Last night I went to Dilston to celebrate Mass. It was a lovely summer`s evening and the Tyne valley looked stunning. It was good to see about six or seven parishioners from St Mary`s there as well as others with an interest in Dilston or enthusiasts for the Extraordinary Form. There must have been about thirty people in the tiny chapel including the choir.
When I got there, having prepared something to say about St Mary Magdalene, I was told that that was the chapel`s dedication which was a more than happy coincidence. It is two year`s since I last said Mass at Dilston but I hope to go again next year. I am happy to report that there is now a more serviceable table to be used as an altar together with it`s own frontal. I only took four candlesticks as I remember the altar last time being very small indeed but while it was still quite small it was manageable.
The choir stalls that can be seen in the picture were added when the church was taken over for Anglican worship after the Radcliffes left the site. Being built in 1616 for Catholic worship this chapel is certainly the oldest post-Reformation Catholic chapel in the diocese and I wonder how many others there are in the country of a similar vintage? It is now owned by the North Pennines Heritage Trust and was deconsecrated for Anglican worship quite a while ago. We had a retiring collection for the Friends of Historic Dilston on whose website there is a great deal of information about Dilston and the Radcliffes.