Saturday, 22 August 2015


ST BEES HEAD is the most westerly point in Cumbria and is the start of the Coast To Coast Walk across the north of England to Robin Hood's Bay on the east coast.


This church on the site of a Benedictine Priory became the parish church at the Dissolution and is dedicated to St Bega an Irish Princess the subject of legend. See further photographs for story.

Wikipedia relates a curious story: When a dig was undertaken in 1981 in the area of the 14th Century ruined chapel at the east end, a number of medieval burials were uncovered, and the remains of an earlier building on a different alignment to the Priory was found. The most significant find was of a man aged 35–45 in a lead coffin in a stone vault, now known as "St. Bees Man", whose body was in a remarkable state of preservation. It has now been established that he was Anthony de Lucy[14], a knight, who died in 1368 in the Teutonic Crusades in Prussia. Although the body was about six hundred years old, his nails, skin and stomach contents were found to be in near-perfect condition. [15]. After his death the vault was enlarged to take the body of his sister, Maud de Lucy, who died in 1398. The probable effigies of both Maud and Anthony can be seen in the extensive history display which includes the shroud in which he was wrapped.

THE PRIORY CHURCH, St Bees, Cumbria.

Situated at the head of Derwent Water, KESWICK is one of the larger market towns in Lakeland and the centre is dominated by the Moot Hall of 1813.
 Travelling north on the A66 north of Keswick the eye is drawn to a white painted rock on the steep scree slopes of Barf near Thornthwaite. (Photograph taken from coach!). It is known as Bishop Rock - the Bishop being the newly appointed Bishop of Derry. It seems that the Bishop was travelling to Whitehaven en route for Ireland in 1783 when he stopped overnight at the Swan Inn at Thornthwaite. He had a few drinks and entered in to a wager with fellow guests that he could ride a pack pony to the  Lord's Seat at the top of Barf. Apparently he had reached the rock now known as Bishop Rock when the pony stumbled and fell killing the rider and itself. They were both buried at the foot of the scree near a rock called The Clerk. The inn landlord had the Bishop Rock whitewashed at a payment of one shilling and a quart of ale!
The rock is still whitewashed annually by Keswick Mountain Rescue Team.
Winlatter Pass reveals some spectacular scenery endemic to this area.
John Peel  (1776 – 1854) was no more than a local character in his native village of Caldbeck, who kept his own pack of hunting hounds.   Peel, who was more than 6ft tall, fathered 13 children after eloping with his loved one to Gretna Green.   He was immortalised in the song, D’ye ken John Peel’,  the words of which were written by his friend John Woodcock Graves, and it was set to music by William Metcalfe, Carlisle Cathedral organist.  
Peel died in 1n1854 at the age of 78 years after falling from his horse.  A very fine gravestone marks the Peel family grave in the churchyard at Caldbeck.

GREYSTOKE is perhaps better known as the supposed ancestral home of the legendary            'Tarzan of the apes'.
 The eccentric eleventh Duke of Norfolk was the owner of Greystoke Castle in the 18th century. He was a Whig and a strong supporter of the American colonists which prompted him to build two curious farm houses on his estate to commemorate two of the battles in the American War of Independence. Both of the farms are surrounded by curtain walls with thin towers and blank arches – ‘Fort Putnam’ also has circular buttresses, whilst ‘Bunkers Hill’ has a crenellated roof and arched windows. Both farms are situated alongside the B5288 to the east of Greystoke. The Duke also built a third farm house – ‘ Spire Farm’, near to the other two, also castle like but with a fine spire on the central tower, reminiscent of a church tower. It is said that the tenant of this farm belonged to an obscure religious sect and the Duke designed the building with this in mind.



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