The Blacksmith’s Arms in the tiny moorland village of Lastingham on the edge of the North York Moors near Pickering, retains the fixtures and fittings of a former age with real fires and real ales.
In 1774 the Curate of Lastingham church, the Rev. Jeremiah Carter, was also the landlord of the inn situated alongside the church. When interviewed by his superior about why he kept an inn, the Rev. Carter gave the following explanation :
‘ I have a wife and thirteen children and with a stipend of £20 per annum,
increased by a few trifling surplice fees, I will not impose on your understanding
by attempting to advance an argument to show the impossibility of us all being supported from my church preferment! My wife keeps the public house and as my parish is so wide that some of my parishioners have to come 10 to 15 miles to church,
you will readily allow that some refreshment be necessary! I take down my violin and play them a few tunes, which gives me the opportunity of seeing that they get no more liquor than necessary for refreshment; and if some of the young people propose to dance, I seldom answer in the negative. Thus my parishioners enjoy the triple advantage of being instructed, fed and amused at the same time.’
He went on to maintain that more people were led into piety that way than ‘ by the most exalted discourses.’ Apparently the Rev. gentleman was complemented on his work by the archdeacon.
There has been a church at Lastingham since the 7th century when St Cedd first built a monastery there and indeed the present church is believed to be his shrine. In 1078, Abbot Stephen of Whitby Abbey began to rebuild Cedd’s monastery but abandoned the idea, leaving the legacy which is the main part of the church today. Stephen’s crypt, is a little church in itself, has remained unchanged, and is a sight to behold.
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Photo taken in Lastingham, North Yorkshire, UK
Misplaced? Suggest new location