A Walk to Beetham

A couple of weeks back, finding ourselves child-free for the day (the children were persecuting their doting grandparents) TBH and I decided to stroll to Beetham and back.

We walked from home, meeting the coffin route from Arnside at Hazelslack Tower. The coffin route goes over Beetham Fell, passing through one set of crags through a fault in the cliff…

The first set of steps

And the second crag via the Fairy Steps, where coffins would have to be hauled up using ropes. Allegedly if you can climb the Fairy Steps without touching the sides they you are granted a wish. I didn’t touch the sides so much as become wedged between them.

Fairy steps 

The Tea Room in Beetham, which is above the village shop, was closed, but when they heard that we fancied a cuppa and a slice of cake, they served us anyway. Very nice too.

The tea shop 

The denizens of Beetham are well-served since they can also eat at the excellent Wheatsheaf, a former coaching inn, just off the A6.

The Wheatsheaf 

We regularly drive through Beetham and I’ve long wanted to have a proper look at the imposing church, St. Michael and All Angels.

St Michael and All Angels 

St Michael and All Angels 

St. Michael and All Angels 

As always in a church, I was drawn to the stained glass windows.

Stained glass 

This is an old church, and although most of the windows were apparently smashed by over-zealous roundheads, there are still some remnants of very old windows…

Old stained glass

It struck me that these look like the Legs of Mann, then I read…

Stained glass notice 

…that in fact it’s the coat of arms of Thomas Stanley who was a major player in the War of the Roses, a force to be reckoned with in the North West and also the titular King of Mann.


Henry of Bolingbroke 

…must be Henry Bolingbroke, or Henry IV, and this…

A saint 

…the unnamed saint. It would be fascinating to know why they’re all here.

The more modern windows have an interesting cast of characters too. I’m always pleased to find St. George (looking uncompromisingly English and martial) ….

St George, St Martin 

But was really surprised to come across Charles I.

St Oswald, King Charles I, St Alban 

I wonder how many village churches have two English Kings in their windows?

St, Osyth, Ethelberga, St Lioba 

I was very pleased to find, on the right here, St. Lioba. There’s a little shrine to her in a wall up the road from this church in Slackhead which has always intrigued me. I’ve always assumed that there must be some connection to this church, and there is…

There was a church on this site in Saxon Times.It was dedicated to a little known Saxon saint,St.Lioba. She was born in Wessex in 710 A.D. and was a cousin of St.Boniface. After a convent education she accompanied Boniface on many of his journeys. She died in 780 A.D. and was buried next to Boniface in Fulda Cathedral in West Germany. It is supposed that the marks on the top of the pillar in the nave may indicate where a chapel dedicated to her once stood. In 1982 a statue was erected in a cell a little way up the hill, towards Slackhead, of St.Lioba holding a bell.

There’s also one of those large tombs with a lord and lady laying atop it, but the iconoclasts have been at it and loped off their heads.

Tomb with headless effigies

Ruined house

A ruined house in the woods on Beetham Fell.

A Walk to Beetham

9 thoughts on “A Walk to Beetham

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      It’s amazing what you can see in church windows. I don’t know who designed these but it’s not uncommon to find famous names are responsible.

  1. conrobin says:

    That’s all very familiar, and valued territory for me. The Beetham Tea Shop is a little gem, and I included a mention and photo in one of my own recent posts. You make me wonder with your capacity for searching out points of interest when I tend to charge along without looking enough, but I think I am learning a bit from your posts – a bit late at my stage of life.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      I could never be accused of ‘charging along’, even when I am in a hurry, I’m not sure you’d notice. I prefer to amble, and be a curious traveler.

  2. As always with your local posts I’m deeply envious of the all the great walks you have from home without needing the car. I think you’ve taken me to Beetham before and a fine and interesting collection of old buildings it has if I remember correctly

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      I probably did. When I lived in Arnside, a walk to Beetham was a bit of a favourite. You’re right, it does have a fine collection of buildings. A grand old Norman hall and a working water-mill too. (We visited the water-mill again this summer.)

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