Has, in accordance with the Local Government Act of 1894, been constituted & distinct parish for all civil business, but ecclesiastically it remains united with Bridekirk. It is a small parish, containing within its limits an area of 1,764 acres, of the ratable value of £2,120. Agriculture is the principal employment of the inhabitants, who numbered in 1891, 163. The district is comprised within the ward and petty sessional division of Derwent; the poor law union and rural district of Cockermouth; the county council electoral division of Bridekirk; and the county court district of Cockermouth and Workington.
Dovenby or Dolfinby, has received its name from one of its possessors, Dolphin, son of Aylward, to whom it was given by Waltheof, lord of Allerdale, as a marriage dowry with his sister Maud, together with Applethwaite, Little Crosby, Langrigg, and Brigham, with the church there. His descendants, in the direct male line, were seated here until the reign of Henry III, when the manor passed by the marriage of an heiress to one Roger de Rolle. In the 33rd of Edward I, it was possessed by Thomas Lucy, and afterwards by Richard Kirkbride, whose granddaughter carried it in marriage to Nicholas Lamplugh. It has since passed by purchase through several parties, and is now held by the Trustees of the late L.F.B. Dykes, Esq., whose mother bought it in 1840. This lady, as a descendant of the Lamplughs, inherited the hall and demesne, and they are consequently united with the manor. Court leet and baron are held for the admission of tenants, the rolls of which date from 1662. The land is held on the usual customary tenure, and the principal owners are - the Trustees of the late L.F.B. Dykes, Esq., Mr. M. Smith, and Mr. P. Dodgson.
CHARITIES. - In 1609 Sir T. Lamplugh founded a hospital here for "six poor aged persons of the religious poor." He endowed it with the tithes of Redmain, in Isel parish. The building itself no longer exists, but the proceeds of the tithes are divided among six poor aged persons, who are thus insured against want.
The school was founded and endowed about 1620 by the same gentleman. It is for the townships of Bridekirk, Dovenby, and Tallentire, and is situated about half way between the first two named. The endowment consists of land at Dovenby, part of the tithes of Burgh-by-Sands, since commuted, and a small payment out of the hospital charity. The school is a neat building, about a mile from the village, and was rebuilt in 1845 towards which Government contributed £100. The accommodation is now for 100, average attendance 60.
Dovenby Hall is the residence of Mrs. Dykes. The mansion is large and commodious, but it has been so frequently restored, and so many additions have been made to it that its original character has been almost entirely obliterated. The old portion appears to be Norman, and has been built of the stones taken from the Roman road which passes near. There are still visible evidences of its former strength, for like other border towers, it was erected as a place of security against the raids of the Scottish freebooters. A cottage on the estate situated in the village has been fitted up as a Reading Room, to become a member of which a small fee is charged. Dearham Railway Station on the Derwent loop of the M. & C. line is in this township.
BIOGRAPHIES. - Rev. John Bell was born in 1715 at Dovenby, where he was vicar, till his death in 1793; he published several excellent sermons, and an address to his parishioners, which went through several editions.
Rev. Thomas Harvey, who was born at Dovenby in 1740, published a treatise on the Thirty-nine Articles, an Explanation of the Church Catechism, the English Climax, a useful treatise on Stenography, and some occasional sermons, &c.; he died in 1806.
Bulmer's History & Directory Of Cumberland, 1901
19 June 2015
© Steve Bulman