Contains the ancient village of the same name situated on an eminence near the junction of the Marron with the small rivulet called the Lostrigg, about 3 miles east of Workington, and 4½ miles west of Cockermouth. It forms with Great Clifton an ecclesiastical parish but is for civil matters a separate parish. The area embraced within its limits is 1,000 acres, of the ratable value of £1,840, and the gross rental of £2,215. The population in 1891 numbered 507. Little Clifton lies within the ward and petty sessional division of Allerdale-above-Derwent; the deanery and county court district of Cockermouth and Workington; and the poor law union, and rural district of Cockermouth; and the county council electoral division of Brigham.
Clifton Chapel is said to be very ancient, dating from the reign of the first of the Plantagenets. The situation of the building may be called picturesque, but the chapel itself has no claim to architectural beauty. In the 16th and the early part of the 17th century marriages were solemnised in this chapel. The burial ground was disused, and the walls were in a state of decay from 1736 to 1821, when Dr. Law, Bishop of Chester, consecrated an additional piece of ground. The living is a perpetual curacy in the gift of the rector of Workington, worth about £160 per annum, and held by the Rev. W. Roberts. This income arises from £400 obtained from Queen Anne's Bounty, in 1733, 1752, 1775, and 1793, with which twenty-two acres of land were purchased in Kinniside, in the year 1760, and subsequently 15 acres, 2 roods, and 16 perches in the township of Great Clifton. Interest on several sums arising from accumulated royalties on the glebe land is received through the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. A Parliamentary grant of £1,000 was obtained in 1819. The church has been completely restored at a cost of £1,000, and was re-opened in August, 1900, by the Lord Bishop of Carlisle, who also consecrated additional burial ground.
The village of Bridge Foot, and the hamlet of Crossbarrow are comprised within the parish.
The principal landowners are the Earl of Lonsdale, the Trustees of the Rev. T.W. Falcon, and R. Dalzell, Esq., of Clarendon House.
The manor, which includes Great Clifton, was given by William de Meschines to Waltheof, son of Gospatric, Earl of Dunbar, and by the heiress of that family came to the Lucys, and from them to the Eaglesfields, and subsequently to the Berdseys. After passing by marriage into the hands of the Salkelds, the manor was sold by them to Sir James Lowther, Bart., from whom it descended to the present possessor, the Earl of Lonsdale.
About forty years ago a commodious school was erected, chiefly through the exertions of the Messrs. Fletcher and others in the neighbourhood, which is capable of holding about 240 pupils. The cost of the building was upwards of £850, of which sum the Committee of Privy Council on Education contributed £350; the Messrs. Fletcher, £250 (including the value of the site); Lord Lonsdale, £100; and the late Richard Watts, Esq., £50. The school is a handsome building in the Gothic style of architecture, and occupies a fine position near the Cockermouth and Workington Road. A new infants' school was built in 1894 to accommodate about 60 children. The school has been under the control of the School Board since 1881.
The Reading Room was established in 1896, in a cottage kindly given for the purpose by William Fletcher, Esq., of Brigham Hill. The members, who number about 30, each subscribe 1s. quarterly.
Bulmer's History & Directory Of Cumberland, 1901
19 June 2015
© Steve Bulman