St John's Church, Garrigill
Vicar: Rev. Mark Nash-Williams
The Parsonage, Brampton Road, Alston, Cumbria, CA9 3AA Tel: 01434 382558
Churchwarden: Mrs Alison Clapp
The church in Garrigill is open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. Everyone is welcome to go in whether it is to look at the building, for quiet contemplation and prayer, or to take shelter from the elements. We have even had Pennine Wayers sleeping there in thunderstorms when all other places were full or shut! Our only proviso is please leave the church as you found it.
Holy Communion is a regular service once per month on the fourth Sunday at 9.30am. All are welcome; you may receive communion if you wish.
Most Friday mornings there is Morning Prayer at midday.
For baptisms and weddings please contact the vicar.
There has been a church on this site since the 11th century, though the current building dates from 1752 or 1790, depending on whose history you read. The church shows signs of the series of alterations which has occurred over the centuries with the arch being added covering a window, and the impressive stained glass window which replaced some small sash windows.
Click here to see the Register of Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths 1699 to 1730.
There are two fonts although one is stored in the vestry. These were the subject of a dispute between a former vicar and the schoolmaster in the 1880s. After a falling out between them, the font disappeared. It was returned in 2009 by one of the schoolmaster’s descendants.
The war memorials from the First and Second World Wars with the names of those from Garrigill (far too many) who died are found in the church. The memorial for the Great War makes up the reredos behind the altar and the memorial for the Second World War is on the South wall.
We have tried to manage the churchyard as a nature conservation area, formerly with working parties for grass cutting and latterly with the help of a local farmer’s sheep (so please keep the gate shut if you see sheep in there!). We have a large wild bird population with many common and also less common species. There are red squirrels and occasionally hedgehogs, and a bat population is seen flying about at dusk. Local children made the bird and bat boxes with Cumbria Wildlife Trust.
Upkeep of the building
Cleaning and flower arranging are entirely done by volunteers. Come and join us! All help will be gratefully received.
Like many churches today we have a battle to pay our way for the day to day running expenses such as the recently-completed roof repairs running into many thousands of pounds.
Less essential but still in our dreams is re-building the organ which the organ tuner tells us is necessary. The “action” of the organ is over 100 years old and is showing its age. This will cost £35,000 if we are ever able to raise the money or get grants.
We have a Friends of Garrigill Church scheme so if you are able to help us financially on a regular or irregular basis please do so; the church needs safeguarding for future generations. If you live in the village remember it is your church! If you are a visitor please remember that keeping it open does cost money.
We hope you enjoy the peace and space that the church and churchyard provides.