Loweswater


This parish, which extends about seven miles from north to south, and three miles from east to west, is comprised within the ward and petty sessional division of Derwent; the deanery and county court district of Cockermouth and Workington; the poor law union and rural district of Cockermouth; and the county council electoral division of Derwent Fells. It is bounded by the mountains of Grasmoor, Whiteside, Millbreak, Blakefell, and Lowfell, and by the parishes of Lamplugh, Dean, and Brigham. The entire area embraced within its limits is 8,740 acres; gross rental, 3,654; ratable value of land, 2,477; and ratable value of buildings, 853. Loweswater was formerly included in the parish of St. Bees, "to which it still pays a small annual tribute of 3s. 4d., if taken to the mother church, from which it is distant seven miles; or 6s. 8d. if the curate of St. Bees has to apply for it." The soil in the enclosed land here is generally light and gravelly, producing excellent crops of oats and potatoes, with some wheat and barley. It is separated from Lorton by the Cocker, which, with several smaller streams, waters the parish.

The Manor of Loweswater was an ancient demesne of Egremont; but by partition between the two daughters of Richard Lucy, it fell to the share of Alan and Alice Multon, as the twentieth part of the barony of Egremont. It again reverted to the Lucys, and was given by Maud to her second husband, the Earl of Northumberland, whose descendant, the sixth Earl, gave it to Henry VIII, by whom it was sold to Richard Robinson. John Robinson sold the manor to Thomas Stanley, Esq., whose daughter and heir conveyed it in marriage to Sir Edward Herbert. By this couple it was sold to Anthony Patrickson, Esq. It then passed by sale successively to the Lawsons, Braggs, and finally to John Marshall, Esq., and is now the property of William Hibbert Marshall, Esq. The other principal landowners are Mr. John Bell, Satterhead; Major Brougham, Cockermouth; Mr. John Dodgson, Cockermouth; Mrs. Falcon, Stainburn; Rev. John Gamble, Mrs. Lumb, Cheltenham; Captain John Mirehouse, and Mr. Henry F. Moncrieff.

The Manor of Mockerkin and Sosgill is also in this township, and is held by Lord Leconfield; but several of the farms are occupied by their owners.

The Church was erected by the inhabitants in 1827 upon the site of an old chapel-of-ease. It is a neat edifice with a bell turret, surmounted by four ancient crosses. The first chapel was probably founded by Randulphus de Lindsay, early in the 12th century, for an ancient charter tells us that he gave the chapel and two bovates of land to the priory of St. Bees. This grant was confirmed by Henry II. After the suppression of the monastery of St. Mary, York, and its dependent cell, St. Bees, the presentation of this chapelry seems to have been, for a long period, exercised by the inhabitants; and its living, about the commencement of the 18th century, was certified of the yearly value of 4 11s., "part arising from interest of money given by will, and the rest made up by the inhabitants." The stock was lodged in the hands of twelve inhabitants who paid the curate by turns. The income was augmented in 1723 with 200, and again in 1745 with 400, of which 200 was from Queen Anne's Bounty, 100 given by Dr. Stratford, and 100 by the inhabitants. In 1865, Miss Isabella Hudson gave 500 towards the Augmentation fund; and in 1855, the fund received a further addition of 3,000, from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and the inhabitants. The benefice is now a vicarage, possessed of all parochial privileges, and in the gift of the Earl of Lonsdale. It is worth 140 per annum, and is held by the Rev. J. Gamble. The tithes were commuted in 1841 for a rent charge of 61 per annum, and are in the impropriation of Sir H.R.F. Vane.

Loweswater School was erected in 1839 by the late John Marshall, Esq., upon land given by John Hudson, Esq. An allotment common was made towards its support, which now yields 8 10s. yearly.

The old Parochial School, situated near Mockerkin, was erected and endowed with about 200 by Mary Mirehouse in 1781. The school stock, amounting to, 232 13s. 8d., is in the hands of the Charity Commissioners, for which 6 16s. 5d. interest is received; an allotment of 22 acres produces 6; and there is also a small allotment of 3 acres near the school. The building was enlarged about 6 years ago.

CHARITY. - William Woodville, in 1687, left 30 to the poor of Loweswater not receiving parish relief; John Tiffin, in 1722, left 20; and John Nutt, in 1784, gave 5 for the same purpose. A portion of this has been lost, and the amount now invested in the Three per Cents is 63 2s. 3d., yielding 1 17s. 10d. interest.

Mockerkin is a small village, and near is a tarn of about 12 acres, which, according to tradition, covers the site of a former village and castle. Thackthwaite, another hamlet within the chapelry, is about 5 miles south of Cockermouth.

The lake of Loweswater gives its name to this picturesque district, which also includes part of Crummock Water. Loweswater is about a mile in length and less than half-a-mile in width, and is only seen to advantage from one end.

The beautiful waterfall of Scale Force, is within this district.

A certain peculiarity in connection with the land about Loweswater may be noticed here.

"In various places and on several estates near the lake is to be found a black cinder. Sometimes it occurs near the surface of the land, but often several feet below, and it varies in thickness. In some places it is very hard, while in others it is soft and readily broken. Explanations have frequently been offered. Some have supposed that this black matter is the result of the camp fires and smelting operations carried on by the Romans during their period of occupation; while others have attributed it to the volcanic action of some of the surrounding mountains." Another and apparently more probable theory, accounts thus for the formation of the deposit:

"The existence of this cinder is most likely due to the burning of large quantities of vegetable matter which grew on the land in question at a remote period. The fact of clay and earth of that character, more or less, being on or very near the surface, and in immediate connection with the vegetation when on fire, would explain the formation of the cinder such as is now to he found. On examination it will be discovered that this cinder not only contains small pieces of the rock formation in its immediate vicinity, but also small sticks of charcoal, such as we should expect to find from the little branches of trees or brushwood which grew, at the time of the fire, in its neighbourhood. The circumstance of this charred substance being occasionally discovered so low down in the ground, in certain places, is explained by the gradual and constant deposition of vegetable soil in the lowest parts of the land in the course of ages."

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Bulmer's History & Directory Of Cumberland, 1901


19 June 2015

Steve Bulman