In January 1894, in his small black notebook of that year, Frederick Leach recorded paint colours for the walls of St John’s church in Cumdivock – ‘Sacrarium green toned yellow’. The local newspaper, The Carlisle Patriot, reported on the re-opening of the church in December of the following year:”Messrs Leach of Cambridge were employed for the internal painting of the walls, which have been treated very artistically, a scroll running round the whole church and bearing, as a motto, the collect for St. John the Evangelist (to whom the church is dedicated) in Latin, as it appears in the old Service Books. Evident care was taken with the designs at the east end which have come out with very pleasing effect. . . the organ takes up the old vestry and is fronted towards the church with a lovely oak screen carved by Mr George Black, of Carlisle . . . the altar frontal in green and gold, worked by the Sisters of St Katherine’s Convent, Queen’s Square, London, is the gift of Mrs Brockbank.”
St John’s church was originally designed and built by the architectural partnership of John Cory and Charles Ferguson in 1870-72. A great storm which caused much damage – ‘havoc was made of the roof’ – was the occasion of the renovation in 1894. C.J. Ferguson himself was living just a half a mile up the road from the church in Cardew Lodge and Frederick Leach visited him there in 1894 whilst supervising a number of jobs in the area.
Matthew Hyde and Nikolaus Pevsner, Cumbria The Buildings of England (Yale University Press, 2014)