History of the Building

St Cuthbert’s Church is a Grade II listed building and sits in open fields below Dufton Pike and the Pennines. It has a fine tower with four pinnacles which creates a prominent feature in the wider landscape. The curvilinear shape of the graveyard and its position away from the settlements suggest that the site is of Celtic origin. The graveyard is open for burials.

In common with others in the north, the church is one where reputedly the monks carrying St Cuthbert’s body rested during their flight from Lindisfarne in the mid to late 9th Century, the monastery having been subject to frequent assaults following the first Viking attack in 793AD.

The church has undergone significant structural changes during its long history. The first record of the church is in the Papal Taxation Records of 1291. A memorial in the church records the fact that the church was rebuilt in 1784 by the rector William Kilner with support from the inhabitants of the village. There is evidence of an older building in re-used stonework in the walls together with Medieval and Romano-British stone monuments. Further major work was done in 1853, including the addition of pews and the present windows. Pevsner describes the building: ‘the interior is light and airy, with most of the windows glazed with brightly coloured lozenge-shaped glass by Faucet of Appleby.’

A footpath passes through the churchyard and the Pennine Way and the more recent Pennine Pathway (Guide published 2010) both pass through Dufton. The latter actually passes the church and the official online route guide encourages walkers to stop by saying ‘it is well worth a visit’.