BB2208 : Seeking Saint Sunday

Wednesday 23rd February 2022

We arrived at Levens Hall just in time not to have coffee and cake.  It was not yet open.  That meant we could go walking with a clear conscience.  We’d call in the café on our return.  First we had a pilgrimage to undertake.

Mick was with us.  He’s a member of TV Mike’s other walking group and, from time to time, the two sets have joined forces though last time out it was a challenge for Martin and me to keep up with them.  Hopefully we would perform better today.

Mick was anxious for us to learn what he had discovered about Saint Sunday.

I had a vague memory of Saint Sunday being a translation of the Spanish name Santo Domingo, the founder of the Dominican monks.  

Would we discover more, I wondered, as we walked through Heversham and its church?  

What I did discover was that the church is dedicated not to Domingo but to Saint Peter and that you can now make donations by tapping your card against a reader.

No more excuses that I would but I haven’t got any cash on me.  After all, who goes out without some form of card these days?

We climbed the hill to the Heversham Head trig point then diverted west to the Millennium Pillar.  If you want to know more about it, see the report of an earlier visit- BB1128 : Heversham Head and Mhor

On the other side of the Head we turned north and waded through the flood..... Hincaster where the small triangle of grass has a big round stone atop a round plinth. Uncle Google couldn’t find much to say about it other than it had probably been brought down by glacier from Shap.

A little further on is the Hincaster canal tunnel where the barges used to pass through, powered by humans pulling on a fixed rope whilst the horses took the less strenuous route up and over the dual carriageway and the train lines although I doubt if either would have been much of an obstacle in the 18th century.

At the other end of the tunnel, a length of canal has been restored, although not quite joined to the next section which does actually see a barge occasionally.

Between them is a bench which made a great place to eat our butties and also to WhatsApp Tony about what we were doing.  He responded asking “Why do you have days like that when I'm not there?”  Usually he says something ruder.

I was contemplating a reply when it occurred to me that there was another Saint Sunday, a female megalomartyr.  Isn’t that a great word?  It means a martyr to whom particular veneration is given.  Her Greek name is ΑΓΙΑ ΚΥΡΙΑΚΗ

Kyriake had been martyred during the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian who had revoked the legal rights of Christians.

A magistrate of Nicomedia wanted Kyriake to marry his son but she refused, telling him that she was betrothed to Christ.  

As a result, he denounced her to the authorities as a Christian.  

She was then tortured for her refusal to worship the Roman gods and eventually beheaded.

I wondered to which saint Mick was referring when he stood up from the table and announced it was time to go and see what had happened to Saint Sunday.  We walked a short way along the towpath then down some steps to where water was gushing through a tunnel under the canal.  There was a stone footway but the stream had covered that as well.  We explored to see if we could wade through to the other end but gave up as it was too dangerous.

“What is this strange place to which you have brought us, Mick?” we asked.  He just shrugged his shoulders and smiled.  “It’s the new tunnel for Saint Sunday’s beck,” he explained.  “I wanted you to see it.”

He was right, it was an interesting detour but now we had to return.

Our route took us through the beckside hamlet of Stainton.  Thought.  Was that a corruption of what was once called Saint’s Town?

Another question tested us.  Exactly what model of car was under these wraps? Can you tell?

A little later we climbed a surprisingly steep little hill then passed through fields to Crosscrake School and across the maize maze fields (it’s easy at this time of year).....

..... to the footbridge over the railway.  This is a great place to stop and watch the steam trains pass by.  But none today, just modern trains in smart livery.

Soon we reached the very familiar territory of the northern reaches of the waterless Lancaster Canal.  In Levens Park, the River Kent was most definitely not waterless.  The aftermath of storms Arwen and Dudley was obvious by the number of trees that had been brought down.

Equally obvious was that the outing would end in the Levens Kitchen café as we had promised, where Mick kindly treated us to coffee and cake.

But just which was the Saint Sunday whose beck we had visited remains a mystery.

Don, Wednesday 23rd February 2022


Bonus Pictures from Mick


Comitibus:  Don, Martin, TV Mike, Mick


Robin: The car under the wraps looks like the shape of an Austin A40 from the 60’s, a car in which my fellow engineering student and now long-time friend and I travelled to Huddersfield from Marlborough on our first day at college. For its time, it was fast with remarkably good road holding which we tested to the limit when seeing off a motor bike!

Stainton could well be as you suggest, a derivation or mis-spelling of Saint Town, but the proliferation of Viking names in and around The Lakes also suggests a corruption of ‘steyn’ – Stone Town.

Don:  I thought it might have been an old Renault 4 but looking at the profile again and noticing the angled line of the rear plus the wing mirrors, I suspect Robin is right.  Likewise regarding "steyn".

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Map  OS 1:50k



BB2208 : Seeking Saint Sunday


Wednesday 23rd February 2022


Heversham Head, Hincaster Tunnel, St Sunday's Beck

Distance in miles (Garmin):


Height climbed in feet (MM):



Don, Martin, Mick, TV Mike


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