I had to go over to Lanchester to do a few chores this afternoon and on the way home I stopped to take a look at a historical site I have known all my life but only visited once, some thirty years ago! Time for a refresher.....
St Andrew's stands on the top of a prominent hill between Wittonstall and Slaley and commands a magnificent view through 360 degrees over the mid Northumberland hills to the north, the North Durham Moors to the south and towards Newcastle to the east. It is some 200 plus years old and standing on an ancient site, was once the Shotley Parish Church. It is in a rare cruciform and is now under the care of The Churches Conservation Trust, a worthy body indeed.
[caption id="attachment_1334" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="St Andrew's Church, Grey Mare Hill, Shotley."][/caption]
In the church yard and pre dating the existing church is The Hopper Mausoleum built around 1760. It was built to inter the remains of the Hopper family one-time owners of the nearby and once wealthy Black Headley Farm where my Great Grandparents lived and I believe, my grandmother was born. Today was the first time I had realised the connection between this monument and my family.
While I was there, the architect in charge of the fabric of Durham Cathedral arrived to carry out a "condition survey" on behalf of the Trust and he kindly allowed me to see inside the church. We also had a long and interesting chat about the Cathedral and several other small historic churches I knew. An hour later, both frozen I made my way home for a nice hot drink. The poor architect had to start his survey. Sorry!!
[caption id="attachment_1335" align="aligncenter" width="680" caption="The Hopper Mausoleum, Grey Mare Hill."][/caption]