For six years I wrote a short history
article in the monthly parish magazine,
The Pelican. One of the articles is
shown in the column opposite.
Articles can be accessed by
clicking on the appropriate title from
the index below.
If anyone has any old photographs or
parish information which they would like
recorded (for present and future
generations to share) then please get in
touch with me.
John Davison (Website Co-ordinator)
Eighteen Sixty One was a very busy year for the
villagers of Acklington. They were watching their new
church being built. A church they had worked for, and
campaigned so hard for, over a number of years…. and
no-one more so than the village blacksmith Mr Ralph
Potts. This big powerful blacksmith (a larger than life
character with a mass of black hair and a bushy black
beard) was a leading member of the community in
Acklington and had always been at the forefront of the
campaign. He was affectionately known locally as “Black
Ralph” and we are told he was very well respected and
fearless. He would be called upon to sort out problems,
to deal with troublesome drunks and to intervene in
domestic disturbances. It was claimed he could knock a
man over as if he were a nine pin and that village
mothers would frighten their children by saying “Mind,
if you are naughty, I’ll send for Black Ralph!”
Ralph was indeed a strong character but he was also very
intelligent and deeply religious. Furthermore, he was
becoming increasingly tired of having to trail to
Warkworth for church services on a Sunday, not to
mention various baptisms, marriages, funerals and church
festivals. After relentlessly bending the ears of
prominent clergy, bishops and the Duke of
Northumberland, Ralph decided the time had come to “go
to the top” and eventually in 1859 Queen Victoria (no
less) was petitioned. Thankfully, after some very
careful deliberation, her majesty responded favourably
to the request and it was agreed Acklington should have
its own parish and parish church.
Algernon Percy, the 4th Duke of Northumberland,
commissioned a London architect by the name of James
Deason to design the church and also the neighbouring
vicarage. The stonework and woodwork were meticulously
prepared within Alnwick Castle by the same masons and
joiners that had recently renovated the castle itself.
When everything was ready, the stone was transported
from Alnwick by rail to Acklington Station and the
masons and joiners were sent from the castle works to
Acklington to erect the church. The foundation stones
were laid in 1860 and the building completed in 1861.
The first vicar, Revd H.E. Miles, took up his post and
all the experts at the time described the new church as
a “Fine Victorian Gothic Building”.
was actually consecrated by the Lord Bishop of Durham at
a special service in 1862 at which the Duke and Duchess
of Northumberland were present. Also in attendance, of
course, were hoards of happy villagers including one
very proud Mr Ralph Potts.
John Davison (01670 760609)