Extends about eight miles in length, and six in breadth; being bounded on the east by Castle Sowerby, on the south by Skiddaw, and the west by Bassenthwaite, Uldale, and Ireby parishes, and on the north by Catlands, Brocklebank, and Warnel Fells. It is comprised within Allerdale-below-Derwent ward, and petty sessional division; the deanery, poor law union, rural, and county court districts of Wigton; and is the centre of a division for the election of a member of the county council.

The parish contains, according to Parliamentary returns, 24,280 acres of land, of which about 10,539 are commons and fells; but these afford good pasturage for numerous flocks of sheep (chiefly of the "Herdwick" breed), and they abound with game. Carrock has been noted for its foxes. The land seems to rise, by a gentle ascent, from the vale of the Caldew up to the mountains; the soil near Hesket and Caldbeck is fertile, but the western parts of the enclosed land are cold and heavy. Amongst the mineral treasures of Caldbeck are rich quantities of lead, barytes, copper and silver; of the first there is an almost boundless variety, and, while the surrounding rocks attract the eye of the geologist, few districts of similar extent contribute more to the curiosity of the tourist, and the cabinet of the mineralogist. It is proposed to run a light railway from Wigton to Penrith; if this succeeds the working of these minerals will be possible; hitherto the difficulty of transporting the ores has been too great to make mining a success. The parish is divided into the three townships of Caldbeck Haltcliff, Caldbeck High, and Caldbeck Low; which, together in 1891, contained 1,068 inhabitants. The ratable value is returned at 5,948. The principal landowners are John Jennings, Esq., Miss Gough, Rev. W.F. Simpson, Thomas James, W.H. Greenup, S.W. Lawton, J.S. Parkin, John Naylor, S. Rigg, F. Wybergh, Esq., John Nicholson, Esq., John F. Bell, W.J. Irving, Robert Priestman, John Sewell, etc.

LOW CALDBECK TOWNSHIP - The area, population, and ratable value of these townships are not returned separately, but are included in the parish.

The manor of Caldbeck is divided into two divisions, called Caldbeck Upperton, or Upton (being that part which lies near the church), and Caldbeck under Fell, the part near the mountains. It was a parcel of the great barony of Allerdale, until the heiress of the Lucy family carried it, in marriage, to the Percys, earls of Northumberland; with whom it remained till the sixth earl gave it to Henry VIII., who sold one moiety to Thomas Dalston, Esq., and the other to Thomas, Lord Wharton; the latter of whom subsequently purchased Mr. Dalston's portion, and became possessed of the whole manor. It continued in the Wharton family till the famous duke Philip - whom Pope calls "the scorn and wonder of our days," and who was the last of the family - was obliged to alienate this and other great estates to four trustees, for the payment of his debts. It was re-sold to Charles, Duke of Somerset, from whom it passed to the Earl of Egremont, thence to General Wyndham, and now Lord Leconfield is lord of the soil; but the minerals, which had been reserved by the Crown, now belong to the Earl of Pomfret, Sir George William Denys, Bart., and Sir Francis Shuckburgh, Bart. Hutchinson, who wrote in 1794, says, "the Earl of Egremont has no demesne lands here, but several free rents, and about 120 customary tenants, who pay 48 1s. 1d. yearly rent, a tenpenny fine certain; with heriots, suit of court, and the thirteenth moulter."

The village of Caldbeck, which gives name to the parish, is situated in this township near the confluence of the Caldew and the Caldbeck, 1 miles from Hesket Newmarket. Weaving and bobbin turning are the chief occupations of the people. The woollen factory has long been noted for the manufacture of a cloth largely used for overcoats, and known as "Ivinson Grey." At this mill Mr. Graves, the author of the popular hunting song, "D'ye ken John Peel?" worked for several years. The town is said to have originated in the following manner. Long after the conquest, this parish was a wild forest and desolate waste, and being crossed by a high road, which extended from Westmorland to the western coasts of Cumberland, it lay under the imputation of being the resort of banditti and dangerous outlaws, who frequently assailed travellers. To prevent this as much as possible, Ranulph Engain, the chief forester of Inglewood, granted a license to the prior of Carlisle to build an hospital here, for the purpose of entertaining travellers and protecting such as were benighted from the hands of prowling freebooters. On this grant, the prior enclosed some portion of the forest in the environs of the hospital, where, soon afterwards, was erected the parish church, which as usual, was in a short time surrounded by a village. The hospital was dissolved about the time of King John, and the church endowed with its lands; which lands "have since been called the manor of Kirkland." The inhabitants still point to an old lodging-house, not far from the church, as a site of the ancient hospital, and to an old farmhouse as the spot where the monks resided. A row of cottages, close by perpetuates these historic associations by its name of Friars Row.

The Church, dedicated to St. Mungo, or Kentigern, is situated in the village, and is an ancient looking fabric. From a date upon one of the stones, it is supposed to have been erected in the year 1112. It consists of nave, chancel, and side aisles, but was probably at first of more limited dimensions. In 1880 it underwent very considerable restoration, at a cost of 400; in 1887 a stained-glass window was inserted in the baptistry, in memory of the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The patronage of the church was given by Gospatric, the son of Orme, to the priory of Carlisle, and in 1223 Bartholomew, the prior, granted the advowson to the Bishop of Carlisle, and the right of presentation has ever since been exercised by his successors. The benefice is a rectory, valued in the King's Book at 45 3s. 6d., but is now worth 350. The well, which is an invariable accompaniment of the St. Kentigern dedications, is near the churchyard, on the banks of the Caldew. A folio missal, a magnificent specimen of late 14th or early 15th century illumination, commemorative of St. Kentigern and Caldbeck Church, is preserved in the Benedictine establishment near Carlisle.

The National School, a neat stone building in the Elizabethan style, was erected in 1851, at a cost of 300, by John Jennings, Esq., and transferred to the School Board in 1889. The school is a mixed one, and is attended by about 82 children. The infant school, on the north side of the village, is also under the Board, and has an average attendance of 30.

Brownrigg and Ratten Row are two hamlets in this division, at the latter of which the rector "has a small manor, called the manor of Kirklands, the tenants of which pay 7 9s. 6d. customary fines, and, on alienation, an arbitrary fine; but, on the change of a tenant by death, only a god's penny, and, on the death of the lord, nothing."

The Wesleyans have a chapel here, erected in 1832; and at Whelpo is a Friends' Meeting House, with burial ground attached, now converted into a cottage house. Brownrigg was long the residence of a branch of the family of Vaux, the principal stem of which was located at Catterlen from the time of Henry II. The house is now a farmstead, but the armorial bearings over the door point to its former gentility.

High Caldbeck township contains the hamlets of Branthwaite, Fellside, Hudscales, Green-Rigg, and Nether-Row, with some scattered dwellings extending from one to three miles W. and W. by S. of Hesket New Market, being bounded on the south by Caldbeck Fells. There is a Board School at Fellside, a substantial stone building, erected in 1875, with an average attendance of 18. Hudscales seems to have taken its name from the Saxon term hyde; and scales or skales, formed also from the Saxon or Gothic word skalga (a cover) were huts built of peat for the shelter of the shepherds. The village of Green-Rigg formerly belonged to the Musgraves, of Crookdake, who held important positions under the Earl of Northumberland. They received several grants of the common or waste land of the parish from that gentleman, all of which they enclosed and converted into tenancies. Sir John Ballentine, who came into the possession of these by his marriage with Anne, daughter and heiress of William Musgrave, Esq., sold them to Lord Wharton, from whose trustees they were purchased by the Duke of Somerset, and are now the property of Lord Leconfield. John Peel, the celebrated huntsman, was born at Green-Rigg in this township, and two of his daughters still reside here.

CALDBECK HALTCLIFF - The area and ratable value are returned in those of the parish. The township contains the town of Hesket Newmarket, in which the greater part of the inhabitants reside.

The manor of Hesket within this township, comprising about 150 acres, is a mesne manor within that of Lord Leconfield. It was held for many generations by the Bewleys, till carried by an heiress in the reign of Charles I. to the Lawson family, and is now possessed by Sir Wilfrid Lawson, Bart. Hesket Hall, the manor house, built by Sir Wilfrid, the first baronet, is a singular structure, with twelve angles, so arranged that the shadows give the hour of the day. The roof is circular, the chimneys running up the centre. It is now a farmstead. Haltcliff Hall was long the residence of the Bewleys, a family of consequence at an early period of our history. Some armorial bearings, discovered in pulling down an old wall a few years ago, prove that the Bewleys of Cumberland and the Boileaus of Norfolk, are from the same stock. The Cumberland Bewleys adopted the tenets of George Fox, who is said to have resided with them at Woodhall, in this parish.

HESKET NEWMARKET is a neat little country town, situated in a secluded but delightful spot among the hills. Judging from the number of houses standing empty, its importance is decidedly on the wane; this is due to the closing of the mines which were formerly the chief source of industry. Should the project which is on foot to reopen the mines prove successful, the dwellings will again be tenanted, and the place soon lose the look of dilapidation and gloom which has settled on it. Close by runs the Caldew, and near the banks of the stream is a petrifying spring, which issues from a mass of rock. The name is supposed to be a corruption of East Cote or East Gate, which, by a rapid and careless pronunciation, is easily contracted into Hesket. Both this town and that of Hesket-in-the-Forest have probably been the eastern inlets into the great forest which once covered the district, and on the borders of which they were located. After the establishment of a market during the 18th century, the distinctive appellation of Newmarket was added to the name. Whatever may have been the success which attended it at the commencement, it has been almost entirely abandoned in these latter days. This is probably the consequence of improved roads and vehicles, by which farm produce can now be easily transported to distant and well-patronised markets; but cattle-fairs continue to be held in May and October, and are well attended. There is a Wesleyan Chapel here.

Howbeck forms the southern suburb of Hesket. A Board School was erected here in 1874, near the site of the old one. To this old school Mr. Richardson left an endowment of 3 a year for the education of the poor, to be paid out of his estate at Wham. The money is now given away in books. The average attendance is about 70. The Society of Friends have a chapel here.

About three-quarters of a mile from Hesket Newmarket, on an estate at Gillfoot, is preserved a relic of the ancient Britons. It is known as the Druids' Grove, and consists of two parallel rows of large oak trees, beneath which the ancient Britons performed the ceremonies of their singular worship. Near the spot was a barrow or cairn, in which, when opened out in 1794, were found the ashes of some British warrior, who, having been cremated and buried here, the mound of stones was raised to mark the spot. With him had been buried his battle-axe, and the stone beads with which he ornamented his person.

MOSEDALE - The hamlets of Mosedale and Swineside, with about 301 acres of land, are now regarded as forming a distinct township. Though included in the parish of Caldbeck and paying tithes to that church, they support their own poor and are under the Penrith Union. The manor of Mosedale and Swineside, containing about 350 acres of enclosed land, is a mesne manor within the manor of Lord Leconfield. It was here the Dacres of Greystoke, its ancient owners, kept their deer and wild swine; but when the country became populous it was divided into tenancies.

Here is a Friends' Meeting House with burial ground attached, erected in 1702.

Caldbeck Fells, including the lofty mountains of Carrock, High Pike, Brae Fells, Cald Fell, Noon Fell, and several smaller eminences, form an extensive Alpine region, comprising the greater part of the parish. Numerous veins of lead and copper traverse the hills, which have been worked at different times with varying success. The first who opened out the mineral treasures of the district was Lord Wharton, in the 16th century. He was lord of the manor, and commenced a mine at Brandy Gill; and Roughtengill and Silvergill were opened about the same time. Driggeth Mine was first worked in 1790, in the east side of High Pike. This mountain is composed of a light-coloured slate, and is dotted over with huge blocks of granite, some of which weigh over 100 tons. How they came there is a problem, of which only hypothetical solutions can be offered. The nearest granite rock is Carrock Fell, two miles distant, and separated from High Pike by a deep valley. The royalty of the Driggeth Silver-Lead Mining Company, Limited, covered an area of 3,000 acres. The principal vein is the Driggeth, which has been worked in several beds, producing copper ore of good quality, and lead yielding a high per centage of silver. Two other veins, called the "Low Pyke" vein and the "Intake" vein, intersect several other veins in their course, giving indications of great richness. The Roughtengill Mine, as above mentioned, is supposed to have been opened in the 16th century, and has been worked by several different companies with varying success. Should the railway scheme mentioned on a previous page prove successful, Caldbeck will again become the centre of a mining industry.

The huge mountain called Carrock Fell lies wholly in this parish. It is an immense mass of granite, whose summit towers 2,100 feet above the sea's level. Its British name, Caerog Fell, signifies the Fortified Fell, and was so named in allusion to the camp on its summit, of which vestiges still remain. It appears to have consisted of an oval space, 252 yards in diameter, surrounded by a rude wall formed of blocks of stone. Within the enclosure, and near the eastern end, is a sepulchral cairn, which probably covers the bones of some British king. This is an excellent example of a British hill fort. Placed upon the summit of an eminence, and strongly guarded by the natural features of the district, the Britons could here bid defiance to the superior forces of the Romans.

About a mile from the parish church is that striking curiosity, the Howk, a deep waterfall in the bed of the river, over which is a natural bridge of limestone. Under this bridge the stream rushes with great impetuosity, and dashing along over rugged rocks, empties itself into a basin boiling in whirling eddies, covered with foam. It is a lovely scene, the various shades of the trees adding a touch of colour, whilst the bareness of the rocks is relieved by bright green ferns peeping out from every crevice. The banks are thickly carpeted with soft moss. On one side is a deep, round excavation called the Fairy's Cauldron, into which in time of floods another cascade falls with a deafening roar from a height of about sixty feet. To the right of this is a cavern, eighteen yards long, called the Fairy Kirk, in which the noise of the cataract has an imposing effect. A little nearer the village stands the large water-wheel of Mr. Jennings' bobbin mill; it is the largest in Great Britain, having a diameter of forty-two feet. Not far from Carrock the river takes a subterranean course, which it keeps for the space of about four miles, when it emerges opposite to Warnell Hall estate.


Bulmer's History & Directory Of Cumberland, 1901

19 June 2015

Steve Bulman