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The Church of St. Mary the Virgin at Woodhorn Village lies within a mile of the sea, near Newbiggin. The name means 'a wooded point of land'. It has sometimes been identified with Wucestre, one of the villages given to St. Cuthbert by King Ceolwulf when he gave up the Northumbrian throne in AD737 to become a monk at Lindisfarne. The church is reputed to be the oldest on the Northumbrian coast with a religious life extendinmg for at least 1200 years. There are various types of architecture including Saxon, Norman and Gothic. One of the most valuable treasures of the church is the recumbent effigy of Agnes de Valence, wife of Hugh Balliol, who was brother to Edward Balliol, King of Scotland. The effigy dates from the 13thC and is described as 'the best and purest specimen of monumental sculpture of the finest mediaeval period in the Archdeconary'. A mediaeval bell inscribed 'Ave MAria' is reputed to be one of the oldest in existence. St. Mary's was declared redundant in 1973 and was taken over by the local authority as a museum, cultural centre and private chapel. It is now used imaginatively for exhibitions, meetings, concerts and a permanent display of museum objects.
A Visitors Book is available if you would like to make any comments or requests.
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