History Articles - The Church of St John The Divine, Acklington

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)
           Telephone: 01670 760609
      Email: jdavison26@btinternet.com

63   Dec 2011 We'll Weather the Weather
62   Nov 2011 Alan's Ackl'n Appearances
61   Oct 2011 Ackl'n Marriages 1913-14
60   Sep 2011 Old Photographs Required
59   Jul 2011 A Tower With A Tale To Tell
58   Jun 2011 A Well Kept Secret
57   May 2011 Fishy Business
56   Apr 2011 Acklington Warrior Stone
55   Mar 2011 The Church of St John
54   Feb 2011 Deep and Chrisp
53   Dec 2010 For Whom The Bell Tolls
52   Nov 2010 Which Village?
51   Oct 2010 A Pilot's Memories
50   Sep 2010 Acklington Black Poplar
49   Jul 2010 Street Names
48   Jun 2010 RAF Memorial
47   May 2010 Crowning Glory
46   Apr 2010 Badminton Club
45   Mar 2010 Murder On The Train
44   Feb 2010 Guyzance Tragedy
43   Dec 2009 Acklington Park
42   Nov 2009 Dye House (Part 2)
41   Sep 2009 Dye House (Part 1)
40   Jul 2009 History Making Heads
39   Jun 2009 Acklington Main Street
38   May 2009 James Raymond Smith
37   Apr 2009 The Age of Steam Trains
36   Mar 2009 Fred Wilson
35   Feb 2009 Guyzance School
34   Dec 2008 Acklington W.I.
33   Nov 2008 Lych Gate
32   Oct 2008 Village Hall Disaster
31   Sep 2008 Summer Crowds
30   Jul 2008 Spot The Differences
29   Jun 2008 Sunday School
28   May 2008 National Finalist
27   Apr 2008 What's in A Name
26   Mar 2008 Railway Inn
25   Feb 2008 Osprey
24   Dec 2007 The Guyzance 10
23   Nov 2007 Bowls Club
22   Oct 2007 Village Harvest
21   Sep 2007 Wedding Bliss
20   Jun 2007 The Other Acklington Artist
19   May 2007 The La'Well Tree
18   Apr 2007 The German Spy
17   Mar 2007 The Winter of 47
16   Feb 2007 Les Birkett's Memories
15   Jan 2007 Railway Station
14   Dec 2006 Jane Chapman
13   Nov 2006 Witches
12   Oct 2006 Jack Taylor
11   Sep 2006 Black Ralph
10   Aug 2006 School Photographs
09   Jul 2006 Pig Killings
08   Jun 2006 Village Hall Disaster
07   May 2006 Cricketers
06   Apr 2006 On Yer Bike
05   Apr 2006 Cricket
04   Mar 2006 Mailbag Robbery
03   Feb 2006 Storm of 1886
02   Jan 2006 Football
01   Dec 2005 Help Required



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”.



The church 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)
           Email: jdavison26@btinternet.com