St Andrew’s and St Peter’s Churches in Bywell
The village of Bywell in Northumberland lies on the north bank of the River Tyne, between Hexham and Newcastle. It was once a substantial town with a flourishing metal working industry, but it suffered badly in the great flood of 1771 and both industry and villagers moved to Stocksfield.
Bywell’s two churches, St Andrew’s and St Peter’s, stand at the meeting point of two Norman baronies; both churches pre-date the Norman Conquest.
St Andrew’s (pictured left), once the ‘white church’ named after the white habits of the canons of Blanchland, possibly dates from the 7th century and has a fine late Saxon tower. St Andrew’s is no longer in use for regular worship and is maintained by the Churches Conservation Trust.
St Peter’s ( pictured right), known as the ‘black church’, named after the black habits of the canons of Ovingham, is also a Saxon building and may at one time have been a monastery. It is perhaps the church in which Egbert, 12th Bishop of Lindisfarne, was consecrated in 803. The church continues to be an active parish church today.