Here, I am stepping in the footsteps of my ancestors, the Hogg family. We start by revisiting St Mary’s, Morpeth, which was closed on my last visit and proved to be so again this time. Given the size of the graveyard, there is no hope of locating the three family graves that I know are here, especially as they probably don’t have marker. There is an address for a ‘parish office’ about a mile away that is theoretically open. We drive off there but only have a road name and not a number. None of the houses or bungalows in the road look remotely like a parish office and no one available to ask seems to have heard of a church, let alone a parish office. We give up and have a quick walk round Morpeth. I am fascinated by the courts that hide behind the main streets and which were once the homes of my ancestors.
Scotland is apparently bathed in sunshine. Typical, here we have drizzle and falling temperatures. Time for another National Trust property near you visit, this time to Wallington House near the weirdly named Cambo. The house was built for William Blackett in 1688 and then passed into the Trevelyan family, who, as the name suggests, originated in Cornwall. The most notable feature of this house is a central courtyard, which was covered over in the 1850s and decorated with murals depicting the history of Northumberland, for which the artist, William Bell, was paid £100 a panel. We are supposed to spot stuffed squirrels in the various rooms. I clearly need a two year old with me for this. Mind you I was not helped by the sample squirrels being three times the size of the hidden ones. There is a group called Robson’s Choice playing the Northumbrian pipes in the hall. These are very different from Scottish bagpipes and are much more suited to an indoor performance. They are not blown but the air is injected by squeezing bellows strapped to the elbow. My favourite features are once again the kitchen and also a series of photographs of former servants that are on display as part of a ‘Silent Voices’ project.
As we leave, the custodian asks if we are going to look round the gardens. Has she stepped outside lately? We have brought clothes suitable for northern summers but they are seriously inadequate for what the weather has thrown at us on this trip.