Penrith is a market town sitated in Cumbria, England, just on the edge of the Lake District. The population is around 12,000. The nearest city is Carlisle, which is 18 miles north of the town. Penrith is close to the Scottish border, and in ancient times was constantly raided by the Scots. Penrith was at one time part of Scotland. Although Penrith is principally believe to have its origins in Saxon times, in a recent archeological dig, some Roman pottery was discovered.
St. Andrew's Church
The present church was built in 1722, but there was a church on this site much earlier. Prior to the present church there was a Norman building, from which the tower only remains. The new building is believed to have been designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor, a pupil of Christopher Wren. Principal items of interest in the church include the 15th century font cover, which was recenty smashed by vandels and had to be restored. Also the murals in the chancel, which were painted by Jacob Thompson in 1845. Jacob Thomson was a local artist of a very high quality. Also there are the brass candelabras in the church, which was paid for by the money given by the Duke of portland after the people of Penrith helped during Bonnie Prince Charlies attempt to take the English throne. Under the church tower is the original clock. It is of a very ancient age, and has one hand, and shows the phases of the moon. There are some notable items in the church yard. The most famous is the 'Giants Grave', which is where it is belived that Owen Caesarius, king of Cumbria between 900 and 937 AD was buried. The 'Giants Grave' really is a collection of ancient grave stones comprising of 2 crosses and 4 hog-back stones. An excavation of the 'Giants Grave' showed a skelton underneath with a sword. The other famous item in the church ground is the 'Giant's Thumb'. This is the remains of a Saxon 'wheel' croos. It has been dated as coming from 920 AD.
If you would like to know more about the Church, then please email the vicar Noel Carter.
The Musgrave Monument
The Musgrave Monument or 'clock tower' is the most striking feature of Penrith standing in the town centre. It was erected on the site of the old market cross in May 1961, by the people of Penrith. It commemorates the death of Philip Musgrave, who died at war, aged 26. The Musgrave family lived at Edenhall, a manor house 5 miles from Penrith which was demolished in the 1920's.
The earliest record of a castle at Penrith is from 1397, when an existing pele tower was crenellated. The building was then extended in 1399 with a fortified wall, which, was erected by William Struckland, the bishop of Carlisle. In 1420, Richard Neville again added to the castle making in bigger and stronger, and then in 1471, Richard Duke of Gloucester, who became Richard the Third lived in the castle. There is supposed to be a secret passage leading from the castle to the Gloucester Arms, an ancient pub in the town centre. No-one has found the entrance, but once some ducks lost in the castle were found in the cellar of the Gloucester Arms. By 1547 the castle had become a ruin, and the stone was being removed for use elsewhere. Today the ruins of Penrith castle stand in a park, and although it is a ruin, there still is plenty to see.
St. Andrew's Choir, 1995.