CumbriaMARTINDALEStMartinTours(marathonCC-BY-SA2.0)1 Marathon

St Martin of Tours

The 'Old Church' of St Martin was built in the 1660s on the site of a probable earlier chapel dating from 1220.

Martindale, Cumbria

Opening times

Open all day.


CA10 2NF

Before this, it is believed to have been a pagan site. Items of interest include the yew tree which is over 1300 years old, a reading desk dating from 1634, the font which is believed to be part of a Roman altar and the tiny bell with inscrutable Lombardic characters no one can decipher.

Dedicated to St Martin of Tours, this small but special church was once the focal point of a thriving community despite its remote location.

The church is of simple plan form comprising a single rectangular space and an entrance porch at the west end, yet It has several interesting and ancient features. In 1882 it was restored, the roof having fallen in on the very date of the consecration of the neighbouring church of St Peter, during a violent January storm.

In 1714 the floor was flagged as the congregation were no longer prepared to tolerate the damp earth on which they were obliged to kneel!

At the time of the 1882 restoration the musician’s gallery was taken down and the old box pews replaced with the present day side benches, using the same wood.

As well as the ancient yew tree (from the branches of which it is probable that the famous Bowmen of Martindale made their bows), the churchyard has many interesting tombs including that of the first incumbent, Richard Birkett, who died in 1699 after a ministry of nearly 67 years.

Returning to the present day, the church is fully open and much visited, with all entries in the visitor’s book remarking on the special atmosphere and sense of peace which it conveys.

Evensong is sung on the last Sunday of the month from May to September, and occasional concerts are held where local musicians and some from further afield may be heard, thus keeping up the tradition of the old 'Gallery Singers' which were once a feature of this remarkable, though simple, building.

  • Glorious furnishings

  • Fascinating churchyard

  • Enchanting atmosphere

  • Captivating architecture

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Steps to enter the church or churchyard

  • Dog friendly

  • Car park at church

  • Evensong last Sunday in month May to September.

  • Church of England

Contact information

Other nearby churches

St Peter

Martindale, Cumbria

Built in 1880 by a local builder using local stone and financed by a local family, St Peter's Martindale is noted for the modern stained glass windows depicting Christian themes, dedicated to past members of the community and other notables.

St Andrew

Dacre, Cumbria

Beautiful Norman church on site of 7th century monastery in peaceful Lakeland location and home of the Dacre Bears, four unique medieval stone statues.

St Michael

Barton, Cumbria

Situated within open countryside with views to the Lakeland fells, St Michael';s church lies on a mound in the centre of a circular graveyard, perhaps a pre Christian site.