All Saints

The outward appearance is perpendicular but inside is something unique to English parish churches and was described by Nicholas Pevsner as ‘one of the architectural sensations of Cumberland’.

About this church

The present church is from about 1400 but there is ample evidence of an earlier 12th century Norman church. 

Approached along a path through a well tended avenue of yew trees, All Saints offers views across the back of Skiddaw. To the right is a sundial erected in 1747 and to the left of the entrance porch is a stone effigy of a lady. Her hands are clasped to her breast, with her head on a cushion. The details of the dress seem to point to the time of Edward III (1327–1377). It is possibly a 14th century coffin lid.

A bellcote, dating from 1693, faces eastwards from the gable and the bells were cast in the same year. On the north outer wall is a sandstone relief of two knights fighting, thought to date from the 12th century. Sadly the inscription on the slab beside it has completely eroded.

This mainly late 14th century building, on an earlier plinth, the base of the tower, nave, chancel and two doorways are 12th century, is made from ashlar blocks and has a stone parapeted roof. From the outside it looks perpendicular in style.

However, it is the interior that makes this building unique to this country. Inside is an unusual stone vaulted nave and transepts, entirely foreign to English Gothic architecture Comparable tunnel vaults can be found in Scotland and are common in the south of France.

The large perpendicular windows contain stained glass by Charles Kempe; the window on the south side of the nave, of St Paul with female Virtues. The lower west window by another successful 19th century artist, Thomas Willement. The east windows, in the Scottish style, includes an image of a pelican feeding her chicks, a Christian symbol representing Christ. The north transept boasts a 21st century millennium window. Four primitive heads hold up the octagonal font.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Spectacular stained glass
  • Magnificent memorials
  • Glorious furnishings
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • Fascinating churchyard
  • Social heritage stories

Visitors information

  • Level access to the main areas
  • Car park at church
  • Accessible toilets in church
  • Café in church

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