Summer Walk No 8, Edlingham Church & Castle - Tuesday 26th July 2016.

At 7pm on the evening of Tuesday July 26th a group of 12 members met in the car park near St John the Baptist
Church in the hamlet of Edlingham, some five miles south east of Alnwick.
The evening provided us with opportunities to explore the inside of the church, its churchyard and the nearby castle,
to learn about their history and to capture some interesting images, despite it starting to rain soon after we arrived.
Due to the limited amount of space in the church, some visited the church first before going on to the castle whilst
others went to the castle initially.
The name Edlingham means ‘The home of Eadwulf’ in Anglo-Saxon and the village’s recorded history goes back as
far as 737 when King Ceolwulf gave Edlingham and three other royal Northumbrian villages to St. Cuthbert and the
monastery at Lindisfarne.

     

Edlingham Church
While the first stone church dated from about 1050, the main part of the present building was built in the 12th century,
although parts of the Saxon church appear to have survived in the west wall of the nave in the present building. A tower
was added in the 14th century and was probably used for defence. The current building is a very attractive example of
a small country church, with a font dated 1701, some very nicely carved Norman capitals, Norman arches and other
interesting architectural details. The attractive stained glass window at the East end was installed in 1864, in memory
of Lewis-de-Crespigny Buckle who died in an accident at sea on the SS Nemesis - his father being vicar at Edlingham
for 52 years.

Edlingham Castle
The castle was reached via a 300 yard path that slopes gently downhill from the church and is set against the backdrop
of an impressive railway viaduct that formed part of the Cornhill Branch Railway from Alnwick to Cornhill-on-Tweed,
which opened in 1887, and closed in 1953. The castle has its origins in a manor house built by John de Edlingham around
1250 AD. It was subsequently strengthened and fortified against the scots over the next three centuries, especially during
the 14th century by Sir William de Felton, who is buried within the church. By the 15th century the castle had a moat,
gate tower and strong palisade. However, agricultural requirements overtook the need for defence over the following 200
years. After 1514 the buildings were let to local tenant farmers for housing animals and crops, and fell into disrepair. By
1650 the castle was abandoned and over the next 300 years stonework from the castle was used in constructing some of
the local buildings and possibly the nearby railway viaduct, leaving it in ruins.
The most impressive part of the ruins today is the solar tower built about 1340 as part of the accommodation used by the
owners as their private living and sleeping quarters. Some of the walls of this building are still about 10 metres high, but
at some point the tower cracked vertically from bottom to top, leaving a substantial chunk of the structure leaning away
from the rest at an angle. Although this looks as though it could collapse at any moment, it has apparently been like this
since the 1600s, although supporting wires were added in the 1980s to prevent the lean getting worse.

Following our visit to the church & castle, club members returned to the car park after an interesting and enjoyable evening.

Glyn Trueman.