Building » Grasmere – Our Lady of the Wayside

Grasmere – Our Lady of the Wayside

Keswick Road, Ambleside LA22 9RL

An attractive, traditional design built in sympathetic local materials. The architect was a prolific designer of churches in the Diocese of Lancaster and elsewhere.

The church of Our Lady of the Wayside was the first Catholic chapel to be built in Grasmere since the Reformation. Mass had been said since the 1930s at the nearby Dale Lodge Hotel, but increasing numbers of tourists prompted the decision to erect a permanent church. The architect chosen was Wilfrid C. Mangan of Preston, the builder was T. Armstrong and Sons of Cockermouth.


The church is cruciform in plan with pitched slate roofs and a complete facing of Westmorland slate. The centre of the cross is marked by a 34 foot tower, square in shape, with three round-headed window openings in the top of each of its four faces providing top lighting to the sanctuary area. The nave is four-bay, with large round-headed windows along its long sides. The north transept has a single large window in the same style.

The varnished and panelled wood-clad ceilings of the nave and transepts slope up from the walls to form a flat ceiling above the aisles. The walls are plastered and painted white. Interior seating is arranged around the sanctuary – in the nave and both transepts. The apse is sealed off, behind the sanctuary, to form the sacristy. According to the sheet on the building’s history (available in the church), the altar is of polished green slate with a white marble table and base. Above this is a canopy depicting the circle symbol of the Trinity breaking through the stars. The Stations of the Cross on the walls are made of dark green slate, with figures etched and gilded in silver. The windows are leaded, and of plain glass with a blue-glass border. The double columns supporting the tower are of simple, Doric design, with arches between.

The presbytery to the east is not linked to the church but was apparently built at the same time. It is a small, single-storey bungalow rendered and painted white, with a slate roof. Its windows and door have been replaced.

Entry amended by AHP 18.12.2020

Heritage Details

Architect: Wilfrid C. Mangan

Original Date: 1964

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed