Disused rail-lines as public rights of way 5.

A tributary rail-line from the Hudson Way passed through Goodmanham parish, part of it being a public right of way.

The parish of Goodmanham is a significant historic area with its church dedicated to All Saints now being Grade 1 listed by Historic England and, in places the parish boundary following prehistoric earthworks. It figures in the Domesday Survey of 1086 but was previously mentioned by the Venerable Bede in his History of the English Church and People, compiled in the early 8th century. The significant event here told by Bede was that in 627AD Edwin, then king of Northumbria (having brought together the previous Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of Deira and Bernicia) was converted to Christianity and blessed by Paulinus, first bishop of York (the leading member of the Gregorian mission from Rome to convert Anglo-Saxon pagans – see statue above from Rochester cathedral showing a stylised Paulinus set in a canopied niche). Such ‘conversions’ had nothing to do with the people, rather targeted ruling elites. The story goes that this conversion was reinforced by a dramatic event whereby Coifi, previously the leading pagan religious, led the destruction by burning of the pagan temple dedicated to Woden, father of the gods. It is claimed that the present All Saints church (s.p.b.) may stand on the site of the destroyed temple – the church certainly stands on a prominent mound within the village.

A pagan temple could be just a site or an open-sided structure rather than a walled building. Clearly at Goodmanham some sort of wooden structure existed. Bede’s agenda was to celebrate the Anglo-Saxon conversions to Christianity so the reliability of his evidence in the case of this particular story maybe be in question. However, the present stone-built church almost certainly had a wooden Anglo-Saxon predecessor.