About this church
The ancient parish of Barton covered the entire Ullswater valley extending from Eamont Bridge to the top of the Kirkstone Pass, including Martindale and Glencoyne with the ridges of High Street, Fairfield and Helvellyn comprising its southern boundaries.
The church's plan is dominated by a squat 12th century central tower, whose narrow windows show that it may have been used for defence during the border raids. The original narrow arches connecting the chancel to the nave were widened in the 14th century to give the church a double arch feature which is thought to be unique in this country.
Although it has been extended over time, the plan of the 12th century church is discernable: the recently exposed stonework allows you to trace the building's development.
All four corners of the Norman nave survive, and the north and south aisles were added in the 13th and early 14th centuries.
The nave and chancel have striking waggon roofs, once obscured by a false ceiling. The west window, dated 1912, is by the prominent Victorian designer Charles Kempe.
St Michael is the Wordsworth family church. The poet’s grandfather, aunt and cousin are buried here, his father grew up in the parish and his nephew owned the Queen’s Head in nearby Tirril.