Nether Wasdale

Which includes within its limits the romantic lake of Wastwater, lies within Allerdale-above-Derwent ward and petty sessional division; the county council electoral division and deanery of Gosforth; and the poor law union, rural and county court districts of Whitehaven. The superficial extent of the parish is 8,442 acres, with a population of 756. Its ratable value is returned at 977.

According to the inquisition, taken in 1578, the tenants of Wasdale purchased their freedom from tolls in all the markets and fairs of Copeland, by the payment of a door-toll of 2d. for each tenement, amounting in all to 7s. The total amount of rent paid for Wasdale at the same period was only 5 9s. 5d. The manorial privileges are now vested in Lord Leconfield. the landowners are - John Musgrave, Esq., J.P., John Coalbank, Samuel Colebank, William J. Armstrong, Hy. Tyson and Mrs. Paitson.

The Chapel of Nether Wasdale is about ten miles from the mother church of St. Bees. It is an ancient edifice, in a mixed style of architecture, consisting of chancel, nave and aisle, the latter separated by five arches, resting on octagonal wooden pillars. The church was considerably enlarged by the late S. Rawson, Esq. In the chancel are two handsome marble tablets to the memory of members of that family. A handsomely-carved stone font was placed in the church at the expense of Mrs. Rawson. The living, styled a vicarage, is in the patronage of the parishioners, and is worth 148 nett yearly. Edward Stanley, Esq., of Ponsonby, is the impropriator of the tithes, whose ancestor purchased them from Sir Thomas Challoner, to whom they were granted on the dissolution of the priory of St. Bees. The school belongs to the Church of England denomination and has an attendance of about 24.

The village is small but picturesque, and contains two good inns for the accommodation of tourists and visitors. A May-pole stands on the Green, erected in 1897 to commemorate the 60 years' reign of Queen Victoria. It is plaited on the 1st of May, and occupies the site of the old oak tree, which served the same purpose for 60 years.

Wastwater is the most solemn and imposing of all the lakes. Hemmed in by mountains on every side, the loneliness of its situation seems intensified. The lake is about three miles long, half a mile broad, and forty fathoms deep, its bottom being about fifteen fathoms below the level of the sea. It has only been known to freeze once within living memory; that was in the continued frost of 1894-1895. The lake can only be traversed on its south-east side with difficulty, owing to the great profusion of loose stones (called the Screes) which here extend from near the summit of the mountain quite into the water, and rest upon so steep a declivity that the slightest disturbance in any part communicates a sliding or rolling motion, which frequently extends to a considerable distance, and continues many minutes before quiet can be restored. The public may fish in the water, which is well stocked with trout, etc. Overlooking the lake, and occupying a delightful situation, is Wasdale Hall, the pretty residence and property of John Musgrave, Esq., J.P. It stands in neatly laid-out grounds, which extend for a considerable distance along the water side. The mansion was erected in 1829, and purchased from Rawson's Trustees by the present owner in 1864. Tosh Tarn and Greendale Tarn are both in this parish.

CHARITIES. - This parish is the recipient of charities amounting to 4 10s. yearly, 1 of which goes to the vicar, and the remaining 3 10s. to the poor in money on Christmas Day.


Bulmer's History & Directory Of Cumberland, 1901

30 July 2006

Steve Bulman