Saturday, 18 April 2009

United Reformed chapel, Kendal

United Reformed chapel

This rather spectacular building can be seen in the center of Kendal, hidden down a yard off Highgate.

Built to designs by Kendal architect Stephen Shaw, the chapel was opened, originally as the Zion Chapel, in 1898.

A hall, shown below, was opened at the same time, offering space for lectures and debates.

A view of the chapel from the bowling green at Castle Howe. The apse can be seen between the two narrow chimney breasts.

The inside of the chapel is as spectacular as the exterior face.

The beautiful apse is obviously a centre point of the chapel's interior.

The chapel is open most weekends, and staff seem happy for you to look around.

St Cuthbert, Kentmere

St Cuthbert
Nr Staveley

Kentmere's church can be found at the end of a six mile B road that heads North out of Staveley, following the course of the River Kent.

Above. A view of the church from Hodgson Brow to the West.

This is the only photo I currently have of the church, taken from the road leading down to Kentmere Hall, for which it was probably originally built as a chapel of ease.

Above. A view of the South porch, showing the huge and ancient yew tree.

Historical records don't make any mention of the church until about 1692....and the graveyard of the present church wasn't consecrated until 1701, so it's likely that all that may have stood here before was a small family chapel belonging to the hall.

Above. A view of the church from the East.

By all accounts, the church underwent a substantial rebuild in 1866, with further alterations made in the 1930's, but the church has retained its 16th century wooden roof beams.

Above. Looking down the nave towards the East window.

The door in the South wall of the church, opens onto a fantastic view up Kentmere, uninterrupted for miles. Check this link.

St James, Staveley

St James

Built about a quarter of a mile to the North of the old chapel of St Margaret, St James is situated in a secluded, quiet church yard. This church built to designs by J.S. Crowther of Manchester, and cost £1909, 16 shillings and 6 pence. This sum of money was raised by private donations. It was built to replace the abandoned chapel of St Margaret. The first sod of earth dug for the foundations was on the 28th of July 1863.

The finished church was consecrated on the 24th of April, 1865. St James possesses a windows designed by Edward Burne-Jones, and made by William Morris and Co. Check the link out for more information.

St Margaret, Staveley

Tower of St Margaret

Staveley can be found about 3 miles North West of Kendal, just off the A59. The only surviving remains of the chapel of St Margaret, consist of the tower and the attendant grave yard, and can be found where Kendal Road meets Main Street.

View of the tower from the rear, stood in the graveyard.

It's thought that the tower, which fronts onto the street, was built in the latter part of the 14th, or the early 15th century....but the church was definitely founded in 1388. The main body of the church was demolished in 1865, and on the above photo, both the original roof line and the interior door (originally opening onto the Chancel) can still be seen. As this photo shows, the chancel of the church must have been a very low building.

The above photo shows the weathered remains of two gargoyles that can be found on the West facing doorway.

The photo above and below, show the front of the tower, with its three light window and the louvres above. The clock at the very top of the tower, was inserted to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria, and was a gift to Staveley from W.B. Thornton. To enable the insertion of the clock, some repairs was carried out on the tower.

Historical documents state that, in 1863, the church was already in a ruinous state, and had been abandoned. A new church was built, dedicated to St James, and situated on the Northern outskirts of Staveley.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Independent Chapel, Lowther Street

Independent Chapel
Lowther Street

This spectacular building can be found about half way down Lowther Street in the middle of Kendal on the Northern side. The first photo shows the building looking East down Lowther Street.

The second photo shows the building looking West, up Lowther street.

Most of the buildings on Lowther Street were built in the mid to late 1700's, and this chapel is no exception. Originally erected in 1782, it was completely re-faced in what its original facade would have looked like is anyone's guess. As far as it's previous life as a chapel is concerned, this building, now used as Council offices, only hints at its former use. There are a couple of hidden decorative corbels still in existence, poking through the more recent hanging ceiling.

The chapel was originally a place of worship for the Independents, who 'custom built' the chapel in 1781\82. They eventually left the building and were replaced by the Congregationalists. A Sunday School was added to the building in 1829, and the whole building was refurbished in 1886. The building was again refurbished in 1902, but this time seating for around 400 worshipers was provided. The Congregationalists subsequently moved out of the building in 1929, passing it on as a place of worship to the Primitive Methodists. The building was officially opened as a Primitive Methodist chapel in 1930, but by 1935 the cost of maintaining such a large building was becoming too much for the dwindling congregation. The building was sold to Kendal Borough Council in 1937, and by the middle of 1938, the Primitive Methodists had left for a property in a yard between Stramongate and New Road. The Lowther street building eventually became part of the South Lakeland District Council offices, and remains so to this day.

Anchorite Well, Kendal

Anchorite Well

Caution...the well is situated in the garden of a private house so shouldn't be viewed from the owner's land. It can be seen from the public footpath, albeit with a slightly blocked view.

The well can be found to the West of Kirkland, on a street called Anchorite Fields. Originally this area of Kendal was open fields....indeed a map of Kendal dated about 1868, shows the Anchorite Well and Anchorite House standing alone in fields, with the nearest house some 500 yards or more away to the North East. These days though, the house and the well are surrounded on all sides by houses and streets.

The well can still be seen today, and the stream that it feeds has been incorporated into nearby gardens as it runs shown below. This stream is called Cop Beck, and eventually ends up in the River Kent to the North East.

The well itself now consists of a rectangular enclosure with a limestone wall built around it. The water is now only a few inches deep, but would most likely have been much deeper at some point. John Speed's map of 1611 shows the well, marked as the Ankeriche, right on the Southern outskirts of town, and incorporated into a walled garden or orchard. Local legend has it that the house was built next to the well in 1176, although this date is thought to be much too early....the well is not mentioned in Kendal's written records until around 1430. This first mention of the Anchorite house and\or well is as follows:

"4 December. Commission to the Prior of Cartmel to confine Alice Skawseby in a certain house built for anchorites near the church of Kirkeby in Kendall." Whether this was a punishment or a request from Alice Skawseby, I don't know.

The house that once stood at the side of the well has long since been demolished, and replaced with its modern counter part. Luckily though the well has survived thanks to the intervention of the Kendal Civic Society who funded its rescue and renovation.

As more information becomes available about this intriguing site, I'll post it here.