St. Peter's, Heysham

Seldon Scott

St. Peter's is old. The current church was built in the mid-14th century but includes structures dating back to 1080 AD. The ruins of a much earlier 7th century chapel stand behind the trees on the left. Archeological digs nearby have uncovered artefacts dating back 12,000 years, which is about as far back as it's possible for people to live here and not be frozen under a mile-thick layer of glacial ice.

It's not so surprising that people have lived in this place since they were able to. It's the highest spot for miles, eminently defensible and impossible to approach surruptitiously. The leeside to Heysham Head is well sheltered from the prevailing westerly winds, the churchyard and gardens of the village behind are incredibley fecund, the grounds full of colour, the air full of perfume and birdsong. The cockle and mussel beds of Morecambe Bay begin just over the churchyard wall and stretch for miles in all directions. A tasty and easy meal is always available, year-round, to anyone with legs to walk a few yards and arms to fill with fresh seafood.

And it's beautiful, you can see Morecambe Bay in it's entirety, the jagged Cumbrian mountains to the north, the rolling Pennine hills to the east, the Lancashire coastline to the south, the Irish Sea and, on a clear day, the Isle of Man to the west.

It's no surprise Christian worship has taken place here for 1,400 years. I imagine when the first people found this place 12,000 years ago they couldn't thank their God, or Gods, enough either. This place has everything needed to sustain body and soul. All anyone need do is reach out and it is there.

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