Sunday……..So off to Church

Buttermere's-Shepherds-Church,-ButtermereSt James Church, Buttermere, Cumbria

Buttermere is a beautiful but very small hamlet in the north west corner of the English Lake District.  Surrounded by mountains it is a popular centre for Fell Walkers.  Sadly many visitors just drive past this unassuming stone building by the road. Many who do know the church also know it by another name the “Shepherds Church”.

The interior is simple as one would expect for a small country church, but none the less it has its own charm….


In more recent time there has been an increase in the number of visitors calling at St. James.  They call to pay tribute to Alfred Wainwright, a hero for Fell Walkers.  Wainwright wrote and illustrated with unique maps as series of 7 Lakeland Fell Guide Books, in all 214 fells were described in detail and various routes for each were created.  His famous Guide Books still sell today 25 years after his death *.

Wainwright was a man who avoid publicity, most of his walking was alone. So it is not surprising that his memorial is simple….but also  poignant.


A simple plaque in a window.  The significance is that it looks out onto the Fell known as Hay Stacks, his favourite.  In one of his guides he make mention that he wishes his ashes to be scattered by the little tarn on the fell top….but in true Wainwright style he describes it so much better then most….

A Little Bit of Grit


* Wainwright also wrote over 40 other Guide Books including another famous Guides to both the Pennine Way and the Coast to Coast Walk

21st August

(C) David Oakes 2016


16 thoughts on “Sunday……..So off to Church

    • His writing was an easy at times witty flow and was exactly the same of the route descriptions in his walking guides, he was with you at each step. As they were pocket size you could take him on every walk.

    • Many are but out of the total it is still a small number. Some of the old Chapels have been converted to homes or small business premises, some have Conservation Trust status for protection…..but to balance things out there have been quite a number of new churches built as population numbers shift.

  1. Wonderful, David. A simple memorial with a very lovely view. I love the excerpt from the book you shared too – a brilliant piece of writing.

    • I should have shared an image of his maps. They are pen and ink 3d layouts of each pathway travelled and as most of the mountains had many ways to the top each had a separate map. All of course had side comments about observations and route with a touch of dry humour. They are still unique even though the style has been copied by others (some how they lack that Wainwright one to one humour)

  2. What a place to have your ashes scattered. Lovely little church, beautiful countryside. I always like the little churches in England and always visited the cemetary around them trying to find out the names, how old they were etc. And I prefer the simplest head stones, of the common people. I believe countries are built on them.

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