A HISTORY OF NATLAND

'The new parsonage at Natland is making rapid progress in the hands of the builders, Messrs. Freeman of Stainton. On Monday a memorial stone was laid near the front doorway by Mrs. Whitaker, wife of the incumbent.  The sealed bottle, which was

placed in the hollow of the stone, contained some coins, English and foreign, the latest copy of the Westmorland Gazette, a photograph of the school children and St Mark's Home boys and a copy of the circular issued by Archdeacon Cooper on behalf of the new Parsonage Fund which amounts to £1,000 towards a total estimated cost of £1,300 including the site.'

        

According to the accounts, the total cost was £1,400 of which £700 came from the Diocesan Extension Society, Queen Anne's Bounty  and  Marshall's  Charity,  and  the  remainder  from subscriptions.

                             *  *  *

        

During the nineteenth century there had been many changes in Natland. Those who planned the church which was built in 1825 did not know that the coming of the railway would completely change the district and that the church, which they doubtless regarded as a splendid edifice! would so soon prove to be inadequate to meet the needs of the growing population.

        

In 1908 consideration was given to extending the church and the famous Victorian architects, Austin and Paley, were called in to

advise.  Their report, however, made it clear that they had a very  poor  opinion  of  the  third  Natland  church  and  they considered it a waste of money and effort to attempt to extend it.

 

'The nave,' they wrote, 'is of a very poor design with flat plastered ceiling, the South walls showing signs of damp.  The

Tower is equally poor and very small.  There is a Western Door which must be very draughty.  The Chancel, Vestry and Organ Transept are most diminutive and quite inadequate for use. These being so cramped and the whole building of so very poor a  type,  we  could  not  recommend  that  any  addition  or enlargement should be made to the present church.  We have, however, made a sketch plan showing how the North and South aisles  could  possibly  be  added  so  as  to  increase  the accommodation, and the choir be brought forward into the Nave. This would practically mean rebuilding the Nave leaving the present unsatisfactory Chancel, Vestry, Organ Transept and the Tower and would be a most unwise expenditure for the result which would ensue.

        

It is perhaps not surprising that after considering this report it was decided to pull down the church and rebuild. During the 27 months when the building operations were going on permission was granted for services to be held in the school, and a barn at Cracalt was licensed for the administration of the Sacraments, Much of the money for the new church was given by the Crewdson family.

        

The foundation stone was laid in June 1909 and the church was consecrated on November 7th 1910.  The Lancaster stone came by canal barge to Hawes Bridge and the Darley Dale stone for dressings came by train and was fashioned on the spot.  The font was carved in situ from one solid body of stone and the pillar between the font and the south door is said to be the largest in circumference of any to be found in an English parish church  A special feature of the building is the very beautiful east window which was put in in 1946 and was designed by Gerald Smith

        

Pevsner, an authority on church architecture! describes Natland church as 'as good as any of the churches by the best church architects of those years. It is a resourceful and strong interior! not at air mannered or pedantic.'

        

Canon Miller, Vicar of Natland from 1907-1950! regarded the building of the church as the greatest achievement of his career.

        

Since 1910 the village has seen many more changes  The old school has gone and a new one been built.  New houses and bungalows have sprung up on what was once farm land and the population has changed in character as well as in size.

        

Church life has also changed   The church building still  gives enough room for worship. Of recent years, however, throughout the church there has been a new emphasis on social and educational work and meeting in groups for various purposes Also people now expect modern facilities and rather more comfort than the old hard seated chairs and draughty halls used to provide.

        

In Natland the lack of a church hair or meeting place of any size was keenly felt and the lack of toilet and coffee making provision meant that it was impossible to hold some of the events which would have been valuable additions to church fife

To meet the needs of the parish in the nineteen-eighties it was decided under Canon Stannard's leadership to build an extension to the church providing a clergy vestry, a utility room for the preparation of light refreshments and toilet facilities.  This has meant that it has been possible to make one large room out of the existing clergy and choir vestries to serve as a choir vestry and also a meeting place which will accommodate 40-50 people. The cost of the work was about £18,500 much of which was given by parishioners or raised by parish events  The extension  was dedicated by the Bishop of Carlisle on October 9th 1981 and Lt has made it possible to extend the work of the church in many different ways.

        

During Canon Park's incumbency improvements were made to the lighting and heating of the church.  A sound system was installed, including a 'loop system' to help those with hearing aids.  Some pews were removed in the north aisle to create a creche area for young children and their parents, and the main entrance to the church was modified to make it easier for disabled people to enter. The organ, a fine example of the work of James Conacher, was restored which has made it probably one of the finest small organs in the Diocese.

        

The people of Natland have a very beautiful church in which to meet and worship, but the church is not just a building.  St. Peter referred to the members of the church as "living stones" with Christ as the cornerstone.   There are many exciting opportunities in which all have a part to play  Most members of the congregation are committed to using their time and talents

in its service and support  its ministry financially through the stewardship scheme. Christian mission agencies and charities are strongly supported.

        

After worshipping in the church each Sunday the "living stones" of Natland are sent out to serve Christ in the world with the  words "Go in peace to love and serve the Lord".

        

                                  *  *  *  *  *  *

        

If you would like to read more about some of the sections in this book, the following three books are also available from the

church bookstall:

        

An Account of the Schools and Schoomasters of  Natland by Percy Bryer

        

The Northern Academy in Natland by Laura Oldham

        

the Railway Village by Laura Oldham

        

Also available from The Children's Society. Edward Rudolf

House, Margery Street, London wC1x OBR is

        

A Home in the country,  St Marks Natland by Laura Oldham