Saturday, September 11, 2010
Solemn High Mass at Brinkburn Priory
On Saturday 11th September 2010 about 100 congregation attended the celebration of this Extraordinary Form Solemn High Mass celebrated by Fr Shaun Swales of Coxhoe with Fr David Phillips of Stella as deacon & Fr Michael Brown of Forest Hall as sub deacon. The music for the Ordinary of the Mass - Mass for 4 voices by Thomas Tallis -was provided by The Rudgate Singers of York who also sang the motets 'Adoramus Te Christe' & ' Ave Maris Stella' both by Monteverdi. This being Our Lady's Saturday they ended Mass with the York Salve Regina. The Proper was sung in Gregorian Chant by our own schola from Jarrow. The organist was Peter Lock. A full serving team was led by Leo Darroch with thurifer David O'Neill, acolytes Kenneth Miles & Patrick Talbot. Torchbearers were Keith McAllister & Paul Hammond. Brinkburn Priory was founded as an Augustinian priory by William Bertram, Baron of Mitford, in the reign of Henry I. The exact date is nor known but it cannot have been later than 1135 as Henry died that year. About 1180 Brinkburn became an independant house, & the building of the monastic church was commenced. The priory was never particularly wealthy & it was known to have survived some difficult times. Indeed, as late as 1419, it was raided & robbed. In 1535 the value was recorded as £69 & the priory, having an income of less than £200 per annum, was not finally dissolved until 1536. Before 1700 the roof had collapsed & it was reported to be in a state of decay. In the 1750s Thomas Sharp, Archdeacon of Northumberland, tried to effect repairs but was thwarted by a dispute between the owner, William Fenwick, & the vicar of Felton. In the 19th Century the Cadogan family, owners of Brinkburn, revived the restoration of the church & work began in 1858. The roof was completed in the space of a year & the stained glass windows had been installed by 1864. The furnishing was completed in 1868. The priory is situated between Morpeth & Rothbury in a bend of the River Coquet. A truly idyllic site but not easy to access. Following Mass we had a shared table in the early 19th Century manor house, itself the subject of renovation. The weather was wonderful & all enjoyed a relaxing afternoon in superb countryside. The site comes under the overview of English Heritage who are always most welcoming to our group, for which we thank them.