St Mary

St Mary's has been an important religious site since the 8th century.

About this church

According to Nikolaus Pevsner, it has 'the richest haul in the country of Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Danish work, culminating in the Gosforth Cross'.

This highly significant Norse cross, from around 940AD, depicts the victory of Christ over the heathen gods, showing the transition from pagan to Christian beliefs.

Standing 4.3m (14ft) tall in the churchyard and notable for its slenderness, it is unique among English Viking crosses, not only in size and complete survival but in the quality and detail of its carving.

Inside the church are two 10th century Viking hogback tombstones. Designed as houses of the dead, they are carved with battle scenes. You can also see early stonework on the walls, including carved faces on the chancel arch and a Viking stone carved with a fishing scene.

Key Features

  • Magnificent memorials
  • Glorious furnishings
  • Fascinating churchyard

Visitors information

  • Level access to the main areas
  • On street parking at church
  • Parking within 250m
  • Accessible toilets nearby
  • Dog friendly
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome
  • Space to secure your bike

Other nearby churches


St Catherine

A magnificent setting among the dales at the upper end of Eskdale with the backdrop of Scafell Pike, St Catherine’s dates back to the 12th century.


St Mary

Located within the Lake District National Park, first stop on the popular Coast to Coast walk, St Mary’s is beside the River Ehen, close to the two pubs and a tearoom and shop; the old churchyard has associations with William Wordsworth.

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