Last Saturday we were in the Lancashire for a family wedding, at St John the Baptist, Arkholme, near Kirby Lonsdale.
I was asked to do the reading, which was John 2:1-11, Jesus turning water into wine at another wedding, at Cana. Jesus saying in effect, ‘I’m not ready for this (this ministry thing)’, but still demonstrating God’s outrageous generosity. And the importance of celebration, of having a good party.
The minister, covering an interregnum, did a great job of modelling God’s generous welcome; it was not the first marriage for either bride or groom, and most of those present were not used to church. A good, quiet witness. And yes, having trooped down to the nearby River Lune we all, bride included, got soaked to the skin.
The church itself, grade 2* listed, dates from about 1450, was reworked in 1788 (see stone) including the addition of the sweet little bell cote, and again in 1897 by Austin and Paley. The feel of the church is lovely, of uncluttered simplicity, light enough, warm enough, a place of gathering and welcome. Stone walls, wooden pews and roof trusses. white ceiling – very simple.
All the glass is plain, except for two small windows at the end of the side aisle, one commemorating Arthur James Woodh0use, Vicar of Arkholme, the other commemorating his sister, Annie Margarita.
Immediately to the north of the church is a mound, shown on the OS map as a motte (as in ‘& bailey castle’), which gives you a fine view of the roof of the church and the landscape beyond. Note the stone roof, with larger stones at the eaves diminishing to smaller stones at the ridge. The simple use of local materials helps the building belong to its place.