Melbourne was built in around 1133. Most of it is Norman with a smattering of perpendicular additions. The grandeur of this parish church is not easy to explain but it is believed that this was the Bishop of Carlisle’s seat originally, set well beyond the reach of the marauding Scots raiders who so endangered Carlisle itself.
There is a central tower, transepts and two unfinished western towers, a unique arrangement in an English parish church. The central tower is supported by massive circular crossing piers and is topped by a c17 belfry. In the picture (left) can be seen two rows of three Norman windows that would have looked into the original chancel. Above these windows can be seen the original chancel roof line.
The interior is a magnificent sight. The arcades are of enormous height and strength, with a Norman clerestory throughout. The clerestory has a walkway such as is normally found only in cathedrals. The clerestory on the south side has double pointed arches, whereas the northern one has tri-partite round topped arches. The central tower is supported by massive circular crossing piers. Throughout the church capitals are richly decorated and the most tremendous fun.
There were originally three apses but these have been replaced by a c12 chancel that was rebuilt - not very well - in c15. In my view it is too small for the church.