Shap, Urban

Pages 204-206

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Westmorland. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1936.

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In this section

85 SHAP, URBAN (D.c.)

(O.S. 6 in. (a)XIV, S.W., (b)XXI, N.W.)

Shap is a parish and small town 8 m. W.S.W. of Appleby. The church and Shap stones are the principal monuments.


a(1). Parish Church of St. Michael (Plate 11) stands on the E. side of the village. The walls are of local rubble with dressings of the same material; the roofs are slate-covered. The earliest detail in the church is the 12th-century corbel on the S. aisle. The S. arcade of the Nave is of the first half of the 13th century. The South Aisle was re-built and no doubt widened at a later but indeterminate date. The chancel was re-built in 1765, and in 1828 the West Tower was re-built on the site of an earlier structure. In 1898–9 the Chancel and North Vestry were re-built and the South Chapel added; the N. wall of the nave was restored and the S. aisle largely re-built.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The Nave (42¾ ft. by 17 ft.) has, in the N. wall, four windows, the easternmost of one light with a segmental head is probably of the 17th or 18th century; the second window is of the 16th century partly restored and re-set; it is of four segmental-headed lights in a square head with a moulded label; the third window is of the 16th century and of four pointed lights in a square head with a moulded label; the westernmost window is possibly of the 13th century, widened in the 17th or 18th century; it is of one pointed light with a moulded label; below the third window are the straight joints of a former N. doorway. The 13th-century S. arcade is of four bays with round arches of two chamfered orders, cylindrical columns and semi-cylindrical responds with moulded capitals and bases.

The South Aisle (17½ ft. wide) is modern except for parts of the lower walling on the S. and W.

Fittings—Brasses: See Monuments. Chest: In N. vestry—with plain panelled front, ends and lid, one strap-hinge, late 17th-century. Coffin-lids: re-set in S. wall of aisle—(1) tapering slab with moulded edge; re-set in S. wall of S. chapel—(2) fragment with enriched cross-head and sword; re-set in E. wall of S. chapel—(3) fragment with enriched cross-head; late 13th or early 14th-century. Communion Table: In vestry—with turned legs and shaped brackets to top rails, late 17th-century. Communion Rails: with turned balusters and moulded rails, late 17th or early 18th-century, with two modern posts. Monuments: In churchyard—headstones, E. of chancel, (1) to William Baxter, 1713 and to George Fothergill, 1714, with brass-inscriptions; (2) to Agnes, wife of Henry Bristo, 1702, and to Henry Bristo, 1717, with brass-inscription. Plate: includes cup of 1629 with balusterstem. Stoup: Re-set in W. wall of S. aisle—recess with stone bowl partly cut away, mediæval. Miscellanea: Re-set on S.W. angle of aisle—beast-head corbel, with spiral on forehead, 12th-century. Re-set in farmbuilding N. of churchyard—two 13th-century respond capitals. In nave—woodwork of frame with the initials and date P.L.W. 1674.


a(2). Keld Chapel (34½ ft. by 15¾ ft.), now disused, stands at the N. end of the hamlet of Keld. The walls are of rubble and the roofs are slate-covered. It was built probably in the 16th century and the chimney-stack was inserted in the 18th century. The 16th-century E. window is of three elliptical-headed lights with a moulded label of earlier date re-set. In the N. wall are two square-headed windows, the eastern of two lights and blocked and the western of one light; the doorway has chamfered jambs and a modern head. In the S. wall are two windows similar to those in the N. but both open; further W. is a blocked window probably of the 18th century. The cross-wall may be partly ancient. Some of the dressings of the chapel have masons' marks.


b(3). Millbeck, bridge and ruined mill 1,570 yards S.S.W. of the church. The remains of the mill-house are of rubble and stand only 2 or 3 ft. high; they perhaps date from the 17th century. The adjoining bridge, of pack-horse type, is a rubble structure with a segmental arch and a two-foot foot-way. It is probably of the 17th century.

Condition—Of bridge, fairly good.

b(4). Bridge, over the river Lowther at Crag's Mill about 1¾ m. S. of the church, is a rubble structure of one span with a segmental arch. It dates probably from the 17th century.


a(5). Market Hall (Plate 72), now parish room, on the W. side of the main road 220 yards S.W. of the church, is of one storey; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are slate-covered. A market was granted to the town in 1687 and the market-house was built probably soon afterwards. It was later used as a school and an addition made on the N. side. The E. and S. sides have each a range of three round-headed arches resting on cylindrical columns and plain responds; the arches are partly blocked; above them is a range of three windows, now blocked; the side ones are round-headed, the middle one on the E. circular and the middle one on the S. pointed. The roof is pyramidal.


Monuments (6–25)

The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are slate-covered. Some of the buildings have exposed ceiling-beams.

Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.

a(6). House, 130 yards N. of (5), retains an original doorway with an enriched lintel bearing the initials and date M.H. 1687.

a(7). House, now tenements, 50 yards N. of (6), has a doorway with the initials and date W.S. 1696 on the lintel.

a(8). The Hermitage, house, 280 yards N.W. of the church, has an original doorway with embattled enrichment on the lintel and a panel with initials and date R. and S.E. 1691 I. and S.E. (probably for Ellwood). Inside the building are some original panelled doors and two spice-cupboards, one with an enriched panel and one with the initials and date I. and S.E. 1692.

a(9). Cottage, 140 yards N. of (8), has a panel above the doorway with the initials and date R. and K.M. 1694.

a(10). Fothergill, house on the E. side of the main road 380 yards N.N.W. of the church.

a(11). House, two tenements 200 yards S. of (10).

a(12). House, 130 yards S.E. of the church.

a(13). Stonecroft, house and barns on the W. side of the main road ¼ m. S. of the church. The House has been re-built but incorporates a stone with the date 1671 and two cupboards one with an enriched panel and one with the initials and date W. and M.W. 1685. The two Barns, N. of the house, retain some original roof-trusses.

a(14). Cottage, 230 yards S. of (13).

a(15). House, on the E. side of the main road 100 yards E. of (14), has a later addition on the S. The doorway has embattled enrichment on the lintel and the initials and date R. and E.I. 1691.

a(16). Green House, 950 yards S. of the church, is said to have formerly had the date 1704.

a(17). Rigghall, house 220 yards W. of (16).

a(18). Greyhound Hotel, house and outbuilding nearly ¾ m. S. of the church. The House is of various dates; the middle block with the stabling at the back was built c. 1680; the main block facing the road was built c. 1696 and its S. extension with the stabling behind added in 1703. Above the entrance to the passage-way in this addition is a panel with the initials and date A.W., W.W. 1703. Inside the building a fireplace in the front block has the initials and date A.W. 1696 and a fireplace in the back-wing has the inscription "R. and W.A. August the 27 1680." The Outbuilding, E. of the house, is of five bays.

a(19). Thornship, house nearly 1 m. S.W. of the church, contains a dilapidated cupboard of the local type with the initials and date W.L. 1659; there is also a spice-cupboard with the date 1712. The barn, S. of the house, retains its old roof.

a(20). Cottage, 30 yards S.E. of (19), was built late in the 17th or early in the 18th century.


a(21). Barn, on the E. side of the road at Keld 70 yards S.S.W. of (2), is of six bays with loop-lights.

a(22). House, 50 yards S.W. of (21), has a later addition on the S.E.

a(23). Cottage, now workshop, 250 yards S.W. of (2).

b(24). Kemphow, house over 1½ m. S. of the church, has been partly re-built.

b(25). Crags Mill, cottage 320 yards S.S.W. of (24).


a and b(26). Shap Stones and Circle, on the E. and W. sides of the main road and the village, appear to be the remains of an important megalithic monument. Camden refers to "several huge stones . . . standing in a row for nearly a mile" and Stukeley (Itinerarium Curiosum II, p. 42) gives an account of the stones. Burn (Hist. of Westmorland 1777) refers to an area of upwards of ½ m. encompassed with large stones and a circle of like stones at the high end. A drawing made by Lady Lowther in 1775 shows a stone avenue. The surviving remains consist of a stone circle on the E. side of the road 1¼ m. S.S.E. of the church, four isolated stones, probably part of the avenue, and beginning 550 yards N. of the circle are a further five stones irregularly placed and spaced and extending in a north-westerly direction. These terminate in the Thunder Stone. Starting from the northern end these stones are as follows: (a) The Thunder Stone, 50 yards N. of High Barn, is a rough mass not standing erect but measuring 31 ft. in girth and rising 7¾ ft. above the ground; (b) a fallen stone, about 7½ ft. long and partly built into a wall; it is 660 yards S.E. of (a); (c) a stone (Plate 2) lying on its side, about 10 ft. long and 18 ft. in girth; on the wider end is a ringmark 8½ in. in diameter with a cup in the centre; there is a second circular sinking 3½ in. in diameter; this stone is 320 yards E.S.E. of (b); (d) the Goggleby stone (Plate 2) is still standing 7¼ ft. high with the broadest end uppermost; the girth is about 19½ ft. On the N.E. angle is a cup-shaped sinking 5½ in. in diameter. The stone is 155 yards S.E. of (c); (e) a stone (Plate 2) lying on its side, about 8¾ ft. long and 19 ft. in girth. It is 530 yards S.E. of (d) and 110 yards W. of the King's Arms Inn. The following four stones presumably belonged to the avenue: (f) on the E. side of the road 75 yards W. of the station, is 7½ ft. long and about 15 ft. in girth; it has fallen; (g) on the W. side of the road, 110 yards S.S.W. of (f) is 6 ft. long and about 12½ ft. in girth; it has fallen; (h) about 265 yards S.S.E. of (g) on the E. side of the road are several smaller stones (marked on O.S.); their connection with the main series is doubtful; (i) about 270 yards S. of (h), lies on its side; it is 7½ ft. long and about 15 ft. in girth. Two other stones of similar character lie on the opposite bank of Force beck, immediately to the S.

The Circle, now partly covered by the railway embankment, retains six large granite stones, 8–9 ft. long and 16–18 ft. in girth; they have all fallen but indicate a circle of about 80 ft. in diameter.

Condition—Fairly good.

a(27). Mound, called Tumulus on O.S., on Skellaw Hill ½ m. W. of the church, is 48–50 ft. in diameter and 4 ft. high.

a(28). Lynchets, on a S.E. slope, ¼ m. S.W. of the church, are fragmentary. They are three in number and about 16 yards wide.