Monday, 31 August 2009

St Cuthbert, Edenhall

St Cuthbert
Nr Penrith

The small Cumbrian village of Edenhall can be found about three miles North East of Penrith, just off the A686. The church lays down a lane leading to an area known as Church Wood….and here the red sandstone building stands alone in the fields, with the River Eden to its East.

The church is a mixture of 12th, 14th and 15th century architecture. The three storey 15th century West tower is reputed to have been built with defence in mind…certainly the walls are very thick here with wide diagonal buttresses.

The tower also possesses a good set of machicolations…..gaps that face downwards in the crenelations that top the tower. These additions would have enabled anyone seeking refuge in the tower to fire or drop objects on anyone seeking to enter the tower uninvited. They could be purely for decoration though…or even drainage, as the tower has a small spire that sits on an otherwise flat roof.

The nave and small portions of the chancel walls, date from the 12th century, indicating that the original church (or even the second church on this site) was much smaller and plainer. Indeed, the chancel was obviously extended at some point, as the East end is all of the 14th century.

The tower is accessed via a very narrow stairway, with a tall narrow door at the top. To get to the doorway, a set of stairs must first be climbed which then open out onto a gallery. This would have made the tower difficult to access, and easy to defend.

There is every likelihood that there was an even earlier church on this site (pre-12th century) as there are a few pieces of masonry, now built into the walls, that most likely date from the 1100’s, indicating that there was most certainly a Norman building on or near this site. Nothing of any substance remains of this building, and the huge arch that separates the nave from the chancel is a 19th century faux Norman arch…don’t be fooled!

A window in the east wall of the chancel is reputed to have some 11th century glass contained within it, in fact, many of the windows seem to contain the remnants of older windows, almost representing small collages of these precious remains.

The church has plenty of parking nearby, and seems to be open for inspection. Of additional interest, is the medieval cross that sits by the road side as you drive back towards the village of Edenhall.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

St John, Croglin

St John

Croglin, a tiny collection of houses, lays about fifteen miles South East of Carlisle, on the B6413 and sandwiched between Newbiggin to the North and Renwick to the South. This pretty little church lays a few yards across the road from a house known as The Old Pele, and identified as being an early 15th century pele tower, most likely built as a place of protection for the local vicar, and widely regarded as the most complete example of this type of building in the area.

The church dates from 1878, when the old church, reported as being in a poor state of repair at the time, was demolished and replaced with this red sand stone building we see today. In all likely hood, some of the building materials from the original building were incorporated into the new church. This new building cost £900 and was built to designs by J.Howison of Edinburgh.

There is a tomb stone in the graveyard to Robert, Bishop of Carlisle, dated 1278, and in the porch, which was unfortunately locked, there is a grave slab dedicated to a woman named as Hisabella, probably dating from sometime between 1250 and 1300.

All Saints, Burton in Lonsdale

All Saints
Burton in Lonsdale
North Yorkshire

Known as the 'Last Village in Yorkshire' Burton in Lonsdale can lay claim to having one of the best Motte and Bailey castles in the whole of the UK. As well as this Norman edifice, it also plays host to the spectacular church of All Saints, which lays set back a few yards from the A687 as it passes through the village from Ingleton to Lancaster.

The church is Grade II listed, and was built to a design by E.G.Paley of Paley and Austin of Lancaster between 1868 and 1876. It was funded entirely by Thomas Thornton, who gave the site of his Grandparent's house over for the church.

Photo of the church with the Motte and Bailey castle 'next door'.

Photo of the church from across the River. The church was locked when I visited, so I don't think it is open for ad-hoc visits.

(Not the best photos. They will be replaced in the future.)

St Mary, Rydal

St Mary

St Marys can be found about a mile and a half North West of Ambleside, set back off the A591. Just up the road, less than a hundred yards in fact, Rydal Mount is set back in the trees. Built in 1824 under the guidance of Lady Le Fleming, on a spot chosen by William Wordsworth, and adjoining Dora's Field, this church is set amongst some of the Lake District's finest countryside. The gallery, still in place at the rear of the church, was erected for the sole use of the Le Fleming family. Unlike so many churches in the area, the gallery was never removed.

William Wordsworth was Church Warden here from 1833 to 1834, and regularly worshipped here. The church is built upon a rocky outcrop, totally unsuitable for burials, and as such does not have a grave yard. The field next to the church was originally purchased by Wordsworth to build a house on...however the house was never built, and when Dora his daughter died in 1847, he dedicated the field as a wild flower meadow, planting numerous daffodils with his wife. The National Trust now manage the meadow, which is accessible through the church yard.

Holy Trinity, Brathay

Holy Trinity

The beautiful grade II listed church of Holy Trinity at Brathay, can be found a mile south West of Ambleside on the A593 to Skelwith Bridge. The church sits on an outcrop of rock above the River Brathay overlooking the wooded river banks. Built around 1836, the church was almost totally funded by the Redmayne family, and is built in a distinct Italianate style.

The church does not lay in the traditional East West aspect, but instead lays in a North South aspect....due to the lay of the small area of land upon which is built.

Set in a beautiful location, and only a stones throw from the Lake District, this church is well worth a visit. I don't think it is kept unlocked as a matter of course though.

Holy Trinity, Bardsea

Holy Trinity

The A5087 makes for a fantastic coastal drive, especially the few miles between Ulverston and Barrow in Furness. The church looks out across Morecambe Bay, about two and half miles South of Ulverston and only a mile or so from Conishead Priory.

Built in 1843, and Grade II listed, it is another example of the architectural legacy left behind by the Websters of Kendal. It contains a number of stained glass windows, including a 20th century window by Wilhelmina Geddes and some 19th century windows by Shrigley and Hunt. Check the link out.

St Mark, Dolphinholme

St Mark

Dolphinholme is a small village some eight miles South East of Lancaster. The village is hidden away to the East of the A6. The church can be found on Church Close, just off Anyon Lane, and is set in a beautiful and quiet church yard.

St Marks was built between 1897 and 1899 by the Lancaster firm, Austin and Paley, replacing a church built in 1839. This earlier church was only consecrated in 1862, but no trace of it survives today. The church cost in the region of £3000.

As the above view shows (the rear of the church) the tower is low and squat and has a stark stair turret built into its South East corner.

The church would appear to be open for inspection, and there is parking nearby.

St John and St Mary, Yealand Conyers

St John and St Mary
Yealand Conyers

The village of Yealand Conyers lays about seven miles North of Lancaster on the A6. It is home to two churches, one Roman Catholic, and one Church of England. A Friends Meeting house was built in 1692, and Yealand Conyers is notable in that up to this time, most of the village's population were Quakers.

St Mary (RC) can be found at the junctions of Snape Lane and Hyning Road at the South end of the village. Built around 1852, its design can be attributed to Paley of Lancaster (of Paley and Austin fame) It is a grade II listed building, and built on the site of an earlier church (possibly dating from 1782)

The church has an open double bellcote, although only one now has a bell hanging in it. Local legend has it that during the persecution of those who continued to follow the Catholic faith, a priest would quite often be hidden in nearby Leighton Hall. Before the church was built, the chapel at Leighton Hall would quite often be used for worhip.

There is a car park next to the church yard for closer inspection.

The Church of St John lays to the North East of the village down Kylbarrow Lane, only a few hundred yards off the A6. The church, again a Grade II listed building, was erected in 1838, and has undergone expansion and rebuilding in 1861 and 1882.

The church has a 'stout' West tower and is altogether larger than its compatriot St Mary.

St Johns was elevated to Parish Church status on the 25th of September 1870, before which time it was a chapelry to St Oswald in Warton. There is very little parking here. Both churches appear to be kept locked, except for services.

For further information on Yealand, see this link.

Chester Cathedral, Chester

Chester Cathedral

Chester’s grand cathedral lays almost at the heart of the old city, surrounded by Abbey Street, Frodsham Street, Eastgate Street and Northgate Street. It is visible across the rooftops from huge areas of the city, and offers a good few hours of exploration. The cathedral’s history can be traced back nearly two thousand years!!! Local legends tell of a Druid temple on the site, probably destroyed by the Romans and replaced with a temple dedicated to Apollo. The Roman temple in turn was most likely replaced with a Christian church with the introduction of Christianity into the Roman empire and Britain. Records tell of a church founded in around 660 on or near the site of the Cathedral. In around 875 the remains\relics of St Werburgh were brought to the city for protection from Viking attacks. Queen Ethelfelda (daughter of King Alfred) built a church here, probably to provide somewhere for the saint’s remains to be held in safety.

The Normans, in 1092, decided to found a monastery in Chester, under the guidance of Hugh Lupus, the Earl of Chester (William the Conqueror’s nephew) Hugh appointed Anselm, Abbot of Bec, a Benedictine monastery in Normandy in France to oversee the project. The earliest surviving parts of the cathedral date from this period. At this time, the cathedral of the diocese of Chester was not the Benedictine Abbey, but the nearby 11th century church of St John the Baptist (established, reputedly, in 689) The church still stands today, and is considered one of the finest examples of 11th to 12th century architecture in the whole of the UK. It wasn’t until 1538, at the dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII, that St Werburgh’s Abbey (as it was known) became a Cathedral. Thomas Clarke made the transition of the last Abbot of St Werburgh’s Abbey, to the first Dean of Chester Cathedral.

It is widely thought that there are no discernible traces of the 10th century church remaining…but numerous remains of the monastery built in 1092\93 remain. In 1636, space beneath the tower at the South West of the Cathedral, was turned into the Bishop’s Consistory Court. It is the only surviving original court of this nature to be found anywhere in the UK, and is accessible to visitors. By the 19th century, the cathedral was in dire need of refurbishment and restoration. Sir Gilbert Scott was employed at this time, to restore the building, and the overall spectacle that we see today, is largely down to the work he did.

I would have taken more photos of this building, but it was so large, and there was so much to see it would have taken us hours to make sure our visit was exhaustive. Next time though!!!

Check the link for further information on the Cathedral, including visiting details.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Chapel Lane Methodist Chapel, Kendal

Chapel Lane Chapel

This small Methodist chapel can be found down Chapel Lane just off Kirkland. Sometimes referred to in the past as Capper Lane, a corruption of Chapel Lane, the ginnel was originally a thoroughfare leading to a Catholic chapel further up towards Well Syke. The chapel shown here however was not built until 1872, so is not the Catholic chapel referred to in the ginnel's name.

The chapel was built to provide a place of worship for the ever expanding Methodist congregation on the Southern edges of the town. The foundation stone was laid in 1872 by the then mayor of Kendal, James Thompson.

The chapel was well used, with morning and evening services held on Sundays, and an evening service held on Thursdays.

The chapel finally fell out of use in 1919 and the building was used for various other purposes. It was at one time in use as a joiner's workshop, and another time as a furniture warehouse. It is now (I think) back in use as a Baptist chapel.

Borwick chapel

Borwick chapel

The remains of this tiny chapel can be found in the centre of the Lancashire village of Borwick, some three miles North East of Carnforth. At the junction of Borwick Lane and Borwick Road, there is a small triangular village green, with some large masonry blocks emerging from the grass.

It is thought that these blocks of stone, undoubtedly the remains of a small rectangular building, measuring about 15 feet by 25 feet, represent a chapel mentioned in documents dated 1650.

It is said that the building was abandoned by 1688, after which it rapidly fell into disrepair. I wonder if this coincided with the building of a chapel within the confines of Borwick Hall that lays less than a hundred yards to the South.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Tunstall, St John the Baptist

St John the Baptist

This mostly 15th century church lays down Church Lane in the small Lancashire village of Tunstall, some 4 miles South of Kirkby Lonsdale and just North of Thurland Castle on the A683.

The church is reputed to have been built around 1415, though most of the current building seems to date from a little later. There are certainly the remains of a 13th century structure built into the church fabric, including a six foot long sepulchral slab, found when building work was being done on the interior of the church. There are also some 13th century capitals (the decorative tops of the pillars) with scalloped tops and defaced\damaged carvings. A major period of refurbishment in 1847 appears to have erased any further traces of the the earlier church.

The niche over the doorway now contains a sun dial, though perhaps it may once have been home to a statue, possibly of John the Baptist. The photo below shows a the coats of arms for George III.

The South porch has a tiny room hidden away, and accessible via a ladder pinned to the wall. Access to this room would once have been from a gallery, long since removed, that would have provided additional seating at the back of the church. These days the room is used for storage, though was empty when I visited.

This tiny room was once used for Sunday School meetings, and in 1824, when the Reverend William Carus Wilson became the parish priest, he set up the School for Clergy Daughters at nearby Cowan Bridge. Every Sunday, sisters Maria, Charlotte, Emily and Elizabeth would walk the three miles from Cowan Bridge to the church at Tunstall to attend Sunday School here. Their surnames were of course Bronte, and Charlotte, in her book Jayne Eyre, used Tunstall church as the basis for the imaginary church of Brocklebridge.

The carved wooden screen separating the nave from the chancel, probably dates from around 1907 (shown below)

The West tower dates from the 1415 rebuild of the church, and has small panels on at least three of the external walls with heraldic symbols\emblems carved in each.

These two carved figures can be found either side of the alter. They are probably sitting on medieval corbels, most likely moved from another location within the church.

The church appears to be open for visits, although, as usual, please check for services before entering.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling

Church of the Holy Rude

The historically important Church of the Holy Rude can be found at the foot of Upper Castlehill and behind Mar Place at the head of Broad Street and St John Street. To all intents and purposes it looks like a grand parish church, but the history surrounding this impressive building is fascinating in itself.

There was a church by this name on this site in the 1130’s, which acted as the Parish church to the town of Stirling. Like the palace in Edinburgh, its name, Holy Rude, means Holy Cross. There are two buildings in the whole of the UK that share a specific honour….Westminster Abbey in London, and the Church of the Holy Rude in Stirling are the only two active places of worship that have seen the coronation of a monarch. In 1567, on the 29th of July, the church in Stirling played host to the hurriedly arranged coronation of James VI, at the age of thirteen months. John Knox, a regular preacher at the Church in Stirling, conducted the coronation. James passed into the care of the Earl and Countess of Mar, and was brought up in the security of Stirling castle high above the town.

The church that we see today is the result, no doubt, of a disastrous fire in 1405, which pretty much destroyed the whole of the building. The people of Stirling soon began to re-build their church however, and by 1414, the tower, the nave and the South aisle were completed. The original oak timbered roof seen in a photo here, is probably of this period of rebuilding.

The choir (eastern portion of the church) was built between 1507 and 1546, with its massive apse, to house the ever growing congregation. The tower was also increased in height at this time, probably to make sure that the building was kept in proportion. It’s thought that there was the intention to add a second tower during this period. The construction of four massive pillars between the choir and nave would seem to indicate that the builders were to insert a central tower….however this idea was never carried out, and the four pillars are all that remains of this building plan.

A peculiar part of the church’s history took place between 1656 and 1935, when the church was split in two by a huge wall that ran across the width of the church. The wall was built as a result of an argument between the Reverend James Guthrie and his deputy (?). Neither could agree on how church services should be run, so the only resolution to their arguments was to have two congregations worshipping in the same church, but led by two priests and totally segregated.

The congregations were finally united in 1936 when the dividing wall was removed. The mid to late 1960’s saw a period of restoration, with several of the church’s windows replaced and repaired, all the stonework was re-pointed and the heating system was renewed.

Outside the church, the massive grave yards, with some graves dating back to the 1500’s, can be freely explored, as well as the Lady’s Rock, where tournaments were reputed to have been watched from.

Cambuskenneth Abbey, Cambuskenneth

Cambuskenneth Abbey
Nr Stirling

I only found the remains of the abbey by accident…as I was taking photographs of the surrounding country side from the top of the Wallace Monument, I spied a ruined building by the river…and in my habitual hunt for towers and castles thought I may have found yet another fortified building. Luckily I also photographed what I thought was a church to the right of the ruin…and when I researched the ruins, found that I had in fact managed to bag some photos of the ruins of Cambuskenneth Abbey (also known as Stirling Abbey ) The remains can be found to the North East of the city of Stirling, in a tiny village nestling in the loops of the River Forth. The village and the abbey can only be accessed down Ladysneuk Road, leading off the A907.

The ruins represent the last remains of an Augustinian Monastery, that in its heyday, was probably one of the richest and most influential abbeys in the whole of Scotland. This influence was mostly due to the fact that it was patronised by Scottish Kings (and Edward I of England) and was only a mile or so away from the Royal castle of Stirling. King Robert the Bruce even held a parliament at the abbey in 1326, to secure the succession of his son David (King David II of Scotland)

The abbey was most likely built around 1140, on the request of King David I. It was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and was probably known at this time as the Abbey of St Mary of Stirling. There are two notable burials that can still be seen at the abbey…that of Margaret of Denmark (died 1486, Queen Consort of Scotland) and King James III of Scotland (murdered 1488) Their final resting place is now marked by a magnificent tomb stone erected by Queen Victoria in 1864…this can still be seen at the abbey.

All that remains of the abbey now, is the 13th century tower, seen to the right of the photo above, the river side ruins seen to the left of the photo and a number of walls and footings exposed when the site was excavated. The abbey was already in a state of ruin by 1560, and much of its stone was robbed for building in the town nearby. Mars Wark is reputed to have been built of stone from the abbey buildings. It is thought that the tower survived as it served as a watch tower, affording excellent views across the Carse of Stirling.

The abbey is managed by Historic Scotland, and, I think, only open during the Summer months.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Chapel of St John the Evangelist, Skipton Castle

Chapel of St John the Evangelist
Skipton Castle
North Yorkshire

The chapel of St John the Evangelist can be found in the grounds of Skipton Castle, a few yards to the west of the gatehouse. This simple grade I listed building was probably built in the 13th century, with records first mentioning its existence in 1315.

This view, looking towards the West wall of the chapel, shows the single tiny round window which would once have been accessible from inside via a gallery.

A view of the East window.
Piscina and sedilia in the South wall. The window to the right of these features, probably contains the remains of a second sedilia.

View of one of the windows, bricked up but otherwise well preserved.

View of the East window from the outside of the chapel. The chapel was used by residents, the garrison and visitors to the castle. There were no burials allowed here, the parish church a few hundred yards away would have been used for this purpose. The chapel was probably built as a chapel of ease, and would have been easily accessible should the castle have been besieged.