Caught by the River

Thankful Villages Vol. 3 #8

Darren Hayman | 19th April 2019

On to the third volume of songs resulting from Darren Hayman’s Thankful Villages project. The eighth village in this new volume is Hunstanworth, Durham.

Elfrieda Waren sends me some photos of the old Hunstanworth school. She also sends me a poem written by Hilda Everett for the day the school closed down in 1974. The school’s teacher at the time was called Bronwen Winskill.

What names.

Hilda’s granddaughter Ruby lives in the village today but goes to school elsewhere. She reads the poem.

We stay in Hunstanworth for five days. We take long walks to Blanchland and the surrounding hills and forests.

The roofs in the village have the most beautiful tiled designs in them. The landscape lifts you. This might be the prettiest of the Thankful Villages.

The old school house is there and still has the Giant’s Stride in its driveway. The Giant’s Stride is a huge pole, which would have had ropes hanging from it. The children would run with the ropes then swing into the air.


Thankful Villages Vols. 1 & 2 are out now on Rivertones. You can buy physical copies here, or listen on Spotify. Thankful Villages Volume 3 is also now available here.

Darren plays his final Thankful Villages show on Saturday 4 May at London’s Lexington. Get a ticket here.