PARISHIONERS are preparing for celebrations to mark the 600th anniversary of their church, which will culminate with a group renewal of baptism vows at the River Swale.

Parts of St Anne’s Church, in Catterick Village, date back to 1150 – but there is documentary evidence of a church being on the site since the 7th century.

The church is open every day for visitors but on Saturday, September 14, St Anne’s will be holding activities and displays for all ages as part of a Heritage Open Day, including guided tours and talks about the church, hand-bell ringing, and brass rubbing.

There will also be crafts for young children and a large display of flower arrangements.

Rev Lindsay Southern said: “Our neighbouring parishes will be also be taking part in the Heritage Open Day, so visitors can make a day of it and take the footpaths that link up St Anne’s with St Agatha’s, in Easby; St Mary’s, Bolton on Swale; St Agatha’s, in Skeeby; and St Paul’s, Brompton on Swale.”

Following the open day, the Parish of Catterick and Tunstall and the Parish of Easby, Skeeby, Brompton on Swale and Bolton on Swale will enjoy a picnic on the banks of the River Swale at Brompton Caravan Park, before a service of baptism and renewal of baptism vows led by the Bishop of Knaresborough James Bell.

This is a free, ticketed event, with tickets available from Rev Southern and Rev Yvonne Callaghan.

Rev Southern said: “There is documentary evidence of a church at Catterick from the 7th Century, and further evidence of a Saxon church built on the current site.

“The present doorway dates from 1150 and the church site is referred to in the Domesday Book.

“The current church was built using old stones from the earlier church in 1415 by Richard of Crakehall, but 1343 is the date given for the first recorded incumbent. The Furster and Andrew organ dates back to 1872 and was rebuilt in 1989.”

She added: “St Anne's continues to be home to a living faith community. It houses the RAF Regiment Memorial Chapel and the St Paulinus Prayer Chapel, where there is a beautiful stained glass window depicting St Paulinus baptising in the River Swale.”

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