The Miner’s Nativity

When we arrived early  at the Cathedral on Christmas Eve it was already packed with worshippers.  We were ushered to the back to wait in a standing room only area as the ushers checked for remaining seats.  It was a great view point and I would have been content to stand there through out the service if no seats were found.  We were standing just beside the Nativity so I was able to get a good look at it for the first time.

A local retired miner named Michael Doyle carved a beautiful nativity for the Cathedral.  County Durham has a rich history in coal mining.


A coal miner with a pit pony.

Mr. Doyle carved a nativity with several figures that make reference to the mining industry;  “the donkey is a pit pony with all its harness and trappings, the crib is a ‘choppie box’ in which the ponies were given their feed underground and the innkeeper is dressed as a miner with a whippet at his side.”


I snuck a quick photo of the Nativity’s “pit pony” donkey.  I hope to go back during Christmastide to observe the Miner’s Nativity in more detail.

Merry Christmas!


quote from article in the Northern Echo by Gavin Havery 16 December 2013

read the complete article here…


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