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Photo: David Wilmot © St. Mary's Church

St. Mary's Church, Rydal

William Wordsworth helped choose the site (originally an orchard) for this intimate chapel with a luminous stained-glass east window. He composed two poems, one, ‘to the Lady Fleming on seeing the Foundation preparing for the erection of Rydal Chapel, Westmorland’, and another ‘On the same occasion’.

The first poem is prefaced by the following note:

“After thanking Lady le Fleming for the service, she had done to her neighbourhood by erecting the Chapel, I have nothing to say beyond regret that the architect did not furnish an elevation better suited to the site in a narrow mountain pass and what is of more consequence, better constructed in the interior for purpose of worship. It has no Chancel; the altar is unbecomingly confined; the pews are so narrow as to preclude the possibility of kneeling in comfort; there is no vestry; and what ought to have been mentioned, the font, instead of standing in its proper place at the entrance, is thrust into the farther end of a pew. When these defects shall be pointed out to the munificent patroness, they will, it is hoped, be corrected”.

These ‘defects’ remained until 1884.

The Wordsworth Pew is placed in front of the Pulpit and was used by the Wordsworth Family for a quarter of a century. Wordsworth himself, who had been Chapel Warden in 1833, attended Worship for the last time on Sunday 10th March, 1850. On the North Wall beneath the Pulpit is a Memorial Tablet to Wordsworth, erected in 1996 with funds made available by the Armitt Trust.

Useful Information

St. Mary's Church,
LA22 9LR

Telephone: +44(0)73057 77113

St. Mary's is open daily during daylight hours and visitors are always welcome.

Sunday Worship (Holy Communion) is on Sunday at 9.30am.
The Priest-in-charge is the Revd. David Wilmot.

Organisation: The Church of England