Burgh by Sands Church of St Michael

Has been described as a Certain Fortified Ecclesiastical site, and also as a Certain Pele Tower

There are major building remains

NameBurgh by Sands Church of St Michael
Alternative Names
Historic CountryCumberland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishBurgh By Sands

Church, probably of late 12th century date. The fortified west tower was added circa 1350, while the east tower, which was probably built as a vicar's pele, dates from the 15th century. The church was altered in 1713 and restored in 1881. Built of sandstone with a slate roof. The plan comprises a three-storey west tower, nave with north aisle, chancel and single-bay vestry under a common roof. The vestry was formerly the vicar's tower, reduced in height and gabled over, probably in 1713. This is one of a small number of fortified churches in the border area, unique in having two fortified towers. (PastScape)

Church. Probably late C12, bell tower 1360, C15 east tower, alterations of 1713 and restoration 1881. Squared and coursed red and calciferous sandstone (from the nearby Roman Wall and Roman Fort, on which site the church stands); graduated greenslate roof, C20 brick chimney stack on vestry. 3-storey west tower; 3-bay nave with north aisle, 2-bay chancel and single-bay vestry (former east tower) under common roof. West tower has extremely thick walls on chamfered plinth with clasping buttresses; vaulted lower chamber has newel staircase in south-west angle, lit by arrow slits; west wall has internal steps in thickness of wall, to arrow slit; loop hole near former north entrance in aisle. South-east buttress has inscription I.S. 1560(?). First floor trefoil-head lancets in each wall, that in east wall looks into nave; round-arched bell openings above, square-headed in east wall. Battlemented parapet with projecting lead water spouts. O.S. bench mark on north-west buttress. East entrance from nave has iron yet and drawbar tunnel. Medieval bells. Repositioned Norman north entrance to aisle, has beakhead decoration; Victorian restoration of outer order. Inscriptions on jambs: I.B. 1769, I.B. 1842. When the bell tower was built, it appears this entrance was blocked and a shouldered-arched entrance opened in the west wall of aisle, itself now blocked

Pointed lancet windows of 1881. South wall of nave has 3 blocked square-headed windows, replaced with C19 2-light windows with plate tracery; large C18 aedicule monument between windows has very weathered inscription. Chancel has pointed lancets of 1881 and probable lepers' window, although this appears to be in a blocked priest's entrance. Vestry was formerly the vicar's tower, reduced in height and gabled over, probably in 1713; remains of a blocked C15 window; round-headed C18 windows, upper floor C19 sash window with glazing bars in east end. Interior: 3-bay north aisle arcade of pointed arches on octagonal columns with stiff-leaf capitals (columns collapsed when tower was built in 1360 and had to be rebuilt). Open timber roof to nave of 1881. C19 stained glass. C19 chancel arch, aumbry recess; east sanctuary wall has entrance to vestry right and sculptured corbel stone from Roman Fort to left. Early C20 furnishings and fittings. C18 font on C19 shaft. One of a small number of fortified churches in the border area, unique in having 2 fortified towers. (Listed Building Report)

Gatehouse Comments

The east tower is usually and probably best considered as a vicar's pele tower, attached to the church. The walls of the west belfry tower and very thick but it is the narrow entrance from the nave, equipped with a yett and door with deep drawbar, that makes this a defensive feature.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY328591
Latitude54.9221115112305
Longitude-3.04906988143921
Eastings332860
Northings559100
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Copyright Joseph Katrencik All Rights Reserved
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Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
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Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved

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Books

  • Harrison, Peter, 2004, Castles of God (Woodbridge; Boydell Press) p. 67, 68 n1
  • Brooke, C.J., 2000, Safe Sanctuaries (Edinburgh; John Donald) p. 10, 280-286, 288, 295, 308, 310, 315-6, 319, 331, 339, 359-60, 361-2, 367
  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 62-3 (plan)
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 36
  • Cope, Jean, 1991, Castles in Cumbria (Cicerone Press) p. 95-6
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 97
  • Hugill, Robert, 1977, Castles and Peles of Cumberland and Westmorland (Newcastle; Frank Graham) p. 53-4
  • Pevsner, N., 1967, Buildings of England: Cumberland and Westmorland (Harmondsworth: Penguin) p. 81
  • Grainger, F. and Collingwood, W.G., 1929, The Register and Records of Holm Cultram (Kendal: CWAAS Record Series 8) online transcription
  • Curwen, J.F., 1913, Castles and Fortified Towers of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire North of the Sands (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 8) p. 324-5
  • Lysons, Daniel and Samuel, 1816, 'Antiquities: Ancient church architecture' Magna Britannia Vol. 4: Cumberland p. cxci-ii and plates online transcription

Journals

  • Storey, R.L., 1955, 'The manor of Burgh-by-Sands' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 54 p. 121, 130 online copy
  • Whyte, T., 1919, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of London Vol. 31 p. 175
  • Bruce Jones, 1901, 'Proceedings' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 1 p. 310 online copy
  • 1887, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne (ser2) Vol. 2 p. 238
  • Watkin, W.T., 1882, 'Roman inscriptions discovered in Britain in 1881, with notes on another found at Binchester' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 39 p. 357-8 online copy
  • Cory, J.A., 1875, 'Notices of certain remarkable Fortified Churches existing in Cumberland' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 2 p. 46-56 online copy (reprint of 1859 article)
  • Cory, J.A., 1859, 'Notices of certain remarkable fortified Churches in Cumberland' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 16 p. 318-25 online copy

Other

  • Kelland, C.H., 1982, Ecclesiae Incastellatae: A Documentary and Architectural Study of the Concept of 'Fortified Churches' in England and Wales (M.Phil. Thesis, 2 vols, University College, University of London) p. 192