December   2021 ————-BENEFICE NEWS————-  December   2021

 For enquiries please contact Revd Dr Robert Brown
Priest-in-Charge, Bewcastle, Stapleton and Kirklinton with Hethersgill
A: Greenholme, Bewcastle, Cumbria, CA6 6PW
T: 016977 48438     email:

 From the Registers

Baptisms   Tillie Rose Lake at St Mary’s, Hethersgill on 24th October


Marjorie Saunders (87), formerly of The Croft, Hethersgill, at St Mary’s, Hethersgill on 26th October

Alexander (Alex) Smith (82), of Westwind, Smithfield, at St Cuthbert’s Kirklinton on 19th November

Church Services for December:

Sunday 5th December, 10am, Holy Communion, St Cuthbert’s Bewcastle

Sunday 12th December, 10am, Holy Communion with Carols, St Mary’s Hethersgill

Sunday 19th December, 10am, Carol Service, St Mary’s Stapleton

Tuesday 21st December, 6pm, Carols for Shepherds, St Cuthbert’s Bewcastle

Christmas Eve, 24th December, 5pm, Carols@5 (All Age Service), St Cuthbert’s Kirklinton

                                                   11.30pm, Holy Communion, St Cuthbert’s Bewcastle

Christmas Day, 25th December, 10.30am, Holy Communion, St Mary’s Stapleton

Sunday 26th December, 10am, BCP Said Matins (no hymns or sermon), St Cuthbert’s Bewcastle

Sunday 2nd January, 10am, Holy Communion, St Mary’s Hethersgill

 Monday, 6th December, 7pm, Bewcastle PCC, Murray Holme

Friday, 17th December (time to be confirmed), Shankhill School Christingle Service, St Mary’s Stapleton (provisional)

 Funerals, Weddings and Baptisms: Life event services (Occasional Offices) may now take place with unrestricted numbers but still with advisory distancing. This means we are still asking that numbers invited to services respect social distancing capacities. If attending an event at church where a large number of people are likely to be present, please be aware of others, and try to keep to a minimum of 1m distant from others, if possible. Masks may be worn but are not compulsory.

 Knowe United Reformed Church, Bewcastle

Services first Sunday in month 2.15pm

 Saturday 27th November 2 pm   Stapleton PCC Christmas Fair at Stapleton Public Hall.   Stalls include cakes and preserves, tombola, raffles and competition.

Kirklinton with Hethersgill PCC Christmas Fair Saturday 4th December 11am till 2pm at Hethersgill Hall.  Admission FREE.  Come and enjoy home made lunches and lots of different stall including: Lesley’s crafty crochet, John’s Woodcraft, Local Artists Ann and Gil, Preserves and cakes, Books, Raffle, Tombola, Wreaths, Sarah’s Glass & Jewellery and Alice’s Tropic skin care.

Saturday & Sunday 18th & 19th December 11.30 am – 4 pm The Knowe Church hope to hold the annual Christmas Festival Light refreshments available.  All welcome.

 Once again by popular request we shall be holding  our Community  Carol Service in the Bewcastle churchyard at 6pm on Tuesday 21st December. Our  historic Cross will be floodlit and punters  will be encouraged  to gather in small candle lit groups. (It would be helpful in this regard if you brought your own candle or torch.)  Our singing (as last year) will be led by an enthusiastic band – including a trumpeter  – There will be just 4 short readings  and 6 well known carols – including of course the trusty favourite In the Bleak Mid Winter. with its famous line “If I were a shepherd I would bring a Lamb” – a link with all those farmers who have so generously given to our appeal for funds for the Church roof by doing just that.   A dual celebration then.  In the first place of course a celebration of the birth of the Christ Child, but a thank you  too to so many of you who have been so supportive and kind. Survivors will be offered a noggin and a mince pie before their journey home and I predict confidently a good time will be had by all!    So see you there then!

P.S      And if the Good Lord decides to send really awful weather we shall retire to the Church !

Bishop John

(See next page for how to “ Light a Christmas Candle in Church in Memory of Someone You Love”.) 

 December   2021———-BENEFICE NEWS———–December  2021

Dear Friends,

And so we come once again to the winter solstice and the turning of the year. It’s been another difficult year, hasn’t it, as we have slowly and gingerly emerged from COVID lockdown. Some of us have ventured out towards participating in church and community for the first time in the last month, while others have been more or less back to normal since the summer. But at least the summer was kind to us here, although climate change impacts meant other parts of the world faced a catastrophic summer. One thinks of the fatal temperatures in the upper 40s recorded in both western Canada and Siberia of all places; devastating wildfires in California and southern Europe; people killed, towns destroyed and vast areas under water in the floods in central Europe. It seems none of this was sufficient to persuade the leaders of the polluting nations to take the issue seriously at the recent COP26 summit. It does make one wonder what it would take. So it’s up to us to do our part, even if what we do won’t change the numbers in the climate equations. Each little bit that each of us does to change our lifestyle, and reduce the amount of non-renewable energy we consume, can add up. And it may also encourage someone else to have a go as well.

Ten years ago, when we first moved into Greenholme, we started planting some 3,000 young willow and poplar saplings along the borders and fence-lines of our land. We chose willow because it is fast growing, makes good firewood, and is one of the most ecologically beneficial trees, hosting more varieties of insect than any other British tree apart from oak. The insects, in turn, support more bird life, leading to an overall increase in biodiversity. The bark and leaves of willow are also beneficial to stock as they contain salicylic acid, the main active ingredient in aspirin, which is named after the Roman word for willow, ‘Salix’, (that possibly derives from an earlier Celtic name), and its common names, saff, saugh, sallow and sally. In fact, in New Zealand farmers are encouraged to grow large willow plantations as cheap, drought-resilient fodder for their stock. Of course, willow has so many other uses, including basket-weaving, coppicing, hedging, rope-making, drawing-charcoal, living sculptures etc. It must be one of the most versatile of indigenous plants. For us, the idea was to grow renewable firewood with a three-year coppice rotation, where we harvest one third of the willow every three years, and three years later it has grown back again. Ha! Maybe down south! It has taken about 8 years for our willow to reach a 2.5-3in diameter main trunk. But last winter, between February and March we started harvesting by coppicing the main trunks, cutting into 4-6ft lengths, and placing the freshly-cut willow in the sheep field for a week or two. The sheep greedily stripped all the bark off for us, and we then cut the branches to the required length for our woodburner, and stacked in the outside woodstore to dry for the next 7-8 months, which they do very efficiently with the bark removed. Now we are being warmed by them, courtesy of our sheep, the rain, and a bit of hard work!

There is something very comforting about sitting in front of a roaring log fire on a cold, mid-winter’s night, with the wind howling outside and the rain lashing against the windows (poor sheep, though). And as the festive season draws closer we prepare for the great family celebrations of shared meals and mirth around the fire! Living in the country, we aren’t subjected to the constant bombardment of marketing hype of the high streets, although the television and online shopping adverts are all there. But the animals still need feeding and mucking out every day, the sheep still need the daily rounds and fresh hay. The routine of country life carries on without making a fuss, and the animals are totally oblivious to our seasonal preparations.

It was the same when Jesus was born at the back of the country inn, with cattle softly snorting condensation as they slowly munched the hay, and the donkeys quietly watching a young mother with her newly born baby, blood still on the straw. The mystery of Christmas on a cold winter’s night, down a back alley in the midst of a noisy, bustling town. God born as one of us, almost unnoticed. Almost.

Let us be the ones to notice him, outside on a wild Christmas night, and welcome him into our warm firesides, where he breaks bread with us, and invites us to share his birthday with him.

Have a very Happy Christmas.

Your friend and priest,


December 2021———-BENEFICE NEWS———–December 2021

Saturday 4th December 7:30pm  Dance at Stapleton Public Hall with Brian Griffin. £7 Bar available

Wednesday 15th  December 7.30 pm  Bewcastle Heritage Society at Roadhead Hall.   Illustrated talk by David Moorat “Brampton and the pre-Raphaelites.  Mulled wine and mince pies.

Saturday 29th January 2022  St Mary’s, Stapleton Burns Supper and Celildh at Stapleton Public hall.

Light a Christmas candle in church in memory of someone you love

This is the time of year when we find ourselves thinking of people we love who are no longer with us. Lighting a candle in church can be a simple, easy way that brings peace by offering a prayer while remembering and honouring their life and their memory.  You’ll find a supply of candles at the back of Bewcastle church along with cards that you can use to write a dedication. Place your candle and your dedication in the basket.

Your candle will be lit all through the Bewcastle Christmas Carol Service on 21 December from 6 pm. Your dedication will be laid out in the church during Advent and Christmas.

Any donation you make will go towards the restoration work at Bewcastle. Post your donation into the safe by the pew on the back wall.

If you can’t get to church to write your message and select your candle ring 016977 48311 and we can organise that for you.

 Knit and Natter at Stapleton Hall, every Tuesday evening from 7pm-9pm.  Everyone is welcome to come along.  For further details contact Carol on 01697543094.

A HUGE thanks to everyone who came along and supported the Bewcastle Church Harvest Supper. Your support is very much appreciated.  It was well attended and a jolly evening was had. The ZING CHOIR was terrific AND they even waived their fee to go towards our Church fund so a MASSIVE thanks to them.  We raised over £1000 which is a record, so that is FANTASTIC.  Thank you everyone to attended. GREAT news.

The Bewcastle Cancer Research UK committee are delighted to announce that despite not holding their annual whist drive and draw this year they have still managed to raise £2615.00 which was only made possible by the generous support from the local community. This also includes donations made earlier this year in memory of Mary Phillips a long serving member of the committee and a great fundraiser for many other causes in the area. Also a donation from C&D Auction mart and from collection boxes in the area.A big thank you to everyone.

Kirklinton with Hethersgill PCC would like to thank everyone for their help with the grass cutting at St. Cuthbert’s, Kirklinton.  It is much appreciated and we hope you all continue in the future to help keep this community space looking tidy.

Bewcastle Primary School Play Group at Bewcastle School, Roadhead, Cumbria, CA6 6PF. Every Monday during term time 9.30am – 11am. From children aged 0– 4 years along with parents/carers, are welcome to come along and join in the fun! £1 per child. For more information contact Emma at Bewcastle School on 016977 48662 or

Bewcastle Scouts Contact. Simon Barrett 01228 497970  or David Harding 07935172942

Newsletters can be picked up from:  Kirklinton Church porch, Hethersgill Church porch, Stapleton Church, Bewcastle Church, Stapleton Public  Hall Porch, Smithfield Garage office, Garry Phillip’s Garage. Or downloaded :,

Deadline for the January 2022 issue is 1pm on Saturday 18th December  to Tricia Coombe, Damhead, Lyneholmeford, Roweltown, CA6 6LQ.  016977 48833 or