Great Orton St Giles

Form 1A

(Rules 3.2 and 4.6)

Standard Information (parish churches etc.)

Great Orton St Giles
Carlisle Diocese Code: 2031
National Church Code: 607100
LB Unique ID: 78364
Grid Ref: 78364
Latitude: 54.878920
Longitude: -3.048396
Situated prominently at the Northern end of the village.
Carlisle
Great Orton St Giles
Great Orton
Barony of Burgh
Carlisle

St Giles’ Church Great Orton, founded 1098, now a Grade 11* Listed Building is reputed to have been the first church built in Cumberland following the Norman Conquest and is the only church in Carlisle Diocese dedicated to St Giles. Built of sandstone blocks from Hadrian’s Wall, the church is of simple design with chancel and nave. Two beams above the chancel and two Norman windows in the sanctuary may be original. Externally, marks made by the original masons can be found. Internally, the three feet thick walls are of ‘navis’ design representing a ship or ‘The Ark’.

The single bell is dated 1752. An extension and refurbishments took place in the late 1880s.  Other items and stained glass windows added during the 19th century are of special interest.

Over the centuries, the church has been through turbulent times, due to its close proximity to the Scottish border. Because of this, little written history is available, except for church records, which are almost complete from1538. Although dedicated to St. Giles, the church was for a while dedicated to St Kentigern until the late 19th century, when the original dedication was restored.

The Church is usually open all year round. Visitors of all faiths or none are welcome for prayer or to discover more about our local history or heritage. Access is from the main road through the village, along a level driveway with no steps between the road and the interior of the church. There is an adjacent car park.

C12
Yes
Grade II*
No
No
No
No
No
None
Yes
Yes
No
No
War Memorial remembering all those from the parish who fell serving their country and records the name, rank and regiment, together with the date and location of death.
A. McGregor, Johnston & Wright
10/2013

St Giles’ Church Great Orton, founded 1098, is the oldest building in the parish and has been a centre of faithful ministry, worship and celebration for the people of Orton for over 900years. It is reputed to have been the first parish church built in Cumberland following the Norman Conquest. and uniquely, is the only church in the Carlisle Diocese dedicated to St Giles.

Built of irregular coursed, dressed, grey and red sandstone blocks from Hadrian’s Wall, the Church is of simple design comprising a chancel and nave, the chancel arch and dividing wall are assumed to have been removed at the time of restoration in order to improve the liturgical arrangement. Two wooden beams above the chancel are believed to be original, as are two Norman windows on each side of the sanctuary, but the windows in the nave appear to have been enlarged during the C19th alterations.

Externally, traces of marks made by the original masons can be found and internally, the three feet thick walls are of ‘navis’ design representing the shape of a ship, or more biblically ‘The Ark’.

The pitched roof is stone flagged over an exposed roof structure.

The Church was extended at the west end during the mid 19th century when an adjoining school room was demolished.

Following the extension, other internal renovation took place including installation of most of the stained glass windows. The west window is in Arts & Craft style by Campbell, Smith & Co. 1886. A more recent window depicting and dedicated to St. Giles was added in the mid 20th century.

The font cover, designed by a previous long serving incumbent was carved by a parishioner and bears a Greek palindrome translated to mean ‘wash not only my feet, but my sins’. Other items carved by the same craftsman are the lectern, and choir stall ends.

The porch was added to the north side entrance around the turn of the 20th century. Another doorway on the south side of the chancel provides an alternative means of exit if necessary.

The Bellcote(recently restored) at the west end houses a 17” diameter bell dating from 1752, with the names of the two Churchwardens of that time embossed on the rim.

The Church is accessed from the north west side through double gates under a metal arch. The gravel driveway provides level access with no steps between the road and the interior of the church.

Due to the close proximity of the English/Scottish border, the area has experienced a turbulent history with frequent raids and destruction. It is therefore not surprising that prior to the 17th century, the Church was a natural target and suffered fire at this time. During this time, the original dedication was lost and the Church was dedicated to St. Kentigern(or Mungo). It was not until the late 19th century that a document was found resulting in the original dedication being restored.

Currently, there are services twice or three times each month including an Ecumenical service. The wider church community enjoys a variety of other activities and events. Community outreach has successfully been achieved with lunches served at different times during the Church’s year, catering for all of the community and visitors too.

Regular Sunday services and other events, e.g. occasional concerts. The Church is open all year round. We have welcomed many visitors, local, national and from overseas. We are also part of the Solway Faith Trail. As well as being available to all parishioners we believe that the church should be open and accessible to visitors of all faiths or none, from near or far who want to use the building for prayer, or discover more about our local history and heritage. Everyone is welcome.
Elizabeth Reed
On behalf of the Churchwarden
03/03/2016