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Penhill Benefice - West Witton

Penhill Benefice

Living and Sharing the Love of Jesus Christ in the Community

St. Bartholomew's Church,West Witton

Christian heritage -

An Anglo-Saxon Christian sculpture in the church is the physical manifestation of the spread of the Christian faith into Wensleydale after converts were baptised by Paulinius in the River Swale around 627AD. 

It is believed that the sculpture, which is in the form of a free-armed cross with perimeter moulding, may date from the late 8th or early 9th century AD.Leaflets about the sculpture and the Christian heritage of this region are available in the church.

The sculpture was found when St Bartholomew’s was extensively restored in 1876. It may have been built into the chancel wall in Norman times, around 1100 AD, or when some restoration work was carried out in the 15th century. The bell tower was added in the 16th century and its height was increased in 1876.

The church can also boast some 20th century craftsmanship for the trademark mouse of the famous ‘Mouseman’, Robert Thompson, can be found on the pulpit and chancel furniture. 

An active community -

West Witton is an active, working village with a mixture of residents some of whom are Dales born and bred, some have moved here whilst working and some have come to retire.

It is a friendly village and, although the number of people who regularly attend St Bartholomew’s is not large, people are generally very supportive of the church.

Many regularly volunteer to tidy the churchyard, lock and unlock the church, and assist with fund-raising events such as the annual cricket match and the Patronal Festival exhibition. The church has also hosted concerts by local groups, like the Cantabile choir from the Wensleydale School. 

Patronal Festival -   

The Patronal Festival weekend is held on that closest to August 24th. On the Saturday there are refreshments and an exhibition in the church at the same time as the Cottage Show in the village hall. The village feast (fair) and the annual fell race are held at the playing field on the Sunday. (The Brownlee brothers dominated the junior fell race for several years in the early 1990s.)

A friendly, welcoming church -

A tractor-ride and a picnic on the top of Penhill, and a concert presented by the Wensleydale School Cantabile choir during the stewardship and celebration weekend in June 2014 were all part of how this church does enjoy sharing with others. As was the church sale and tea party in the churchyard in 2013.

You are very welcome to come and join us. 


Adrian Thornton-Berry 01969 663443



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