Kirkbampton – St Peter’s Church
The parish Church of Kirkbampton is dedicated to St Peter, and is an ancient Norman structure and a Grade I listed building, of typical Cumbrian character. The chancel arch and North doorway, both being original and in situ, are Saxon in style and fix the dimensions of the early Church fairly definately.
Over the North entrance door is a sculptured tympanum. Only five examples of these tympana exist is Cumbria, and the one at Kirkbampton, with its surrounding arch, is probably the most perfect, despite suffering from the weather. It is not now easy to decipher, but appears to be a figure and animals. A Roman stone (14 inches by 10.75 inches) found in the walls during restoration work in 1870-1871 is now built into the South wall of the chancel. It bears the inscription “VEX,LEG P.F. FEC.”, and has probably been brought from the nearby Roman Wall (Hadrian’s Wall).
The Norman Chancel arch (above), dated not later than 1150, has one roll and one step, and lies on responds with scallop capitals with fish-scale patterns on the abaci.
There are several stained glass windows worth looking at. The East window, consisting of three lancet windows, is by William Morris & Co, and shows the resurrected Christ, with eight angels with musical instruments. Unfortunately the facial features and details have suffered from corrosion. There are various other windows in the Chancel and Nave worth studying.
There is a Leper Squint, or Dole Window, used by the priest for handing out doles to the lepers. It is so placed that the Celebrant could be seen celebrating Communion from outside by the lepers.
Aerial photo by Simon Ledingham.
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