This beautiful church sits on the Western shores of Morecambe bay sheltered behind the sea wall.....a wall that has provided decades of protection against the relentless pounding of the sea. The village of Aldingham has gradually been washed away, so in a sense I think we're luck to still have this wonderful church today. The church, with its small car park, lays less than a mile to the North of the motte and bailey castle which also looks out over Morecambe Bay.
It is likely that the church was founded in around 1147; the surviving portions of this original building are thought to be the round pink sand stone arches and pillars that mark out the South arcade. An additional Norman arch has recently been discovered in the West wall of the South aisle.
Sometime in the early to mid 1200's, it's likely that the chancel was extended by around 15 feet.... but traces of the original chancel are still to be seen. The tower was probably built in the mid 1300's and at the same time most of the Norman windows were probably removed and replaced. Only one Norman window of this period remains.
A small scrap of Saxon cross has been found built into the east wall just below a window, possibly providing us with evidence of a much earlier church on this site. This cross fragment perhaps falls in line with legends that relate to the time when the monks of Lindesfarne brought relics of St Cuthbert to the England for safety from marauding Viking raiders. Sketchy evidence exists (from a local grave digger) that there are Viking burials on the North side of the grave yard, though there seems to be no documented evidence of any finds.
View of the 13th century chancel from the South.
A decorated grave slab can be seen in the chancel, possibly from the grave of Goditha of Scales. See this link The floral design apparently suggests that this stone dates from the late 12th or early 13th century. The grave slab was discovered by the Reverend Dr Stonard when major rebuilding work was carried out on the North aisle in the 1840’s. It was during this period of rebuilding that the West door was opened up, the South porch was demolished, new pews were fitted, the nave was re-paved and a new ceiling was installed.
Interestingly, the church still retains some of its box pews....a rarity these days.