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Heart of Hadrian's Wall

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St Aidan’s Church, Thockrington

St Aidan’s Church, Thockrington

Location

St. Aidan's
Northumberland
NE48 4DH

St Aidan’s Church in Thockrington. The building dates back from the 11th century. It is situated on an outcrop of the whinsill and silhouetted against the skyline. Pevsner describes the church as “high up and solitary except for one farm. The church has “lost” its village possibly through a sailor bringing the plague with the consequence that the housing may have been torched.



The church of St Aidan’s  at Thockrington is one of the oldest in Northumberland. stands atop a remote ridge in an isolated hamlet, about 3 miles east of the A68. The west end of the church features a bell-cote. One of the oldest headstones in the graveyard dates from 1772. Once, the church stood above Thockrington village; but now there is just a church and farm. In 1847, a returning sailor brought cholera (not the plague!) with him: the village was wiped out and all its houses were burned.

Sir William Beveridge, who produced the Beveridge Report in 1942, is buried here. His report influenced the founding of the welfare state and formed the basis of the post-war social security system. The author Tom Sharpe (Porterhouse Blue, Wilt, Blott on the Landscape) was also interred in the churchyard, but amidst some controversy. Sharpe’s father had once been a preacher at the church. When the author died in Spain in 2013, his partner buried his ashes in the churchyard without permission, along with a cigar and bottle of whisky.


However, the vicar is alleged to have dug them up because he didn't like Sharpe's left-wing views! Sharpe's ashes were interred for a second time but whether or not they still remain here is unclear.

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