Kirkbride, Cumbria – St Bride

Having had our walk we decided to drive south to the museum at Maryport. First we stopped at St Bride’s church at Kirkbride – NY230574 – for future reference there is a car park just in front of the church.

DSC00251Once again we are on the site of a Roman fort. It dates to around AD 80-120 – a coin of the Emperor Trajan (circa AD 100) was found during excavation. There is a good community website here. The Stanegate was the road which ran East/West a few miles south of the Wall. It was the main supply route, and started here. You can imagine the supply boats coming in to the harbour here and goods being taken along the Wall. An altar to Belatucadrus was found here in 1868, he was a local Celtic deity taken over by Rome. St Bride is a shortened form of Bridget. Bride was Abbess of Kildare, no doubt the dedication came over with an Irish traveller or some monks.

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The C12 church was the Nave and Chancel, the porch and vestry were later additions. Bishop Nicholson, whose report we read at Beaumont, said “I never yet saw such a Church and Chancel is so scandalous and nasty a condition … in short the whole looked more like a pigsty than the house of God.” Our C21 churches are in so much better condition. They eventually got round to restoring the church in 1895 – the oak ceiling and roof, flooring, seating and pulpit all date to this time.

DSC00233The pulpit is linked with the prayer desk, they were carved by Mr Black of Carlisle.

DSC00246The lectern is 1905. The guidebook says “the Arched Recesses are a unique feature of this Church. No-one seems to know what they were for.”

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Members of the Kirkbride family migrated from this area in 1682 and made a new home in Pennsylvania. I couldn’t help thinking that these days we would have sent them home again. Incidentally, did you know that Anne Frank and her family were denied visas to the USA when they tried to flee the Nazis? Then there was the court decision this week that a Somali asylum seeker who walked through the Channel Tunnel could be tried for trespass and delaying trains. How much did the court case cost? – makes you so proud to be English. Sorry, rant over.

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The font is perpendicular, the organ looks Victorian. The stone in the Chancel was found in 1813 – an old font?

DSC00236DSC00234DSC00240The East Window has St Bride, St Patrick and St Columba. It was erected in 1905 as a memorial to the Reverend Hopper.

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DSC00245There is a memorial on the south wall of the sanctuary to William Metcalfe, son of a former incumbent, who served as midshipman on the Aeolus, and fell to his death from the rigging in 1808 aged 16. You can read more about this here.

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Outside for some gravestones and the Spring colours. I have just realised this is blog 300.

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