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The journey so far has been difficult and painful, and we are often tempted to give up. But the encouragement we have received keeps us going. Here are some of the comments in support of the Bewcastle House of Prayer or Minster and the Permaculture Magazine article that have helped.

The Archbishop of Canterbury tells me that he is definitely sympathetic to the ideas you have articulated.

Mr C Smith, Chief of Staff, Lambeth Palace, July 2011

What a great article! The vision remains spot-on. How to realise it remains a conundrum!

The Rt Revd James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle, March 2012

It is a very interesting and helpful article, and it is particularly good that it is in Permaculture magazine.  I hope all goes well.

The Rt Revd Robert Freeman, Bishop of Penrith, March 2012

Thank you very much for sending me a copy of your proposal which I read with much interest and I’d be glad to be kept in touch as your project progresses

The Rt Revd Martin Wharton, Bishop of Newcastle, June 2012

It looks an interesting proposal and you have clearly been on a long journey already with others to take it this far.

The Right Revd Steven Croft, Bishop of Sheffield, June 2012

I warmly support what you hope to achieve and wish you well

The Right Revd Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely, June 2012

This is so good and full of exciting ideas. I wish I was a serving bishop with the funds to help you!

The Rt Revd Gordon Mursell, Retired Bishop of Stafford, April 2012

Delighted to hear that the minster idea is not just gathering dust. If I ever write a Son of Parochial Vision, it is just such creative ventures that I would cite. Do let me know how you get on.

Nick Spencer, Author of Parochial Vision: Future of the English Parish, June 2012

It was a fascinating read. In different circumstances, I would love to join you. Do keep faith, as what you are doing is really important.

HW, Surrey, March 2012

What you are doing looks absolutely amazing, prophetic and courageous.

DT, CEL, March 2012

I just wanted to say that I found this article completely inspirational! What you’ve outlined is our dream!

RR, Permaculture Magazine, April 2012

My conviction – practical and spiritual – is that you are doing something deeply sensible…I loved the little phrase about the saxons/celts – ‘they lived so lightly that they barely left a trace’. A real challenge to all this stuff about making our mark and leaving a legacy.

AW, Kent, June 2012

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  1. I have come across your website whilst researching the Bewcastle Cross linked to the Ruthwell Cross. I was fascinated to see the links on your website to St Cuthbert, whose life I have been following in Magnus Magnus son’s book Lindisfarne’. Does your church have particular links with Cuthbert?
    My interest in the Bewcastle Cross also stems from the Saxon cross base in the churchyard at St Matthew’s, Rastrick, where I worship. See our website
    Best wishes from Yorkshire
    Richard Kay

    1. Hello Richard,

      Great to hear from you. You ask if our church has particular links to St Cuthbert. In the benefice for which I am priest, two of our four churches are dedicated to St Cuthbert, of which Bewcastle is one. (The second is Kirklinton, the other two churches being dedicated to St Mary).

      Apart from that, my research into Cuthbert and the Bewcastle Cross has led me to believe that
      i) Cuthbert visited Bewcastle in his last year as bishop (686-7) and performed one his miracles here, the visit giving rise to the name, Bewcastle. (See for a little more on this).
      ii) the Bewcastle Cross, whilst erected as a memorial to a king (Aldfrith?), was actually dedicated to St Cuthbert. There are several stories from his Vita hinted at on the cross, as well as the presence of his eponymous cross hidden in the knotwork on both the north and south faces. There are also grounds for supposing that the ‘falconer’ on the West face might be St Cuthbert, although none of this has yet been submitted to scholarly peer review.

      What is known about the Cross shaft base at Rastrick?

      With best wishes,


        • Richard Kay on 10th April 2023 at 8:01 pm
        • Reply

        Hi Robert
        Thanks for your response above. Fascinating, I’m currently reading The Fire of the North’ (second time) by David Adam, former Vicar of Holy Island.
        You can read about the Saxon Cross base at St Matthew’s in Section 1.3 of my History of St Matthew’s see
        The Appendices are also available on line see

        Best wishes

    • Nick Routledge on 23rd March 2023 at 5:38 pm
    • Reply

    Rob, would you be so kind as to drop me a line at

    As a Routledge, I was exploring the Bewcastle pattern of embrace online when I stumbled into yours. What a remarkable resonance. I’m also a fundamentally Christian permaculturist. “The future of the church is on the land.” – Peter Maurin. I’ve been at it or over a quarter-century – though Stateside – and am well familiar with the realpolitik of the adventure and naturally, the courage, vision and fortitude implicit in your course. I’d be curious in connecting around prayer.

    In Christ,


    1. Hello Nick,

      Really good to hear someone else understanding the Christian prerogative to be a blessing to the soil, which is our bodies, and not its curse. The redemption of Christ is, like Noah’s ark, for the whole of creation, the restoration of Eden – hence Mary Magdalene, as the first person to see Jesus risen, ‘misidentifies’ him as The Gardener. But actually doesn’t.

      I’ve replied via email.


  2. So grateful for your daily prayer videos. Inspiring, grounding way to start the day.

    • Carol Stickland on 10th July 2012 at 5:16 pm
    • Reply

    Brilliant to find a link to your site from the Permaculture Magazine link on Facebook.

    I live in a rural area of Gloucestershire and am currently engaged in learning and experimenting in Permaculture. I am a member of our local tiny CofE church where we know we need to find new ways of being church and this site is such an exciting find.

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