Isel church is a beautiful Grade I listed building, which is located in an idyllic position in a carefully tended churchyard close to the River Derwent.
The building dates from about AD 950, though the site may be older. Being the end-point of the recently published 'St Bega’s Way', a long distance walk developed by one of its parishioners, the church attracts many walkers.
The church is always open and is widely visited by people from all over the world. To reflect this the church has a collection of Bibles in 28 languages, which make overseas visitors feel at home.
St Bega’s has had some famous visitors over the years who appreciated its beautiful setting. Wordsworth, Tennyson and Carlyle, all stepped foot through the door and more recently it provided the setting for Melvyn Bragg’s novel Credo.
In October 2008, with the blessing of the Bishop of Carlisle, the Orthodox Bishop Basil of Amphipolis borrowed St Bega’s to ordain Father John Muster of Keswick. This was appropriate as St Bega’s is one of few Cumbrian churches to survive from before the time of the Great Schism (1064) when the western and eastern churches split.