St. Bega's Church
The church is situated in fields on the East shore of Bassenthwaite Lake. It is dedicated to the Celtic Saint, Bega.
The building dates from about AD 950, though the site may be older. It was extensively restored in 1874. For over a thousand years the Christian message has been spread from this place.
St John’s Church , nearer the village, was built in 1878.
Until April 2020, the Church was used for Sunday services once a month, but to enable people still to visit and to use it for private prayer, no services are taking place. It also has hosted a large number of weddings and baptisms, and it is widely visited by people from all over the world. Most come on foot, often from a considerable distance.
In the Church are Bibles in 28 languages (at last count, we get extra ones from time to time) to make overseas visitors feel at home. A well supported charity box helps support charities in developing countries.
The Church was visited by Wordsworth, Tennyson and Carlyle. More recently it provided the setting for Melvyn Bragg’s novel Credo.
In October 2008, with the blessing of the Bishop of Carlisle, the Orthodox Bishop Basil of Amphipolis borrowed St Bega’s to ordain Father John Muster of Keswick. This was appropriate as St Bega’s is one of few Cumbrian churches to survive from before the time of the Great Schism (1064) when the western and eastern churches split.
St Bega’s Church is the end-point of the recently published ‘St Bega’s Way’, a long-distance walk, developed by a parishioner.
There is a Junior Visitor’s Guide and Quiz available for download on the Bassenthwaite Village website.
The church is normally open at all times, but currently may have to be locked at certain times.
Note: Access to the Church is by unmetalled footpath only. There is no parking at the church, except for those attending services.
St. John's Church
In the 15th century the parishioners, probably tired of the long walk to St Bega’s, petitioned for permission to build a Chapel-of-Ease at the crossroads nearby. Still a walk from the village proper, nevertheless this served well for some centuries. It still stands and is now used as the Church Rooms.
St John’s, Grid Ref: 89/229316, was built in 1878 to replace the Chapel-of-Ease. It was founded, funded, and furnished by prominent local families from Armathwaite Hall and Bassenfell Manor.
St John’s is a large airy church, surrounded by a good-sized burial ground.
Relations with the Methodist Chapel in Bassenthwaite are excellent and throughout the year we hold shared services and alternate venues each Sunday between St. John's and the Chapel. (Please note that all services are taking place in St. John' s for the foreseeable future, as currently Bassenthwaite Chapel is not able to host any services.)
The Church is normally open all day, but has to be locked in the 3 days before and after a service has taken place. Therefore, please check with one of the churchwardens before visiting.
A Loop System is installed.
Mr A Bowe - 017687 76405
Mrs S Stockdale - 07773365029