Gargoyles were commonly used in medieval times. Their two main purposes were to scare off evil, and to divert rainwater. The word "Gargoyle" originates from the old French word "Gargouille" meaning "throat" but which also describes the gurgling sound of water as it is coming down the downspout. A False Gargolyle, known also as a Grotesque, does not have a water spout like a gargoyle, but is simply a stone carving.
The earliest parts of this church are 13th. century although an earlier church is recorded by the Domesday Survey of 1086. Most of the fabric was built about 1400-1600 when the town's cloth trade was at its peak. In 1553 Queen Mary gave the living to Trinity College, Cambridge, which is still its patron. The church is the largest in Cumbria and in the 19th. century regularly accommodated about 1100 people