Thockrington, Northumberland Once, the church stood above a village; now there is just the church and a farm. A returning sailor brought cholera in 1847 and the village was wiped out, its houses burnt

From a distance the tiny buttressed church appears as a rocky outcrop, a crag jutting up from the hard dolerite of the Whin Sill. Behind its skyline silhouette, over the shoulder of the hill, the three-pointed stars of wind turbines swivel in the wind. I’m high up here, the view reaching far into the North Pennines. Grasses sway and buckle as I cross the field to open the wooden gate. My hair is whipped across my face as I lower the age-smoothed latch.

The church of St Aidan’s at Thockrington is one of the oldest in Northumberland. Once, it stood above a village; now there is just the church and a farm. A returning sailor brought cholera in 1847 and the village was wiped out, its houses burnt. A drystone wall zigzags around the knoll of the churchyard, an angled enclosure with sparse memorials, randomly placed. I came here thirty years ago to record the flora. Today the grass has been cut, the hay taken off and piled up against the inside of the boundary walls. Fresh leaves are emerging in the turf: red clover, cow parsley, sorrel, vetch and plantain.

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Source: Guardian Environment