This is a parish in Allerdale-below-Derwent Ward and petty sessional division; union and county court district of Wigton; and deanery of Maryport. According to the Local Government Act of 1894, it forms the head of a division for the election of a member of the County Council. The urban district is co-extensive with the township of Aspatria and Brayton, and elects nine members. It is about four miles in length and two in breadth, and is bounded on the north by Bromfield and West Newton; on the east by Bromfield and Allhallows; on the south by Plumbland and Torpenhow; and on the west by Gilcrux and Cross Canonby. The soil about Aspatria is light and red, in some parts sandy, in others loamy; producing in general good crops of wheat and other grain. Oughterside is more wet and heavy; and around Hayton a reddish clay and deep loam prevail. Fine red freestone is found in the parish, and is worked by Mr. Henry Graves, who employs a good number of men at his several quarries. Coal has also been found, and is worked by the Brayton Demesne Colliery Co., whose pit commenced operations in 1869, drawing north and south, and working east and west. Brayton No. 4 pit was started in 1890. The output is 450 tons per day; the depth of shaft 560ft. In 1898 this pit was lit by electricity. The parish comprises the following townships, viz.: Aspatria and Brayton, Hayton and Mealo, and Oughterside and Allerby, whose united area is about 7,233 acres, which are assessed at 21,779. The population in 1841 was 1,921; in 1881, 3,186; and in 1891, 3,603.


This township covers an area of about 3,309 acres, its ratable value being 15,551; and gross rental 18,025. Its population in 1801 was 327; in 1851, 1,123; in 1881, 1,621; and in 1891, 2,714.

The principal landowners of the township are Sir Wilfrid Lawson, Bart., Mrs. Clark, Mrs. Croome, Charles E. Fisher, Esq., Miss Kirkhaugh, John Langcake (London), George Lomas, Edward J. Percy, John Pattinson, Daniel Ritson, Edward Tiffin, and Tom Wilson.

The Manor of Aspatria was given by Ranulph de Meschines, grantee of the whole of Cumberland. from William the Conqueror, to Waltheof, son of Gospatric, Earl of Dunbar, from whom it is said to have received its name of Aspatria. Through failure of the male line the manor descended to the Lucys, who inherited through the female, and this family also terminated in a female, Maud de Lucy, who conveyed the estate by marriage to Henry Percy, first Earl of Northumberland. After remaining in this family through eleven descents, it was carried by the marriage of the Lady Elizabeth, sole daughter and heiress of Josceline Percy, to Charles Seymour, sixth Duke of Somerset. It was conveyed again by a female to the Wyndhams, from whom it has descended to Lord Leconfield.

In an inquisition taken in 1578, we are told that "the commons or waste within the said manor are very great and large; the soil thereof appertaineth only to the said earl, and, for the better preservation thereof, the bailiffs and officers do yearly perambulate the bounder, and all manner of chattels, especially horses, found within the said bounder (being a foreigner's goods and not having right of common there) are for their trespasses punished by way of amercement; and if any man do encroach or improve any of the said commons, the ground so improved are either laid open or rented to the lord." The commons were enclosed in 1814.

The Town of Aspatria occupies a rather elevated situation on the ridge of an eminence, at the foot of which runs the Carlisle and Maryport Railway. It is long and irregularly built, though many of the houses are of excellent construction.

The Aspatria Urban District Council, formed in 1893, are causing many sanitary improvements to be made in the town, such as the widening of the streets, better lighting of same, opening of Springhill Jubilee Pump and Pleasure Ground, etc.

The Church, dedicated to St. Kentigern, is a beautiful and spacious edifice, erected in 1846-7 on the site of the old church. It is in that pointed Gothic, or early English style of architecture, which prevailed tem. Edward I, and consists of a nave, chancel, north and south aisles, with a handsome tower surmounted by a parapet and pinnacles. The tower contains a peal of eight bells placed there in 1896. The subscription for the purchase of the peal was commenced about 30 years ago by Sir Wilfred and Lady Lawson who gave 150 towards it. One bell was presented by the Rev. T.W. Powell, another by the children, and the rest were bought out of the money subscribed. The clock in the tower was dedicated in 1897 by the bishop of Barrow-in-Furness. Affixed to the works is the following inscription: "To the Glory of God and in loving memory of Thomas Wade Powell, MA., Priest sometime of this church of St. Kentigern and Parish of Aspatria, this clock is erected by Rebecca, his wife. The Feast of St. Thomas, 1897, R.LP." All the architectural features of the original fabric have been preserved, amongst which are a fine Norman doorway and a beautiful Norman arch between the nave and chancel, a view of which may be seen in Sir Walter Scott's "Border Antiquities." The old Norman font was also preserved, and the ancient dormitory of the House of Hayton, and afterwards of the family of Musgrave, restored. A beautiful stone pulpit stands on the north side of the chancel arch. There are several well-executed stained glass windows, on which are representations of the Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension. On the south side of the chancel is another window, beautiful alike in conception and execution, erected by Lieut. Edward. Thompson, of the 7th Hussars, to the memory of his father, formerly vicar of the parish. The Musgrave chapel is lighted by a window, on which are emblazoned the arms of that family and their alliances.

All the windows in the south aisle are of stained glass, some filled with tracery, others with representations of the Saints or of our Saviour. A stone cross, 14 feet high, was placed in the churchyard about 10 years ago by the Rev. W.S. Calverley. It is similar to the old cross in Gosforth churchyard.

The expense of rebuilding this sacred edifice, and restoring the mutilated shafts of the doorway, &c., amounted to nearly 3,000, though the original estimate was only about 2,000, the whole of which was raised by the liberal and spirited contributions of the parishioners, except 250, obtained from the Church Building Society, and a few other donations. It occupies a pleasant situation in the town, and contains 600 sittings, of which 370 are free.

The church of Aspatria was given by Waltheof, first lord of Allerdale, to the prior and convent of Carlisle, which grant was afterwards confirmed by Henry II and Edward III. But whether the Saxon Waltheof was the founder of the church or only the grantor of an edifice already in existence, we have no means of ascertaining. It was formerly possessed of rectorial privileges, but is now only a vicarage. In the King's Book its annual income was stated to be 10 4s. 3d., and to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners it was returned at 100, but is now worth 450.

The Board Schools, a good substantial block of buildings consisting of a central hall and classrooms, capable of accommodating 650 children, was built at a cost of 6,400, and opened by Lady Lawson in 1895, the foundation stone being laid by Mr. James McTear. In the mixed department there are about 370, and in the infants' 225 children. Close to, there is a good residence for the schoolmaster.

The old National School is now used for parish purposes and as a Sunday school.

The Congregational Chapel is a small stone building erected in 1827, with accommodation for about 300 worshippers. In connection with, and at a short distance from the chapel, is a cemetery opened in 1851, the gift of the late Sir Wilfrid Lawson. It is for the use of the congregation only, and in it many members of the Lawson family have found a last resting place.

The Primitive Methodist Chapel was built in 1896 at a cost of 1,280. It is a fine structure, the front elevation being of grey Lazonby stone with red stone dressings. The building is buttressed and surmounted by a bell tower. The inside, which contains a gallery, is of varnished pitchpine, and provides seating accommodation for 350 people. Adjoining the chapel is the house of the minister, the Rev. George Thomas Lovat. The old chapel built in 1866 is now used as a Sunday school and Lecture hall.

Richmond Hill Chapel, belonging to the Christian Brethren, is a neat red sandstone building erected in 1886 at a cost of 800, with seating accommodation for about 250 worshippers.

The Aspatria Agricultural College was founded in 1874 for the purpose of affording to future farmers, land agents and others thorough instruction in the scientific principles of agriculture. Practical knowledge is obtained on farms in the surrounding district, which is noted for the rearing of pedigree stock. The building, which next to the church is the most prominent in the town, is a large quadrangular structure in the castellated style, consisting of a central tower flanked by two side wings. The president of the school is Sir Wilfrid Lawson, and the principal, Mr. J. Smith Bill, B.A., B.Sc.

The Market Hall, erected in 1872 by the Aspatria Public Hall Co., Limited, is a conveniently arranged building, constructed of the red sandstone of the district.

The Noble Temple, erected in 1872, is a large red sandstone building capable of seating 500 people; used for concerts, lectures, etc. The Aspatria Reading and Recreation Co., Ltd., have reading, billiard, game rooms and library in Front Street.

Several curious relics of bygone ages have been unearthed within the parish, from which we may infer that it is a place of no mean antiquity.

In 1790, a large barrow was opened on the summit of the Beacon Hill, about 200 yards north of the village. It consisted of a mound of earth, 90 feet in circumference, and six feet deep, under which was a vault or Kistaven, formed with two large cobble stones on each side, and one at each end, and in it were contained the skeleton of a man, seven feet long, a sword five feet in length, the guard of which was elegantly ornamented with inlaid silver flowers. Here was also a dagger, a gold buckle, a gold ornament for a belt, a horse's bit, and parts of a battle axe and spur, all of which were much corroded. On two large cobble stoner were various emblematic figures in rude sculpture. It is supposed to have been the tomb of a distinguished warrior, interred about the sixth century.

CHARITIES. - "Sir Thomas Musgrave, by a codicil to his will, dated 16th November, 1811, directed his executors to transfer to the minister and churchwardens of Aspatria for the time being, 335 6s. 8d., three per cent. reduced, upon such minister and churchwardens becoming bound by a proper deed of covenant, that they and their successors should for ever after, out of the dividend, keep the dormitory of the testator's family and the monuments therein in good repair and condition, and well painted and cleansed; and if from time to time there should be any surplus, it should be laid out in the purchase of bread, or other useful food, to be distributed among the industrious poor of the said parish, at their discretion, and that a memorial thereof should be hung up in a conspicuous part of the church."

Mr. Thomas Donald in 1845 left the sum of 536 18s. 2d., the interest of which to be distributed in coals and flour among the deserving poor at Christmas by the vicar and churchwardens.

James Clennell, Esq., left by will the sum of 1,083 17s. 7d., of the interest thereof, 16, to be applied in the secular education of certain poor children, and the rest to be distributed among the poor.

The interest from the several charities is now given in money to the poor on New Year's Day.

BRAYTON estate forms another small manor in this township. Its first recorded possessor was Alan, second lord of Allerdale, who granted it to Ughtred, whose posterity assumed the name of Brayton and resided here. It was afterwards possessed by a younger branch of the Salkeld family, and was sold by three co-heiresses to an ancestor of the present owner, Sir Wilfrid Lawson, Bart. Brayton, the seat of Sir Wilfrid, is a beautiful mansion, occupying a pleasant situation, one a half miles from Aspatria, and seven miles from Wigton.

HARRISTON is a colliery village consisting of about 100 dwellings occupied by colliers working at the pits. There is an infant school, a branch from Aspatria Board School, and a reading and recreation room for the use of the colliers.



This ecclesiastical district was formed in 1868 by the dismemberment of the old parish of Aspatria. It includes the two townships of Hayton and Mealo, and Oughterside and Allerby, whose united area is about 3,924 acres, and population 889.

The united township of Hayton and Mealo contains about 1,860 acres of ratable land, which are assessed at about 2,578. The population in 1801 was 174; in 1851, 461; in 1881, 285 - a decrease of 176 in 30 years; and in 1891, 317.

The Manor of Hayton was granted by Alan, second lord of Allerdale, to his huntsman Seliff, whose posterity assumed the name of Hayton. Subsequently it passed to the Mulcasters by the marriage of Robert de Mulcaster with the daughter and heiress of John de Hayton, the last of the name. The new line possessed the manor for a few generations, when, through failure of male issue, it was conveyed by the marriage of the heiress to Piers Jeffrey Tilliol, by whose descendants it was possessed for eight generations. Through failure again in the male line the manor became the property of two sisters, co-heiresses, Isabella and Margaret, the former of whom became the wife of John Colville, and received Hayton as her share. This line terminated in 1840 in two daughters, who, by their marriage with two of the Musgraves, brought Hayton into that family. Sir Edward Musgrave, a descendant, was created a baronet of Nova Scotia in 1638, and embarrassed himself to such an extent by his devotion and loyalty to the King in the civil wars, that he was forced to alienate upwards of 2,000 a year of his paternal estate at "Solport, Kirklington, Houghton, Richardby, and Scaleby." He maintained a regiment of horse at his own expense; and when, at the battle of Worcester, the Horse of Charles II was shot under him, Sir Edward dismounted and supplied the King with his own. After this royalist defeat he fled to Scotland, and found protection under the Duke of Gordon; but when Cromwell discovered his place of refuge, he sent a message to the Duke informing him that if he did not forthwith deliver up Ned Musgrave, the arch rebel, he would send a troop of horse and storm the castle." Hayton continued in the possession of the Musgraves until the death of Sir Richard, the fifth baronet, when by the marriage of his sole daughter and heiress, in 1796, to William Jolliffe, Esq., the manor was conveyed to that family, and is still in the possession of their descendants.

Hayton Castle, the manorial residence of the Musgraves, has long fallen from its high estate, and been converted into the more humble, but not the less useful farmstead. The castle is said to have stood a long siege by a detachment of the Cromwellian soldiers, by which it was so shattered that Sir Richard rebuilt it after the Restoration.

The principal landowners are C.H. Jolliffe (the lord of the manor), F. Beeby, J.W. Wilson, A.D. Blackstock, John Donald, Thos. Paisley, H. Wilson, Lord Leconfield, the Trustees of F.L.B. Dykes, and Mrs. Dykes.

The village of Hayton is about one and a half miles west of Aspatria, and appears from a charter granted by Edward I to the Mulcasters, to have had a weekly market on Tuesdays, and a fair of three days' duration at the festival of St. Mary Magdalene. The Townships of Hayton and Mealo, and Oughterside, were constituted a separate ecclesiastical parish, according to the provisions of Lord Blandford's Act, in 1868.

The Church, dedicated to St. James, is in the village of Hayton. It was erected in 1867 at a cost of 2,000, and opened on the 5th of November of that year. The Gothic style has been appropriately adopted in its construction, and the material used is the sombre looking red sandstone of the district. The roof is an open-timbered one. In the church are several stained-glass windows which admit a flood of variously tinted light. The one at the east end bears a representation of the Ascension of our Lord, and is in memory of Mrs. Ann Blackburn, of Hayton Castle, to whose memory was also erected the iron screen dividing the nave from the chancel. The west window was inserted by Mr. Joseph Hetherington, of Mid Town, to the memory of his wife and three children. It consists of three lights; in the upper half of the centre light Christ is represented as blessing little children; in the lower one He is seen in the house of Simon the Leper, as described by the evangelist. In the north light He is shown as the Light of the World, a copy of the justly celebrated picture by Holman Hunt; and in the south light Christ is represented as the Good Shepherd. There is also a two-light window, portraying the Carrying of the Cross and the Crucifixion, inserted by his parishioners and friends, to the memory of Thos. Thwaites, first rector of Hayton, Maryport, who died Nov. 22nd, 1884. A reredos was erected in 1875 by public subscription, to the memory of the late John Atkinson, for many years churchwarden of Aspatria and Hayton, and through whose instrumentality the church, in a great measure, was erected. The living is styled a rectory, and is in the gift of the Bishop of Carlisle. The tithes at present are, for Hayton and Mealo, 224 11s. 5d.; for Allerby, 113 17s. 10d.; and for Oughterside, 23 3s. 9d., making a total of 361 13s. 0d. The living is worth 248 14s. 8d., and is in the hands of the Rev. J.H.G. McColl, M.A.

The Congregational Chapel in the village is a small stone building, erected in 1844. The Hayton Board School, with residence attached, was erected some years ago at a cost of 1,600. It is a stone building, with accommodation for 140 children, though only attended by 80.

CHARITY. - The late John Wilson, of Mealo Hill, who died in 1891, bequeathed the interest of 1,000, invested in Government Stocks, for the poor. The amount, 25 8s. 4d. is distributed in groceries at the rate of 9d. per week all the year round.



Form a township covering an area of 2,064 acres, which are assessed at about 3,653. The population in 1801 was 269; in 1851 there were 662 inhabitants; in 1881, 501; and in 1891, 572. Immense beds of red sandstone occur in the township , and coal is found and worked, though on a limited scale. The soil is brown and gravelly, and a large portion of the population are employed in its cultivation.

The Manor appears in old documents as Oughterside, Outerby, and Uchtredby - that is, the village of Uchtred - to whom the manor was granted by Alan, second lord of Allerdale. It was for several generations possessed by the family of Orfeur, from whom it was purchased by Sir Gilfrid Lawson, and is now held by Sir Wilfrid Lawson, Bart. There is an old building here which is supposed to have been formerly a place of importance. On the lid of a stone coffin, found more than a century ago in the old church of Aspatria, was the following inscription: "Hic jacet Bartholomeus de Uchtersat." We have here no lengthy eulogium, no fulsome praise - only the simple record, that the coffin contained the body of Bartholomew of Oughterside. Bartholomew, whoever he may have been, was certainly a person of importance, and probably resided in the old building before alluded to. Traces of a Roman road have been discovered, leading from Oughterside towards Ellenborough.

The Manor of Allerby or Alwardby is said to have derived its name from Alward, father of Dolphin, the first recorded proprietor. In a subsequent age it gave the name of Allerby to a family who owned it. The Allerbys terminated in a daughter, who conveyed it upon her marriage to one of the Porters of Weary Hall. In 1543, William Porter held the manor in capite of the King, rendering for the same 3d. cornage and 8d. seawake, with other feudal services. From this family it passed to the Eaglesfields, by whom it was held for several generations, until towards the close of the 17th century, when it was disposed of by sale to the Lamplughs of Dovenby. It is now the property of several freeholders.

The principal landowners are the trustees of F.L.B. Dykes, Sir Wilfrid Lawson, trustees of Joseph Elliot, John James, Henry Nicholson, B. and M. Wilson, Joseph James, S. Hayton, William Hinde, E.A. Thompson, Mr. Hillary, J. Shaw, and trustees of J. Ritson.

The village of Oughterside is situated on the north side of the river Ellen, one and a half miles W.S.W. of Aspatria. The Board School at Oughterside, instituted in 1875, was much enlarged and improved in 1896, at a cost of 300. There is an average attendance of about 100 pupils.

Allerby village is about four miles from Maryport. It is said to have been the birthplace of Robert Eaglesfield, rector of Brough, confessor to Queen Philippa, and founder of Queen's College, Oxford. In 1340 he bequeathed all his lands to this institution, which was to consist of one provost and twelve fellows, all of whom were to be chosen from Cumberland and Westmorland.

Prospect and Westmore End are hamlets in this township. At Prospect there is a Primitive Methodist Chapel, a substantial brick building, erected in 1860, with sitting accommodation for 200.



Bulmer's History & Directory Of Cumberland, 1901

19 June 2015

Steve Bulman