St Michael dates back to the 12th Century, but was largely rebuilt in the 14th Century after a Scottish raid destroyed much of the building. Its oldest section is the base of the tower, built in 1150. The “Great Tom” bell, cast in 1450, is the largest in Cumbria. It is thought to have come from nearby Shap Abbey when the abbey was dissolved under Henry VIII.
The project to install a toilet and kitchen comes amid major restoration work after an inspection report found the church needed urgent repairs. It is hoped that the new facilities will help return the church to the centre of village life, as it has been for 900 years, enabling it to host a wider variety of gatherings, from school events to parish meetings, and to become a more attractive venue for weddings and baptisms.