This parish, as the name indicates, lies along the banks of the Eden, and is bounded on the other sides by Scaleby, Stanwix, and Irthington. For civil purposes it is divided into three townships, viz., High Crosby, Low Crosby, and Walby, whose united area is, according to the latest returns, 2,409 acres, which are assessed at £2,022. The only employment of the inhabitants, who number 532, is agriculture, for which the soil of the parish is generally well adapted. The land lying in the vicinity of the river is a rich dry loam, resting on a gravelly subsoil; a strong clayey soil is found in several places, and in a few, meadow and moorland. The most extensive landowners in the parish are Thomas H. Hodgson, Esq., J.P., S.G. Saul, G.H. Saul, Richard Carruthers, Rev. J. Hudson, Mrs. Fitzgerald, Mrs. Armstrong, John Thompson, H.J. Thompson, John Nicholson, the trustees of the Rev. J.A. Fell, and Joseph Wright.
The parish appears, from its name, to have been one of the districts inhabited by the early Danish settlers, who, after their conversion to Christianity by the Hiberno-Celtic missionaries, clustered their dwellings around the emblem of Redemption, which had been erected by the road side; thus their little village was known as Crosby, that is Cross town. But of this ancient cross not a vestige remains to point out the spot where it stood, nor does it live even in local tradition that storehouse of past memories in which has been preserved so much of the folklore and the history of the past. The name only perpetuates the memory of its former existence.
After the suppression of the Rebellion of 1745, when the troops of Prince Charles Edward took Carlisle and marched triumphantly into the centre of England, the want of an open means of communication between the east and west coast in these northern parts was made apparent. An Act of Parliament was therefore obtained, enabling the government to construct a road which should at all times afford an easy means of communication between Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Carlisle. This military road crossed the county from east to west, running through the centre of the parish.
Low Crosby Township. - The area and ratable value are returned in the parish; the soil is a rich loam, producing excellent cereal crops. Newby Grange, built in 1853, the property and seat of Thomas Hesketh Hodgson, J.P., is a handsome structure in the Elizabethan style. It is pleasantly situated amid a profusion of sylvan scenery.
The Manor, which includes the whole parish, forms part of the barony of Linstock, sometimes called the barony of Crosby. A mound or double fence runs along the eastern side, separating it from Gilsland. This is known by the name of the "Baron's Dyke," or sometimes the " Bishops' Dyke." The barons of Gilsland appear to have advanced claims to the manor of Crosby, and this dyke, the late R.S. Ferguson, Esq., suggests, was the result of a compromise between the two baronies. The manor was given at an early period to the priory of Carlisle by Walter, the second prior of that house, and soon afterwards a grange was erected, in which a few of the brotherhood dwelt. Their occupation was to look after the interests of their convent in this distant part of their possessions. Walter had, before he donned the hood and cowl, been a valiant soldier in the train of the Conqueror, whose fortunes he had followed from Normandy, As a reward for his fidelity, Carlisle was entrusted to his care and extensive grants of land and manors were bestowed upon him. His admission among the brotherhood, with all his lordly domains, swelled the possessions of the priory to almost inordinate extent; and at a subsequent period some of these possessions were transferred from the priory to the bishop by Gualo, the papal legate. Crosby was one of the manors conferred upon the convent by Walter; and in the partition by the Pope's legate, it was conveyed to the Bishop of Carlisle, whose successors have ever since exercised the rights of the lordship.
The land is nearly all held on customary tenure, and the tenants attend the manorial court, which is held for the bishop once a year. The court rolls, which extend through a long period of time, are preserved, and contain many interesting items of information about the manor.
The village of Low Crosby is pleasantly situated near the banks of the Eden, on the high road leading from Carlisle to Newcastle-on-Tyne, and about four miles E.N.E. of the former town.
The Church, dedicated to St. John, was erected in 1854, upon the site of an older edifice. Like the majority of modern churches it is in the Gothic style, and is a substantial structure, consisting of nave and chancel with organ loft. Its erection cost about £1,800, which was chiefly raised by subscription among the parishioners. The east window, of three lights, is of stained glass, representing "Our Saviour ministering to the sick," and was presented by the Rev. J. Hudson, M.A., Crosby house, the then vicar. The church contains about 200 sittings, the greater part of which are free. The old Norman font, which stood in the original, is still preserved in the church; but it possesses no features deserving a special description. The church passed with the manor from the priory to the Bishop of Carlisle, who has exercised the right of patronage over since. The living is valued in the King's Book at £7 11s. 4d,, but is now worth £275 per annum. The tithes were commuted for £109. The present vicar is the Rev. Samuel Hartley, B.A., who was instituted in 1895.
The churchyard was enlarged in 1898 by the addition of half an acre of land, the gift of Richard Carruthers, Esq., Eden grove.
The vicarage is a plain structure between High and Low Crosby, built about 1867.
The School, adjoining the church, is a neat stone building, erected in 1844 at a cost of £350, and enlarged in 1882 at a further outlay of £110, It it entirely free, and is attended by about 70 children, under the tuition of Mr. Thomas Fountain, the esteemed master for the long period of 21 years.
Eden Grove, the property and residence of Richard Carruthers, Esq., is delightfully situated near the river from which it takes its name.
HIGH CROSBY. - The area and ratable value of this township are returned in the parish. The soil varies from a rich loam in some places to poor land in others, resting on a gravelly subsoil. The village of High Crosby is about half a mile from Low Crosby. Crosby house, the residence and property of the Rev. Joseph Hudson, M.A., was erected by his grandfather, the Rev. Dr. Lowry, vicar of the parish from 1791 to 1832.
WALBY is a small township containing only four dwellings. The great Roman Wall runs through it and has given its name to it. The hamlet of Walby is about four miles north-east of Carlisle, and is supposed to have been the site of one of the camps or stations which the Romans established along the Great Wall or Dyke, at intervals of about four miles. The terminal syllable points it out as one of the Danish settlements of a later period.
Bulmer's History & Directory Of Cumberland, 1901
Photos and Maps
30 July 2006
© Steve Bulman