Crosthwaite – St Kentigern’s Church
Grid Ref NY257243
Crosthwaite Church, on the outskirts of Keswick, is dedicated to St Kentigern (also known as St Mungo), who came to Keswick in 553 AD. There has been a church on this site ever since, the present Church being built in 1181. Alterations and enlargements took place in the 16th Century, and there was a restoration in 1844, by Sir George Gilbert Scott. The alter he designed was moved to St Johns in the Vale Church in 1893.
The present day church dates from 1523 and is unique in England, presenting a full set of 16th century consecration crosses, marking the spots where the bishop sprinkled holy water, which you may enjoy looking for – 12 outside and 9 inside the church. There are several fine examples of stained glass (the east window and two windows on the north wall are by Charles Kempe). There is some glass from the 12th Century and some from the 16th Century. There is a mosaic floor with symbols of the founder: tree, fish, bell, and bird. Also there is a 1602 sundial and an old Mass clock.
The baptistry was created in 1909 as a memorial to Canon Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley, who served the church as vicar from 1883-1917. Here is the Font, a fine example of decorated stone about four feet high, given to the Church about 1400. Here also is the Font Ewer, made at the Keswick School of Industrial Art, which was founded by Mrs Rawnsley.
Canon Rawnsley is more widely known as co-founder of the National Trust in 1895, and as a tireless worker for the preservation of the Lake District. He is buried, together with his wife Edith in the graveyard.
Robert Southey who was the Poet Laureate from 1813 – 1843, and lived at Greta Hall in Keswick, is buried in the churchyard. There is a memorial to him in the Church, opposite the South door (above). The epitaph on the memorial was written by William Wordsworth, who succeeded him in the post of Poet Laureate. Southey was responsible for the well-known children’s story ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’.
Other notable poeople buried in the churchyard include Sir Edmund Henderson, founder of the Scotland Yard’s CID, and Eric Treacy, Bishop of Wakefield and famed for his steam railway photographs, who died on Appleby Station taking photographs. A leaflet shows a plan of the graveyard with positions of the graves of people with local or national importance.
Various Church booklets and leaflets gives more information; about the Church history, the windows, the bells and the graveyard.
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