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St Cuthbert’s Church

Grid Ref: NY 161258

St Cuthbert’s Church lies midway between High and Low Lorton. It is reached by footpaths from the two villages, and by the ancient Crossgates Lane. The earliest known record of a Church in Lorton is of around 1200. The old Church eventually became ruinous, and was replaced with a new building in the early 19th Century.

The chancel was a later addition, with the East window inserted as a memorial to Anthony Steel-Dixon of Lorton Hall. The window was made by Mayer of Munich, and is much liked by parishioners and visitors, although the architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner has called it ‘indefensible’ in his book ‘The Buildings of England - Cumberland and Westmorland’.

The building has fine acoustics, and since 1983 a number of concerts by top-ranking performers have taken place. A new electronic organ was installed in 1992.

The little church is simple and unpretentious, but has a wonderful set of kneelers and communion rail cushions. These have been designed and worked by a dedicated group of Lorton Valley ladies, who have spent some 4600 hours creating the detailed needlework. A book relating the story of the kneelers is kept in the Church for the benefit of visitors. (3 of the 20 kneelers, each 14 feet long, are shown above).

Mary Robinson, the ‘Beauty of Buttermere’, married her imposter husband at Lorton Church on the 2nd of October 1802.

A booklet describing the history of the Church is available.

Aerial photos by Simon Ledingham

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