Is bounded on the east by Caldbeck, on the south by Bassenthwaite, on the west by Ireby, and on the north by Boltons, and is about five miles in length and two in breadth, "exclusive of several mountains in the parish, where its boundary is not certainly known." The parish is comprised within the limits of Allerdale-below-Derwent ward, and petty sessional division; county council electoral division of Caldbeck; and poor law union, deanery, county court and rural districts of Wigton. Uldale derives its name from the river Ellen (anciently called Elne, Alne, or Olne, and by the Romans, Olena), which has its principal source in this parish, from two small lakes; one of which, Over Water Tarn, is about 1½ miles, and the other, Little Tarn, about half a mile in circumference - both pretty well stocked with different kinds of fish. About 1½ miles S.E. of these lakes is a fine cascade, known by the name of Whitewater Dash, where a brook is precipitated from a lofty mountain; and, after a great fall of rain, its foaming down the rocks, which may be seen at a considerable distance, is grand and imposing.
The parish consists of three hamlets, or divisions, viz., Uldale, Aughertree or Auhertree, and Above-Ouze, whose united area is about 5,814 acres, but they form one township and one manor. The population of the parish is 222; the ratable value, £2,361 ; and gross rental, £2,606 10s. The soil above the village of Uldale is a clay or strong loam, and produces excellent crops of barley, oats, turnips, etc.; and the Uldale Hall estate, now belonging to Mrs. Fothergill, daughter of the late Mr. Burns, has long been noted as one of the finest grazing farms in Cumberland. The division Above-Ouze, which is more mountainous and much colder, is not so fruitful - the crops there being generally light; but it affords good pasturage for sheep, of which between 5,000 and 6,000 are kept in the parish - which, like Caldbeck and other adjoining parishes, is famed for the Herdwick breed. Large quantities of limestone are obtained here, and coal has been met with, but the thinness of the seam precludes remunerative working. There are also some veins of copper, which were worked about a century ago with indifferent success. On Uldale Common are some ancient ruins, apparently the remains of two Roman stations; and in a field near Orthwaite Hall may be seen the vestiges of another Roman camp. A tripod and other relics of the Romans have been dug up in the vicinity. At Aughtertree are what investigation has proved to be the remains of three British camps. Some years ago a most important " find" of British antiquities was made here by Mr. Joseph Robinson, of Maryport, while digging one of the mounds. It consisted of twelve urns filled with calcined bones, and in one were a flint knife and three beads, probably marks of distinction worn by the illustrious dead. The urns, still in the possession of Mr. Robinson, are not ungracefully fashioned, and show that the Ancient Britons had made considerable progress in the potter's art.
The Manor of Uldale was first granted out of the barony of Allerdale by Waltheof, son of Earl Gospatric, to Adam, a descendant of Lyulph, baron of Greystoke, together with the manor of Gilcrux. It passed by the female line to the Bonekills, and thence by the marriage of the heiress to David Brigham, a Scottish knight, renowned no less for his horsemanship than for his prowess and bravery. David was the friend and companion in arms of, Sir William Wallace; and for his participation in the resistance offered by that chieftain to the pretensions of Edward I, the manor was forfeited to Anthony, Lord Lucy, lord paramount of Allerdale. The leading characteristics of the two heroes are thus set forth in an old rhyme -
"The man was ne'er so wight nor geud;
The manor remained attached to the barony till the reign of Henry VIII, when it was given to that king by the Earl of Northumberland. Henry conveyed this manor, with other possessions, to Thomas Dalston, Esq., for the yearly payment of 47s. 3½d. It has changed its line of descent twice since by purchase, and is now the property of Lord Leconfield. The lands are nearly all freehold, and the following are the principal owners:- Mrs. Fothergill, Uldale Hall; Miss Agnes Gough, Whitefield and Oxford; Ernest H. Railton, Snittlegarth; J.S. Parkin, London; J.E. Burgess, Stanthwaite House; Jonathan Cowx, Townend; Sir Wilfrid Lawson, Bart., Brayton Hall; Henry Norman, Dash; John Scott, Miss I. Irving, Rev. J.H. Kirkby, John Fidler & Sons, and John Mattinson.
If length of pedigree adds prestige to a name, then some of the above have undoubted claims to respectability. The family of Mr. Jonathan Cowx (yeoman), Townend, have lived on their own land for over 150 years; and the Normans of Dash have resided on their estate here for a period of 200 years; the present owner being Mr. Henry Norman; whilst the Stanthwaite House estate has passed by inheritance through the long term of 600 years.
The village of Uldale may be seen from almost any part of the beautiful vale in which it is situated, and is distant from Hesket Newmarket 6 miles W. by S., and from Wigton 9 miles S. by W.
If a decreasing population be taken as an evidence of waning prosperity, then such must be the case with Uldale, for its inhabitants are fewer now than at any period during the present century.
The Church, a neat Gothic structure, whose tower and spire form a conspicuous object from all points of the landscape, was erected in 1868-9, at a cost of £3,100, by the Rev. Jonathan Cape, of Croydon, in memory of his father, the Rev. Joseph Cape, for 44 years rector of the parish. The east window, a fine specimen of art, contains a representation of the Crucifixion and other scenes from Holy Writ. The patronage is vested in the Gilbanks, of Whitefield House, in the parish of Ireby, now represented by Miss A. Gough, Whitefield and Oxford. The living is valued in the King's Book at £17 18s. 1½d. The tithes were commuted in 1839 for a yearly rent charge of £130, exclusive of surplice fees and Easter dues. There are, in addition, 22 acres of glebe land, thus bringing up the total income to £180. The Rev. George Fowke Maynard is the present incumbent. Little is known of the early history of this church beyond the names of rectors, who can be traced back to the latter part of the 13th century. In the church is preserved an ancient chalice of uncommon design, and is probably the one used in the mass while yet the church was served by priests from the neighbouring priory.
The old Church is situated about three-quarters of a mile from the village on the Uldale and Ireby road. Divine service is held here in the afternoon of the last Sunday in the month during the summer season. A stone tablet on the wall commemorates members of the Gillbanks family, whose vault is here. The rectory is a commodious residence of stone, built in 1871.
The Grammar School at Uldale was founded by one Matthew Caldbeck, of Ruthwaite, who bequeathed to it £100, and another £100 was raised by subscription amongst the parishioners. Both these sums were laid out in the purchase of freehold land, which is now let for £47 11s. a year. Thomas Thomlinson, who died in North Carolina in 1802, bequeathed the residue of his property (not otherwise disposed of) to the school of Bromfield, Thursby, Wigton, and Uldale, the share allotted to the latter being £350, the interest of which amounts to about £10 yearly. The Rev. Jonathan Cape, who died in 1868, bequeathed the sum of £1,160 18s., and sister, Miss Mary Ann Cape, the last of the family, dying in 1891, left the sum of £326 3s. 9d. for the benefit of the school. The endowment now produces a yearly income of £60. The master is chosen by eight trustees or governors, of whom the vicar is to be one. The new school, built in 1895, is a fine structure of light sandstone, with red freestone dressings from Aspatria and local quarries. It comprises a main hall with accommodation for 80 children (mixed), a classroom, and separate lavatories and porches for girls and boys, and contains all the most modern requirements for educational purposes. Mr. Charles Creighton, who died in 1898, aged 83 years, was master here from 1839 to 1886, a period of 47 years. The other charities belonging to the poor of this parish, are, £4 4s. left in 1719 by John Dalston; £5 17s. 8d., as the interest of £200 bequeathed in 177(?, text damaged by bookworm) by Thomas Cape; £2 8s., bequeathed by the above named Thomas Thomlinson, in 1798; and a free quit-rent of 4s. 6d. a year, purchased with £5 left by a Mr. Cowx.
Orthwaite Hall, now a farmstead, has been the residence of many good old Cumbrian families, and the armorial bearings, still seen about the stables, tell the story of its former importance. Here lived the Simpsons, Richmonds, and Brownes, of Tallentire, the last of whom was Browne, the famous African traveller.
Near to Uldale village are decided evidences of the ice age, many fields being studded with rounded glacier stones, some large, some small.
Bulmer's History & Directory Of Cumberland, 1901
19 June 2015
© Steve Bulman