Border Churches


The Church of Byreness 


Travellers journeying along the A68, the Newcastle/Jedburgh road, may have caught a glimpse of a diminutive church sheltering amongst the trees a few miles north of Otterburn. This would be the church of Byrness, the smallest church in Northumberland. The next time you pass along that road, and have the time to spare, stop and park at the nearby petrol station and at the adjoining shop borrow the key for the church. 

This tiny church was intended to accommodate a congregation of sixty worshippers, and even such a number would have found themselves uncomfortably crowded for it is as tiny inside as it looks from the outside. But there is much of interest within and without and it is still in use and tended with care.

The present church is said to have been built by the Reverend Louis Dutens who resided in the bleak vicar's peel tower at Elsdon, not far away beyond Otterburn. The church became neglected in time and was restored in 1884.

Two miles to the north is Catcleugh which was the home of some of the Halls, who, at one time were a notorious family of Border reivers. In more peaceful times the family moved into the tower at Otterburn which is now part of the Otterburn Tower Hotel.

At Catcleugh is the great reservoir which served Tyneside, and the church features a stained glass window commemorating the workers who died during the building of the reservoir and alongside the window are the names of those who perished in its building and included is many a Border name.

There! Worth stopping, wasn't it?

The church at Byreness


In Northumberland just west of the A68, a few miles south of Catcleugh Reservoir.


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