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Church of the week

Jesus Church, Troutbeck

Featured on 23rd December 2020

TROUTBECK Jesus Church

Jesus church, Troutbeck

Built to serve two settlements, yet sited in neither, this is one of only two churches in England dedicated as Jesus Church.

Very little of that original church remains today, for in 1736 the whole church was dismantled and rebuilt.

The chancel contained a tiny railed off communion table with seating around three sides, for the use of leading parishioners. A slender oak screen divided the church from the nave, where a three-decker pulpit was situated which included a reading desk and the clerk's seat. Plain oak benches extended to the back of the church.

All of this was swept away during a second restoration in 1861.

As a result, not much remains of that 1736 church apart from the west gallery, whereon hangs the coat of arms of George II dated 1737 and the original church chest with its three locks also remains. The massive beams are also almost certainly from the church as well as the tiny three light window in the tower.

The crowning glory is the East Window. Designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, it is remarkably large for the comparatively small building and it makes the inside of the church bright and colourful. Local tradition has it that William Morris and Ford Madox Brown came to Troutbeck on a fishing holiday whilst Burne-Jones was working on the window, so they stayed to assist him. The result is a fusion of work from three masters with Morris being responsible for the design of the greenery and Madox Brown contributing to the design.

The church has some delightful stories to tell about its parishioners who attended over the years. The Brownes were an ordinary farming family, however Mr Ben Browne did well in growing the farm and as a result he became High Constable of Kendall. So proud of his new standing in the community and in order to let everyone know how important the family was, in 1710, he installed his own pew in the church. This did not go down very well with the people in the village, so one night they broke into the church, ripped out the pew and burnt it!

The church is notable for its yew trees and its three lych gates, one at each of the entrances to the churchyard.


Main photo: Peter Moore (CC-BY-SA2.0)

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