Click blue numbers on the map to read relevant details.
The text generally follows the leaflet handed to visitors with added material from a booklet by John Hodgkinson.
THE OLD SANCTUARY – from this point under the notice the beautiful view of the Church and Organ. Note the small brass plate on the sanctuary step with a curious composed himself by 16th century vicar Ralph Tyrer.
The Reredos is of Caen stone with pillars of polished brown Kendal Fell marble dating from 1867. The niches were designed to house sculptured figures but this was thought to be too high church at the time. Instead, metal plates were inserted painted with the words of the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments. These were later moved and the niches still await their figures.
THE STRICKLAND CHAPEL – dates from the 13th century. It is dedicated to Saint Catherine and was the family chapel of the Stricklands of Sizergh Castle, just south of Kendal.
Note the and the old tomb. The family coat of arms with three cockle shells is to be seen on the tomb, in the window (with 15th century fragment ) and above the door.
A 17th century Bible Box is kept in the chapel. The wooden screen is 15th century.
THE PARR CHAPEL – dating from the 14th Century, this chapel was erected by the Parr family, who inhabited Kendal Castle in the early part of that century.
The Family Arms can be seen carved in the ceiling.
See also the maiden’s head at the apex of the windows. This was the badge of Lady Katherine Parr.
The tomb in unpolished black marble is said to be that of her grandfather, Sir William Parr.
The four angels carry the symbols of the Crucifixion – cross, crown of thorns, ladder, hammer and nails.
A fragment of an anglian cross stands on the window sill and dates from the 9th century.
The Oak Screens were made in 1935 in the Kendal workshop established by Arthur Simpson.
A carved head on a nearby column is without known date or significance.
THE SOUTH AISLE – was built in the 14th century to accommodate the Flemish Weavers when they came to start the town’s woollen industry.
The Votive Candleholder was made in Sweden c.1998. It has the five continents outlined in fine ironwork.
The sculpture – THE FAMILY OF MAN – is by JOSEPHINE de VASCONCELLOS. The setting is a contemporary Refugee Camp in the Middle East. Huddled together, under an old blanket are Mary, Jesus and three children representing the African, European and Oriental peoples of the world. Although it has the appearance of stone the sculpture is made of fibreglass and is sometimes moved elsewhere in the church.
THE PULPIT AND LECTERN – are mid 19th century, the former replaced a ‘three decker’ pulpit which had occupied a pillar further down the Nave. When the old pulpit was replaced, beneath it was found a paper bearing the date 1236.
THE KENDAL COAT OF ARMS – bearing wool hooks (tenterhooks) appears on the mayor’s pew at the front of the Nave. This pew is at the top of the aisle on the left. It carries a metal framework which bears the ceremonial maces and sword at Civic Services.
The Mayor and Aldermen in their robes attended Morning Prayer every Sunday until the late nineteenth century. Their seats along with the Mayor’s pew was known as the Aldermans’ Quire.
SAINT THOMAS-A-BECKET CHAPEL dates from the 13th century. The Altar table was made from yew by Trevor Furnass in 1969. The frontal was designed and executed by Susan Foster, weaver of Kendal in 1989. Pew ends date from the 15th century. The Coat of Arms is that of the Howard Family.
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THE BELLINGHAM CHAPEL – built in the early 16th century by Sir Roger Bellingham was originally complete in itself. Sir Roger’s and Lady Margaret’s tomb can be seen, with brasses replacing the originals stolen in the 17th century. The brass on the wall dated 1577 is original, and commemorates Sir Alan Bellingham who bought Levens Hall in 1562.
The chapel is now the Memorial Chapel of the Border Regiment, whose badges can be seen in the windows.
The tapestry, depicting adversity, is by Theo Moorman and was inspired by a pillar of rocks at Brimham Rocks in Yorkshire.
Overhead ‘The Crown of Thorns’ was made in 1968 and formerly hung above the central Altar. It is to the memory of Bernard Gilpin, ‘Apostle of the North’.
In the case are displayed the Colours of the 55th (Westmorland) Regiment, from the raising of the Regiment in 1755 until joining with the 34th (Cumberland) Regiment in1881. These colours are painted on silk and bear the following honours: St. Lucia, Brandywine – Egmont. Lord Archibald Campbell recovered the colours from a pawn shop in 1888 and returned them to the Regiment.
At the second taking of Chusan in 1842, which led to the establishment of Hong Kong, the Regiment seized an Imperial Chinese Standard.
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A Marion helmet and sword hang high on the North Wall. The helmet probably belonged to Sir Robert Phillipson of Belle Isle on Windermere (referred to as ‘Robin the Devil’) whose house was besieged during the Civil War by Colonel Briggs, a regular worshipper in this Church. Robert with three or four men rode to Kendal to seek revenge. They rode past the watch and Robert entered into church, up one aisle and down the other looking in vain for his adversary. On his return he was unhorsed by the guards and his girths broken. Robert’s companions relieved him by a desperate charge and then, clapping on his saddle without any girths he vaulted into the saddle, killed a sentinel, and returned to Belle Isle by 2.00p.m. Tradition has it that Robert lost his helmet in the scuffle.
Beneath the helmet and sword are seen the memorial to the last of the Leybournes. The Leyburne family of Cunswick Hall and Skelsmergh Hall was staunchly Catholic and its members suffered heavy fines and imprisonment in the 16th & 17th. centuries. In 1583 James Leyburne was executed at Lancaster for refusing to acknowledge Elizabeth as the rightful Queen.
THE BEVINGTON ORGAN – Our second organ provides a choice according to musical requirements.
This sinister face (second image above) may be seen at a pillar head south west of the organ.
THE NORTH AISLE – was completed by the end of the 16th Century. Look at the roof of the aisle and see the beautiful angels carved there when this part of the Church was re-roofed in 1868. painted in colour c.1980.
Kendal Parish Church could well be called The Church of the Angels for there are over ninety representations of angels in wood, stone or in glass.
WEST WALL SCREEN – exhibits three boards. The old sign from the ‘Ring 0 Bells’, the pub adjacent to the church on consecrated land, shows ringers in position before the tower was raised and a belfry added.
Note also the Ten Commandments on tin plate. These were formerly in the niches by the East window in the old Sanctuary.
The third board details some of the charitable giving to Church Charities, which still exist today. The present store rooms hide the porch where the poor came to receive bread.
THE MAIN ORGAN built in 1968/9 by Walkers when the interior alterations were made to the Church. This is the third instrument in a heritage stretching back to early 17th century. The tower and bells are overhead.
THE FONT – dates from the 15th century made of black marble and is large enough for babies to be immersed. The cover was subscribed to by the ‘ladies of the church’ and erected in 1898 to the memory of Archdeacon Cooper, a former Vicar.
THE BOOKSHELVES – offer a range of materials about the church bells, organs and windows and display leaflets about events locally.
Note the antique table which served as communion table after the stone altar was destroyed at the Reformation. In 1634 it was painted green with green curtains behind it.
On the South Wall, note the memorial with a black marble urn which is for the painter George Romney who lived in Kendal and was married in this church.
Note also the mutilated memorial to a 17th century judge with fullsome poetry.
THE PORCH – often missed in a quick tour. Note though the list of vicars showing an unbroken succession from 1190. If you are able to join us for a service you will be made most welcome and will thereby share with us for a short moment, something of that continuity.
OUTSIDE – The fine gates leading on to Kirkland are an addition of 1822 when Vicar Hudson replaced the wooden fence and railed in the church-yard.
Flying high above the tower on all the major festivals is the flag of St. George, a gift in memory of Julian Dixon, a young Kendal veterinary surgeon who died in an accident whilst climbing Mt. McKinley, Alaska, May 1989.
The heads of a King and Queen on the outside of the porch had weathered so badly by 1980 that they were replaced.
The many gargoyles are a tribute to the ingenuity of the Victorian masons.
On the SOUTH SIDE of the church is the wall which previously divided the vicarage garden from the churchyard.
Note on the left thirteen gravestones laid in a row. The farthest is easily read and commemorates two grocers from Kendal Market Place.
On the right is an archway which was used by the vicar and his family to gain access to the church through the Lady Chapel.
SOUTH of the church only three gravestones remain (in the grass). All are of interest but especially the one nearest to the Abbot Hall. Robert Hind was an auctioneer who died 6th July 1820 “so severely wounded by the sudden explosion of a canon that he survived the accident by only two days … reconciled to his fate.” Masonic symbols are incised in the stone and the fact that both feet of the compass are in front of the set square indicates that Hind was a Master Mason.
The vestries were built and the churchyard levelled in 1934. Many of the tombstones were placed together on the west side of the vestries. See external memorials
On the north side of the churchyard is the former Grammar School built in 1588. Prior to this the boys were taught on forms in the north aisle.