Carlisle Cathedral (again)

carlisle-lms-lner-travel-poster.-1925-419-pLet’s have a 1925 railway poster to celebrate this return to Carlisle. I last blogged about Carlisle Cathedral in January – it wasn’t much warmer in June! They are now working on the stone work by the south door, but signage makes it very clear that the Cathedral is open and welcoming. I also liked the “Keep calm and come to Evensong” poster. Last time it was too dark for good photos, this time my battery expired. This time I purchased a guidebook, now all I need to do is read it. Enjoy a few more photos.

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This is the altar in the Duke of Lancaster’s Regimental Chapel. The area at west end of the Cathedral has war memorial and personal military memorials dating back to 1856, and regimental colours dating back to 1745. It was formally established as a Regimental Chapel in 1949, to the design of Stephen Dykes Bowers. He was the chap who designed the extensions to St Edmundsbury. The local regiment developed from the 34th Regiment of Foot to the Border Regiment, the King’s Own Regiment; to the present Duke of Lancaster’s. There are Crimean memorials, WW1 memorials – and this museum at Carlisle Castle looks worth a visit.

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Elsewhere there is a rather nice memorial to Dean Close. He was born in Frome in 1797, educated at St John’s in Cambridge, and became curate of Willesden in north London in 1822. To me Willesden is Willesden Junction, how strange to think of Willesden before the Junction. He went to St Mary’s Cheltenham in 1824 and was there until 1856. He was a noted evangelical who, according to his obituary, “opposed alcohol, tobacco, horse racing and theatrical amusements” – he sounds a bundle of laughs! More positively, he had a great interest in education – a reminder how much work the Church of England puts into education. Let’s have a shout-out, as they say on Radio 2, for our own Church School, Richard Coates Middle School, which was rated as Outstanding in its recent SIAMS inspection – details here – well done! Francis Close became Dean of Carlisle in 1856 and remained there until 1881, by which time he was 84. 25 years as Dean – imagine the changes he must have seen in the city. He died the following year.

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There are four painted panels on the back of the choir stalls. The panels were painted in about 1485 – 90, and one of them bears the monogram of Prior Gondibour. I am pretty sure that these paintings on the south side are of St Augustine of Hippo. Here are two of the panels with the illustrations explained.

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On the north side is St Cuthbert, though he is not in such good condition. It would be lovely if they would take a decent series of photos and make them available – though I should probably check in the bookshop before I write that!

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Last time I photoed the Salkeld Screen, but it wasn’t a good photo. It bears the initials of Lancelot Salkeld, Dean of Carlisle, who became Dean in 1541, and the arms of Henry VIII, who died in 1547. There are twelve very finely carved heads, six on each side. Some are in contemporary dress, others in Roman style. The ladies are rather lovely.

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The tracery of the East Window dates from the C14. The upper lights show the Last Judgement with Christ in Glory. The lower lights are scenes fro life of Christ by Hardman & Co (1881). It is rather lovely.

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We sat and enjoyed Choral Evensong – Lloyd responses, Sumsion in A – with the girls’ choir. and the beautiful Quire ceiling. We will be back!

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We then went on to the station to see Timbertown Girls, a play about the WW1 munitions factories north of the city – see this website. I had seen the poster for this last time we were here.


It was advertised as being in the Undercroft at the station, so I emailed to ask if we could get a wheelchair down there. Lovely reply, and free tickets, and a seat at the very front. I hadn’t realised it was a young people’s group from Langholm, and they were marvellous. It was humorous, and rather moving. The cast were brilliant – it was well worth the drive over.

The following Monday I was in Carlisle station again, but on a non-platform road. I joined the Cambridge University Railway Club for a trip on Network Rail’s New Measurement Train – we went from Newcastle along the Tyne Valley through Hexham to a siding at Carlisle, then south over the Settle & Carlisle line to Leeds. The NMT does what it says – measures track, gauge width, cant, tilt, has clever machines that look inside the rails for stress fractures in the metal, looks up at the overhead wires. There is lots of detail here and you can watch it on youtube

To make my fellow railway enthusiasts very jealous, here is a photo from the sidings at Carlisle, and another in Newcastle station. It was a wonderful day – my thanks to Seb and Colin from CURC, and Mandy and the team from Network Rail.

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One Response to Carlisle Cathedral (again)

  1. Barbara Fox says:

    The play sounded good, and as usual you manage to make both churches and trains fascinating!

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