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13 November 2014

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You are in: Cumbria > Faith > Features > Carlisle's moving pulpit

St Cuthbert's moving pulpit

St Cuthbert's moving pulpit

Carlisle's moving pulpit

It's big, runs on rails and is made of intricately carved wood... No, it's not a bizarre flammable steam train, it's the moving pulpit of St. Cuthbert's Church!

This Cumbrian curiosity was built so that the whole congregation of the church would be able to see the vicar give his sermons.

The church has two levels for the congregation to sit in:

  • The normal nave for the main body of the congregation
  • And an upper gallery for more people.

Because of this, the preacher was not visible from all of the church when he gave the sermons.

The pulpit was built in 1905 by the Carlisle crane makers, Cowan Sheldon.

It is moved by a simple rope and pulley system under the floor of the church and it is kept in a straight line by running on a set of rails. This system is the same used by the cable cars in San Francisco.
It takes 23.5 turns of the handle to move the pulpit to the centre of the church.

St Cuthbert's Church in Carlisle

St Cuthbert's Church in Carlisle

St. Cuthbert's Church was rebuilt in 1779 at a cost of £1,695 (about £2 million today) and is probably the fourth church to stand on the site.
Nothing remains of the previous buildings except for some fragments of stained glass that have been rearranged in a window in the North Wall by the glaziers of York Minster.
A church has stood on the same ground since 685AD.

The whole of St. Cuthbert's Church is unusual because it doesn't follow the traditional pattern of aligning east to west, but instead go, northeast to southwest along a Roman road running through Carlisle to the north.

last updated: 02/04/2009 at 07:36
created: 30/03/2009

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