Aldingham, which occupies a site inhabited since Saxon times, has been gradually lost to the sea over the centuries, and practically the only remaining traces of the original village are Aldingham Hall and the 12th century Church of St Cuthbert, which is protected from the sea by a wall and which is well worth a visit for its many interesting features. The name of the church derives from the probability that the monks of Lindisfarne brought the saint's relics here, possibly with a view to taking them across to Ireland to escape the invading Danes. As a further reminder of that time, the north side of the church is believed to harbour Viking burials. The church was founded in the Norman period, and some of the arches and other Norman features remain, while in the Eastern Wall of the chancel there is a hole which is believed to have been put there for the benefit of the local lepers, who could view the church service without entering the building. Further bits were added on, including the tower, which was built around 1350 and a 15th century window on the west side of the church. During the area's smuggling days, the crypt of the church was allegedly used to hide the smugglers' ill-gotten gains, including brandy from France and tobacco from America. The village used to have a motte and bailey castle, which was erected by the prominent local Fleming family, and the motte part of it can still be seen from the shore.
Map of the area.
|St. Cuthberts Church, Aldingham. Photo by John Clive Nicholson, via Wikimedia Commons|