Formerly a township in Bridekirk, has, in accordance with the Local Government Act of 1894, been constituted a distinct civil parish, governed by its own council, but ecclesiastically it remains united with Bridekirk. It is comprised within the ward and petty sessional division of Derwent, the poor law union and rural district of Cockermouth, the electoral division of Bridekirk, and the county court district of Cockermouth and Workington. The area embraced within its limits covers 1,240 acres, the ratable value of which is £4,235. The land is fertile, and agriculture the chief employment of the inhabitants, who, in 1891, numbered 700. They reside principally in the villages of Papcastle and Goat, the former of which occupies in elevated situation on the north bank of the Derwent. Both the villages may be called the suburbs of Cockermouth, Papcastle being distant one mile W.N.W., and Goat connected with it by a stone bridge. The Reading Room was instituted in 1895. It has now a membership of 30, who subscribe 5s. each, annually. The Library contains about 2,000 volumes.
The Manor of Papcastle formed part of the
immense possessions of Waltheof, who derived his descent through Gospatric, from the
Saxons. His sister, Ochtreda, married Duncan, brother of David, King of Scotland. The
issue of Waltheof failing in the second generation, the manor of Papcastle was conveyed to
Ochtreda and her husband. Their son, Fitz Duncan, succeeded. He married the heiress of the
Romilles, lords of Egremont, and had by his wife, one son and three daughters. A
melancholy interest attaches to this boy, who is known to history as "The Boy of
Egremont." His unfortunate death, while attempting to jump across Strid, a narrow
part of the river Wharfe, has formed the theme of many a poet's pen. He left behind three
sisters, among whom the family estates were divided. To the youngest, Alice, fell the
manor of Papcastle. Though she could claim alliance with royalty on both sides of the
border, she bestowed her hand upon Gilbert Pipard, an itinerant Justice of Henry II.
Gilbert took up his residence in the manor, and is believed to have erected his castle
near the site of the Roman Camp, which furnished him a plentiful store of materials for
its erection. Pipard's Castle in time became contracted into Papcastle. The manor
subsequently passed through the posterity of the other two sisters to the Dacres. By the
On the summit of a hill near the village are traces of a Roman Castrum, where coins, urns, inscriptions, remains of baths, and other interesting relics have been discovered. The station, from observations made on what is left, appears to have been of considerable extent, and was probably the old Roman city, Deventio. It was connected with the station at Ellenborough, by a Roman Road, of which traces are yet visible.
The following inscriptions were found at Papcastle :-
. . . . . . . . . . .
(LE)G. AVG. IN. CV.
CHARITY - Mr. John Whinnay, in 1802, bequeathed £6 a year to the poor of this township.
Salathiel Court, a very singular and eccentric character, was born here early in the last [18th.] century. He was a writing master, and in the first part of his life, was admired and respected, but his extraordinary turn for wit and humour, led him, as it has many a man of talent, into improper company, and to the forming of bad habits. He frequently painted signs for public houses, at which he was himself too often a living sign of dissipation. Being once employed to paint a lion for an innkeeper, he requested to be allowed to represent it chained, but the man would not go to the expense of such a security. Salathiel, to punish the parsimony of the host, painted the sign in water colours, so that on the first shower of rain to which it was exposed, the lion vanished. Being accused of unfair dealing, he replied that "the lion had indeed run away, but it was what might be expected in a wild beast - without a chain." He at length became the companion of beggars, for whom he wrote many humourous passes, which his employers exhibited throughout the country. He was continually getting into debt, and used to say, "such was the mode he took of communicating and enforcing Christian principles :- Faith gave him credit, and Repentance followed of course." He for some time professed the calling of bellman, at Whitehaven, where he once cried a lost purse, thus :-
"A big, fat Frenchman lost his purse,
The Frenchman seeing the crowds that were attracted, and not understanding English, often addressed him in a low voice, with "ce bien, dat well." The purse, however, was restored. Amongst other unlawful practices in which Salathiel indulged, he frequently replenished his pitcher by celebrating illicit marriages, for which the unfortunate fellow was ultimately transported to America. He had gone through the ceremony with a couple who were within the prohibited degrees of affinity, and the pair, for having contracted this illegal marriage, were taken before the magistrate. Being required to produce the marriage certificate, which he had lost, the man went to Salathiel for another, and received the following :-
"Behind this hedge in stormy weather,
"Bad company lays the foundation of everything that can deprave the heart, or disgrace the man;" and, as is well observed by a correspondent, in Hutchinson, - many through their wish to gain admiration amongst the vulgar, have neglected that which alone can give weight and importance to superiority of mental accomplishments - A VIRTUOUS CONDUCT."
Bulmer's History & Directory Of Cumberland, 1901
19 June 2015
© Steve Bulman