding his horse in France. He came across a beggar shivering with cold. He dismounted, tore his cloak in half using his sword and wrapped it round the beggar. That night, in a dream Martin pictured the event. The beggar was Jesus. The truth is that Jesus is cared for in the guise of those in need. As Jesus declared,”Insomuch you did it to one of these my little ones you did it tome.” (Matthew 25, v40)
It is not possible to disagree that a “dung heap is” a metaphor for “war” with its many aspects including hatred, injury, sorrow, suffering, waste and premature death, but which “grows some remarkable blooms” like bravery and self-sacrifice, and going the extra mile. These blooms are highlighted by those who fought and died for their country on our behalf, those whom we knew and are even related to, whose memory we treasure, but who were enlivened and inspired by the spirit of God revealing such needful qualities to-day as bravery, compassion, the virtue of self-sacrifice and caring for those in need. May they rest in peace and rise in glory. Amen.




Belonging. The vicars gate is stolen




Woe, woe and thrice woe.





Fancy a chat?




Every family has a black sheep. Is it you?


Today is the festival of St. Oswald. A reflection on a local hero.


I love playing with fire






Spending time looking for things can be frustrating. Take notice of Mary Magdalene who the church remembered yesterday.




Another message on the importance of being a messenger.



Doing life laundry. It’s nothing new.





All round expert



Injustice should bother us. A reflection on today’s readings set for evening prayer. Psalm 11 and Roman’s 5.



The complexities of Gill. Securing illegitimate Lego and a reflection on Gods enduring love.




New scales shock! Warnings and encouragment in both readings set for tonight. A reflection on Deuteronomy and 1 John set for evening prayer today.



A sermon for Pentecost (Whitsun) based on Acts 2,1-11.  by  the Revd. John Wylam     Pentecost Sermon based on Acts 2[6845]

Ascension Day Reflection: Ascension Day Reflection

Getting rid of my little brother was always a joy. A reflection for Ascension Day. Acts 1:1-11



Our granddaughter Poppy has taken her first baby steps. A reflection on 1 Peter 4:12,13. God always supports us when we walk towards Him.




As there were global issues with the Zoom yesterday, I have recorded the sermon from the service based on the set readings. Acts 17:22-31 and John 14:15-21. Jesus preparing his followers to receive the Holy Spirit.




You can’t judge a book by its cover. Very true and very comforting. A reflection on 1 Samuel 16.



Reflection on one of the readings set for evening prayer tonight. 1 Peter 1 verse 13. The precious gift of hope from Almighty God in Jesus Christ.

Lifting lockdown? What will it mean to enter our land again. Reflecting on Deuteronomy 11:8-end.


Staying positive and the role of creativity. A reflection on Ephesians 4;23,24.


God’s peace is for those who are far away and those who are near. That is the message in verse 17 of Ephesians chapter 2. I am struck by the way God is using our situation to communicate beyond Upper Coquetdale. If you would like to join us for Sunday worship at 10.15am go to our website link above this video.



A reflection on John 6:30-36. Good news in the Sinclair family and good news for all in Jesus who is the bread of life.



Rather than using the term social distancing perhaps physical distancing is better. Reflecting on the evening prayer reading for today John 15:1-8 we explore how we can be socially and spiritually connected.

In a time of change it’s good to know that some things never change. Hebrews chapter 13 is my focus in today’s rectory garden message.




It’s a week since we celebrated Easter and the ressurection. Today we encounter Thomas in John’s gospel chapter 20 verse 19 to the end. I am talking about the difference between head knowledge and real understanding. Take care and God Bless. John the Rector.




When the future is uncertain it’s good to consider all we have to give thanks for. Reflection on TV adverts and our reading today from Luke 7:11-17.

Today is Tuesday in Easter week. The lockdown continues but may we focus on what is positive as well as those things for which we give thanks. Reading today is Luke 24:1-12.


I recorded this message as soon as I returned from conducting Mary Bathgates funeral. So strange not being able to gather as a community. Mary touched the lives of so many and we hope to gather in the future to celebrate her life together. This is a Maundy Thursday like no other. Today we renew vows on Zoom across the diocese. Tomorrow we focus on the cross at 2.00pm in a Zoomed service. On Sunday we do the same at 11.00am celebrating the Easter Ressurection. Take care. 




With our Prime Minister in intensive care it is important that we continue to support one another as we journey on.

Maundy Thursday Sermon: Maundy Thursday Sermon based on Gospel of John

Alnham church

Short clip chronicling the renovation at church so far  https://youtu.be/yXquIBqJv3U

Parish Profile

UCP Parish Profile

UCP Parish Profile Annex B –



Rosie’s Retirement service

Beginning and end of the service at All Saints Rothbury, Parish of Upper Coquetdale, last Sunday – my last one before retiring. Bells rang, the Chamber Choir sang, and it was followed by ‘a good do’ in the Jubilee Hall! Thank you to all who helped.

All Saints Rothbury, Church Bellringers

We were extremely pleased this morning to be able to ring a Quarter Peal for Rev Dr Rosie Stacy prior to her last service before retirement as a priest in the Parish of Upper Coquetdale. Rosie, along with her husband Graham, has been a great supporter of the bells and bellringers and we wish her health and happiness in her retirement.

We are also rather delighted that we were able to achieve this Quarter Peal with every ringer being a member of All Saints band. This is the first time we have managed this without getting support from ringers at nearby towers for over 20 years. Quite an achievement we feel.


Photo of Coquetdale Chamber Choir at UCCT Lessons and Carols All Saints 17.12.17

Christmas Fete 2017

Biddlestone Service 1 December 2017

Civic Service

First Remembrance service on 11 November 2017 at the War Memorial

Organ Recital With David Ratnanayagam of Darlington Parish Church

First rehearsal of the choir and band for the Alwinton Carol Service

Hand Bell Ringers


In All Saints Ringing Room we had 20 hand bells circa 1890, made by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. They were an incomplete set in poor condition 19F# to 5F; seven bells missing. Each bell had the word Mears❠cast into it and an entry in our original Ringers Record Book describes them being used in 1893. The Tower bells were made by Mears at Whitechapel in that same year, so it seems likely that the hand bells were supplied and donated to the church with the tower bells. Janice Henney from Harbottle was one of our ringers and our ringing society treasurer who was interested in them and indeed did her best to make use of the ones that were still ringable.

Following the testing of local opinions and enthusiasm at last years Heritage Open Day (Church Fete) a subgroup of the tower ringers took on board the suggestion that we should restore and use our hand bells for the benefit of the local community for the ringing of tunes, method ringing and method learning.

Linda Perkins led this group and obtained quotations the best of which totalled £2,250. This quotation included for adding back the missing 7 bells. We were advised this would result in an excellent set of 27 fully chromatic hand bells from 19F to 4G. All the bells were to be retuned and refurbished, including new straps and caps, the rebuilding and polishing of clappers with new pegs and pads and finally polishing the bells themselves.  To protect the refurbished bells the quote also included for the provision of three new purpose-made wooden storage boxes.

Following the sudden death of Janice Henney (a committed ringer who loved the hand bells) her husband Peter kindly donated her funeral collection of £500 to the Ringing Society. We were agreed that the hand bell refurbishment will be a suitable memorial to her. Knowing of the churchs financial situation the ringers agreed to fund the work.

Applications were consequently made to potential funders. Grants were awarded by the Rothley Trust Sir James Knott Trust , Community Foundation for Tyne and Wear and Northumberland and Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust enabling us to proceed. The order was placed with Alan Collings from Battle. The only hiccough was with the carrier who managed to deliver two of the three boxes of refurbished bells back to us, but for a while could not find the third box containing the largest bells. Indeed we are grateful to Alan Collings for visiting their depot and finding the missing box!

Two groups have been set up to make use of the bells. The method ringing group is drawn from our tower bell ringers. Plain hunting is proving possible, but sights are now set on them ringing plain bob. Linda established a Rothbury Hand Bell Facebook page which has helped us recruit tune ringers. Graham Stacy undertook the daunting task of teaching us to ring tunes and performing at the Rothbury Traditional Music Festival. The hand bell tune group was made up of tower bell ringers and others recruited through the Facebook page and from All Saints Church congregation. In a remarkably short time Graham got us ready to perform at the Music Festival on Saturday July 15th.

Due to inclement weather our performance was staged under cover in the old auction Mart. We accompanied a local choir by ringing; The Oak and the Ash, The Anti-Gallican, Rothbury Hills and inevitably Rothbury Bells. The audience were appreciative and by performing (see picture) we satisfied one of the requirements of a grant. Subsequently we took a stand at the Simonside Country Fair on August 14th to publicise the existence of the tune ringing group. Matt Cracknell now leads the group and led the invitations to members of the public to try ringing hand bells at the show. Inevitably children delighted in performing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, but the more adventurous of all ages were pleased with their efforts to complete plain hunt by lapping eight bells.

Inevitably this appearance has already led to invitations to appear at other Shows both in the Coquet Valley and at Elsdon! We are talking about it!! Meanwhile our boxes of refurbished bells each carry a metal plaque These bells were refurbished in Memory of Janice Henney. They will we hope continue to give pleasure to many whilst reminding us of her.



The Rogation Service took place on Sunday evening 21 May at 6.30pm  beginning in the stable yard at East Hepple before taking a very short walk up The Kilnwaye,  round the fields and back down. Graham Stacy kindly agreed to provide musical accompaniment to lead the singing.There was, of course, plenty of  light refreshments afterwards!

Accordion Workshop Saturday 20 May, 11.00am – 12.30pm

The Accordion Workshop is open to accordion players of all abilities, Bartosz Glowacki Workshop will focus on different folk musics.

Children’s Percussion Workshop Saturday 20 May, 2.00pm – 3.30pm

Aimed at age range 6 – 14 years
A fun-filled interactive percussion extravaganza with O Duo. Every participant will play an instrument in a mass Samba as well as having the opportunity to play on other drums, marimbas, etc. If you would like to bring along any instruments you may have made, all the better. Admission £2 – must be booked online – all held in Alwinton Church
Children are welcome to all workshops, but must be accompanied by an adult. Accompanying adults do not have to pay.

Farewell to Peter & Isobel

Welcome to Ann!


Panorama4-organ new position

Organ Restoration June 2015 007


HLF grant awarded for restoration of 150-year old pipe organ

in Cathedral of Coquetdale

Scheme for restoration and repositioning of listed 150 year old Hill church organ in All Saints Church Rothbury wins Heritage Lottery Fund support.

All Saints Church, Rothbury, otherwise known as the “Cathedral of Coquetdale”, has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £36,200 to restore its listed church organ. Over £27,000 was raised locally and now contracts are being placed for the organ restoration so that for the first time in almost 150 years it will be heard in all its original glory its highly decorated Victorian pipes will be visible, and the instrument will be seen as a free-standing example of fine Victorian organ-building placed at the north-east end of the nave. The restoration work will be carried out by specialist organ restorers Goetze and Gwynn of Worksop. The organ was made by William Hill in 1866 and gifted to the church by Lord Armstrong of Cragside and the then Rector Rev’d Vernon Harcourt.

Whilst substantially unaltered since its manufacture 150 year of use has resulted in changes to the voicing of its pipes, uneven keys, a noisy tracker action and broken levers all of which make it difficult to play. In 1887 it was moved to its current position in the Vestry compromising its pipe positions and making it difficult to access and tune. These problems were compounded in the 1930s by the erection of a First World War Memorial screen with dummy zinc pipes in front of the splendidly ornately decorated Victorian pipes.

All Saints Church is an important part of the heritage of Rothbury in Coquetdale. Its site has been a place of worship for over a thousand years. All Saints was extensively rebuilt in the 19th century. Lord Armstrong of Cragside became a Church Warden in 1867 and was a generous benefactor of the church. His funeral hatchment hangs in the Baptistry. The Pulpit and Chancel Screen were donated in memory of Lord and Lady Armstrong. It is fitting that both Andrew Sawyer (Curator National Trust at Cragside) and the Chair of Rothbury Parish Council supported the Church’s Heritage Lottery Fund bid.

The Rector, Michael Boag, is delighted with the restoration scheme and looks forward to it helping bring together the population of Upper Coquetdale and its visitors to enjoy music played on its restored pipe-organ. He is also looking forward to the establishment of a Saturday organ club for youngsters, organ scholars based in Rothbury and a series of Organ Coffee concerts. The invitation will go out to organ lovers everywhere inviting them to attend concerts and services. Already a number of celebrity organists have indicated their willingness to perform.

Without the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund All Saints might have had to make its listed organ redundant and purchased an electronic digital instrument. The consequent loss of an important working wind-blown instrument would have been regrettable in the extreme. Now, according to restorers Goetze and Gwynn, Coquetdale can look forward to another 150 years of its Hill organ.

All Saints Rothbury is largest of the churches of the Parish of Upper Coquetdale, and believed to be, at 180 square miles, the largest geographical parish in England.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

From the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife, we use National Lottery players’ money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they are about. www.hlf.org.uk


Colin Wheeler Project Leader All Saints Rothbury cj.wheeler@btinternet.com tel.01669 620569

Adrienne Thunder Treasurer Organ Restoration Project Adrienne@rothbury.net tel.01669 620685

Prof John Casken Musician and Composer john@casken.myzen.co.uk

Queen’s Birthday Street Party!

Queen's racing colours!

These hanging baskets have been planted in The Queen’s Racing Colours – purple, gold, red – and were hung on Rothbury Bridge in time for the street party. Baskets supplied by Rothbury Parish Council, plants – Diascia Divara Deep Red, Bacopa Golden Leaf and Verbena Samira Deep Blue – from Stanton Hall Gardens, basket liners, potting mix and water storing crystals from Aldersons of Rothbury.

Remembering the Somme, 1916-2016 – Friday 1 July, Rothbury War Memorial

The Valley Remembers

The Battle of the Somme raged from 1 July until 18 November 1916 and during that time more than one million men were killed or wounded. On Friday 1 July 2016 short acts of remembrance was held at the War Memorial in Rothbury to mark the centenary of the start of the Battle. We remembered, in particular, the seventeen men of Upper Coquetdale whose names are to be found on the war memorials of the Valley and who died at the Somme. The start of the Battle and its false optimism was recalled in the act of remembrance at 8.00 am when the flag of the Northumberland Fusiliers was raised and Reveille sounded. At 8.00 pm, following the half-muffled ringing of the church bells, a second more sombre ceremony  marked the tragic losses of the Battle. The names were read of those from the Valley who fell, the Regimental flag will be lowered and a lament played. All were invited to attend these acts of remembrance, especially relatives of those who died in the terrible slaughter of the Somme.

Their Name Liveth for Evermore

Alfred Chisam
Henry George ClarkFusiliers leaving Rothbury 1916
William Dawson
Phillip Downie
William Forster
Robert Gutherson
George Hately
Robert Hounam
James Frederick Hood
Thomas Murray
Francis Alexander McGregor
James McTear
Robert Henry Pringle
James Robert Richardson
James Scott Richardson
James Weallans Rutherford
George Henry Hall Scott


Rothbury bell ringers ring in the New Year in style!

New Year bell ringing

Last Night of The Proms


Christmas Tree Festival 2014

What an amazing weekend we’ve had! Have a look at this video…


Christmas lights Rothbury 29.11.14

Christmas Procession - Rector in the Church 11.14Christmas Lanterns - in the church 11.14

On the last Saturday of November, over 400 people came into All Saints after the Rothbury village lights were switched on, for refreshments, singing and a story. It was great fun!

Preaching Sheep!Christmas Blessings

Messy Nativity is happening in Rothbury this Advent. We launch the event at the Christmas Lights switch on  We end at the Crib Service with a lantern procession on Christmas Eve. The local shops are being very enthusiastic and keen to take part. The knitted sheep have been made by the congregation and all went to church on 23rd November for a blessing and to ensure the whole congregation are engaging with Messy Nativity.  The pulpit was transformed by knitted sheep displayed on mass, at the front of the church, much to the amusement of the congregation. The sheep will now be delivered to their new homes, waiting to be discovered by expectant children and we pray that the ‘True Christmas Story’ will come alive in Rothbury this Christmas.

Christmas Tree Festival Saturday 6 December Exhibition opens to the public at 10.00 a.m. Organ music until 11.00 Refreshments 11.00 – 3.00p.m  11.00 Santa Claus and his North Pole Post Office Making of Village Wassail/ kissing bough + seasonal Craft workshops in Baptistry.  Coquet singers at 1.45 to 2.30 2.30 Santa Claus and his North Pole Post Office 4.00 Exhibition closes Preparation for Wassail Evening with Graham Stacey’s traditional band Wassail Evening 6.00- 9.00 p.m. Sunday 7 December Sung Eucharist 10.15.-11.15 Exhibition opens 11.30 Organ music from 11.30 -12.00 Festival Concert 2.00- 4.00 featuring Voicemail, David and Wendy and friends from UCCT and Alnwick Theatre Club presenting excerpts from Dicken’s Christmas Carol.  6.30 pm Festival Evensong led by Coquetdale Chamber Choir


Harvest Festival in All Saints


The Valley Remembers

The Valley Remembers:  the book published in August 2014, commemorating those who left the parish to serve in the First World War is now available (£5 + £1 p&p) from The Parish Administrator, The Rectory, Rothbury, Morpeth NE65 7TL.  
Cheques made payable to Upper Coquetdale PCC (WWI Project).

  • colin wheeler

The  mini peel at Harbottle show

  • The Valley Remembers
    Friday 1 August: Flower Festival, Exhibition and Book Launch, All Saints Rothbury. All welcome. Opening by The Duchess of Northumberland at 5 pm. Please arrive by 4.45 pm. Free concert by Voicemale at 7pm.Saturday 2 August: Flower Festival and Exhibition, All Saints Rothbury, 10 am to 4 pm, free entry. Refreshments available. Memorial Concert, St Michael’s Alwinton, 7.30 pm, £10 (16-21 £5, under 16s free), tickets at the door.Sunday 3 August: Requiem for the Fallen, St Michael’s Alnham, 10.30 am.  Visiting Preacher at All Saints Rothbury, The Reverend Professor Peter Galloway OBE, The Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy, 10.15 am. Flower Festival and Exhibition, All Saints Rothbury, 11.30 am to 4 pm, free entry. Refreshments available. Rededication of Thropton Memorial Hall and march from Thropton bridge, 12 noon.Monday 4 August: Flower Festival and Exhibition, All Saints Rothbury, 10 am to 4 pm, free entry. Refreshments available. Half muffled bell ringing from 7.30 pm. Act of Remembrance at Rothbury War Memorial, 8 pm.
  • WW1 Memorial Names, 
    On Saturday 2 August, a concert will take place at 7.30pm in St Michael and All Angels, Alwinton, as part of The Valley Remembers 1914-18. This will be given by Coquetdale Chamber Choir under their Musical Director John Casken, to include two sacred motets by the German Baroque composer Heinrich Schutz, Faure’s Requiem and the first performance of John Casken’s new work ‘Memorial’. The concert is a commemoration of men from Upper Coquetdale who fell in the First World War and who were lost, whose names alone are recorded on memorials of stone. The text for Casken’s ‘Memorial’ includes the names of these men and if anyone knows of relatives who may be interested in coming to the concert, they should email John at john@casken.myzen.co.uk.

    Joseph Edmonson, Henry George Clark, Robert Gutherson, James Murphy,  Thomas Murray, James Robert Richardson, William John Harvey, Thomas Gregory, Thomas Murray Trotter, Robert William Renton, John Thomas Wintrip, Thomas Tate

  • Michael and All Angels church, Alwinton on Saturday 2 August at 7.30pm Coquetdale chamber choir John Casken Musical Director, Lucy Hall Soprano, Philip Smith Baritone Colin Scott Organ, Alan Fearon Percussion, Brendan Howell Percussion, Heinrich Schütz Two Motets John Casken Memorial (1st performance) ,Gabriel Fauré Requiem admission £10 (16-21 £5, under 16s free)Alwinton and Holystone are holding their annual church Fete on Sunday 27 July in Alwinton church.  Please come along at 2.30 pm to support  Please note that the morning service will now be  held at Holystone because of the fete
  • WW1 exhibition,We are now looking for helpers with the WW1 catering in the marquee. If you feel you can help with this during the first weekend in August please give your name to Carol Milburn. Please bake cakes, scones, biscuits, quiche etc for this event and put them in your freezers. Thank You

Holystone pooled lunch


Cleaning gravestones – a family returns to Alwinton

Gill Keeble came to Alwinton to visit the graves of her Hindmarsh ancestors…

This is what she found:  Percival-Hindmarsh-Gravestones.

Success at Alwinton!

It’s been blocking the drain for longer than anyone can remember – at least forty years – and a blocked drain means water problems and problems with water outside means dry rot inside. But thanks to a team of volunteers from the Northumberland National Park, this large and very heavy headstone is now, 11 October 2013, up  and out of the way. A triumph! And our grateful thanks to all the team! Ian Spencer and John Sturdy are standing with the stone, Mark Bolton and Tom Burston are above.

The Team

Tom turns a corner

Tom turns a corner…

Rescued tombstone

When it was within sight of a sturdy tree, the team used a winch to haul it up and out. Easy really! (Not!)

Brinkburn Festival -Friday 4 – Sunday 6 July. Afternoon tea served by the Ladies (and Gentlemen!) of Rothbury, Hepple and Thropton. If you would like to experience our afternoon tea, pre-booking is essential and costs £18 for two people. (Single portions available). Sittings are being held on: Friday 4 July at 6pm, Saturday 5 July at 12.30pm, 2.30pm and 5.30pm and Sunday 6 July at 1.00pm Bookings can be made by telephoning 01665 798 007. Why not stay for afternoon tea following the Sung Eucharist at Brinkburn on Sunday 6 July at 11.am..

The Handasyd Chalice
Robert Handyside, above holds the eighteenth-century silver chalice, given in 1735 by Gerard Handasyd and still in use today.
  • Northumberland Ukulele ConcertThe wild ukuleles of Wanney, The Wooler angels and The Morpeth group will give a concert on Wednesday 11 June 2014 at 7.30 pm in All Saints Church, Rothbury. This concert will be in aid of Church funds and the Mothers’ Union Literacy programme. Tickets £5.00 with under 16 ‘s free. Tea/coffee,  Raffle.

In addition to extra services during Holy Week, there was extra cleaning to be done!  Here’s some of the team busy at work at Christ Church Hepple:

Window cleaning - inside


The Gate

The grounds


  • Lent appeal 2014 – This year’s charity is Tariro – Hope for Youth in Zimbabwe. Tariro supports teenage and young orphans in Zimbabwe by providing homes, food, education and training. More information and labels to stick on jam jars for your small and large change are at the back of each church. Please give generously and bring your gifts to church on Easter Day.

Talents Peal

5024 changes successfully rung on All Saints bells on Sunday 2nd March. The full peal was completed in 3 hours and 16 minutes, the method rung was Rothbury Surprise Major and the composition was new having been developed especially for the event.

Especial thanks are due to Eileen Macy and all her helpers who decided to provide refreshment in the Parish Hall whilst the ringing was in progress.

Their efforts were supported by locals and Rothbury visitors, and they provided sustenance for the ringers after the peal when the promised champagne was presented and their efforts raised another £240 for Church funds.

Harbottle Christmas cooks

King’s Priory School Choir came to sing a carol service at St Michael and All Angels, Alnham on 18 December, which everyone enjoyed!

And we all enjoyed Christmas lunch at Harbottle School!


Rothbury Christmas Lights Celebration. The crowds came out on 24 November to see the Rothbury village lights switched on and join the fun inside All Saints. The following Sunday there were very successful Christingle Services at both St Michael and All Angels, Alwinton and at All Saints Rothbury.

Hepple roof

Bishop Martin and the Coquetdale Chamber Choir came to Christ Church, Hepple, to celebrate the completion of the new roof on Tuesday 8 October at 7.30 pm, followed by a pooled supper in the village hall.

Pie Club News
Congratulations to Kate Graham, William Graham, Fiona Hesler and Alan Johnston, who were Confirmed by Bishop Stephen Pedley on Saturday 5 October, in St Michael’s Alwinton. For many weeks they have been meeting every Thursday at The Rectory and in addition to the Catechism, various recipes for pies attempted. The most successful in recent times and an unexpected winner: minced pork, chopped cooking apple, very strong cheddar and a good squirt of tomato concentrate with chilli.


On Saturday 27 July 2013 beginning at 4.30 pm the bells of All Saints’ Church, Rothbury will ring to celebrate the birth of Prince George of Cambridge.The Ringers will attempt a Quarter Peal on the bells by ringing 1,260 changes. This should be completed in around 50 minutes.

Friday 2nd August 2013 at 7 pm Holystone Church –

‘Illumination’  is a play created to celebrate the return of the Gospels to the North East…

A monk creates the Lindisfarne Gospels, the body of St. Cuthbert is carried across the North and an everyday family struggles to cope with ambitions, life and death…

The play is a vehicle to explore spirituality and profound human questions. It raises deep human questions such as: How should we live? What is the nature of the human pilgrimage? ‘Illuminated’ with beautiful images and written specifically for church settings.

Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. The use of images in the play by courtesy of the British Library.

Tickets are available from Tully’s Rothbury £7

See the play website at


On Sunday 14 July, St Mary’s Holystone Patronal Festival was celebrated at the Lady’s Well (at 4 pm) with Holy Communion and Prayers for Healing. It was very well attended and the weather was perfect. Here are some pictures from the afternoon:

Holywell 12Holywell 10Holywell 9Holywell 8Holywell 7Holywell 6Holywell 5Holywell 3Holywell 1Hollywell 2

Also in July: 20th Brinkburn Music Festival 5-7 July

Then back to Alwinton…

Saturday 13 July 2013, 7:30pm


Schumann – Dichterliebe

English songs, including Northumbrian songs


We are thrilled to be able to welcome the great English baritone Sir Thomas Allen who became our Honorary Patron in 2011. He is renowned the world over for his operatic roles as well as for his interpretations of song cycles by the greatest composers of the 19th and 20th centuries. In particular, he is especially close to the music of Robert Schumann who composed his Dichterliebe (Poet’s Love) in 1840, a year of intense passion and emotion for the composer as he was finally allowed permission to marry Clara Wieck after a long, bitter wrangle with her father. In the circumstances, the choice of Heine’s poetry here is a little strange as it tells the tale of a young lover who has lost his sweetheart and whose feelings are not returned. But it allowed Schumann to explore the full range of experiences from irony to comedy, tragedy and pain, as well as consolation. His exquisite music captures every sensation of this emotional journey with an equally important role for the piano, performed on this occasion by the internationally acclaimed pianist Caroline Dowdle.

In the second half of the concert, we are treated to a series of English songs, which Sir Thomas Allen has often made a feature of his recitals. With the experience of an opera singer, communicating the story behind the words and music, whether it’s in Schumann or in songs of a more popular idiom, his recital brings the 2013 season at Alwinton to an impressive close.

20th Brinkburn Music Festival 5-7 July 2013

Next Alwinton concert…

Sunday 23 June 2013, 3:00pm

    (Please note date and time)


  • Britten – Phantasy Quartet
  • Dobrinka Tabakova – Metamorphoses
  • Martinu – Nonet
  • Dvorák – String Quintet in G, Op. 77

We welcome members of Northern Sinfonia back to Alwinton for a lovely programme of chamber music. Britten’s early Phantasy Quartet, written in 1932 for oboe and three string instruments, has become a major work in the repertoire for this combination. The title alludes to the single-movement fantasies found in Elizabethan and Jacobean consort music consisting of a number of contrasting sections. The work was given its first performance by its dedicatee, the great oboist Leon Goosens, in 1933.

Dobrinka Tabakova is a young composer, originally from Bulgaria, but now living and working in London. She has won a number of awards, her works are played at international festivals, and her choral work Praise was sung at St Paul’s Cathedral as part of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations. Her music has been described by BBC Music Magazine as “immediately appealing”, and her wind quintet Metamorphoses, written in 1998, is a good example of her personal musical voice.
Martinu’s Nonet was written in 1959, shortly before he died. He had left his native Czechoslovakia in 1923 and returned to Europe in 1953 after years of exile in Paris and then America. Even though his last years were spent in Italy and Switzerland, he still yearned for his native Czechoslovakia, now run by a repressive communist regime. In the Nonet one can clearly hear that Czech music of Bohemia and Moravia still courses through his veins, and the music sparkles with qualities that Haydn would have admired.
Dvorák is Martinu’s great compatriot, a composer who also spent some time working in America in the 1890s. His String Quintet No.2 bears the dedication “To my nation”, was written in 1875 and premiered a year later in Prague. Adding a double bass to the string quartet, Dvorák adds a richer and darker sonority to the quartet, a fact he takes advantage of at the very start. This work clearly demonstrates the composer’s love for his native Czech music with an abundance of melody, and he balances a bright and sunny expression with moments of dramatic intensity.

This concert is presented in collaboration with The Sage, Gateshead.

Fundraising Party for All Saints’ Organ Restoration

Come to The Congregational Gallery, Rothbury, for a pleasant summer evening party in aid of the All Saints’ organ restoration fund on Saturday 22 June, from 6.30 to 8.30 pm – wine, canapés, music and plant stall – by kind permission of Linda Calvert. Tickets at £10 each are available from Adrienne Thunder 620685, Caroline Glenton 620361 and Wilma Hunter 620404.

Congratulations to all who organised and supported the recent fundraising lunch at Tower House Alnham, in aid of St Michael’s church. It was a perfect afternoon and a great time was had by all – as can be seen below!

Saturday 25 May, 7:30pm

NORTHUMBRIAN EXCHANGES – Newcastle University ICMUS and Northern Early Music Collective
Jamie Savan – cornett, Jacob Heringman – lute, Susanna Pell – viol da gamba
Shona Mooney – fiddle, Andrew Watt – guitar


An exciting collaboration between Newcastle University’s ICMUS (International Centre for Music) and the Northern Early Music Collective in a programme that brings together traditional music from Northumberland and other parts of the British Isles with music of the Late Renaissance and Early Baroque.

The concert presents music from the two repertoires as well as a dialogue between folk and early music, including a newly composed work by Matthew Rowan. We present this concert in partnership with Northumbrian Exchanges, a creative exchange project supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

There will also be a workshop for all instruments. For details see the Workshop Page.

Summer lunch at the Tower House, Alnham

Sunday 26 May 2013 at 12.30. Tickets booked in advance £10 or £12.50 at the door, children 10 – 15 £5, under 10 free. To book tickets, please call 01669 631184 or email Proceeds in aid of St Michael’s Alnham.

Saturday 4 May, 7:30 pm, St Michael’s Alwinton

Michael Baker, James Jervis, Vasilis Bessas, Rory Russel

Four supreme artists and four classical guitars present an evening of sparkling music, including arrangements of music from the movies.
Recognised as one of Britain’s leading chamber music groups, the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet is a dynamic and innovative ensemble known for its extraordinary ensemble in performance and expansive repertoire.
Described as the “next big thing making its arrival in the classical guitar world”, the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet has performed extensively in major venues including the Wigmore Hall, St. Martin-in-the-Fields and Bridgewater Hall. Their engagements have taken them throughout Europe, most recently visiting Germany, Spain, Denmark, Greece and Ireland.
“If one guitar quartet can give a traditional string quartet a run for its money in terms of abundant technique and breathtaking artistry, it is the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet.” International Record Review.

Their programme combines original pieces with arrangements of classical and traditional music as well as music from the movies.

  • Rimsky-Korsakov, arr. W. Kanengiser – Capriccio Espagnol
  • Albeniz, arr. David Roe – La Vega
  • Andrew York – Quiccan
  • Tadic/Stefanovski, arr. Vasilis Bessas – Ajde Dali Znaes Pemetis Milice Pajduska
  • Elliot Goldenthal, arr. Mike Baker – Themes from Frida
  • Luis Bacalov, arr. Rory Russell – Il Postino
  • Gustavo Santaolalla arr. Vasilis Bessas – De Usuahia a la Quiaca (Motorcycle Diaries)
  • Catriona McKay, arr. Mike Baker – The Swan LK243
  • Eduardo Martin – Hasta Alicia Baila
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We have held prices for concert tickets at last year’s levels, and we offer a truly good deal this year for the series discount tickets. For details, see our Box Office Page http://www.alwintonconcerts.org/boxoffice.html

Advance tickets for concerts are available in person from Tully’s of Rothbury, High Street, Rothbury, or online via our online booking service (£1 booking charge for each ticket).

Saturday 4 May, 2:00pm


This will be suitable for any guitar player who can read music to Grade 2 level.
The quartet hope to adjust the level of the workshop to the skills of the participants, so it is important that you phone 01669 650378 or 01669 640382 in order that we can note your details. We will also need your postal address to send out the music in advance.

Christmas 2012

Visitors to our Church

Harvest Festivals…

Services in the parish start on Sunday 7 October, at St Michael’s Alwinton, at 11 am (please note time), then at st Michael’s Alnham, at 6.30 pm. The following Sunday, 14 October, at All Saints Rothbury, at 10.15 am then at Christ Church Hepple at 6.30 pm

Musical Matinee

11 August 2012 at 3pm

All Saints church, Rothbury

Entrance £7 in aid of the Organ Fund


Mothers’ Union

A walk away from it all

9th August 2012 at 10am


to all who organised and supported the two recent church fetes at St Michael, Alwinton (£1001) and All Saints, Rothbury (£969.30). Two very successful and enjoyable afternoons

Well done, thank you. Michael.

St Mary’s Holystone Patronal Festival

Will be held at the Lady’s Well on Sunday 1 July at 4 pm. Eucharist with Prayers for Healing, followed by a party! All and all ages are very welcome.Please bring a picnic and something to drink. More information from Michael Boag 01669-620482

Choral Evensong to be held at Brinkburn Priory

Sunday 8th July at 6pm

No evensong in Rothbury this evening

Alwinton and Holystone Church Fete

Sunday 15th July 2.30pm at Glebe Field, near Alwinton Church

Family Workshop for John the Baptist

A number of children gathered at All Saints Church on 24 June for an afternoon of games, crafts and a story to celebrate the birthday of John the Baptists. Like any good party it ended with a cake – bees and honey of course, plus chocolate locusts!


Rectory Garden Party,

AT  The Rectory, Rothbury, for a pleasant summer evening’s garden party on Friday 22 June, from 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm, in aid of the All Saints Church Organ Fund. Wine, canapés, bring and buy plant stall. Tickets are £10 each and are available from Adrienne Thunder, Waterleap, Rothbury; 01669 620 685

 (Please make cheques payable to Rothbury PCC Organ Fund.)

Diamond Jubilee Flower Festival

Saturday 2 to Tuesday 5 June 2012

A spectacular flower festival and unique exhibition of Royal photographs from the Press Association  in All Saints, Rothbury, to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of HM The Queen.

For a video of our Flower Festival please follow this link:


Songs of Praise, Sunday 3 June, All Saints Rothbury, 6.30 pm


Saturday 26 May: another brilliant concert at St Michael’s Alwinton

Chris Stout (Shetland fiddle) & Catriona McKay (Scottish harp)

Rhys Matthews (marimbas and African djembe drum) came on his own!

For other concerts see alwintonconcerts.org

The night before, at All Saints Rothbury, we really enjoyed…

Great to see the church lit up like a dance club!

“On 25th of May the Steels came to play for us at All Saints Church. The band were good and to make things even better we got free pizza at the interval! If Club Ichthus come again to the area I would suggest you go as it was great fun.”
Thomas Ewen age 13

Here are some other recent photos: Club Ichthus pics. 

Find them on Facebook and Youtube.

See and listen to them on www.the-steels.com

Saturday 5 May: The Syrinx Trio, gave the first of this year’s excellent Alwinton summer concerts

Upper Coquetdale Life 2011/12

Every year we publish a review of the parish’s year. You can pick up a copy in one of the churches, or view the pdf file here: Upper Coquetdale Life 2011:12

 Archbishop of York

In March we enjoyed showing the Archbishop of York round our parish and gathered at the Holy Well for A Service of Thanksgiving and Renewal of Baptismal Vows. Here’s one of the photographs of the day; more may be seen on the Diocese of Newcastle’s report on the Archbishop’s visit and diocesan photo stream.





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