Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Harbertson Hunting Part 1 - Kirknewton

On Sunday I went north to rural Northumberland, following in the footsteps of my Harbertson ancestors. They were from the Wooler area, living on small farms where they worked the fields.

First on the list was Kirknewton. It's a tiny village - a hamlet really, only boasting a few houses, but the church is very picturesque. The church is dedicated to St Gregory the Great, with a churchyard surrounding. 
St Gregory, Kirknewton
On 19 February 1784 my 5x Great Grandparents were married here. They were James Harberson and Christian Oliver. From them descends a large family, some of which now live abroad in the US and Australia. James was a shepherd. 

James Harberson and Christian Oliver's marriage at Kirknewton.
From the Durham Bishop's Transcripts.

There are some ancient graves in the churchyard, as well as the burial place of the great Northumbrian social reformer, Josephine Butler. The churchyard is still in use today.

As is commonplace in rural areas, the church is still open to the public. Kirknewton is a very peaceful church. 

There is a chancel at the back, which felt very strange to me - it appeared to be a manmade cavern.

There is a stained-glass window in the chancel, showing Jesus in the centre, surrounded by angels. Apart from the stained-glass, there is only one other window in the chancel. From the photograph you see just how thick the walls of the church are.

St Gregory the Great

Walking back along the road to the side of the church are a set of gates, presumably only used for burials. From there is a lovely view of the church, although on the day it was slightly backlit. Opposite the church there are only fields and hills. 

A different view of the church and churchyard.
The decorated gate.
A friend I made. Wondering what I was doing!

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