Is an extensive parish in Eskdale Ward, Longtown petty sessional division, poor law union and rural district; Carlisle county court district, rural deanery of Carlisle N., and county council electoral division of Longtown West. It lies between the rivers Esk, Lyne, and Liddel, and is bounded on the west, north, and sides by the parish of Kirkandrews. The soil of about half the parish consists a fine deep blackish loam, in same parts intermixed with sand, especially near the river Lyne, capable of producing all kinds of grain, clover, grass, and potatoes in the greatest perfection. The interior of the parish consists of a good light soil; and a portion, which was formerly an extensive waste, has been reclaimed and brought to a state of tolerable productiveness. Nearly the whole of this and the adjoining parish of Kirkandrews is comprised within the Netherby estate, of which Sir Richard James Graham is the owner. The Netherby lands are an example of what may be done by an energetic and enterprising landlord. Previous to the time of the Rev. Robert Graham, who died in 1782, the estate was a barren unprofitable waste, but by his exertions it was converted into a rich, fertile and beautiful demesne. By his improvements the rent was more than quadrupled, and the wealth of the tenants increased in a much greater proportion; and, what was still better, "he saw them, as it were, metamorphosed from an ignorant, quarrelsome, and disorderly rabble, into an intelligent, peaceable, regular, and respectable class of men." Since 1819 the agriculture of this district has been still further improved; the Netherby estates have nearly all undergone a complete drainage, and great improvements have been effected in the farmsteads and other dwelling-houses upon the estate. The woods and plantations are now in a thriving and luxurious condition. The Parish is divided into the tour townships of Brackenhill, Lynside, Longtown, and Netherby, whose united area is 17,390 statute acres, ratable value £10,241, and population 2,439. It includes part of the ancient parish of Easton or Eston, which has long been annexed to it and Kirkandrews; and in 1624, was stated to be bounded on the N.N.W. and N.E. by Scotland; on the E. by Bewcastle, Stapleton, and Kirklinton. The parish of Kirkandrews was severed from Arthuret by letters patent of King Charles I.

Misled by the spelling of the name, Hutchinson and other historians have supposed the word Arthuret to be a contraction of Arthur's Head, This, however, is clearly a mistake; the word is a pure Celtic name, and appears in the ancient Saxon chronicles as Ardderyd, where, in 573, a great battle was fought between rival Cumbrian princes. Arthuret is thus a contraction or corruption of Arderyd, and signifies Prospect hill.

When Prince Charles Edward, the young chevalier of Jacobite song, made his gallant, though unsuccessful, attempt to regain the throne of his fathers, in 1745, he marched through this parish at the head of his troops, dressed in Highland costume. They crossed the Border on the 8th of November, and proceeded towards Carlisle by way of Longtown. Here they found the Esk swollen with the tide; but impatient to cross, 2000 Highlanders, headed by 100 pipers, dashed into the stream, and, nothing seen but their heads and shoulders, bravely stemmed the force of the current, losing not a man in the passage. When landed, the pipers struck up and they danced reels until the were dry again.

"The Esk was swollen sae red and sae deep;
But shouther to shouther the brave lads keep,
Twa thousand swam o'er to fell English ground,
And danced themselves dry to the pibroch's sound;
Dumbfounder'd the English saw - they saw;
Dumbfounder'd they heard the blaw - the blaw;
Dumbfounder'd they a' ran aw' away,
Frae the hundred pipers an' a', an' a'."

LONGTOWN. - The village, from which the township has taken its name, is situated on the banks of the Esk, near its confluence with the Liddel, about 8 miles N. of Carlisle, and 308 N.N.W. of London. It is on the great high-road leading to Edinburgh, and was a place of much greater importance when packhorses and stage-coaches were the only means of transport between England and Scotland. Its market, then a dangerous rival of Carlisle, was visited by farmers and others dealing in agricultural produce for miles around. In 1688, when there was only a dozen houses in the village, and these were built of clay or turf, the market was of considerable note, being, as Mr. T. Denton tells us, "the only one in all the country." The easy and rapid transit afforded by railways has had the effect of attracting all the trade to populous centres. The market at Longtown continued to exist for a few years in a languishing state, but has now been discontinued for some time. The streets are spacious, and the houses are well built and of modern style, giving the town an air of respectability. The North British Railway passes it, and a branch line to Gretna connects it with the Caledonian; but, though thus favourably situated, the railway has tended to diminish rather than increase the commercial importance of the town. The Bobbin Mill, carried on by J. & E. Waters & Co., Ltd., employ an average number of from 70 to 100 hands.

Churches and Chapels. - Arthuret Parish Church, dedicated to St. Michael, stands on a beautiful eminence, in this township, about half a mile from Longtown. The present church was erected in 1609 "by the help of a charity brief," the previous one having been a mean, low, ruinous building, and often destroyed by the Scots. The person, in whose custody the money collected for the new church was placed absconded, carrying off with him a considerable sum, and this loss so crippled the resources of the parishioners that the tower was left unfinished until the rectorship of Dr. Todd, through whose exertions the structure was completed in 1690. It consists of nave, chancel, aisles, and tower. In 1750 it was re-roofed, slated, and flagged by the Hon. Mary Graham. In 1868 it underwent a thorough restoration, at a cost of about £1,000, when a new east window was inserted to the memory of the late Sir J.R.G. Graham, Bart. In the upper portion is the monogram of the deceased nobleman; below are seen the angelic host adoring before the throne of the Most High, and beneath are the twelve apostles, the pillars, as it were, of the christian revelation. In the church are eleven monuments and tablets to various members of the Graham family; one of the earliest is that to Sir George Graham, Bart., who died in 1657; another is that of the Rev. Robert Graham, D.D., who died in 1782. Besides the memorial window mentioned above, there is also a tablet inscribed to the memory of the Right Hon. Sir J.R.G. Graham, Bart., M.P., who represented the county under three different administrations, and died at Netherby, 25th October, 1861. In the churchyard is the tomb of another of this family, Lieut. William Graham, who served the crown of England in the reigns of Elizabeth, James I, and the two Charles's, and died in 1657 at the age of 97. There is also an ancient cross with pierced capital, in the form of a Maltese cross, probably erected by one of the Knights of Malta. Near to this spot, lie, it is supposed, the remains of poor Archie Armstrong, fool, or more properly jester, to James I and Charles I, and, by accident suitable to his profession, was buried on All Fools' Day (April 1st). He long shot his bolt with great applause, but was at length banished from Court and degraded by having his motley coat pulled over his head for presuming to vent his wit on Archbishop Laud, of Canterbury, after that haughty Prelate had failed to introduce the liturgy into Scotland. In 1896 the chancel was entirely restored and fitted with oak stalls, and a new organ (value £600) was put in, at a total cost of about £1,500, raised by subscription.

Few details of the early history of this church have come down to our time. It appears to have belonged to the abbey of Jedburgh, and was probably given to that house while Cumberland was subject to the Scottish Crown. During the wars between the Scotch and English, in the reign of Edward III, that king claimed and exercised the patronage, on the plea that the Abbot of Jedburgh was a rebel. The lords of Netherby have now been patrons of the living since 1565. The benefice is a rectory valued in the King's Book at £1 2s. 1d., but now worth £540. It is held by the Rev. Ivor Charles Graham, M.A., Oxford, who is assisted by the Rev. Geo. H.H. Smith, B.A.

The tithes of Arthuret were commuted in 1849 for £841, viz.: Longtown, £217 15s. 8d.; Lyneside, £123 10s. 10d.; Brackenhill, £217 15s.; and Netherby, £281 18s. 8d.

The rectory is near the church, and has been several times rebuilt, the latest being in 1862. The following is from the parish registers :- "A.D. 1675. The Rev. Geo. Usher, assisted by his father, Mr. Charles Usher, built the parsonage house anew from the ground at the expense (as is said) of £250."

The United Presbyterians have a neat chapel, erected in 1834, and now under the pastoral care of the Rev. James Gilfillan. The United Methodist Free Church, erected in 1865 at a cost of about £800, is a neat brick building, with accommodation for 400 worshippers.

In 1857 an excellent school was built by subscription and government grant at a cost of £1,100. It was conducted for some years on the British school principal, that is, with an entire absence of sectarian teaching, but is now under the School Board. An infant school was erected in 1875 at a cost of about £300, and enlarged in 1898. A new classroom was added to the mixed department in 1887. The Board for the united district of Arthuret and Kirkandrews have five schools within the two parishes.

In 1754 Lady Widdrington (née the Hon. Catherine Graham) gave a bequest of £40 a year, secured upon lands at Burnfoot, for the purposes of education in the two above-named parishes. Of this sum £12 is given to the Moot Hall School, £5 to the one at Nichol Forest, and £23 is divided between the five Board schools.

The building, formerly known as Lady Hermione Graham's Girls' School, has, since 1895, been converted into a nurses' home, which is entirely supported by Lady Cynthia Graham. Both the above-mentioned ladies take an active interest in the Girls' Friendly Society.

PUBLIC BUILDINGS. - The Mechanics Hall in Albert Street was erected in 1851. It is used for concerts, lectures, etc., and will accommodate about 200 persons. The Library and Reading Room have been removed to the Moot Hall, in Esk Street, which has been re-arranged at considerable expense. The library contains about 3,000 volumes, and the reading room is well supplied with the chief newspapers and periodicals of the day.

The town is supplied with gas by the local gasworks, at 4/7 per 1,000 cubic feet. The streets are lighted by 25 public lamps. The works were established in 1857 by a company of shareholders, and have one gasometer capable of holding 12,000 cubic feet of gas.

Poor Law Union. - By the provisions of the Act for the "Amendment and Better Administration of the Laws relating to the Poor," passed in 1834, Longtown was made by the Poor Law Commissioners the basis of a Union for the surrounding parishes. It is divided into two sub-districts: High Longtown, comprising Stapleton, Solport, Trough, Belbank, Bewcastle, Nixons, Bailey, and Nichol-Forest; and Low Longtown, which includes Arthuret, Moat Quarter, Middle Quarter, Nether Quarter, Netherby, Brackenhill, Lyneside, Kirklinton, West Linton, Hethersgill, and Scaleby. The union comprises an area of 94,163 statute acres which are assessed for poor rates at £43,229. Its population in 1891 was for High Longtown district 2,124, and for Low Longtown 5,057. The Union Workhouse stands about two miles east of the town. It was built in 1847 on the site of a farmhouse, which forms a portion of the present edifice. The cost of construction amounted to £3,000. The building is large and convenient, capable of accommodating 130 paupers, but the average number of inmates only reaches 20. The out-door recipients number at present about 170. The business of the union is managed by a board consisting of 21 guardians, of whom Mr. Joseph Jefferson, of Long Park, Scaleby, is chairman. The aged inmates are permitted the indulgence of smoking, the tobacco for which is generously supplied through the liberality of Sir R.J. Graham.

The Longtown Agricultural Society was established in 1898, and has so far proved very successful; secretary, Mr. J.S. Hewitson, Randalinton. A horse fair is held on the last Thursday in December, and a wool fair in June.

BRACKENHILL. - This township, also written Breckonhill, extends from three to five miles E.N.E. of Longtown, on the north side of the river Lyne, and contains about 4,535 acres. There are, along the banks of this stream, many patches of lovely scenery. Sir R.J. Graham and Capt. W.P. Standish, of Marwell Hall, Winchester, are the principal landowners. The latter has an estate which constitutes a small manor, held under the manor of Arthuret. An embattled tower on the estate bears the date 1584. Several improvements were made to the building in 1860, and it is now the occasional residence of the owner. Freestone, of excellent quality, is found on the estate; and at the Bonnythorn quarry near the tower, both the red and white variety are met with.

At Chapel Flosh, near Chapel-town farm, there was formerly an oratory, called the Chapel of Sollomoss, i.e., Solway Moss, in which, "in the year 1343, a league between the Scotch and English, about fixing the limits of both kingdoms, was, in a solemn manner, sworn to and confirmed by Commissioners appointed for that purpose." This spot commands extensive views of the surrounding country, reaching far away into Scotland. Riccarton Hill and White Hill are plainly seen, and Langholm, on the top of which is a monument to the memory of Colonel Markham, is a prominent object in the view.

The small hamlet of Easton, anciently the capital of the parish, is in this township. A new school was erected here by subscription in 1872. It is a neat stone building, attended by an average of 43 children, and is under the management of the School Board.

LYNESIDE is a small and thinly peopled township lying along the banks of the Lyne. Its superficial extent is about 1,444 statute acres. It contains the small hamlet of Sandysykes. A bed of excellent clay exists in the township, and works have been erected and fitted up with the most improved machinery for the manufacture of bricks and tiles. About 40,000 of the former are turned out per week. The works are conveniently situated by the side of the North British Railway, from which a siding affords easy transit for the bricks to all parts of the county. They are the property of Sir R.J. Graham, but are carried on by Mr. Alexander Tweddle, who employs about 20 hands. It might be mentioned here that the Stockbridge family, of Bush-on-Lyne, have farmed the same land for upwards of 300 years. An ancestor of the present representative was one of the first to fill the office of churchwarden after the erection of the present church.

NETHERBY township extends from one to four miles N.N.E. of Longtown, and covers an area of 8,873 statute acres. Agriculture is the chief employment of the inhabitants, who live mostly in the hamlets of Hallburn and Slealands. The terminal syllable of the name "by," is a Danish word signifying a dwelling or village. Places with this termination are very numerous in Cumberland (there are about fifty with this ending) indicating the presence of the Danes in considerable force in this district.

Netherby Hall, the splendid mansion of the lords of the barony of Liddel, is in this township. It is delightfully situated on slightly elevated ground, on the east bank of the river Esk. A noble park, diversified by shrubberies and clumps of lofty trees, surrounds the house; and beyond, to the south and south-west, are extensive prospects of the wide domains of Liddel, dotted with hamlets and trim cottages. The hall was built about the middle of the last century by the Rev. Dr. Graham, upon the site of a Roman station, supposed to be the Castra Exploratorum of the second Itinerary of Antoninus which was garrisoned by a Numerus Exploratum. There are indications that the waters of the Solway formerly swept as far as this station. Leland, who was chaplain and antiquary to Henry VIII, says: "Men alyve have sene rynges and staples yn the walles; as yt had bene stayes or holdes for shyppes." From the proximity of this station to the Esk, Camden concluded that it was the site of the ancient Æsica, where the tribune of the first cohort of the Astures was in command of the garrison. Numerous relics of the Roman occupation have been found here, including a fine hypocaust or bath, altars, sculptures, inscriptions, coins, &c., which prove the station to have been one of considerable importance. Two of the altars found were thus inscribed:-






From the first of these inscriptions it is evident that the Romans were settled here in the reign of Hadrian, to whose memory the altar was erected by the legio secunda Augusta: from the second it appears that "Mars and Belatucadrus were the same deity." A remarkable altar to the goddess Fortune was discovered here about the year 1737, bearing the inscription :- "Deæ sanctæ Fortuno Conservatrici Marcus Aurelius Salvius tribunus Cohortis primæ Æliæ Hispanorum Milliaria, equitata votum solvit libens merito," which may thus be rendered "To the holy goddess Fortune (the Preserver?) by Marcus Aurelius Salvius, tribune of the first cohort of Spaniards, in performance of a vow willingly and dutifully." Among the many sculptural stones found here, and preserved on the spot, three are deserving of special mention. One is supposed to represent Commodus, the Roman Hercules, in an Arminian habit, with a cornucopia in his left hand, and a patera in his right, over an altar, with his club and boar lying on his left side; another, it is supposed, is intended for Hadrian, who is represented with a corona muralis, on his head, a cornucopia on his left arm, and a patera in his right hand, extended over an altar. The third is believed to be Caracalla, represented under the appearance of Alexander, whom he venerated so highly, that he filled Rome with his statues, and used his arms and cups.

The Barony of Lyddal, or Liddel, which comprehends both this parish and that of Kirkandrews-upon-Esk, was given by Ranulph de Meschines, in the reign of Henry I, to Turgent Brundey, a native of Flanders, and called in some records Turgis de Russedale and Turgis Brinsdas. In the reign of King John, it was the property of the Stutevilles or Estotevilles, to one of whom, William, that King gave the command of Northumberland, Cumberland, and Westmorland, with the supreme government of all the castles within the said district. The first of this powerful family of whom we have any record is Robert de Stuteville, who accompanied William the Conqueror to England. Nichol Forest, within this barony, is said to have derived its name from Nicholas de Stuteville, whose heiress, Joan, carried the family estates in the reign of Henry III to Hugh de Wake, lord of Wake. Lord John Wake dying without issue in 1343, his only sister, Margaret, married to the Earl of Kent, third son of Edward I, became his heiress. The only issue of this marriage was Joan, the "Fair maid of Kent," who married Edward the Black Prince, father of Richard II. Thus the barony became vested in the Crown, and appears to have been held as Crown land until 1604, when James I, in the first year of his reign, granted the Forest of Nichol, with the manors of Arthuret, Lyddale, and Raddington, to George Clifford, Earl of Cumberland, to be held of the Crown in capite, subject to a rent of £100 and the twentieth part of a knight's fee. In this grant it is expressed that the lands were parcel of the honour of Dunstanburgh in Northumberland, which was comprehended within the Duchy of Lancaster. Eight years later the same king, by letters patent, granted to Francis, Earl of Cumberland, "all those lands called debatable lands in the county of Cumberland, abutting upon part of the sea called Solway Sands, towards the south, the river of Sarke towards the west, the Scotch dyke towards the north, and the river of Esk towards the east; extending in length by estimation five miles, and in breadth three miles; and containing in quantity 2,895 acres of meadow and arable land called Known Grounds, 400 acres of marsh lands, 2,635 acres of pasture, and 1,470 acres of mossy grounds; in all 7,403 acres." There were also included in the grant two water corn mills and the advowson of the church of Kirkandrews, the whole to be held under the yearly fee-farm rent of £150. The grantee subsequently sold these estates to Sir Richard Graham, "and this sale was confirmed by King Charles I by letters patent of the 11th of July, in the 4th year of his reign; wherein he was exonerated from one-half of the rent of Nichol Forest and two-thirds of the rent of the debatable lands, the two rents being reduced to £50 each." These possessions still remain in the hands of the Grahams.

This family traces its descent from John, second son of Malise, Earl of Monteith, whose mother was a Stuart, and in her own right, Countess of Monteith. This John was an important personage in the border warfare; his sword, which was seldom sheathed, was wielded with such dexterity and swiftness that it flashed like a gleam of light, and he was in consequence surnamed John with the bright sword. Some disagreement having arisen between him and the Scottish Court, he transferred his services to the English side of the Borders, when he and many of his clan and kindred settled in the reign of Henry IV. Here they appear to have led a life of somewhat doubtful morality. They knew no law but force, and were little actuated by the principles involved in meum et tuum. They preyed alike upon Englishman and Scot, and many a story is yet current of the plundering exploits of the moss-trooping Græmes. When the Scottish James ascended the English throne, to prevent these depredations he seized 400 of the Graham clan and shipped them from Workington to Ireland and Holland. In the misfortunes which afterwards befel the Stuart dynasty, the Grahams remained to the last the staunch adherents of the tottering family. Richard, son of Fergus Graham of Plumpe, in Kirkandrews, in early life made his way to London, and was received into the service of the Duke of Buckingham. He accompanied the Duke and Prince Charles to Spain. This Richard, the purchaser of the Barony, as we have already seen, was created a baronet in 1641. He espoused the cause of Charles I against the parliamentary army led by Cromwell, and was present at the battle of Edgehill, where he was wounded and lay among the dead all night. In 1680, his son, Sir Richard, was created viscount Preston of Scotland, and was several times ambassador at the court of France. He was subsequently secretary of state to James II, in whose cause he was convicted of treason, at the Revolution of 1688, but, through the intercession of his friends, was pardoned, and died at Nunnington, in Yorkshire, 1695, when he was succeeded by his son Edward, as viscount Preston, who died in 1709. The next viscount Preston was Charles, who died without issue in 1739, when the title became extinct, and the estates passed to Catherine and Mary, his father's two sisters. The latter of these died, unmarried, in 1753, and the former was married to William, Lord Widdrington, whom she survived, but died in 1757, having devised this barony to her cousin, the Rev. Robert Graham, D.D., whose son and successor, Sir James Graham, was created a baronet in 1782. His eldest son, the late Sir James R.G. Graham, Bart., was born June 1st., 1792, and represented the county in Parliament from 1830 to 1834. He died 25th October, 1861, leaving by his wife, the daughter of Colonel and Lady Callender, Frederick Ulric, born 20th April, 1820, Malise Reginald, born 15th February, 1833, and James Stanley, born 13th April, 1836, and three daughters. Sir Frederick Ulric Graham, late 1st Life Guards, married 26th October, 1852, Lady Jane Hermione St. Maur, daughter of the Duke of Somerset, and had issue : Richard James, born 24th February, 1859; Hugh, born 11th December, 1860; James Reginald, born 28th July, 1864; and five daughters. He died March, 1888, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Sir Richard James Graham, 4th Bart., D.L., late Lieutenant Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, who married, first, 8th July, 1886, Olivia, daughter of Lieutenant-General Charles Baring, which lady died 1887, and secondly, 27th June, 1889, Lady Cynthia Duncombe, third daughter of first Earl at Feversham, and has issue, Fergus Frederick, born 10th March, 1893, and Richard Preston, born 7th August, 1896.

On the banks of the river Liddel, in Moat township, parish of Kirkandrews, are the remains of an immense tower, or border fortress, called Liddel Strength. They stand on the summit of a frightful precipice, and present the appearance of a great mount, covering about five acres, surrounded by a moat. This tower was taken by William, king of Scotland, in the commencement of his campaign, and was the scene of the most savage cruelty and unremitting revenge, committed by king David, who strangled the two sons of Sir Walter Selby, the governor, in the presence of their father, his unhappy captive, whom he ordered to be beheaded. In the front of these ruins is Canonbie holme, in Scotland, where, as the immortal bard sings,

"There was racing and chasing on Canonbie lea,
But the lost bride of Netherby ne'er could they see."



Bulmer's History & Directory Of Cumberland, 1901

19 June 2015

© Steve Bulman