Friday, 30 January 2009

St Leonard, Chapel Le Dale

St. Leonard’s,
Nr Ingleton,
North Yorkshire

St. Leonard’s church sits in a small woodland area in the hamlet of Chapel-le-Dale, about two miles outside of Ingleton, just off the B6255.

It is a grade II listed building, built in the late 17th century with some 18th century additions. According to English Heritage, it was vastly restored in 1869. There is some suggestion (largely by Peter F Ryder) that the church contains masonry from as early as the late 16th century....the evidence for this dating largely based on the blocked window that can be seen on the South wall. It is of a different type of window to all the others found in the church, consisting of two upright jambs...a simple late medieval window form. No other masonry in this small chapel appears to be of this period though. There is documentary evidence of a chapel in this area (possibly an earlier building on this site) from 1595, which mentions the "chapel of Wyersdaile". Peter Ryder also states that it is mentioned again in 1618, this time with the name "the chapel of Witfalls"

The church is built using local limestone, giving it its ‘local’ grey colour. There is a white marble memorial on the West wall of the Nave which reads: "TO THE MEMORY OF THOSE WHO THROUGH ACCIDENTS LOST THEIR LIVES, IN CONSTRUCTING THE RAILWAY WORKS, BETWEEN SETTLE, AND DENT HEAD. THIS TABLET WAS ERECTED AT THE JOINT EXPENSE, OF THEIR FELLOW WORKMEN AND THE MIDLAND RAILWAY COMPANY 1869 TO 1876"

This is dedicated to the workers who perished during the building of the Settle to Carlisle railway, and also those who built the viaduct at Ribblehead. The church was renovated in 1743, when the south door seen today, was most likely constructed. The single bell has a date of 1793 inscribed on it, possibly pointing to the date the small bell-cote was added. The restoration mentioned at the beginning of this article, was undertaken by Ebenezer Smith. It was this period of refurbishment that presented the chapel in the form it takes today.

I'd recommend a visit to this beautiful chapel. I'm not sure if it's open daily for investigation, but there is ample parking nearby, and the scenery here is some of North Yorkshire's finest.

St Mary, Ingleton

St Mary’s church,
North Yorkshire

St. Mary’s church sits in the middle of the North Yorkshire village of Ingleton, overlooking the rivers Twiss and Doe where they converge to form the river Greta.

Above. St Marys from Main Street....perhaps around the 1950s (from personal collection)

Above. The South face of the church.

The church is a grade two listed building, and several stages of construction and re-building are in evidence.

Above. The tower, probably the oldest part of the church standing today.

The tower is predominantly of late medieval construction, dating from the 15th century, whilst the rest of the building dates to around 1886. The building we see today, is probably the result of a huge rebuilding project that took place at this time, probably replacing an earlier chapel that dated from 1743, and following designs by C.E. Tate.

Above. Looking down the nave towards the tower.

The church is built on a West-East axis, with the tower to West of the site, and the altar and main stained glass window to the East.

Above. Looking down the nave into the Chancel.

Inside, the church is three aisles wide, with chorister stalls to the East of the building.

Above. A window in the South wall.

The dedication reads "To the glory of god and in dear memory of Joseph and Margaret Bentham, late of Yanham House Ingleton, their six sons and four daughters.

Above. The second window in the South wall.

There are reputedly undated and as yet unidentified wall paintings behind the chorister stalls, but I have not seen these.

Above. A small stained glass window in the wall separating the nave from the tower.

The font is of particular interest. It is of Norman origin, and was thrown down the embankment to the West of the church yard , allegedly, by Parliamentarian forces, where it lay for some years.

It was rescued at some point, and used for mixing plaster. It has now been restored to its correct position within the church. It's presence in the church suggests that there was an earlier church on the site. There are a number of rare chest tombs in the churchyard, dating from the 1760's and 1770's, all grade II listed.

St Marys also apparently possesses a rare 'vinegar' named due to the misnaming of a chapter as "The parable of the vinegar" instead of "The parable of the vineyard" and dating from 1717.

An interesting note regarding the pews in the church. If you have some spare time and want a challenge....look for the small carved mice hidden about the church. There are quite a few of them. The mice are apparently trade marks of the Gillow furniture makers of Lancaster.

Rampside, St Michael

St Michael

The village of Rampside is sandwiched between Barrow and Roe Island. The church itself is a bland affair, built of plain grey stone with plain tall arched windows.There are claims that the church is built on the site of an ancient barrow. Whether this is true or not is difficult to tell. Certainly the ground on which the church is built is raised above the surrounding countryside, although this may just be down to the building work involved in erecting it.

Above. A view of the church looking North West.

The church used to be a chapel of ease under Dalton, but now falls under the diocese of Carlisle.During the 1860’s the then sexton of the church, William Jackson found a stone axe-hammer probably of a Neolithic period, and a Viking sword, known as the Rampside Sword. A large slab was also discovered over the top of a skeleton, with a cross carved into its surface. The slab is now kept inside the church, and just my luck, it was locked when I visited.The present church was built in 1840, with a new porch and vestry being added in 1866. This building replaces an earlier church, possibly dating from 1621, although all that remains of the earlier church is a date-stone marked “1621”, built into the wall.

Above. A view of the Western tower.

The church fell into disrepair in the past, and the Sexton was required to “keep the church and pews cleanly swept and sufficiently dried” in 1879. A new chancel was built in 1892, the money required being raised by public subscription. Further work was done in 1920, and yet more in 1997 when the vestry, kitchen and toilets were built.

Above. A view of the East end of the church, showing the Huddleston window.

There is one stained glass window of note in the church, and that is the East window. This was created by Shingley and Hunt of Lancaster and London, and depicts the crucifixion. The window was presented to the church in memoriam to Thomas Huddleston, MP of Ulverston. As an interesting side note in my family history, a number of Wilsons and Browns were married at this church, so it has a particulary interest for me.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

St Laurence, Morland

St Laurence
nr Penrith

The church of St Lawrence at Morland is one of the oldest churches in Cumbria. With it’s 11th century tower, 13th, 14th and 16th century walls, it is a unique church in the area, being the only Saxon tower. The manor of Morland was originaly held by Ivo de Tailebois, who also held the manor of Kirkby Kendale (Kendal)

Above. A view of the South face of the church.

The church was one of those that he granted to St Mary's Abbey at York, along with the parish church in Kendal. The parish of Morland is therefore somewhere in the region of at least 940 years old....with the possibility that the Saxon tower and any church that it may once have been connected to, may have been considerably older.

Above. The tower viewed from the North.

The tower is the crown jewel in this building, dating from some time before the Norman invasion of 1066. Like many of the older churches in this area, there is no sign of a door on the outside walls of the tower.

Above. A view of the tower from the West.

Instead, a tall, narrow doorway exists inside the church, standing to around seven feet. The top portion of the tower, which is slightly narrower than the Saxon portion, was probably added in the 17th century, with the lead spire being added much later on.

The walls to the North of the North aisle are mainly 18th century, with a 12th century chapel immediately to the East now housing the organ.

The arches between the Nave and the North and South aisles are all 13th century, except the two supports that are built into the tower….these are probably 12th century…the only surviving architecture from this period. The church seems to have lost most of the 12th century masonry, with a mass of 13th century building still surviving.

The South aisle walls, and those of the chapel here, all date from the 13th century, while the chancel at the Eastern end of the church seems to be 16th century.

Above. A 13th century, scalloped pier.

Above. One of the 12th century piers at the West end of the nave.

The impressive doorway in the South wall, with its classic Norman arch and supports, unfortunately hidden away within the 17th century porch.

In the North chapel, and the South wall of the Chancel, two 14th or 15th century screen surrounds survive….adorned with heads and angels. A grave slab, decorated with a plant motif has been re-set into the chapel wall, and is remarkably intact and well defined.

The church seems to be one of those that is left open for people to visit, but unfortunatley, the tower was locked.

This is the church's web site.

Thrimby Grange, Nr Shap

Thrimby Grange
Nr Shap

The earthwork remains of Thrimby Grange lay about three miles North of Shap, a quarter of a mile from the small village of Little Strickland and right next to the A6.

The remains consist of a collection of earthworks in the field at the bottom of the road embankment, and represent the remains of a Benedictine Grange. Granges were farming communities set up by wealthy abbeys or monasteries, to provide food and provisions for the ecclesiastical populations of these places. Thrimby was owned by Wetheral Abbey, until it was sold in 1483. Prior to the manor being owned by Wetheral Abbey, the area fell under the stewardship of Ivo de Tailbois of the Barony of Kendal. At this point in time, most churches in the area were granted to St Mary's of York. However, in 1220, Hugh (?) Bishop of Carlisle, stipulated that the grange should be for the use of the Monks of Wetheral, with the monks here receiving a grant of 100 shillings a year.

After the dissolution of the monasteries in the early 1500's, the manor of Thrimby was passed to the Crackenthorpes of Newbiggin Hall. The farm house that backs onto the remains of the grange probably dates from the late 1500's (possibly 1578) The earthworks seem to have remained surprisingly intact considering the farm is active.

There is no parking near this site, but the earthworks can be viewed from the roadside.

St Wilfrid, Halton

St Wilfrid

The small village of Halton in Lancashire, sits about 3 miles North East of Lancaster. The River Lune sits to the South of the village, and Cote Beck runs North to South bordering the village on the West side. The small motte and bailey was built at the top of high cliffs over looking the beck, making use of a natural high point in the surrounding area. The village church lays at the foot of the cliffs, to the South East of the castle remains. The church, dedicated to St Wilfrid, possesses a tower built in 1597.

There is also a Paley and Austin chancel built between 1876 and 1877, and an 11th century cross (broken into bits and restored in the 19th century!!)

The four and a half metre Viking cross probably dates from the early part of the 11th century, and was in the past broken into around 4 pieces. Large sections are now missing, but the 19th century restoration was done fairly well. The missing pieces were replaced with undecorated pieces of stone, and the original remains are in pretty good condition all things considered.

The original base has been mounted on a firm foundation, then there is a blank piece inserted, then there is a portion of the original cross head, and then a representation of the main part of the cross has been inserted, finally topped with a small piece of the original cross head. The cross tells the story of Sigurd the Volsung (dragon slayer), a pagan hero, but is also decorated with Christian symbols, including St George slaying the dragon, and the apostles, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Below...the four faces of the upper half of the cross.

Below...the four faces of the lower half of the cross.

Above. The 18th century family vault belonging to the Bradshaw family.

Above the church, in a small privately owned field, the remains of Halton's very own motte and bailey castle still survive, intact, but slightly mutilated.

The motte and bailey castle at Halton belongs to a group of fortifications built along the River Lune, and represents the largest concentration of these earthwork castles outside the Welsh borders. Others in the region, are situated at Melling, Arkholme, Hornby, Whittington, Lancaster (the original castle!) Burton in Lonsdale and Kirkby Lonsdale....8 in total!!! The manor of Halton was held by Earl Tostig, a Saxon who was King Harold's brother. Before the Norman invasion of 1066, the manor of Halton was one of the most important manors in the North of England, but its importance declined in the 12th century with the building of Lancaster Castle and the expansion of the town around it. It's most likely that the earthwork castle here was built sometime after the 1066 invasion, but whether Earl Tostig had a fortification here before is not known. Tostig was killed on the 25th of September 1066, at the battle of Stamford Bridge, when the Norwegian King Harald Hardrada attempted to invade England. It is believed that Tostig's body was removed from the battle site, and buried in York Minster.

The church does not appear to be kept open. Parking is very restricted in the village near the church.

Keld Chapel, Keld

Keld Chapel
Nr Shap

The tiny hamlet of Keld can be found about a mile South West of Shap. The tiny chapel sits on the outskirts of the small group of buildings that make up Keld. It's thought that the building was once a chantry (a private chapel) belonging to nearby Shap Abbey.

It's safe to assume therefore, that the building probably dates from sometime in the 15th century. By the 1650's, a hundred years after the dissolution of the monasteries, the chapel was being used as a dwelling, and the single celled building had been partitioned with a single wall with a fireplace and chimney.

There are documents stating the names of the families that lived in the tiny building from around 1698, right up to the late 1800's, when it was sold for the grand total of £52 and 10 shillings. The chapel was given to the Reverend J Whiteside, vicar of Shap, in 1897, and was restored with the intention of making it a place of worship again. However, the Reverend Whiteside failed to get the backing of his congregation in Shap, and he was eventually forced to sell it. The chapel passed into the hands of Sir Samuel Scott, a historian from Bowness, who in turn passed the chapel into the hands of the National Trust, who look after it to this day.

The photo above, shows a partial view of the chimney and the passageway through the wall, added at a later stage.

The window shown in the photo below, is of the same period as windows in the tower at Shap Abbey, and suggests one of two things: 1) that the window came from the abbey, and was reconstructed in situ...or 2) that the window was inserted into the newly built chapel at around the same time that Shap Abbey's tower was built.

The chimney, and indeed the wall, would have been inserted when the chapel was converted to housing, probably sometime after 1540. The chapel is open at any reasonable time, and the key can be found hanging outside the porch of the house on the opposite side of the road.