Wetheral

Grid Ref NY 466545

 

 

 Wetheral is a pleasant village beside the River Eden, consisting of mainly large houses, grouped around a spacious village green. The triangular green is dominated by the ornate brick built Eden Bank, built in 1834. In one corner of the village green stands Wetheral Cross. The cross previously stood in the centre of the green before it was moved.

 

 

The River Eden flows beside the village, and on the other side stands Corby Castle, a late Georgian mansion owned by the Howard family since the 17th century. The castle has a 14th century pele tower built in as a defence against against Border reivers.

 

Wetheral stands high on a bank overlooking a gorge in the River Eden. Parts of the riverbank here are surrounded by ancient woodlands, including Wetheral Woods, owned by the National Trust.

 

Members of the Howard family are buried in the church of Holy Trinity, an early 16th century building with an octagonal tower in a commanding position overlooking the river.

 

Just south of the church is Wetheral Priory Gatehouse, a Benedictine priory founded around 1100 by Ranulph de Meschines. Only the gatehouse remains of the priory, and this dates from the 15th century.

 

A short distance from the priory are the man-made caves constructed in the river bank. 40 feet above the River Eden, they were used by the monks as early as the 14th century as places of refuge during border warfare. Legend says these cells, excavated in the face of the rock, were made by Constantine, a younger son of a Scottish monarch. In 1843 a carved stone figure of St Constantine was placed opposite the cells.

 

 

Corby Castle is a tower house built in C13, encased in later buildings with additions of c1630 and c1690. The present facade was built between April 1812 and September 1817, by Peter Nicholson for Henry Howard. It is constructed in neo-classical style in red sandstone ashlar, with slate roofs.

 

The 1830’s brought the railway age to Wetheral, with its railway station on the line from Carlisle to Newcastle. The renowned Wetheral Railway Viaduct carries the Carlisle to Newcastle railway over the River Eden. It was constructed by Francis Giles between 1830 and 1834, and stands 100 feet high. It was one of the first railway viaducts to be built in this country. A footpath goes across the railway viaduct between Wetheral station and Great Corby.

 

 

Beside the river is one of the stone sculptures known as the Eden Benchmarks, a seat sculpture by Tim Shutter.

 

Today, the village is a visual treat with many homes built from locally quarried stone. Visitors can combine a stroll around the village with walks along nearby woodland and riverside paths.

 

For nearly fifty years travellers along the A69 Carlisle to Newcastle road have passed by the Wayside Crucifix near Wetheral. In the late 1950s members of the Cell Movements (which evolved from the old Sword of the Spirit organisation) decided to witness their Faith by initiating a scheme whereby every main road into the City of Carlisle would have a visible reminder of Christ’s Passion and Death. Only this one was ever built.

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