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Watermillock Church

The Parish Church of All Saints occupies a prominent site with stunning panoramic views about 1 mile from the shores of Ullswater,.   The church was completed in 1884 and is the fourth to serve the area. The original church, dating from the early 13th century is thought to have stood on the banks of the lake where the house called Old Church stands today.

A church has stood on the present site since the 16th century and the three ancient yews in the churchyard may well date back to this period. Yews can reach an age of 400-600 years and many churchyards in England have yews that are older than the church itself.

The burial ground of All Saints is both sad and delightful. Several table tombs are listed monuments and include the Hudsons’, Dowthwaites’, Rumneys’, Pollards’ and Marshalls’. Near the church entrance is the red sandstone chest tomb of John Marshall and his wife Jane. Jane Marshall, daughter of a mill owner from Halifax, was a constant companion to Dorothy Wordsworth. John Marshall, a flax spinner with premises in Holbeck near Leeds, became great friends with Dorothy’s brother, the poet William Wordsworth.   The Marshall family owned a holiday home at Halsteads, now an Outward Bound centre on the shores of Ullswater and the Wordsworths would often visit them there.

The church itself is constructed from slate and red sandstone. The stained glass windows have Pre-Raphaelite looks and are mostly family memorials, including one to the Spring Rice family. Sir Cecil Spring Rice was a diplomat and poet and is most remembered for writing “I vow to thee my country”. There is a memorial plaque to Sir Cecil Spring Rice in the church and another on one of the bridges at Aira Force.

By Valerie Abraham from Matterdale


Watermillock Church - Photo Credit © Janet Wedgwood Ullswater Way The Spring Rice family memorial window Watermillock Church - Photo Credit © Gordon Lightburn Ullswater Way Memorial plaque to Sir Cecil Arthur Spring Rice Watermillock Church - Photo Credit © Janet Wedgwood Ullswater Way