Work Rate, Write Right

I've been doing a lot of reading lately about and by two famous Durhamites--- C.K. Barrett, and his predecessor, and in some respects, role model. J.B. Lightfoot. One of the interesting connections is their work rate. They were not afraid of hard work and lots of it. Kingsley, for example, regularly would work from 10-2 in the morning on his scholarly work. In part this is because he was a good family man, and the earlier part of the evening until the children went to bed was devoted to … [Read more...]

C.K.Barrett Day at Durham University

There has rarely ever been a day like that which began the night of the 15th of May and ran through to the afternoon of the 16th of May here at Durham University. It was C.K. Barrett day, and a whole series of honorific scholarly presentations, as well as personal reflections were given on CKB, my doctor father. The picture above comes courtesy of old friend Professor Bill Telford, now retired, who taught at both Newcastle and Durham. I lectured on the importance of rhetoric for the study of … [Read more...]

“Don’t Cry for me Venezuela’

Since the death of Hugo Chavez, things have 'gone south' in that southern hemisphere country called Venezuela. There have been shortages of all kinds of necessities. In a recent article in the Times we are told--- "After the physical discomfort of running low on toilet paper, churchgoers in Venezula may face a more spiritual shortage-- the Church is running low on communion wine and flour to make eucharist wafers." (May 29th-- James Hider).One report says there is only enough wine for two … [Read more...]

The Rankin Files— The Falls

If you are a movie buff, you will know the classic It's a Wonderful Life. Jimmy Stewart plays a deeply troubled man in Bedford Falls, and is regularly talking about 'the Falls'. Ian Rankin's 12th novel in the Rebus series also has this title, but it is a horse of a very different color. Sometimes truth is truly stranger than fiction. This particular novel is based a little bit on true events. Mr. Rankin became fascinated with the Burke and Hyde saga, which of course prompted the Jekyll and … [Read more...]

The Romans are Coming!

Not only is there an impressive Roman fort at Corbridge, there is also a nice small museum of things found on the archaeological site as well. This post will deal with some of the more important ones. Roman legions had a religious life. There were gods they prayed to and sacrificed to, regularly, and especially before going into battle. Sol Invictus was one of their regular favorites, but they also set up Mithraic religious sites in the region of Corbridge and Hexham as well. In addition to … [Read more...]

Something Every Pastor Needs— a Fortified Vicarage

Corbridge is one of the more interesting Roman sites in all of Britain, not least because of the museum at Corbridge (on which see the next post). But the church of St. Andrew in Corbridge is equally interesting because it has: 1) the King's ovens, built into the wall (the church being the dispenser of bread for the poor, it is in the church wall) and 2) a fortified towering vicarage! Yes you heard right. The minister had all the protection he needed from irate parishioners.Here is the … [Read more...]

The Durham Chronicles: Bamburgh Castle

When one leaves Lindisfarne, and heads south, leaving all the mead you need behind....and the St. Cuthbert Presbyterian Church on Holy Island....and St. Oswald's cross......and the beautiful fields of rape-seed (not mustard as is often thought)...The next major fortification down the coast heading south is Bamburgh Castle... a truly awesome structure.To be honest, the outside of the castle is much more impressive in most respects than the inside. … [Read more...]

The Rankin Files— Set in Darkness

Ah politicians. They seem to be the same wherever you go. Always running for office, always conniving, slick in front of a camera. Some are quite clever, but not very moral. Some are moral, but not very wise. Some got into office purely on the basis of money. Some are good persons trapped in a corrupt system. John Rebus has seen them all in his day, and 'Set in Darkness' has more to do with politics than his previous novels. Except for one thing. THE criminal of this whole series of … [Read more...]

A Pilgrimage to Holy Island and Back

Holy Island, also known as Lindsfarne, is a special place. It is one of the places where Christianity first blossomed in England, and became a center of Christian life for a long time. But Holy Island did not provide the protection that castles along the northeast coast of England did (see the last of the pictures above of Bamburgh Castle, just visible in the distance from Lindsfarne). And so when the Viking invasion came in 793, the monks at the priory (see the ruins of the Norman priory in … [Read more...]