Curiosity. There’s something about history that seems to turn people off being curious. Curiosity about how people lived their lives in times gone by. On the Solway, you need only look at the landscape, the stones, the walls and most importantly the churches to get a feel. Be curious, it won’t hurt.
The right place at the right time
Sometimes a church exists because of an event elsewhere. The church at Newton Arlosh came into being because of a storm. A storm that destroyed a town and made it necessary to move inland. A tempest on the Solway led to the new town on the marsh. Newton Arlosh.
St John’s Church at Newton Arlosh
Here we just want to whet your appetite, if you like dates and figures and who did what with whom, you can go to the church at Newton Arlosh and buy a booklet for £1, “A History of St John’s Church, Newton Arlosh”. This should satisfy your curiosity.
Inspired by a blog written by Mark Richards, my friend and I found St Johns and had to file in one by one. How odd that the door should be so narrow? And the windows so meanly cut? I guess it makes sense if you consider that the Church was also served as a fortress.
Skull and Crossbones
The leaflet in the church directed us to a grave of one John Fell who died on 10th Feb 1737, his headstone bears an interesting symbol of skull and crossbones. We just had to find it, on a crisp cold autumn day Madeleine and I walked around the churchyard, looking at headstones one by one, and at last, we found the headstone of one John Fell and there they were the skull and crossbones – which can still be made out, to this day. Was he a pirate, did he die at the hand of a pirate, will we ever know?
Church still there
The world has changed, the church was built, sacked, ruined and now rebuilt. In this day of superhighways, motorways and smartwatches, we still had time to visit a building that saves the lives of many by having a door wide enough only to pass one person at a time.
Rumour has it that on the wedding day, whichever of the bride or groom first comes out of the door shall wear the trousers. Well I am told that one of our former employees got married, she did come out of the door ahead of her husband and it is true, she wears the trousers in her home….
The church is a short step from the Joiners Arms CA7 5ET 016973 51470.
Secret Solway Tours have been devised by Fiona Stoddart, an experienced local tour guide with an in-depth knowledge of the occupations and impacts people throughout history have had on the enduring yet fragile Solway landscape. Fiona runs pre-booked and bespoke tours. Contact Fiona on 07494 489901 to discuss what kind of tour you would like.