Threlkeld – St Mary’s Church
Email: Reverend Bryan Rothwell
Man’s settlement in the Threlkeld Valley goes back at least to Neolithic times, around 5000 years ago. The Stone Circle at Castlerigg and the ancient settlement below Threlkeld Knotts are witness to this. As the forests were cleared, scattered valley communities appeared, around the time of Christ. Threlkeld probably grew from such a community.
It is probable that there has been a church in Threlkeld since the Dark Ages – and it is certain that there was a church in Norman times. Threlkeld is the oldest chapelry in the Diocese of Carlisle. It was in the parish of Greystoke, which served ten hamlets, four of which had chapels, Matterdale , Mungrisdale, Threlkeld and Watermillock.
In 1777 the Church was rebuilt, although the bell-tower is a remnant of an earlier Church. Two Bells were incorporated from a previous Church. One is certainly not less than 500 years old, and was made at the foundry of Johannes de Kurkham at York.
In 1911 the Church was restored, notably the flooring and interior woodwork. The pulpit was donated, and the font made from Threlkeld granite by a local man, Mr Knight. During the restoration oak boards were found under the wooden floor with scripture texts and the Ten Commandments painted on them in black letters. These were restored and fixed to the West wall. There is stained glass in the East window, given by Captain Olsen in memory of his wife, and designed by Francis Skeat in 1958. The communion kneelers were made by village people in the 1970’s.
Aerial photo by Simon Ledingham.
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