The church was first recorded in the Lanercost Cartulary 1169 when Robert de Vaux granted the church to the Priory at Lanercost. The line drawing was made by a monk in the margin. Thomas a Becket was murdered in 1170 and canonised in 1173, the church was dedication to him shortly after this.
The church is in the ancient manor of Farlam in the Barony of Gilsland. It is in the hamlet of Kirkhouse once known as Magna Farlam or East Farlam whilst the other major settlement of the time was Pava Farlam, that it is now called Farlam. It was the growth of mining at the end of the 17th century that increased the population and villages along the fell side.
The paintings below were of the old church that was demolished in 1860 to make way for the new one on the hill. The population had grown and a new more fitting church was required. Built by public subscription to an Anthony Salvin design, it was consecrated by the Bishop of Carlisle on Tuesday 27th November 1860.