This parish is situated within Allerdale-above-Derwent ward and petty sessional division; the deanery, poor law union, rural, and county court districts of Whitehaven; and the electoral division of St. Bees. Within its limits, 2,250 acres are comprised, which are assessed for the county rate at £11,467. The population at the beginning of last century was 590; in 1851 it had risen to 1,336; in 1881 was 2,028; and the census returns in 1891 gave 2,078. The parish is bounded on the N. and N.W. by Moresby; on the S. by St. Bees; on the E. by Cleator and Egremont;and on the W. by Whitehaven. The large village of Hensingham lies on the outskirts of the last named place. Good views of the harbour and town are obtained from the houses which mostly occupy an elevated position. Comprised within the chapelry are the hamlets of Keekle, Padstow, Galemire, and Goosebutts. The manor of Hensingham seems to have passed through various families. The earliest recorded possessor is one Gillesbeuth; the Moresby family also appear to have held land here, and in the reign of Edward I a moiety was owned by the Braithwaites. From the last named family it descended to the Whitriggs, lords of Little Bampton. It next passed by marriage to the Skeltons, from whom it was purchased by the Salkelds, whose co-heiresses, about the year 1688, sold it to Sir Wilfrid Lawson. It continued in this family till the year 1748, when it was purchased by Anthony Benn, Esq., but subsequently became the property of the Lowther family, and has since been held by the successive Earls of Lonsdale. Other landowners are - the Trustees of the late M. Postlethwaite, Esq., Messrs. D. and J. Ainsworth, and Jonas Lindow, Esq. The Church, dedicated to St. John, is a neat stone structure in the Early English style, erected in 1790, at the expense of Anthony Benn, Esq., then lord of the manor, and six others. A new side aisle was added in 1843, and in 1859 it was further enlarged by the addition of a chancel, the gift of Mrs. Bell, of the Hollins, who was also the donor of the east window and the pulpit, the latter is of white stone in the form of a cross. The benefice is in the gift of the Earls of Lonsdale, by which family it was endowed with an estate of land, producing a yearly rental of £100. The net value of the living is returned at £195, and is in the hands of the Rev. W.H. Wilkinson, who was inducted in 1865.
CHARITIES. - Lady Senhouse left by will £100, the interest to be distributed among the poor. The sum of £50 each was bequeathed by Humphrey Senhouse, Esq. and Mrs. Mary Riley, the interest to be devoted to the poor. In 1879, the late Mrs. Bell left by will £200, the interest of which to be divided among twelve poor widows annually.
The Wesleyan Chapel is a neat stone building, erected in 1856.
A Mission Room was established at Keekle in 1875, at a cost of £300.
Hensingham has been possessed of a National School since 1851; it was then called the Subscriptional School. It has twice been enlarged, the last time in 1889 for infants, the cost being defrayed by a bequest of £500, left by the late Mrs. Bell. The attendance averages 290 (mixed). It was placed under Government inspection in 1865. There is also a school at Keekle for girls and infants; average attendance, 80. The Liberal Hall was erected at a cost of £200, to seat about 250. The Conservative Association have also substantial buildings, which are used for recreation. The parish contains several fine residences, notably, Ingwell, the seat of Jonas Lindow, Esq.; Holmwood, and the Hollins. The Galemire Joint Hospital, situated at the west end of the chapelry, was instituted in 1879 at a cost of £4,000. The buildings each contain two wards, one accommodating four patients, the other six. Hensingham has the honour of giving birth to Archbishop Grindal, who was born here in 1519. He held successively the Sees of London, York, and Canterbury; and during his tenancy of the latter, he was for a time suspended by Elizabeth. He founded the Grammar School of St. Bees. His death took place in 1583, and he was buried in the Parish Church of Croydon.
Bulmer's History & Directory Of Cumberland, 1901
30 July 2006
© Steve Bulman