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COMMUNION PLATE, CHARTERS, ETC.
has been allowed to accumulate until half its height is buried out of sight. It has been supplanted by a more commodious house a little to the east of the church.
The communion plate as described by Mr. Blair in the Proceedings consists of eight pieces, six of silver and two of pewter.
The history of the church of Haltwhistle should commence with the labours of St. Aidan, for Leland has preserved a tradition that 'there lyethe one of the Holy Aydans and other Holy Men in the Churche Yarde by the Chapel’ at White Chapel in this parish.
But the earliest existing notice of the church seems to be contained in a confirmation of William the Lion, king of Scotland, of his grant of it to the abbey of Arbroath which he had lately founded. It may be translated into English thus :
William by the grace of God king of Scotland to the bishops abbots earls barons justices sheriffs bailiffs officers and all honest men of his whole land clerks and laymen greeting Let (all) present and future know that I have given granted and by this my charter have confirmed to God and the church of Saint Thomas archbishop and martyr of Abirbrothok and to the monks serving God there in free and perpetual alms the church of Hautwysill in Tyndal with all that appertains to it in chapels in lands in tythes in alms and in all other ecclesiastical rights customs and benefits with common pasture also and all other easements of the same parish TO BE HELD as fully as any parson has ever held the same church and so freely and quietly well and peaceably and honourably as any alms in the whole of my land are possessed Witnesses, etc. This is followed in the Registrum de Aberbrothoc' by two other confirmations :
Robert de Bruys to all friends and his men greeting, &c., as above, as the charter of my king witnesses and confirms
To all ministers sons of holy church Robert de Ros and Isabella bis wife greeting Let all present and future know that we have granted to God and the church of Saint Thomas the martyr of Aberbrothoc and the monks serving God there the church of Hautwysill with all justly belonging to it which lord William king of the Scots gave to the aforesaid monks and by his charter confirmed TO BE HELD to themselves in free and quiet and perpetual alms
? Proc. Soc. Antiq. Newo. vol. iii. p. 367.
3 • The date of the foundation of Arbroath is of some interest in church and public history. Thomas a Beckett, the high church archbishop, was slain at the altar of his own church of Canterbury on the 29th December, 1170. Two years afterwards he was canonized ; and within five years of his canonization, and not more than seveu from the period of his death, in the year 1178 William King of Scotland had founded, endowed, and dedicated to Saint Thomas the Martyr the Abbey of Arbroath.' Preface to · Registrum vetus de Aberbrothoc' published by the Bannatyne Club,
The first and second of these confirmations are dated by the editors of the Registrum' 1178-1180, the third 1199, that is eight years after the marriage of Robert de Ros with Isabella the daughter of William the Lion.4
In 1240 William de Ros the son and successor of Robert in the manor of Haltwhistle seems to have disputed this grant, for we find an entry in the Patent Roll, 25 Henry III., stating that Roger Bertram, Odinell de Fordhe, Henry de Neketon, and William de Dera are justices of assize concerning the advowson of the church of Hautwisel to be held at Carlisle in the quinzaine of St. Hilary (Jan. 28th, 1241] where William de Ros arraigns the abbot of Abirbrothe. Unfortunately the assize roll for Cumberland for this date is not now extant, and therefore we cannot know what was the exact point in dispute.
The 'Taxatio' of 1254, sometimes called “Innocent’s' or 'vetus valor,' contains the entry-Hawtwesil' iiij-xx morc. Dec. viij morc Porcio Radulphi de Bosco xxxvj mørc Dec. xlviijs.'
In 1306 The Prior and Convent of Lanercost5 beg the king having regard to the reduced state of their house and the damages they have suffered by the King and his attendants which a great sum would not suffice to restore without perpetuity of something that in recompense of these damages he would grant them the church of Hautwyselle which is not worth more than 100 marks a year and make allowance to the monks of Arbrothock in Scotland whose it is; if agreeable to the King and his Council.' Shortly after “The abbot of Abrebrothok for himself and his convent replies (as commanded) to the King and Council respecting the proposed exchange of their church of Hautewyseles that the King is "fundour" of their house and they have no other head to maintain their rights than him and his council.. Begs the King to examine their muniments and confirmation of the said church from Rome and then to command restitution of the church of which they have been forcibly despoiled by the bishop of Durham.'
The letter is endorsed · Ponatur inter dormientes.'
* This grant of Hautwysill church also mentioned in a general confirmation [1211-1214] by the same king, and in a great confirmation of King Alexander (1214.1218]. There is also a confirmation of Pope Honorius (1220).
• From the Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland, vol. II. Lanercost had been pillaged and burnt by the Scots in 1291 and again in 1296, and it never recovered its prosperity. Edward I. visited the priory in 1280 and 1307.
CLAIM OF ABBOT OF ABERBROTHOK.
In 1309, on the feast of All Saints, John resigned (or was removed from) the office of abbot, and in 1311 the church of Hautwysel was assigned to him as a pension by his successor Bernard de Linton and the convent. The grant, however, was revoked the next year, and a loan was raised to redeem him from captivity as a prisoner of war in England.
In 1311 the vicar of Haltwhistle, one Robert de Pykwell, was carried off by the Scots, and the bishop of Durham wrote him a letter of sympathy, allowing him to raise money on his living for his ransom. Shortly afterwards the bishop reports that he can levy nothing towards the king's subsidies on the vicars of Norham, Bywell St. Peter's, Haltwhistle, Ilderton, or the parson of Ovingham, because all their goods as well as the churches and villages in their parishes were entirely burnt and destroyed by the Scots. The present condition of Haltwhistle church shows that the word ' entirely' does not apply to that building, though it may have been rendered unfit for use.
In 1329 there was held an 'Inquisicio ad quod damnum 's about this church. The abbot of Aberbrothok claimed the church as having belonged to him and his predecessors before the war between England and Scotland, and Edward III. appointed three commissioners to enquire into the justice of the claim. These commissioners held their enquiry at Newcastle, and reported that witnesses had said on oath that John the predecessor of the abbot had last held the church of Haut wysell, and that his predecessors had held it of the gift of William formerly king of Scotland, and by the bull of a certain pope Alexander and by the grant of Robert de Isle formerly bishop of Durham ; and that Edward the king's father during the war had appointed his clerk Robert de Dyghton, who had been admitted and instituted, and still held the church as parson. In accordance with this report, Edward III. ordered the church to be restored to the abbot and convent of Aberbrothok, but he seems afterwards to have resumed it as an escheat; and eventually it was granted by a deed? dated 13th July, 1385, to the convent of Tinmouth, the patronage being reserved to the bishop and a settled portion to the vicar. After the dissolution of the monastery, Edward VI., by letters patent 5th July, 1553, gave
2 Edw. III., No. 11, m. 1, and m. 2, Patent Roll, 3 Edw. III., part 1, m. 16. Quoted at length in Hodgson's Northumberland.
to John Wright and Thomas Holmes the whole rectory and church.' In 1585 Nicholas Ridley died possessed of the church; and afterwards (temp. Chas. I.) it was forfeited by R. Musgrave and granted to the Nevilles of Chevet by whom it was sold to the Blacketts who now possess the great tithes.
Walter de Merton, chancellor of England, who died October 27th, 1277, left 25 marks to Haltwhistle as being one of the places where he had held preferment. Bishop Hobhouse (Sketch of the Life of Walter de Merton, Lord High Chancellor of England, Bishop of Rochester, and Founder of Merton College, Oxford: Oxford, 1859, page 45) quotes the will, and to ‘Hautwyse’ he adds a pote—“Supposed to be Haltwhistle in Northumberland in the patronage of the bishop of Durham. No evidence exists, except this bequest, of the founder's having held this living. The writer has here fallen into the very natural mistake of supposing that Haltwhistle has always been in the patronage of the bishop of Durham, but as at the time of Walter de Merton the patronage was really in the hands of the king of Scotland or of his much favoured abbey of Aberbrothoc, and as a letter from the Scottish queen asking a favour of the English chancellor shows that these personages were on very friendly and intimate terms, it is therefore not unlikely that Walter de Merton held this benefice by the good will of his friends, and it may be that the church was built during his incumbency. Two other vicars of some note were Rotheram® (1768-1789) and Hollingsworth (1809-1829), the first an ex-professor of Codrington college in Barbadoes, and the latter an author and a poet.
Wallis mentions a tradition that the parish church formerly stood on land in Bellister haugh, which is now part of the vicar’s glebe, and states that human bones have been dug up in this field, but it appears more reasonable to suppose that, if there were any such
& Mackenzie, Northd. vol. ii. p. 263, speaking of Haydon Bridge school says :- Rev. William Rotherham had two sons who also acquired celebrity for learning and piety. Thomas, the eldest, was born in 1715, and took the degrees of B.A., 174... and M.A., 1744. In 1744 he accepted a professorship in Sir William Codrington's college, in Barbadoes, and remained there till his health compelled him to quit the island in 1753. On his return to England he accepted the curacy of Great Stainton, county of Durham; and in 1768, was collated to the vicarage of Haltwhistle, not far from the place of his birth. The venerable simplicity of his character and manners, which residence in a foreign climate had neither altered nor corrupted, rendered him an object of universal esteem and respect.'
DEDICATION; BELTINGHAM CHAPEL.
church and burying ground, it was a chapel of case for the benefit of the parishioners who lived on the south side of the river.
With regard to the dedication of the church there is a curious doubt. Cole says “Hautwizzle St. Aidan q. Holy Cross q: — St. Aidan as I judge,' and in this opinion he is followed by Hodgson' and Bates.10 The latter says:—“A rather obscure passage in Leland's Itinerary has preserved the traditionary connection of St. Aidan with that district and the name of Eden's Lawn attached to a part of Haltwhistle immediately west of the church seems to be a re-translation of the Celtic Llan Aidan. St. Aidan's well at Bamburgh had been corrupted into · Edynwell’ tomp. Ric. II. The idea that Haltwhistle church was dedicated to Holy Cross had its origin in the erroneous notion that the fair day generally followed the feast of the dedication,' Raine in his York (Historic Towns series) spells the name Ædan, as if the pronunciation should be Edan.
The parish of Haltwhistle until recently was very large, extending about fifteen miles from north to south and twelve from east to west. It included, besides Haltwhistle itself, the townships of Bellister, Blenkinsop, Coanwood, Featherstone, Hartleyburn, Henshaw, Melkridge, Plainmellor, Ridley, Thorngrafton, Thirlwall, and Walltown. In 1890 the townships of Ridley, Thorngrafton, and a portion of the township of Henshaw were formed into the new parish of Beltingham with Henshaw; and in 1892 the townships of Blenkinsop and Thirlwall were formed into the new parish of Greenhead. The two new parishes together contain an area of about 26,000 acres, leaving the mother-church still with the large area of 32,000 acres, and a population of 4,000 within its borders.
At Beltingham there is a very fine little Perpendicular church, said to be the only building solely in this style in Northumberland. It is dedicated to St. Cuthbert. Its dimensions are 68! feet by 18. The east window is of five lights, and there are six windows on the south side but one only on the north. Local tradition states that it was built as a domestic chapel of the Ridleys. It was restored in 1884, and during the work a grated squint in the north wall of the chancel and a thirteenth-century grave-cover, on which is a cross in high relief, were discovered. Numerous stones have been found about
9 Hist. North, 11. iii. 123. 10 Arch. Ael. XIII. 321.