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Pilgrim, priest and ponderer. European living in North East England. Retired parish priest, theological educator, cathedral precentor and dean.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Christianity with a North East Accent

Let me begin, not in North East England but in the eastern Mediterranean. Two weeks ago I was on Mars Hill in the centre of Athens. I thought the Areopagus was a proper hill with a ruined temple or two on top, and an open space for argument and debate. In fact it’s no more than a outcrop of the Acropolis, separated from it by a narrow fault. You clamber up an ancient stair cut out of the rock and emerge on an uneven plateau - perilously slippery for the marble has been worn smooth by centuries of human footfall.

Up here climbed St Paul one day in around AD50, for Mars Hill was where philosophers had argued and debated since the days of Pericles. Once, the city had been governed from here, and cases tried: discerning truth and wisdom had always been the business of the Areopagus. Perhaps Paul had come down from the temples of the Acropolis, or up from the Agora; either way, his mind was full of the vivid experiences this visit to the city had given him. Athens has that effect on travellers. And the Athenians, who had learned curiosity from Socrates, wanted to know more about this doctrine Paul was propounding that seemed to point to new deities, “Jesus” and “Anastasis” (Resurrection). Of all the novelties the Athenians loved so much, nothing pleased them more than new ideas they could discuss among themselves on the marble Areopagus.
I read Acts 17 on my phone and wondered what Paul thought he was doing, according to St Luke’s account. Some think that this attempt to engage with Greek culture was an experiment that failed. Brilliant rhetorician that he was, quoting poets and philosophers and winning intellectual arguments was not the way to promote the gospel. From then on, it is suggested, the apostle resolved not to tangle with Greeks who sought wisdom or with Jews who looked for signs. His sole task was “to know nothing among you except Christ and him crucified”.[1]

Except that his time on Mars Hill, whether it was an hour or a day, was not seen as a failure by St Luke. When they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some scoffed; but others said, “We will hear you again about this.” At that point Paul left them. But some of them joined him and became believers, including Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.[2] A street below the Acropolis is named after Dionysius the Areopagite, said to be the first bishop of Athens. Christianity took root in the city. After the collapse of Roman civilisation in the fifth century, Christians occupied the Parthenon and worshipped there.

On that afternoon I sat on Mars Hill, there weren’t many philosophers to be seen arguing about religion. But it was still a crowded place animated by lively conversation. Throngs of tourists were taking selfies. The young of Athens were enjoying lovers’ trysts, or talking and laughing among themselves. Everyone had their mobile phones and were sharing photos and social media posts and for all I knew, reading and discussing Acts 17. 
What would Paul do there today? The same as he did then. He would engage with the culture of the day, contemporary wisdoms that clamour to be heard in the market-place of ideas, try to point out how they both cloak and yet give clues to our fascination with unknown gods. He would draw out how the universal human longing is for truth and reality and meaning in life. To search for the God who is not far from any of us, so that perhaps we might feel after him and find him. And yes, share his faith in Jesus and the resurrection, and the reckoning that is due to the Creator by his creatures, whether we know it or not. 

The insights of what we call “contextual theology” are familiar. But they took on a new significance as I pondered how Paul theologised in an Athenian accent. Pope Benedict described our postmodern digital age as the Areopagus of our own day, an environment as slippery as the polished marble on Mars Hill where it’s easy to put a foot wrong. It’s here that the church must engage with the project of helping people with no explicit religious background - worshippers of unknown gods? - make sense of Christianity. That means placing ourselves in mind and imagination on Mars Hill, asking what it means to bear Christian witness in this place and at this time.

In 2016, a book was published called Northern Gospel, Northern Church: Reflections on Identity and Mission. Its essays respond to the question, is there a gospel for the North? Can we consider the North of England as a distinct entity with its own particular identity? I think this may be the first attempt to do this for thirty years, since the publication of a couple of books in 1986 by Margaret Kane and James Dunn.[3] I contributed an essay on “Durham: a Northern Cathedral” in which I tried to articulate what made it distinctive among English cathedrals because of its North Eastern setting and the part it has played in helping to shape regional culture and spirituality. That essay in turn built on a book I had written to mark the visit of the Lindisfarne Gospels to Durham in 2013, Landscapes of Faith.[4] In it, I explored the people, places, artefacts and settings of the Christian heritage of our region, and had a lot of fun taking the photographs for it. 

One of the best chapters in Northern Gospel is by Nigel Rooms, the Director of Mission and Ministry in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham. He takes issue with what he calls the “translation” model of contextual theology: embedding the “timeless message” of the gospel in the new cultures in which it is proclaimed. When we try to find new languages to speak of eternal truth, we need to ask whether this approach separates form from content, does it take the “receptor” culture seriously by submitting to its interrogation of our assumptions? “Has deep, real listening gone on?”[5] He quotes Clemens Sedmark on “regional” and “little” theologies. “Regional theologies try to do justice to the key features of a regional context. They pay special attention to key events, persons and features. They look at the social realities in which people live and try to highlight the core constitutive elements of a regional social setting. Little theologies are made for a particular situation, taking particular circumstances into account, using local questions and concerns, local stories as their starting point. People should be able to recognise themselves in little theologies.”[6]
We can put these questions in a specific Church of England context. Andrew Rumsey is a parish priest whose book of 2017, Parish: an Anglican Theology of Place is an important contribution to the literature of Anglican parochial ministry, not least because of how it draws on his own pastoral experience. In an era when the rhetoric of missional leadership and church growth are sweeping all before them, this rigorous analysis of contemporary practice in the light of historic Anglican thought is much needed, and complements Andrew Davison and Alison Milbank’s more polemical book of 2010, For the Parish: A Critique of Fresh Expressions. Rumsey says: “God’s being is in revelation, for in the biblical tradition, God is perceived as giving himself to be known by those he has created – and this self-revelation occurs within created space-time. God, Christians affirm, is only ever encountered locally: not because he is local, but because we are, and God elects to be known by us. Knowledge of God is always local knowledge – from a particular standpoint.” He quotes Jacob at Bethel: “Surely God was in this place” and goes on to explore how the incarnate life of Jesus Christ, which happened in a particular locality in a particular era of history, “once upon a time”, yet extends to all times and places.[7]

St Paul’s Areopagus address as the Acts portrays it is clearly part of Luke’s project to show how the Christian proclamation encounters and inculturates itself in the widening concentric circles of antiquity: first Jewish, then Samaritan, then Greek, then Roman. So where, I wonder, do we find Areopagus in North East England? Where are the places that have lodged in the minds and imaginations of North Eastern people, and where Areopagites need to do immersive theology so as to bear Christian witness? I am thinking of material “markers” of particular histories or geographies – buildings, landscapes, heritage sites, institutions – that not only hold a palpable sense of place but that embody and symbolise the “idea” of the North East (to acknowledge a debt to a book that has influenced me as I’ve thought about the northern places that as a southerner I’ve learned to call home, Peter Davidson’s marvellously inventive The Idea of North[8]).

Here are three landmarks familiar to all of us for whom this part of England is home and that can function as pointers towards a Christianity with a North East accent.

The first belongs to the landscapes where I now live in South Tynedale, the Roman Wall. Our benefice of Haydon Bridge with Beltingham and Henshaw has running through it the Northumberland National Park, the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Wall. This is the English Middle March where the Anglo-Scottish border traces a jagged diagonal line across the empty fells to the north, with the Debateable Lands not far to the west. It was the territory of the border reivers who swept down the valleys from the thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries and plundered without regard to the rights of either person or property. Bastions and fortified towers testify to these lands that were so long fought over in Anglo-Scottish wars. In a way, the entire marches both English and Scottish could be called “debateable”, ambiguous, contested territory that was not securely established as “England” or “Scotland” until the Act of Union in 1707.
Two recent books have explored the liminality of the far north of England. Graham Robb[9] traces the history and character of the Debateable Land in which he has made his home, while Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Border, charts his walks in the area, interweaving the idea of a border line with his own relationship with his late father.[10] I find both books suggestive when it comes to theologising close to a national border. Medieval and modern history are illuminating when it comes to understanding how our social and cultural contexts have been shaped, because culture is so often formed not at the centre but on a boundary. And we find that the distinctive liminality of the northern Marches goes back to antiquity (even into pre-history, claims Graham Robb). The Emperor Hadrian, whose influence would be as far-reaching in Athens two generations after Paul’s visit as it has been in the north of England, began to construct his wall in AD 122, famously commemorated by the bus that bears that route number that plies up and down the Military Road.

Our benefice has recently begun to call itself the “Parishes by the Wall”, coining the phrase “living faith on the frontier”. This perfectly captures the idea of liminality, living, working, worshipping as we do so close to this north-west boundary of a great world empire, a border that is not simply a line on a map but a powerful, visible presence in the landscape. Bede, whose History was perhaps written to establish the idea of “Christian England”, knew it, educated as he was at Jarrow on the river bank opposite Wallsend; perhaps like St Benedict surveying the ruins of ancient Rome, he found both poignancy and inspiration in the already disintegrating signs of his beloved Roman culture with its remembered order and sobriety.

The liminality of the edge of Empire is written into the stones of our Christian churches. All along the line of the Wall, you find stones plundered by medieval builders. In Hexham Abbey, the seventh century crypt of Wilfrid’s Saxon church is entirely constructed out of Roman ashlar including decoration and a Latin inscription. You can also see there the magnificent first century grave marker of the young cavalry officer Flavinus who, bearing the standard, is depicted crushing a poor native Briton who has stumbled beneath his horse. Placed face down, it formed part of the floor of the slype passage and was unearthed only in the nineteenth century. Corbridge has an intact Roman arch, and several churches have Roman altars, including our own Haydon Old Church where it was hollowed out to make a font, from which I was glad to baptise the vicar’s daughter a couple of years ago.
To stay in the benefice where I live, let me mention the Anglican clergyman Anthony Hedley who served as secretary of the “Lit and Phil” and advised on the construction of this building we are sitting in. He bought the estate we know as Vindolanda, built a house there which he called Chesterholm, now part of the museum, and began to excavate the site. He died in 1835 and was buried in Beltingham churchyard. There is a memorial to him in the church: A zealous and faithful preacher and pastor…a steady advocate of civil and religious freedom, a skilful enquirer into the history of this his native county.[11] That epitaph connects religion to story and place, a linkage that was entirely natural to clergy at that time.

So Christianity in the North East feels very old, or at least rests on very old foundations. That’s not unique to the region. But antiquity married to liminality perhaps is. What the precise purpose of the Roman Wall really was remains much debated. Hadrian’s biographer recognises the project he calls “imperial containment”, defining the extent of empire, and says of it, “As with his building programme in Rome, he used the visual language of architecture and engineering to make a political point. The white ribbon thrown across an empty landscape and the monumental vallum were politics as spectacular art.”[12] But it clearly marked a threshold from one culture to another, and in the post-Constantinian era, this threshold began to be perceived as identifying a boundary between Christianity and the old native faiths of the far north. Thresholds have a way of “othering” places and societies “on the other side”, and it’s at least possible that the Wall had the effect of consolidating Christian identity once it had begun to establish itself in the pax romana. Who can say?
But metaphorically, we must always understand Christianity as a liminal borderland. I mean that “living faith on the frontier” stands for the two worlds Christians always live in, the seen and the unseen, the transient and the eternal, earth and heaven, this world and the next, or if you like, Augustine’s two cities, the human one that we construct as our place of civilisation, lawful order, learning, trade, gymnasium, theatre and governance on the one hand, and the eschatological (but being-realised) city of God that is the destiny of humanity as it embraces his reign of justice and love. Contested lands are like the medieval images of the soul: a battle ground that has been long fought-over where the provisional and the permanent encounter each other and vie for sovereignty over human life. If our perspectives as Christians are not able to look in the directions both of the transient and the eternal, I believe we are not paying sufficient attention to the borderland-character of Christianity. North East England is well placed to point the way.


My second landmark is the one you are no doubt expecting me to mention, the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, which stands for the legacy of the northern saints. I don’t think it’s possible to understand North East England let alone North Eastern Christianity unless we grasp their significance. You need to stand on the site of Aidan’s monastery on Holy Island, looking across to Bamburgh, the seat of King Oswald who launched the Christian mission to Northumbria by bringing Aidan across from Iona; and in Wilfrid’s crypt at Hexham Abbey, or Benedict Biscop’s church at Wearmouth where you grasp how European and catholic and missionary the Saxon vision of Christianity was becoming. And at Cuthbert’s shrine in Durham Cathedral where you are touched by the simplicity and holiness of the best Saxon saints; and on the headland at Hartlepool where Hild presided over a community of women and men and demonstrated the inclusiveness of Saxon Christianity; and Jarrow where Bede wrote his incomparable History and plausibly gave birth to the idea of England and an indigenous English church.  

No-one will deny the influence of these saints on Christianity in the North East. But I’m not sure whether it was altogether conscious before the work of early nineteenth century antiquarians like James Raine the librarian at Durham Cathedral and founder of the Surtees Society. He was ordained priest two hundred years ago this autumn. His first important work was to write a learned piece on St Cuthbert’s shrine at Durham in 1828. It was only with the historicising approach of nineteenth century scholarship that Saxon Christianity began to be seen as a distinctive expression of native English faith, very different from the imported French model that arrived with the Norman Conquest.
In particular, historians have helped us understand the political and social context of the Saxon church. This is important if we are not to have a rose-tinted image of its saints. Faith and politics were interwoven in the Northumbrian mission from the very outset, when Oswald gave Aidan land on Lindisfarne to establish a monastery in clear sight of the royal court at Bamburgh. A recent study of the three successive kings Oswald, Oswiu and Ecgfrith[13] shows how Saxon sanctity was at all times embedded in the Realpolitik of royal rule, ambition and conflict. For example, David Brown writes: “St Cuthbert is often represented as having purely spiritual motives for retreating to the island of Lindisfarne and subsequently to the still more remote inner Farne, but the Northumbrian royal capital of Bamburgh in fact lay nearby, and so it is impossible to discount the desire for political influence in the first move, if not the second”.[14]This gives the lie to the popular but wholly misleading idea of “Celtic Christianity” as an imagined prelapsarian state of holy innocence before the Synod of Whitby in 664. Romantic idylls are enjoyable, but they don’t serve history well. Saxon faith was both a lot tougher and more alien than some of the popular spiritual literature gives it credit for.

The figure of Cuthbert is critical in all this, both the historical figure himself and the cult that developed after his death. It’s not too much to claim that the “idea” of a distinctive North East Christianity goes back to him. Already in his lifetime, this much-travelled saint had begun to trace what we might call a “sacred geography” of the North, along the axes he must have walked that were laid down in antiquity, principally the east-west Roman road known as the Stanegate that ran through the Tyne Gap and linked Pons Aelius (Newcastle) and Hexham to Luguvalium (Carlisle), and Dere Street that struck out northwards from the Roman town at Corbridge across the Cheviots, from where he would have crossed the low sandstone hills (via St Cuthbert’s Cave) to reach Lindisfarne.   

The saint’s “reach” became greater still after his death when, in the aftermath of the Viking raids on Lindisfarne that began in 793, his community set out on its long journey in search of a permanent resting place for his body and for the Gospel Book written in his honour, what we call the Lindisfarne Gospels. At its greatest extent, the community acquired estates across the North East and North West, the Borders and in Galloway, largely given in thanksgiving for Cuthbert’s intercession and protection. Wherever you find a medieval church dedicated to Cuthbert, you can safely presume a connection either to the living saint, or to his community that halted there during its pilgrimage. Thus the Saxon community of St Cuthbert that eventually found its way to Chester le Street by 883 and to Durham in 995 became one of the wealthiest and most powerful land-owners in the North and helped to define a region that has always felt distinct from the rest of England where there is no real parallel to this story. Indeed, Northumbrian Christians acquired a distinctive name of their own, Haliwerfolk or “people of the saint”.
The saints of Northumbria, then, bestow a distinctive accent to Christianity in the North East. They do this in ways that are perhaps more elusive, more alien even, than we sometimes think, not least in the extreme ascetic practices to which they were drawn following the examples of the Irish monks and the Egyptian Desert Fathers. Where northern Saxon Christianity touches us most deeply, perhaps, is in its purity of heart and motive, its belief that the offering of life to God must be everything or else it is nothing, its extraordinary energy for mission and evangelism, its devotion to the poor as God’s treasure, and its profound humility in living close to the earth and to the natural world. We are rightly proud of “Northumbria’s Golden Age” in the seventh and eighth centuries, but what we should admire in it is not only the artistic beauty of the Lindisfarne Gospel Book or the Bewcastle Cross or St Cuthbert’s coffin but what they symbolise in affirming and proclaiming the Gospel itself as the word of salvation and life.

Pilgrimage routes across the region focusing on places associated with the saints like Melrose, Lindisfarne, Jarrow, Hexham, Hartlepool and Whitby are becoming a popular way both of reclaiming the Christian history of the North and reflecting on its significance for contemporary life. A new project, “Northern Saints’ Trails”, focused on Durham Cathedral, is designed to bring these together and introduce coherence to the idea of pilgrimage in the North East. Inspired by the Canterbury pilgrimage, the Camino to Santiago and the Via Francigena to Rome, they will, I’m sure, help us to appreciate our sacred history and geography in new ways and enable us more intelligently to enter into a genuinely embodied “Christianity with a North East accent”.

My third landmark brings us into modernity. It is Anthony Gormley’s emblematic sculpture The Angel of the North in Gateshead unveiled twenty years ago this summer. According to the sculptor, the Angel has a threefold significance: to honour the memory of the Great Northern Coalfield and the men who once worked the mine on whose site the Angel stands; to mark the transition from an industrial to an information age; and to be “a focus for our evolving hopes and fears”. He speaks about “an attempt to give form to the future with methods and materials of the present… so the material is part of the message but the meaning is an ongoing project”.[15] I think that is as good a description of the notion of sacrament as you will find.
Among those hopes were the regeneration of an area severely damaged by the loss of Tyneside’s heavy industries, especially shipbuilding and mining; the choice of materials and the anchoring of the sculpture in old mine workings are a conscious homage to the days when the North East was a powerhouse of the British economy. But Gormley is keenly aware of place which, he says, “can be reinforced by collective art which in some way puts human being in a much wider context”. I think the singular, human being, is deliberate: a verb, not a noun, to suggest how the symbolic enriches our very existence by stimulating the imaginations and kindling hope.

It’s intriguing to watch how the Angel has become, I think for once in the true sense, an icon of North East England. This can only be because it resonates so successfully with what North Easterners not only know to be true of their region, but how they feel about it. It is a place of anamnesis, deep and living memory because it preserves cherished stories of a great past and celebrates them in the present. It is elegiac because of the loss it represents not only of heavy industry but the soul of working communities, the pit villages of Northumberland and Durham, the shipbuilding terraces of Tyneside and Wearside, the steel works at Consett. You could add to those the decline of communities that grew up around lead mining and iron works in the Pennine dales and the birth of the railways in the early phases of the Industrial Revolution. But it is aspirational because it stands for regeneration and hope, not only of the North East’s economy but more important, its people and communities.
In all these ways, the Angel captures the native spirit of the working communities of the North East, its daimon that gives it such a strong sense of place. Nigel Rooms calls it a “transitional object” in the passages of which it acts as a marker. But my friend Mark Bryant, the retiring Bishop of Jarrow, will tell you that it is unexpectedly functioning as a religious symbol as well. He lives close to the sculpture, and has watched how people gather there for informal rituals and ceremonies such as celebrating birthdays, becoming engaged and remembering those who have died. He lingers by the Angel from time to time, talking to people, and has invited couples to renew their wedding vows there. He sees the Angel as giving implicit religion a visible focus that does not carry the baggage of “church”. You could call it an unofficial “fresh expression”.

The industrial heritage of the North East is as much part of its cultural legacy as the Roman Wall and Lindisfarne. Tourists can visit Beamish, Vindolanda and Holy Island all in one day and get a feel for them all. I want to suggest that it contributes to the region’s spiritual accent too. In Durham Cathedral, one of the highlights of the year is the Durham Miners’ Service which each Gala Day has celebrated the links between the mining communities and the cathedral for more than a century. (You must never call them ex-mining communities: the pit villages still process their banners with fierce pride even if most of those who carry them or play in their colliery bands have never been down a mine.) The ceremony is elegy, celebration and aspiration rolled into one. But even more important is the memorial in the nave where the names of miners killed in colliery disasters are recorded by date and the pages turned each day. The cathedral not only enshrines and interprets the memory of St Cuthbert, but, just as explicitly, the mining industry and by extension, the working life of the North East and God’s regard for it.
The book Northern Gospel, Northern Church has a lot to say about social awareness, the legacy of industrial decline and the church’s response to communities that continue to suffer from decades of neglect[16]. This phenomenon is not unique to the North, nor is the sense of being distant from London-centric structures of economic power and political decision-making. Nor is the church’s awareness of the social realities of the North East new. An essay[17] in the impressive book published in 1981 to mark Newcastle Diocese’s centenary documents a report, Industrial Tyneside: a Social Survey issued in 1928. William Temple came to preach at the Cathedral as Archbishop of York the following year and offered up the text of the Survey at the high altar.

I wonder whether, unconsciously, the sense of powerlessness plays into atavistic memories of a liminal, contested frontier land that was always being fought-over, despoiled by reivers and that until modern times, rarely knew the stability and prosperity that other parts of England enjoyed. “This land, cut off, will not communicate” says Auden in his first mature poem, an elegy for the death of lead-mining in the North Pennines[18]. What Peter Davidson says about the city of Durham, that “it is a place of dignity and stark beauty but mired in sadness, weighed down by missed chances civic and academic”[19] is perhaps true of the region as a whole. It’s a comment worth pondering.
And despite the unique richness of our spiritual legacy, church statistics endorse the same message of fragility and loss of confidence. For while church attendance figures are growing steadily in London, they are in seemingly relentless decline across the North East. The temptation is to imagine that methods of outreach evolved in affluent London suburbs are transferable to the densely urban or deeply rural communities that characterise North East England where the experience of powerlessness, dependency and uncertain futures are all too familiar. Nigel Rooms talks about the “persecuting south” and the “victim north” and suggests that far from colluding with this disparity, the church should act as a rescuer from it. If, that is, clergy and church leaders can be enticed to live and work in the North, a challenge that is becoming more acute than a generation ago when I made that journey myself to become a parish priest in rural Northumberland. I don’t think it’s true that only those born and bred in the North East can learn to speak with its accent. Paul, after all, was not an Athenian!
A different lecture might have traced a northern theology in the Hebrew Bible in texts that reflect the concerns of the kingdom of Israel in contrast to the southern kingdom of Judah. I’m thinking of texts like Hosea and Deuteronomy that affirm so strongly the desert-covenant traditions of Israel rather than the temple and monarchy traditions of the south. Jesus the Nazarene from northern Galilee inherits this if Nathaniel the contemptuous southerner is any clue: “can anything good come out of Nazareth?[20]
John Inge points out how “sacred geography” is linked in the early church to martyria, places where a Christian martyr had been buried and where worshippers gathered to remember and pray. “The holy place was the spot that bridged the gulf between past and present, between living and dead. Pilgrimages to sites which speak by their history, their story, of divine human encounter have served across the generations to root the Christian community in its identity…. Sacred geography has the power to speak of a God who revealed himself in the incarnation, and does so still in the lives of those who live in the faith of that incarnation.”[21]

Paul’s Areopagus address tells us any place can be sacralised, made holy, by the gospel that is proclaimed there. Martyrium, the location where we bear witness, is where we learn to enter into the spirit of the place, gather to understand its values and insights, its questions and dilemmas, and try to speak Christian wisdom within it. Rumsey says, “to be confident in the local is to be confident in the validity of human experience in God’s purposes”.[22] The preacher in me wants to say, “God cares about North East England”.

Can anything good come out of “North”? I’ve suggested themes that describe the North East that may help us echo that question and answer it with the gospel’s resounding “Come and see!” To reflect on story and place makes a difference to how we pray and work, minister and bear witness here, with all that we have in common with the rest of England, and all that makes the North East distinctive and, dare I say, special.  Why? So that we can put names to the unknown gods whose altars are all around us, and speak of Jesus and the Resurrection, and of the God “who is not far from any of us”, “in whom we live and move and have our being”, “whose Nature and whose Name is love”. 

The Lindisfarne College of Theology Alumni Lecture
given at the Literary and Philosophical Society, Newcastle
16 October 2018

[1] 1 Corinthians 2.2.
[2] Acts 17.32-34.
[3] Kane, Margaret (1986), What Kind of God? Reflections on working with people and churches in North-East England; Dunn, James (ed.) (1986), The Kingdom of God and North-East England.
[4] Sadgrove, Michael (2013), Landscapes of Faith: the Christian Heritage of the North East.
[5] Wakefield, Gavin & Rooms, Nigel, eds. (2016), Northern Gospel, Northern Church: reflections on identity and mission, 36-37.  
[6] Quoted by Rooms, “Bias to the North?” in Wakefield & Rooms (2016), 43.
[7] Rumsey, Andrew (2017), Parish: an Anglican Theology of Place, 36ff.
[8] Davidson, Peter (2005), The Idea of North
[9] Robb, Graham (2018), The Debateable Land: the Lost World between Scotland and England
[10] Stewart, Rory (2015), The Marches: a Borderland Journey between England and Scotland
[11] Birley, Robin (1995), The Making of Modern Vindolanda with The Life and Work of Anthony Hedley 1777-1835, 49.
[12] Everitt, Anthony (2009), Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome, 225.
[13] Higham, N. J. (2015), Ecgfrith: King of the Northumbrians, High-King of Britain, 111-4.
[14] Brown, David (2004), God and the Enchantment of Place: Reclaiming Human Experience, 167.
[15] Gormley, Antony (1998), Making an Angel, 14.
[16] Wakefield, Gavin, “The Ebb and Flow of Power: Stories Told about the Northern Church in Mission” in Wakefield and Rooms (2016), 55ff. Compare Kane, Margaret (1986), 11ff.
[17] Lloyd, Katharine, “The Social Situation: awareness and response” in Pickering, W.S.F. ed. (1981), 200-1
[18] Auden, W.H., “The Watershed” in Astley, Neil, ed. (2017), Land of Three Rivers: The Poetry of North-East England 245.
[19] Davidson (2005), 225.
[20] John 1.46.
[21] Inge, John (2003), A Christian Theology of Place, 98.
[22] Rumsey (2017), 174.

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