Crosscanonby – St John the Evangelist’s Church
Grid Ref NY 069390
St John the Evangelist’s Church at Crosscanonby is about half mile from the coast at Allonby bay, at one of the earliest Christian sites in Cumbria. The Roman road from Carlisle to Maryport passes nearby, and there is evidence in the fabric of the Norman church of stones that were used in a Roman building of some sort.
The present building dates from AD 1130, with the south aisle added in the 13th century.
There are two Victorian stained glass windows.
On the coast are the remains of the Elizabethan salt pans. For nearly 700 years, salt was made from seawater along the Cumbrian coast, and the Crosscanonby site is a remarkably well-preserved example of this tradition. Outside the church you can see the tomb of local salt tax officer John Smith, who died in 1730. The tomb has an unusual panel showing the salt officer working at his desk.
Near to the saltpans is Roman Milefortlet 21, the first total excavation of a milefortlet, and a designated World Heritage Site, which reveals a wealth of information about the lifestyle of Roman troops in Britain.
Photos by Simon Ledingham.
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