Kirkland and Blencarn

This is a parish of 2,029 acres, in Leath ward, and the petty sessional division of that name, the deanery of Penrith E.; the county council electoral division of Edenhall; the union and the rural and county court districts of Penrith. The gross rental of the parish is 2,007; the ratable value of the land, 1,423; and of the buildings, 400. The soil in Kirkland is deep and fertile, and in Blencarn a strong clay. Coal and lead are found in the parish, and were formerly worked to some extent.

CROSS FELL, it is said, was known in early Saxon times as Fiends' Fell, and was, it was commonly believed, the haunt of evil spirits, until St. Paulinus erected a cross and an altar on its summit. He thereon offered up mass, a religious act which the demons could not endure, and they forthwith fled to their own sulphurous regions. Since that time it has borne the name of Cross Fell, and the people in the neighbourhood style a heap of stones on its summit the "Altar upon Cross Fell." The Fell is twenty miles in circumference at the base, and rises to a height of 2,928 feet above the level of the sea. From its summit may be seen on a clear day, a great portion of six counties. The mountain lies away from the tourist track, and is, therefore, one of the least visited of our English Alps.

The manor of Kirkland is small, consisting only of four or five enfranchised tenements, held under Colonel Byng. The most extensive landowners are Colonel Blaymire, Penrith; Stanley H. le Fleming, Esq., Rydal Hall, Westmorland; Lord Hothfield, Appleby Castle; Rev. A. Edwards; Exors. of the late R.W. Sowerby; Lydia Sowerby; Exors. and Legatees of the late Philip Sowerby; William Sowerby, Blencarn; R.H. Cannon; T.D. Laycock; J. Cannon; and A. Turner, Tyrrell Lodge.

The village of Kirkland is situated about ten miles E. by N. of Penrith.

The Church, dedicated to St. Lawrence the Martyr, is a very old foundation. In 1294 the rectory of Kirkland was held by Adam de Newcastle; but we might infer, from its Anglo-Saxon name, an earlier origin. It was rebuilt in 1768, and again in 1880, at a cost of 500. The original edifice, taken down in 1768, was much larger than the one which replaced it, and contained the mutilated effigy of a knight in armour, with his sword sheathed. In the late church this effigy filled a niche in the exterior, a prey to the corroding effects of the weather. It has now been placed in a recumbent position in the chancel. There is neither inscription nor heraldic emblem by which to ascertain the name of the person represented, but as several of the Flemings, who formerly resided at Skirwith Abbey, were buried here, it is probably the memento of some one of that family, to whom there are three sepulchral brasses on the chancel floor. There are also two marble slabs to the memory of the Salkelds at Ranbeck. The church consists of nave, chancel, and bell turret, and will accommodate 144 persons. A new east window was inserted in 1899 by Mr. J. Tomlinson, of Batley, in memory of his mother. A stained-glass window has been placed in the south wall as a memorial to the late Rev. Henry Edwards, rector of Banningham, Norfolk, by his sons, H. Bidewell Edwards, of Cape Town, and the Rev. A. Edwards, rector. The benefice was anciently in the patronage of the bishops of Carlisle, and was rectorial till the reign of Henry VI, when it was granted, and soon after appropriated to the prior and convent of Carlisle. It is now a vicarage in the patronage of the dean and chapter, and incumbency of the Rev. A. Edwards, K.C.L., and worth 200. The vicarial tithes amount to about 100, and there are in addition 183 acres of glebe. The vicarage house was built in 1881, at a cost of 1,500.

The Roman road is very conspicuous in many parts of the parish, notably on Bank ridge; and about 200 yards from this road, near Ranbeck, are three artificial terraces, called the Hanging Walls of Mark Antony. They rise one above the other, and are 200 yards in length, having between them a plain, ten yards in breadth. Recent researches have proved them to be terraced gardens, belonging probably to some larger house, the ruins of which may still be seen on the top, called Baron's Hill.

BLENCARN or BLENCAIRN, is a village and manor, situate nine miles E. of Penrith. This manor was part of the large barony of Adam Fitz Swein, and afterwards of his descendants, the Nevilles; and having been forfeited to the Crown, by the attainder of Sir Andrew de Hercla, it was granted, in 1340, by Edward II to William Langleys, or English, whose daughter brought it to the Restwolds family, from whom it passed by sale to the Loughs, one of whose descendants, Lough Carleton, Esq., by will, in 1792, enfranchised all the tenants. A school was erected here by the School Board, and opened in February, 1878. It will accommodate 40 children, and cost 500. It receives a share of the endowment of the Culgaith Free School.

The Wesleyan Chapel in the village was erected in 1840.

CHARITIES -Thomas Salkeld, by will dated 1753, left 100 for the benefit of the poor of Blencarn, which now brings in 1 annually.

In 1768 Thomas Gate, Esq., bequeathed the sum of 450, the interest of which (6 11s.) to be distributed to the poor of this parish.

Lough Carleton, Esq., in 1792, left 20 for the same purpose.

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Bulmer's History & Directory Of Cumberland, 1901


19 June 2015

Steve Bulman