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St Kentigern's Church

A Grade II Listed Building in Askerton, Cumbria

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Latitude: 55.013 / 55°0'46"N

Longitude: -2.7309 / 2°43'51"W

OS Eastings: 353359

OS Northings: 568957

OS Grid: NY533689

Mapcode National: GBR 9BCG.KS

Mapcode Global: WH7ZM.08WB

Plus Code: 9C7V2779+5M

Entry Name: St Kentigern's Church

Listing Date: 2 September 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1436853

ID on this website: 101436853

Location: Kirkcambeck, Cumberland, Cumbria, CA8

County: Cumbria

District: Carlisle

Civil Parish: Askerton

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Lanercostwith Kirkcambeck St Mary Magdalene

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle

Tagged with: Church building

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Church, 1885, architect unknown. Gothic Arts and Crafts.


Church, 1885, Architect unknown. Gothic Arts and Crafts.

MATERIALS: red sandstone, Westmorland slate roofs with timber bellcote; the interior is lined with red brick with yellow sandstone dressings.

PLAN: single cell aligned roughly E to W with a rectangular nave, an apsidal E end, N porch and S vestry.

EXTERIOR: the church is prominently situated on a knoll surrounded by a churchyard. It is constructed of coursed, roughly tooled red sandstone with red sandstone ashlar dressings. There are moulded barge boards and short moulded bands to all gables and short angled buttresses to most corners, the latter rising to the eaves in the form of shallow projections. Windows to the nave and apse are single or double trefoil-headed lights with chamfered surrounds and splayed sills, the double lights set within square-headed openings. The nave has a timber bellcote astride the roof ridge at the W end with a slate pyramidal roof and finial.

The E end has a stone cross finial and a five-sided apse with a semi-pyramidal roof and a stone finial carved in relief; there is a single trefoil-headed lancet window to each of the three broad faces. The N and S sides of the three-bay nave each have a two-light mullioned window separated by a buttress. The N wall also has a large gabled and buttressed porch to its westernmost bay: the entrance is an unusual ogee headed opening, set within a stone ashlar surround defined by a pointed-arched hood mould with label stops. It is fitted with an original ogee headed timber boarded door complete with strap hinges and door furniture. Immediately above the entrance a fish with a ring in its mouth is carved in relief within a semi-circular inset panel, a symbol of St Kentigern. The jambs to either side of the entrance are solid with carved, short engaged columns with scrolled capitals. The words ‘St Kentigern's Mission Hall’ are inscribed in a Gothic script above and around the hoodmould, and to the apex of the porch there is a large stone inscribed with the date 1885 in the pattern of an IHS monogram. Attached to the easternmost bay of the S nave wall is a large full-height vestry, blind to all sides, with a medieval grave slab carefully incorporated into the lower part of the S wall in a horizontal position; this is inscribed with a cross with broad fleur-de-lys terminals on a stepped base. To the right is a chalice and to the left a book with clasp, and a faint saltaire cross design that is considered to possibly represent a pair of crossed nails, symbol of one of the instruments of the Passion. At the junction of vestry and nave there is a substantial oval chimney stack. The W end of the church has a stepped three-light window defined by a moulded sill band and a moulded hoodmould.

INTERIOR: the interior is lined throughout in high quality warm red brick with moulded brick and sandstone dressings. The sandstone windows are set in segmental-headed openings with roll moulded jambs and segmental hood moulds. The nave walls are divided into three bays by brick strip pilasters set between a moulded sill band and an eaves cornice. The nave has a timber arch braced collar truss roof structure, with moulded king posts rising from the collars, springing from moulded stone corbels set quite low on the nave walls. Wooden benches have been removed but a Gothic font remains. The full-height pointed-arch to the apse is similarly detailed and also has a hood mould and impost band; it is also fitted with an original timber screen comprising folding panelled doors to the lower half and a timber lattice to the upper part. The apse has wainscoting to its lower parts and is similarly detailed to the rest of the church but also has a continuous hood mould to the windows and a brick band just below the eaves in purplish brick. Each of the three windows is fitted with geometric, decorative stained glass. The two outer are similarly designed with grid, lattice and circular designs and painted floral motifs to the upper circles, and the central window is mainly of lattice and circular design with extensive painted floral motifs. The vestry has a tall full height original opening (fitted with a curtain) and has an original cast-iron fire grate set within a fireplace with similar detailing to the nave windows. There are concrete floors throughout. The entrance porch retains two rows of original wooden coat pegs set within decorative metal fixings.


This small church was constructed in 1885 on or near the site of an earlier C13 church, described as having been destroyed by border raids during the C14. An arch erected in the C18 of stone said to be from the former church, is located immediately E of the present church and is listed Grade II. It is recorded in Lanercost parish magazine in 1892 that parishioners believed that the ruined church would return one day if only a fragment of the former church was kept standing. The later C19 church was constructed as a Mission Hall or Chapel of Ease; such small chapels, were commonly constructed in remote parts of parishes to enable parishioners more easily to attend a church nearer to where they lived rather than, in this case, to undertake the long trek to the parish church in Brampton. The dedication is to St Kentigern who is said to have performed four miracles in Glasgow symbolised by a bird, a bell, a tree and a fish.

The Pevsner volume for Cumbria questions whether there might be a link between this church and the nationally renowned architect Phillip Webb, who is entered in the Oxford Dictionary of National Bibliography and became one of the leading architects of his generation. Webb was commissioned by George Howard (later Earl of Carlisle) and a patron of the Pre-Raphaelites, to design several buildings at nearby Brampton, most of which are listed and some in the higher grades. However, his only church design is believed to be that of St Martin, Brampton, Cumbria. A chronology of Webb’s designs contained within a PhD thesis submitted to Newcastle University in 1990 identifies a 'mission church' in 1881 for an unknown client and does not record its location. The circumstantial evidence of an association with Phillip Webb is insufficient for an attribution to Webb to be made on the basis of our current knowledge. Drawings for St Kentigern's Church in the Cumbria Records Office are filed under the name 'William Marshall'; a William Marshall worked at the Church of St Peter, Castle Carrock and at the Church of St John Evangelist, Keswick in 1888-9.

Reasons for Listing

The Church of St Kentigern of 1884 is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Design interest: a simple plan, well composed to form a distinctive composition incorporating Arts and Crafts Movement elements;
* Quality of craftsmanship: well-detailed elevations inside and outside, making use of good quality materials;
* Degree of survival: a largely intact building, the only losses being the wooden benches and floor;
* Fittings: although always simply furnished, the interior has original fittings including the timber screen, the font and painted stained glass to the apse windows;
* Group value: the church benefits from a spatial and historic group value with the adjacent Grade II listed C18 arch, rebuilt with stone from the original medieval church.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

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