Occupies the extreme southern portion of the county, and comprises the townships of Millom Urban, and Millom Rural, and the Chapelry of Thwaites. Millom is situated partly in Allerdale-above-Derwent and partly in Bootle ward; in Whitehaven and Millom county court district; poor law union and petty sessional division of Bootle; and deanery of Gosforth. The Urban district comprises an area of about 1,311 acres; the remainder is within the rural district of Bootle.

For ecclesiastical purposes the parish has been apportioned into the Chapelry of Thwaites, and the two ecclesiastical districts of Holy Trinity and St. George's.

About 32,066 acres of ratable land are comprised within the parish. In 1871 it was assessed for the county rate at £14,935; and in 1881 its assessment value was £84,023; the great increase during the ten years being attributed to the opening of several mines and the erection of furnaces. The present ratable value is £107,093. The southern part is generally fertile, but a large portion of the north is occupied by waste land and mountains, which afford excellent pasturage for sheep. Limestone is extensively quarried at several places for use as a flux in the furnaces at Millom. Iron ore is also abundant. The deposit at Hodbarrow is perhaps the richest in the county. The ore which is overlaid by the mountain limestone attains a thickness of 90 feet in some places. The Millom ore, like that in the Whitehaven district, is a rich hæmatite ore, yielding from 60 to 65 per cent of metal.

As early as 1690 an attempt was made to manufacture the ore found here into pig iron. In that year Ferdinand Huddleston, of Millom Castle, erected some furnaces near a stream still known as Furnace Beck; but the difficulty of obtaining a constant supply of charcoal, the only kind of fuel then used, led to the abandonment of the works. In 1745 we find the manufacture of iron still carried on at the Duddon furnace; this and also the furnace at Backbarrow belonged to the family of Lathom, of Broughton-in-Furness, and passed in the early part of the present century to the old established firm of Harrison, Ainslie, and Co. The charcoal furnace at Backbarrow was destroyed by fire in the month of March, 1883. The iron produced at this furnace was highly prized, being inferior only to the very best charcoal iron of Sweden, Russia, and Norway. In 1796 the quantity turned out at this furnace in one year was 1,664 tons, and in 1855 from the furnaces of Bearpot and Duddon 16,574 tons of charcoal iron were produced.

Hutchinson, in his "History of Cumberland," speaking of Millom, says: "A great part of this parish is flat, and is exposed to a torrent of air that rushes up the gulph from the Irish Channel, so that the lands are distressed with two natural evils - beating rains, and in dry weather drying and overwhelming sands, which are carried by the winds to an amazing distance." Below Marshside are several saline springs, the waters of which possess aperient properties. They are known among the people by the name of Holy Wells, and were believed formerly to exercise a very potent medicinal effect on the human constitution.

The Lordship of Millom, the largest within the barony of Egremont, extended about eighteen miles lengthwise and eight in breadth, and included the parishes of Millom, Bootle, Whicham, Whitbeck, Corney, and Waberthwaite. There were several tributary manors, which were holden of the seigniory of Millom, as Millom was of Egremont. The lords of Millom in the days of old must have wielded very considerable influence in the county, for they possessed and exercised the power of life and death over the people, who lived within the limits of their lordship; they enjoyed jura regalia in the six parishes forming their seigniory; and within their domains the mandate of the sheriff of the county was powerless. Mr. Thomas Denton, writing in 1688, tells us that the gallows stood on a hill near the castle, and that felons had suffered here within the memory of persons then living. The lordship still retains its own coroner. To perpetuate the memory of the kingly power, once exercised by the lords of Millom, a stone was erected some years ago, on which was inscribed: "Here the lords of Millom exercised jura regalia."

The first family on record who held the lordship were the Boisvilles, or Boyvilles. Godard of that ilk received from William de Meschines, baron of Egremont, some time in the reign of Henry I, a grant of the wide domains of Millom; and thenceforward the family were called de Millom. According to an old tradition related by Mr. John Denton, in his MS. History of Cumberland, a close relationship existed between the Boyvilles and the barons of Egremont; and the same old story relates somewhat circumstantially the transference of Millom to the Boyvilles. The baron of Egremont went out to Palestine to fight under the Standard of the Cross, and was taken prisoner by the Turks. A large ransom was demanded for his liberty; and to obtain this money he returned to England, leaving his brother as a hostage for the faithful performance of his promise. Safe in his own country, he refused to burden his estates with the payment of so large a sum for his redemption; and his brother was detained in prison several years, until his hair grew as long as a woman's. The time for the payment of the ransom having long passed, and there being little hope of its fulfilment, the hostage was made to feel the rigours of his position. His beauty and manly bearing had captivated the daughter of his jailer, but all her efforts to effect his release were in vain. He was subjected to the most barbarous cruelties. On one occasion he was suspended by his long hair to a beam in his prison cell, and there left to his inevitable fate. The paynim's daughter, in one of her stealthy visits to the prison, found him thus suspended, and in her eagerness to release him, instead of cutting the hair she cut the skin, and he fell, leaving his scalp. Under the care of a surgeon, whom she secretly introduced, he recovered his former strength and beauty; and her entreaties on his behalf at length obtained his liberty. The tradition does not tell us what became of the inamorata; but the captive returned to his own country, bringing with him the hatterell of his hair, which was torn from his scalp, and his bugle horn. Approaching the castle of Egremont about noon, he blew his bugle horn, which the baron, as he sat at dinner, immediately recognised, and blew an answering blast. He sent out his retainers to ascertain his brother's feelings towards him, and the manner of his escape, and on receiving their report he was conscience-stricken at his own perfidy, and granted the lordship of Millom to his brother as a solatium. The Boyvilles held the seigniory in their male issue from the reign of Henry I to the reign of Henry III, a space of 100 years, when the name and family ended in a daughter. Joan de Millom, by her marriage with Sir John Huddleston, conveyed the inheritance to that family, with whom it remained for a period of about 500 years. The Huddlestons were an ancient and honourable family, who could trace their pedigree back five generations before the Conquest. The lords of Millom frequently played important parts in the civil and military history of the country. Richard and Adam in the reign of Edward II were implicated in the murder of Gaveston, the King's favourite; and the latter was taken prisoner at the battle of Borough Bridge, 1322. Sir Richard Huddleston served as a banneret at the battle of Agincourt, in 1415. Sir John was appointed one of the conservators of the peace on the borders in 1480, high sheriff of Yorkshire, steward of Penrith, and warden of the west marches. Sir William Huddleston, a zealous and devoted Royalist, raised a regiment of horse for the service of his Sovereign, as also a regiment of foot; and the latter he maintained at his own expense. At the battle of Edgehill he retook the Royal Standard from the Cromwellians, and for this act of personal valour he was made a knight banneret by the King on the field. William Huddleston, the twenty-first of his family who held Millom, left two daughters, Elizabeth and Isabella, the former of whom married Sir Hedworth Williamson, Bart., who in 1774 sold the estate for little more than £20,000 to Sir James Lowther, Bart., from whom it has descended to the present Earl of Lonsdale.

Millom Castle, of which considerable remains are still in existence, is pleasantly situated near the church. It was for many centuries the feudal residence of the lords of Millom, and though its venerable ruins have been neglected, still they point out its former strength and importance. It was fortified and embattled in 1335 by Sir John Huddleston, in pursuance of a license received from the king, and was anciently surrounded by a park well stocked with deer and adorned with noble oaks, which were cut down 1690 by Ferdinand Huddleston, to supply timber for the building of a ship, and fuel for his smelting furnace. The principal part of the castle now remaining is a large square tower, formerly embattled, but now terminated by a plain parapet. Mr. John Denton tells us the castle, in his time (the middle of the 15th century), was partly in a ruinous state, though the lords still continued to reside there occasionally. Before the year 1739 it had become a complete wreck. When Nicholson and Burn wrote in 1774 the park was well stocked with deer, and continued so till 1802, when Lord Lonsdale disparked it, and 207 deer were killed and the venison sold from 2d. to 4d. per lb. The feudal hall for the Boyvilles and the Huddlestons, wherein the lords of Millom lived in almost royal state, is now the domicile of a farmer. "Sic transit mundi gloria." The moat is still visible in one or two places, and in a wall of an outhouse, and also of the garden, may be seen the arms of the Huddlestons. A few years ago the castle underwent repairs, when some new windows were inserted and additional buildings erected.

MILLOM URBAN township covers an area of 1,311 acres which for the county rate are assessed at £92,492. The population in 1891 was 8,871; at the present time it is estimated at 9,500. The township contains the large and thriving village of Holborn Hill, where the Lords of Millom held their market 600 years ago. This is now included within the limits of the new and rising town of Millom. The old village, around which was shed a halo of antiquity, has lost much of its individuality, and now presents the appearance of a respectable suburb to New Town. This is a comparatively recent creation, and owes its existence and prosperity solely to the iron trade. About forty years ago, this spot, now the scene of extensive business operations and commercial activity, was smiling under its weight of golden grain, or forming luxuriant pastures on which the cattle lazily browsed. The rich deposit of ore in the immediate neighbourhood, and the unlimited facilities for tipping the slag on the wide expanse of sand in the Duddon estuary, pointed to the spot as a most suitable place for the manufacture of iron. A company was formed, and the erection of the works commenced in 1864. The Millom and Askham Hæmatite Iron Co., Ltd. have now six furnaces; the works are of the most modern character, and are replete with every recent invention for the economical production of pig iron.

The Hodbarrow Mining Co., Ltd. - The output from these mines averages about 400,000 tons annually, and the number of hands employed, 1,350. A new outer sea wall to protect the workings of the wines is now in course of construction. The area enclosed will be 165 acres and the wall will be exactly the same length - a mile and a quarter - as the large dam on the River Nile, the undertaking of the same firm.

As early as the year 1250 the Lords of Millom obtained a charter for holding a market at Holborn Hill on Wednesdays, and a fair of three days at the festival of Holy Trinity. When Nicholson and Burn published their history the market had long been obsolete. Since the rise of Millom it has been revived, and is now held on Wednesday and Saturday. The Market Hall and Offices of the Local Board, now the District Council, were erected in 1880 at a cost of about £4,000. The buildings are in the Renaissance style, with local blue and York white stone dressings. The Furness and Whitehaven railway passes through the town, thus placing it in communication with all the industrial centres of the kingdom.

The Temperance Hall, in Rottington Road, was erected by the late N. Caine, Esq., of Broughton-in-Furness, and was intended chiefly for the use of the miners of Hodbarrow and neighbourhood. The Millom Club and Institute is a brick building, erected in 1882, at a cost of £1,600. The Central Public Hall, in Main Street, is fitted up with stage and other accessories for the performance of dramatic pieces. Millom Public Hall, Holborn Hill was erected by a limited liability company, the foundation stone being laid by Lord Muncaster, September 9th, 1873. The Co-operative Hall, Lapstone Road, is used for concerts, etc.

The Old Parish Church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, is a venerable structure, though it has suffered much from the tasteless alterations of modern times. It consists of chancel, nave, and south aisle, separated by four arches resting on two circular and one octagonal pillars. An Anglo-Norman doorway has been walled up, and many of the windows replaced by modern ones. The piscina is still preserved, also the old font, which is octagonal, and ornamented with quatre-foils and a shield charged with the arms of Huddleston and a lable. An ancient mural tablet records the names of several of the same family, and near it is an altar-tomb, ornamented with Gothic tracery, etc., on which recline the mutilated effigies of a knight and lady in alabaster. These are supposed to represent Sir John and Lady Huddleston. There is also an old mutilated effigy without head and shoulders. The east window is of three lights, a representation of the Last Supper, and is in memory of Thomas Whinnerah, who was born in this parish and died in Australia, 1890. The south aisle contains a very fine window, beautiful both in design and colouring; also an oval-shaped one, filled with stained-glass, representing the Annunciation, with the words, "Ave Maria Gratia Plena." In the churchyard is a small remnant of an ancient cross, also the shaft of a sun-dial.

This church was rectorial until the year 1228, when it became an appendage of Furness Abbey; Walter de Grey, Archbishop of York, in 1230, appropriated one moiety for the maintenance of three chaplains in his Cathedral at York. The living was valued in the King's Book at £8 5s. 8d., but was certified to the governors of Queen Anne's Bounty at the annual value of £26 1s. 8d. About the year 1721 it was augmented with £256, left by the Rev. John Postlethwaite, master of St. Paul's School, London, a native of this parish, and £200 obtained about the same time from Queen Anne's Bounty, both of which sums were expended in the purchase of an estate, called Fawcett Bank, near Sedbergh, in Yorkshire, the rent of which is paid to the vicar. The living is now a vicarage, in the gift of the Bishop of Carlisle, worth £225 a year, and held by the Rev. John Irving, M.A. and J.P. The tithes have been commuted for an annual payment by the impropriator of £128. A new vicarage house was erected in 1878, about half a mile from the church, on an eminence commanding extensive views of the surrounding country.

CHARITIES. - Poor Stock. - In 1722 it was certified that there was a poor stock of £30 2s. belonging to this parish, the donors of which were unknown.

Whicham and Millom Grammar School - See our account of Whicham parish for this Charity.

Mr. Atkinson's Charity. - Mr. Atkinson, of Bog House, left the sum of £800, the interest to be applied for the education of poor children. There are now three scholarships of £10 each, tenable at any school of higher education. The schools at Millom Rural and Thwaites share in this bequest.

St. George's Church. - The great increase in the population, consequent on the erection of the blast furnaces, rendered more church accommodation necessary. A new church, with a separate ecclesiastical district, was determined upon, and towards this object the proprietors of the Millom Ironworks contributed the munificent sum of £7,186. The plans were prepared by Messrs. Paley and Austin, of Lancaster, and the building was completed in 1877. The church is nearly cruciform in shape, and in the Early English style. The aisle is separated from the nave by five large bays, resting on octagonal pillars. The east window is a handsome one of five lights, representing the Crucifixion, with St. George and St. Michael at either side. The church stands on an eminence near the Market Square, the gently sloping ground surrounding it being used as a cemetery. The benefice, styled a vicarage, is worth £300 a year, with parsonage, and is in the gift of five trustees, and held by the Rev. A.E. Joscelyne, D.D. The total cost of the church and residence was between £10,000 and £11,000. The Parish Room, called St. George's Hall, is situated in Lapstone Road. It is used as a Sunday school, gymnasium, etc.1

The Catholic Church, erected in 1888 at a cost of £1,600, is dedicated to Our Lady and St. James, and is built of the hard flinty stone of the lake district, with dressings of Furness Abbey stone. It is a plain substantial building, consisting of sanctuary and nave, with two vestries. The east window is of stained glass, circular in form, representing the Holy Trinity. The old church, erected in 1868, has been converted into a school. Adjoining it, and close to the church, is the presbytery. The Rev. William Perrin is in charge of the mission.

The Primitive Methodist Chapel, Holborn Hill, is a substantial stone building, erected in 1866 at a cost of, £1,100, and presented to the Connexion by the late Nathaniel Caine, Esq., of Broughton-in-Furness. The Wesleyan Chapel in Queen Street is a very presentable building, erected in 1872 at a cost of £2,031, and enlarged in 1876 by the addition of a gallery, and again in 1883 by the extension of the building at a cost of £623. An infant school has been added. The chapel will seat about 750 worshippers, and the school, which is well adapted for Sunday school purposes, will accommodate about 650 scholars. The Baptists and Bible Christians have places of worship in the town. The Baptist Church, in Crown Street, is a neat stone building erected in 1884.

To meet the educational requirements of an increasing population, a School Board was formed in 1876.

The Holborn Hill School consists of three departments, and has accommodation for 642. The Lapstone Road School also has three departments, with a total accommodation of 1,067. There are also cookery classes in connection with the school.

The Catholic School, Millom Road, consists of two departments, mixed and infants, with accommodation for 300. It is proposed shortly to erect a new infants' school.

The Gas Works were established in 1875, and are tile property of the Urban District Council. There are two holders with a capacity of 80,000 cubic feet.

Borwick Rails is a natural harbour or creek in this township, navigable for vessels of 200 tons, where iron ore is shipped and coal imported. At the extreme southern point of the township, called Crab Marsh Point, the Hodbarrow Co. have erected a pier for the shipment of ore. The Millom Co-operative Society was first established as the Holborn Hill Co-operative Society in 1870, and the name changed to the above in 1887. An extensive business is carried on in almost every trade.

The Free Library, in Market Square, was established in 1887. The newsroom is supplied with all the leading papers and magazines. The Police Station was erected in 1894 at a cost of £5,000. The staff consists of one inspector, one sergeant, and four constables. Petty sessions are held fortnightly. The County Court business is for the present conducted here.

At Lowscales an ancient British battle axe, 13½ inches long, was dug up in the year 1824, and several other relies have been found in the same neighbourhood.

Haverigg is a village in this township, one mile from Millom, containing about 2,000 inhabitants. Here is a Chapel-of-Ease to St. George's Church; it is a neat structure, erected in 1891 at a cost of £11,000, and dedicated to St. Luke. The living is a curacy, held by the Rev. Watson Stratton. The Primitive Methodist Chapel was built in 1878, at a cost of £2,000. The chapel of the Bible Christians is a neat building with Sunday school adjoining. The foundation stone was laid by Mrs. Jennings in 1873. The Board School consists of two departments, mixed and infants; the former with an accommodation of 247, the latter 210. The Assembly Rooms, situated in St. Luke's Road, are capable of seating 200 persons.

Haverigg is fast being transformed from a village into a small town. The Hodbarrow Mining Co. have erected a large square of concrete houses, which gives the place quite an air of importance.

MILLOM RURAL. - This township covers an area of 9,249 acres, which are assessed at £12,707, and contains the following villages, The Hill, The Green, Kirk Santon, and part of Haverigg; and the hamlets of Hallthwaites, Lady Hall, Duddon Bridge, and School Ellis. The chapelry of Thwaites is in this township. The principal landowners are - Lord Lonsdale, William Lewthwaite, Esq., J.P., D.L., C.J. Myers, Esq., J.P., D.L., T.H. Dobson, Mrs. King, M. Troughton, A. Shepherd, Robert Holmes, William Postlethwaite, J. and J. Lowther, Trustees of W.M. Rawlinson, Trustees of J.D. Newton, Thomas Barlow-Massicks, Esq., J.P., Hon. Mrs. Cross, George Myers, J.S. Hartley, H. Brocklebank, Esq., and W.I. Barratt.

The Hill is a village, situated two miles N.E. of Millom, on an eminence overlooking the estuary of the Duddon. Here is a small chapel-of-ease to Holy Trinity, Millom; also a Board School, under the tuition of William James Rich; and a Wesleyan Chapel. At The Green is a public hall, erected in 1874, by Mr. Myers, of Dunningwell, for the accommodation of the agricultural show, which is held here yearly. The village is distant about three miles from Millom, and three-quarters of a mile from Green Road Station. At Kirk Santon a new chapel-of-ease to Holy Trinity, Millom, has been erected. The land was the gift of William Brockbank, Esq., and the cost of building defrayed by public subscriptions. The Bank Springs Brewery, owned by J.W. Brockbank and Co., is a fine building in the form of a tower, containing all modern contrivances for expeditious and satisfactory work. The name of the village would lead us to suppose that a church stood here in ancient times, but beyond tradition and the name itself there is no conclusive evidence. On the summit of a tumulus are two stones, standing perpendicularly, about eight feet in height and fifteen feet apart. Formerly there were several other stones, from which circumstance it is inferred that the Druids had a temple here. At Hallthwaites, a hamlet three and a half miles from Millom, is the woollen mill of Messrs. J.B. Moore & Sons, where blankets, rugs, carpets, etc., are manufactured. Lady Hall, School Ellis, and Duddon Bridge are other small hamlets in the township. At the latter are the remains of an old iron furnace, where the ore was smelted when charcoal was the only fuel used in the process.

Thwaites Chapelry. - The manor of Thwaites was held under the lords of Millom, in the reign of Edward I, by a family of the local name. In the 17th century it was convoyed by the Huddlestons to Sir John Lowther, Bart., from whom it has descended to the present Earl of Lonsdale. The chapel, dedicated to St. Anne, is situated near the hamlet, and three miles from the parish church. The present building was erected in 1853-4, and is a handsome structure in the Early English style. The original chapel was replaced by one built in 1721 by the inhabitants, who endowed it with £200; but showing very visible symptoms of decay, it was rebuilt in 1807. The present chapel consists of nave, lofty chancel, aisle, and bell turret containing two bells. A lofty arch spans the entrance of the chancel, and four perpendicular arches separate the nave from the aisle. The interior is light and elegant, and beautifully furnished. The pulpit and font are of Caen stone, and both are ornamented with some fine carving. The latter is unusually large, and is supported on four columns of Purbeck marble. The east window is lancet shaped and of three lights, the centre one containing a representation of the Crucifixion, and the side ones incidents in the life of Christ. In the chancel is a handsome marble tablet in memory of W. and Eleanor Lewthwaite, also several fine stained-glass windows to the members of the same family. The aisle contains three windows, inserted to the memory of Agnes Postlethwaite, 1853; Robert Postlethwaite, 1859; and William and Agnes Allen, 1872, and 1875. There is also a monument to John Ormandy, for twenty-four years perpetual curate of the parish, who died in 1846. To commemorate the Jubilee of Queen Victoria, a new two-manual organ was placed in the chancel by subscription. In 1715 the chapel was certified as having no endowment, but subsequently received, in addition to the £200 already mentioned, £800 from Queen Anne's Bounty, £100 from a private source, and a Parliamentary grant of £1,000 in 1825. The living is a perpetual curacy, worth £135 a year, and in the patronage of five trustees.

CHARITIES. - Ann Smithson, in 1778, bequeathed £20 to the poor of Thwaites, the interest thereof to be distributed in bread on the first Sunday after the 13th of February, and the further sum of £20, the interest thereof to be paid to the schoolmaster there. These legacies form part of £400 which was laid out in 1788, in the purchase of land in Millom, for the augmentation of the curacy. John Wennington gave £30, and Bernard Benson £5 for the use of the poor of this chapelry; these sums are secured on two tenements in the neighbourhood.

Buckman Brow School is a neat building of the Elizabethan style, erected in 1845 by Miss Frances E. Millers, who also left £2,000 for the instruction of girls between the ages of five and sixteen, in reading, writing, arithmetic, sewing, and the Church catechism. Thirty pounds a year and a residence were to be allowed for a governess. The number and mode of admission of the children are regulated by the trustees, who, according to the deed of foundation, shall be the ministers of Thwaites and Broughton-in-Furness, and the owners of the estates of Duddon Grove, Ulpha, and Broadgate.

Thwaites Board School receives the sum of £16 for the education of 16 boys belonging to this chapelry. The school belongs to the church, but is under the management of the Millom School Board. It may be withdrawn any time by giving three years notice. Duddon Hall, the residence of Harold Brocklebank, Esq., is delightfully situated on the banks of the river, from which it derives its name, amidst the most picturesque scenery. At Swinside, in this chapelry, are the remains of a Druidical circle or temple, known locally as Sunkenkirk. It consists of 53 large stones, with several small ones lying amongst them, forming a circle 84 feet in diameter, the entrance to which is about five feet wide. The largest of these stones is conical in shape and stands about nine feet high.



Bulmer's History & Directory Of Cumberland, 1901


1. "pmailkeey" advises that the Parish Room is scheduled for demolition in February 2015.

19 June 2015

© Steve Bulman