St Michael's Church, Bowness-on-Solway
Church in Bowness-on-Solway
St Michael’s Church is in the village of Bowness-on-Solway, Cumbria, England. The church dates from the 12th century, and is built atop the granary of the Roman fort and is partly built with stones from the fort, as are a number of other local buildings. It undertook a restoration in the 18th century.
It is built in calciferous sandstone and red sandstone, on a chamfered plinth, and has a green slate roof. The church consists of a nave, a south porch, a north transept, a chancel, and a north vestry, On the west gable is an open twin bellcote. Some Norman features have been retained, and most of the windows are lancets. The font has a Norman bowl on a 19th-century shaft.
In 1626 raiders from Scotland stole a pair of bells from St Michael’s, only to lose them while making their way back across the Solway Firth. The villagers retaliated by raiding north across the firth and made off with bells from churches of Dornock and Middlebie. A tradition arose that each time a new vicar of Annan takes office, the vicar must petition Bowness for the return of the bells. Yet here they sit, in the church porch, as they have done for almost 4 centuries.