Lynn's Flowers at the Crematorium and at St. Bega's
Dalston Hall Refreshments
The Church is situated in fields on the East shore of Bassenthwaite Lake and is dedicated to the Celtic Saint, Bega a 7th century Irish princess who fled her native land to avoid an unwelcome marriage. She landed on the Cumbrian coast at St Bees, where a priory was later founded in her name. Legends tell that St Bega settled here at Bassenthwaite, and may indeed have been buried in this spot.
The architectural history of the Church offers more mystery. There are large, uneven stones in the north and east walls, which suggest a Roman building. In the interior, a simple, rounded chancel arch supported on thick pillars certainly suggests a pre-Norman date. The most likely foundation of the current building, then, is about 950, but it is possible that the current church was created on the foundations of a much earlier building.
The large arch between the chancel and north aisle is 12th century, and a later 14th century arch is located in the nave. Sadly, Victorian restoration has done away with any earlier evidence that might illuminate the history of the church. The simple font at the west end of the nave dates to about 1300. Above the south doorway hangs a royal coat of arms dating to 1745. It was erected, we are told, after the rebellion of Bonnie Prince Charlie, and was meant to remind citizens of where their loyalties should lie! The building was extensively restored in 1874.
Wordsworth, Tennyson and Carlyle were known to have visited St Bega's. The Church featured in Wordsworth's 'A Guide to the English Lakes'. It is very likely that the opening of Tennyson's 'Morte d'Arthur' took inspiration from St Bega's. More recently it provided the setting for Melvyn Bragg’s novel Credo.
The Church is used for services at least twice each month. It also has a large number of weddings and baptisms. Always open, it is widely visited by people from all over the world. Most come on foot, often from a considerable distance.
The Churchyard provides a rich variety of wild flowers and grasses. The footpaths to the Church via Mirehouse or from Sandbed Gill, Dodd Wood are a delight at all times: the first snowdrop of spring and wonderful flower meadows later in the year.
The Church is open at all times.
Note: Access to the Church is by unmetalled footpath only.
The final photo below was taken on 7 May, one of those idyllic spring mornings. Bob and Annette were visiting St Bega's with Laura for her to practice reading the lesson for Robbie and Bridie's wedding. The gallery includes some photos of the wedding flowers when I visited St Bega's in June.