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The Parish Church of St Lawrence, Warkworth | by Chris (Helena Valley)
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The Parish Church of St Lawrence, Warkworth

The name Warkworth appeared in Anglo-Saxon history during the twelfth century as Wercewode. Werce was the name of an Abbess who gave a sheet of fine linen to the Venerable Bede to be used as his shroud. The word 'worth' means a palisaded enclosure. In an early version of the Gospels we read for 'Peter was beneath in the Palace'; 'Peter was beneath in the Worth.'


A church has stood on this site for more than twelve centuries. The first record in history is that in 737 the King of Northumbria gave Wercewode and its Church of St.Lawrence, to the Abbot and monks of Holy Island. The King's name was Ceowulf, and it was to him that Bede dedicated his History. Two years after Bede's death, Ceowulf entered Lindisfarne as a monk. This event is depicted in the central panel of the Pulpit.


The present Norman Church was built not only as a place of worship but also as a refuges in time of danger. It originally consisted of a Chancel with a stone roof and then the nave, a long narrow space enclosed by two immensely thick stone walls. The windows, set high in the walls were mere slits which kept out the enemy and the weather. There was little glass in those days, and the church must have been a comfortless place, without light, with no seats and with an earthen floor; but it sheltered the altar and the people. The south wall was subsequently taken down to allow the aisle to be built.


A full account of the church's history can be found at

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Taken on August 2, 2009