We share some of the History of Craster Church from a long term resident of Craster and also grandchild of the family of Craster, Rosemary Gibb.
Craster Church was built in memory of Rosemary Gibb's great-great grandfather Thomas Wood Craster, who was the eldest son of John Wood of Beadnell Hall. Thomas's mother and grandmother had both been Crasters. Thomas inherited the estate from his uncle Shafto Craster who died in 1836. Thomas changed his surname to Craster by Royal Licence. Thomas Wood Craster died in 1867 and the church was probably built a little later, about 1870, as a Sunday School Hall; it then became a Mission Church serving the local community and also the large number of fishermen who every summer followed the herring shoals around the coast. Embleton Holy Trinity Church remained the parish church for weddings baptisms and funerals until 1978 when the Craster church was dedicated to St Peter the Fisherman. After that baptisms and funerals were allowed to take place in the church.
Many of the church fittings were given in memory of the Craster family and latterly members of the congregation. The east window in the church was given by Amy Craster in memory of her father, John, who died in 1895. The glass is a copy of part of a window designed by Joshua Reynolds in 1878 for the chapel of New College Oxford. It is thought that Amy Craster may have chosen this window as she was a friend of Caroline Rooke, who lived at 'Paradise' in Embleton. Caroline's father, George Rooke, was vicar of Embleton from 1830 to 1874 and her grandmother Lady Rooke (nee Harriet Sophia Burrand) was one of the ladies chosen by Sir Joshua to model 'justice' in the complete window in New College. Our window was re-leaded twenty years ago.
The wooden pews were given in memory of Thomas's widow Charlotte Pulleine Craster (nee Roddam). The reading desk, designed and made by Robert (Mousie) Thompson in Yorkshire, was given by family and friends in memory of my grandmother Hilda Craster who played the organ for forty-seven years. She was a daughter of Canon Osborn, who came from Malvern to the parish of Embleton. Hilda married Thomas William Craster in 1897. The church silver was given in memory of my uncle Shafto Craster, who played the organ for many years, and also in memory of my mother Phyllis Carr-Ellison, who was Shafto's twin sister.
Our organ was presented by Jimmy Bruce in memory of his wife Amy (nee Robson) who died in 1986, and the font was given in memory of Tom MacDonald who was the schoolmaster in Dunstan and then Craster from 1955-1972. It was presented to the church by his family in 1995.
Canon Parke worshipped in our church after he had retired and left money for a beautiful stone cross to be erected on the roof of the church.
The latest addition to the church, 1998, is the beautiful window designed by Leonard Evetts in memory of my mother Phyllis and her brother Shafto Craster.
The church and well tendered garden is cared for by neighbours and members of the church community, Recently a new roof was installed and a refurbishment of the interior followed by a celebration and blessing by Bishop Christine of Newcastle Diocese.
St Peter's the Fisherman is one church of three in the Embleton Parish and also member of the Benefice of Five churches.