Dufton Church

Dufton Church is dedicated to St. Cuthbert, as is common in this part of northern England. It is not in the village itself but about half a mile away between Dufton and Knock. It has a most extensive parish which ranges over the fells to the border with County Durham. The present building dates from the 1780’s and is pleasantly lit within by its beautifully coloured windows. There has been a church on the site since at least 1283 and probably before that. It is built of local sandstone and has some old window heads and ornaments incorporated into the fabric.

Inside, there are memorials in stone and brass which give the reader an added insight into the history of the community. The church is kept open during the day. The rectory was once the cluster of buildings adjoining the church site, but the present one is a more modern building in Long Marton. Rationalisation has led to there being three Churches under one rector – those of Dufton, Long Marton and Milburn and services are shared between them. The church is in the Appleby Deanery of the Diocese of Carlisle.

Church Information:

Team Rector: The Revd. Sarah Lunn

017683 61269 email: sarahlunn@care4free.net

Churchwardens: Mrs G Bryan

017683 51414

Secretary: Mrs Louise Stewart

Services at Dufton 10:30am Holy Communion

 

History of the Church

The parish church of Dufton, St Cuthbert’s, lies about ¾ mile north west of the village, off the Knock road. It is possible that this was a sacred site before the coming of Christianity to Cumbria. The old part of the churchyard is curvilinear, which indicates a Celtic foundation. Tradition has it that the site is one of those where the Lindisfarne monks rested with the body of St Cuthbert while fleeing the Vikings in 865 – hence the dedication to St Cuthbert.

Reused masonry in the church walls indicate the presence of a 12th Century church. The first written mention of the church is in 1291. The building was heavily restored in 1784 – the west tower and much of the masonry dating from this time. In 1853 it was restored again, and a further restoration took place in 1946 including a new east window. The present light and airy interior owes much to the restoration of 1853.

Dufton also has its own saint – St John Boste. He was born in Dufton in 1543 and attended Appleby Grammar School and Oxford University. He later became a Catholic priest and ministered in secret to the Catholics of the north of England in particular. Like most such priests he was betrayed and subsequently hanged, drawn and quartered at Durham on 24th July 1594. He was one of the “Forty martyrs of England and Wales” canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1970.

There is a fuller account of the history in a leaflet to be found at the back of the church.