Bampton Parish


Is bounded by those of Askham, Barton, Morland, Shap, and Lowther, and is nearly five miles in length and three in breadth. It is surrounded on almost every side by lofty and rugged mountains, but the soil in the vales is very fertile. At the south western extremity of the parish, in the Earl of Lonsdale's manor of Thornthwaite, is the beautiful lake Haweswater1. It is not divided into townships, but contains several small hamlets, with part of the chapelry of Mardale, which is mostly in the parish of Shap. The Earl of Lonsdale is the largest owner of the soil, but Messrs. John Noble, and Thos. Mounsey have large estates here. Rateable value, £2740 12s. 4d.

BAMPTON, and BAMPTON GRANGE, are two neighbouring villages, on the opposite banks of the Lowther, and near the confluence of that river with the stream which flows from Haweswater2. It is distant four miles N.W. of Shap, and about eight miles S. of Penrith. The township is divided into two manors, viz., Bampton Patrick, and Bampton Cundale, the former having taken its distinctive appellation from Patrick de Culwen, an ancestor of the Curwens of Workington, and the latter from the Cundale family. Prior to the division of the manor, it is supposed that Bampton was held by a person named Bomba, and there is to this day a small hamlet adjoining the church called Bombey3. Mr Denton calls Bampton, in Cumberland, Villate Bemboe, or Bemboe. The manor of Bampton Patrick was held by the family of Culwen, afterwards Curwen, and de Cliburne, from the 15th of Richard II to the 18th of Henry VIII. It passed eventually to the family of Warwick, and, in 1772, was purchased of Francis Warwick, Esq., by Edward Hasell, Esq., but is now the property of the Earl of Lonsdale. The other manor was carried in marriage from the Cundales to the Cliburnes, who held it for two centuries, after which it was purchased by the Lowthers, and is now possessed by the Earl of Lonsdale.

The church, dedicated to St. Peter, or St. Patrick, is a neat edifice, in Bampton Grange, rebuilt on the site of the old one, in 1726. It was appropriated to Shap Abbey, in A.D. 1170, and in 1263, confirmed by Robert, Bishop of Carlisle, who granted to the abbot and convent, in consequence of the smallness of the revenues of that establishment, the privilege of officiating in the said church "by two or three of their own canons, one of whom to be presented to the bishop, as vicar, to be answerable to the bishop in spirituals, and another to be answerable to the abbot and convent, in temporals. They were, however, bound to have one secular chaplain in the said church,
to hear confessions, and execute such other matters as could not be so properly done by their own regular canons." John de Askeby, who was vicar in 1362, bequeathed his body to be interred in the choir of this church. The vicarage, which has been in the patronage of the crown ever since the dissolution, is rated in the king's book, at £7 5s., but in 1750, it was certified to the governors of Queen Anne's Bounty, at £33, having been augmented with lands at Rossel Bridge, near Kendal, purchased with £200
obtained from the aforesaid governors, and £200 given by Dr. Gibson, bishop of London. The tithes have recently been commuted for a yearly rent charge of £238 4s., of which the Earl of Lonsdale receives £164, the vicar £19 16s., and the grammar school-master £54 8s. The succession of vicars, with which we have been furnished, commences in the year 1300, since which time twenty-two have been instituted. The present vicar is the Rev. William Hodgson, instituted in 1834. His revenue is £75 per annum. There was anciently a chapel, or oratory, dedicated to St. Thomas, connected with Bampton church, but no vestiges of it now remain.

Bampton Grammar School, also in Bampton Grange, was founded in 1623, by Thomas Sutton, D.D., who endowed it with £500, which was afterwards laid out in a purchase of tithes in the neighbourhood. William Walker, Esq., in 1657, bequeathed a yearly rent charge of fifteen guineas, for the purpose of providing the scholars with books, and, in 1816, John Noble, Esq., endowed it with £500, 3 per cent. stock. A legacy of £150 was also left to the church and school, by William Stephenson, rector of Laxton, in Nottinghamshire. Of the twelve governors six are appointed trustees, and the master was, according to an agreement made in 1665, required to be "in holy orders, and a licensed preacher;" but the trustees have since dispensed with this qualification. The present revenue of this excellent institution amounts to £75 per annum. The learned Rev. John Bowstead, B.D., who died a few years ago, was upwards of fifty-three years head master of this school. He was highly celebrated for his great proficiency as a classical teacher, and some years previous to his death, was presented with a handsome piece of plate, worth more than a hundred guineas, purchased with a subscription raised by a number of gentlemen whom he had educated. The present master is Mr. Frederick Wilson.

The parish enjoys the benefit of three public libraries, consisting of about 700 volumes, established in 1710, 1750, and 1757, by Dr. Bray, Messrs. Tinclar and Noble, and Lord Lonsdale. Here are also two other endowed schools, viz., at Measand, and Roughill. The former was founded in 1713, by Richard Wright, and Richard Lacy, who endowed it with an estate now worth upwards of £40 per annum. The school at Roughill was endowed in 1662, by Edmund Noble, with £40, since which it has received some other small gifts, so that its present income amounts to £9 per annum.

Besides the villages of Bampton and Bampton Grange, the parish also includes several small hamlets, amongst which are Bombey, half a mile S.; Butterwick, one mile N. by W.; High and Low Knipe, two hamlets, one mile N. by E.; and Roughhill one mile W.N.W. of Bampton. The hamlet of Measand4 is in Mardale chapelry on the west side of Haweswater lake, four miles S.W. of Bampton.

Riggendale5 is a deep romantic glen, stretching from High Street mountain to the bridge between Chapel Hill and Mardale Green, distant about eight miles from Shap, in which parish it is partly situated.

Thornthwaite is a manor, belonging to the Earl of Lonsdale, situate in the parishes of Bampton and Shap, and in the chapelries of Mardale and Swindale. It includes the whole of Haweswater lake, at the foot of which is the hall, a pleasant residence, now occupied by Mr. John Abbot.

EMINENT MEN. - Thomas Gibson, M.D., who married the daughter of Richard Cromwell, son of the Protector, was born at Knipe, in this parish. He was physician-general to the army, and author of "A System of Anatomy." Edmund Gibson, D.D., nephew to the above, was born at the same place, in 1669. Having laid the foundation of his classical learning at a school in this county, he entered as scholar at Queen's College, Oxford, in 1686. The study of the northern language being particularly cultivated, about this time, at the University, Mr. Gibson rigidly applied himself to that branch of literature, and in a short time translated into Latin the "Chronicon Saxonicum," which he published, together with considerable additions and improvements, concluding this branch of leaning with "Reliquia Spelmanianę," or the posthumous works of Sir Henry Spelman, relating to the laws of and antiquities of England, which, with a life of the author, he published at Oxford, in 1698. This work he dedicated to Archbishop Tenison, into whose family he was about this time taken as domestic chaplain, and was soon afterwards made rector of Lambeth, and archdeacon of Surrey. Upon the death of the archbishop, in 1715, Dr. Wake, Bishop of Lincoln, succeeded him, and Dr, Gibson was appointed to that see, from which he was translated to the Bishopric of London, in 1720. So sensible were the dignitaries of the church, of his great abilities, that a sort of ecclesiastical ministry was committed to his charge for several years. He died at Bath, on the 6th of September, 1748, aged 79 years.


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




1. The appearence of the lake was dramatically changed when it was dammed to provide water for Manchester, construction commencing in 1929. The water level was raised by about 30 metres, and many picturesque country lanes and fields disappeared under the water, as well as the pretty hamlet of Mardale. Despite the unattractive approach to the valley from the north - the dam being very prominent - the upper reaches of the valley are most attractive, wild and rugged. This is the haunt of England's only breeding golden eagles.
2. Haweswater Beck.
3. Now Bomby.
4. Another victim of the dam.
5. Now Riggindale.

19 June 2015

© Steve Bulman