Hale, or Haile

Extends about four miles from east to west, and one mile and a half from north to south, and is bounded by the parishes of Egremont, St. John's, St. Bridget's, and St. Bees. It contains the two joint townships of Hale and Wilton, and is watered by several small streams. The soil is generally of a light gravelly nature, well adapted for barley, wheat, and turnips. Freestone and limestone are found here. The population in 1841 was 305; in 1881, 293; and is now about 297. The area is 2,586 acres, the ratable value of which is 2,397; gross rental, 2,645. The parish was enclosed in 1811, when lands were allotted to the Earl of Lonsdale as impropriator of the tithes. A portion of the village of Beckermet is in this parish. Hale lies within the ward and petty sessional division of Allerdale-above-Derwent; the union, rural and county court districts of Whitehaven; and the deanery and county council electoral division of Gosforth.

The Manor was granted soon after the conquest to Thomas Multon, of Gilsland, by the first lords of Egremont. The said Thomas also held Gosforth, Bolton, and Santon. It was subsequently possessed by a family who took their name from the place, and in the reign of Henry III, we find it in the possession of Alexander de Hale, one of whose co-heiresses brought her moiety to the Ponsonby family, who eventually became sole proprietors. In an inquisition of the barony lands taken in 1578, we are told that Simon Ponsonby held the hamlet of Hale, for which he paid 2s., also that he held the moiety of Wilton, late the lands of Alexander Hale, rendering for them 1s. 6d. per annum. Richard Hale held one tenement in Wilton, for which he paid 8d. a year; and another tenement was held by Roger Kirkby and others by the payment of 4d. a year. Miles de Hale Ponsonby, Esq., Formby, Tasmania, is the present lord of the united manors of Wilton and Hale. The other principal landowners are Messrs. Lindow, J.D. Thompson, Exors. of Hy. Wood, Thomas Sadler, etc. Miss Barbara Ponsonby resides at Hale Hall. The Ponsonbys claim their descent from an ancient and noble family of Picardy, in France, who came to England with William the Conqueror. Their name appears to have been Ponson; and the lordship of Ponsonby, long in their possession, seems to have received its designation from them. We first meet with the name in the reign of Stephen, and at an early period one of the family had the office of barber to King Henry II conferred upon him. Having come into possession of the manor of Hale, and removing their residence thither, the family is recorded in some early documents as De Hale, which renders it almost impossible to trace the direct descent.

The Church occupies a beautiful situation in a secluded spot, through which runs a small stream or beck. As early as 1345 we find a church occupying the spot; for in that year, it is recorded, the Archdeacon of Richmond appropriated the benefice of Hale to the priory of Conishead, in Furness, reserving to himself a yearly pension of 6 8s. To the governors of Queen Anne's bounty it was certified as worth 7 per annum; it is now worth 100, and is in the patronage of the Earl of Lonsdale, and held by the Rev. Arthur Henry Cooper, B.A. The parish registers commence in 1545. The church was restored in 1883 at a cost of 850, and is now a neat stone building consisting of chancel, nave, vestry, and bell turret containing two bells. The east window is of stained glass, representing the Crucifixion of Our Lord. On the south side is another beautiful coloured-glass window, inserted to the memory of Sarah and William Russell, of Sheepfields, and of their son and daughter, John and Dorothy. The chancel screen is of carved oak. An old Roman altar stone, dedicated to Hercules and Sylvanus, and two relics of ancient crosses are built into the vestry wall.

The National School is attended by 46 children, presided over by Miss Mary Logan, mistress.

CHARITY. - An entry in the parish book dated December 21, 1718, tells us that 30s., the interest of 30 left for the poor, was distributed every St. Thomas's Day at the discretion of the lord of the manor and the curate and churchwardens. The amount is now 1 2s. 8d., and is distributed by the Charity Trustees, which consist of two, appointed yearly by the Parish Council, the lord of the manor, and vicar.

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Bulmer's History & Directory Of Cumberland, 1901


19 June 2015

Steve Bulman