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Historic Cumbrian church’s plans to raise the roof

THE congregation of a historic Lake District church is launching a major appeal to fund a new roof and other improvements inside the building.

The Rev'd Stuart Penny at Crosthwaite Church, KeswickA target of £350,000 has been set by Crosthwaite Church, Keswick, to pay for all the necessary work, with nearly £200,000 earmarked for work to renew the roof.

It comes after surveys revealed significant deterioration in the wooden laths and brads of the roof, though it is hoped some existing tiles could be replaced on the building, Keswick’s oldest dating from 1523.

The Rev’d Stuart Penny, Vicar of Crosthwaite, Keswick, said: “It may look fine to the casual viewer but the entire roof of Crosthwaite Church needs to be renewed. We are fortunate that the storms of recent years have not done more damage to it.

“The Church Council (PCC) takes its responsibility seriously. We have some limited funds and are making applications to grant-making bodies. Congregation members are playing their part with everyone being encouraged to do what they can. However, we cannot find this money alone.

“Crosthwaite Church is loved and valued by locals and visitors alike, especially those with family links. So we are appealing to those who love and value this building locally, around the country and abroad, to help us in this task.”

It’s hoped that the church’s rich history will boost the fundraising appeal. Three Lakeland poets – Wordsworth, Southey and Coleridge all worshipped there – and the site’s faith history dates back to 553AD when it was founded by St Kentigern. For some years the site was home to the monks of Fountains Abbey. And former vicar Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley, one of the founders of the National Trust, and his wife Edith who founded the Keswick School of Industrial Art, are also buried in the church graveyard.

Estimates for the work to the roof come in at £196,000. If the £350,000 target is reached it would fund improved heating and disabled access, kitchen facilities, special draught excluders in the tower and more comfortable seating. The renewal of the roof is the priority, with all other work following as part of a phased programme when the extra money has been raised.

This week the congregation is officially launching the start of the fundraising campaign. They plan to raise money at a forthcoming Christmas fayre at the Lyzzick Hall Hotel, a series of future events including one at the Lingholm Estate and various small ventures by congregation members.

The Rev'd Stuart Penny at the top of Crosthwaite Church's towerStuart added: “It is not just about the roof but about maintaining and improving the facilities of an ancient church so that it can be of use today and for future generations as a place of gathering for worship and reaching out to the community.

“The church is a cherished part of the life and history of this area. It is full of history and memory but is no museum piece. It is a living place of worship which is used for Sunday and seasonal services and concerts. It is open daily for anyone who seeks peace and repose.

“Our church family is very much involved in local community life. The building and its grounds are a community focal point. Through our fund raising efforts we want to ensure it will remain so for many more years to come.”

The Church will also tithe all donations, with 10% of all money raised going to charities which provide shelter for people who have no roof over their heads at all.

Donations can be made in a number of ways: by cheque made payable to ‘Crosthwaite PCC’, via a designated donations box in church, by ‘buying a slate’ (see the display in church), via the ‘Just Giving’ link on the church’s website ( or by Bank Transfer to Crosthwaite PCC, HSBC Keswick, Sort Code: 40-26-06, Account No: 80262153, specifying ‘Raising the Roof’ and your name.


Notes to editors
Proposed schedule of work and estimated total costs:
£196, 000 - Renew the roof.
£216,000 - Renew the roof and improve the heating system.
£255,000 – As above plus improved disabled access, new disabled WC and dementia-friendly improvements.
£275,000 - As above plus new kitchen facilities.
£285,000 – As above plus a screen to the tower to improve draught exclusion.
£350,000 – As above plus more comfortable, age-friendly seating.


For further information contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager, on 07469 153658, 01768 807764 or at

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