St Paul's church, Jarrow
I had long looked forward to this day. Visiting St Paul's church at Jarrow was the first little pilgrims walk for our church group 'Blessed is She'.
The sky was overcast and a little cool with occasional brighter moments to remind us that summer was near. Though spring daffodils were dying, Bluebells and blue Borage were plentiful. There was plenty of bird song and we saw evidence of woodpeckers in the trunks of trees.
St Pauls church and monastery in Jarrow was originally a Saxon church and dates from 685 AD built on land given by King Ecgfrith of Northumbria. Later, around the 8th century it fell to the turmoil and brutality of Viking raids. In AD 1074 the Monastery was re-founded by Aldwin, Prior of Winchcombe Abbey in Gloucestershire and subsequently became a daughter house of the Benedictine Community of Durham.
Five hundred years later it became a victim of the dissolution of the Monasteries under King Henry VIII, since when it has remained in use as the Anglican parish church of Jarrow. Ruins of the Monastery still stand, steadfast but graceful, in the church grounds.
TheVenerable St Bede is credited with writing the Ecclesiastical History of the English People an author and scholar and lived at St Paul's monastery for most of his life and it was to be in his footsteps, members of BIS were to explore and follow on their visit to St. Paul's church at Jarrow.
Syd Harrison and Ray Beck, volunteers at
St. Paul's looked after us during our visit and
shared with us a wealth of knowledge.
We were able to see the original Saxon foundations and many artefacts including stone and wood carvings reflecting the history of the church and monastic site and St Bede. We also lit a candle in prayer for members of our group and also for Fr David.
We were reflective of the ground and ruins being the home of St Bede and walking in the very same spot as he did over a thousand years ago.
We followed the river Don which skirted around and behind the church and monastic site, much smaller now than what it was in the time of St Bede. Probably due to the silting of the river Tyne.
Swans came to say hello but
unfortunately we had nothing to feed them with but it was nice to see them anyway.
We continued our walk through Charlie's park under a mantle of cherry blossom and saw children playing on the Viking ship in the adventure playground, enjoying each others company and we marvelled at nature and the joy that is God given.
Finally we called into the café at Jarrow Hall for welcome refreshments and rest.
We all agreed we had a very good pilgrim's walk and are looking forward to our next one.
Gail, member of BIS