Barton Church Stars and Stripes - Photograph by Steven Barber

At nearly 1000 years of age, the Church of St Michael, Barton has begun a ‘makeover’ both offline and online to ensure it is fighting fit for the 21st century and beyond. Thanks to local support and funding from a number of national bodies, the Church is undergoing urgent re-pointing work in order to preserve it for future generations.

In addition, its long and colourful history has been brought to life through a new website designed to highlight its fascinating architecture and connections that span both the millennia and the globe. Located between the villages of Tirril and Pooley Bridge, Barton Church is a popular and much-loved local place of worship that has played a part in the lives of thousands of locals over the centuries. Dating back to the 12th century, it has celebrated the key moments in the year for the local community together with births, marriages and deaths of generations of Barton parishioners as well as families from the Penrith area and much further afield.

Barton Church - Photo by Steven Barber

Barton Church – Photo by Steven Barber

In addition, it is home to many points of architectural interest and significance.  From the highly unusual Norman double arch at the heart of the church to the 13th century bust of Edward Longshanks, the Canadian connections commemorated in the maple leaves found in the stained glass windows to the Washington family coat of arms – a precursor to the ‘Stars and stripes’ found at various points around the church, it is a true melting pot.  Thanks to this project, visitors can now learn in detail about the church’s heritage and architecture via a new dedicated website –

Back in the real world, however,time and weather have taken their toll on this historic building.  The last three, five-yearly, inspections have highlighted the progressive deterioration in the pointing of the exterior walls, particularly to the tower, and to the roof ridge stones and gable copings.  Now that the complex and extensive scaffolding is in place James Innerdale, the specialist Conservation Architect who is advising the Parochial Church Council, is now able to better assess the extent of the remedial work required.

Henry Pitt, Churchwarden and Project Team Leader commented:

It was always understood that the full extent of the work would only become clear once the scaffolding was in place.  We are pleased that we have been able to place the contracts for the scaffolding and the stonework with experienced local contractors; Eden Scaffolding and Lake District Lime respectively and are confident that the fabric of the church will be repaired and improved so that generations to come can enjoy this remarkable building.


L to R James Innersole Henry Pitt Jayne Potts Cyril Wilson Bill Pretswell Rev David Wood

L to R James Innersole Henry Pitt Jayne Potts Cyril Wilson Bill Pretswell Rev David Wood – Picture by Steven Barber

There are several ways that visitors can support the church.  Despite the work onsite, the church remains open every day to visitors from all over the UK and beyond. Regular Sunday services are held (details can be found on the website).

However, perhaps the very best way to show support is to enjoy a guided tour lead by academics and volunteers this September.  Barton Church Heritage Open Days will be held on Friday 7, Saturday 8 (10.30am and 2.30pm both days) and Sunday 9 September (11.45am and 3pm) followed the week after on Friday 14, Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 September at the same times as the previous week.  Tours are free and last approximately 1 hour.  Why not bring a picnic to enjoy in the grounds before or after a tour?

Barton Church is located between the villages of Tirril and Pooley Bridge, a 15 minute drive from Penrith and the M6 motorway and is open to visitors at all times.  This heritage project has been funded thanks to pledges from the local community amounting to £15,000 plus grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Headley Trust, the Wolfson Trust, AllChurches, Jill Franklin and Alan Evans Memorial Trusts.  For further information visit

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