CumbriaKIRKBYTHOREStMichael(humphreyboltonCC-BY-SA2.0)1 HumphreyBolton

St Michael

An important parish church, 14th century with many later changes clearly visible inside and out, in a fine setting between the River Eden and the North Pennines.

Kirkby Thore, Cumbria

Opening times

Open daily in daylight hours.
If closed or for more information contact Margaret Davidson (churchwarden) on 017683 61699.

Address

Cross Street
Kirkby Thore
Cumbria
CA10 1UP

St Michael’s is a fine example of a medieval country parish church. The parish extended from the River Eden across the North Pennines to the River Tees, admittedly with more sheep than people but nonetheless, in its heyday, one of the richest livings in the diocese, alas no longer!

The church enjoys a fine position at the northern edge of the village of Kirkby Thore within a large walled churchyard ringed by sycamore trees and with uninterrupted views of the hills in the distance. The current sandstone building dates from c1150 when land was given for a church by the Whelp family, Lords of the Manor. Largely destroyed in Scottish raids at the end of the 14th century, St Michael’s was rebuilt and extended.

Many changes over time are clearly visible outside with windows replaced or enlarged and the tower raised to accommodate the large Big Tom bell brought from Shap Abbey at the dissolution by the Abbot, who had previously bought out the living of St Michael’s.

Later, inside, the Victorians raised the nave and choir ceiling to put in a taller east window, and replaced the medieval screen with a false Gothic plaster arch and purely decorative hammer type roof supports. The fine Jacobean furniture, including pulpit, altar table and font were given to the church by the then Rector Thomas Machell, a distinguished antiquarian and local historian, an ardent royalist and Chaplain to Charles II. Most recently, as well as major repairs to the church fabric, a modern toilet and kitchen have been added.

Kirkby Thore is now a large village, growing in the second half of the 20th century beyond the Main Street and Cross Street of the medieval village, sited beside the much older Roman cavalry fort of Bravoniacum at the road division to Carlisle and Houseteads on Hadrians Wall. Nothing of the fort remains above ground but for today’s visitor there is a well stocked shop and a Café/Bistro serving excellent meals.

  • Spectacular stained glass

  • National heritage here

  • Glorious furnishings

  • Fascinating churchyard

  • Enchanting atmosphere

  • Captivating architecture

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • On street parking at church

  • Level access throughout

  • Café within 500m

  • Accessible toilets in church

  • Morning Prayer and Holy Communion 2nd, 4th Sundays, Messy Church 1st Sunday, Family Church 3rd Sunday,

  • Village Tea in Memorial Hall 4th Wednesday and occasional coffee mornings in church.

  • Summer concerts.

  • Church of England

  • Community Grant, £8,000, 2018

  • Our Community Grants helped churches to install essential facilities such as toilets and kitchens.

  • WREN Heritage Fund Grant, £25,000, 2014

  • WREN (Waste Recycling Environmental)  Funds were awarded for urgent repair projects, based on our recommendation, to help keep churches open.

Contact information

Other nearby churches

St Margaret & St James

Long Marton, Cumbria

Pre Norman building of Dufton red sandstone with a fine carved hammer beam chancel ceiling, 11th century tower, unusual tympana, a dual sedilla and a piscina.

St Cuthbert

Dufton, Cumbria

This attractive church surrounded by hay meadows and views of the Pennines, is a peaceful haven on a popular footpath and close to the Pennine Way and cycle routes.