THE PRESENCE OF THE PAST
Today we hear a lot about 'apologizing' for our past: the crusades, slavery,
the holocaust, the colonization of Africa and so forth.
Whether we believe in this or not, we know that our present
is built on things that have happened in the past - for good or
Fox in her book, Watching the English: the Hidden Rules of
English Behaviour, suggests that England is one of the
least religious nations in the world - and that the Church of England
is the least religious church! Why
might this be?
During Lent 2007 an exercise was held in each of our
five village churches, called History & Prayer. It consisted of a
mini workshop on the history of the church, lasting about 20
minutes, followed by Compline.
After surveying the history (such as we knew it), we
imagined, in Compline, that we were joining with everyone who had ever
worshipped in that particular church.
What would they have felt reading the same psalms
This was intended, first, as an exercise in exploring our past,
and developing an understanding and compassion towards
our predecessors – the assumptions they made and the
difficulties they may have faced.
more than this. We would be praying with, and
therefore surely also for, our Christian ancestors. Not
so much apologizing for the past, but forgiving it, and so
helping to release long-trapped energies.
For each village we report the main things mentioned.
The list is of course little more than a preliminary
brainstorming, and it is hoped that there will be further
occasions in which the points may be looked at in greater depth.
churches are given in the order in which we visited
O S E D A L E A B B E Y
Life in a small medieval priory such as Rosedale.
The role of the nuns in the community.
The sadness of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the
The industrial revolution, in which the ‘dark satanic
mills’, or at least mines, reached Rosedale.
Life on the Rosedale railways.
Living conditions for families in the Dale.
The large number of men recorded on the church plaque as
killed in action in the 1914-18 war, as a reminder of the War
and also the still large population of Rosedale in the second
decade of the 19th century.
The decline of the mining industry in the 1920s.
Life in the Dale today.
R O P T O N
The divisions of the parish system locally. Cropton was
until 1986 part of Middleton Parish, which also took in Rosedale
Village and Rosedale East. The River Severn was the boundary,
and the next parish, to the West, was Lastingham. This took in
Lastingham, Hutton, Appleton, Rosdale West and Farndale East, as
far as the River Dove.
We mustn’t assume there will never be conflict. The
dispute in the 1980s over the proceeds of the sale of a chalice,
in which the Consistory Court (i.e. the Church’s special
court) gave judgement between Cropton and Middleton, is an
U T T O N - L E - H O L E
The various ‘non-conformist’ churches of the area. The
large number of Methodist chapels that grew up at the heyday of
the local mining industry.
The changed face of the countryside and the nature of the
village ‘communities’ within them.
P P L E T O N - L E - M O O R S
Church, built by the Shepherd family, was consecrated in 1866,
which was near the zenith of Victorian confidence. In relation to that era, where are we now?
A glance through the attendance figures from the 1940s
throws doubt on the idea of a golden age when everyone went to
The social structure of rural Victorian England – rather
strange to us
A S T I N G H A M
The idea of Lastingham as an ancient, and probably
pre-Christian, ‘holy place.’ The current challenge to back this view with evidence, both
before and after the foundation of Lastingham Abbey by St Cedd
in ad 654.
The many major changes to the building since the time of St
Cedd – at least nine.
The involvement of two Lastingham residents in the
Pilgrimage of Grace of 1536, and their subsequent execution
under Henry VIII.
the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII, in the case
of St Mary's Abbey in York, which had controlled the church in
Lastingham, an administrative mix-up between Spaunton (Manor)
and Lastingham (the Church's land).
Along with no doubt countless other rural churches, we have
documentary evidence of low morale in the church in the year
The general neglect within the Church of
England during the 18th century, and how it seems to have
affected Lastingham, with three mainly absentee vicars!
Pearson restoration of 1879.
Holy sites in general: some blessings, challenges and
to Lastingham Church Guide