St Martin’s Church, Martindale is located in the valley of Martindale in Cumbria. It is often referred to as the "Old Church" to avoid confusion with the nearby St Peter‘s Church which is situated half a mile down the valley. The church is dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours. It is now only in occasional use. The church is a Grade II* listed building.
The date of the establishment of a place of worship on the site of St Martin’s is unknown but it is mentioned in a de Lancaster Charter of 1220 and other references state that a chapel was already in existence at that date. In its early days and up until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536 St Martin’s was served by the monks of the parish of Barton. On Christopher Saxton’s map of 1576 the church is shown as "Markendale Chap". In 1633 the parish of Martindale was founded and Richard Birkett became the church’s first resident priest, he served until his death on Christmas Day 1699, after a ministry of almost 67 years.
The present building was probably erected at the end of the 16th century, replacing the chapel, the last reference to which occurs in a document of 13 April 1541. In 1714 the church floor was flagged as the congregation were no longer prepared to endure the damp earth floor. In 1839, William Ford, in his book “Description of Scenery in the Lake District” described the building as "a chapel with low roof and simple bell-gable, and a picturesque yew-tree". The church underwent a series of restorations, the last of which was in 1882 when the roof was replaced, the old box pews were removed and the same wood was used to construct the side benches. The singers and musicians gallery was taken down and new window frames installed.
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