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Report 2043: Northumberland in the Snow in January

By Eleanor from UK, Winter 2013

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Page 3 of 10: To Seahouses - Longhoughton and Embleton

photo by MAW

Saxon chancel arch and reredos

The Church of St Peter and St Paul, Longhoughton is one of the oldest in the area. The massive square tower has a Saxon base with long, narrow, round topped windows. The top is Norman dating from 1080 and has a typical double Norman window. The villages used the tower as a refuge during attacks by the Scots until the 17thC.

Inside there is a lovely Norman arch at the back of the church. The narrow chancel arch is Saxon and has a large squint so worshippers in the south aisle could see the high altar. Below the Norman windows on the east wall is a beautiful mosaic reredos. The modern stained glass window of St Andrew on the north wall was moved here from St Andrew’s church in Boulmer when it closed a couple of years ago.

The church gets very few visitors and a local lady who came to check the flowers was most surprised to see us. This is a shame as it is a delightful small church.

Passing through Embleton, our eyes were caught by the 13thC Vicar’s pele which forms part of the old Vicarage, now a private house. It is a reminder of troubled times along the border in the 16thC and the Border Reivers. Next to it is Holy Trinity Church dating from the 12thC. The niche above the door originally had a carving of the Virgin Mary but this was destroyed during the Reformation and is now replaced by a modern carving representing the Holy Spirit. To us, this felt wrong and out of keeping with the rest of the building.

Inside the porch are the remains of beautiful old tombstones on the walls. The roof is wooden and there is a rather nice carving of a green man on the centre boss.

Inside octagonal pillars with pointed arches and dog toothed designs separate the nave and side aisles. At the base of the arches on the north wall are rather nice carved heads.

The Craster Family chapel is off the north aisle with memorial tablets for different family members on the walls.

A tall pointed chancel arch with dog toothed carving leads into the chancel. This was rebuilt in the 19thC and is nearly as long as the nave.

There is nothing special about the church, so the guide books ignore it. It is a typical small village church, like so many others scattered round the country. 

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