About this church
There has been worship on this site for several centuries, but the present building, completed in 1858, was built in the neo Gothic style to replace an earlier one which had grown too small for its congregation.
Originally Langdale church was a chapel, overseen by a curate, within the parish of Grasmere. The vicar of Grasmere alone was authorized to perform baptisms, weddings and funerals. Dead bodies wrapped in a shroud, would have been carried over the hill before the present road existed, on a stretcher like wooden construction which is still preserved in the cellar. These corpse roads still exist in many parts of Cumbria and the one from Langdale to Grasmere is especially well known.
In 1863 however, Langdale Chapel became a parish church in its own right, and its then curate became the first vicar with responsibility for 'the cure of souls' in both Great and Little Langdale.
The first thing many visitors mention as they enter the building is its tranquillity. Graceful arches that divide the nave from the north aisle support one side of a fine timber roof. Facing east the simple, uncluttered interior leads the eye to a three panelled window showing the nativity, the crucifixion and Christ’s appearance to Thomas whose reluctance to believe without firm evidence is said by some to be a typically Cumbrian trait! The most interesting of the stained glass is that on your right as you face the altar; the St Francis window. It was designed in the valley by a local artist whose nephew still lives in the same house and it shows some characteristic Langdalian scenes: water, birds and a red squirrel.
For many people the highlight of their visit is the Millennium Tapestry. This runs along the northern wall and was designed and embroidered by women and school children from the parish. It is arranged chronologically and shows the story of the valley from glacial times.
The clock is sometimes called 'Big Ben’s country cousin' as it is a scaled down version of the Westminster one. Take time to look at it before you leave!