I have wanted to visit this place for ages, if only for the wonderful name.
St Oswald's Church stands on or near the site of the Battle of Heavenfield, which took place somewhere between 633 and 635AD (this period isn't called the Dark Ages for nothing...); Oswald's victory over Cadwallon of Gwynedd.
This was part of Oswald's campaign to establish Christianity in Northumbria (and also to re-establish his rule – he had been deposed some years previously, and had converted while in exile).
On the eve of the battle he had a wooden cross raised for his soldiers to pray before, the first cross to be erected in Northumbria. A large (much more recent) wooden cross by the roadside commemorates the story. V1 is a detail.
It's typical of a number of our older churches, built low and squat, rooted in the rock, defying the elements. It stands in a little walled churchyard in the middle of fields high above the valley. It has no electricity.
We visited twice in a week; the first time was mid-afternoon – not ideal, we rapidly realised that this is a place that needs morning light falling on the east wall. So we went back again a couple of days later, and that's when V1 and V2 were taken.
But our first visit coincided with that of the church organist who enlisted Bill's help with checking out a dodgy note.
Thanks for looking,
Tags: Photo journalism
Landscape and travel