Sad news from Ingleby Arncliffe where, broken-hearted, our search for Løve has come to a forlorn end.

A couple of weeks ago, we told of the Northallerton Tourist Information Centre’s quest to find a kirk-ship that had been made in Norway in 1947 at the request of Dagmar Cooper Abbs of Mount Grace Priory. Mrs Cooper Abbs was Norwegian and it is traditional in her homeland for models of ships to be hung in churches as a prayer for those at sea.


Darlington and Stockton Times: This cannot be Capt Olsen with the ship as he was over 80 when he made the model. The picture caption says that it is his "last beautiful work", so perhaps the captain declined to have his photograph taken and someone else was drafted in for

She commissioned Captain Gunerius Olsen (above), of Oslo, to make a model of Norsk Løve – the Norwegian Lion, a famous 17th Century warship – which she presented to Ingleby Arncliffe church.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Colin Narramore's picture of the Norske Løve hanging in Ingleby Arncliffe church. But what happened to the model?Colin Narramore's picture of the Norsk Love hanging in Ingleby Arncliffe church. 

“It hung from the ceiling for a number of years in front of the archway leading to the altar,” says Alan Wade, who has been in the village for 49 years since he married Venetia, the churchwarden’s daughter. “Everytime there was a procession into church, the person carrying the cross had to duck to get it underneath the ship, and so it was agreed that it should be moved to a shelf above the doorway.

“The shelf is still there, but the ship isn’t. It was stolen one weekend when Stokesley fair was on over 20 years ago by someone who got on to choir pews to reach it. Our local policeman at Swainby was involved, but there was nothing for him to go on.”

And so the ship of Løve has sailed, never to be seen again.

Darlington and Stockton Times: The church at Ingleby Arncliffe where the Norske Løve used to hang

But All Saints Church (above) still possesses what we believe to be a unique, and a uniquely curious, implement.

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The church dates back to at least 1170 and was rebuilt in 1821 when the unusual three-decker pulpit was added. Behind the pulpit is a “nodding stick”, which, according the church leaflet, “was used by the parish clerk in days gone by to reprove inattentive members of the congregation”.

The nodding stick is slender, wobbly and about 9ft long. It would appear that if anyone was seen to nod off during a sermon, one of the vicar’s helpers would deploy the stick to deliver a smack on the hand or the head to awake the sleepy sinner.

We have never come across another nodding stick. Do you know of one?