Memorials in the Churches.
In both churches there are early 20th century stained-glass windows featuring St Alkelda. In Middleham Church, there is a window composed of the broken pieces of a medieval window showing St Alkelda’s martyrdom.
In Giggleswick Church, which like Middleham, is built on the foundations of an Anglo-Saxon church, you will see a representation of St Alkelda topping the church-wardens’ staves and the newest addition, the mysterious, beautiful 20th century stained-glass depiction of St Alkelda the story of which is yet to be told. A question which still puzzles us, is there pieces of medieval glass in the new discovery?
There is another stained-glass window in Settle depicting St Alkelda of Middleham and that is in St Mary and St Michael’s Roman Catholic Church, Tillman Close (100 yards from the bottom of Kirkgate).
There are stained-glass panels in Giggleswick’s west window depicting scenes from St Alkelda’s life and in the Memorial (formerly Lady) Chapel, a panel in the Carr stained-glass window featuring St Alkelda.
In the Giggleswick churchyard, guarding the south (vicar’s) door is a headless stone Northumbrian (Anglo-Saxon*) cross shaft.
Nearby, in Giggleswick Scar, Anglo-Saxon carved stones have been found in the caves. Christianity has been established here and in Middleham for well over twelve hundred years and St Alkelda remains very much part of the Anglo-Saxon history of the Dales. Was she connected with the Anglo-Saxon chapel recently being excavated at Malham? We do not know yet.
An Anglo-Saxon stone featuring a carved spiral pattern was found in Giggleswick church during the restoration there in 1890-2.
By the old vicarage, on Bankwell Lane, lies the Bank Well. It was considered to be an ‘eye’ well. A lead figure was discovered in the well sometime last century, thought to be the representation of a fertility goddess.
The lead figurine, approximately 7.5 cm high, that was discovered in the well at the end of the 19th century. The figurine was originally thought to be a Tudor child’s toy. At some point, someone recognised the features and decoration was contemporary with artefacts of the La Tene culture, found at Merioneth. There are some that think that this to be a representation of the Goddess Brigantia
* Although the Angles, and not the Saxons, were the Germanic people who settled north of the Wash in the 5th and 6th centuries AD, the familiar generic term Anglo-Saxons is used here for the Northumbrians of St Alkelda’s period.