Crosby Garrett

Heather Ballantyne

For this months meeting, 16 of us went to the Parish Church of Crosby Garrett, St Andrews. Ian  Allonby was our guide for the evening.

The church was founded before the Norman Conquest on a hill called Arklow, which means Hill of Sacrifice and was probably a place of heathen worship. There is very little left of the 11th century building except the remains of an arch above the new Chancel Arch.

Church Plan

Chancel Arch

In the 14th century Henry de Sandford became rector and his Coat of Arms is on the left hand side of the East Window dated 1335. He had the Chancel extended and when he died in 1381 he left twenty shillings for a new bell for the church. That bell is still rung every Sunday and is inscribed  " COMPANA SANTI ANDREE" The Bell of St. Andrew.

Ian told us that local legend states that it was the intention to build the church  at the bottom of the hill but at night His Satanic Majesty, The Devil, carried the stones to the top  so that the aged and infirm could not get up the hill to worship.

The porch has a date of 1662 but this is not known if it is the original date or not.  Inside the porch on the right hand side is a hole in the wall where anyone about to enter the church carrying a pistol or dagger could secrete it before entering.

In the 17th century this church had a step down into the Chancel, but in the 19th century the floor was made level. This is unusual as normally you would step up into the Chancel.
During the Victorian period (1885/6) the Church was closed for 1 year while  it was remodelled. The plaster was chipped off the walls and the pews moved so that all faced the Pulpit rather than the Altar. It was at this time that a new East window was put in  with its beautiful view over the fells.

East Window

Work again is needed on the church and over the last few years they have been sorting out the roof with a grant from English Heritage, but a lot more work is still required inside and out. Crosby Garrett is only a small parish but they are  busy fundraising to bring the church up to spec. It could be another 10 years before the work is complete.

Crosby Garrett Church is open most of the time and the village and church are well worth a visit.

This is the view from the church looking over the village

After our visit to the church we first went to look at the Tithe Barn which had recently been renovated and then onto a building  which has just been bought and is about to be rescued from falling down.

An enjoyable evening with thanks to Ian Allonby for sharing his knowledge.