Walton, Cumbria – St Mary the Virgin

While walking Hadrian’s Wall I visited St Mary’s church in Walton. I was very good and went for a look round before I went to the Reading Room for coffee. The church is in the middle of the village NY523645.


A preaching cross was erected between 850 and 950, I assume this is what is in the churchyard. In 1060 Enoch is recorded as the first Parson. In 1092 Walton was transferred from Scotland to England (or, at least that is what the noticeboard says – I’m not sure whether the border was as fixed as that), and the Diocese of Carlisle was founded in 1133. Lanercost Priory just down the road was started in 1166, and the first written record of a church at Walton is found in Robert Vaux’s charter to Lancercost in 1169. The Border Wars began in 1286 and the parish was devastated on several occasions. In 1386 monks from Lanercost took over the ministry, and ministered here until the Dissolution in 1538. In 1544 Christopher Walker became the first Anglican vicar of Walton. The Border Wars settled down after 1603 when the Kingdoms were united.


There is a painting in church of the church at the beginning of the C19, and the current building was built in 1869. It cost £2,000, and was designed in Gothic style by Paley and Austin of Lancaster. Disabled access wasn’t on the agenda.


This window is in memory of Leonard Potts, gamekeeper at the big house , the Castlesteads Estate – I like the dogs. These two are Joseph and Isabella Thirlwell, two other servants.


A good solid font, some good Victorian glass, and I liked the reredos behind the altar.


The church is well cared for, and I had a good explore. It was also lovely to wander round the churchyard.





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