32. Penrith Town (1), Cumbria: The Town Centre, The Museum, Historic 'Pubs' and other buildings!
Scenes in East Cumbria
Penrith is the principal, and historic , market town of the Eden Valley and is a very busy and bustling town indeed, with many attractive buildings and a rich history of over a 1000 years. It became the capital of Cumbria in the 9th and 10th centuries. In the town centre, on the Market Square, is the 'iconic' Victorian Clock Tower built in 1861, known as the 'Musgrave Monument' and commemorates the death of Philip Musgrave of Eden Hall. There are fine buildings either side of it e.g. the red sandstone of Barclays Bank.
The Museum and Tourist Information Centre is housed in an old 17th century house, known as 'Robinson's School' which was originally a charity school for poor girls and remained a school until 1971.
The inscription over the right-hand door of the museum building.
Some of the museum displays e.g. in the cabinets are prehistoric carved 'cup and ring' stones.
Penrith has a good mix of traditional shops and sophisticated arcades, a 19th century food emporium selling local cheeses, meats and specialities from its deli-counters. The picture above shows one of several markets regularly held in Penrith, in this case near the Cornmarket. Penrith is famed for its toffee and fudge and the traditional Cumberland sausage.
The attractive and stylish building of the 'Alhambra' Cinema next to the museum.
The Gloucester Arms near Corn Market street dates from 1471. It was called Dockray Hall and Richard III is supposed to have lodged here when he was the Duke of Gloucester.
The fine Georgian building of the Last Orders' Inn (left) in Burrowgate, and the 'George Hotel' near the Clock Tower (right) where in this 300 year old building, Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed in November 1745 when marching south with his ill-fated army.
The Bewick Coffee House and Bistro Restaurant puts another fine old building to good use.
32. contd. Penrith Town (2), Cumbria: St Andrew's Church and a Tudor Building
St Andrew's Church is a mighty 'Baroque' rebuild in 1720-1722 and only the tower remains of the original 12th century church. There is a detailed free guide sheet available to the church, but a small donation should always be left to help maintain these fine old buildings, much frequented by passing tourists.
The entrance to the church via the mighty 12th century west tower, with its massive thick walls, and outside to the right of it the 'Giant's Thumb' which is the weathered remains of an old Norse Cross dating from around AD 920.
Two old crosses, with a mixture of Viking and Christian carvings and four hogback/hogsback tombstones which date back to the 9th-10th? century i.e. from the earliest Christian history of Penrith.
The interior of St Andrews Church, the nave, columns of the isles and the alter and east window. The idea was to bring the ideas and style of the architect of St Paul's Cathedral in London, Sir Christopher Wren, to Penrith Town.
One of two portions of surviving fragments of the old medieval stained glass windows.
More surviving fragments of the old medieval stained glass windows of the original church.
A relatively modern peace of stained glass in one of the south wall windows and next to it, children's work on transparent plastic rectangles, beautifully 'knitted together' - what a good practical artistic idea!
An old gravestone in the porch of St Andrew's and across from the church is the front part of the 'Tudor' house.
The old Tudor-Elizabethan house is in St Andrew's Place and William and Dorothy Wordsworth attended 'Dame Birkett's School' there.
There are many other interesting buildings in this fine northern town, including the fine sandstone ruins of Penrith Castle near the station, which sadly, we had no time to visit in our first trip to Penrith.
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Penrith Town in Cumbria, England is a bust bustling town with many fine historic pubs! and other fine Georgian and Victorian buildings like the Clock Tower. The Bewick Coffee House Bistro & Restaurant (top left) is in the minority i.e. The Gloucester Arms Hotel (top right), The Last Orders pub (bottom left) and The George Hotel (bottom right) are more typical sources of refreshment! St Andrew's Church, The Museum and Markets are all worth a visit.