Barton Parish


This parish is about fifteen miles in length, and from two to four miles in breadth, and forms one of the most picturesque districts in the region of the lakes. It is bounded on the west and north by the parishes of Crosthwaite, Greystoke, Dacre, and Penrith, in Cumberland; on the east by the parishes of Brougham, Clifton, Lowther, Askham, and Bampton; and on the south by those of Kendal and Grasmere. On its northern side is stretched out the beautiful lake of Ulswater1, and, at its western extremity, the mighty Helvellyn, rears its towering head. The chain of mountains with which it is bounded, towards the south, contains a variety of spars, petrifactions, and other variegated stones, amongst which are jasper, agate, onyx, cornelian, chalcedony, petrified fish, shells, and leaves. This parish comprises the four townships of Barton, Winder, Sockbridge, and Yanwath and Eamont Bridge, and the two chapelries of Patterdale, and Martindale, which together, in 1841, contained 1668 inhabitants.

The manor of Barton, with a great part of the parish, formerly belonged to the Barons of Kendal, who granted or sold it to the Multons of Gilsland, from whom it passed in marriage to the Dacres, whose co-heiresses sold it, in the reign of Charles II, to Sir Christopher Musgrave, of Edenhall, who sold it to Edward Hasell, Esq., ancestor of the present owner, Edward William Hasell, Esq., of Dalemain.

BARTON contains the pleasant village of POOLEY BRIDGE, situate at the foot of Ulswater, five miles S.W. by S. of Penrith, and also the hamlets of Bower-bank2, Celleron,   and Barton Church, with several dispersed dwellings, distant from three to five miles from the same town. The river Eamont is here crossed by a handsome stone bridge of three arches, and near the village is the conical hill of Dunmallet, or Dunmallard3 which was anciently crowned with a Roman fort, vestiges of which are still visible. Burn says, there was formerly a small market for fish, at Pooley Bridge, and there is yet a stone cross here, which was repaired by the Earl of Sussex, in 1679. A sheep
and cattle fair is held here on the third Monday in September. Rateable value, 2654. 8s. 4d.

The church, dedicated to St. Michael, is a large building, situate in the picturesque vale of Eamont. It consists of a nave, chancel, and side aisles, and presents a very venerable appearance. In the centre is a large square tower, in which are two bells. In one of the aisles, on a plate of brass, is inscribed "Here lieth William Lancaster, son of Christopher, on whose soul .Jesu have mercy." He is supposed to have died about the year 1575. "In the chancel, above the communion table, are five rows of escutcheons, seven in each row, many of which are now defaced, but, amongst them were to be seen in Michael's4 time, the arms of Arundel, Percy, Lucy, Dacre, Lowther, Lancaster, Strickland, Threlkeld, Machel, Moresby, Orpheur, and Crackenthorpe." The church was given in the 13th century, by Sir John de Lancastre, to Wartre priory, in Yorkshire, and after the dissolution of the monasteries, was granted by the crown to Thomas, Earl of Rutland, who sold it to Lancelot Lancaster, of Sockbridge, and Michael Hudson. The Lancaster portion passed in marriage to the Lowthers, who have since become possessed of the entire advowson, so that the Earl of Lonsdale is now the patron. The Hudson moiety of the rectorial tithes was purchased by Dr. Dawes, vicar of Barton, from whose grand-nephew Lancelot, they were purchased by Edward Hasell, and John de Whelpdale, Esq., but the whole of the tithes were commuted in 1841, for a yearly rent charge. The impropriators pay an annual pension of 6 to the bishop. The vicarage, which is valued in the king's books at 11 1s. 0d., is now enjoyed by the Rev. Thomas Gibson, who was instituted in 1847.

The vicarage house, a neat dwelling, situate about 200 yards from the church, was erected in 1637, by Dr. Lancelot Dawes, a native of this parish, but the present vicar resides at Terril5 Lodge, where he conducts a boarding school for young gentlemen.

Barton Free School was founded in 1648, by Dr. Lancelot Dawes and Dr. Gerard Langbaine. The latter endowed it with 30 and an estate at Culgaith, out of which 10 a year is "to go to bind out two apprentices."6 Dr. Dawes gave 25, and an annual rent charge of 20s. out of the tithes of the estate called Barton Kirk. This money, with a donation given by Dr. William Lancaster, and several contributions, was laid out in lands at Firbank, near Kirkby-Lonsdale, and at Howgill, near Sedbergh, which now let for 80 a year. The trustees afterwards borrowed money for the erection of the master's house, and reduced his salary to 40, till the debt thus contracted should be liquidated, which has for some time been effected. Mr. Amos Wilson is the present master.

Dr. Adam Airey, principal of Edmund Hall, Oxford; Dr. Wm. Lancaster, provost of Queen's College, Oxford, in the 17th century; and Dr. Gerard Langbaine, provost of Queen's College, who flourished during the time of the protectorate, were all natives of this parish. The latter was a skilful antiquary, and author of several learned works. He died in 1657.

HARTSOP AND PATTERDALE township and chapelry includes the two adjacent hamlets of Upper and Nether Hartsop, two miles S. by E. of the chapel; Deepdale, a "grand and romantic" valley, mostly in a high state of cultivation, and decorated with a profusion of wood, one mile and a quarter S. of the chapel; Glenridding, a deep, rocky, and well wooded valley, stretching from Helvellyn to Ulswater, three miles N.N.W. of the chapel; and Grisedale, which extends from half a mile N. of the chapel, to the confines of Cumberland. These are surrounded by the lofty mountains of Helvellyn, Great Dod7, Fairfield, High-Street, Dow Craggs, and Place Fell, and are distant about eight miles S.W. by S. of Pooley Bridge, and nine miles N. of Ambleside. Patterdale extends six miles southward from Gowbarrow Park, along the highest and most sublime reach of Ulswater to the source of the Goldrill, which flows to the lake from the three tarns of Brotherwater, Hayswater, and Angletarn8. The other glens of this chapelry branch off to the east and west, and have each its mountain stream graced with the wildest beauties of nature, mellowed at intervals by art, with thriving plantations and neat villas.

Patterdale Chapel, dedicated to St. Patrick, is an ancient building, near the head of Ulswater, and has in its burial ground two venerable yew trees, one of which has weathered the blasts of some hundred winters. The benefice is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Earl of Lonsdale, and incumbency of the Rev. John Thompson. Since 1743, it has received three augmentations from Queen Anne's Bounty; in 1809 it had a share of the parliamentary grant, and in 1812 was augmented with 500, of which 300 were obtained from Queen Anne's Bounty, and 100 each contributed by the present incumbent and the late Earl of Lonsdale, besides which there are belonging to it ten acres of ancient glebe, and one third part of the tithes of the chapelry. Burn says that 4 a year is paid out of the revenue of the curacy, to the vicar, for which he is required to preach in the chapel four times in the year.

Near to the chapel is a well called St. Patrick's Well, where it is said that that Saint baptized several of the inhabitants of this dale, the ancient name of which is Patrick, or Patrick's dale. It is entered Patrickdale in the bishop's register, in 1581. The present Patter is, therefore, a vulgar corruption of the original, Patrick, which is derived from the Latin Patricius, a patrician or nobleman. Whether the patron saint of the sister isle9 ever visited this dale, we cannot exactly say, but that he suffered shipwreck on Duddon sands, on his way to Dublin, in A.D. 540, is an historical fact. The school, which stands near the chapel, is endowed with 6 a year arising from a small estate in the chapelry, purchased many years ago, with 96, subscribed by the inhabitants of the dale, and now let for 10 a year, of which the master receives 6, and the remainder is given to the poor of the township. In 1836, the school was rebuilt at the expense of William Marshall, Esq., except 20 subscribed by the inhabitants. Mr. Aaron Nelson is the present master. Here is a Wesleyan chapel, erected in 1842, by G. H. Head, Esq., at a cost of about 100.

Patterdale Hall occupies a pleasant situation on the shore of Ulswater, and has been recently much improved by its present owner, William Marshall, Esq., M.P., who purchased it about twenty-four years ago, of the late John Mounsey, Esq. It was anciently called the Palace, as being the residence of the Mounseys, who were dignified with the title of Kings of Patterdale. This honorary title is said to have been conferred upon them on account of a gallant exploit performed by one of the family, who, at the head of the other inhabitants of the dale, defeated a band of Scottish marauders, in 1648, at the mountain pass of Stybarrow Crag, near which the lake of Ulswater is said to be forty-eight yards in depth. This person was probably John Mounsey, Esq., who, in 1689, was sixty years of age. At the foot of Glenridding is the neat summer residence of the Rev. Henry Askew, finely situated for a panoramic view of the lake, and the vast amphitheatre of mountains by which it is surrounded. E. W. Hasell, Esq., is lord paramount of Patterdale, "and several mesne manors, within the chapelry, are held under him." W. Marshall, Esq., M.P., is lord of the manor of Glenridding, and Henry Howard, Esq., of Greystoke Castle, is lord of Deepdale manor. Grisedele is also the property of W. Marshall, Esq. Hartsop forms a manor belonging to the Earl of Lonsdale. It is situate near Haystarn10, and formerly abounded with deer. Hartsop Hall, the manor house, is a very ancient building, and though long occupied by a farmer was once the seat of a family of distinction, whose arms, in Mr. Machel's time, were to be seen here. It was into this hall that Tweddle, Sowerby, and their companions attempted to enter with the intention, as was afterwards acknowledged by one of the party, of murdering the whole family.11

At Hartsop, Place Fell, and other parts of the chapelry, are prolific quarries, of fine blue slate, the winning of which gives employment to many of the inhabitants of those secluded glens, and not far from Patterdale hall is Greenside Lead Ore Mine, in which about 300 hands are constantly employed. This mine is considered one of the hardest and richest in the kingdom; the quantity of silver produced monthly being 1600 ounce., There are also in this township several other lead mines, some of which are very prolific. At the head of Ulswater is a very comfortable inn, for the accomodation of tourists.

The principal landowners of Patterdale township are Wm. Marshall, Esq., M.P, Henry Howard, Esq., and Messrs. Daniel and John Mounsey; but several others have small estates here.

Winder, (High and Low,) are two farm houses, distant about half a mile from each other, and one mile and a quarter E. of Pooley Bridge. They are in the manor of Sockbridge and Barton, being parcels of the Marquis' division of the barony of Kendal. Rateable value 261.

MARTINDALE township and chapelry comprises the romantic glens of Boredale, eleven and a half miles S.S.W. of Penrith; Fewsdale, a fertile district, five miles S.S.W. of Barton; and Howgrane12, about five miles S.S.W. of Pooley Bridge, with the hamlets of Howtown, pleasantly situate at the S.W. angle of the lower reach of Ulswater, and Sandwick, near the head of Boredale, one mile and a half S.W. from Martindale chapel. It lies on the western side of Ulswater, and is surrounded on the east by a chain of hills which afford herbage to several thousand sheep, and is supposed to have derived its name from the Marten13, a large kind of weasel, with which animals the dale is said to have formerly abounded. Edward William Hasell, Esq., is lord of the manor, and owner of a great part of the soil; but Messrs. Richard Mounsey, Wm. Jackson, and several others have estates here. There was anciently a forest here, in which were a considerable number of red and fallow deer. Rateable value, 1055 1s. 4d.

The chapel is a neat edifice, standing in the vale of Howgrane, five miles S.W. of Pooley Bridge. It is supposed to have been rebuilt in 1633, and about the year 1833, the interior underwent a complete renovation. The trustees of the late John de Whelpdale, Esq., of Penrith, have the tithes of the chapelry, and are patrons of the perpetual curacy, of which the Rev. Thomas H. Wilkinson, is incumbent.

In 1682, the living was augmented with 100 left by the Rev. Richard Birket, who was then the incumbent, and has since received five donations, amounting to 1000, from Queen Anne's Bounty, all of which, except 115, has been laid out in the purchase of thirty acres of land in Martindale, and eleven acres at Salkeld, in Cumberland, and in the erection of a new parsonage house, built in 1818, making the present value of the living 75 per annum. The school is endowed with a cottage and small estate, purchased with 20 left by the relict of the above-named Richard Birket, and a subscription of 5. In 1846, a piece of common was added, by the mutual consent of the land owners and lord of this manor. The present school house was erected in 1834, by the National Board of Education, and the master's salary is now 15 a year.

George Woodley, late perpetual curate, who died on the 24th of December, 1846, wrote several works, and arrived at a great proficiency in the composition of music. William Hodgson, the present vicar of Bampton, is a native of Martindale. He is author of a commentary on parts of the Scripture, and of several other religious works.

SOCKBRIDGE township contains a small village of its own name on the south bank of the Eamont, three miles S.S.W. of Penrith, the village of Tirrill, one mile N.E. of Barton church, and the hamlet of Thorp, half a mile E. of Sockbridge. The Earl of Lonsdale is lord of the manor, but the tenants were enfranchised many years ago. There is an abundance of limestone in this township. The hall, now occupied by a farmer, is an old quadrangular building, and was anciently the seat of the Lancastres, who held this manor for several centuries. Tirril is a good village, and contains a Friends' Meeting House, with a burial ground. A celebrated mathematical academy was established here by John Slee, one of the Society of Friends, and a profound mathematician. He died here in 1828, but was born at Mungrisdale, in Cumberland. It was frequently visited by many gentlemen from the universities, who availed themselves of the vacations to receive instructions here in the mathematics. His son, Thomas Slee, conducted this establishment from the death of his father till the spring of 1849, when he died much lamented. At Tirrill, is a respectable boarding academy conducted by the Rev. Thomas Gibson, vicar of the parish. The largest owners of the soil are the Earl of Lonsdale, Wm. Wordsworth, Esq., John Nicholson, Esq., and Mrs. Margaret Sykes.

YANWATH AND EAMONT BRIDGE form a joint township and manor at the eastern extremity of this parish. The former is a hamlet one mile and a quarter S. of Penrith. The manor appears to be the only part of the parish that was held under the Cliffords, lords of the barony of Westmorland. It was sold in 1654 by Sir Christopher Dudley, Bart., to Sir John Lowther, Bart., ancestor to the present Earl of Lonsdale. Yanwath Hall, which stands at the north end of the village, on the banks of the Eamont, is a quadrangular building, having the appearance of a small castle. There has been a chapel over the gate, and, at the south corner, a tower with turrets and battlements. It is now occupied by Messrs. William and Fras. Parker, two celebrated agriculturists. About a mile south of the hall, at the end of Yanwath wood, is a circular entrenchment, called Castle Steads.

The principal land owners of this township are the Earl of Lonsdale, and John Cooper, Esq.,and the rateable value is 2288 13s. 7d.

Eamont Bridge is a pleasant village, lying chiefly on the south bank of the Eamont, one mile S. by E. of Penrith, and derives its name from the bridge which here crosses that river. Eamont is a compound of two French words, eau, water, and mont, a hill, or mountain. The bridge appears to have been either built or rebuilt in 1425, when a quarantine, or an indulgence of forty days, was granted to such of the faithful as contributed towards its erection. [Discussion on subtle aspects of theology omitted.]

The workhouse, for the West Ward Union, is at Eamont bridge, and is capable of containing seventy-three paupers. Mr. George Clark is the governor, E. W. Hasell, Esq., is chairman; and Fred. Weymss Esq., is clerk to the board of guardians.

On the south bank of the Eamont is a trenched amphitheatre, called KING ARTHUR'S ROUND TABLE14, about 160 yards in circumference. This, no doubt, has been the scene of many a tournament, where the chivalrous of other days vindicated their knighthood by feats of arms.15 Arthur is said to have instituted the order of Knights of the Round Table, for the encouragement of knights in the use of the lance; and we find from the history of that monarch, that he was frequently in this part of the country. His seventh battle with the Saxons was fought in Sylva Caledonis16, generally supposed to be the forest of Inglewood, where he gained a most signal victory, nearly the whole of the Anglo-Saxon army being cut to pieces; and it is possible that the festive demonstration which might be made in this locality, after the termination of the battle, may have been the cause of the formation of the Round Table. About 600 years after his death, viz., 1191, Henry II, having, as Camden says, learned the place of Arthur's interment from the songs of the British bards, ordered a search to be made for his bones, which were found in a hollow tree, seventeen feet below the surface of the earth, and over them was a large stone, with a leaden cross, bearing this inscription -

"Hic jacet sepultus inclytus rex,
Arthurus in Insula Aulonia."17

According to Leland, the remains of this renowned king were translated by Henry de Blois, Abbot of Glastonbury, into the great church there, and buried in a tomb of the costliest marble. The commons in this township were enclosed in 1815, when it was resolved that the plough should not infringe on the "Round Table."

About a quarter of a mile from the Round Table is MAYBRUGH, or MAYBROUGH, a "mysterious structure," which rises gradually on every side, about 140 yards from the level of the land below. "The summit of the hill is fenced round save only an opening left to the east, twelve paces wide; the fence is very singular, being composed of an immense quantity of loose pebble stones, which seem to have been gathered from the bed of the river Eamont." This fence is "twenty yards thick at the base, and rises to an edge about eight feet above the level of the interior plain." "The space within consists of a fine plain of meadow ground, exactly circular, 100 paces in diameter. Inclining a little to the west and from the centre, a large unhewn stone is standing erect, upwards of eleven feet in height, and twenty-two in circumference around the middle." This is supposed to have been at first a Druidical Temple, where the ancient priests of the Britons exercised their religious rites, and afterwards a gymnasium, where the wrestlers, racers, and others of the humbler classes performed their exercises. "Cosedere duces, et vulgi stante corona." The spectators stood upon the terrace, and at the signal of the heralds, the combatants rushed upon the area from the opposite entrances, "et media constitit arena," &c.


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




1. Today always spelled Ullswater.
2. Now Bowerbank.
3. Still referred to by both names, according to which source one consults, and crowned not by a Roman fort, but by a hillfort, and hence probably dating from the Iron Age.
4.Which "Michael" is left unsaid.
5. Mannix spells what is now known universally as "Tirril" in several different forms. Whether this reflects the situation as it existed in the mid nineteenth century, or is mere carelessness, is unclear.
6. A peculiar phrase, which I take to mean payment for their indenture.
7. Now Great Dodd.
8. Now Brothers Water and Angle Tarn.
9. Ireland. It has been suggested that Patrick was a Cumbrian by birth.
10. Referred to previously (and correctly) as Hayeswater.
11. I'm unfamiliar with this story - any offers?
12. Now Fusedale and Howe Grain.
13. The pine martin.
14. In a relatively poor state of preservation, it having been much abused during road construction.
15. Both of these monuments pre-date King Arthur by 3000 years or more.
16. Caledonian Forest, which is today in the Highlands of Scotland, but must have been of much greater extent in Arthur's day. Nevertheless, this battle is usually placed in Southern Scotland rather than Northern England.
17. Which translates (roughly) as "In this tomb lies the celebrated King Arthur, in the Island of Avalon." Real Latin scholars - feel free to correct me.

19 June 2015

Steve Bulman