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St Michael's Church, Lamplugh



Lamplugh - St Michael and All Angels

St. Michael’s and its churchyard is in a rural setting, bounded by fields. It is located on a low rise at the northern end of a long narrow Parish. To the east, on the opposite of the road which borders the southern and eastern churchyard walls, are Lake District fells providing a dramatic setting to the church. The road is part of the ‘Coast to Coast’ route (‘C2C’) much used by cyclists and tourists in general. A church (or chapel) has existed on the site since c. 1150. Of the two bells one has been dated to the third quarter of the 15th century, probably made by famous bell founders in York and is on the national list of preserved bells. The other dates from 1870 and was cast by John Taylor and Co. of Loughborough. The famous Victorian architect William Butterfield (responsible, inter alia, for chapels at Rugby School, and at Keble and Balliol Colleges, Oxford, for churches, [for example], All Saints’, London, as well as cathedrals in Perth and Melbourne) was commissioned to design the present church (the only Butterfield church in Cumberland) which was re-dedicated and opened in 1870. Some mediaeval features were retained: a doorway in the north chancel wall (now blocked, though de-lineated externally by an 18th century monument), the re-modelled chancel and vestry (the latter with an original cusped window and door) and three gargoyles relocated to the external east wall. Pevsner claims that the Perpendicular style adopted by Butterfield is unusual for the date and must have reflected the earlier building. The walls are of sandstone with ashlar details; the roof is of slate. The stained glass is particularly fine. Two of the windows are by Charles Eamer Kempe (1891 and 1901) identified by the wheatsheaf trademark and two, subsequent to the death of Kempe, are from the Kempe –Tower workshop: ‘Kempe & Co. Ltd.’ (a director being C.E.Kempe’s cousin, Walter Tower) dated to 1910 and 1911 and identified by the crenellated tower placed within a wheatsheaf. Kempe'swork can be found in twenty seven British cathedrals. Of the other four stained glass windows, one, dated 1903, is by Heaton Butler and Bayne of London and the other three are attributed to the London firm of Clayton and Bell (where C.E.Kempe originally studied.