Asby Parish

  > Is about five miles in length and three in breadth, and is bounded on the south by the lofty fells and scars of Crosby Garret and Orton, and having for its other boundaries Drybeck, Ormside, Bleatarn, and Soulby. It is intersected by several rivulets, in one of which, Asby Gill, is the entrance to Pate Hall, a remarkable cavern, 1000 yards long, and having a stream of water running through it. Asby parish is divided into the three townships of Asby Coatsworth, Asby Little, and Asby Winderwath, and contains the two villages of Great and Little Asby; near the latter, between the huge limestone scar of Orton and Crosby Fell, is Sunbiggin tarn, whence a stream flows southward to the river Lune. About twenty years ago copper ore was raised in this parish by the Union Company of Copperminers, but the speculation proved unsuccessful, as has also a marble mill which was erected here a few years ago, by John Hill, Esq.

GREAT ASBY is a considerable village situated in the townships of Asby Coatsworth and Asby Winderwath, four miles and a half S. of Appleby. The church (St. Peter's) is a small ancient fabric, with a tower, in which are two bells. The benefice is a rectory, valued in the king's books at 23. 13s. 4d. It is in the patronage of John Hill, Esq., of Bank-foot, Appleby, and in the incumbency of the Rev. Henry Guy. The tithes were commuted in 1843 for a yearly rent charge of 243.

In 1298 Robert de Askeby founded in this church a chantry which was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and in 1301 and 1314, he was knight of the Shire of Westmorland, but died soon after the year 1318, after which the inheritance passed by marriage to the Moresbys and Pickerings, of whom it was purchased by Sir Richard Fletcher, of Hutton, whose descendant, Sir Frederick Fletcher Vane, Bart., sold the advowson to John Hill, Esq. A little east of the church is a spring called St. Helen's Well, contiguous to which is St. Helen's Almshouse, founded in 1811, by William Fairer, who endowed it with 500, of which nearly 250 was expended in erecting the buildings; but in 1824 it received an additional endowment of 200, left by Joseph Fairer. The trustees afterwards borrowed money to make up the sum of 850, with which they have purchased an estate worth 30 a year. The money borrowed having been paid off by instalments the whole proceeds of the estate are divided amongst the four alms people, who are to be aged and poor widows or widowers. The school at Asby was built at 1688, by Mr. George Smith, of London, who endowed it with 20s. a year, besides leaving the interest of 10 to the poor of the parish. In 1702 Thomas Smith, D.D., a native of this parish left to the school 100, with which four acres of land were purchased at Asby. Other lands at Raisbeck have since been purchased by subscription, so that the yearly income for the school endowment amounts at present to 35, viz. 28 arising from the Raisbeck estate, and the remainder from lands at Asby. Mr. John Bousfield is the present master. (For the other bequests to this parish see page 118.)1 B. Addison, J. Hill, J. Wakefield, Esqs., the Earl of Thanet, and Messrs. P. Taylor and G. Park are the principal land owners of this parish, which is valued at 1,958 16s. 4d. The above named Dr. Smith who was born at Whitehall, in Asby Winderwath township, "was rewarded with several preferments, in consideration of his sufferings
for the royal cause in the civil wars." In 1600 he was made a prebendary of Carlisle, whence he was removed to a prebendal stall in Durham Cathedral, and in 1691 was advanced to the Deanery of Carlisle. To his great surprise, on the death of Bishop Rainbow, he was raised to the episcopal throne, which he occupied till his death, in 1720.

ASBY COATSFORTH2 township stretches eastward from the beck, which runs through Great Asby, and forms a manor which was held by a family of its own name as early as the year 1199. It subsequently passed to the Musgraves, and afterwards to Dr. Bouchier, who sold it to Roger Pindar, from whom it was purchased in the year 1800, by Mr. James Park, of Asby Hall, and is now in the possession of his son, Mr. George Park. There is an estate here called the Grange, which formerly belonged to the Abbey of Byland, in Yorkshire. The hall is an ancient building, now occupied by Mr. William Cleasby, supposed to have been once the seat of the Rev. Simon Pindar, whose benefactions to this parish are noticed at page3

ASBY LITTLE is a small village two miles S.S.E. of Great Asby, and five miles and a half E. by N. of Orton. Its township forms a manor which was long held by the family of L'Engleys, or Euglish, from whom it passed to the Sandfords, Howgills, and Honeywoods, one of whom Philip Honeywood sold it, in 1780, to the Earl of Thanet, whose tenants pay 20d. fines. There was anciently a chapel here dedicated to St. Leonard, and endowed by Richard L'Engleys, with a messuage and six acres of land for the
purpose of "establishing a chantry therein." Though this township is mountainous, still some parts of it are tolerably fertile, and it abounds with limestone.

ASBY WINDERWATH extends westward from Great Asby, and contains the greater portion of that village with the church. It constitutes a distinct manor, which was long held by the knightly families of Askeby and Pickering, of whom it was purchased by Sir Richard Fletcher, of Hutton, whose descendant, Sir F. F. Vane, Bart., sold it with the advowson of the living, as has already been seen, to John Hill, Esq., the present lord of the manor. Garthorn Hall, now a farm house, was for some time the seat of a branch of the Bellingham family, who sold it in the latter part of the 17th century, to Colonel James Graham, who was several times member of Parliament for this county. (See Levens, at a subsequent page.)


Mannix & Co.,History, Topography and Directory of Westmorland, 1851




1. Not transcribed.
2. Everywhere else referred to as Asby Coatsworth.
3. The page number is missing.

19 June 2015


Steve Bulman