Pages 248-249

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

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Witherslack, the Parish Church of St. Paul

(O.S. 6 in. (a)XLI, N.E., (b)XLI, S.E., (c)XLII, N.W., (d)XLII, S.W.)

Witherslack is a parish on the W. border of the county 8 m. S.W. of Kendal. The church is the principal monument.

d(1). Parish Church of St. Paul (Plate 9), formerly a chapel of Beetham, stands near the middle of the parish. The walls are of local rubble with sandstone dressings and the roofs are slate-covered. The church was founded as a chapel of Beetham in 1664 by John Barwick, Dean of St. Paul's, and actually built about two years later. The earlier chapel at Witherslack Hall is said to have been demolished in 1850. In 1768 the church was much altered, the walls being raised and the windows heightened, the Vestry added and the parapet of the tower renewed. The church was restored in the 19th century.

Though much altered in the 18th century the church is still of considerable interest and amongst the fittings the glass, pulpit and hatchments are noteworthy.

Architectural Description—The Chancel and Nave (72 ft. by 23 ft.) are structurally undivided (Plate 11). The details, unless otherwise described, are of c. 1666. The E. window is of five transomed and round-headed lights in a segmental main head with a moulded label. The N. and S. walls have each four windows, of three transomed and round-headed lights in a square head with a moulded label; the transom and upper part of each window are 18th-century alterations with the original head re-set at a higher level; the small additional window in the N. wall is a late 18th-century insertion. Between the two western windows in the S. wall is a partly blocked doorway, with moulded jambs, round arch and label; above it is a moulded panel with an ogee head enclosing a cartouche of the arms of St. Paul's Deanery impaling Barwick and the following inscription "Reverend John Barwick S.T.D. born in this hamlet, late Dean of St. Paul's built this Chappell A.D. 1664"; the main S. doorway is similar to but larger than the doorway just described, but has no label. Across the E. end of the church, internally is an 18th-century colonnade.

The West Tower (9½ ft. square) is of three storeys with an 18th-century embattled parapet. In the E. wall of the ground-storey is a square-headed doorway; the W. window is of two segmental-headed lights. The second storey has a similar single-light window in the N., S. (blocked) and W. walls. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a window, similar to that in the ground storey.

The South Porch has an outer archway similar to the main S. doorway, but with a moulded label.

Fittings—Bells: three by William Seller of York, first two dated 1670 and third dated 1669. Brass: In churchyard—near S. doorway, to Margaret, wife of Richard Burrow, 1700, flat slab with brass plate. Communion Table: with heavy turned legs and plain rails with brackets under top rail. Doors: In small S. doorway, of nail-studded boards with two scrolled strap-hinges and ring-handle. In outer doorway of porch, similar door with plainer hinges. Font: round bowl with square rim and rounded necking, round stem splayed to square at base and square base with splayed angles, date uncertain. Glass: In N.E. window, two panels of heraldic glass (a) quartered arms of Charles Stanley 8th Earl of Derby and Dorothy Helen Kirkhoven his wife, with supporters, etc., (b) cartouche with the arms of St. Paul's Deanery impaling Barwick; also a cherub-head, the last probably 18th century. In S.E. window, roundel with the initials I.H.S. and the words "This is my body, This is my blood" also two cherub-heads, probably 18th-century. Hatchments: On S. wall, framed hatchment (Plate 58) with the achievement of Dean Barwick and cherub-heads; on W. wall adjoining, similar hatchment with the achievement of Dr. Peter Barwick. Monument: On E. wall, to Dean John Barwick, 1664, white marble tablet, with shaped head and cartouche-of-arms. Panelling: On W. wall, panelled dado. Plate: includes pewter plate, late 17th or early 18th-century. Pulpit: of oak (Plate 53) with five sides, two panels in height, lower panels filled with conventional ornament and upper panels with stems of foliage, modern capping; sounding board of 1765 supported on 17th-century broad panelled standard against wall, five panels high with conventional enrichments in upper panels. Reading-desk: modern but incorporating four carved panels similar to those of pulpit. Royal Arms: On S. wall, of Queen Anne, after the Union, with the initials and date A.R. 1710. Stoup: octagonal stone bowl, now at Beckhead Farm and said to have come from site of early chapel, possibly former stoup. Sundial: brass dial with the initials and date I.B. 1671, set on stone column said to be of 1757.



Monuments (2–18)

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.

b(2). Spa House, 200 yards N.W. of the church, has later additions at either end.

a(3). Strickland Hill, house ¾ m. N.N.W. of the church, has been altered and enlarged in the 18th century. It contains a small cupboard with original framing.

a(4). Low Wood, house 1,040 yards N. of (3), has some original moulded ceiling-beams and a partition of vertical boarding.

a(5). Barn at Middle Low Wood 250 yards N.N.E. of (4), is of one storey and contains a crutch-truss of the 16th century or earlier. The side walls have been raised.

c(6). House, S. of Witherslack Hall and nearly 1¼ m. N. of the church, has been much altered in the 18th century. It retains an original stone window of three lights and plank-doors of the same period.

d(7). Beck Head, house, two tenements, 1,620 yards E.N.E. of the church, retains two original windows of four and five lights respectively. Inside the building is a moulded plank partition of the local type and there are some original moulded ceiling-beams. A small cupboard has the initials and date F.B. (16)83 on the door.

d(8). Range of cottages, now one house, 220 yards E.S.E. of (7), was built probably early in the 18th century.

d(9). Kirket Nook, house 1,150 yards E.N.E. of the church, contains a two-stage cupboard of the local type, with enriched upper panels, pendants and fascia.

d(10). Cottage S. of Witherslack Mill and 1 m. E. of the church, has a chimney-stack with a cylindrical shaft.


d(11). Low Fell End, house (Plate 23) 300 yards E.N.E. of (10), has later additions on the W. and N. The E. chimney-stack has a cylindrical shaft. There are two original doors with ornamental strap-hinges.

d(12). Bellart How, house 300 yards S.E. of (11), retains an original three-light window and a chimney-stack with a cylindrical shaft. A projection on the S. encloses a newel-staircase.

d(13). Swimmers, house 130 yards S.W. of (12), contains an original muntin and plank partition of the local type.

d(14). Nether Hall, 800 yards E.N.E. of the church, was built probably early in the 16th century. The N. wing is a 17th-century addition. The house retains some 16th and 17th-century windows, the latter with solid frames. Inside the building, the original block has an open timbered ceiling of heavy beams. In the thickness of the N. wall is a stone staircase with a garde-robe at the top. There are some 17th-century doors. The original roof of the main block is of three bays, with king-post trusses against the end walls; the intermediate trusses have tie-beams and collars with curved braces below and king-posts above. The N. wing has a crutch-truss of late character.

d(15). Birks, house, two tenements, nearly ¼ m. S. of (14), has some original moulded ceiling-beams and a muntin and plank partition of the local type.

d(16). Cottage, on the W. side of the road S. of Town End 740 yards S. of (15), has an original entrance door with ornamental strap-hinges. Inside the building is an original moulded ceiling-beam.

d(17). High Fell End, house ½ m. S.S.E. of the church, retains one wing of a 17th-century house with a cylindrical chimney-shaft. There is an original three-light window in the E. wall and a moulded ceiling-beam. A two-stage cupboard has the initials and date W.B. 1649.

d(18). Halecat Cottage, 340 yards S. of the church, was built probably early in the 18th century. It retains some original windows with solid frames and a muntin and plank partition of the local type. There is also a fireplace with a corbelled head and a staircase with turned balusters and plain newels.