Hanes yr eglwys hon
The date of the original church on the site is not known, but Saxton’s map of 1576 show a chapel here, and Anthony Bragg was the first reader in 1610.
In 1826 William Wordsworth wrote ‘How delicate the leafy veil, through which yon house of God, gleams through the midst of this deep dale’ and this description remains entirely accurate today.
However, in the mid 1840s the church was in a somewhat dilapidated state, and Revd John Monkhouse set about the task of organising a rebuilding. Subsequently the stained glass window at the east end was installed by the local congregation commemorating this, and recording their respect for their vicar.
Shortly afterwards, the tiny schoolroom was added to the west end of the church, and the children of the valley were educated here for around 100 years. The threat of closure of the school hovered for many years, eventually taking place in 1967.
Further major internal refurbishments took place in 1885, and the church today remains substantially as it was then. There is seating for some 75 in dark oak pews, with room for a further 25 on the balcony at the rear. At the east end is a reader’s desk dated 1610, together with a pulpit believed to be of similar age. Close by is a small sandstone font dated 1837, which unusually is situated here rather than the west end of the church. There is one other stained glass window, in the south wall, a memorial to Thomas Roscoe Johnston, killed in WWI.
The church is surrounded on three sides by the churchyard, filled with lichen covered local stone memorials, and in springtime, a carpet of snowdrops and daffodils.
As readers of Beatrix Potter will know once upon a time Mrs Tiggywinkle, who lived on Catbells up above Littletown was a parishioner!, and the father of the real life Lucie, Revd BL Carr was Vicar of Newlands 1893–1913.