This is a parish of about 2,063 acres, formed out of the ecclesiastical district of Great Broughton at the re-construction of the division in 1898. The township of Ribton and the villages of Great and Little Broughton are embraced within its limits. It is comprised within Derwent ward and petty sessional division; the county council electoral division of Bridekirk; the deanery of Maryport; the poor law union and rural district of Cockermouth; and the county court district of Cockermouth and Workington. The ratable value is 4,968, and the population 1,507, a large majority of whom find employment in the coal mines which are worked in the parish.

The Alice pit was sunk in 1898, by John Williamson, Esq., of Maryport, and Matthew Walton, of Dovenby. The depth of the main shaft is 15 fathoms. At present the output is about 100 tons daily. The parish contains the villages of Great and Little Broughton.

The Manor of Broughton, including Broughton Moor, was given by Waltheof, lord of Allerdale, with his sister in marriage to Waltheof, son of Gilmin, whose posterity adopted the name of Broughton, and resided here for several generations. This line appears to have become extinct about the reign of Henry VI (1422 - 1461), and the manor reverted to the Earls of Northumberland as lords of Allerdale. It was granted by the sixth earl to Thomas Wharton, controller of his household, for the yearly payment of 25 18s. 10d. It was purchased of the Whartons by Charles, Duke of Somerset, from whom it has descended to Lord Leconfield, who holds an annual court at the Punch Bowl Inn, in the village of Great Broughton. The land is held on copyhold tenure, subject to the nominal charge of one penny; but a tenpenny fine is levied at the death of the lord or owner. The other principal landowners are Messrs. J.S. Blair, J.S. Parkin, J. Aikin, G. Wood, T. Sibson, J.M. Walker, T. Harris, J. Smith, and Mary Paisley.

The Village of Great Broughton is pleasantly situated on the southern acclivity of a hill above the Derwent, three miles W. by N. of Cockermouth.

The Church, situated between the villages of Great and Little Broughton, was erected as a chapel-of-ease to the parish church, in 1856. Since that date it has undergone several alterations, and been thoroughly renovated, and the churchyard enlarged by the addition of three-quarters of an acre. The living is a vicarage, and is worth 146 a year. In 1863 the vicar of Bridekirk, with the consent of the bishop and the patron of the living, alienated in perpetuity, from the mother church, sources of income which yield about 20 yearly towards the endowment of the new vicarage. The Wesleyans have a small chapel in the village, erected in 1846. The old Village School (now the Board School) was rebuilt in 1846, at a cost of 200, of which 70 was contributed by Government, and the remainder by subscription. It possesses an endowment of 20 19s. a year, left by Mr. Ashley in 1735, for the education of the children of the two Broughtons. The same benevolent gentleman also founded an Almshouse in 1722, for four poor women, which he endowed with 8 per annum; the building is now used as an infant school, and the endowment is merged in the school fund. The schools are attended by about 250 children.

A Mission Hall was built in 1882, at the sole cost of R. Wilson, Esq., J.P., of the Grange, Broughton. It is a neat stone structure, of the Gothic style, and will accommodate between 200 and 300 persons. The Thomas Paisley Memorial Institute: This commodious building was erected in 1890, and contains billiard and reading rooms, and library with 800 volumes. In 1895 the late Thomas Paisley, Esq., left sufficient money to clear the debt off the building.

Little Broughton is situated about a quarter of a mile from Great Broughton. The Friends' Meeting House was erected in 1659, and the Baptist Chapel in 1672. There is also a Primitive Methodist Chapel in the village. A school was built in 1882 by the School Board of Great and Little Broughton, in compliance with the requirements of the Education Act of 1870. It is a substantial freestone building, with red sandstone facings, and attended by about 220 children.

RIBTON TOWNSHIP covers an area of 616 acres, and is assessed at 844. The population in 1891 numbered 23, and the number of inhabited houses, 3 - two farmhouses and the Hall - situated about five miles W. of Cockermouth. There was formerly a chapel here, said to have been dedicated to St. Lawrence. The manor of Ribton was given by Waltheof, the first lord of Allerdale, to another Waltheof, son of Gilmin, whose younger son, Thomas, took the local name. It continued in possession of the Ribton family for several generations, and was held in the reign of Edward III by John, of that name, by the service of 2s. 8d. cornage, 8d. seawake, puture of the sergeants, and suit of court at Papcastle from three weeks to three weeks. It was subsequently purchased by the Lamplughs, who sold it to Sir James Lowther, from whom it has descended to the present earl. There are no corn tithes in Ribton, and the small tithes are only 4 6s.

BIOGRAPHY. - Abraham Fletcher was born at Little Broughton in 1714, and, though his school education cost him only ninepence, yet by applying himself closely to study during his leisure hours (for he followed the business of tobacco pipe maker during his life), he became the village doctor, a botanist, and astrologer, and published a mathematical work called the "Universal Measurer." He died in his native village in 1793.


Bulmer's History & Directory Of Cumberland, 1901

19 June 2015

Steve Bulman