Sabbatical Journeys – Part 5

by | Jul 30, 2022 | Severn Musings

When last I checked in, Abby and I were headed north to visit York, Newcastle, and the Holy Island of Lindisfarne.  When we left, England was in the midst of the worst heatwave the country had ever seen.  We got up and went to York Minster, the seat of the Archbishop of York – the third highest office in the Church of England (C of E) before the heat set in. The minster was completed in 1472 after several centuries of building, and it is devoted to St. Peter.  While we were there, they were tuning the very large, very loud organ, which made for an interesting, but amusing tour.

York Minster from the street

Altar at York Minster

The massive organ that was being tuned.




Stained Glass at York Minster















We then got back on the road and made the 2 hour drive north to Newcastle, where it was 97 degrees in the far north of England!  We met a friend of Abby’s who moved from Annapolis to Newcastle to pastor a church.  We walked close to six miles in the scorching sun!

St. James’ Park – the home of Newcastle United Football Club. We stopped in a nearby pub for a cold drink.

The iconic bridges of Newcastle

The Tyne River – the actual name of the city is Newcastle upon Tyne


After our quick visit to Newcastle, we made our way to the much cooler temperatures of the Holy Island of Lindisfarne.  The island is only accessible twice a day, when the tide goes out far enough to allow travel over the causeway.  Tourists flood in at the first opportunity, because they only have six or so hours to enjoy the island before they have to leave or be stranded.  We however, decided to stay on the island, and it made our trip that much more special.  As soon as the day trippers left the island, a sort of calm peace settles in.  It is just the few villagers who live and work there, and the very few who have accommodations on the island.  We spent three days, praying, walking, meditating, reading, and being in silence.  It was a very moving time, and it is easy to see why Lindisfarne is where Christianity got its foothold in England, and why so many people come to this holy place.

The poles marked the way pilgrims would cross on foot to the island at low tide.

Noonday Prayer by the North Sea

A stained glass depicting the Trinity in an island church

St. Cuthbert’s Island

St. Cuthbert lived the life of a hermit, and lived on this island, just off of Lindisfarne. Cuthbert later became Bishop of Lindisfarne, and was buried there for a time after his death.

Hiking around the Holy Island at dusk, looking out at birds and seals playing in the North Sea.

Celtic Cross outside of the ruins of the priory. The monastery of Lindisfarne was founded around 634 by Irish monk Saint Aidan

































On our way back home to Liddington, we stopped by Hadrian’s Wall – the northern most boundary of the Roman Empire. Hadrian’s Wall marked the boundary between Roman Britannia and unconquered Caledonia to the north.

Hadrian’s Wall












The next day, we ventured to Oxford.  We attended church at New Road Baptist Church, one of the oldest Baptist churches in Britain.  We enjoyed the service, and especially the fellowship during coffee hour.  Our children ran around with new friends, including the pastor’s daughter whom they had a lot in common with, and played in the (thankfully) dry baptistry.  We then wandered around the city, fighting many tourists, and enjoyed the beauty of the many colleges that make up Oxford University.

We were able to visit Magdalene College, the place where C.S. Lewis was a fellow

Courtyard of Magdalene College

Library of Oxford University

The Divinity School of Oxford. Along with many English theologians being trained in this room, scenes from Harry Potter were also filmed here.


The next day, July 25th, I was able to go back to Southampton, this time with my family.  They know how much I love watching the Saints play in the English Premier League every Saturday morning, and how much this part of the trip meant to me.  Before we had left for England, I had contacted the Southampton Saints, to see if I would be able to tour the stadium.  Unfortunately, they were not offering regular tours at that time of year.  However, a member of staff was kind enough to show us the stadium, including the home dressing room and right next to the field.  I was able to sit in the seat of my favorite player, and in the managers seat.  A couple of days later, I went back to Southampton by myself and was able to attend a preseason match between the Saints and AS Monaco of the French League.

I was able to sit very close to the pitch at the match

The action is very fast, much more than it appears on TV

The Badge of Southampton FC

Our tour including going down to the field, going through the same tunnel the players do!

I got to sit in my favorite player’s seat – #8 James Ward-Prowse, captain of the team

Pitchside, taking with our gracious hosts.






















Over the last few days, we stayed pretty close to home.  We visited a small, but very fun fair in the next village over.  We hiked to the site of an old hill fort from the Iron Age, and packed up.  This morning we got in the car, said good-bye to our Liddington home, and made our way to Wales.  Stay tuned for our Welsh adventures!


  1. Joan Fields

    Your pictures are great. It brings us closer to your travels.

    • Nancy Lively

      I am so glad you got to worship with my friend Rosa Hunt. Thank Abby for the photos. I can’t reply to her since we promised to give her space and not drive her crazy with email.

      Its hot here toooooooo. I am so sorry heat hating Abby is having such weather on your Sabbatical. Enjoy your last weeks. We know time has gone too fast.

      Two of your church members worshiped at Broadneck this week. It was a Suprise and absolutely wonderful.

  2. Becky Smith

    I so enjoy reading your wonderful messages and seeing all the beautiful photos. It makes me happy to know how special this sabbatical is for the Hailey family. Enjoy!!


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