Clifton – St Cuthbert’s Church

 

Location  Clifton / Penrith
Grid Ref NY 532271

 

 

St Cuthbert’s Church at Clifton is built on a site which has probably contained a church for over a thousand years – tradition has it that this is one of the resting places of St Cuthbert’s remains. In the 9th Century, the monks took the body of their beloved saint, who died in 687 AD, and fled the Viking raids, carrying the body with them. It now rests in Durham Cathedral.

 

 

The Church has a Norman doorway, and the oldest part of the Church is the 12th Century nave. It is simply furnished with a carved pulpit depicting two scenes from the Nativity. It was given to Clifton by Lord Brougham of Brougham Hall, and is thought to be the work of a French craftsman.

 

There are some interesting carvings on the choir stalls – lions with head and front paws down, and with body, back paws and tail up.

 

One of the windows is of a female figure wearing a white and gold cloak over a blue gown. Underneath the figure is the name of Eleanor Enguyne, (a mistress of Clifton Hall in the 14th Century), and a coat of arms belonging to her family.

 

In the small 14th Century North transept, or Wybergh Chapel, is a heraldic monument commemorating the marriage of Eleanor Enguyne to William Wybergh of St Bees.

 

In 1745 Clifton was the site of the last battle on English soil between the Jacobite forces of Prince Charles Stuart (who were victorious), and the English army commanded by the Duke of Cumberland. Ten Dragoons were buried in the churchyard. There is a stone near the Church gate to commemorate the incident. Just across the road from the Church is the pele tower of Clifton Hall, once the home of Eleanor Enguyne.

 

 

Aerial photos by Simon Ledingham. Other photos by Matthew Emmott.

 

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