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Kirkby Lonsdale

St. Marys church

In the middle of the town is one of the finest churches in the county, St. Marys Church. A fine Norman building, it was probably built between 1090 and 1130, and can be found behind Market Street, down an alley beside the C17 pub. The church looks as though it had been planned as a much larger construction and this becomes obvious as you walk around inside. The impressive Norman arched doorway has good detail decoration, echoed inside the building on the columns and arches. The tower has been rebuilt and increased in height on a number of occasions and also has a rather unsympathetic addition, the clock, the faces of which have been imposed on the walls without regard to the effect they would have. This would be a blight in most circumstances, but here it can be forgiven, adding to the charm of the building. Inside you enjoy the full benefit of the stained glass in the windows and can admire the magnificent Norman columns. The grass in the grave yard is cut only once a year in order to promote wild flowers and insects, and the policy has paid off: the grass in summer is long and full of life and flowers. Well worth a visit. Sign the book and make a donation to the upkeep of the church.

The Devil's Bridge, a scheduled Ancient Monument, takes its name from a local tale about an old woman who outsmarted the devil. The bridge (now for pedestrians only) dates back to the C15, spanning the River Lune in three elegant arches.

Kirkby Lonsdale is a small town but has good shopping and recreational facilities, and it is close enough to Kendal to share that town's amenities. A busy calendar of events is an extra draw for visitors: highlights include the Victorian Weekend when inhabitants and visitors dress up in Victorian costume. The Grasmere Sports and Lunesdale Agricultural Show will appeal to those with more country-oriented interests. Not far to the north is the village of Barbon, just off the A683, where sheepdog trials and speed hill climbs for racing cars and motorcycles are held.





Copyright EDGE 1997