Derwent ward and petty sessional division; Cockermouth and Workington county court district ; union and rural district of Cockermouth; Flimby electoral division, and deanery of Maryport.
This parish is bounded on the N. & N.E. by the parishes of Maryport and Dearham, on the E. by Broughton Moor, and on the S. and S.E. by West Seaton and Camerton. Its area is computed at about 1,651 acres, which are rated at £9,695; gross rental, £11,999. There are no dependent townships. In 1801, Flimby contained 273 inhabitants; by the end of the half-century the population had increased to 555; in 1881, it amounted to 2,124; in 1896, to 2,415; and at the present time it is estimated at about 2,600. Coal abounds in the parish and is worked to a considerable extent by the Flimby and Broughton Moor Coal and Fire Brick Co. who have three pits, viz. - Flimby or Watery Gate, Ewanrigg or Robin Hood, and Seaton Moor. A number of coke ovens are also owned by this company, 127 in all, and at these and the above pits about 1,200 hands are employed, most of whom reside in the parish. The Sillhead Colliery and Fire Brick Co. give employment to about 100 men.
Flimby is one of the latest formed of the old ecclesiastical parishes. Formerly it was a chapelry under Camerton, from which it was severed in the 37th year of Henry VIII (1546), and has therefore been regarded by some writers as extra parochial. It has, however, possessed all the rights and privileges of a distinct parish for upwards of 300 years, and is styled as such in all legal documents.
The first name on the manorial roll of Flimby is that of Orme, son of Ketel, third baron of Kendal, who acquired this and several other manors by his marriage with Gunhilda, sister of Waltheof, first lord of Allerdale. From this Orme, the Curwens, of Workington, trace their descent. In the next generation, Gospatric, in a deed, couched in the phraseology peculiar to such bequests, "grants to God and St. Mary of Holme Cultram, and the monks serving God there, Flimby, with its appurtenances." He undertook at the same time to perform all the secular service due for the same, both to the king and to the lord of Allerdale, such as seawake, castleward, pleas, aids, &c. Adam, a son of Gospatric, and parson of Camerton, conferred upon the same community the chapel of Flimby, with the land and tithes thereof, which belonged to the mother church of Camerton. At a later period (1279) Robert de Haverington granted quit-claim of the manor, with the exception of 380 acres, to Gervase, abbot of Holme Cultram, thereby earning the lasting gratitude of the pious brotherhood, who thenceforth offered up a daily prayer for his welfare. After the suppression of monastic institutions, Flimby was granted by Henry VIII, in 1545, to Thomas Dalston, Esq., of Carlisle, and Eleanor, his wife, who, the following year, sold the same to John Blennerhasset, Esq., for the sum of 14s. 1d. This family retained possession, and continued to reside at Flimby Hall, until 1772, in which year the property was sold by William Blennerhasset, Esq., to Sir James Lowther, Bart.; but "the whole parish is freehold, and every freeholder has a legal title to the royalty of his property, whether in houses or lands." The commons were inclosed in 1826, and divided among the landowners.
Flimby is a large village, pleasantly situated 2½ miles S.E. of Maryport, with a good sea outlook, and beach well adapted for bathing, which was formerly indulged in to some extent, but that is a thing of the past since the advent of the railway works. During alterations, necessitated by the building of coke ovens at Risehow, near Flimby, the workmen, about August 25th, 1880, came upon foundations, near which was discovered a water bottle, with a handle on one side.
Mr. Joseph Robinson, of Maryport, to whom antiquarian research owes so much, was soon on the spot, and quickly discovered other foundations, at a short distance from the above. They proved to be walls enclosing a space 13ft. 7in. square, the thickness of the walls being about 3ft. There were two courses left on a "cobble" foundation set in clay, and much pottery was found. Probably these are the remains of a tower, but for what purpose it was intended is not clear.
It is worthy of note, that in the same year a similar tower was discovered by Mr. Robinson, at Pasture Head, Campfield, near Bowness; a third, a quarter of a mile to the east of this, and a fourth near Wolsty Castle, Beckfoot. All were almost identical in size and construction with the one found at Risehow.
Those found near Pasture Head were built on "cobbles" set in cement. In them were found mortaria, amphorę, and Upchurch ware, together with the neck and handle of an ampulla, 14 inches by 10 inches, and bearing the letters, ROMANI RR. A spear head, and the occipital portion of a human skull were also found.
It may also be worthy of remark that the locality of the Abbey Holme is rich in prehistoric remains, as celts, stone hammers, etc., Mr. Robinson having collected upwards of 20 specimens in a short time. These are at present in the Carlisle Museum.
The Church, dedicated to St. Nicholas, is a very plain edifice, rebuilt in 1794 on the site of the previous church. The chancel end was restored in 1862 at a cost of £400. The interior was renovated in 1897, and has accommodation for about 200 worshippers, but is much too small for such a populous district. The parish is tithe free, but a modus amounting to £2 10s. is paid out of the land. By order of Hugh, Bishop of Carlisle, two parcels of land were awarded in 1828, as a glebe to the incumbent of this parish; he also receives the rent of 71 acres in the parish of Coulton, in Furness, which were allotted to this church in 1766 by the governors of Queen Anne's Bounty. The living is now worth about £160, and is in the gift of the Bishop of Carlisle. In 1841 a parsonage house was erected upon a portion of the glebe land, at a cost of £275. The east end of the Church is adorned by a beautiful stained glass window, inserted by the Misses Walker, in memory of their parents. The old Wesleyan Chapel has been purchased by the vicar, the Rev. Stephen Stott, B.A. at a cost of £105, and converted into a Sunday school. The Cemetery, which is in close proximity to the church, and covers 2½ acres, was opened in 1892 at a cost of £850.
The Primitive Methodists and the Wesleyans both have chapels here, the former erected in 1862, the latter in 1872, to supplant the old one built in 1858. The Public Hall and Reading Room, on the Screen, to seat 300, has a library of 400 volumes.
The Board Schools were opened in 1876, and have since been enlarged several times. They have now accommodation for 600 children.
Flimby Lodge, formerly a ladies' boarding school, was in 1886 purchased by the Cockermouth Union, who converted it into vagrant wards and a school, which has room for about 100 children. The vagrant ward and a hospital containing 16 beds were added in 1887. The Lodge is beautifully situated near the sea, standing in grounds of about six acres, portions of which are laid out by the children under the guidance of a master.
CHARITIES. - Besides the £5 left to the school by Beton's Charity, there is the sum of 20s. left by Ewen Christian to be spent in religious books. A Charity Committee was formed in 1878, which distributes every Christmas from fifty to sixty parcels of groceries, of the value of from 4s. to 6s., and about forty loads of coal. The Old Folks' Committee was established in 1883, by which the old people are provided every Christmas with a tea and the benefit of an evening concert.
Bulmer's History & Directory Of Cumberland, 1901
19 June 2015
© Steve Bulman