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Swaledale & Arkengarthdale Business Forum (SABF)

Arkle Town

Arkle Town (actually a hamlet, not by any stretch of the imagination a town!) at one time had a poorhouse and was originally the home of the church. In 1812 this church was deemed to be too small and was being undermined by Arkle Beck. Only a few gravestones remain in Arkle Town to mark the old site. A new church was built further up the dale, St Mary's.

St Mary's was one of the 600 ‘Commissioners’ churches (unusual in a rural setting) constructed after Napoleon's defeat, both for celebratory purposes and also to help bolster Conformist church-going at a time when the Church's authority was under challenge. Limited funding was available, hence no stained glass, but it is still an imposing building. A Commissioners' church is a UK Anglican church built with money voted by Parliament as a result of the Church Building Acts of 1818 and 1824. They have a number of titles, including ‘Commissioners’ churches, ‘Waterloo’ churches and ‘Million Act’ churches (or ‘Million churches’).