Welcome to St Cuthbert’s Church, Dufton.

St Cuthbert’s Church is situated 0.7 miles North of the village of Dufton, Cumbria, England. Not to be confused with nearby St Cuthbert’s church, Milburn. It is an active Anglican parish church in the deanery of Appleby, the archdeaconry of Carlisle and the diocese of Carlisle. Its benefice is united with those of ten local churches to for the benefice of Heart of Eden.

The Parish Church of St Cuthbert, Dufton, is situated three quarters of a mile north-west of the village of Dufton – the name of which means ‘dove farm’ – and nestles beneath the eastern fells above the Eden Valley, about three miles north of Appleby and twelve miles south-east of Penrith. From the new churchyard, fine views are to be had of Dufton Pike and the Pennines. The old churchyard is curvilinear, indicating a Celtic foundation. ‘Old Dufton’, the site of a settlement on the fell above Dufton, has been identified as Romano-British. The first mention of ‘the manor of Dufton’ occurs in the Pipe Rolls of 1176 and of the church itself in Papal Taxation Records of 1291.

Latest

Exhibition of the Heritage of St Cuthbert’s, Dufton

In 2019 the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a grant of £94,000 to carry out much-needed repairs to St Cuthbert’s and develop ways to share the story of the heritage of this ancient building. There is a covid compliant milestone event planned for Saturday 3rd July starting at 10:30am which will showcase the work already carried out. As part of the day there be an opportunity to explore the churchyard and identify the wildflowers growing there.

Although delayed by covid the building work was completed in 2020.  Much information about the history of the church was already available in the minds and attics of some of the villagers, and this project brings those together.

There was a church on the site in 1291, but there is evidence to suggest that this was a successor to a much earlier foundation. The first churches were much smaller than the present structure but many of the stones and some architectural features do date back to the earliest buildings

The exhibition will allow visitors to see the results of work completed so far, including information about the link with St Cuthbert, the statue which gives a possible connection with the Romans or Saxons and information about the life of the saint born in Dufton, St John Boste.

This is the first opportunity to see the results of an extensive survey which identifies most of the old graves and by using old documents, has recorded inscriptions, many of which are now worn away. In the future this will be available  for family history researchers to find the graves of their ancestors.

The first piece of the project research tells the story of how the church has been cared for in earlier times.  This has looked particularly at six refurbishments since 1673. It describes not only the physical changes but also, where possible, identifies who did the work and those who were living in the village and contributed to the costs. Mysteries remain, the tower was thought to date from 1784 as was the glass in the beautiful stained-glass windows. Careful research shows that neither fact is correct and both were added much later. Visitors will be able to talk to some of the researchers and ask questions.

The support from the Heritage Lottery Fund has not only enabled the telling of the story of the refurbishments of St Cuthbert’s Church. It has led to other themes being explored including the history of houses and their occupants through time, the church bells, plate and furnishings, the wider history of Dufton and the recording of the memories of older residents. The results of this work will be made available for people to see as it is completed.