Places of Worship GAZ Kendal


Medieval parish church of the Holy Trinity, almost certainly a pre-Viking foundation. It remained mother church to much of south Westmorland, its parish covering 25 townships.  Other places of worship in the medieval town included Allhallows chapel on the Fellside, St Anne’s chapel at Dockray Hall and St Leonards’ hospital.

A second Anglican church, St George’s, was built in Market Place in 1755 (demolished 1855). As the town’s population expanded in the early 19th century, new Anglican district churches were established: St Thomas, Stricklandgate, built 1835-7, and a new church of St George, Castle Street, built 1838-41.  A mission church, Allhallows chapel, on Fellside, was built in 1864-6.  The town’s cemetery opened in 1855.

Kendal had a strong and influential nonconformist element.  There was a Quaker presence by 1656, when land on Sepulchre Lane was bought for a burial ground.  A Friends meeting house was built at Stramongate in 1688 and replaced by the present building in 1816.  A Presbyterian chapel had been built in the corner of the Market Place by 1702 and the present Market Place chapel was built 1720.  The Market Place congregation became Unitarian and Orthodox Presbyterian seceders built a chapel on Beast Banks in 1763, which was sold in 1811 (but the ‘Scotch’ burial ground there remained in use until 1855).  Subsequent splintering resulted in the building of an Independent chapel in Lowther Street in 1782 (closed 1929), from which a further secession in 1823 led to the building of another Independent chapel in a former theatre in the Woolpack Yard.  Much of that congregation, in turn, left to build the Zion chapel (now United Reformed church), in a yard off Highgate, in 1844 (it was rebuilt 1896).  The remaining Woolpack Yard congregation moved to a new chapel, St John’s Church, Sandes Avenue, in 1897 (demolished in 1980s).

An Inghamite chapel, in a barn on the edge of High Beast Banks, was established c.1756; rebuilt 1844; converted to housing 1985. 

The town’s first Methodist church was established in the former playhouse (later the Working Men’s Institute) in the Market Place in 1787 and remained there until a purpose-built chapel was erected at the head of Stricklandgate in 1828; it was rebuilt in 1882.  A second Wesleyan chapel in Chapel Lane was built 1872.  The Primitive Methodists had built a chapel in Castle Street in 1823 and moved to a new chapel in 1870.  The Job Pennington Memorial Primitive Methodist Mission Hall was built on Low Fellside in 1899.  As the town expanded its footprint, a Methodist church (now Sandylands Methodist Cornerstone church) was built on the Sandylands housing estate in 1937.

A Roman Catholic church, rebuilt in 1793, was replaced by the church of the Holy Trinity & St George, New Road, built 1835-7.

Other denominations included the Christian Brethren, who had a chapel near Stramongate in later 19th century, the Salvation Army, who had a citadel behind Highgate in the mid-20th century; Jehovah’s Witnesses, who used the former Oddfellows Hall as their Kingdom Hall; the Evangelical church, Parr Street, built in 1970; and the New Life Community Church, which took over the Shakespeare Centre in 1994.