Brampton Parish

  > Is bounded on the north by Denton, Lanercost, and Walton; on the east by Northumberland; on the south by Hayton, Castle Carrock, and Geltsdale Forest; and on the west by Irthington. It lies between the rivers Irthing and Gelt, and possesses, in general, a light sandy soil, producing good crops of wheat, oats, barley, potatoes &c. Excellent coal is found at Tindall Fell, near to which is a small lake, called Tindall Tarn1, about two miles in circumference, abounding in perch, pike, &c.; and the rivers Gelt and Irthing contain a plenteous supply of trout, perch, salmon-fry, chevin2, eels, &c. The parish comprises 16,970 acres, and is divided into the three townships of Brampton, Easby, and Naworth, which in 1841 contained 3304 inhabitants. Its rateable value is £10,649 5s.

Brampton is a small, but neat and ancient market town, seated in a vale, surrounded by considerable eminences, most of which being either clothed with wood, or well cultivated, add greatly to the picturesque scenery of the neighbourhood. It is distant 9½ miles E.N.E. of Carlisle, 11 E.S.E. of Longtown, 21 N. of Penrith, 50 W. of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, by rails, and 313 miles N.N W. of London. The weekly market, held on Wednesday, is numerously attended, and is well supplied with corn and provisions. Here are four annual fairs for sheep and cattle, on the 20th of April, second Wednesday after Whitsun day, second Wednesday in September, and the 23rd of October. A royal grant was obtained for the markets and fairs here, of Henry III, in the 37th of his reign, by Thomas de Multon, lord of Gilsland. The town contains many good houses and shops, several of which have been either erected or rebuilt within the last twenty years. In 1841, it contained 583 houses, and 2,754 inhabitants, many of whom are employed in weaving checks, ginghams, &c, for the Carlisle manufacturers; and in the adjacent coal works, the property of the earl of Carlisle.

brampton2.jpg (16599 bytes)The Market-place covers a spacious area, in the centre of which stands the Town-hall, a neat octagonal edifice, with an ornamental cupola, in front of which a clock has been placed by the parishioners. It was erected in 1817, by the earl of Carlisle, on the site of the old hall. The lower part of the building is formed into a piazza, under which is the poultry, butter, and egg market. The hall is a very capacious apartment, in which the earl of Carlisle's courts for the great Barony of Gilsland are held at Easter and Michaelmas. Wm. Carrick, Esq., solicitor, is steward of these, and of the earl's out manor courts in Cumberland and Northumberland. Petty Sessions are held every alternate Wednesday at their office in Back-street, when the following magistrates generally attend, viz.: - S. Johnson, T. H. Graham, and Hugh Patrickson, Esqrs. Mr. W. Carrick is their clerk. The building is a neat edifice, erected in 1846; and here is kept a branch of the Carlisle Savings' Bank, open every alternate Wednesday, from twelve to two o'clock. Mr. Joseph Coulthard is clerk.

The old parish Church stands on the east bank of the Irthing, about one mile west of the town, the cemetery of which is still used by several families, and the burial service is performed in the chancel, the only portion of this sacred edifice now remaining. It is dedicated to St. Martin, and commands a beautiful view of the vale of Irthing. It was given by Robert de Vallibus to Lanercost priory, at the foundation of that house, but after the dissolution was granted to Sir Thomas Dacre, and the advowson is now in the patronage of the earl of Carlisle. The benefice is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £8, and is possessed by the Rev. Christopher Benson, M.A. who has a commodious residence, called Unity, about a mile south of the town. In 1777, when Brampton common was enclosed, 210 acres were allotted to the vicar, in lieu of all tithes - 7½d. from each house, paid in lieu of hens, hemp, flax, and smoke. He has also mortuaries and surplice fees, and the tithe of hay of Talkin township, in Hayton parish; the latter has lately beenbrampton1.jpg (18515 bytes) commuted for a rent charge of £50. He has likewise about 105 acres of ancient glebe, adjoining the old Church; the whole producing a net annual value of about £400. The old fabric was very extensive, but, being in a ruinous state, the nave, side aisles, and steeple were taken down in 1788, and the materials used in the erection of the New Church, in Brampton, which was considerably enlarged in 1827, at a cost of £1800, when a new organ and an excellent peal of six bells, the largest of which weighs half a ton, were added; the organ and five of the bells being the liberal donation of the Rev. Thomas Ramshay, the late vicar. This edifice stands in a small burial ground, partly on the site of the chapel which was annexed to an hospital here. About twenty years ago several Roman coins, of the reigns of Julius Cæsar, &c., were found near the old church; and here is also a monument with the following inscription :- "Hic jacet Dominus Ricardus de Caldcoates, qui fuit vicarius istius Ecclesiæ3." Obit A.D. 1343.

The dissenting places of worship in the town are - a Presbyterian chapel, in the back street, erected in 1722, being the third place of worship belonging to this congregation. On the passing of the act of uniformity in 1662, the Rev. J. Burnand, then vicar of Brampton, was ejected from the living, but many of his people adhered to the presbyterian discipline, and founded a separate congregation, which is now connected with the presbyterian synod of England, and forms a part of the presbytery of Cumberland. In addition to a house and garden for the use of the minister, it is endowed with five acres of land near Brampton, to which the celebrated Dr. lsaac Watts was a contributor. The Rev. George Brown, L.L.D., has been the minister of this congregation since 1844. The Independent chapel, in Back-street, was built in 1818, and is now under the care of the Rev. T. B. Attenborough. The Wesleyan chapel is a substantial building in Brampton-lane, erected in 1836, at a cost of £1100; and the Primitive Methodists have a chapel in Back-street. Each chapel has a Sunday schoolbrampton3.jpg (17765 bytes) attached, and the church Sunday scholars are taught in the National School, which was built by the earl of Carlisle, in 1817. A separate one for girls was erected in 1832, and both are now attended by about 200 children. An Infant School was established here in 1825; but the Grammar School, and the Hospital which adjoined the ancient chapel, have ceased to exist. Croft House Academy is an extensive and very efficiently conducted classical and commercial establishment, under the superintendence of Mr. Joseph Coulthard. The Friendly and Benefit societies in the town consist of two lodges of Odd Fellows and one of Foresters. Gas Works were erected here in 1836, by a company of shareholders, at £5 per share. They contain five retorts, and a gasometer capable of holding 6000 cubic feet of gas, which is now sold at 8s. per 1000. The town is illuminated with forty street lamps.

The Brampton Union, established in 1837, comprises the following parishes and townships, viz.: - Brampton, Askerton, Burtholme, Castle Carrock, Cumrew, Cumwhitton, Denton (Nether), Denton (Upper), Farlam, Hayton, Irthington, Kingwater, Walton, and Waterhead - which in 1841 contained a population of 10,122 souls. The two townships of Askerton and Burtholme maintain their own poor separately, and those of Kingwater and Waterland4 jointly. The workhouse stands about half-a-mile S. of Brampton, and was purchased of that parish by the Union; since which it has been altered and enlarged; at a cost of about £1000, and is now calculated to hold 100 paupers. George Ramshay, Esq., solicitor, is superintendent registrar and clerk to the Board of Guardians, who meet every alternate Wednesday, at his office in High Cross-street. W. P. Johnson, Esq., is chairman, and Mr. Anthony Robinson, vice-chairman. The other officers of the Union are John Graham, M.D., physician; John Routledge, registrar of marriages for the whole Union, and of births and deaths for Brampton district; Ralph Watson, registrar for Hayton; and William Steele, for Walton district. Mr. John and Mrs. Mary Hall, master and matron

The earl of Carlisle has about 14 miles of railway to his various coal pits in this locality; and they have been a great benefit to the inhabitants, by facilitating the supply of an article so necessary to the comforts of life. There is also a branch line, for the conveyance of goods and passengers, from the Brampton coal staith to the Milton station, on the Newcastle and Carlisle railway, which is 1½ mile from the town. This coal staith was established in 1799, by the earl, and is now held on lease by James Thompson, Esq., of Kirk House. At the east end of the town is a natural conical mount, called the Moat, about 50 yards high, having the crown of the hill formed into a plain, 40 paces diameter, and defended by a breastwork. Whether it was a Danish5 fort is uncertain, as the Saxon word Mot "encourages the idea that this was used as a parley-hill, or open court for the dispensing of justice; or it might be for the resort of the inhabitants of the town of Brampton, on the incursion of an enemy."* It is now covered with forest trees. Camden supposed Brampton to be the Bremetenracum of the Romans, but other antiquaries say they have discovered the site of that station at Old Penrith. In the reign of Edward II the parish suffered the calamities of war, and desolation; and, in 1745, the unfortunate adventurer, prince Charles Edward Stewart rested for some time here, at the house now converted into the Freemasons' Arms Inn, where is still pointed out his council chamber. James Wallace, Esq., a native of this parish, raised himself by his talents and industry, from very humble circumstances to the office of attorney-general, but died at the age of 53, in the zenith of his reputation, and "when the highest honours his profession could offer, or his country bestow, were within his grasp." Dr. Guy Carlton, bishop of Bristol, and afterwards of Chichester, was also a native of this parish. He suffered much for his loyalty, previous to the restoration, and died in 1685.

At Irthing, or Rule holme6, 2 miles W. by S. of Brampton "the high sheriff of the county meets the judges of assize, to escort them to Carlisle; the under-sheriff attends them from the boundary of the county at Temon7;" and on the road from Brampton to Warwick Bridge, is the "Capon Tree," a large old oak, under which it is said they formerly regaled themselves.

Written Rocks in Gelt - About 2 miles S. of the town, on the face of a lofty perpendicular rock, rising from the river Gelt, is a Roman inscription, which has been read thus, and is supposed to have been written A.D. 207; - VEXILLATIO LEGIONIS SECUNDÆ OB VIRTUTEM APPELLATÆ, SUB AGRICOLA OPTIONE, APRO ET MAXIMO, CONSULIBUS, OFICINA, MERCATI, MERCATIUS FERNI8. About five years ago, another Roman inscription was discovered, on the Hayton side of the Gelt, a little higher up the river, but so much weather-worn and defaced, after the revolution of ages, that it could not be deciphered with any distinctness; but a facsimile of it may be seen in the "Croft House Magazine," for Nov. 21, 1843.

Easby township contains a few dispersed dwellings, and the small hamlet of Crooked Holme, 1½ mile N.N.E. of Brampton. It belongs chiefly to the earl of Carlisle and W. P. Johnson, Esq. A stone bridge of two arches has been lately built at Cambeck, at a cost of about £2000; and at Coathill is a chalybeate spring. The population of this township, in 1841, was only 84.

Naworth township contains a small hamlet and a few dispersed dwellings, with Naworth Castle, the baronial mansion of the great barony of Gilsland, on the south side of the Irthing, 2½ miles E. by N. of Brampton, and 11 miles E. of Carlisle. Previous to its destruction by fire, on May 18th, 1844, this seat of feudal splendour, "the last perfect specimen of the residences of the border chiefs - the pride of the north," consisted of two lofty square towers, connected by other masses of masonry, enclosing a quadrangular court; and the good taste of its noble owner preserved it in the same style in which it appeared when fortified, about 1569, by Lord William Howard, the "Belted Will" of "The Lay of the last Minstrel9." It stands on a rocky precipice, impending a rivulet which flows into the Irthing. Two deep moats on its front, and a semicircular barbacan near the gateway, constituted its external defences. The castle is accessible only on its south side, which is strengthened by an embrasured curtain wall and embattled gateway. A spacious arch, surmounted with the armorial bearings of the Dacres, quartering those of De Vaux, Multon, and Morville, conducts to the area of this once stronghold of the most powerful of the barons; and the archway leading to the interior of the court yard is surmounted by the armorial bearings of the Howards. The great baronial hall, which is 70 feet by 24, is already restored in the Gothic style of architecture. It was adorned with portraits of the sovereigns of Britain, from Brute10 to Henry VI; the dining and drawing rooms were hung round with fine tapestry, and contained many valuable paintings, amongst which was a full length portrait of Mary Queen of England, the only one saved from the devouring element. The chapel contained a considerable quantity of ancient armour, and had a beautiful pannelled ceiling and altar screen, on which were delineated portraits of the patriarchs, &c. &c, and above the altar was a large painting on wood, 12 feet in width, by 3 fact 8 inches in height, representing the passion and ascension of our Lord, beneath which was inscribed:-

o.... omnes qui trasites per viam attendite et videte si ett dolor sic ut est dolo meus

Near to the chapel was the library, which formerly contained a valuable collection of manuscripts, and several interesting works, among which was a treatise on the real presence, containing the autograph of bishop Fisher, that most strenuous opponent to the illicit amours, insatiable avarice, and sacrilegious rapacity of Henry VIII; and a single-hearted "martyr to honesty." The dungeons of the castle consisted of four small apartments, three on the ground flour, and one above, measuring 15 feet by 14; the mason work being extremely substantial, and the doors composed of iron, and secured by ponderous bolts. The great kitchen and domestic offices, which occupy the north side of the building, remain uninjured. This "lowering strength of Naworth," which, Sir Walter Scott says "shewed the power of the Dacres," was erected soon after 1335, by Ralph, lord Dacre, "partly, it is said, from the materials obtained from Irthington Castle, formerly the chief residence of the barons of Gilsland."

Gilsland barony, which includes Brampton, Carlatton, Castle Carrock, Cumrew, Cumwhitton, Denton (Nether), Denton (Upper), Farlam, Hayton, Irthington, and Lanercost Abbey, is said to have derived its name either from the numerous gills, or rivulets, which run through it, or from one Gill, or Gilbert, son of Bueth, whose ancestors held it before the Conquest; after which it was granted by Ranulph de Meschines to Hubert de Vallibus, "to whom and his heirs, Henry I re-granted and confirmed all Bueth's lands, to hold by the service of two knight's fees, with thol and theam and soc and sac, and infangthief, and freedom from noutgeld." Hubert having gained peaceable possession of the barony, gave several manors to his friends and kinsmen. His son, Robert de Vallibus, having basely murdered Gilles Bueth, founded the priory of Lanercost, as an atonement for his crime. He married Ada, daughter and heiress of Wm. Engaine, by whom he had a son, Robert de Vallibus, who, in the 12th of John, gave the king 750 marks for regaining his favour, for which purpose he gave another fine of £666 13s. 4d. in the 16th of the same reign He died without issue, and the barony passed to his brother Ranulph, and from him to his son Robert, whose son, Hubert de Vallibus left an only daughter and heiress, Maud, who carried the princely estates of her family in marriage to Thomas de Multon, with whose descendants they remained till the 7th of Edward II, when Margaret de Multon, heiress of Gilsland, married Ranulph de Dacre, with whose male heirs this barony continued till George Lord Dacre of Gilsland, Greystock11, and Wemm, died without issue; in consequence of which, the estates of the Dacres passed to his three sisters, one of whom died unmarried, and the other two were espoused by two sons of the Duke of Norfolk, viz. Philip, Earl of Arundel, and Lord William Howard, the latter of whom had Gilsland, and was the third son of the said duke. Sir Charles Howard, of Naworth, eldest son of Sir William, son of Sir Philip, son of the above-named Lord William Howard, was highly instrumental in the restoration of king Charles II, and in 1661, was created "Baron Dacre of Gilsland, Viscount Howard of Morpeth and Earl of Carlisle." Between the years 1722 and 1731, Charles Howard, third son of the earl of Carlisle, built the splendid mansion of Castle Howard, near Malton, in Yorkshire, where his successors have since resided. Henry, the fourth earl, died in 1758. He won succeeded by Frederick, the fifth earl, who was succeeded by his eldest son George, the present and sixth earl of Carlisle, lord of the barony of Gilsland, and owner of Naworth castle, his occasional residence.

"Customs of Gilsland Barony. - The general customs of Gilsland, where lands are not enfranchised, are for the tenants to pay fines arbitrary upon descents and alienations; but a twenty-penny fine on the death of the lord. The lands pass by deed only, with the lord's allowance thereon. Widows, during their viduity12, have a third of the lands of which their husbands died seized. No heriots are paid, except in Nether Denton, where, if there are no live goods, 40s. is paid in lieu of the heriot. In the 12th of Geo. III an Act was passed to empower the enfranchisement of the several manors within this barony, and many of the customary tenants have availed themselves of its benefits, and become freeholders of soil which is now much better cultivated than when it was held by a tenure almost as base as the ancient villeinage." Courts Leet and view of Frankpledge for the whole barony are held at Brampton twice a year.

Brierthwaite, or Tarnhouse Forest, lies on the south side of the parish, from five to eight miles S.E. of Brampton. It was anciently given to Hexham priory, by Adam de Tindale, but after the dissolution was granted to the barons of Gilsland. It was formerly considered extra-parochial, but is now annexed to the township of Naworth, and is sometimes called Tindale Forest. There are several coal mines in this neighbourhood, and zinc works were commenced here about three years ago.



Mannix & Whellan, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Cumberland, 1847




1. Tindall is now Tindale. I think coal is still mined at Tindale Fell.
2. chevin - chub.
3. "Hic jacet Dominus Ricardus de Caldcoates, qui fuit vicarius istius Ecclesiæ." Obit A.D. 1343. - this is rendered in Bulmer as "Hic jacet Dominus Ricardus de Caldecoates, qui fuit vicarius istius Ecclesiæ, Obiit A.D. 1343" and translated as "Here lies Sir Richard Caldcote, who was vicar of this church. He died A.D. 1343."
4. Waterland - surely an error for Waterhead.
5. The Moat is undoubtedly Norman.
6. Rule Holme is now Ruleholme.
7. Temon lies on the border between Cumberland and Northumberland, about 5 miles east of Brampton.
8. Bulmer quotes a version of the inscription of the Written Rock of Gelt, from a Dr. Bruce, thus - VEX LLEG II AVG OB APP SVB AGRICOLA OPTIONE ET MAXIMO CONSVLIBVS OFICINA MERCATI MERCATIVS FERNI PAVL PECVL I PR O NATIONE. Bruce apparently believed that this inscription consisted of 3 separate phrases -

a) A vexillation of the second legion, styled the August, on account of its bravery, under Agricola the optio (lieutenant).
b) Aper and Maximus being consuls, A.D. 207. The workshop (quarry) of Mercatius. The band of Julius.
c) Mercatius (the son of) Fernus Julius Peculiaris, a vexillation of the 20th legion, styled Valeria and Victrix.

I'm not an expert in Latin, but I can't see where the Valeria Victrix comes from, in the original.

9. The Lay of the Last Minstrel was written by Sir Walter Scott.
10. Brute - also Brut, the mythical founder of the race of the Britons, descended from the Trojans, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth.
11. Greystock is Greystoke.
12. viduity - widowhood.

Pauline Stanley has kindly loaned me some documents relating to the Brampton Liberal Club in 1910. These are the announcement of a proposed Bazaar, a list of the officials, and the Lady Workers.

Photos © Steve Bulman.

19 June 2015

© Steve Bulman