St Cuthbert's Church, 100m north west of Upper Denton Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of St Cuthbert's Church, 100m north west of Upper Denton Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Carlisle (District Authority)
Upper Denton
National Grid Reference:
NY 61559 65513

Reasons for Designation

A parish church is a building, usually of roughly rectangular outline and containing a range of furnishings and fittings appropriate to its use for Christian worship by a secular community, whose members gather in it on Sundays and on the occasion of religious festivals. Children are initiated into the Christian religion at the church's font and the dead are buried in its churchyard. Parish churches were designed for congregational worship and are generally divided into two main parts: the nave, which provides accommodation for the laity, and the chancel, which is the main domain of the priest and contains the principal altar. Either or both parts are sometimes provided with aisles, giving additional accommodation or spaces for additional altars. Most parish churches also possess towers, generally at the west end, but central towers at the crossing of nave and chancel are not uncommon and some churches have a free-standing or irregularly sited tower. Many parish churches also possess transepts at the crossing of chancel and nave, and south or north porches are also common. The main periods of parish church foundation were in the 10th to 11th and 19th centuries. Most medieval churches were rebuilt and modified on a number of occasions and hence the visible fabric of the church will be of several different dates, with in some cases little fabric of the first church being still easily visible. Parish churches are found throughout England. Their distribution reflects the density of population at the time they were founded. In regions of dispersed settlement parishes were often large and churches less numerous. The densest clusters of parish churches were found in thriving medieval towns. A survey of 1625 reported the existence of nearly 9000 parish churches in England. New churches built in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries increased numbers to around 18,000 of which 17,000 remain in ecclesiastical use. Parish churches have always been major features of the landscape and a major focus of life for their parishioners. They provide important insights into medieval and later population levels or economic cycles, religious activity, artistic endeavour and technical achievement. A significant number of surviving examples are identified to be nationally important.

St Cuthbert's Church at Upper Denton is a good example of a medieval parish church which eventually became redundant. It survives well and retains considerable medieval fabric together with stonework removed from Hadrian's Wall. Internally the church contains a Roman arch believed to have come from Birdoswald Roman fort.


The monument includes the early 12th century St Cuthbert's Church at Upper Denton. It is located at the northern end of the village and has been constructed largely of square-coursed sandstone rubble removed from Hadrian's Wall and Birdoswald Roman fort some 800m to the north. The church consists of a single-bay chancel and two-bay nave. The present entrance is in the south wall of the nave, it has a plank door beneath a shouldered lintel; the original entrance was in the nave's north wall and has subsequently been blocked. There is one original lancet window in the nave - that is a slender pointed-arched window common in the 13th century - and an early window in the south wall of the chancel, elsewhere the windows are 19th century and of one or three-lights with trefoil or lobe-shaped heads. The chancel arch is Roman, reputedly to have come from Birdoswald fort. Externally the corners of the church are finished with large flush quoins, the roof is of stone slate with coped gables, and there is a bellcote at the apex of the west gable. The church is thought to have been constructed in the early 12th century. In the 18th century the west wall of the nave and the bellcote were rebuilt, and in 1881 new windows were inserted. Lead rainwater heads were also added at this date. The church was declared redundant in the late 1970s and the interior fittings removed. The church is a Grade II* Listed Building. The surfaces of all paths are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Cumberland and Westmorland, (1967), 121
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
SMR No. 4561, Cumbria SMR, St Cuthbert's, Upper Denton, (1984)


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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