An ancient church, high on the barren Northumbrian moors, is the surprise last resting place of one of our national heroes as well as the unofficial and ultimately temporary burial place of a best-selling author.
Before the latest lockdown, I cycled out there to find out why. I uncovered a bizarre tale involving a 1930s British Nazi, the clandestine burial of his son, and an Oxford don whose wartime report to the government was the bedrock upon which our NHS was built.
The don was William Beveridge, the putative burial was that of comic novelist Tom Sharpe, and the Nazi was Sharpe’s father.
Carlton cycled to St Aidan’s church from Newcastle using a Canyon ON gravel e-bike (pictured)
St Aidan’s church, 25 hard miles from Newcastle, doesn’t have a regular congregation. This isn’t surprising: the 920-year-old church is in a village consisting of precisely one farm. Throckington’s 30 houses were razed to the ground in 1847 following an outbreak of cholera.
I’d first visited St. Aidan’s in summer last year, happening upon it when following the meandering Reiver’s Cycle Route, part of Route 10 of the Sustrans’ National Cycle Network…