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St Martin’s Church, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member flipflopnick
N 54° 21.845 W 002° 55.245
30U E 505149 N 6024033
Quick Description: St. Martin’s Church is the original place of worship in Bowness-on-Windermere, and stands in the middle of busy centre of this tourist area. There was a previous church here at least as early as 1203, which burnt down in 1480. Current church was re-consecrated in 1483.
Location: North West England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 9/27/2006 11:29:17 AM
Waymark Code: WMRJ0
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Jyrki&Sari
Views: 79

Long Description:
The church was originally a chapel under Kendal, which was the mother church for a large part of South Westmorland. The earlier church was burnt down in 1480. Of that church there remains only the font, the base of the tower and its low external door. An ancient floor existed five feet below the present, as indicated by the height of the door archway on the west face of the tower.

After the fire the parishioners rebuilt their church on the original site and it was completed and re-consecrated in 1483. It was then a simple rectangle, with nave and aisles, and a squat tower at the west end, which is slightly offset. The wide south porch was probably added some fifty years later. The whole church was roughcast and limewashed outside and in to make the most of the light. One of the more unusual features is the low-pitched, lead covered roof; most churches in the Lake District have slate roofs. The use of lead enabled the parishioners to build a much larger church than if they had used the heavier slate. It is said that a local carrier named Bellman brought the lead for the roof, free of charge, on his packhorses. He was one of many local benefactors who made the rebuilding possible.

The interior of the 15th century church has altered from time to time according to need and taste. There was, apparently, a rood loft near the east end and, in 1812, a gallery at the west end. A three-decker pulpit stood near the middle of the church, below the text from St Paul’s Letter to Timothy.

Some of the unique features inside St Martin’s are the decorative murals, the sixteenth century instructive sayings and the quotations from the Bible on the walls and the roof beams. The only remaining part of the original pattern of decoration is to be found above a window in the south aisle.

The appearance of the present church owes much to the 1870 restoration and enlargement under the architects Paley and Austin of Lancaster. The chancel was extended to the east, as the differing roof beams demonstrate, the tower was heightened and all the seating renewed. Most of the mural decorations (by a Mr Henry Hughes of Frith St, London) including two large paintings in the chancel, date from this time. They serve to relieve the bareness of the smooth re-plastered walls and pillars. Details of the 1870 restoration were given by Frederic Clowes (1874) in a book describing the old church, profits from the sale of which were applied to the repayment of the costs of the restoration.

The outstanding treasure of St Martin’s is the East Window which was so successfully restored in 1870 by Mr Hughes, under the supervision of the Society of Antiquaries, when the new chancel was built. Details of this beautiful stained glass may be found near the communion rail

During the 20th Century a number of major improvements were made to the church. These included enlargement of the Choir Vestry, provision of the Memorial Chapel with attendant alterations, releading of the roof and interior redecoration following the 1870 scheme, removal of pews at the back of the church to create a social area and conversion of the old choir vestry into a children’s wing whilst the robing room was established behind the St John’s screen.

An ambitious programme of renovation and improvement was started as the church entered the new millennium. This included total re-flooring, introduction of a new, under-floor, heating system, restoration of the East Window and murals, the construction of the Curwen Screen in front of the tower and the new inner doors, restoration of the organ, and the restoration and rehanging of the eight bells.

The font is the most visible remaining part of the original church. It has an octagonal bowl carved from sandstone, certainly not local, with roughly carved heads at each alternate angle. The two incised crosses are probably consecration crosses, one carved when the font was first used, and the other at the re-consecration after the fire. Only the bowl is ancient, its stem and base are modern.

Source: (visit link)
Building Materials: Stone

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Recent Visits/Logs:
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bill&ben visited St Martin’s Church, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria 8/31/2011 bill&ben visited it
ultimaedge visited St Martin’s Church, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria 8/12/2011 ultimaedge visited it
TeamTunsKeen visited St Martin’s Church, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria 7/27/2009 TeamTunsKeen visited it

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