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Page Editor: Richard Theobald Page last Reviewed: 18 Jan 2015

St Patrick's Church

St. Patrick’s is one of the finest Victorian Churches in 
the Diocese of Carlisle. It was built by Levi Hodgson and Robert McAdam of Patterdale to the design of the famous architect Anthony Salvin. The Church was consecrated by the Bishop of Carlisle on 3 November 1853 . An excellent meeting room was built in 1995.

Earlier Churches

The present St. Patrick’s replaced a Church built about 1600. There have been earlier places of worship in the Dale. A charter of 1348 refers to ‘the Chapel of Patricksdale’. There is a ruin of an old Chapel on Boredale Hause on the way over to Martindale. 

St. Patrick and Local Tradition

Local tradition says that St. Patrick came to this Dale in the early 5th century, that he converted many local people to Christianity and that the Dale is named after him (St. Patrick’s Dale or Patterdale). Near the Church and War Memorial is St. Patrick’s Well. 

Who was St. Patrick?

St. Patrick was born about 390 in Roman Britain, possibly near the Solway. He would have spoken his native Celtic (Welsh) language of old Britain but would also have written and spoken the Latin language of the Roman Occupation and of the Romano-British Church which was his Christian background. When a young man, St. Patrick was stolen from his home by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland . He escaped and returned to Britain . St. Patrick; a man of simplicity, prayer and purpose was ordained priest. In about 430, the Church in Britain sent him back to Ireland as a missionary Bishop. St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland and Patterdale, died in about 460. 

Inside the Church

The beautiful embroidery of the Good Shepherd on the north wall was made in 1938 by Ann Macbeth (1875-1948) who was a distinguished member of the Glasgow School and who came to live in Patterdale. Opposite the Good Shepherd hangs a printed reproduction of Ann Macbeth’s Patterdale Nativity copied from the original embroidery which belongs to Glasgow. There are two more beautiful embroideries by Ann Macbeth in the Church. A touching embroidery by Joan Drew asks God to ‘keep the mountain lands all the winter through’. Local people with the school children made the interesting banner.

The Altar at the East End of the Church


People come to the main Altar at the east end of the Church to take part in the Service of Holy Communion, which celebrates God’s love, forgiveness and hope. The Altar is magnificent — made of oak and part of the original furniture of the Victorian Church .

The Altar at the West End of the Church

This Altar came originally from the Church of St. Martin in the Fields in London . It was given to the well known sculptor, Josefina de Vasconcellos, who placed it in a Chapel, part of a house in the Duddon valley used to help young disadvantaged people. In 1970 the Altar was dedicated by the Bishop of Carlisle ‘in memory of all those who have lost their lives in air crashes on the Lakeland fells’. In the Millennium year Josefina gave the Altar to St. Patrick’s to be a place of pilgrimage for relatives and friends. The book near the Altar shows that over 500 people lost their lives in air crashes on the Lakeland fells in the 1939-45 war and afterwards. St. Patrick’s, a beautiful Church in the midst of the Lakeland fells, is a fitting place for remembrance. 


Worship at St. Patrick's

St. Patrick’s is a uniting Anglican and Methodist Church. The main Sunday Service is at 10.30am to which everyone is most welcome. The Friends of St. Patrick’s put the Church at the centre of a wider community so please join the Friends to keep in touch with St. Patrick’s