Christ Church, Silloth

Christ church was built in the late nineteenth century, consecrated in 1870. It is Victorian Gothic in style although built in stone and brick, and possesses an apsidal east end.

Externally the church is faced with granite which originally came as shipping ballast.The church is located in the centre of the town and its spire is a significant landmark across the Solway Plain. 

Internally the church is of brickwork in red and yellow tones.

There are some fine emboideries telling the story of Silloth, a 'pasta' Celtic Cross, and the spire holds 8 bells which are currently unringable.

The main industries in Silloth are Carr’s flour mill, transport and storage companies, the docks, two
large holiday camps, six caravan sites and four residential homes. There is a primary school and a
secondary school, a variety of shops, supermarkets, restaurants, banks, pubs and a hotel. The town also
has a renowned 18 hole links golf course.

1st Sunday:8:00am - Holy Communion / 11:00am - Family Service
2nd Sunday:11:00am - Holy Communion
3rd Sunday:11:00am - Morning Prayer
4th Sunday:11:00am - Holy Communion
5th Sunday:Team Service at one of the Churches in the Team
Midweek:Thursdays 10:00am - Holy Communion

The name Silloth appears as early as the 13th century deriving from ‘Sea Lathe’ the barn by the sea of the Cistercian monks of Holme Cultram Abbey.  Until 1854, when it was described as ‘a mere rabbit warren inhabited only by rabbits’ there were only a few scattered farms.  The town was built as a port and railway terminal in the mid-19th century and developed as a holiday resort.

Christ Church was built to serve the growing town of Silloth.  The church was designed by Charles Ferguson, the son of Carlisle industrialist Joseph Ferguson and became a partner in the firm of JA Cory and Ferguson.  The foundation stone was laid on Wednesday 8th September 1869 by Bishop Anderson a former Bishop of Rupertsland and in the autumn of 1870 the church was dedicated.

The church stands in a strategic position opposite the Green, on a site which was originally planned for the town hall.

Sailing boats entering Silloth harbour used to carry Irish granite as ballast.  This ballast provided the stone from which the church was built, and thus was a cheap source of building material.  The construction cost £4410, this sum was raised by subscriptions started by the Rector of St Paul’s Causewayhead.

The tower and spire were added seven years later, raising the total cost of building to £7700.  The spire is visible whether travelling from Carlisle, Aspatria or Workington.  It is topped with a weather vane of a ship.  During the Second World War, a navigation light was placed on top of the spire for aircraft using Silloth airfield.  This airfield was important for Costal Command and maintenance and training units. Through the war, fifty two aeroplanes crashed into the Solway Firth and the sea at Silloth became known locally as “Hudson’s Bay” after the planes that came down in it.  The bodies of all the young airmen that were retrieved from the sea were honoured by a special service held in Christ Church.

The clock was added in 1884 as a memorial to Mr George Moore of Whitehall, Wigton.  During his lifetime Mr Moore became renowned for his philanthropy.  The clock cost £220 and was made by Messrs Gillet & Co. of Croydon.

The church has a nave of five bays, clerestory, side aisles, chancel and apse.  The building is in the decorated Gothic style; it is faced externally with granite and internally with yellow brick with red brick to pick out the interior design.

The organ was installed in 1885 by Alfred Monk, London.

It comprises two manual and pedals with 3 combination foot pedals and swell pedal.

The organ pipes are beautifully decorated.  They are coloured blued with a design painted in red, gold and black.

 

Great

8’ Diapason
8’ Open Diapason
8’ Clarionet
8’ Claribel
8’ Dulciana
4’ Principal
4’ Leiblich Flute

 

Swell

8’ Oboe
8’ Gamba
8’ Gedact
8’ Voix Celestes
8’ Cornopean
8’ Open Diapason
4’ Principal

 

Pedal

16’ Bourdon

Couplers

Swell to Pedal
Great to Pedal
Swell to Great
Swell octave coupler

 

The Bells

Christ Church Bells are reputed to be among the finest in Cumbria. The bells were presented to the Church by a number of gentlemen, the largest contributor being EH Banks Esq. of Highmoor, Wigton.  The eight bells were cast in 1883 by J Taylor & Son of Loughborough and we hung in a wood and metal A frame.  The tenor bell alone weighs 23 ½ cwt.  From the numerous scoops chipped into the wall, it is obvious that great difficulty was experienced in squeezing 95 cwt of bell metal into a space less than 13 ½’ square.

The bells at present are unable to be rung.  The last peal (of Bob Major) was rung on 20th March 1971 and ringing stopped shortly after that.

Treble

5-2-26   (291)

Presented by TH Brockbank & Mary Jones (nee Brockbank)

DEUM LAUDO PLEBEM VOCO

(I praise God I call the people)

2nd

6-0-2     (306)

 

‘ For all you can tell, I am nobodies bell’

3rd

7-0-16   (363)

Presented by E Agnes & B Mary Burton

FUGIT IRREPARABILE TEMPUS

(Time flies, never to be recalled)

4th

8-2-15   (439)

Raised by public subscription. Septimus Herbert MA (Vicar) Wm Toppin & Jno. Johnson (Churchwardens)

‘Ring out the old, ring in the new,

Ring happy bells, across the snow,
The year is going, let him go,
Ring out the old, ring in the new’

5th

11-1-4   (573)

The gift of Mary,  the sister and Agnes, the widow of George Moore of Whitehall who died on 21st Nov 1876

‘What I spent I had,

What I saved I lost,

What I gave I have’

6th

12-3-11 (653)

Presented by Henry P Banks of Highmoor

GAUDIO CUM GAUDENTIBUS DOLEO CUM DOLENTIBUS

(I rejoice with those who rejoice, I weep with those who weep)

7th

16-2-3   (840)

Presented by Sarah Barnes Banks of Highmoor

‘Since life & time speed hastily away,

And no one can recall the former day,

Improve each fleeting hour before ‘tis past

And know each fleeting hour may be the last’

Tenor

23-2-6 (1200)

Presented by Edwin P Banks of Highmoor

LABITUR OCCULTE FALLITQUE VOLATILES AETAS ET NIHIL EST ANNIS VELOCIUS

‘Time slips unnoticed away, nothing is swifter than time)

Weight is recorded in cwt-qtrs-lbs (kg)

All the bells bear the inscription John Taylor & Son, Loughbrough, Leics. 1883

The clock strikes the hour on the tenor bell.

The ringing chamber which also houses the clock mechanism once boasted a manual ‘Ellacombe apparatus’ which allows one person to play tunes on the bells.  For many years, favourite hymn tunes could be heard ringing across the Green.  People were known to come to Silloth for the day purely for the joy of listening to Christ Church bells.  The mechanism is now in disrepair.

 

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