WALNEY ISLAND CHURCHES

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SAINT MARY THE VIRGIN

 

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'MONA'

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Walney Saint Mary, is one of only 3 burial grounds in modern Barrow-in-Furness and contains 4511 burials (click here for more). Although there are one or two locally famous individuals buried within these grounds there has been much speculation about one grave in particular, the wooden cross at the foot of the church yard, adjacent to the Promenade that bares nothing more than the inscription 'MONA' especially amongst the school children. The most believable thought which stood for some time was for 'Man of No abode'. However the grave actually is that of 'Mona Ward' a young thirty-year old Walney girl who was buried there on the 16th August 1939 and whose family still inhabit the island to this day.

Founded in 1577, Walney Island’s first ‘chapel-of-ease’ was located near the Promenade at a time when the island was part of the parish of Dalton-in-Furness. An Elizabethan chapel was rebuilt around the end of the 17th century, achieving ‘parish’ status in the 19th Century, but its deterioration forced it to be demolished and replaced c1852. The present church is at least the third to be built within the same ground boundaries, the foundation stone of which was laid down in 1907, the building was not completed until 1930. The ‘four’ corner stones of it’s predecessor are believed to remain as testament to it’s existence to this day one of which can be seen in the picture below.

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The East Window

 

“Biggar and North Scale are the only hamlets on the island, and intermediate between the two is the church of St. Mary. The date of its erection is uncertain, but it was in existence as early as 1577, and was probably built before the downfall of Furness Abbey. In the inquisition of 1650 it is styled Wana Chapel, and the whole chapelry, embracing the island of Wana contained only sixty families.   The inhabitants do not appear at that time to have been in a very flourishing condition, or else they were supinely indifferent to the creature comforts of their minister, for the whole sum contributed towards his maintenance was 6s. 6d. per year. They also prayed to be made parochial, but their request was not granted, and the living remains a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the vicar of Dalton.   The incumbency, worth £180, is now held by the Rev. H. M. Burgess, B.A., Dublin. The area of the ecclesiastical district is 12,800 acres.

The present church is a small but neat structure, erected upon the site of the old chapel. In the burial ground lie the remains of Mr. Close, an antiquarian of repute, who edited the last edition (1802) of West's 1774 Antiquities of Furness. Near the church is the school, erected by Mrs. Michaelson, of Barrow Island, to the memory of her husband. It is now under the management of the School Board.” (Mannex's Directory of Furness & Cartmel -1882)

Church Building at Walney – Extracted from the Ulverston Advertiser 29th November 1900 in reference to Saint Mary's original structure above

The fabric of the chapel in the Isle of Walney, a township (including Piel Island), in the Parish of Dalton-in-Furness, having been for some time in a falling condition, and having been pronounced by experienced builders to be unsafe for the congregation to assemble in for public worship, it has been deemed advisable to take clown and rebuild the same. Subscriptions in aid of the good work will be thankfully received by the Rev. J. Park, Isle of Walney.

Amongst the subscribers are:—The Duke of Buccleuch, K.G., &c., the Earl of Burlington, C. D. Archibald, Esq., Rusland; the Rev. T. E. Petty, M.A., Bardsea; T. Y. P. Micha,elson, Esq., Isle of Barrow; E. J. Schollick, Esq., Aldingharn Hall; J. Postlethwaite, Esq., Dalton; Mr. and Mrs. Garnett, Kendal; the Rev. J. Baldwin, M.A., Dalton; Mr. Bolton, Isle of Walney; Rev. J. Park, Mrs. Fell and Miss Fell, Cartrnel; Mr. Greenwood, Isle of Walney; the Rev. R. Gwillyn, M.A., Rural Dean, Ulverston; Henry Andrews, Esq., Manchester; Miss Patton, Dalton; James Ramsden, Esq., Barrow; James Heywood, Esq., &c., J. Wilson Patten, Esq., M.P., W. A. Mackinnon, Esq., M.P., the Rev, J. Macauley, M.A., Aldiughatn; the Rev. J. Thomas, B C.L., Commissary, &., Wyke, Weymouth; the Rev. J. M. Morgan, Vicar, Dalton; the Rev. W. Dawson, Rampside; Mr. R. Greenwood, Isle of Walney; Mr. J. Walton, Mr. Tyson, Isle of Walney; Mr, I Thompson, Cartmel; Miss M. Greenwood, Arthur Currie, Esq., Chepstow; Mrs. Romney, Whitestock. Hall; Mr. Simpson, Roose Beck.

In aid of the funds the Ulverston Philharmonic Society will give a concert in the Institution, barrow, on December 6th; conductor, Mr. Wm. Salmon.

 

 

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SAINT COLUMA

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Founded in 1916 as a chapel of St Patrick's, Barrow Island the present church of Saint Columba was established during the early 1950s, and takes the place of its predecessor, which now forms part of the present Primary School on the same site. Since it was first built Saint Columba has encountered a number of alterations, including a new chapel constructed during 1958.

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click here for their website: here

 

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WESLEYAN METHODIST (aka: Vickerstown Methodist)

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On one of four sites reserved for the use of nonconformist denominations by the Isle of Walney Estates Company, a piece of land on the Promenade, overlooking the channel was donated to allow construction of Vickerstown Methodist Church. The church was eventually to open its doors in 1905. It was due to the ‘unsuitability’ of this building that it’s members took a decision to construct a new church, and in 1998 a ‘modern’ church was constructed and opened alongside it predecessor.

 

Note: There was another chapel established during 1881 by the ‘Methodist New Connexion’ which was constructed at the west end of Teasdale Road. Although the chapel closed its doors for use during 1907, the building wasn't demolished until the early 1980's to make way for a Bungalow, itself now known and named 'Chapel Site'.

 

 

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SAINT ANDREW PRESBYTERIAN

 

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Following construction in the same year the church, intended for the nonconformist denominations, during the construction of the Vickerstown estate/s opened its doors for the first time c1908 and was originally known as Saint Andrew’s. Linking itself c1960 to the Presbyterian Church situated in School Street, Barrow-in-Furness it formed the ‘Furness’ Presbyterian Church. In 1971 the church joined forces with the Emmanuel Congregational Church of Ainsle Street / Abbey Road, (itself being demolished in 1993) to form the Furness United Reformed Church. After closing sometime during 1977 an offer from the Jehovah's Witnesses in 1979 was accepted to purchase the church and subsequently transform into the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witness. Following a lengthy restoration and a spell of only three years use the Jehovah's Witnesses vacated the building in 1999 and subsequently sold it on for use as a private dwelling to a local hotel owner and his family and, which is now boasting such luxuries, as it’s own swimming pool.

 

 

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See also:  Walney Churches Ecumenical Partnership

 

 

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