Grid Ref : NY 435489
The small village of Wreay (pronounced Wree-a) lies beside the River Petteril about five miles south of Carlisle. The name is thought to be derived from a Norse word meaning ‘bend in the river’.
The Church of St Mary’s is a highly original work of architecture – the product of the exhuberant imagination of Miss Sarah Losh (1785-1853) who designed and built the Church in 1840-1842 as a memorial to her beloved sister Catherine, and to her parents. It has many French and Italian features. One of the recurring themes is the conflict between life and death, light and darkness.
Though records for the village date back to 1319, there is not much of historical interest here. However – they do have what is known locally as the ‘Twelve Men’. This refers to meetings which have been held by a self-electing body of men responsible for the welfare of the village. Today the Twleve Men still meet once a year, in the Plough Inn, smoking their clay pipes and conducting what little business needs to be discussed.
Wreay Woods nature reserve, about a mile North East of the village, is just a small part of a once much larger woodland along the River Petterill. Trees have been felled over many years for timber and to make way for farm land. Today Cumbria Wildlife Trust manage this ancient riverside woodland. There is a footpath to the woods from the village.
Scalesceugh Hall is nearby, built in 1684, and enlarged in the 20th century, with many exotic and unusual trees from many countries in the grounds close to the A6 road. It is a residential home owned by Cumbria Cerebral Palsy.
A Roman fort lies half a mile North East of the village, at Park House Farm, to the West of the main York to Carlisle Roman road.
Aerial photos by Simon Ledingham.
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