Wreay – St Mary’s Church
The Church of St Mary’s is a highly original work of architecture – the product of the exhuberant imagination of Miss Sarah Losh (1785-1853) who designed and built the Church in 1840-1842 as a memorial to her beloved sister Catherine and to her parents.
It has many French and Italian features. One of the recurring themes is the conflict between life and death, light and darkness. There are acorns and pine cones everywhere.
There are 84 windows, with little fossil windows in the apse, and archangels to the north and south of the arch.
The lecturns are carved in chestnut, with an eagle and a pelican both on pillars of bog oak.
The Church is in the shape of a Roman basilica, a rectangular building with an apse. The apse is surrounded by 14 pillars, the spaces between forming 13 seats. Above them are the emblems of the 12 apostles, with Christ in the centre. Above these are decorations on the wall, round the ‘fossil’ windows, of lillies and passion flowers.
Outside there are gargoyles, a well, sundial, mausoleum, and a replica of the Bewcastle Cross.
Sarah Losh was also responsible for renovation of St John’s Church in Newton Arlosh.
A Church leaflet describes the history of the Church, and lists the objects of interest in and around the Church.
Aerial photo by Simon Ledingham.
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