St Nicholas’ Church and Gardens
Location : Whitehaven
Grid Ref : NX 974181
Lowther St, Whitehaven
For almost three centuries the dominant feature of Lowther Street has been St. Nicholas’ Church. Originally built in 1693 to replace a small chapel that stood at the end of Chapel St, it was rebuilt in 1883 by Miss Margaret Gibson in memory of her parents. A fire on 31st August 1971 destroyed the entire fabric except the clock tower and main entrance.
Many important local families have been associated with St Nicholas. Although the graveyard was redesigned as a garden which now forms one of the features of Lowther St, some of the older headstones to be found at the Duke St end of the grounds provide a number of reminders of Whitehaven’s maritime past.
Inside the tower is a plaque to the memory of Mildred Warner Gale, the grandmother of George Washington. She was buried in the grounds, 30th January 1700/1. Her husband, George Gale, was buried on his plantation, called ‘Tusculum’, in Somerset County, just outside of Princess Anne, Maryland, USA.
Visitors may climb a narrow spiral stair in the Clock Tower, to see the workings of the clock, and to see a small display relating to the Gale family.
The remaining building has been tastefully renovated, and contains a small place of worship, and a Resource Centre used by local schools and youth groups. The centre also contains a volunteer run cafe.