Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Week in Cumbria 5 - Churches etc

These are all on the western edge of Cumbria and the first isn't a church but is a Quaker meeting house. This is Brigflatts Quaker Meeting House between Kendal and Sedberg. Built in 1675, it is the oldest meeting house in the North of England and has retained its lime-washed stone walls much of its original oak  interior woodwork, panelling, columns and balustrading.

The outside of the building is being repaired and was covered by scaffolding the day I visited. The building was open but there was no-one else around. There are books for sale, plenty of information leaflets and notices, tea and coffee making facilities, a library with a DVD player with Brigflatts related material for visitors to watch and a small display of materials relating to the poet, Basil Bunting (1900-1985).

Bunting's most famous poem is "Briggflatts" (there is some variation in the spelling) and he is buried in the Quaker graveyard near the meeting house. Brigflatts on "Visit Cumbria".

It is a most peaceful place, a must-see if you are in the area.

Just east of the M6 near Carlisle is the only church in Cumbria designed by the famous Victorian Catholic convert, the architect, designer and artist, Augustus Pugin. This is the small church of Our Lady & St Wilfrid at Warwick Bridge, a lovely example of Pugin's Gothic Revival style.

It is still in use as a church in Our Lady of Eden Catholic parish, Carlisle and I was delighted to attend Mass there on the Saturday evening. Beautifully decorated, the whole space is full of colour and light. Miraculously the church still has the original rood screen. Many of these were removed after Vatican II. I was also delighted to see the young priest celebrant use the original high pulpit. It also has a stained glass window to Saint Oliver Plunkett.

The Anglican church, St Martin’s, in Brampton also east of Carlisle, consecrated in 1878, contains a beautiful set of stained glass windows designed by Edward Burne-Jones, and executed in the William Morris studio. Burne-Jones (1833 – 1898) was a British Pre-Raphaelite artist and designer.

On the beautiful sunny day of my visit the windows were showing themselves off, the whole church was ablaze with colour. This is the only church built by the architect Philip Webb and he deliberately gave the building a fortress-like appearance to reflect its position near the troubled border region.

After World War I one of the chapels was dedicated as a memorial to those who had fallen and two windows, one to Saint Michael (left), were added, not by Burne-Jones. The church on Visit Cumbria.

And then there was Carlisle Cathedral and the church at Grasmere and of course the stone circles - I wonder if they count as places of worship?

No comments: