Penrith

Is a parish in Leath ward and petty sessional division. It forms the basis of a rural district, a poor law union, the rural deaneries of Penrith East and West, and a county court district. The boundaries are: on the north Lazonby, on the west Greystoke and Newton, on the south the river Eamont, which separates it from Westmorland, and on the east Edenhall. The urban district is co-extensive with the civil parish, and covers an area of 7,586 acres, divided into four wards - north, south, east, and west. The land is rated at £8,256 10s., the buildings at £38,728 10s., and the gross rental reaches £56,084. The population in 1891 numbered 8,981. The parish gives name to the two electoral divisions of Penrith East and West.

A study of local nomenclature affords strong and abundant proofs of the presence in this district of a dense Celtic population, and the close proximity of Mayborough, with its mysterious Druidic circle, and the famed Arthur's Round Table attest that the locality was one of no mean importance among the ancient Britons. Many of the place names are of undoubted British origin, whilst others show that, at a later period, colonies of Norsemen and Danes settled in the neighbourhood, and that in time these two peoples became assimilated with the native inhabitants. This is shown by the numerous local names in which a Dano-Norse word has been grafted on to a Celtic stem. Between the Britons and the Saxons there was no fusion; the conquests of the latter were followed by the expulsion of the former, and the almost total elimination of Celtic nomenclature. Mr. Walker in his interesting history of Penrith tells us that the first colonists of Penrith were a tribe of the Celtic people, who at an earlier time had settled in Ireland. The centre of this settlement was Blencowe, where the bend of the river was considered a defence on three sides, and it is highly probable that a ditch and palisade protected the front. Their religion was a species of fire worship brought hither from the east, but altered both in its outer form and spirit by their intercourse with other nations. The sacrifices were performed on hills with the aid of fire, and, on great occasions, on the summits of the highest mountains, as we learn from the name of Hill Bell, the hill of the Beltian, which was a late form of fire-worship. About two centuries later another body of Celts made their appearance on the southern and western coasts of our island. Traces of one of the principal settlements of the second emigration are to be found in the neighbourhood of Penrith, extending round the foot of Ullswater, and thence to Penruddock or "Little Penrith." This race, more powerful of frame and more highly civilised with their weapons of bronze, subjugated the earlier settlers, whose only implements of defence were bone-tipped arrows or flint-headed spears. Of the numerous conflicts which took place during the process of encroachment, one took place in the immediate vicinity, and the spot has since been known as Barco Hill, that is, the "hill of the battle." The languages spoken by the two peoples thus brought in contact were such as to admit only of an imperfect intercourse, unless by means of interpreters; yet, that both tribes lived long peacably side by side, and mixed to some extent, is evident from the preservation of Barco and Ray (Dockray), both names given by the first colonists, which, as they have come down to us through the Cambro-Celts, must otherwise have been lost.

With the arrival of the Romans commences our authentic history. When the mail-clad legions pursued their conquests northwards as far as Cumberland, it is evident, from the erection of a fort at Old Penrith, five miles north of the town, that they found the Britons dwelling here in considerable force. The name of this station has been the subject of much antiquarian disputation since the time of Camden; but the majority of modern writers assume it to be the Voreda of the Itinerary. From inscribed stones which have been dug up here, we learn that it was garrisoned by a portion of the Ala Petriana, a circumstance which led Dr. Todd and other antiquaries to adopt it for the Petriana of the Romans, from the ruins of which they state the Saxons subsequently erected a town at the foot of the Beacon Hill, "and called it Petrianeth, from which Penereth and Pereth seem to come by an easy transition."

Of the history of the town in those far-off times, nothing is known; but with a curious relic of antiquity on the Westmorland side of the Eamont, and distant a mile and a half from the town, tradition associates the name of that half real, half mythical warrior, the renowned King Arthur. It consists of a circular area, 29 yards in diameter, surrounded by a fosse and mound, in which are two entrances opposite each other. What may have been its original purpose it would be difficult now to state, nor have excavations thrown any light on the subject. Local tradition asserts that it was a tilting or jousting ground, used by the Knights of King Arthur, a sentiment embodied by Sir Walter Scott in the "Bridal of Triermain"-

"He pass'd red Penrith's Table Round,
For feats of chivalry renowned."

It is not improbable, as Mr. Walker suggests, that its present name is somewhat modern, being based upon the ballad traditions which makes "Merrie Carlisle" the royal residence of Arthur. Its oldest name was Eamont, that is, the place of assembly by the river, since transferred to the river itself; and hence, it has been supposed, the ancient Britons or Saxons met here for purposes of judicature. Simeon of Durham tells us that, in the year 926, a treaty of peace was signed, sealed, and confirmed by oath between Athelstan, King of England, Constantine, of Scotland, and Howel, King of Strathclyde, "at a place which is called Eamotum." There is reason to believe that, during these Dano-Saxon times, Penrith had attained some importance, ranking next after Carlisle. Its authentic history, however, does not commence until some years after the Norman Conquest. The whole district was at that time a forest wild, on the borders of which the Angles had formed settlements, and henceforth the forest became known as Inglewood, that is, the wood of the Angles. Here dwelt, we are told in the Chronicle of Lanercost, "red deer and fallow, wild swine, and all manner of wild beasts." The forest extended from the neighbourhood of Carlisle to the river Eamont; its eastern boundary being formed by the river Eden. Edward I, during his Cumbrian sojourn, often enjoyed here the pleasures of the chase, and on one occasion is said to have killed 200 bucks in a few days.

At the period of the Norman Conquest, Cumberland, which also includes a portion of Westmorland, formed part of the kingdom of Strathclyde; it had its own petty king, who was generally either a prince of the blood royal of Scotland, or some member of the family, and was held as a fief of the English crown. This vassalage commenced in 924 A.D., when Edward the Elder subjected, not only the kingdom of Northumbria, but also Strathclyde to his sway, and caused himself to be acknowledged "Father and Overlord " of Cumbria. William I, in his career of conquest, did not pass the borders of Cumberland, probably deterred by its mountain fastnesses; but his son, William the Red, added it to his dominions. The Scots did not, however, relinquish their claim to Cumberland, and the troublous times of Stephen afforded David I of Scotland an opportunity of asserting his claim by force of arms. This attempt was unsuccessful; but some years later, King John treated with William of Scotland for the surrender of the three northern counties for a payment of 15,000 marks of silver. In the following reign a conference was held at York to settle these contraverted matters between the two countries. The papal nuncio was present, and through his influence, Alexander II was induced to give up his claim to the disputed counties. In 1242, in pursuance of this treaty, the manors of Penrith, Great Salkeld, Sowerby, Langwathby, Scotby, and Carlatton, valued at £200 per annum, were granted to Alexander, to be held of the King of England by the payment of a falcon yearly, on the festival of the Assumption (August 15) to the constable of the Castle of Carlisle. This arrangement brought peace to the Border for the next half century; but when John Baliol, who had been placed on the throne of Scotland by Edward I, tried to throw off the authority of England, Edward seized these manors, which were never afterwards restored. In 1298, Penrith and other lordships were conferred upon Anthony Beck, the military Bishop of Durham, as a reward for his services at the battle of Falkirk. But Beck, by his arrogance and haughtiness, afterwards lost the King's favour, and forfeited the manors to the Crown. Penrith continued a royal appendage for nearly a hundred years, when Richard II granted it to John, Duke of Brittany, to be held by him as long as the Castle of Brest should remain in the hands of the King.

During these Edwardian struggles Penrith frequently suffered from the incursions of the enemy, who cleared the forest of cattle, sacked and burnt the town, and carried off many of the principal inhabitants into Scotland, where they were sold as slaves. One of these scenes of fire, carnage, and plunder occurred in 1345, when a large force of the Scottish army, under the command of Sir William Douglas, wasted the county of Cumberland, their track being marked by the smoking ruins of towns and villages. The English, led by the Bishop of Carlisle, Sir Thomas Lucy, and Sir Robert Ogle, were too weak to oppose the Scots, but in their pursuit succeeded in cutting off some of the straggling parties. A few years subsequently the Scots, to the number of 3,000, were again in the neighbourhood. It was the annual fair in Penrith, and the merchandise brought for sale at such times was a prize too tempting to forego. After clearing Inglewood of its cattle, they made a dash into the town and carried off a quantity of plunder. Pestilence was prevalent at the time, and the plague-smitten spoils brought a just retribution; the contagion was carried into Scotland, where large numbers of people fell victims to the disease.

In the 30th year of Edward III, the inhabitants of Penrith, Salkeld, and Sowerby complained, in a petition to the King, that they suffered so frequently from the incursions of the Scots, they were unable to pay the fee farm rent into the King's exchequer. Edward, commiserating the miserable straits to which they were reduced, granted them common of pasture for all their animals within the forest of Inglewood without impediment of King, justice, bailiff, or forester. In the reign of Richard II the Scots again invaded Cumberland, and proceeding as far as Penrith, they pillaged and then gave the town to the flames.

The Castle - Proceeding according to the sequence of events we arrive at the erection of the castle, which constitutes an era in the history of the town. It was the policy of the Norman kings to foster and encourage the building of castles throughout the country, whereby they were able to overawe any hostile demonstration on the part of the English; and it is not a little surprising that Penrith remained so long without the means of defence against the invading Scots. In 1397 A.D. the manor and town of Penrith were granted by Richard II to Ralph Neville, of Raby, first Earl of Westmorland, by whom, or one of his immediate successors, the castle is supposed to have been erected. Its site occupies the summit of a slight eminence on the west side of the valley, where its grey ruins still attract the notice of all visitors to the ancient town.

"Sad are the ruthless ravages of time!
The bulwark'd turret frowning, once sublime,
Now totters to its basis, and displays
A venerable wreck of other days !"

Though inferior in magnitude and strength to many of the feudal piles erected during the Middle Ages, the remains of the outer walls, still standing, show that it has been a place of considerable strength. They are built inside and out with layers of fine red freestone, filled up in the middle with small stones, concreted with hot lime or cement, thus forming a solid mass. Their average thickness is 4½ feet. The length of the wall on the east side, extending north and south, is 246 feet, and that on the west 222 feet. The width, from east to west, is in proportion, so that in case of invasion, the castle would have been sufficiently large to have sheltered the whole population of the town; a deep moat surrounded it, and over this a single drawbridge afforded the only entrance to the interior. Once within its massive walls the people could, from their elevated position, bid defiance to their enemies without. Whatever may have been the superstition and ignorance of the people in those so-called dark ages, they had, at least, attained perfection in the art of building. For evidence of this we have only to examine the numerous ruined abbeys and castles to be met with in every county, and we shall find, that whilst the stone is crumbling away beneath the corroding hand of time, the mortar is in as good a state of preservation as it was when the fabric was erected 500 years ago. Had time been its only enemy, the castle, with little care, might now have been standing in its entirety; but more ruthless hands were at work, as we learn from a survey made by order of Queen Elizabeth, in 1572. From that document it appears that as early as 1547 large quantities of stones were taken from the castle to build a prison in the town, and for other purposes. We are further told that there were two towers, known respectively as the red tower and the white or bishop's tower; that some of the leaden roofs were faulty, and the timber decayed, and that though some parts of the castle were in utter ruin and beyond repair, yet a considerable portion might, at little cost, "be put in a guardable state; sufficient for the protection of the tenants." With this, as with almost every other ancient ruin in the country, popular belief has connected the usual story of a subterranean passage. It ran, says the tradition, from the Castle to Dockray Hall, and many legends still linger in the neighbourhood respecting this secret way. Mr. Walker mentions a circumstance that occurred during the construction of the railway, which appears to lend the colour of credibility to the popular belief. "About 20 yards east of the castle wall was a hollow filled with water; a gavelock was struck through the bottom of it into an open space below. The water ran through the hole and disappeared."

Returning again to the history of the manor; the Nevilles were a powerful family in those turbulent old times, and their friendship was courted even by Royalty. Ralph Neville was succeeded in the manor of Penrith by his son Richard, who received from Henry VI a grant of "all fines and forfeitures within Penrith and Sowerby, the exclusive power of nominating justices, and of appointing coroners." In the unhappy contests between the houses of York and Lancaster, the Nevilles threw the weight of their influence on the side of the Yorkists; the Cliffords, of Brougham Castle, their near neighbours, on the other hand, espoused the cause of the Lancastrians. At the battle of Wakefield, where the Red Rose obtained a temporary success, the Duke of York was slain on the field, and Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury, taken prisoner, and beheaded at Pontefract. In this battle fought John, Baron Clifford, of Brougham Castle, called the Blackfaced Clifford, a man of fierce disposition and violent passions. While the battle was still going on, the young Earl of Rutland, a youth in his teens, and son of the Duke of York, was being led away for safety by one to whose care he had been entrusted, when he was stopped on Wakefield bridge by Lord Clifford. Observing the richness of his apparel, Clifford demanded who he was, but the youth, overcome with terror and unable to utter a word, fell on his knees in a supplicating attitude, "Save him," said his attendant, "for he is a prince's son, and peradventure may do you good hereafter." "Then," exclaimed Clifford, "as thy father slew mine, so will I slay thee and all thy kin," and plunging his dagger into the breast of the young prince, bade the tutor "go, and bear the news to the boy's mother." For his services he was rewarded with the manor and stewardship of Penrith. The success of the Lancastrians was but temporary, and the Black-faced Clifford fell at the battle of Towton, three months afterwards. This battle crushed for a time the fortunes of the Red Rose, and proved the utter ruin of the house of Clifford. Their lands were seized by the Crown, and parcelled out among the local rivals and old enemies of the fallen house. The strange eventful history of the son forms one of the most interesting episodes among the traditions of the North, and has been made the subject of one of Wordsworth's poems, "Song at the Feast of Brougham Castle." When the Duke of York ascended the throne as Edward IV, he requited the services of his powerful adherent, Neville, Earl of Warwick, with the honour of Penrith. But the star of the King Maker was fast descending towards the horizon. Dissatisfied with the conduct of Edward, whom he had been chiefly instrumental in placing on the throne, Warwick transferred his services to Margaret, the valiant Queen of a weak and inoffensive King. The scales of fortune were turned against the earl; his army was defeated and himself slain at the battle of Barnet. By the defection of the earl, the manor was forfeited to the Crown, and was given by the King to his brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester, afterwards Richard III. The duke, after repairing the castle, took up his residence here for some time; probably that he might keep in subjection the friends of the deposed King. By Richard's accession to the throne, the manor became again a Royal appendage, and continued to be held by the Crown until 1696, when the honour of Penrith and several other manors were granted by William III to his Dutch follower, William Bentinck, whom he created first Earl of Portland, "to be holden in free and common socage, by fealty only, and not in capite, nor by knight's service, and the yearly payment of the sum of 13s. 4d." In 1787 the manor passed by purchase to William, fifth Duke of Devonshire, and is now held by the present duke.

Besides the manor of Penrith, the parish includes three mesne or inferior manors, Bishop's Row, Hutton Hall, and Carleton. The first-named consists of about twelve leasehold tenements within the town, and several other leasehold and customary tenements both in Cumberland and Westmorland. This manor has been from an early period one of the possessions of the Bishops of Carlisle. It is now held by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

The Manor of Hutton Hall anciently belonged to the family from whom it received its name. The Huttons appear to have been settled here as early as the reign of Edward I; and it continued in their possession until 1734, when it was sold by Addison Hutton, Esq., the last of the family, to John Gaskarth, Esq., whose son sold it, in 1790, to the Earl of Lonsdale, in whose noble family it still remains.

Carleton, a manor and hamlet about a mile south-east of Penrith, gave name to a family who were located here soon after the Conquest; but they do not appear to have been in possession of the manor until purchased from the Earl of Burlington, who obtained it through his wife, the sole heiress of the last Lord Clifford. The Carleton family became extinct in 1707, by the death of Robert Carleton, Esq., when the manor was sold to John Pattinson, Esq., from whom it passed by the marriage of the heiress to Thomas Simpson, Esq. It next came into the possession of James Wallace, Esq., by his marriage with Mr. Simpson's only daughter. Their son, the Right Hon. Thomas Wallace, sold it, in 1828, to John Cowper, Esq., in which family it still remains. Carleton Hall, the manorial residence, is a modern building, surrounded by most beautifully laid-out grounds, and commanding many charming views.

Penrith up to the close of the fourteenth century lacked the great element of cleanliness - a copious supply of water. In 1400 William Strickland was promoted to the bishopric of Carlisle. About the same time he procured water, to be brought to Penrith from the Petteril, by making a cut at his own expense, into which was taken as much water from the river mentioned as would flow through the eye of a millstone. The cut extended from the Petteril, through the centre of the town, to the Eamont. The restriction as to quantity of water to be taken was necessary to protect the rights of the millowners.

We have seen in the foregoing pages how frequently and severely Penrith suffered from the Scotch in the early portion of its history; we have now to recount the visit of an enemy more dreaded than the "breechless Scot," from whose grasp there was small chance of escape, the Plague. Into the cause of these pestilential epidemics, or whence they originated, it is not our province to inquire. They were of frequent occurrence in the country; the last and most direful, perhaps, of all being the Great Plague of London. In the parish register the visitation of this fearful scourge is quaintly described as "God's punishment in Pereth."

A former visit of the Plague has been already mentioned: another attack occurred in 1554, as related in the parish register, but its ravages are not stated. In 1597 the pestilence again made its appearance, and its awful results are minutely chronicled in the register. The plague is supposed, on this occasion, to have been introduced into this country by some foreign vessel arriving at Newcastle, from which place it spread into Cumberland. Tradition says it was brought into Penrith by a stranger, who had come from some plague-stricken town, and was the first victim. The parish register records the names of 583 persons who died from the scourge; but a brass plate in the church tells us that there died at Penrith, of the plague, 2,260 persons. It is impossible now to reconcile the recorded deaths with the monumental inscription. Judging from the very slow rate of increase of population from the natural increment of the excess of births over deaths, Penrith at that time would not contain more than 1,500 or 2,000 inhabitants. It is probable, therefore, that the number inscribed on the brass plate includes the fatality in the surrounding districts. The scourge made its appearance in September, 1597, raged fearfully during the following summer and autumn, and gradually declined as the winter set in, the last death occurring on 6th January, 1599. Of those that fell victims to the pestilence a few were buried in the churchyard and the school house yard, and some in their own gardens, but the greater number were interred in a common grave or trench on the fell, directly above Cross House, where, until the enclosure of the common in 1803, the outline of the mound could be distinctly traced. The epidemic was no respecter of persons; amongst its early victims, and the third in order on the register, was Lancelot Musgrave, gentleman, and probably the occupant of Musgrave Hall. On the 12th day of May, 1598, died Sarah, the wife of William Wallis, vicar of the parish. Many of the Whelpdales also perished.

As before stated, the disease was most violent during the heat of summer and autumn, and at this time the town was reduced to a most deplorable condition. All business was suspended; the town was under a ban, more potent than ever fell from lip of spiritual tyrant; the plague-stricken spot was shunned, and all business with the rural population had to be transacted in the outskirts. Markets were held, according to tradition, on the north-west of the town, in a place now called Grub Street, and another on the south-east, where the cross still remains to indicate the spot. It is surmounted by a large block of stone, hollowed in the centre about ten inches deep. This cavity, according to popular tradition, was filled with some disinfecting liquid, in which the money, for payment of country produce, was immersed previous to its being touched by the farmer.

The next troubles of Penrith arose from their old enemies, the moss-trooping borderers, who, the parish register tells us, in 1602, were again in the district, and there was "great spoiling, robbing, and burning, especially in Cumberland." For the protection of Penrith, the earthen works at the "overend" of the town were recast, and fifty men were appointed to watch the town nightly.

During the unhappy conflict between Charles I and the Roundheads, the inhabitants of Penrith and neighbourhood were conspicuous by their attachment to the Royal cause, which they aided both by men and money. On the 13th June, 1648, the town was taken by the Parliamentary army, and General Lambert established his headquarters here, but soon after retired on the approach of the Duke of Hamilton and Sir Marmaduke Langdale. Lambert probably demolished the castle before his departure, disposing of the lead and timber for the benefit of the Commonwealth army. In 1651, Charles II passed through Penrith on his way to the south, accompanied by several of the Scottish nobility, and troops, for the most part consisting of raw levies, who were both dissatisfied and ill-disciplined. The Royalists congregated along his line of march to congratulate their sovereign. After passing through Penrith he met with a very hospitable reception from William Carleton, of Carleton Hall, upon whom, after the restoration, Charles, mindful of his friends, conferred the honour of knighthood.

From the period of the Commonwealth to the Rebellion of 1715, nothing occurred to disturb the serenity of the town.

The friends of the exiled Stuarts were numerous in Scotland and the northern counties of England, and this rising was an ill-advised attempt to place the son of James II, commonly styled the Pretender, on the throne of his ancestors. The Highlanders entered Cumberland, where they were joined by the Earl of Derwentwater, Mr. Foster, M.P. for Northumberland, and other local gentry and their followers. At Brampton they proclaimed the Pretender King, and then marched towards Penrith. Here some 10,000 or 12,000 men, the yeomanry, farmers, and agricultural labourers of the district, were assembled, under the command of Viscount Lonsdale and the Bishop of Carlisle, to oppose them. The Highlanders, about 1,500 strong, drew up in battle array on Penrith Fell, but the rencontre turned out a laughable fiasco. The rustics threw down their sythes, pitchforks, or whatever weapon they had, and fled helter-skelter, leaving his lordship of Carlisle and Viscount Lonsdale to look after their own safety. The rebels entered the town and repeated the proclamation, as at Brampton; they also collected the money belonging to the revenue, but, in other respects, their conduct towards the inhabitants was unimpeachable. The yeomanry of Cumberland have always been characterised by a hardihood and intrepidity begotten of their mountain air, and nurtured for generations by the constant necessity of self-defence against the moss-troopers of the border; their precipitate flight on this occasion is probably, therefore, not to be attributed to fear or cowardice, but to the cause for which they were mustered. Their forefathers had fought and bled in the Stuart interest, and their predilections were, there is reason to believe, for the restoration of that family. The march of the Highlanders towards the south, and the complete defeat of the little band in the streets of Preston, are matters of general history.

Thirty years of tranquillity followed, when a second and more spirited attempt was made to place the Stuarts on the throne. The adventures of Prince Charles Edward, the Bonny Prince Charlie of north country song, form an interesting episode in the annals of 1745. Nominated Regent of Great Britain by his father, and burning with the enthusiasm of youth, he landed in Scotland, to win back the Throne of his ancestors. Large numbers of the Highlanders, under their respective chiefs, flocked to his standard. A temporary advantage was gained at Falkirk, and, flushed with success, the rebels entered England; Carlisle capitulated after a short siege, and the victorious Scots continued their march towards Penrith. On the 22nd of November Prince Charles entered the town, clad in Highland garb, at the head of a regiment of foot, preceded by pipers. He took up his quarters at a house then known as the George and Dragon. The rebels are said to have been respectful and courteous in their conduct towards the inhabitants.

A few days after their departure, some 18 or 20 Highlanders, passed through the town on their way to join the main body. At Lowther they were attacked by "30 brave, stout, young men from Penrith." In the conflict, which lasted half an hour, the Penrith men came off victorious, killing one of the rebels, wounding two, and taking nine prisoners. In the meanwhile, the main body, accompanied by the Prince, proceeded southwards through Lancashire, where they expected to receive large accessions from the Catholics of that county. Their hopes, however, were not realised, and at Derby they commenced their retreat towards Scotland, with the Duke of Cumberland at the head of the English army in hot pursuit, The militia of Cumberland and Westmorland, about 300 strong and well mounted, had been called up to impede their further progress, so that the English army might overtake them before reaching Scotland. They, however, contented themselves with furtive glances at the rebels from the top of an eminence, and when the Highlanders rushed up to meet them, they fled in the utmost disorder, leaving one man behind, who was thrown from his horse and cut to pieces by the infuriated Scots.

The Prince with the army arrived at Penrith on the 17th of December; but so wretched was the state of the roads, that the artillery, with whom was a strong escourt of the Macdonalds and Glengarry men, could only reach Shap. Next day on their forward march to join the Prince at Penrith, they encountered an advance detachment of the Duke's Dragoons at Clifton Moor, where a smart brush took place, in which the Highlanders appear to have had the advantage. The Royalist troops also claim the victory, but this seems somewhat doubtful, as they did not follow up the pursuit. The Duke entered Penrith on the morning of the 19th, whilst the Prince was pursuing his rapid flight towards Culloden, where, on the 16th April, 1746, all the bright hopes raised by a few early successes, were cruelly and for ever crushed. The presence of the Duke seems to have roused the dormant loyalty of the inhabitants of Penrith and the surrounding district. They scoured the country in quest of the straggling Highlanders, eighty of whom they captured. As a reward for their services on this occasion, the Duke of Portland made them a present of fifty guineas, with which two large gilt chandeliers were bought, and are still preserved in the parish church. The result of the battle and the subsequent bloodthirsty conduct of the Royal Duke, whom posterity has stigmatised as "The Butcher," are well known to all readers of history. No mercy was shown after the victory, the fugitives were cut down in their flight, and upon the prisoners taken, transportation or death was the inevitable sentence at the following assizes. Six of those condemned at Carlisle were sent to Penrith for execution; where, according to the custom of the time, the sentence was carried out with the most revolting cruelty. The partially hanged victims were cut down while still the warm blood went coursing through their veins; they were then ripped open, and their bowels torn out and burnt before their faces; their heads were severed from their bodies, and the bodies divided into quarters. Though these revolting scenes of cruelty are now happily expunged from the penal code, it was not until several years after these executions, that the death sentence was deprived of one of its horrifying features - the gibbet. The ghastly spectacle was witnessed for the last time in Penrith in 1767, when Thomas Nicholson was hung in chains for the murder of Thomas Parker, a butcher, of Langwathby. The body of the murderer hung exposed until nothing but the skeleton remained. One stormy night, the gibbet, which stood near Nancy Dobson's stone, where the murder was committed, was blown down, and some of the inhabitants of Edenhall gathered the bones together, and wrapping them in a winnowing sheet, buried them.

In the early part of the 18th century, the roads of Cumberland and Westmorland were in such a wretched condition, that all merchandise had to be transported on the backs of horses. Sixty of these animals were employed in the traffic between Penrith and Kendal; and many wayside inns continue to remind us, by their signs, of the days of Bell or Pack Horses. The passing of the Local Highway Act led to the formation of good turnpike roads, and wheeled vehicles superseded the pack-horse. In 1763, the first stage-coach passed over Shap Fells; it was drawn by six horses and was called "The Flying Machine." A few years later, a coach commenced running between Carlisle and London, accomplishing the journey in three days, and charging £3 16s. for each inside passenger, and £2 6s. for each outside one.

Mr. Clark, in his "Survey of the Lakes," published in 1787, thus speaks of Penrith and its trade at that time: "Though an inland town, there are some very considerable manufactories of checks, which are daily increasing; two common breweries in good employ; two hair merchants, who, limited as their business may seem to be, are both men of property; and a tannery where some business is done. Yet, as these employ but a small part of the inhabitants, perhaps the manners of no place are more strongly or generally stamped with the marks of ease and peace. Few are rich, but as few miserably poor. During the races and assizes, a more gay and agreeable place cannot be imagined. The more than ordinary bustle of those times rousing the inhabitants out of that placid dream of existence they at other times enjoy, and animating them to a degree of real mirth and festivity rarely met with in more populous scenes." At that time great numbers of people were continually passing through the town on their way to London or to Scotland, and Penrith was, Mr. Clark tells us, "perhaps the greatest thoroughfare in the north of England."

Whatever else there may be of interest in the history of this ancient town is associated with its public buildings and institutions, and will be found under those special heads in the following pages. The principal landowners of the parish are the Earl of Lonsdale, the Hon. A.W. Erskine, Sir R.G. Musgrave, the Trustees of D. Bleaymire, Mary C. Kitching, the Trustees of F.C. Cowper, Francis Gandy, E.J. Parker, Esq., Jos. Robinson, Esq., Trustees of R. Thompson, J.E.E. Dowson, Esq., and Thomas Mitchell.

THE TOWN - Penrith lies at the foot of a valley of rare fertility, through which flows the Eamont, locally pronounced Vammon. This stream draws its water from Ullswater Lake, and flows into the Eden. On the east side of the vale rises Beacon Hill, whose wooded summit is a conspicuous object in the landscape for miles around. Here in former years a beacon was lighted to apprise the inhabitants of the approach of an enemy, when "From peak to peak the warning flew;" and soon the whole country was up in arms. On the top is a square building, erected in 1719. A large space on the summit of the hill has been cleared of trees, and a wide and uninterrupted prospect can be obtained, embracing Ullswater and the more distant mountains of the Lake district. Previous to the enclosure of Commons in the Honor of Penrith, the Beacon Hill was a red barren waste, full of sandholes, and dreary to look upon. The Beacon fire was last lighted in December, 1745, when the Highlanders were retreating through Westmorland.

Crowning an eminence on the opposite side are the grey ruins of the Castle, whilst around lies a wide stretch of lovely pastoral scenery. The town is undoubtedly ancient, but whether of British or Saxon origin is not known with certainty. Its position on the great high road leading to Scotland, gave it an importance in former times which it does not possess in these latter days. In the Sandford MS. History of Cumberland, written 200 years ago, it is described as "a very fine towne, and great markett and merchants for all kinds of comodities." Though no longer famous for its "markett and merchants," it is still a "fine towne," and the picturesque scenery which abounds in the vicinity has attracted of late years many influential families to the neighbourhood. Several new streets have been formed; and "over the railway," on the west side, has sprung up a populous suburb of superior and well-built houses. The town is distant 17 miles S. by E. from Carlisle, 5 miles N.N E. from Ullswater, 101 from Liverpool, and 271 from London.

Musgrave Hall, at the corner of Brunswick Road and Middlegate, was anciently the mansion of the Musgraves, of Penrith, a branch of the Edenhall family, but there is no record of its erection. An old doorway has recently been discovered, on the lintel of which are several coats of arms which have been read as follows:- 1. A personal device; a Cross Calvary in the midst of flames parting away from it, probably an emblem of Christianity persecuted, but not overcome. 2. Arms quarterly of the Musgraves and Stapletons. 3. An Annulet from the Musgrave Arms, charged with a mullet for a third son, William, son of Thomas Musgrave, and his wife, Joan Stapleton. This is placed in the vestry of St. Andrew's Church.

CHURCHES, CHAPELS, SCHOOLS, ETC.

There is reason to believe that Penrith had its little church of wattle in Dano-Saxon times, and that this gave place to a more permanent stone structure in the early Norman period. This early claim seems to be confirmed by the presence of a curious monument in the churchyard, of which more hereafter. Its authentic history commences with the year A.D. 1133, when the church was given by Henry I to the newly founded See of Carlisle, the bishops of which have since continued to hold the patronage and the appropriation of the tithes. Mrs. Clarke, of Armathwaite Hall, is the present lessee of the great tithes, of the value of £512; £32 being paid to the vicar. The vicar's own tithe amounts to £15 13s. 11d. Though receiving from the parish so much in tithes, very small provision was made for the support of the pastor previous to 1660, up to which time there was only an ancient endowment of £12 per annum, payable by the lessee of the great tithes. It has since that time received augmentations, and is now worth £269.

The Church, dedicated to St. Andrew, is a large plain sandstone building, erected in 1720-22, on the site of an older edifice, the massive tower of which has been retained. The interior is lofty and spacious, and with its galleries resting on Ionic columns, affords accommodation for 1,400 worshippers. The total cost of erection was £2,253, of which sum £1,423 was raised by a parochial rate, and the remainder by voluntary contributions. In 1887, the chancel end was restored, the gallery reseated, the organ enlarged, and the tower renovated at a further outlay of £3,000. Mrs. Harrison, of Lynwood, presented a new clock by Potts & Son, of Leeds. In the clergy vestry are monuments to members of the Caldall, Moresby, and Pickering families respectively, preserved from the old church, the oldest of which bears the date 1462, and is to the memory of Richard Caldall, of Plumpton. On a stone slab in the north wall of the chancel is the following inscription, much worn by time, commemorative of the visitation of the plague before mentioned: "A.D., MDXCVIII. Ex gravi peste, quę regionibus hisce incubit, obierunt apud Penrith 2260, Kendal 2500, Richmond 2200, Carlisle 1196. Posteri avertite vos et vivite, Ezek, XVIII., 32." Surmounting it is a brass plate similarly inscribed.

The east end of the chancel is lighted by a beautiful pictorial window of three lights, representing St. Andrew, the patron saint, erected in 1869 to the memory of Col. Harrison, who died at Seville. Other windows are memorials of members of the families of Rimington, Bleaymire, Milner, and Parker. The chancel is embellished by two beautifully-executed paintings, representing the Agony of our Lord in the Garden, and the Angels appearing to the Shepherds, by Mr. Jacob Thompson, a native artist. As works of art they have been deservedly extolled. In the south aisle is an ancient stained-glass window, found during the restoration. On it are portraits of Richard, Duke of York, and Cecily Neville, his wife, supposed to be the only ones in existence. The window is a fine specimen of workmanship, said to be worth its weight in gold. Placed in a window in the north aisle are several fragments of stained-glass, found at different times, in which may be seen the portrait of Richard II, when he held the manor of Penrith. The massive walls of the old tower, about six feet in thickness, show that like many others near the borders, it was used in troublous times as a place of refuge by the inhabitants. A winding staircase in the south-west corner leads to the top, from which extensive views of the surrounding country are obtained. Upon the north-west angle of the parapet stands, what tradition calls, the Warwick ragged staff; the bases of seven others are still visible. They are supposed to have been erected by the Earl of Warwick, and the solitary white staff now stands as the last relic of the king-maker in Penrith. In 1764 a peal of six bells was placed in the tower at a cost of £332; other two having recently been added, and one of the old ones recast, the money for which was raised by subscription. In the interior of the church are two handsome old chandeliers of burnished brass, admirable as pieces of workmanship, but since the introduction of gas used only twice yearly, viz., at the festival of the Harvest Thanksgiving and on St. Andrew's Day. An event in the town's history is thus recorded in two inscriptions upon them:

"These Chandeliers were purchased with ye Fifty Guineas given by the Most Noble William, Duke of Portland, to his tenants of ye Honor of Penrith, who, under his Grace's encouragement, associated in defence of the government and town of Penrith, against ye rebels in 1745."

"The rebels after their retreat from Darby, were put to flight from Clifton and Penrith by his Royal Highness, William, Duke of Cumberland, after a short skirmish nigh Clifton Moor, which begin at 4 in ye afternoon, on Wednesday, ye 18th December, 1745. Rebel prisoners taken by ye tenants of Penrith and ye neighbourhood were upwards of 80."

In 1395, William Strickland founded a chantry in the church, in honour of St. Andrew, and endowed it with £6 per annum out of his lands in the parish, for the maintenance of a priest, who should also teach the children music and grammar. This chantry being dissolved in the reign of Edward VI, the endowment was annually paid into the royal exchequer until the foundation of the Grammar School, when Queen Elizabeth conveyed it to that institution.

In the churchyard is an antique monument, which has long excited the curiosity of antiquaries. It consists of two slender columns, between ten and eleven feet high, and standing fifteen feet apart, the space between them being partly enclosed by four slabs, placed edgeways, about two feet apart. This is known as the Giant's Grave, but any inscription, which the stones may once have borne to point out their origin or purpose, has long since disappeared under the corroding hand of time. Here, says tradition, lies buried Ewan or Owen Cęsario, a hero of gigantic stature, who lived some 1,400 years ago. He was, according to popular belief, 15 feet in height, the distance between the two pillars, and that during lifetime he killed four wild boars in the neighbouring forest of Inglewood, a circumstance typified by the four slabs. Castle Hewan, the ruins of which can still be traced near the spot once occupied by Wadlyn Tarn, is said to have been the residence of, and to have received its name from, the famous warrior, whose Latin cognomen, Cęsario, coupled with the Celtic Ewan, would show that he was of Romano-British extraction. "The traditional name of the "giant's grave," Mr. Walker tells us, is "identical in meaning, with the 'Hemp's graves,' and Kemp How of other parts of these counties, and was commonly applied to the Danish burial grounds of a certain period - which were made to contain a number of bodies - simply on account of their extraordinary size. We may conclude, therefore, judging from its position and size, that the grave is a family burial-place, and belongs to the Dano-Celtic period that preceded the breaking in of English laws under the Norman Kings, but that the family must have been extinct before the name was conferred. The name once given, tradition was not slow to connect the grave with the caves of the Eamont, and with a famous personage whose fame still filled this part of the country." Another column about six feet high, bearing the singular name of the "Giant's Thumb," is probably the remains of the Christian emblem of salvation, which surmounted the gable of the old church. Neither Bishop Nicholson nor Dr. Todd mention it in their accounts of this church, an omission which would not have occurred had the monument been there when they wrote; we may, therefore, conclude that it has only occupied its present position since the rebuilding of the church when it was taken from the old edifice.

Christ Church. - More church accommodation had become an urgent necessity; the population had increased threefold since St. Andrew's was rebuilt, and yet there was only the one church to supply these increased wants. In 1846, the matter was taken in hand by the vicar and a few gentlemen. Subscriptions were obtained, and on the 6th April, 1848, the foundation stone of the present church was laid. It was solemnly consecrated by Dr. Percy, Bishop of Carlisle, on the 31st October 1850; and in 1860 was constituted a separate and distinct parish. The church is in the early English style, and consists of nave, chancel separated by a screen, north and south aisles, and small spire. It will accommodate about 600 worshippers, and cost £2,700. The chancel is lighted by two beautiful stained-glass memorial windows, erected by Mrs. de Whelpdale and Mr. Barret. The church was thoroughly renovated in 1896, and a new organ placed therein. The living, worth £310, is in the patronage of the Bishop of Carlisle, and is now held by the Rev. T. Knowles, M.A.

At Bowscar is a small chapel-of-ease to St. Andrew's. It is a neat building, dedicated to Allhallows, with sitting accommodation for about 60, and licensed by the bishop for the service of Holy Communion on the first Sunday of every month, and at Christmas, and Easter.

The Catholic Church, dedicated to St. Catherine, is a small but neat edifice, in the Gothic style, erected in 1850. Ten years afterwards it was found necessary to increase the accommodation; the nave was enlarged, two transepts were added, and the exterior as well as the interior was made to present a more ecclesiastical appearance. Several of the windows are of stained glass; the one in the south transept, a memorial to Catherine, Lady Throgmorton, is worthy of special mention. It represents several passages in the life of Our Lord, brilliantly coloured and well executed. The high altar, the altar of the Blessed Virgin, and the choir screen, are all of oak, beautifully carved, the first-mentioned being one of the finest specimens of that kind of work in the north of England.

The progress of the Reformation appears to have been less rapid and complete in Penrith than in many other places; and during the ages of persecution which followed that event there were still to be found here a few faithful followers of the old religion. In 1681, we are told in the parish register, there were, among others, five Catholics and thirteen Quakers summoned to appear before the Chancellor at Penrith, for non-attendance at church: failing to comply with the order they were shortly afterwards publicly excommunicated. The penal laws were then in force, and non-attendance at the parish church constituted a crime in the eye of the law, which subjected the delinquent to a heavy pecuniary fine or imprisonment if he continued contumacious. Before the erection of the present church the Catholics had for many years made use of a small chapel in St. Andrew's Place. To the exertion of the Rev. Leo Haydock, who held this mission during the latter years of his life, joined with the liberality of Catherine, Lady Throgmorton, and P.H. Howard, Esq., of Corby Castle, one of her executors, Penrith Catholics are chiefly indebted for the erection of their present church. Mr. Haydock died in 1840 as recorded by a mural tablet, a few months before the completion of the building.

The Friends' Meeting House is the oldest dissenting place of worship in the town, and is supposed to have been erected soon after the passing of the Toleration Act, in 1689. As we have already seen the doctrines of George Fox had found their way into Penrith previous to 1681, in which year thirteen members of the society were excommunicated for abstention from the services of the Established Church.

The Presbyterians of Penrith date their origin as a separate congregation from about the year 1660, when Roger Baldwin was ejected for non-conformity. That portion of the congregation, which continued to hold the Westminster Confession of Faith, attached themselves to the ejected minister, and a chapel was erected in Rowcliffe Lane, soon after the passing of the Toleration Act. This chapel served the purposes of the sect until 1864, when the present church was erected in Lowther Street, at a cost of £1,200, raised by subscriptions.

We learn from the journal of the celebrated John Wesley, that during his long missionary career he visited Cumberland twice or thrice, where he preached in Penrith and the surrounding villages to large congregations, chiefly composed of poor but well disposed people. His forcible oratory appears in some cases to have been of too elevated a character to be appreciated by the neighbouring rustics, for at Clifton, he tells us, the people looked as if he "had been talking Greek." His first visit to Penrith took place in 1751. His first adherents consisted of poor people, with the exception of Mr. Varty, in whose schoolroom their services were held until his death, in 1814, when steps were taken for the erection of a more suitable edifice, which was completed the following year. During the succeeding half century the congregation had greatly improved, not only in number but also in wealth and social position, and it became necessary to provide more chapel accommodation. This was affected in 1872, when the present chapel was erected, at a cost of £7,300, including lecture hall and chapel keeper's house. It is a spacious stone building in the Italian style, and has accommodation for 900 worshippers. A new school room and suite of class rooms have since been added at a cost of £2,000. Contiguous to the chapel are the residences of the two ministers. The old chapel was purchased by the Primitive Methodists, for £1,200. Penrith was formerly comprised in the Dales circuit, of which Barnard Castle was the head; in 1803, Cumberland and Westmorland were formed into an independent circuit under Brough. Penrith is now a separate circuit centre embracing twenty-nine chapels of which thirteen are in Westmorland. The Congregational Church, in Duke Street, is a handsome stone building in the Gothic style, with square tower surmounted by a spire.

THE FRIARY - A convent of Augustinian or Grey Friars was founded here at an early date, the memory of which is still perpetuated in the name of the house which now occupies the spot and the street leading thereto - the Friary and Friargate. Of its origin history is silent, but it was in existence as early as 1299. In that year Edward I passed through the town on his journey to and from Scotland, and on each occasion bestowed an alms on the little community, giving on the former occasion 2s. 8d., and on the latter 5s. 8d. Whatever may have been the wealth accumulated by other monasteries, this one was but scantily endowed with four acres of land. Those artists whose fertile pencils delight in picturing these "monks of old," with barrel-shaped rotundities, sipping their wines of choicest brand, or busily engaged in selecting for their cuisine the rarest delicacies of the season, could not have found their subjects among the Grey Friars of Penrith. The poverty of the house must have entailed on them no small amount of physical labour, and they appear to have been equally zealous in matters spiritual, for we find them petitioning Bishop Welton for license to officiate in the church of Newton Reigny, which had been for some time without a chaplain. Their poverty at this time excited the commiseration of the Bishop, and he granted an indulgence of 40 days to all who should be present when the friars lighted their candles on Christmas Day, and to those who made them presents, "because they were very poor." This convent fell in the general spoliation of religious houses in 1542-3, and was given by Henry VIII to Robert Tyrwhit, Esq. It afterwards came into the possession of the family of Raincock, from whom it passed to the Gaskarths, one of whom, the Rev. John Gaskarth, sold it to an ancestor of the Earl of Lonsdale, the present possessor.

THE GRAMMAR SCHOOL - Provision appears to have been made at a very early period for the education of the youth of Penrith. In 1340, there was a school here under the Bishop's patronage, in which John de Eskeheved received the episcopal license "to teach the art of grammar." Robert de Brougham, chaplain in 1361, held the monopoly of teaching the youth of the town. Bishop Strickland's endowment of £6 per annum to a Chantry priest, who should teach music and grammar, has been noticed on a former page. The dissolution of the Chantry, and the impropriation of its revenues into the Royal purse, left Penrith without the means of education. In 1564 Queen Elizabeth, at the petition of the inhabitants, refounded the school, and endowed it with the £6 a year belonging to the dissolved Chantry. The charter ordains that there shall be a master, usher, and five governors, to be a body corporate, with a common seal, and power to elect successors, and receive lands and tenements to the amount of £30 a year, for the use of the school. Many benefactions have been given to it, but some of them have been lost. We shall, therefore, enumerate those which it now enjoys. In 1663, Sir John Lowther conveyed to it some seats under the Old Cross, or Archer's Hall, valued at £1 6s. 8d. per annum, which sum was afterwards increased to £2 2s., now paid by the Duke of Devonshire. In 1661, Mr. William Robinson left to it £10 per annum; and in 1782, W. Blamire, Esq., left £5 a year, to be paid out of Spillamire closes, to the master, together with £2 per annum, to provide a silver medal, a silver pen, and a book of arithmetic ; the medal to be given at Christmas to the composer of the best Latin verse or theme, and the pen and book to him who had made the greatest proficiency in writing and arithmetic. An annual rent charge of £1 is paid to the master out of a plot of ground called Lingstubbs, and 4s. 6d. out of a house in Great Dockray, besides which, he has the benefit of about three roods of land, given at the enclosure of the wastes in the Honour of Penrith; but the whole of the endowment is only £37. The school is entitled to send, once in five years, a candidate for one of Lady Hastings' Exhibitions, at Queen's College, Oxford, valued at £100 per annum, and tenable for five years.

ROBINSON'S SCHOOL - The school which bears this name was founded in 1661 by Mr. W. Robinson, a native of Penrith, who, as Mr. Walker tells us, was "a youth to fortune and to fame unknown," who found his way to London and was there successful in business. By his will he endowed it with a rent-charge of £20 per annum, to be paid for ever out of his tenements in Grub Street, London, to the churchwardens of Penrith, for the education of poor girls in reading, writing, knitting, sewing, or such other learning fit for that sex. In 1671, the endowment was augmented with the interest of £100, left by Mrs. Johanna Lascelles, of Penrith, and it afterwards received various other donations, amounting to £60, of which £40 was expended in the purchase of land, so that the yearly revenue of the school is now about £30. Under the altered circumstances produced by the Elementary Education Act, this school is now wholly appropriated to infants, and is attended by about 60. In accordance with Government requirements, the school was improved in 1895 at a cost of £200.

The Girls' National School, established in 1813 as a School of Industry, was rebuilt in 1853, and enlarged in 1882, by the addition of a class-room for infants. It is attended by an average of about 300 children. In 1816, a school for boys was erected upon a site in Benson's Row, given by the Earl of Lonsdale. This was rebuilt in 1871, on a more extensive scale, and now affords accommodation for about 300 boys. An infant school, also in connection with the Church of England was established in 1828. The present premises, situated in Meeting House Lane, were erected in 1833. In 1894, new schools were built in Brunswick Road by the School Board, at a cost of £6,000, and enlarged in 1901 at a further outlay of £2,500. They are a handsome block of stone buildings, with room for 700 children. St. Catherine's Catholic School in Drover's Lane, was enlarged in 1899 at a cost of £400, thus increasing the accommodation from 75 to 105. The Wesleyans also have a school.

The Free Library and Museum is situated in the premises formerly known as the Working Men's Reading Room, into which also has been absorbed the library of the Mechanics' Institute. This valuable institution originated through an offer of Captain Agnew, R.N., to present to the town the valuable collection of fossils, minerals, &c., gathered by the late Admiral Wauchope, of Dacre Lodge, in various parts of the world. A public meeting of the ratepayers was convened on the 3rd November, 1881, when it was unanimously decided to accept the generous offer of Captain Agnew, and to adopt the Free Libraries and Museum Act. A permanent arrangement was entered into with the trustees of the Working Men's Reading Room, and, at an expense of £600, the premises were freed from debt and adapted to their present use. The Library, which was opened to the public on the 11th June, 1883, contains about 8,000 volumes. The Museum, in addition to the Wauchope Collection, has been enriched with numerous specimens, in the various branches of Natural History, objects of local archaeological interest and curiosities.

The Drill Hall in Portland Place is quite a recent acquisition to the town. It was erected in 1893 at a cost of £3,000, raised by public subscription, and from the Volunteer Fund. It has sitting accommodation for 1,700, and is used for concerts, balls, &c., &c.

THE COTTAGE HOSPITAL, a picturesque building of red freestone, is pleasantly situated on the Beacon Road, nestling at the foot of the wood which protects it to a great extent from the bitter north and east winds.

It was built in 1898 on a site given by the Earl of Lonsdale, and opened in 1899 by Lady Brougham. The cost of erection reached £2,300, which was raised by public subscription, etc. The house contains male and female wards, with four beds in each, a private ward, an operating room, and all necessary apartments replete with all requirements for the comfort and health of the inmates.

THE ISOLATION HOSPITAL for infectious diseases was established by the Urban District Council in 1894, outside the town on land known as Fairhill. It was built at a cost of £2,900, and contains about eighteen beds.

MARKETS AND FAIRS - The first recorded notice of Penrith Market occurs in 1223, when Henry III, then in his minority, granted a charter for a weekly market to be held on Wednesday, and a fair at Whitsuntide, until he should be of age. Since this time the market has been held without interruption. These markets and fairs were, Mr. Walker tells us, a source of considerable profit to the lord of the manor. "The shambles on the east and west side of the market place in Burrogate, contained 12 stalls, and were worth £7. The office of sheldraker, viz., 'a certaine toll taken off the markett people for the making cleane of the streetes, out of every sacke of corne and salte a handfull, worth per annum £22 10s. The office of metlaw and weighlaw, viz., a dishe full of corn and salte due to the officer out of every sacke of corne and salte that cometh to be sold in the markett of Penrith, and of every wool-sacke, 4d., with several other small tolls received for commodities weighed and sold in the same markett, worth per annum £73 6s. 8d. The stallage and piccage rents, viz., for all merchants or pedlars that pitch their tents or booths in the markett of Penrith, worth per annum, £3 13s. 4d.'" The tolls are now the property of the Urban District Council, successors to the Board of Health, who leased them from the Duke of Devonshire in 1854, for a period of 99 years. The market, now held on Tuesday, has long been acknowledged as one of the best grain markets in the North of England. Fairs for horses are held on the three
Tuesdays after February 20th, and for cattle, &c., on March 1st, April 24th and 25th, Whit-Tuesday, September 27th, and the first Tuesday after Martinmas. Hirings for servants are held on Martinmas and Whit-Tuesdays. There was some years ago a little weaving done in the town, but that trade is now entirely extinct, and the market and fairs are the only support of the town. At the commencement of the last century, the market was encumbered by a clumsy pile of buildings, consisting of the Moot Hall, a structure partly built of wood, and used as a market-house; the Cross, a roof supported on four pillars, and beneath which the hirings were held; the Round-About, an isolated building with a shed roof standing out all round, beneath which the butchers fixed their stalls, and the Old Shambles. These was removed in 1807, and many improvements have since been effected by the erection of a fruit market in 1859, at a cost of £360; a butter market in 1869, at an outlay of £950; and a poultry market in 1870, at a cost of £80. In the centre of the open space stands a handsome stone monument to the memory of Philip Musgrave, Esq., who was killed at Madrid, May 16th, 1859. It was erected in 1861 by the people of the town and neighbourhood, not only as a mark of their esteem for the deceased, but also as a token of their sympathy for Sir George and Lady Musgrave. The monument is, in form, a square tower, surmounted by a clock, displaying a face on each of the four sides. A spiral staircase within gives access to the clock loft.

GOVERNMENT. - Formerly, the government of the town was vested in the lord of the manor, whose courts leet and baron, under the presidency of the steward, were held twice a year in the Moot Hall, which was situated in Burrowgate. The former court took cognisance of all crimes and misdemeanours committed within the manor, and the latter was analogous to our county courts. Some years ago the common seal of the town was found in a garden at Brampton, having it is supposed, been stolen by the Scots and lost in their retreat homewards. The seal is of brass, with the cross of St. Andrew in the centre, surrounded by the following legend: SIGILLVM COMMVNE VILLE DE PENERETH. It is highly probable, Mr. Walker tells us, that whilst the manor of Penrith was held by the King of Scotland, "the town had some kind of municipal corporation, which it has never enjoyed since it was in the possession of the English Crown."

In 1851, after strong opposition from many property owners, the Public Health Act was applied to the town, and a Local Board of Health chosen with power of levying rates to carry out all necessary sanitary improvements. This has been superseded by the Urban District Council, which has control over all matters relating to the health, comfort, and well-being of the inhabitants. Meetings are held every month at the Public Offices. The members, who number twelve, are elected annually. The judicial management of the town is vested in the county magistracy, who hold a Petty Sessions weekly, on Tuesdays at the Police Courts.

GAS AND WATER WORKS. - In 1830 a company was formed for the purpose of supplying the town with gas. The capital was not to exceed £5,000, raised in shares of £20 each. Works were erected in Old London Road, and on the evening of the 24th of November of that year, gas was lighted in the town for the first time. It was supplied to the public at 14s. per 1,000 feet. In 1879, the interests of the company were transferred to the town for £18,000, and the public have benefitted by the change. In the last year of the company the price of gas was 4s. 5d. per 1,000 feet; it is now 2s. 11d. A new retort-house was erected in 1888, and new and improved plant laid in 1894, at a cost of about £1,200. The total capacity is for 50,000,000 cubic feet.

As we have seen on a previous page, the first effort to provide the town with an abundant supply of water was made about the year 1400, when Bishop Strickland, at his own expense, had a channel cut from the Petteril to the Eamont, a distance of two miles, passing through the centre of the town. Into this was permitted to flow as much water as would pass through the eye of a millstone, a restriction necessary to guard the interests of the millowners. One of the first undertakings of the Local Board was, therefore, the erection of water works, which were publicly opened on the 24th August, 1854, by Mr. Hanvey, the Board's resident engineer, when the fire-plugs were tested, and jets of water thrown over the highest buildings in the town. The water is drawn from the river Eamont, on the Skirsgill estate, in a meadow about half a mile west of Eamont Bridge, and after thorough filtration, is forced by pumps into the high and low reservoirs at the east side of the town; 7,809 feet of main lead to the former, and 4,218 feet to the latter. The water works, like the gas works, are now the property of the Urban District Council.

PENRITH POOR LAW UNION. - Previous to the reign of Queen Elizabeth we had no settled laws for the relief of the poor. The charity of the abbeys and monasteries was, till the Reformation, a sufficient provision for that purpose. But with the dissolution of religious houses came the need of some organised system of relieving the poor who were rapidly increasing in number after the monks were deprived of the means of assisting them. From the reign of Elizabeth down to that of William IV, every parish and township had the management of its own poor; but by the Act, 4th and 5th William IV, cap. 76, England was divided into Unions. Penrith Union was formed in 1837, and is divided into three sub-districts, viz.: Penrith, comprising Melmerby, Ousby, Kirkland and Blencarn, Skirwith, Culgaith Langwathby, Edenhall, Penrith (W.), Dacre, Newton Reigny, Catterlen, and Plumpton Wall; Greystoke, embracing Hutton-in-the-Forest, Greystoke, Johnby, Little Blencow, Motherby and Gill, Hutton Soil, Hutton John, Watermillock, Matterdale, Threlkeld, Mungrisdale, Bowscale, Berrier and Murrah, Hutton Roof, Mosedale, Castle Sowerby, Skelton, and Middlesceugh and Braithwaite; Kirkoswald, including Hesket-in-the-Forest, Lazonby, Great Salkeld, Hunsonby and Winskill, Little Salkeld, Glassonby, Gamblesby, Renwick, Kirkoswald, Staffield, Ainstable and Croglin. This union is the most extensive, though not the most populous in the county. It embraces within its limits a district extending over 188,302 acres, and containing 22,576 inhabitants, a decrease of 666 since the last census. The ratable value of the land within the union is, by the last returns, £102,495, and of the buildings, etc., £88,251. The Workhouse, situated on the Greystoke road, was erected in 1838, and enlarged in 1848, by the addition of two vagrant wards, one for males and the other for females. A fever hospital was added later, at a cost of £600. It has convenience for 32 beds, arranged in four rooms; and for dangerous cases requiring isolation, two small rooms have been provided. The house has accommodation for 200 inmates, but the number of indoor paupers at present (February 19th, 1901) is 64, who are maintained at an average cost of 3s. per head. There are 11 acres of land attached to the house, which supply all the vegetables required, and leave a surplus for sale.

THE CEMETERY, covering an area of 11 acres, occupies a space on the western slope of the Beacon, overlooking the town, and was opened to the public in November, 1872. There are two neat mortuary chapels, appropriated to the Church of England and Dissenters. Many beautiful tombstones have been erected by sorrowing friends and relatives as the last tributes of respect to the departed. The total cost of construction was about £900.

RAILWAYS. - The London and North Western Railway passes through the town, and has a neat station adjacent to the ruins of the castle; another line, converging into the same station, connects the town with Keswick, Cockermouth, -and the west of Cumberland; and the Eden Valley and South Durham railways place it in communication with the east coast. The Lancaster and Carlisle portion of the line, seventy miles in length, was opened for traffic on the 6th of December, 1846, and cost about £22,000 per mile. During its construction disputes arose between the English, chiefly Lancashire men, and Irish navvies, which, had it not been for the promptitude of the Yeomanry Cavalry, might have led to very serious mischief. The Lancashire men appear to have been the aggressors in the matter. Much hot blood was engendered, and nationality entered largely into the quarrel. One piece of cowardly barbarity was perpetrated by the English, who invested a house in which seven or eight Irish hawkers were lodging. The poor fellows were brought out one at a time, felled to the ground, and then most cruelly kicked and beaten. On the following day both parties gathered in great strength, armed with pick axes, old swords, scythes, or whatever they could procure. The English were all on the south side of the town, the Irish on the north, and detachments of the Cavalry were stationed in different places to prevent either faction entering the town. The Irish had collected in great force, and presented a threatening and defiant aspect. The Riot Act was read, but the enraged Irishmen seemed determined to force their way through the lines. The Rev. G.L. Haydock appeared on the scene at this juncture. The presence of the aged priest was a spell more potent than the combined forces of the Cavalry; the Irish listened calmly to his exhortations and tranquility was restored.

CHARITIES. - The gross income of the several charities, for which the parochial authorities for the time being are trustees, amounted, during the past year, to £226 6s. 8d., which sum was distributed among 400 poor persons. These charities are derived from 14 benefactions; but as some of the smaller bequests have been combined to form two investments, there are practically eleven distinct charities.

Robinson's Charity - In addition to the school endowment already mentioned, Mr. Robinson left £20 per annum to be distributed among 20 poor people on Christmas Day.

Dorothy Pattenson, by will, in 1757, bequeathed the sum of £105 to the vicar and churchwardens for the time being, to be invested in land, and the profits thereof, excepting 4s., to be distributed among eight poor widows on the feast of St. Martin. The 4s. reserved was to be devoted to the purchase of books for the scholars in Mr. Robinson's school. The land belonging to this charity produces £13 a year, which is distributed to the eight recipients.

Barbara Bland, mistress of Robinson's school, in 1757, left £100, out of the interest of which she directed 10s. 6d. to be paid to the vicar for preaching a sermon on Ash Wednesday, and the residue, after the purchase of four Bibles for poor girls, to be distributed among the poor. She also left some effects for a similar purpose, which realised £10.

George Sale and George Sewell, natives of Penrith, but merchants in London, bequeathed each the sum of £100 to the vicar and churchwardens for the benefit of the poor, the former in 1808, and the latter in 1825. These two bequests and the preceding one, together with £40 school stock, have been invested in the purchase of 4 acres 1 rood 36 perches of land, known as Coat Roods. This charity also possesses about seven acres of common, allotted at the enclosure. The income now derived from these two plots of land is £25.

Mrs. Sarah Bramwell, in 1763, bequeathed a rent charge of £5, to be distributed on Good Friday among 20 poor householders in sums of 5s. each.

Susannah Sewell, by will, dated 17th December, 1782, bequeathed the sum of £200, the interest of which she directed should be distributed by the owner of Carleton Hall amongst 20 poor families on St. Thomas's Day. The annual value of this charity is £12 12s., which is distributed in accordance with the intentions of the testatrix.

Colonel Dawson's bequest of £105 was left in 1793. Its annual value, £3 4s. 4d., is divided amongst the poor on St. Thomas's Day.

Richard Carmalt, in 1796, bequeathed a rent charge of £4 10s., payable out of his freehold fields, called Brackenbury Mires, in Penrith, to be distributed every Christmas Day among eighteen poor people of the parish.

Peter Foster, by indenture, dated 7th August, 1800, in consideration of 5s., conveyed to trustees a close called Boustead's Close, in the town fields of Penrith. This land was sold to the Railway Company, and another close purchased, which now lets for £21 3s. 4d. a year. This charity is restricted to residents in the now obsolete division, called the Constablewick of Town Head, and is distributed by the vicar of Christ Church.

Mrs. Wordsworth, of Liverpool, left £100 for the poor; and Mrs. Langton, of Lutwyche Hall, Shropshire, in 1835, bequeathed to the vicar and churchwardens £1,000 for the same purpose. The income derived from the investment of these two sums is £34 15s., which is left to the vicar and churchwardens without any restrictions as to the manner of distribution.

John de Whelpdale, Esq., of Bishop Yards, who died in 1844, left by will the interest of £1,000, to be equally divided among ten poor widows or spinsters by the vicar and churchwardens. The ten recipients, who are to be "selected and approved by his heirs lawfully issuing under the said will," receive the sum of £3 7s. 4d each. This charity is invested with the Charity Commissioners.

Miss Margaret Dunne, who died in 1821, bequeathed to the vicar of Penrith, for the time being, the sum of £400, the interest thereof to be distributed annually in equal shares among ten poor persons, resident in and belonging to the town and parish of Penrith, who have not received parochial relief. The interest of this investment, together with a small sum arising from accumulated interest in former years and added to the original capital, is £14 19s. 0d. This is divided between two poor persons.

Mr. Thomas Dowson, who died at his residence and estate, Boothby, near Carlisle, on the 11th of January, 1876, left the sum of £2,000 to the vicar and churchwardens for the time being, the interest thereof "to be paid, distributed, and applied yearly to and amongst such of the resident poor of the town of Penrith, in such manner as they may from time to time think proper." The proceeds of this investment amount to £51 9s. 8d. per annum.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. - Isaac Ritson, born at Eamont Bridge, in 1761, ranks amongst the most brilliant of all the departed geniuses of Cumberland. At nine years of age he attained a great proficiency in the Greek language, at the Quakers' school, in Kendal, whence he was sent to study mathematics under Mr. John Lee, of How Hill, in Mungrisdale. So clear and acute were his ideas, that he understood the propositions of the first six books of Euclid almost as soon as he had read them. At the age of 16, he commenced teaching in Carlisle, but he soon afterwards removed to Edinburgh, where he studied medicine two years, and supported himself by writing theses for the students. He next proceeded to London, where he translated Homer's Hymn to Venus, and for some time wrote the medical articles in the Monthly Review. He died in an obscure lodging at Islington, at the early age of 27 years, and his numerous MSS. could never be found.

Sir Richard Hutton, Judge of the Common Pleas, was a native of Penrith, and died at London, in 1638. Though he opposed Charles I in the case of Ship Money, and some other questions, yet his Majesty kept him in favour, and called him the "Honest Judge."

Ann Calvin, daughter of a painter, was born at Penrith, in 1747. She excelled as a painter of flowers and plants.

Mr. Jacob Thompson, also a native of the town, served his apprenticeship to a house painter, but afterwards devoted his time to the study of the fine arts. Two of his Scriptural pieces still adorn the walls of the parish church, and other works of his may be seen in the mansions of many local gentry. His works have been highly extolled by many art critics.

James Clark, author of "A Survey and Description of the Lakes of Cumberland, Westmorland, and Lancashire," a volume now scarce and highly prized, was for many years an innkeeper at Penrith.

Charles Graham, a mechanic, published in 1778, "Miscellaneous Pieces in Prose and Verse," some of which are in the Cumberland dialect.

George Bell, another of the Penrith worthies, published a small volume of poems in 1835.

"John and Thomas Gaskin, father and son, the former originally a weaver, and subsequently a shoemaker, became a proficient in mathematics, astronomy, and natural philosophy. For Sir James South he made a powerful reflecting telescope, which was long used in the observatory of that astronomer at Kensington. The son, who was second wrangler at Cambridge in 1831, was the author of several valuable papers connected with mathematics."- Whellan.

Professor Alleyne Nicholson, the distinguished naturalist, and the son of John Nicholson, M.A., Ph. D., Fell Side, was born at Penrith, in 1844. He first distinguished himself by his thesis "On the Geology of Cumberland and Westmorland," which obtained the gold medal at Edinburgh, in 1867. Professor Nicholson was appointed to the Chair of Natural History, in Aberdeen University, in 1883.

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Bulmer's History & Directory Of Cumberland, 1901


19 June 2015

© Steve Bulman