Christ Church, Waverton

Christ Church, Waverton is currently closed.

Please follow the links to the events diary to find details of services in the other churches of the Parish of the Solway Plain


The parish of Waverton-cum-Dundraw was etablished in 1902 with Christ Church as the parish church. The building was completed in 1865, with 76 subscribers enabling the Maryport architect Charles Eaglesfield to complete the design. 

Follow the links below to discover more about the history of Christ Church and the parish of Waverton as well as some interesting information about significant local people, buildings and associations.


5th Sunday:United Service at one of the Churches in the Parish


The Church Commissioners have published a draft scheme for the closure of Christ Church, Waverton.

The draft scheme and consultation documents can be found here:

Downloads or are available from the Church Commissionners 


The Parish of Waverton~cum~Dundraw was established in 1902, with Christ Churchas the parish church. The eastern part (Waterside, Waverton and Lessonhall) was taken from the civil parish of Wigton and the west (Dundraw and Moor Row) came from the civil parish of Bromfield. In 1967 Waverton briefly rejoined with Wigton but in 1972, a new benefice was formed which united Bromfield with Waverton. Westnewton was added in 1982; all three parishes to be held in plurality by one incumbent. The Solway Plain Team (of 6 parishes and 7 churches) was established in 2002. There are 50 on the church electoral roll of Waverton parish and there were an average of 11 in the congregation for the regular Sunday morning services during 2013. 

Waverton church was first thought about in the early 1860’s. The Faithful in the villages of Waverton and Lessonhall were then gathering in a cottage in Waverton rather than going to their parish church of St Mary’s in Wigton and, as God was with them, it was decided that He should have His own house in the village.

76 subscribers enabled the Maryport architect Charles Eaglesfield to produce the design for a permanent house of God in Waverton.                                    

The Tractarian or Oxford movement of the 1840’s sought to restore the High Church ideals of the Laudian* divines through the embellishment of Anglican church buildings and the services which were held in them. Christ Church was built in the then fashionable Victorian Early English architectural style and the interior was typical, reflecting the pre~Reformation period and that generation of Victorians’ fascination with everything mediaeval; but Christ Church also had the benefit of oil lamps (for Evensong). The chancel arch was originally flanked by stencilled green flowing patterns and the walls with gothic Bible text.

* Archbishop William Laud (1573~1645) opposed the reforms of Puritanism. His support of King Charles I resulted in his execution during the Civil war.

The east and west windows are worthy of notice - the former has the crucifixion surrounded (clockwise) by a pelican feeding her chickens, St Paul, St Peter, the Lamb of God and the dove descending. The latter, a rose window, are (clockwise) the Rose of Sharon (Song of Solomon 2.1), the citron (Revelation 18.12), the Lion of Judah (Genesis 49.9, Revelation 5.5), the vine (John 15), Lily of the valley (Song of Solomon 2.1), and an ascending eagle (Isaiah 40.31, Ezekiel 17.2-10), surrounding the morning star (Isaiah 14.12, Revelation 22.16). 

Some of the furnishings in Christ Church came from the Dundraw Mission church which became redundant in 1966 and closed as a community hall in 2000.

The war memorial incorporates the four names of those missing (from Waverton) from the 1914~18 War Dundraw tablet and the four from the 1939~45 War in an oak frame drilled to receive poppies. It was dedicated in 2007.

The glass vases above the wall box to the east of the doors were given by Mary Joyce Littleton’s family. She is a rare female name on a war memorial.

The silver communion paten and chalice were given as another war memorial to Robert William Pattinson.

In the entrance area the altar was carved by the Reverend Robinson in 1952. The lectern and the red sandstone font are also from Dundraw. The Dundraw pulpit was refashioned into a tall cupboard (in 2009) and now stands near the vestry door. The silky blue material on the hassocks in the front pews is from the drapery which was behind the Dundraw altar until 1967.

The organ was installed in the 1920’s and, because we have no resident organist, a disc player has been providing the backing music since 2005.

The Millennium Tapestry was worked by Nancy Routledge, Eileen Robertson and Roma Wannop.

The brass reading slope on the pulpit and the King James Bible (from Mardale ~ August 1906) were given by the Reverend W. Terry (who was the first incumbent to live in Waverton vicarage) in memory of his wife Mary. The brass reading slope on the altar was given in memory of Janet V. Wilson by her mother, sisters and brother. The New English Bible was donated by Mrs. E Todd (a former Organist) and family in memory of her husband Isaac Edward Todd. Many of the hymn books have been given in memory of loved ones.

Joseph Rooke ran a school at Aikbank during the 1790’s and there was a school ran by Mr. Donald (at Blaithwaite) in 1833 which is now a dwelling. There is a record of a schoolmaster at Crummock in 1833 and another in Waverton in the 1861 census called Richard Storey and his wife Hannah was the headmistress possibly at Croft House. The Waverton Board School was built in 1874 at a cost of about £1,400 including the master’s house and could accommodate 102 but usually schooled about 50 pupils in three classes until its closure in 1969 when Mr. Barwise was headmaster. Andrew Harkness was the headmaster in 1901. The building has been converted into a dwelling.

There was an upstairs Men’s reading room in front of the blacksmith’s shop opposite the White Horse Inn in Waverton.

Waverbridge School was built by Charles Ray (see the Big House, Lesson Hall). The Charities of Charles Ray and his son–in-law Richard Glaister benefited the scholars. Cut into the stone over the upper school room doors and into every scholar’s memory is


(Proverbs 22:6).

The last headmistress was Miss Briggs in 1970.
Waverton Church has a photograph album and a home movie (sports days at Waverbridge and Oulton and school outings, class photographs, governor’s etc.) from Miss Brigg’s collection.

The estate of Joseph Nelson formed the Boys Grammar school in Wigton which is now called the Nelson~Thomlinson School and is the secondary school for all children in Waverton parish. Infants attend the Wigton Junior School which is the former Thomlinson Girl’s school (Westmoreland House) in Wigton.


Joseph Barnes (1799~1877), who’s family still farm at Barughsyke, gave the land for the church to be built on and he laid the foundation stone. The family have the silver and ivory trowel used for the occasion. His son John (born in 1829) gave the land for the vicarage to be built on in 1918, which is now a dwelling.
Irwin Dand (born in 1825) farmed at Parkgate Hall (see President and “Stonewall” Jackson below) and was the enumerator for Waverton for the 1851, ‘61 and ‘71 census.
John Stamper (born in 1800) farmed at Parkgate Farm and is the third recorded founder of Waverton church.

William Banks (1811~1878) came to Wigton in 1835 after working for the company of Ray-Glaister (See Charles Ray of Lessonhall) in Soho Square in London. He married Sarah Barwise (1813~1901) who was from the family of Miss Jane Hodge a cotton and linen retailer and wholesaler in Water Street, Wigton which was the company he eventually ran and took over. His fortune came from savvy business dealings with Australia. When Miss Hodge died, Mrs. Banks inherited her aunt’s mansion at Highmoor, Wigton (The curious Gothick/Byzantine Highmoor Tower still stands to the south of the town). Their eldest son Henry Pearson Banks (1844~1891) came of age at the time of the Waverton Stained glass windows and a revamp in St Mary’s, Wigton, was being commissioned and so both Wigton and Waverton churches received the gift of new east windows designed by the Manchester firm of R.B.Edmunson. In Waverton the crucifixion is surrounded (clockwise) by the pelican feeding her chicks, St Paul, St Peter, the Lamb of God and the dove descending. The symbols in the rose window (which was a gift from Mrs Banks) are (clockwise) the Rose of Sharon (Song of Solomon 2:1), the citron (Revelation 18:12), the Lion of Judah (Genesis 49:9, Revelation 5:5), the vine (John 15), Lilly of the valley (Song of Solomon 2:1) and an ascending eagle (Isaiah 40:31, Ezekiel 17:2~10) surrounding the morning star (Isaiah 14:12, Revelation 22:16).

George Moore (1806~1876) had married Eliza Flint Ray (see Ray-Glaister above) who was the daughter of Charles Ray of Lessonhall. He was born at Mealsgate and lived at Overgates Farm near Bothel and was apprenticed to a draper in Wigton High street (over Westmoreland’s Lane). He changed his life around after an episode one Christmas day morning and, on completing his apprenticeship, went to London to become a successful Commercial Traveller dealing in lace. He became fabulously wealthy and built a new villa at 15 Kensington Palace Gardens. He was negotiating the purchase of the estates of Whitehall and Harby Brow in the neighbouring parish of Mealsgate, which was to become his faux ancestral home, when Eliza died in 1858. The fountain in the centre of Wigton is her memorial. George Moore had been in residence at Whitehall for eighteen months when the foundation stone was being laid at Waverton church. He was a great Victorian philanthropist but much of his generosity remains secret and there is (so far) no evidence that he helped to build Waverton church. In his will, he gave funds to enable the Glebe Field to be purchased for the vicar’s stipend to be enhanced when Waverton Parish was established in 1902.

Joseph Nelson (1820~1893) was baptised at St Mungo’s Bromfield. He was the son of a yeoman farmer from Moor Row. On completion of his apprenticeship he worked for Messrs Foster, Porter & Co of London and became their continental buyer, but resigned due to ill health and returned home. He ran the family farm and developed a reputation for rearing and breeding horses. He inherited from his cousin Miss Mary Peat, the estate of Greenhill near Red Dial which is now a hotel venue. He inherited his sister Thomason’s estate which had recently received a large amount from the estate of a certain William Walker, auctioneer of Liverpool who had been a friend of their father Joseph Nelson (senior). Before approaches could be made from the city of Liverpool for the funding of various Scouse charities, Joseph Nelson died suddenly as a result of a fall in his bedroom on 11th June 1893. His friend and solicitor Henry Arthur Dudding was the sole executor as neither Joseph nor his sister were married. There followed months of requests for the funding of various local worthy projects and eventually the bulk of the £46,000 estate was settled on The Nelson Boy’s Grammar School in Wigton.
The estate also enabled a mission church to be built at Dundraw in 1901 and the formation of the Parish of Waverton-Cum-Dundraw in 1902, with Christ Church as the parish church.


The ancestors of Andrew Jackson (1767~1845), 7th president of the United States of America, and Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson (1811~1878) lived at Parkgate Hall before emigrating to Colerain in Northern Ireland. “Old Hickory” became the most popular American national hero since George Washington. He married Rachel Robards twice because the first time they thought that she was divorced from her first husband but he had only filed for divorce. He duelled with a man who alluded to Rachel’s matrimonial record and killed him. He dealt harshly with Red Indians. Stonewall Jackson was one of the most talented commanders in United States history and (like Andrew) owned slaves.
Joseph Rooke rose from the rank of a weaver to become a self taught and proficient mathematician and philosopher, excelling in music, fine arts, optics and botany. He built an organ, a dulcimer, an automaton which moved to music and an electrifying machine. He tuned harpsichords, played the violin and ran a school at Aikbank and was buried in his garden in about 1832. His most famous pupil at the time of the French Revolution of 1789~1795 was the liberal minded John Rooke (1780~1856) of Aikhead. Under the auspices of his mentor Sir James Graham MP. (of Netherby Hall) John Rooke influenced Georgian agricultural thinking of the day. Like Adam Smith in the previous century, he drew the connection between the demand for the necessaries and the luxuries of life and the labour and the means of supplying them. He was in favour of the Reform Bill of 1832 and wanted the Corn Laws repealed. He was opposed to tithes and the Poor Rates because they disturbed the rational calculations expected from a statistician. He was instrumental in having the tile maker and drain expert Robert Lucock establish a tilery in Aspatria and proposed the re-routing of the Waver and Wampool rivers to keep the dock at Port Carlisle open, which was to be paid for by the reclamation of hundreds of acres of estuary land. He predicted railway crossings over Morecambe Bay and the Solway Firth. The agricultural consultant would advise his former teacher at Aikbank to “manure thy land well, and that will open it”.

John Forsyth (1855-1934) was a prolific graphic artist who produced many art works. His most widely known creation is the unlikely subject of a dead lion’s carcass beneath a swarm of bees which appears on Lyle’s Golden Syrup and Black Treacle tins with the quotation from Judges 14:14 OUT OF THE STRONG CAME FORTH SWEETNESS . He came to retire and live with his daughter Clara at Hunters Cottage in 1915. Clara’s husband was in the merchant navy and she ran a nursery/smallholding at the back of their home. Clara’s son Ian Muirhead was twice decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross and was killed in action during the Battle of Britain. At her request, he was buried in the Abbey graveyard because it was more convenient than Wigton (which is the cemetery for Waverton parish). His name is one of the 15 on the Waverton war memorial. His sister Winsome Muirhead, revealed (after the release of the book Enigma in 1996) that she had worked on the enigma code breaking machine with Alan Turing at Bletchley Park. The design of these machines also led the way to modern computers. Winsome returned to her pre-war profession as a botanist and the spring flowering evergreen shrub Cassiope Muirhead is named after her.


Scottish raids continued in the area until 1603 when King James I & VI became the first monarch of the two Kingdoms, and because of the uncertainty, the smart money stayed in the south until after the 2nd Jacobite Rebellion (Bonny Prince Charlie) of 1745.

Blaithwaite House was rebuilt in the 1830’s by William Donald who was a farmer. The history goes back several hundred years before that. The present building was constructed around a Bassle house which was usually a stone fortified house on two or three floors built as defence against the invading Scots. In 1865 Jane Donald, a widow, was the head of the household. The Reverend Dennis Donald opened the house as a Christian trust in 1968 and it is now a Christian holiday / conference centre

Hawkrigg House
Hawkrigg House was built in 1821 and the wings were added by John Jefferson who was living there in 1861 as a landed proprietor with 200 acres with his wife and their three daughters, his widowed Solicitor father, a nephew John J. Been (who was a mariner) and six servants.

Lesson Hall
Lesson Hall was built by Charles Ray who (in the 1851 census) was a ‘statesman’ or had an estate. His family were related to Eliza Flint-Ray of London who was the wife of George Moore (see above). The origin of the name may relate to its being the lesser of the big houses (Blaithwaite being the greater) in the area, but some historians have it as being named after a family called Lasscelles.