Bowness on Windermere

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

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'Bowness on Windermere', An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Westmorland, (London, 1936), pp. 44-47. British History Online [accessed 13 June 2024].

. "Bowness on Windermere", in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Westmorland, (London, 1936) 44-47. British History Online, accessed June 13, 2024,

. "Bowness on Windermere", An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Westmorland, (London, 1936). 44-47. British History Online. Web. 13 June 2024,

In this section


(O.S. 6 in. XXXII, S.E.)

Bowness is a small civil parish on the E. side of the lake. The church of the old parish of Windermere is the principal monument.


(1). Parish Church of St. Martin at Bowness is built of local rubble with sandstone dressings; the roofs are covered with lead. The church is said to have been burnt down in the 15th century and to have been re-built and consecrated in 1483. To this period belong the Chancel and Nave, the North and South Aisles and the West Tower. The South Porch was added perhaps early in the 16th century. The church was completely restored in 1870, when the chancel was lengthened and the tower heightened. The North Chapel was added in 1922 and the North Vestries are also modern.

Bowness, The Parish Church of St. Martin, Windermere

Among the fittings the glass in the E. window is noteworthy and the inscriptions on the arcades are of some interest.

Architectural Description—The Chancel and Nave (100 ft. by 20½ ft.) are structurally undivided. The seven-light E. window is modern but reproduces the earlier window. The N. and S. arcades, presumably of late 15th-century date but plastered, are each of six bays with plain two-centred arches and square piers with chamfered angles, brought out to the square at the impost-level. The late 15th-century clearstorey has, on each side, six old windows, each of three square-headed lights; the two easternmost windows on each side are modern.

The North Aisle (15¾ ft. wide) has a modern E. window. In the N. wall are five windows, the easternmost modern; the other windows are of late 15th-century origin more or less restored; they are each of three pointed or four-centred lights in a square head, except the first, where the heads of the lights have been altered to a rounded form. The opening to the organ-chamber is modern; the 15th-century N. doorway has chamfered jambs and four-centred head with a re-set label. In the W. wall is a restored 15th-century window similar to those in the N. wall, but with a modern head.

The South Aisle (16½ ft. wide) is of late 15th-century date and has a partly restored E. window of four four-centred lights in a square head with a moulded label. In the S. wall are four windows, the three eastern similar to that in the E. wall and the westernmost modern; between the two eastern windows is a doorway with hollow-chamfered jambs, two-centred head and a moulded label; the S. doorway has hollow-chamfered jambs and elliptical head with a relieving-arch. In the W. wall is a window similar to the E. window.

The West Tower (11 ft. square) is of three stages, the two lower of late 15th-century date and the bell-chamber modern. The plain plastered tower-arch has square responds and two-centred arch. The blocked W. doorway has hollowed-chamfered jambs and two-centred head with a moulded label; the W. window is modern. The second stage has a modern window in the N. and W. walls.

The South Porch, probably of early 16th-century date, has an outer archway with rough jambs and triangular head. The side walls have each a loop-light.

Re-set in the modern N. vestry is a late 15th-century window of three pointed lights in a square head, with a moulded label.

The Roof of the main body of the church is probably of late 15th-century date; it is low-pitched and of ten bays with cambered tie-beams and king-posts; the three E. trusses are modern. The roof of the N. aisle, excluding the N. chapel, is of the same date; it is of pent form and of five bays with chamfered main timbers. The S. aisle has a similar roof of six bays. The porch-roof is of uncertain date; it has a chamfered ridge, plain rafters and plates.

Fittings—Books: In nave—four bibles of 1599, 1608 and 1611, and an authorised version of 1636, also a Defence of the Apology of the Church of England. Brass: see Monument (2). Chests: In N. aisle— (1) of plain boards on raised feet, with line of incised embattled ornament on front, two handles and one lock, late 17th or early 18th-century. In rectory— (2) plain with iron straps and two locks, late 17th or early 18th-century; (3) plain, of hutch-type with two hasps and locks, probably same period as last. Church— yard Cross: S. of church—octagonal shaft on four octagonal steps, mediæval. Font: octagonal bowl (Plate 43) with projecting rim and splayed underside, four crudely carved human heads at alternate angles, possibly 13th-century, stem modern. Glass: In chancel—in E. window (Plate 81), partly restored glass almost certainly from Cartmel Priory; the seven main lights are occupied by figures of the Crucifixion (head modern) with St. Mary and St. John in the middle lights, St. George and St. Barbara on the N. and St. Katherine and a jumble with four small figures on the S.; the Crucifix has attendant angels holding chalices to the wounds; St. John is much restored and St. Barbara is mostly modern, there being no evidence as to what saint was originally represented; St. George is in late 15th-century armour and St. Katherine holds the sword and wheel; the small figures in the S. light represent two archbishops and two deacons, probably St. Stephen and St. Lawrence; above the main figures are canopies of tabernacle-work and at the foot of six of the lights are panels with kneeling figures of donors; (a) a canon, with the inscription "John Plo . . . por. (prior) of Kerkmel"; (b) a man in armour with a tabard and a lady in a heraldic mantle, with the inscription "Willm. Thornboro and his wyff"; the tabard bears the Thornborough arms and the mantle bears Thornborough impaling a coat ascribed to Broughton but if so wrongly restored; (c) group of canons, with the names Thomas Hogson, Willym Bareaye, Will. (Purfoot), Roger Thwaytts and George Fis[hwick] (d) figures of a man and lady similar to (b), formerly with the inscription ". . . Pennyghton and hys wiff"; the tabard bears the arms of Pennington and the mantle the same arms impaling Eure; (e) similar group, inscription missing; the tabard bears arms ascribed to Kirkby and the mantle those of Fitzalan of Bedale; (f) similar group with remains of an inscription ". . . ington wyf"; there is no heraldry, but the tabard is said to have formerly borne the arms of Swetenham; all the above glass is probably of late 15th-century date; the tracery-lights are filled with glass of various dates, including 21 shields-of-arms, five of them set in trefoiled panels from 14th-century windows; the lights are as follows: (a) mostly foliage; (b) parts of a figure-subject, perhaps the Entry into Jerusalem, also four shields, 1, Gurney, 2, Urswick, 3, Harrington with a label and 4, Harrington with a label impaling Frecton; (c) figures of the Virgin and Child and four shields, 1, Harrington, 2, Bardsey impaling Leyborne, 3, Fleming?, 4, Grey of Ruthyn quartering Hastings and Valence; (d) fragments of a figure-subject, perhaps the Resurrection and two shields, 1, Argent two bars azure quartering a blank coat, 2, 15th-century Royal Arms with a label and the garter probably for Edward Prince of Wales; (e) fragments and seven shields, 1, Middleton of Leighton Hall, 2, Washington (?) quartering Lawrence (?), 3, Sable three lions argent quartering Harrington with a label, 4, Gules three hand-mirrors (?) argent, 5, Fleming, 6, Cartmel Priory, 7, Redmain; (f) fragments and four shields, 1, Redmain, 2, Thweng, 3, Cartmel Priory, 4, Frecton; (g) fragments; the heraldry above is largely of late 13th and 14th-century date except the one 15th-century piece. In N. aisle— in third N. window, panel with carrier's implements—rope, hook, packing pins and a type of hammer, 16th or 17th-century with modern inscription below. Monuments: In S. aisle—on S. wall, (1) to Robert Philipson, 1631, plain marble tablet; on second pier, (2) to Thomas Dixon, 1691, brass plate with wooden frame. Paintings: On soffit of second arch on S. side, Latin inscription in nine verses commemorating the failure of the Gunpowder Plot, with the name and date of Christopher Philipson Jun. 1629; ornamental bands above and below inscription. On spandrels of N. and S. arcades, eight inscriptions in black-letter consisting of questions and answers taken from "Short Questions and Answeares" by Thomas Dawson, 1590, probably late 16th or early 17th-century; two further inscriptions at E. end, modern or partly modern. On face of third pillar on N., text from Coverdale's Bible, 2nd Timothy iv. 2. Plate: includes cup and cover-paten of 1682 with band of engraved ornament round bowl of cup and inscription of 1684, also a pewter flagon and plate. Stoup: In S. porch—in N.E. angle, roughly cut recess probably for former stoup. Tables: In vestry— (Plate 38) with turned legs, carved top rail and brackets, initials and date I. and A.G. 1629 on top of front legs. In nave—with turned legs and plain rails, late 17th or early 18th-century, front top-rail, re-used material with Elizabethan arabesque carving on back. Miscellanea: In tower—carved wooden figure of St. Martin on horseback, dividing his cloak with a beggar, probably 17th-century and foreign.



Monuments (2–11)

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 and cylindrical chimney-shafts.

Condition—Good or fairly good.

(2). Rectory, about ½ m. S. of the church, is said to have been partly re-built in 1650 and again partly in 1680. It was 'improved' in 1770 and has modern additions on the E. and S. The house has a cross-wing at the E. end and a porch on the N. side. The main entrance has an original door of moulded battens. Inside the building are some original doors and two cupboards with moulded framing. The room over the porch has an early 18th-century fireplace with a moulded surround and in the scullery is a boarded partition.

(3). Bordriggs Farm, house, 1,200 yards S. of the church. The projecting part of the E. wing is a later addition. Inside the building, the main room has two early 16th-century moulded ceiling-beams, re-used.

(4). Brantfield Farm, house, ½ m. E.S.E. of the church, has additions on the N. side. Inside the building are some late 17th and early 18th-century doors and a boarded partition.

(5). Helm Farm, house, 1,150 yards E. of the church, has a wing on the S. side. On the N. front is a lozenge-shaped panel with the initials and date I. and M.D. 1691.

(6). Lickbarrow, house, 600 yards N.E. of (5), was re-built in 1730, but incorporates an earlier three-stage cupboard of the local type with carved panels and top rail; on the middle cupboard are the initials and date A. and K.A. 1615, I.B.

(7). Old Heathwaite Farm, house, 200 yards N. of (6), has been re-built in the 18th century but incorporates a three-stage cupboard with carved framing, panels and top-rail; on the rail are the initials and date G. and I.B. 1694. The barn adjoining the house on the N.W. is perhaps of the 17th century.

(8). Cottage at Millbeck Stock, 700 yards N. of the church, has an added wing on the N. Inside the building is a two-stage cupboard with a carved top rail dated 1684. There is also an original muntin and plank partition.

(9). Old Fallbarrow, house, 200 yards N.N.W. of the church, has been altered and added to in the 18th century. Inside the building is a large two-stage cupboard, with carved panels, styles and rails; on the projecting top-rail are the initials and date P. and M.C. 1662. There are also two original doors and a framed and moulded partition.

(10). New Hall Inn, two tenements, 80 yards N.N.E. of the church, was much altered in the 18th century.

(11). Robinson's Place, house, three tenements, 40 yards N.N.W. of the church, was built late in the 17th or early in the 18th century but has been considerably altered.