The Church & Chapel
whole idea of coming to live in a village - if you don't join
in with anything, it means you are not mixing in at all. So first
of all when I lived with Granny Shell and then with Lena, they
were both church women. It was just a natural thing to get up
and go to church with Lena. I had already been confirmed in Gateshead.
The Church played a greater part in people's lives then.
The Sunday school used to have the treasure hunts up at the
Towers, and they would have an afternoon up there. They could
pick flowers with permission. I remember taking part in a concert
up at the Hall, and Mrs Craster (Rosemary's grandmother)
wanting to know who the child was singing something to do with
'daddy being in the army'.
Things have changed quite a lot in that time, when we were youths, nearly everybody
went to chapel or church then, and the chapel used to be packed. They used
to hold these things called soirees, they had a supper and everybody was
invited, sort of thing. The place used to be packed, but it's all changed
My father-in-law told me once, there was a fellow called Nightingale
came here to preach, and he was one of these hell and damnation
sort of preachers, and he got them all to throw away their pipes
and baccy. They were hoying them on the rocks on their way from
the chapel, and he says they were all going back with a candle
and a jam jar looking for them at 12 o'clock at night.
Some of these fellows were quite good singers, like Pittas Bob and Dodie Archbold
and they were great Chapel men. I used to go to the Chapel every Sunday and
if anybody sang above Pittas Bob he used to put his head back and almost
shouted, he didn't like anyone beating him
Church was built in memory of my great-great grandfather Thomas
Wood Craster, who was the eldest son of John Wood of Beadnell
Hall. Thomas's mother and grandmother had both been Crasters.
Thomas inherited the estate from his uncle Shafto Craster who
died in 1836. Thomas changed his surname to Craster by Royal
Licence. Thomas Wood Craster died in 1867 and the church was
probably built a little later, about 1870, as a Sunday School
Hall; it then became a Mission Church serving the local community
and also the large number of fishermen who every summer followed
the herring shoals around the coast. Embleton Holy Trinity
Church remained the parish church for weddings baptisms and
funerals until 1978 when the Craster church was dedicated to
St Peter the Fisherman. After that baptisms and funerals were
allowed to take place in the church.
Many of the church fittings were given in memory of the Craster
family and latterly members of the congregation. The east window
in the church was given by Amy Craster in memory of her father,
John, who died in 1895. The glass is a copy of part of a window
designed by Joshua Reynolds in 1878 for the chapel of New College
Oxford. It is thought that Amy Craster may have chosen this window
as she was a friend of Caroline Rooke, who lived at 'Paradise' in
Embleton. Caroline's father, George Rooke, was vicar of
Embleton from 1830 to 1874 and her grandmother Lady Rooke (nee
Harriet Sophia Burrand) was one of the ladies chosen by Sir Joshua
to model 'justice' in the complete window in New
College. Our window was re-leaded twenty years ago.
The wooden pews were given in memory of Thomas's widow
Charlotte Pulleine Craster (nee Roddam). The reading desk, designed
and made by Robert (Mousie) Thompson in Yorkshire, was given
by family and friends in memory of my grandmother Hilda Craster
who played the organ for forty-seven years. She was a daughter
of Canon Osborn, who came from Malvern to the parish of Embleton.
Hilda married Thomas William Craster in 1897. The church silver
was given in memory of my uncle Shafto Craster, who played the
organ for many years, and also in memory of my mother Phyllis
Carr-Ellison, who was Shafto's twin sister.
organ was presented by Jimmy Bruce in memory of his wife Amy
(nee Robson) who died in 1986, and the font was given in memory
of Tom MacDonald who was the schoolmaster in Dunstan and then
Craster from 1955-1972. It was presented to the church by his
family in 1995.
Canon Parke worshipped in our church after he had retired and
left money for a beautiful stone cross to be erected on the roof
of the church.
The latest addition to the church, 1998, is the beautiful window
designed by Leonard Evetts in memory of my mother Phyllis and
her brother Shafto Craster.