History
     

    Much of the present building is 600 – 800 years old, however, part of an Anglo-Saxon cross and other stone fragments provide evidence of a much earlier church. The site may have been used for worship as early as the seventh century but dowsing has revealed foundations of a small stone church which perhaps dates from c.900.
     
    The Anglo-Saxon building was replaced with a Norman one by Richard Bertram who became the first Norman lord to live at Bothal Castle in 1161. His son, Robert Bertram 1, significantly enlarged this building and adding the chancel in about 1200. In 1343, Robert Bertram IV received a licence to fortify the gatehouse keep at Bothal Castle and at the same time he added the south aisle to the church.
     
    At the very end of the 14th Century Lord Robert’s heiress Helen Bertram, Baroness of Bothal received permission to turn the south aisle chapel into a chantry which occasioned major changes. Both north and south aisles were heightened, flatter aisle roofs added and the trefoil windows we see today inserted. Fragments of 14th and 15th century glass can still be found in these windows. The walls above the nave arcades were also raised to create a clerestory of eight small windows. The nave roof with its arch braces and wall posts resting on stone corbels dates from this time and is therefore one of the architectural treasures of the church.

    Two major restorations took place in the Victorian era.  Rector Hopwood restored the chancel in 1857. In 1887, William Ellis (rector from 1861 until 1923) also restored the chancel.  This involved completely rebuilding the south wall, heightening the others and adding a new roof.  The entrance porch was also added at this time.

    Significant Features

    The porch was added in the late 19th century but the door itself is much older, with one inscription on it reading "WH 1576".

    The church organ was installed in 1892 by Harrison & Harrison of Durham.

    The church windows in the north and south aisles (Annunciation window) contain a fine collection of medieval stained glass. The red, blue and yellow glass dates to about 1400 and the gold glass to about 1500. Amongst other things they depict the Crucifixion and the Coronation of the Virgin Mary. The Victorian stained glass in the Chancel side windows depicts various New Testament authors and the east window depicts Christ the Good Shepherd. The old east window frame now sits in the vestry.

    The wooden communion rail dates back to the early 1600s and an unusually low window behind the Rector’s seat in the chancel was probably a leper window..

    The four carved stone heads above the pillars of the north arcade depict the ordering of medieval society: from west to east, a peasants wife, a peasant, a king and a bishop and date to about 1200.

    Grave slabs(on the floor of the north aisle) are 13th Century and 15th Century, possibly for Roger Bertram I and Owen, Lord Ogle respectively.

    The Ogle Tomb is one of the outstanding features. It is made from alabaster depicting two figures: Ralph, Lord Ogle, a notable Tudor notable courtier (died 1513) and his wife Lady Margaret
    Gascoigne. Lord Ralph was charged with the task of accompanying Princess Margaret Tudor to Scotland in 1503 for her wedding to King James IV.



    Features outside the Church.
     
    An old stone font is believed to have come from the Holy Sepulchre church, Sheepwash which was a ruin in the 18th century.  The three medieval stone coffins would originally have been inside Bothal church.
    The bell cote contains three bells, one of which is dated 1615.

    The War Memorial is flanked by a weeping ash to the left representing the tears of the bereaved.  On the right, the leaves of the Japanese Maple turn bright red in the autumn, symbolising the blood of the fallen.

     “The aspect of this church is exceedingly venerable, reverend and devotional. 
    The scenery around Bothal church is charmingly sylvan, tranquil and picturesque.  The remains of the Bertram castle enhance its beauty…” so wrote FR Wilson in “The Churches of Lindisfarne“ (1870) and in the 21st century he would find the setting little changed.