Called in ancient documents Kirk-Levington, is a parish extending about eleven miles along the south side of the river Lyne, having an average breadth of two miles. It is situated in Eskdale ward, the petty sessional division, rural district,, and poor law union of Longtown; the county court district of Brampton; deanery of Carlisle N.; and county council electoral division of Longtown East.

The boundaries are: on the north, the river Lyne; on the south, Stanwix, Scaleby, and Walton; on the east, Stapleton; and on the west, Rockcliffe. The surface is level, having only a slight inclination towards the north-west, and presents a varied soil according to the district. A cold, wet, and barren clay prevails in the east, and in other places a loamy, fertile soil is found, producing excellent crops of wheat, oats, potatoes, etc. Freestone is abundant, and is quarried in several places, but the great majority of the inhabitants arc employed in the cultivation of the land. Hethersgill, Middle Quarter, and Westlinton are the three townships into which the parish is divided, the united area of which, including water and highways, is 11,942 acres, and population 1,438.

The barony of Levington, comprehending the parishes of Kirklinton and Scaleby, and formerly also Skelton and Orton, was granted by Ranulph de Meschines in the reign of Henry I, to Richard Boyville, and the grant was confirmed by that King. The posterity of the grantee adopted the name of the barony, and were known as de Levington, and Kirklinton became their principal residence. A younger branch of the same family were settled at Westlinton. Ranulph Levington, the last of the name, baron of Levington, died in the year 1253, leaving behind him an only daughter, his heiress, who afterwards became the wife of Eustace de Baliol. The barony does not appear to have been conveyed to her husband, and after her death without issue, it was divided among the six sisters of her father or their representatives, who were at that time Richard Kirkbride, William Lockard, Eufemia, wife of John Seaton, Walter Twinham, Knight, Gilbert Southaik, Maud, wife of Nicholas Agenlochs, Maud Carrick, Patrick Trompe, Walter, son of Walter Corry, and Margaret, wife of Henry Malton. Robert Tilliol subsequently purchased two of those divided portions, comprising the manor of Kirklinton, which descended by marriage to the Musgraves, and was sold by Sir Edward Musgrave, along with other estates, to enable him to maintain a regiment for the support of Charles I. This manor was purchased by Edmund Appleby, Esq., whose son, Joseph, married Dorothy, heiress of the Dacres, of Lanercost, and that name was ultimately assumed by the Applebys. The late Joseph Dacre, Esq., was succeeded in his estates by his brother, the Rev. William Dacre, from whom Kirklinton was purchased by the trustees of George Graham Kirklinton, Esq., who is now lord of the manor.

The village of Kirklinton, situated four miles E. by S. of Longtown, and nine miles N.N.E. of Carlisle, is partly in Middle-Quarter and partly in Hethersgill; the church being in the former and the hall and rectory in the latter. Kirklinton Hall, the property of George Graham Kirklinton, Esq., and the residence of Capt. Arthur Chambers, late Royal Horse Artillery, occupies a slightly elevated situation, surrounded by stately trees which lend to it an air of sylvan beauty. This fine mansion which was rebuilt some few years ago, is noticeable for the great number of windows, which impart a bright and attractive appearance to the pile. A little way off may be traced the remains of an ancient castle, once a strong fortress, supposed to have been the baronial seat of the Boyvilles, lords of Levington. Its situation commanded an extensive prospect along the beautiful vale of Lyne to the Solway Firth, which, there is reason to believe, formerly flowed much further up this valley than at present. In 1263 Eustace de Baliol, on behalf of himself and wife, Maud de Levington, obtained a charter to hold a weekly market at Levington on Thursday, and a fair for three days at the festival of St. Peter (June 29). Both these have long been obsolete.

The Church, dedicated to St. Cuthbert, and erected in 1845, displaced an old Norman edifice, supposed from its very early Norman architecture, to have been built by the first baron of Levington, in the reign of Henry I. The present edifice is a handsome Gothic structure of red freestone, consisting of nave, chancel, porch, and embattled tower. The interior presents a chaste and elegant appearance. The chancel is lighted by a tripartite window of stained glass, bearing well-executed representations of the Redeemer, the Evangelists, &c. It was the gift of J.M. Strachan, Esq. Several interesting remains of the old fabric have been preserved in the present edifice; among them are a Norman arch; portions of the old pillars and arches, bearing evident marks of fire; fragments of ancient tombstones, one of which bears Saxon devices and mythical symbolism; a perfect specimen of the top of an English window, two ancient sepulchral slabs on which are the usual floriated crosses; an ancient piscina, and several Roman stones, the latter most probably taken from the Roman Wall, which supplied a great portion of the materials for nearly all the churches and castles along the English border. Whilst excavating for the foundation of the tower, sixty human skeletons were found buried within a short space of each other. But neither inscription nor monument of any kind was found to identify these mouldering remains of humanity, or to indicate the period of their interment. The benefice is a rectory in the patronage of G. Graham Kirklinton, Esq., and now held by the Rev. Alfred John Holden, Queen's College, Birmingham. In the King's Book it is valued at 1 1s., but is now worth 160 a year, which is derived from the following sources, viz,;- 52 9s. rent-charge, as commuted in 1839, a modus, formerly paid in money in lieu of tithes; 16 derived from glebe land, and the interest of 1,110 obtained from Queen Anne's Bounty, There is also the sum of 12 a year received from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. The parish registers commence in 1652, but from age and dampness they are scarcely legible until 1706.

CHARITIES.- Hannah Usher, of Rockcliffe, by will, dated 24th September, 1747, left 20, the interest thereof to be divided among the poor of the parish. The Rev. T. Pattinson, formerly rector of the parish, left by will, in 1832, the sum of 20, the interest whereof he directed to be distributed among the poor after divine service on Christmas Day. The late Mrs. Margaret Patrickson left the sum of 100, invested in Government Securities, the interest of which to be spent yearly in the purchase of clothing for the resident poor.

HETHERSGILL township comprises about 5,465 acres, assessed at 2,935. The population fluctuated considerably during the past century, at the commencement of which it numbered 665 inhabitants; in 1851 there were 792; in 1881, 587; and in 1891, 627. The principal landowners are George Graham Kirklinton, Esq., Thomas Lawson Simpson, Esq,, Hugh Patrickson, Esq., Messrs. William and James J. Bell; Mrs. Doughty, Dalston; John Simpson, Millholme Bank, Carlisle; Rev. J.B. Norman, Herts.; Isaac B. Brown, Edinburgh; Captain Standish; Mrs. Law, Brampton; William Milburn, Spadeadam; the Misses Faulder, Thursby; Exors. of Captain Robinson, The Thorn, Penrith ; Mrs. Broatch, Carlisle; Mrs. Laing, Carlisle; James Little; James Graham, Hall Hills; Messrs. Davidson, Stanwix; Messrs. Calvert, Messrs. Spottiswoode, David Graham, John Nichol, and other yeomen. This township was long the residence of the Hetheringtons, an ancient border family, among whom were several persons of distinction in their day and generation. One of them left a large sum of money to found a charity for the relief of the blind. The male line became extinct in 1816, and the estates went by inheritance to John Bacon, Esq., whose mother was a Hetherington.

The village of Hethersgill is situated about six miles N.W. of Brampton, and contains the church of St. Mary, erected in 1876, as a chapel-of-ease to Kirklinton. It is in the Gothic style, and built of the red freestone from the local quarries. Its erection cost 1,485, towards which the Carlisle Diocesan Church Extension Society contributed 100, the Incorporated Church Building Society 80, and 540 was the bequest of the late Hugh Patrickson, Esq., of Kirklinton Park. The ground was given by Mrs. Faulder, of Thursby. The beautiful east window and the entrance gates were the gift of Mr. W. Graham, of Hawksdale; and the bell, which hangs in the turret, was presented by John Graham, yeoman, Rigghead. Many others contributed more or less largely to the good work. Divine service is held in the church every Sunday evening, at which the rector of Kirklinton officiates. The Wesleyan Chapel here was erected at a cost of 650, raised by subscriptions. It has seating room for about 100 persons.

At Shaw Foot is a school endowed with 10 a year by John Lamb, of Newton, Carlisle, and with 56s. from the bequest of Mr. Carruthers, Eden Grove. (See Middle Quarter.) It was rebuilt in 1871, at a cost of 354, including the master's house, and enlarged in 1895 by the addition of a classroom and playground, at a cost of about 500. The average attendance reaches about 88. A meeting-house belonging to the Society of Friends, at Sikeside, bears the date 1736; and at Meggs Hill, in Middle township, they have a small burial ground. The Wesleyan chapel, at Ullermire, was built in 1833. Kirklinton Park, the property of Hugh Patrickson, Esq., of Hayton, and the summer residence of Walter Willson, Esq.; was built in 1822, but was much improved by the last owner, Hugh Patrickson, Esq., father of the above. Horsegills, the property of Messrs. Bell, was the birthplace of George Graham, the celebrated mechanician.

MIDDLE QUARTER township comprises 3,043 acres, assessed at 3,108, and contains about 372 Inhabitants. The principal landowners are George Graham Kirklinton, Esq.; G.W. Mounsey-Heysham, Esq., Castletown; Trustees of W.T. Wigham; Trustees of J.G. Mounsey; Messrs. Blaylock, Burgh; H. Clough, Irthington; Colonel Aitcheson; C.C. Graham, Esq., Ilkley; C.R. Moorsom-Mitchinson-Maude, Esq., Leeds; Robert Norman, Thurstonfield; William Clubbs, Wetheral; Joseph Richardson. Cumcatch; J. Irving, Bewcastle; Messrs. Baty, Carlisle; G.A.H. Mounsey-Heysham, Esq., Carlisle; Messrs, Norman, Mrs. Janet Little, David Hogg, and G.G. Hetherington. Fir Ends school, with master's house, in this division was erected at the sole expense of the late Joseph Dacre, Esq., of Kirklinton Hall, who also gave the site. Average attendance about 50 (mixed). This school receives 56s. a year (paid quarterly) as part of a bequest by Mr. Carruthers, Eden Grove, for the benefit of the children of agricultural labourers (see also Shaw Foot). It is also supported by a voluntary rate. Red House, better known as Smithfield, is a hamlet In this township, about 8 miles N. by E. of Carlisle. In former years the village was a place of greater commercial importance than at present. Previous to the opening of the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway, as many as fifty carriers laden with butter, bacon, grain, &c., regularly passed through the village on their way between the markets at Newcastle and Longtown. Much of the produce was sold here before reaching its destination at Longtown, and in allusion to this, the miniature market was humorously styled Smithfield. In Milltown Birks Wood are interred the remains of Dr. Graham, formerly a physician at Carlisle, distinguished for his genius and eccentricity, who, in accordance with his own request, was buried here at midnight. The place of his last long sleep is fenced with iron pallisades, and planted with evergreens, but no inscribed stone records either his name or date of death. Milltown mill and farm were the property of the doctor; and it is said he offered to let the tenant, Mr. Bowman, have them rent-free if he would promise to be buried beside him in the Milltown Wood; but the honest miller could not be induced, even by this tempting offer, to consent to his ashes lying in unconsecrated earth.

WESTLINTON township contains 3,434 acres of land, assessed at:- Land, 2,746; buildings, 1,218. Its population in 1801 was 519; in 1851, 575; in 1881, 441; and in 1891, 439.

The manor of Westlinton was the property and residence of a younger branch of the Boyvilles, whose heiress brought it in marriage to the Highmores, of Harby Brow, in the reign of Edward IV. From the Highmores it passed by purchase to the Blencowes, but is now the property of the Earl of Lonsdale; the following are also owners of land in the township:- Colonel T.A. Irwin, Lynehow; George Graham Kirklinton, Esq.; G.W. Mounsey-Heysham, Esq., Castletown; George Graham, Boggs; Robert Barton, Carlisle; Mrs. Mounsey, The Hill; Messrs. Bell, Horsegills; Thomas Musgrave, Longtown; C.B. Hodgson, Esq., Charles Reay, Esq., Trustees of the late John Mounsey; Miss Margaret Graham, Rockcliffe; Mrs. Hodgson, William Hetherington, David Johnston, Mr. Dalton, and Miss Wright.

The village from which the township takes its name, is situated at Lyne Bridge, two and a half miles S. of Longtown, and five and a half N. of Carlisle; Newton-off-Rockcliffe is another small village, about four and a half miles N.N.W. of Carlisle. Blackford lies about three miles N. of the same town. To supply the spiritual needs of the neighbourhood a church was erected here in 1869, and a district of 4,121 acres, embracing the township of Westlinton, and part of Rockcliffe, was added to it in 1873. It forms a consolidated chapelry, with distinct parochial privileges, and contains about 635 inhabitants. The church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, is a neat Gothic edifice, built of the red sandstone of the locality, at a cost of about 1,100. This was raised by subscription, chiefly through the instrumentality of C.B. Hodgson, Esq., of Harker Grange. The site was the gift of the late General Grant. The building will accommodate 160 persons, and was consecrated by his lordship, the Bishop of Carlisle, on the 24th June, 1874. The fabric was restored in 1899 at a cost of about 350, and a new organ added. The eagle lecturn is of oak, of Japanese carving. The present vicar is the Rev. Sidney Swann, M.A., who was inducted in 1897. The benefice, worth 216 a year, is in the patronage of five trustees. A vicarage house was erected in 1871.

Blackford parochial school is supported by voluntary contributions, government grant, and the fees of the children, who pay one penny per week above Standard III. The school was erected in 1831, and rebuilt on an enlarged scale in 1882, at a cost of 200. The North British Railway passes through the township, and has a station at Lyneside.

Lynehow estate (formerly called Justice Town), covering 700 acres, and situated on the river Lyne, is the seat arid property of Thomas Angelo Irwin, Esq., J.P., D.L., who succeeded to it in 1880. The present mansion, built in 1800, has since then been many times enlarged and improved, lastly, by a handsome double tower of stone, in 1897, which gives to the pile a majestic appearance. A specimen of every British shrub and tree grows in the carriage drive, which is half a mile long, and several species of foreign trees on the estate have attained a remarkable size.

BIOGRAPHIES.- George Graham, the eminent watchmaker and skilful mechanician, was born at Horsegills, in 1675. His father dying while he was young, he was brought up by his elder brother at Sikeside. In 1688 he was sent to London to learn the business of clock and watch making, which had not then attained the perfection of modern times. Whilst serving his apprenticeship he displayed his abilities as a skilful mechanic, and proved himself a worthy successor of his renowned master, Tompion. To George Graham we are indebted for two of the most valuable improvements ever made in the construction of clocks and watches, viz., the dead beat, or Graham escapement as it is called, and the mercurial compensation pendulum. Modern improvements have added very little to these two inventions, and they still continue to be used in all their early simplicity in the best astronomical clocks of the present day. Graham's horizontal escapement is still extensively employed in Swiss and Geneva watches. But his fame rests not alone in his skill in the fabrication of timekeepers; he devoted his attention to the construction of astronomical instruments, and not only effected numerous improvements in them, but invented several others which have since proved of the greatest importance to astronomical science. Such was his skill and reputation in the construction of all kinds of astronomical and mathematical instruments, that when the French Academy fitted out an expedition to the north to determine the figure and size of the earth, Graham was considered the fittest person to supply the instruments. He was many years a member of the Royal Society, to which he communicated many useful discoveries. He died at his house in Fleet street, London, in 1751, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Thomas Story, a prominent member of the Society of Friends, was born in Justice Town, about 1670. Being intended by his father for the law, he received a liberal education, and was placed with Councillor Gilpin of Scaleby Castle, preparatory to entering the Inns of Court. Conceiving some dislike to the ceremonies of the Church of England he joined the Quakers, and afterwards became a zealous and fervent preacher of their doctrines. He traversed the British dominions on both sides of the Atlantic. In 1698 he settled in Pennsylvania, and filled several important offices. In 1715 he returned to his paternal estate in Justice Town, bringing with him several species of foreign trees, which he planted on his own lands. He died in 1742, and his works on various subjects were published by his executors, in 1747, in one large folio volume.




Bulmer's History & Directory Of Cumberland, 1901

19 June 2015

Steve Bulman