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Church of St Peter

A Grade II Listed Building in Claife, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.3481 / 54°20'53"N

Longitude: -2.9576 / 2°57'27"W

OS Eastings: 337853

OS Northings: 495150

OS Grid: SD378951

Mapcode National: GBR 7LS5.H3

Mapcode Global: WH82L.JZV2

Entry Name: Church of St Peter

Listing Date: 11 October 2012

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1407317

Location: Claife, South Lakeland, Cumbria, LA22

County: Cumbria

District: South Lakeland

Civil Parish: Claife

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Sawrey St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle

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Church, Anglican 1869 to the designs of Robert Brass of London.


MATERIALS: slate rubble with white sandstone dressings; polychrome pitched roofs comprising bands of grey and green slate. Windows have both leaded and stained glass.

PLAN: cruciform with a chancel, north and south transepts, a square north-east tower and a nave with a north porch. The building is situated in an elevated position within a large rectangular churchyard, and was designed to be seen from the nearby home of its benefactor local resident R. S. Sawley.

EXTERIOR: designed in a simple early English gothic revival style with lancets, angle buttresses to the corners and a stepped plinth. The apex of the transepts and west end are surmounted by stone cross finials. The main (north) elevation comprises a rectangular chancel, largely obscured by the attached tower; the tower has three stages, the ground and middle pierced by a single lancet; the upper belfry stage has paired louver windows, a parapet with a trefoil-headed frieze and a pyramid roof surmounted by a weathervane. A shorter and narrow three-sided turret is attached to the east wall of the main tower, its lower parts recently encased in a small single storey extension. The south transept has a sill band, paired lancets with hood moulds and a small quatrefoil above. The three bay nave is pierced by a pair of two-light lancets separated by a stepped buttress; the end bay has contains the main entrance protected by a south porch; the latter is entered via a pointed-arched entrance with moulded soffit and engaged columns, and is fitted with heavy double doors. At its apex is a metal cross finial. The west end has a sill band and large five-light stepped window with hoodmould and short lancet over; the east end, also with a sill band, has a three-light stepped window with engaged columns and dog tooth decoration to the soffit, and a short lancet over. The rear (south) elevation is similar to the north but with a tall pitched roofed vestry attached to the chancel. The chancel has a two-light lancet and the vestry is entered via a shouldered entrance in the east wall. The nave has three two-light lancets alternating with stepped buttresses.

INTERIOR: Plainly painted walls throughout and stone flag floors with wooden boards beneath the benches. The chancel, reached via two stone steps, has a plainly tiled floor and a stained glass east window of Christ the Good Shepherd by Cox & Sons. The Sanctuary has geometric, encaustic floor tiles and retains the original altar and altar rail, the latter formed by ornate wrought iron balusters. On the north side of the chancel a pointed arched entrance gives access to the tower and a stencilled organ occupies a full height niche on the opposite wall. Just in front, and to the left of the chancel arch, there is a carved oak pulpit upon a stone base; this has an octagonal drum with carved floral panels (possibly pomegranates) within trefoil headed arches. The transept ends have stained glass by R. B. Edmundson & Son, and the brightly coloured west window in the north transept is by Wailes & Strang. A two-light window in the south wall of the nave has a musical theme and depicts St Cecilia who is portrayed playing the organ. The crossing has a timber, vaulted roof and the nave has an arch-braced collar-rafter roof; there is also a full compliment of original oak benches with book rests and roll mouldings. The octagonal stone font is set at the west end inscribed with the initials I. H. S (the first three letters of the Greek spelling of Jesus) set within a quatrefoil. Various memorials including First and Second World War memorial plaques are affixed to the nave walls. The main entrance to the church has replaced modern double doors.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the church sits within a large churchyard, formerly a field and retains the original dry stone boundary walls. It is entered through a simple double entrance with plain, square gate piers. A number of historic lamp posts line the path through the church yard to the main entrance.

This List entry has been amended to add sources for War Memorials Online and the War Memorials Register. These sources were not used in the compilation of this List entry but are added here as a guide for further reading, 30 October 2017.


The construction of the Church of St Peter was instigated by R.S. Sawler QC of London (also a local resident), who set up a fund-raising committee and chose the architect Robert Brass of London. Robert Brass is little known and has no listed buildings to his name. Original plans for the church dated 1866 survive. When completed in 1869 the church could seat 300 people and its footprint is largely unaltered to the present day. The original east window is by Cox and Son, a London firm who specialised in artistic furniture but commissioned work including stained glass from a number of leading designers. Cox & Son were represented at international exhibitions in London in 1862, 1871, 1872 & 1873, in Paris in 1867 and in Philadelphia in 1876, as well as later at the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society.

Other, slightly later, stained glass in the transepts is by R. B. Edmundson & Son and Newcastle-based Wailes and Strang. The organ was installed in 1875 and was constructed by the London firm of Gray and Davison. In 1901 a stained glass window in the south wall of the nave was installed depicting St Cecilia, Patron Saint of musicians.

Reasons for Listing

This C19 Anglican church designed by Robert Brass in 1869 is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: a well designed and executed example of gothic revival architecture in Early English style with good detailing and use of materials;
* Intactness: with the exception of a very small infill extension, which has been achieved with minimal impact on historic fabric, this church retains its original form and intactness;
* Interior: the spacious interior retains a complete set of internal fixtures including carved oak and metal fittings and stained glass by mid C19 firms of note.

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