There is a genuine spiritual heritage at the heart of Hadrian's Wall area. Standing near the Mare and Foal stones – the last two remaining of a megalithic stone circle – you can feel the resonance of our distant ancestors. Just a little further east along the B6318 you can visit Brocolitia and see the remains of a Mithraic temple built by the Romans. To the west, and just over the border into Cumbria, the Roman fort of Birdoswald (Banna) is believed to be the birthplace of St Patrick and where his father served as a Roman official.
Continuing the Christian heritage into the 7th century King Oswald (later St Oswald) travelled throughout Northumberland and is commemorated by the 97 mile walking trail that starts at Lindisfarne (Holy Island) and ends at Heavenfield (near Chollerford) close to the battlefield where he stood victorious over King Penda of Mercia and Caedwalla of Wales.
There are a number of religious buildings that are well worth visiting during your stay – including Hexham Abbey and Lanercost Priory.
Less well known is the Church of the Holy Cross in Haltwhistle. In this twelfth century building you will find echoes of much earlier times including an old water stoup reputed to have been used for baptisms in the 7th century by Paulinus (first Bishop of York) who baptised King Edwin of Northumbria at Walltown. There is a stone commemorating John Ridley, Lord of Walltown, who died in 1562. John was the brother in law of the protestant martyr Nicholas Ridley, burnt at the stake with Archbishop Cranmer and Bishop Latimer by order of Mary Tudor in 1555. The church also has some excellent stained glass by Burne Jones, who was greatly influenced by William Morris, and was one of the Pre-Raphaelites. Burne Jones was a frequent visitor to Naworth Castle and his work can be seen at St Martin's Church, Brampton and at Lanercost Priory.There are many fine churches in and around the Heart of Hadrian's Wall. Many of these are very old and have great spiritual and historical significance. For further information about churches of the beautiful North Tyne and Rede Valleys visit The Bellingham Deanery website.
To check service times for Church of England Services www.achurchnearyou.com