Newton Arlosh

This parish comprises the whole township of East Waver, which, by the provisions of Lord Blandford's Act (passed in 1856), was formed into a distinct parish for all ecclesiastical purposes. It is bounded on the east by Monk's Dyke, on the north by the river Wampool, on the west by the Waver, and on the south by the extensive peat moss of Wedholme Flow and the Waver. Newton Arlosh is in Allerdale-below-Derwent ward, and petty sessional division, electoral division of Abbey Holme; county court district, rural deanery, poor law union, and rural district of Wigton. The township contains about 5,571 acres, which are assessed at about 5,102. The population in 1881 was 460, and in 1891, 421, almost all of whom are engaged in agriculture. The principal landowners are Messrs. Lindow; Messrs. Martindale, Earl of Lonsdale, E.J. Percy, the Misses Ashby, &c., and the resident yeomen whose names appear in the directory. Holme East Waver forms part of the manor of Holme Cultram, and the lands are held on the same conditions as in the other parts of the said lordship.

Newton Arlosh or Long Newton is a scattered village 4 miles N. by E. of the Abbey, and 7 miles from Wigton. Skinburness, in early Norman times, was the principal town of the parish. It was privileged with fairs and a market, and was even a diminutive port, where the small vessels of Edward I landed the stores for the army sent against Scotland. In the first years of the 14th century a furious storm washed down the sea dyke, and swept the town away. The inhabitants removed to a safer spot, which was consequently named Newton Arlosh, that is the new town on the marsh. The abbot obtained a charter granting permission to erect a church at Arlosh, to which he annexed, all parochial rights and privileges and tithes within the district; but, keenly alive to the interests of the brotherhood over which he presided, the presentation was for ever vested in the abbot and convent of Holme Cultram. The tithes were paid to the monks, and the parochial duties were performed by a priest, whose stipend was fixed at 4 a year.

The Church, dedicated to St. John, as we have seen, was erected about the year 1303, but tradition claims an earlier origin. St. Ninian, it is said, erected an oratory or chapel here, out of gratitude to God for his safe return from Rome, whither he had gone for his education. This chapel probably went to decay at an early period.

The year following the erection of the church, the abbot obtained a charter to hold the fairs and market at Newton, which had before been held at Skinburness. This sacred edifice, like many others erected about the same period on the border counties, served not only as a house of prayer, but also as a tower of refuge. It was of very diminutive size - 9 yards by 4 yards, exclusive of tower - and its walls of such a thickness that it could withstand repeated assaults by the enemy. The old tower is still standing, and forms part of the present edifice. Its vaulted chambers, three storeys, thick walls, and narrow slits to admit light, give it the appearance of a fortress. Not less invulnerable was the nave, where the east window, always the principal one in an old church, was only 11 inches in width. Newton Arlosh continued to be the parish church until after the Dissolution. At the petition of the tenants, the Abbey church was made parochial, being as they say, more centrally situated; but the transference of the privilege to the nobler and more convenient edifice does not appear to have taken place until after the donation of the Abbey to Oxford University, in the first year of the reign of Queen Mary. Newton Arlosh, thus abandoned, became the prey of the elements, and, notwithstanding the thickness of the walls, the church fell to ruin, and remained in that state until 1843, when it was restored at a cost of 800, the restoration being carried out in strict conformity with the original Anglo-Norman style. It was again renovated and furnished with new sittings in 1894, at a cost of 320. The living is in the gift of the vicar of Holme Cultram, and is worth about 215. By the provisions of the Blandford Act, the church is possessed of all parochial privileges. The vicarage is a commodious residence close to the church; vicar, Rev. John Mitchell. The Parish Room was erected by the vicar at a cost of 420, raised by subscription. The site was the gift of Mrs. Blacklock.

The Parish School was rebuilt in 1868 at a cost of 800, raised by subscription, and assisted by government grant and the National Society. It is now leased by the trustees to the School Board, and is, therefore, under the management of that body. A class-room was added in 1897, and the school has now an average attendance of about fifty.

The following hamlets are also in this parish: Angerton, 6 miles E,; Moss-side, 2 miles N.E.; Raby, 1 mile E.; Saltcoates, 2 miles N.W.; and Slightholm, 2 miles E. by N., from the Abbey.

The ancient farmstead, called Raby Cote, was formerly the seat and property of the Chambers, collateral relations of Robert Chambers, abbot of Holme Cultram (1507-1518). Around the walls and outbuildings may be seen many mementoes of the Abbey, sometimes occupying the most inappropriate situations. The whole house appears to have been erected from the spoils of the monastic church; and it is lamentable to witness such an absence of taste or design in the placing of so many delicate pieces of sculpture. Around the walls of the house is some exquisitely carved lettering taken from the Abbey. The original inscription appears to have been commemorative of some donation or grant made by the vicar of Burgh to the Abbey. The letters are placed upside down, and not in consecutive order. There are also to be seen some fine shields; and what was once a beautiful specimen of carving, representing the Virgin and Child. The estate is now the property of Messrs. Martindale, of High House.

There was formerly in this parish Woodholme Wood, granted by Queen Elizabeth to the copyhold tenants of Abbey Holme, for maintaining the sea-dyke near Skinburness.

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Bulmer's History & Directory Of Cumberland, 1901


19 June 2015

Steve Bulman