St Michael & All Angels

Lamplugh church, designed by William Butterfield, is located in a dramatic landscape, set against the outlying fells of the Lake District National Park with Owsen and Blake Fells beyond.

About this church

The footpath to Blake Fell featured in Wainwright’s ‘The Western Fells’ starts opposite the main churchyard gate. The popular Coast to Coast cycle route borders two sides of the churchyard. Stained glass windows by Kempe and his workshop attract visitors countrywide as does the Lamplugh family association. 

Lamplugh, the name is celtic, originally Llanplwyf, and refers to the church place for the people round about. A church or chapel had existed on the site since c1150, with two previous reconstructions recorded in 1658 and 1771.

Today’s church was designed by the eminent Victorian architect, William Butterfield. Built in 1870 in the Perpendicular style, retaining the remodelled chancel and vestry and some mediaeval features. Three finely carved gargoyles can be seen defiantly projecting from the east wall. The exterior bell cote has two bells, one dating to the third quarter of the 15th century and the other to 1870.

The fine Victorian interior is lit with windows designed by Charles Eamer Kempe, St Oswald and St Aidan look down from their window in the nave. Two further windows are by the Kempe workshop under Walter Tower, three others are attributed to Clayton and Bell and one by Heaton, Butler and Bayne.

Two large memorials to members of the Lamplugh family are affixed to the west wall, an external memorial to the Dickinson family seals the former choir door into the chancel and brass plaques and windows also commemorate various Dickinsons.

A ‘Crusader’s’ tombstone is reputed to lie in the churchyard and on the vestry wall is the 1634 tombstone which may have replaced that of his ‘crusader’ ancestor. Also in the church are extracts from the 17th century register which records, inter alia the cause of death of one person as ‘frighted to death by fairies’. Other almost equally remarkable causes of deaths are quoted for visitors.

Melvyn Bragg writes in the forward, to Betty Marshalls book, Lamplugh ‘is an ancient place with an intriguing story to tell. The church has been its keystone. It is remarkable that the exploration of one building can yield so much about the lives of so many over so long a period’. The derivation of the name Lamplugh is taken from Betty's book, whereas the 'Dictionary of English Placenames' gives the Celtic derivation as being 'bare valley' from the Celtic nant + blwch. The difference in meanings could well have arisen from incorrect pronunciations in the past of the original Celtic.

Used as a focal point for the scattered rural community for centuries. It is believed that Lamplugh church is the first Anglican church in the country to have a Methodist Minister (shared with the other two churches in the parish).

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Spectacular stained glass
  • Magnificent memorials
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • Fascinating churchyard
  • Wildlife haven
  • Social heritage stories
  • Famous connections

Visitors information

  • Level access to the main areas
  • Ramp or level access available on request
  • Steps to enter the church or churchyard
  • On street parking at church
  • Parking within 250m
  • Accessible toilets in church

Other nearby churches

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St Oswald

In spite of the eclectic origins of its many parts, St Oswald's significance lies it its alterations and accumulation of features over time including Norman font and walls, 13th century windows, 15th century chancel and furniture by Thompson (the Mouseman).

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St Michael

The Fell church is simple in design and plain in ornament, its charm lies in its setting and glimpse into the past.

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