Newton Reigny

Is a small parish within the limits of Inglewood, situated in Leath ward and petty sessional division; the county council electoral division of Hesket; the deanery of Penrith W; and the rural and county court districts, and poor law union of Penrith. The civil and ecclesiastical parish are not co-extensive; the latter, which includes Catterlen, has an area of 2,574 acres, while the former only covers 967 acres, of which the gross estimated rental is 1,974 18s. 6d. The ratable value of the land amounts to 1,315; and of the buildings, 473. The soil in general is a good loam, and the inhabitants, who number 153, are mostly engaged in the cultivation of it. There are no dependent townships. The principal landowners are J.S. Hodgson, Thomas G. Benn, the County Council, and the resident yeomen.

The written history of Newton Reigny commences in the reign of Henry II; but in the barrows or sepulchral mounds which are found in the parish, and in the remains of the Roman camp, we may read its unwritten history at a time when the skin-clad Briton roamed among the hills of Cumberland, maintaining against the Roman legions a state of semi-independence. These barrows occur a little to the south of the village, from one of which several urns were obtained, proving that the ancient Britons were not unacquainted with the potter's art. From the existence of the Roman camp we may infer that the natives lived here in such considerable strength as to require the continued presence of a detachment of the Roman army among them.

The parish appears to have derived its distinctive appellation from the family of De Reigny, who held the manor in the reign of Henry II. Thurstan De Reigny is the first of the name on record, and the male line became extinct before the time of Edward I, when the manor of Newton was held by Robert Burnell, Bishop of Bath and Wells. The conditions of tenure were, that he should find a horseman to serve in the King's army against Scotland, armed with a coat of mail, an iron helmet and a lance, at his own cost, for a period of forty days. Burnell appears to have held the manor as personal property, and not as an appendage of his See of Bath, and, in his will, he conveyed it, in the year 1290, to Hugh de Lowther, from whom it has descended without alienation to his representative, the present Earl of Lonsdale. The old manor house, called Sewborwens, is now a farmstead. Here, in 1620, resided Hugh de Lowther, who married a Miss Wybergh, of Clifton Hall, receiving with her, according to a local tradition, the modest dowry of ten pounds.

The village of Newton Reigny is situated on an eminence, three miles N.W. by W. of Penrith. In a field on the east side are the almost obliterated remains of a Roman camp, of which a mound only now marks the spot.

The Church, dedicated to St. John, consists of nave, chancel, and side aisles, which are separated from the nave by pointed arches - those on the northern side resting upon octagonal, and those on the southern upon cylindrical pillars. The chancel, which is divided from the nave by a fine pointed arch, was rebuilt in 1875 by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and about the same time a new vestry and heating apparatus were added by subscription. In 1891 the church was completely restored, at a cost of 1,000, a large portion of this sum being the gift of Mr. T. Hague, of Oldham, who gave it in memory of his wife. It was re-seated throughout, new choir stalls superseded the old ones, and an oak pulpit was also added. New lead lights were inserted, a south porch built, and the edifice altogether renovated and improved. The large bell was brought from Shap at the dissolution of monasteries; it is inscribed:-
+ Sancta Maria Magdalena, Ora Pro Nobis (St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us). Portions of the Rood screen may still be seen in the chancel arch. In the wall of each aisle is a piscina, an undoubted evidence of the existence of two chantries; but by whom they were founded, or the nature and extent of the endowment attached to each, have both escaped the researches of our county historians. There is a vault belonging to the Vaux family. The church contains no monuments of antiquity. On a slab is the following specimen of sepulchral literature:-

"Under lyeth James Pearson here,
Curate of this place forty year;
Who buryed was March the first,
I hope his soul in heaven doth rest.
Anno Domini, 1676."

Very little is known of the ancient history of this church. It was, at a very early period, appropriated to the See of Carlisle, and in old documents is styled a chapel, from which we might infer that it was not possessed of full parochial privileges. In 1338, Bishop Kirkby conferred the altarage upon Nicholas de Claus for life, reserving to himself and his successors two marks of silver annually. In 1635 the stipend of the curate was so small that legal proceedings were taken against the bishop, when it was ordered that the curate should have the whole rectory, corn tithe excepted, out of which he should receive 6 13s. 4d., which was afterwards increased to 10 13s. 4d. This amount is still received out of the appropriated tithes. The income of this church was augmented in 1765 with a sum of 200 from Queen Anne's Bounty, and a similar sum from Dr. Holme. With these donations an estate was purchased at Kirkstone Fell. The tithes were commuted in 1839 for 168 7s. 9d., viz., rectorial 144 7s. 3d., and vicarial 23 8s. 6d. The rectory, now in the incumbency of the Rev. Thomas Harrison Collinson, M.A. (Oxford), is worth about 100 a year.

NEWTON RIGG, formerly the property of Major Joseph Barker, is now fitted up as an agricultural school for the two counties of Cumberland and Westmorland, under the management of Mr. W.T. Lawrence. The primary object of the institution is to provide practical instruction for pupils of both sexes in the art of farming, with special reference to dairy work. The farm covers 116 acres of good land, one half of which is laid out in permanent grass. The house is commodious, and affords accommodation for 10 pupils, besides the necessary staff and servants. A number of free scholarships are granted from the funds of the Technical Education Committee of Cumberland and Westmorland.

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Bulmer's History & Directory Of Cumberland, 1901


19 June 2015

Steve Bulman