legally unable to provide funds for the building of a church and parsonage in Tebay, so he appealed directly to the shareholders of what was then the London & North Western Railway. The directors made contributions. One was James Cropper MP who owned a paper mill at Burneside near Kendal. That company, still bearing his name, makes speciality papers to this day. The church was opened in 1880.
It was designed by C.J.Ferguson who was a pupil of the famous George Gilbert Scott who was responsible for many a (not necessarily sympathetic!) church restoration in Victorian England. To my eyes, its biggest peculiarity is its apsidal west end. From the time of the Romans apses had always housed the altar and therefore had been situated at the east end of a church. There is a little bell tower with a conical roof rather like something out of a fairy tale castle! Despite its apse, the church is not a neo-Norman structure. Rather, with its lancet windows, it harks back to the Early English period.
Internally this is an impressive building. Charmingly, the builders adopted the two-tone brick schema that was used on many of the L&NWR’s stations, including Manchester Piccadilly. It is simple in design - a nave and a chancel with an arch that spans virtually the entire church. The benches are of the same design as the L&NWR’s station benches of the time. Light floods in. It might not be ancient but it is an impressive and practical place of worship - although those benches look to be darned uncomfortable! Because the church is built on a slope there is a room below the apsidal part of the church and that is used now as a function room. The whole ambience is of a church that it is still very much at the hea
The old SD&LR line actually passed close by the western end of the church. This must have been a noisy and smoky church in its heyday. There were benefits though: the railway gasworks used to supply the gas lighting and hot water for heating was pumped up from the engine shed!
I don’t suppose I will persuade anyone to go far out of their way to visit this church but it really is worth a small detour if you are in the area if only to prove that the wealthy Victorians didn’t invariably have more money than good taste!