Allonby Parish

  > Now forms a separate and distinct parish for all ecclesiastical purposes; but is united with West-Newton for civil matters. It is comprised within Allerdale-below-Derwent Ward and petty sessional division; the deanery of Maryport; the electoral division of Aspatria; and the poor-law union, county court and rural districts of Wigton. Within its bounds is an area of 1,234 acres, which are assessed at about 2,578, and a population of 449.

Agriculture is the chief employment of the people, but a few are employed as fishermen or boatmen. Much of the soil is of a sandy nature; in some parts, however, it is loamy, and in a few others of a mixed quality. Stone is found within the parish, and is quarried at two places; and coal, though not worked, is said to abound here. The air of Allonby is highly salubrious and conducive to longevity, as the bills of mortality show.

The manor of Allonby, or Alanby, is said to have derived its name from Alan, the second lord of Allerdale, who, tradition says, chose this place for his residence on account of its solitude and its proximity to the abbey of Holme Cultram. He was a generous benefactor to that institution, and had it is said, undertaken to rebuild it. The manor appears to have been given by Alan to some of his kindred, who, to distinguish themselves, adopted, the name of de Alanby. Soon after the time of Edward III, through failure of male issue, the name became extinct; and the manor was conveyed, by the marriage of the heiress to William de Flimby. In a similar way it came into the possession of the Blennerhassets, by whom it was held till the year 1700, when it was sold to William Thomlinson, Esq., of Blencogo Hall. This gentleman, in the following year, sold the lands to the tenants, reserving only a small quit rent. The manor is now held by Walter Tomlinson Coleman and Chas. Tom Reay, Esqrs.

Ormesby, in this parish, was anciently a small manor held by the lords of Dearham, and probably derived its name from Orme, some Saxon owner. It has since passed with the manors of Allonby and Hayton.

The principal landowners of this parish are Messrs. J.J. & W. Williamson, Mrs. S. and Miss Ann Osborne, P. Beeby, London, and the Trustee of Jane Paisley.

Crookhurst is an estate, the draining of which cost over 2,000. The main drain is about half a mile in length, and is provided with five manholes by which workmen descend to clear a way when the land is flooded. Though such an amount of money has been spent on the drainage, it is reported to be unsatisfactory.

Allonby is a neat, but irregularly built, town and fashionable bathing place, for which it is well adapted. The sands are smooth and firm, and the inclination of the beach towards the sea so gradual that bathing may be safely performed at all times of the tide; and so extensive are they that races and other sports have sometimes been held on them. The town is about five miles from Maryport, seven from Silloth. and three and a hall from Bullgill, and commands a fine view of the opposite coast of Galloway, Criffel Mountain, and a long range of the Scottish heights. Every accommodation has been provided at the hotels and the various lodging-houses for the convenience and comfort of visitors. In 1835 a suite of baths was erected at a cost of 1,800, raised in 5 shares. These are no longer in use and the building in which they were carried on is occupied by Capt. J. Graves, the owner of it. It is said that Charles Dickens was once a visitor at Allonby.

In 1862 efforts were made by a few of the leading inhabitants to establish reading room and library. Subscriptions and promises to the amount of 200 were obtained, when the late Joseph Pease, Esq., of Darlington, generously undertook to erect suitable premises and provide all the funds necessary in excess of the 200. The building is of a very pleasing style, without elaborate ornament, and cost about 1,500. The reading room is supplied with the best newspapers and magazines, and the shelves of the library are stored with numerous volumes in the various branches of science and literature.

The Herring Fishery here at some seasons is very productive; but, at others, the shoals of this fish, after remaining in this channel ten years are said to leave the coast, and, after staying away for a like period, to return again, their revolutions being "as regular as those of the planets, the flowing of the tides, or the vicissitudes of the seasons." Forty years ago there were about 50 boats engaged in this enterprise, and on one occasion the "take of fish" was so large that the fishermen were unable to dispose of them. There are now no herring boats, stake nets only being used.

The Church, or Chapel of Ease (because erected in a distant part of the parish for the convenience of those who lived remote from the parish church), is dedicated to Christ. "It is a cruciform structure, and probably one of the worst specimens of churchwardens' architecture to be found in the county."* The present edifice was built in 1845, on the site of the old one, which was erected by Dr. Thomlinson, vicar of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and some of his relatives at Blencogo, in 1744.

The chancel window, a three-light one, filled with stained glass depicting scenes from the life and passion of our Lord, is inscribed underneath: "To the Glory of God and in pious memory of Eliza Taylor, of Bromfield Vicarage, who fell asleep in Christ, Jany. 2nd, 1898; for 60 years she was a church helper. R.I.P. Erected by her husband, Richard Taylor, Vicar of Bromfield and patron of Christ Church, Allonby,

The generous founder endowed it with 200, which, with 200 obtained from Queen Anne's bounty, were invested in a rent charge of 16, to be paid out of an estate in Abbey Holme. It subsequently received another augmentation, which was laid out in the purchase of land near Carlisle. The vicarial tithes of the chapelry were commuted in 1845 for 18, and the corn tithes of 13 acres, which belong to the Bishop of Carlisle, for 3 3s. a year. The vicar of Bromfield is patron, and the Rev. Hugh A. Macpherson the present incumbent. The living is now worth 160 a year.

The church contains a splendid mural tablet to the memory of Captain Huddart F.R.S. It is of the finest statuary marble, and was executed by Signore Fontans, of Carrara, at a cost of 500.

Adjoining the church is the School, rebuilt in 1837 upon the site of the old one. It is a plain stone building, endowed with 100 left by Mrs. Thomlinson, relict of Dr. Thomlinson, in 1755. This sum was invested in land, the rent of which is now used towards covering the expenses of the School, which is free, and attended by about 30 children, taught by a mistress.

North Lodge, so called from its situation at the north end of the town, was erected and endowed by the late  Thos. Richardson, Esq., of Stamford Hill, the founder of Overend, Gurney, & Co.'s bank, and was during his lifetime his occasional residence. The building overlooks the Solway, and its two wings consist of six neat cottages - three on each side - occupied rent free by as many spinsters or widows over 60 years of age, each of whom receive an annual allowance of 5. Close to the building is the Meeting House of the Society of Friends, who form a numerous and highly respectable portion of the inhabitants of the neighbourhood. On the other side is the Congregational Chapel, built in 1844, with accommodation for 180. The British School, was erected by subscription in 1840, and endowed by the benevolent founder of North Lodge, with 1,080, the interest of which is applied in payment of the salaries of the teachers. The highest average attendance has been 73, and the lowest 58.

A Court Baron and Customary Court of Dismissal is held yearly at the Ship Hotel, on the first Thursday after Whit-week.

BIOGRAPHY. - Joseph Huddart is one of the many bright examples which this country affords of men, aided only by their own natural abilities and indomitable perseverance, rising from the humble ranks of life to exalted positions in the social, commercial, or intellectual world. Captain Huddart was a native of Allonby, where he worked for some time as a mechanic. He relinquished his handicraft, and took to the sea, sometimes as fisherman and sometimes as an able-bodied sailor. He applied himself with assiduity to the study of seamanship and navigation, and his perseverance was rewarded with success. He was appointed to the command of a vessel in the East India service, and attained distinction as a naval geographer.


Bulmer's History & Directory Of Cumberland, 1901





19 June 2015

Steve Bulman