CumbriaBOWNESSONSOLWAYStMichael(thecarlislekidCC-BY-SA2.0)1 TheCarlisleKid

St Michael

In an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, adjacent to the hidden gem of the Solway Firth, St Michael’s offers the visitor a peaceful space for reflection, together with many points of historical interest.

Bowness on Solway, Cumbria

Opening times

Open all year 9am to 4pm approximately (dependent upon time of year).


Bowness on Solway

St Michael’s is situated on the northwest Cumbria coast with spectacular views across the Solway estuary to Dumfries & Galloway. The area is a designated AONB, and Bowness sits on the site of the Roman Fort called Maia, the second largest on Hadrian’s Wall.

The church itself is built very largely with stones taken from the Roman Fort of Bowness which marked the western extremity of the wall built by the Emperor Hadrian. Good examples of these Roman stones can be seen particularly in the west wall and to the east of the window near the pulpit.

Visitors should be sure to explore the graveyard which has some significant stones recording an interesting social history.

Look for the ancient sundial, smuggler’s grave, hearse house and medieval stone coffin.

The church was restored at the end of the 19th century when the low ceiling was removed and the roof opened out. One can now easily imagine the church to have been built in the shape of a ship, upside down with the central beam running the length of the church to represent the keel.

The church has an enviable collection of stained glass windows. There are 21 stained glass windows; the glass in east window dates from 1891 and is by Daniel Bell; rest of the glass is from 20th century and contains a number of recurring local themes including the sea, fishing, agriculture, children the church building.

The early morning sun shining through the east window, the evening sun through the west and the late midsummer sun lighting up all the glass in the transept is breath taking.

There is a fabulous collection of banners, hassocks and cushions, most designed by a local lady and made in or near the village. They are notable for their colour, individuality and representation of the locality, including the varied wild life.

With Cumbria Wildlife Trust nature reserve, and the RSPB Campfield Marsh nature reserve nearby, Bowness is also a perfect base for exploring the Solway Coast. Within easy reach of the Northern Lake District and the Scottish border, it offers the visitor a wide range of interests and opportunities.

  • Wildlife haven

  • Spectacular stained glass

  • Social heritage stories

  • National heritage here

  • Magnificent memorials

  • Glorious furnishings

  • Fascinating churchyard

  • Famous connections

  • Enchanting atmosphere

  • Captivating architecture

  • Steps to enter the church or churchyard

  • On street parking at church

  • Church shop or souvenirs

  • Bus stop within 100m

  • Accessible toilets nearby

  • Church of England

Contact information

Other nearby churches

Old Parish Church

Gretna Green, Dumfries & Galloway

The church had its origins in Pictish times at St Brigids Well on Gretna Hill.

St Andrew

Aikton, Cumbria

A traditional village church made from stone from Hadrians Wall.