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Landscape of shifting opinions down the centuries.

Times, and attitudes, change over the centuries.

Landscapes which were once regarded as hostile and threatening are now valued as appealingly wild and beautiful.

In his 1730 survey of Northumberland, George Mark wrote about Edlingham: "The situation and other circumstances of the town make it the most unagreeable to the traveller of any I know in this country, having nothing to recommend it, if we except the church, which is in tolerable order as to appearance."

He complains about the "intolerable roads" and the "frightful moors".

Today, the grouping of Edlingham Castle and its neighbour, the Church of St John the Baptist, is held to be a heritage treat.

The first church on the site was consecrated by Bishop Egred in 840.

Dowsing has produced evidence of a church below the present building.

This could be what is left of the church which was started in 1050, parts of which survive in the west wall of the present nave.

The Gospatric family were responsible for building the church.

A charter, complete with seal, which is in Durham Cathedral Treasury, tells how in 1130 the church was granted to the monastery of St Albans through the daughter house of St Oswin at Tynemouth by Gospatric II.

Another Treasury document shows that the church was switched to the Prior and Convent of Durham.

The church is mentioned as being dedicated to St John the Baptist in the will of William de Felton II, in which he requests burial in the church.

Villagers' need for protection is illustrated by the fortress-like church tower, which had narrow slit windows instead of the usual belfry openings.

Bar holes suggest the tower could be secured against attackers.

Inside the porch is a 12th Century Norman doorway, again with bar holes.

A stone coat of arms, featuring three moles, is that of the Mitford family, who are buried in the sanctuary. The Rev Mitford served the parish for 45 years.

Another long-serving clergyman was the Rev M Buckle, who died in 1893 having been vicar for 52 years.

The east window installed in 1864 has the words "The sea gave up the dead which were in it" and is a memorial to Lewis de Crespigny Buckle, the son of the clergyman, who died at sea while on the SS Nemesis.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 16, 2007
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