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St Peter the Fisherman - Church Guide


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The following is a copy of the published guide to the church

The village of Craster forms part of Embleton Parish and for many years its inhabitants had walked to Embleton Church for worship.

The site of the original village was in the field to the east of Craster Tower, but in the late 18th century the village moved to its present position where it was first known as Craster Seahouses.

The brass plaque on the south wall of the Church tells us the Craster Family built the Church in the memory of Thomas Wood Craster who died in 1867. He was the eldest son of John Wood of Beadnell Hall. His mother and grandmother had both been Crasters. He took the surname Craster by Royal license when his uncle, Shaftoe Craster, died in 1836 without a male heir and Thomas inherited the estate.

The church was built as a Mission Church about 1878 to serve the inhabitants and the large number of fishermen who followed the herring shoals each summer around the coast. Embleton remained the parish church for baptisms, weddings and funerals. Today baptisms and funerals take place in Craster Church.

The east window was given by Amy Craster in memory of her father, John Craster (eldest son of Thomas Wood Craster) who died in 1895. The glass is a copy of part of the window designed by Sir Joshua Reynolds for the Chapel of New College, Oxford, in 1778. The design of Faith, Hope and Charity was attractive and popular and was copied in at least 36 windows between 1819 and 1895. Amy Craster died at Beadnell in 1941. We do not know why she chose this design for the window but 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 Burrard) was one of the ladies chosen by Joshua Reynolds to model "Justice" ( the complete window at New College includes three Theological virtues and four Cardinal virtues) and this may have influenced her choice. The window was cleaned and re-leaded in 1979.

The Bishop of Newcastle dedicated the church to St Peter the Fisherman in 1978.

The vicar's reading desk was given in memory of Hilda Craster who played the organ for 47 years,

The present organ was given by James Bruce in memory of his wife.

The altar hangings were made and presented by Jean and Christopher Breeze.

Items of silverware have been given in memory of Wilfred Shafto Craster, (organist, who died in 1984) John Blackburn and Tom McDonald, both headmasters of the village school.

The font was given in 1995 in memory of Tom McDonald who was headmaster at Craster Primary School and Secretary and Treasurer of St. Peters for many years.

The memorial window, on south side of the church, was dedicated to the memory of Phyllis Carr-Ellison (nee Craster) and her twin brother Wilfred Shafto Craster on May 24th 1998.

Phyllis was very involved in community activities all her life, particularly those concerning young people and the church. She was Life Vice-President of the Mothers Union in the Diocese, an active member of the Women's Institute and founder of a local Girls' Friendly Society Group.

Shafto played the organ in St. Peters for nearly 20 years and was a member of the Parochial Church Council and Craster Church Committee. He was a keen ornithologist and botanist.

Their family and friends gave the window as a memorial to Phyllis and Shafto's love of the Church and to their affection for them.

The window was designed by Dr. Leonard Evetts, whose work graces a number of churches in the region. He has incorporated symbols of the early Christian Church in Northumbria and of local natural history.

This window was the last Dr. Evetts made before his death. To complete it, he had the assistance of his wife, Phyllis. We believe it ranks amongst the best work he produced, in its design, colours, textures and craftsmanship,

The window is of hand-blown glass from the Sunderland firm, Hartley Woods. The leading and installation was done by Traditional Stained Glass, a company newly set-up by the craftsmen who usually did this part of the work for Dr. Evetts.

The window to the left depicts terns in flight; the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; symbols of a fish and the cross; a rock (whinstone of the locality), cobles (boats) and an eider drake.

The window to the right depicts terns in flight; the Craster Raven; primroses and cowslips; the Northern Cross; the torch of St Aidan; squills (local blue flowers); cobles and fish in the sea.

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