Monday, September 07, 2015

Wreay Church

Nothing we like better than a really unusual church, and this one is unique.  Built in the 1840s by Sarah Losh, it is a surprising thing to find deep in the Cumbrian countryside.

We were alerted to its existence by my elder sister who lives in Cumbria and had enjoyed a guided tour explaining some of the symbolism.

 We fitted it into our return journey from Sanquhar, as, in fact, it is South-East of Carlisle.

Sarah Losh was the daughter of a Cumbrian family who had made their money in industry.  She and her sister travelled on the Continent just after the Napoleonic wars.  She clearly gathered ideas while there, because, when the opportunity came to rebuild the parish church, she knew what she liked and it was an Italian basilica.  She drew up the designs herself. 

Everywhere throughout the building are symbolic carvings, not traditionally Christian symbols, but symbols of life and death and of eternity.  This wonderful font appears to have been designed and carved by Sarah herself.

Many of the images act as memorials to her sister, and to Major Thain, a family friend who died in the Afghan wars.

Outside, the unusual imagery continues.

Sarah added a replica of the famous Bewcastle Cross, a very early Anglo-Saxon cross from further north in Cumbria.




weavinfool said...

Interesting. Thank you.

Mary Lou said...

Really interesting. Unusual for a woman to do that as well. Off to do some online looking!

knitski said...

I find it so interesting that a woman design this church, too. Thanks for the visit.