The Cross, Wetheral Village Green
Wetheral is a village in Cumberland. Today it serves mostly as a commuter village for nearby Carlisle, the county town. Along with nearby Scotby, Wetheral is one of the most affluent villages in northern Cumberland.
Wetheral stands high on a bank overlooking a gorge in the River Eden. Parts of the riverbank here are surrounded by ancient woodlands, including Wetheral Woods, owned by the National Trust. Formerly a small ferryboat operated to the village of Great Corby on the opposite bank, and an iron ring can still be found attached to the rocks on the Great Corby side of the river where the ferry would tie up.
The Newcastle to Carlisle Railway has a station here at the west end of Corby Bridge (popularly known as 'Wetheral Viaduct') over the Eden which acts also as a footbridge connecting with Great Corby. The station was closed during the Beeching Axe in 1967, but was reopened in 1981. In 1836 one of the very earliest railway accidents happened close to Wetheral station.
In the Middle Ages there was a priory at Wetheral. All that is left now is Wetheral Priory Gatehouse, which is in the care of English Heritage, and some low ruined walls behind the farm buildings that now occupy the site.
At the historic core of the village lies the village green, in one corner of which stands Wetheral Cross. The cross previously stood in the centre of the green before it was moved. The green is surrounded by large period houses in different styles, and the Fantails restaurant, shop and tea room front the green. The church, hotel (The Crown), village hall, hairdresser and pub (The Wheatsheaf) are not far away. The north western part of the village is known as Wetheral Plain and consists of a ribbon development along Plains Road and the housing estates of Greenacres and Faustin Hill.
Wetheral Parish Church is dedicated to the Holy Trinity and St Constantine. This St Constantine, not the Emperor of that name, is said to be a Scottish king who relinquished his throne to become a monk (as did Constantine II, the villain of the Brunanburh poem). Legend has it that St Constantine lived as a hermit in a cave at Wetheral. The current Rector is based at The Rectory in Warwick Bridge.
The Church contains a life size sculpture by Joseph Nollekens of 'Faith'. This was commissioned by Henry Howard after the death, in childbirth, of his wife Maria.The cost of the sculpture was £1,500 in the late eighteenth century, which is estimated to be equivalent to nearly £2 million today.
Sport and recreation
The Wetheral Playing Fields on Cumwhinton Road, spead over 5½ acres, are enrolled as a Queen Elizabeth II Field.
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- "Wetheral Parish Plan 2005". Wetheral Parish Council. p. 18. http://www.carlisle-city.gov.uk/pdf/wetheral%20pp.pdf. Retrieved 2008-06-21.
- Holmes (2013) op cit
- Focus on Eden Parish magazine no 143 July/Aug 2014. The Rector at this time Rev'd David Craven
- Holmes (2013) op cit