Great Salkeld – St Cuthbert’s Church
There has probably been a Church in Great Salkeld since 880 AD, when the body of St Cuthbert was rested here after being brought from Holy Island. Rebuilding took place in 1080. The Pele Tower was added in 1380, with an iron door for defence of the inhabitants against the Scots.
The entrance is only 2ft 7in wide, another indication of a fortified church. The pillars and capitals of the entrance appear to date around 1000. They are carved with figures of beasts, birds and serpents. In the tower are various slabs which were probably gravestones from earlier times. One contains symbols of the horseshoe and hammer, indicating it probably covered the grave of a blacksmith. There is a peel of six bells, and a clock manufactured in 1892.
This building is regarded, along with Newton Arlosh and Burgh-by-Sands, as a fine example of the fortified churches erected in the border area during the 14th Century.
Photos by Matthew Emmott and Julian Thurgood. Aerial photo by Simon Ledingham.
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