About Our Area
The parish of Shotley Low Quarter lies on the southern edge of Northumberland along its boundary with County Durham. The parish is largely populated by hamlets and scattered farmsteads with no single centre of residences. The earliest medieval reference to the parish is in 1165 when the endowment of Blanchland Abbey included the chapel of Shotley, which is below St Andrews church. Shotley as an ecclesiastical parish was created in 1724 from chapelry in Bywell St Andrew, Northumberland Ancient Parish.
Shotley Low Quarter is now a Civil Parish, created in 1866, before that it was described as a Township. It was expanded in 1955 by the inclusion of Whittonstall and Newlands Civil Parishes. The boundary of civil parishes and ecclesiastical parishes separated around 1845. Since the 1881 census the population of the parish has remained relatively stable between 500-600, but was believed to have been larger in the past. There are two centres within the parish, Snods Edge and Whittonstall. Snods Edge is where the old school(s) used to be, and is now a village hall. There are only four residences at Snods, but the village hall is very active in the area and pulls in many people from the surrounding area. The site of the current junior school is at Whittonstall, with with approximately 35 residences.
There are three churches in Shotley Low Quarter
St Andrew’s Church is a redundant Anglican church on Greymare Hill. It is a Grade II listed building, and is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. It was been replaced by St. John’s Church, which was consecrated as a Chapel-of-Ease in 1837.
The church is constructed in a “crucifix” design and has Georgian ”box pews” – standing at 960 feet above sea level at Grey Mare Hill, this is a Grade II listed building and is currently in the care of the Church Conservation Trust’
It is still used for the occasional wedding, and always for the Easter religious service, when a pilgrim procession of the Cross starts at St.John’s Church at Snods Edge, on Good Friday and travels to St. Andrews (see route below).
In the Churchyard is the rather extravagant “Hopper Mausoleaum”, built in 1752 by local resident, Humphrey Hopper of Black Hedley hamlet, in memory of his wife Jane, and subsequently his own resting place (see sketch below).
St. John’s Church & Church Hall
St Johns Church lies within Snods Edge and has a very supportive congregation with people from all around joining in for special occasions as well as conduction the usual weddings and funerals. As many of you will have seen, there are several adverts around for Sunday Teas at St John’s Hall in Snods Edge. The hall is not just a place for an excellent Sunday Tea, but is also a centre for many activities in the parish, including the annual beer festival! The current regular activities include Carpet Bowls, Karate, Flower arranging and more…. its calendar of events can be accessed here
St Philip and St James Church
This church lies at the heart of Whittonstall and was built in 1830. It is now closed and used as a community centre and houses many of the village activities including the Whittonstall Brass Band.
The ancient Roman Road of Dere Street runs through the village of Whittonstall and leads directly into the Northumberland countryside. Whittonstall village is surrounded by open countryside, with well laid out fields and mature hedging with numerous footpaths and bridleways.
GENUKI has some interesting details on when the church parish was formed (and there is more information here). Whittonstall also has an entry in the in the BBC Doomsday project which has details of life in Whittonstall in 1986
Recent activity in Whittonstall church has resulted in a community space being available in Whittonstall. This article was published in the Hexham Courant
Download our leaflet describing this wonderful walk.
Whittonstall Walks (38 downloads)