Wednesday, 23 September 2009

All Saints, Orton

All Saints

Orton lays about four miles North of Tebay, along the B6260. These days the church is visible from a considerable distance, thanks to its white lime wash. It can be seen clearly above the roof line of the village. compare how the church looked before it had its traditional lime wash applied, check link out.

For more information on the village of Orton, check the Visit Cumbria link out. The church is set off the North of the village, with large church yards to the front and to the rear. There is ample parking nearby, and also a small car park within the church yard. The church was open the day I visited as there were some repairs taking place. Local tradition says that there was a church here prior to the 13th century...probably built of wood...but it wasn't until the 1200's that a stone building was erected. This 13th century structure would have consisted of a chancel, nave and South and North transepts...and there's even supposition that there may have been a central tower. Two intriguing clues allude to this original tower, and they are an overly large pier between the North boundary of the South aisle and the nave, and a corresponding but smaller pier in the South wall of the chancel. These two pieces of masonry may have been built to support the weight of any tower here. As it is, the West tower seen today, dates from the about 1504. At the same time the tower was built, the North aisle was probably added.

The internal photo below, shows a view looking from the East end of the church towards the tower at the West end. The late 15th\early 16th century roof timbers can just be seen in this photo. The piers\arches to the right of this photo, represent the North aisle, and all date from the 15th century. The piers\arches to the left of this photo, represent the South aisle. The pier furthest away probably dates from the 16th century, whilst the large foreground pier is the one mentioned from the 13th century, and probably large enough to support the weight of one side of the central tower. If you look closely at the photo when it's full screened (click on it to see it full screen) you will see the what looks like a piece of unfinished masonry about half way up the pier. This would suggest that there was an arch here at some point in the past. The corresponding pier on the North aisle has long since been demolished.

The bells, as seen in the photo below, are all of particular interest. The largest bell, in the centre, is inscribed SOLI DEI GLORIA and is dated 1637. It also had the initials IC and CP inscribed upon it. The second largest of the bells, on the right hand side, is inscribed OMNIU SANCTORU and has a shield inscribed upon it with the initials LB. This bell was cast in 1530 by John Wooley and was part of the original peel of four bells. The smallest of the three, on the left of the photo, is inscribed IESVS BE OVR SPEED, and is dated 1637. The church has a peel of eight bells, housed in the tower.

The photo below shows the beautiful lime washed tower with its 15th century diagonal buttresses, and the 15th century North aisle.

Looking from the West of the church, towards the East, and the chancel can be seen, beautifully lit. The chancel dates from an 1878 restoration, undertaken by Paley and Austin of Lancaster. The stained glass window above the altar, is the Ascension by Clayton and Bell, probably inserted in the 1880's.

The photo below shows the East end of the church, with the Paley and Austin chancel on the right of the photo, the 16th century South aisle to the left and the lime washed tower above.

The church also contains a fine organ made by Wilkinson's of Kendal, a pulpit dating from 1742, an eagle lectern donated to the church by the Holme family of Orton Hall in the late 1880's, a font from 1622 and a finely painted hatchment with the Royal Coats of Arms of William III from 1695.

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