Dean

Is bounded on the north by Brigham, on the east by Loweswater, on the south by Lamplugh and Arlecdon, and on the west by Distington and Workington. It is about three miles in length by about the same in breadth, and comprises the townships of Branthwaite, Dean, Ullock, Deanscales, and Pardshaw, whose united area is 6,528 acres. The gross rental is 7,700; the ratable value, 6,753; and the population, 765. This parish is in Derwent ward and petty sessional division; union of Cockermouth; rural deanery of Cockermouth and Workington; and county council electoral division of Brigham. The soil varies from a rich loam to a light gravel, and is generally fertile, producing good crops of wheat, oats and potatoes. Limestone abounds at Dean, Deanscales, and Pardshaw; white freestone of the best quality at Branthwaite; and red freestone on the common. The principal landowners are Lord Leconfield; H.F. Curwen, Esq.; the Trustees of the late Michael Falcon, Joseph Harris, Mrs. Carter, Rev. W. Sherwen, Thomas Dixon, Robert Benn, W. Walker-Dixon, and several others.

Dean township has a small village near the east side of the Marron, about five miles S.W of Cockermouth and six miles S.E. by E. of Workington. The manor was part of the possessions given by William de Meschines to Waltheof, first Lord of Allerdale. Having passed by descent to the Lucys, and then to the Percys, it was granted by the sixth Earl of Northumberland to the controller of his household, Sir Thomas Wharton. It was subsequently purchased from the Whartons by the Duke of Somerset, and has descended through the lords of Egremont to Lord Leconfield, the present owner, who holds his courts annually in October. The land is all freehold, except a few plots for which a 20d. fine is paid, by virtue of a decree in Chancery.

The Church, dedicated to St. Oswald, King of Northumbria, who fell fighting against the pagan Penda, is an ancient structure, consisting of a nave, chancel, aisle, porch, and bell turret, in which are two bells. It is said to have been erected about the year 1447, upon the site of an older church, and consecrated by the Bishop of Dromore. Two ancient crosses surmount the turret and chancel, and within, at the entrance to the chancel, is the sepulchral slab of some knight, on which is inscribed a sword, and in the south wall is the arch of a tomb now built up. An old sepulchral cross, ascended by a flight of seven steps, stands in the churchyard. The east window, the gift of the Misses Simon, of Branthwaite, is of stained glass, representing the Crucifixion. The west and south-east windows, also filled with glass of a "thousand colours," were given, the former by Robert Mitchell, Esq., of Liverpool, a native of Ullock; and the latter by an anonymous donor. The benefice is a rectory, valued in the King's Book at 19 13s. 1d. In 1426 Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, presented to the living, but the advowson passed to the Wharton family in the 17th century, and was granted by Philip, Duke of Wharton, to Matthew Smails, Esq., from whom, after several transfers, it came to the Rev. Miles Tarn, and.is now possessed by the Rev. W. Sherwen, M.A., the present rector. The living is worth 292. At the inclosure of the commons a portion of land was allotted in lieu of tithes, with the exception of 52 acres, which were commuted, in 1849, for a yearly payment of 3.

The old Grammar School has been entirely removed. It was founded in 1596 by John Fox, of the Goldsmiths' Company, London, and rebuilt at the expense of his son in 1615.

The National School was erected by subscription in 1863, and further enlarged in 1871 at a cost of 250. It is a mixed school, of two departments, and is attended by about 100 children.

CHARITIES. - In 1596 John Fox bequeathed the sum of 150, and Mrs. Fidler 100 in 1850, to the Grammar School; and in 1822 100 was left by Mrs. Robinson for the education of poor children. These are used for educational purposes.

Under the will of Elizabeth Williamson, in 1882, 317 was bequeathed to the National School.

Mrs. Fidler also left a legacy of 100 to the poor of the parish.

BRANTHWAITE. - The area of this township is returned with the parish. The inhabitants are chiefly employed in agriculture. A quarry of excellent freestone is worked in the township. This manor, together with Dean, was granted to Waltheof, lord of Allerdale, whose son Alan gave it in marriage with his kinswoman. The grantees assumed the name De Branthwaite. An heiress of this line carried the manor to the Skeltons in 1422, in which family it remained till 1757. The last of the name that held Branthwaite was General Skelton, who served in the army in Flanders and in Scotland in 1745. In the former country his life was saved by his aide-de-camp, Captain James Jones, who shot a dragoon that was on the point of cutting down the General. The latter did not forget this, and left to Captain Jones Branthwaite Hall and estate as a mark of his gratitude. The son of Captain Jones assumed the name of Skelton, and in the next descent the Branthwaite estate was sold to J.C. Curwen, Esq., of Workington, and is now the property of H.F. Curwen, Esq. The customary tenants were enfranchised by General Skelton for a payment of eighty years' purchase.

The village of Branthwaite is situated on the steep banks of the Marron, 5 miles south-east of Workington. Branthwaite Hall, the baronial residence of the Skeltons for many generations, is a venerable looking fabric, bearing a dense mantle of ivy, and now used as a farmhouse. It has been made the subject of a poem by William Hetherington, a local poet of some celebrity, who was born here in 1788. He followed the occupation of surveyor and valuer, and died in 1865. He was the author of several other pieces, none of which were of sufficient merit to earn for him more than local fame. The Reading Room was established in 1884 by the Rev. W. Sherwen at a cost of 150.

ULLOCK. - The area and population of this township have been returned in the parish. The inhabitants are chiefly employed in agriculture, and are collected in the hamlets of Ullock, Pardshaw, and Deanscales. At Dean Moor is a colliery, employing about 30 men and producing 40 tons of coal per day. The coal is obtained from a drift in the hill side.

Ullock village is situated on the Marron, at the southern extremity of the parish, 5 miles S.W. by S. of Cockermouth. The Wesleyan Chapel in the village is a neat structure, erected at a cost of about 450, raised by subscription. A room belonging to this body is rented from them and used as a Reading Room.

Pardshaw, or Pardsey, is a small hamlet in this township, 4 miles S.S.W. of Cockermouth; and Pardshaw Hall is another hamlet 4 miles S. by W. of the same town. There is here an ancient meeting house belonging to the Society of Friends, erected in 1728, which is endowed with two estates, the rents of which are applied to the purposes of education and the maintenance of poor Friends. Pardsey Crag, it appears, was formerly "a famous place for Quakers, being remote from any church;" and George Fox, their founder, speaks in his journal of two general meetings of the society being held here in 1657 and 1663. A place on the crag still bears the name of Fox's pulpit.

Deanscales is a hamlet lying in the hollow between Pardshaw Crag and Eaglesfield Crag, 3 miles S.W. by S. of Cockermouth. The terminal portion of the name is one of many evidences of the presence of considerable numbers of Norsemen in Cumberland, who succeeded in engrafting much of their own language upon the Saxon. In Norse the word signifies a shealing or cattle shed, the full name thus signifying "the cattle sheds of Dean." The district around was formerly a common, where, doubtless, large numbers of cattle were pastured. It has since been enclosed and granted into tenancies.

BIOGRAPHY. - John Dalton, D.D., an eminent divine and admired poet, was born at Dean Vicarage, where his father was rector, in 1709. He was educated at Queen's College, Oxford. After completing his college course, he became tutor to Lord Beauchamp. In 1750 he adapted to the stage Milton's admirable "Mask of Comus." The piece was put upon the boards of Drury Lane, and was a great success. During its run he sought out a grand-daughter of Milton, a widow in reduced circumstances, and procured a benefit for her which is said to have produced upwards of 120. A prologue was written for the occasion by Dr. Johnson, which was spoken by Garrick. He afterwards obtained a prebendal stall in Worcester Cathedral, and died in 1768.

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Bulmer's History & Directory Of Cumberland, 1901


19 June 2015

Steve Bulman