This is a parish of 2,903 acres, in Leath ward, and the petty sessional division of that name; the deanery of Penrith E.; the county council electoral division of Hesket; and the poor law union, county court, and rural districts of Penrith. The gross estimated rental is £3,424 15s.; the ratable value of the land, £2,263; and of the buildings, £841. The parish is bounded on the north by Hesket-in-the-Forest, on the south by Penrith, on the east by Lazonby, and on the west by the river Petteril, and contains the villages of Salkeld Gate and Brockley Moor.
The Manor was anciently a royal demesne, bearing the name of Plumpton Park, in which the Kings kept their deer. It was, Mr. Sandford informs us, disparked by Henry VIII, and granted on a lease of 100 years to "one Jack Musgrave, captain of Bewcastle," who planted his five sons at the following houses, viz., Boggle Hall, Plumpton Hall, Brackenburgh, Fairbank, and Thornbarrow. After the expiration of this lease, it was granted, in 1622, to James Murray, afterwards Earl of Annandale, for forty years, on a payment of £121 6s. 3d. On coming into possession he sought to eject the tenants, on the plea that they held their lands by border service, which having ceased, their tenure also had ceased. The matter was arranged by mutual consent, the tenants agreeing to pay £800 for the ratification of their customary tenure. In the following reign (1625) Plumpton Park was granted in fee to the above-named gentleman, then Earl of Annandale, to be held by fealty in free and common socage, and not in capite. In 1653, the earl sold the lordship for £3,000 to Mrs. Eleanor Lowther, widow, from whom it has descended to the present owner, the Earl of Lonsdale. The principal landowners are the lord of the manor; Joseph Harris, Esq., Calthwaite Hall; the Exors. of Mrs. Dixon; Sir R. Musgrave, Eden Hall; Mrs. Simpson, Romanway; Miss Parker; George Robinson, Esq., Dalston; John Watson, Thomas Steele, and John Nicholson.
Salkeld Gate, the principal village of the parish, is distant four and a half miles N. by W. of Penrith, and contains the church and school. The former, dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, is a very humble looking building, erected in 1767, at an expense of £200, as a chapel-of-ease to Lazonby. The benefice is now a vicarage possessed of all parochial privileges, and having a district of 6,059 acres. The present value is £300 per annum, in the patronage of the Bishop of Carlisle. The church is small, possessing accommodation for 50 persons. The incumbency is now held by the Rev. H.M. Kennedy, M.A., who resides at the vicarage house, a good dwelling situated a short distance from the church. The school is endowed with £3 11s. a year, arising from £100, bequeathed by John Scott, of Hallrigg, in 1759. In 1882 a School Board was formed, to which the parishes of Penrith and Hesket are contributary, and additions were made to the old school at a cost of £440. The average attendance numbers 85. At Brockley Moor is a Wesleyan Chapel, purchased from the Presbyterians in 1888.
To the student of archæology, Plumpton Wall possesses some features of special interest. One of the great roads, with which the Romans intersected the country, passed through this parish. After traversing Westmorland by way of Brough, Kirkby Thore, and Brougham, it entered Cumberland, and proceeded in a northerly direction to Carlisle. At Plumpton Wall, or Old Penrith, are still visible the foundations of what must once have been an important Roman station. Much diversity of opinion formerly existed as to the name of this camp, but the researches of modern antiquaries seem to identify it with the VOREDA of Antoninus. The site occupied by the camp, as shown by the foundations of the outbuildings, comprises an area of about three acres; and there may still be seen within its limits the well defined characteristics of a Roman fort. Several altars, sculptured stones, coins, and other antiquities have been found here. The site of the camp and the adjoining farmhouse are locally known by a descriptive Anglo-Saxon name, Castlesteads, i.e., the place of the camp.
Bulmer's History & Directory Of Cumberland, 1901
19 June 2015
© Steve Bulman