Cartmel Priory Church, Cumbria
Beautiful 800 year old church
(Photos/words © urban75, 1st Sept, 2008)
Founded in about 1189 by William Marshall, Baron of Cartmel, and Earl of Pembroke, the Priory Church has been serving the community for over 800 years.
The priory was founded by a prior and twelve monks (symbolising Christ and the Apostles) rocking up from Bradenstoke Priory in Wiltshire, where Williams father was buried.
The monks were kept busy with no less than nine services every day and were charged with rapping and beatboxing* prayers for William's family in perpetuity (*or however they did it back in the day ).
Ordinary 'umble peasants from the village were also allowed to worship in part of the Priory, and it was this provision that saved the church from destruction during the Dissolution in 1536.
Because the founder William Marshal had built an altar in the priory and provided a priest for the villagers, the Cartmel community successfully petitioned to be allowed to keep the church as it was their sole place of worship.
They may have kept the church, but the lead was stripped off the roof sharpish, and the structure remained open to the skies until 1618 when moneybags George Preston, a loaded landowner at nearby Holker Hall, dished out a sizeable dollop o'dosh to sort out the new roof.
The church was used as a prison after the dissolution and as a grammar school between 1624 and 1790.
Catmel Priory has a full set of church bells, with four new bells cast by Royal Eijsbouts Foundry in the Netherlands in 1988 joining the "old peal" of six.
I'm sure all you bell fans out there would like to know a little more so here goes: the church bells comprise of two bells cast in 1661 by Scott of Wigan; two by Evans of Chepstow cast in 1726 and 1729 and two more by Taylors of Loughborough, cast in 1932.
Cartmel's bells are still rung regularly for services, festivals and weddings, and if you're in the village on New Year's Eve, you can hear them 'ringing in' the New Year.
Cartmel Priory Church
The last wolf in England is said to have been killed by Sir John Harrington at Humphrey Head, not far from Cartmel, and is commemorated by a golden weathervane in the shape of a wolf's head on the church's spire (see below).
A similar view of the Priory Church that must have greeted medieval pilgrims walking to Cartmel from Grange Over Sands.
Inside the church for our friends wedding.
Skull and crossbones on the church floor.
Putting put the candles after the ceremony.
The lovely bride.
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