The Lakeside Church

Stalling  Busk Chapel by the Lake


This is a copy of the article from the Darlington and Stockton Times – Ripon and Richmond Chronicle

Dated: March 19th 1938

Awaiting better photograph

Wensleydale’s Freak Church

Memory of an ancient edifice near Semerwater

This photograph of the old church at Stalling Busk, with part of Lake Semerwater to be seen in the background, will revive many memories of past days to those who were associated with the religious life of Raydale before the erection of the new church in the centre of the Hamlet.

The old church was about a quarter of a mile below the village, and the congregation had to walk down a steep road or cross the fields by footpath to attend services. This was no easy task in stormy weather, the heavy rainfall adding considerably to the difficulties of the worshippers on account of the many springs in the area.

The church was unique in construction. The roof stretched across the full width of the building in one slope, the builders having apparently found that the timber for the roof was too short for the original purpose. The communion table was placed against the north wall, where the north aisle should have been. The pulpit was almost in the middle of the edifice, in front of the broad central pillar. It was impossible to kneel at the reading desk, and standing was difficult. The pews faced no particular direction and the windows were not uniformly arranged. An arcade, consisting of two arches of rough masonry on each side was intended to form a nave. The choir sat in an elevated pew. The bell turret was singularly constructed, and resembled a large chimney with the four corners only.

In order to raise funds for the new church, the slates, roofing, pews, windows, doors and in fact almost everything movable, were sold, and the building now lies derelict and forsaken. The walls have fallen in, and the interior, where many ancestors of present families of the dale were interred in by-gone days, is now piled up with stones, rubble and weeds. The churchyard is still being used as a burial ground. Access to it is very difficult now that the road is scarcely used.

Transcribed from original newspaper cutting (M Hirst)