Bromfield Parish

  > Is bounded on the north by Holm-Cultram1, on the east by Wigton, on the south by Allhallows and Aspatria, and on the west by the Solway Frith2; being nearly ten miles in length, from east to west, and averaging about three miles in breadth. It is a fine champaign district, consisting of a varied but fruitful soil, part of which forms rich pastures, and is divided into five townships and one chapelry; viz., Allonby and West Newton3; Blencogo; Bromfield, Crookdake and Scales; Dundraw; and Langrigg and Mealrigg. Its total number of acres is 12850; its rateable number 11720, rated at 12,088 4s. 8d.; and, in 1841, it contained a population of 2312 souls.

Bromfield is a small scattered village, nearly in the centre of the parish, forming a joint township with Crookdake and Scales, and is distant about 5 miles W. by S. of Wigton. It is said to have derived its name from the broom, or genista, with which the place is supposed to have formerly abounded; or, perhaps, from a field or plain, the heath or fern of which exhibited a brown appearance. The manor was granted by the first lord of Allerdale to Melbeth, his physician, whose posterity took the name of De Bromfield, or Brunfield; but the patronage of the church was reserved and granted to the abbey of St. Mary, York, which also possessed some lands here, as also did the abbey of Holm Cultram; to the latter of which the whole manor was afterwards granted by Adam, son of Thomas de Brunfield. After the dissolution of the monasteries, William Hutton, in the 35th of Henry VIII, held Bromfield of the king, in capite, rendering for the same 18s. 4d. cornage, 10d. seawake, 6d. free-rent, puture of the sergeants and witnessman. It was again granted, with the rectory and church, by Edward VI to Henry Thompson, by way of exchange for an hospital at Dover, and is now possessed by several proprietors. The township contains 2691A. 2R. 9P., mostly freehold (rated at 2237 3s. 4d.), belonging to various owners; but F.L.B. Dykes, Esq., John Reay, Esq., Sir W. Lawson, and John Swan, Esq. are the principal. Its population, in 1841, was 364.

The Church, like many others in the north, is dedicated to St. Kentigern, or Mungo,* "whose name, however, is now only heard of as perpetuated by a spring of pure water close by the church, which is still called Mungo's Well." It is said to have been rebuilt about the year 1392, when John de Culwen was compelled to repair the chancel, which had then been in a ruinous state. The benefice is a vicarage in the patronage of the bishop of Carlisle, and incumbency of the Rev. Christopher Hilton Wybergh, M.A., for whom the Rev. Thomas Martin officiates. It is valued, in the king's books, at 22, and was certified to the commissioners as of the average annual value of 270, but is now worth about 300 per annum. The great tithes of the parish, except those of Blencogo, are merged in the land; part of them being purchased by the proprietors about 80 years ago, and the remainder exonerated at the enclosure of the commons. The rectorial tithes of Blencogo belong to the vicar, and were commuted, about five years ago, for a rent charge of 139 per annum. Annexed to the chancel are two ancient dormitories, or burial places, supposed to have been formerly used as chantries, where masses were said for the souls of those interred within them. One of these originally belonged to the Jolliffes, of Newton Hall, and the Middletons, of Mealrigg , but it now belongs to the Jolliffe and Pearson families. The other, having been the property of the Ballantynes, of Crookdake Hall, now belongs to the Dykes family. In the churchyard was a cross, long since destroyed; and here also stands the Free Grammar School, founded by Richard Osmotherly, a mercer of London, but a native of this parish. In 1612, he bequeathed 10 a year, to be paid by the Merchant Tailors' Company out of his estate in St. Botolph's parish, Aldersgate, London, to the clergyman and churchwardens of Bromfield, in trust, for the education of 15 poor children belonging to Bromfield and Langrigg; viz., 9 from the former, and 6 from the latter township. One of the Thomlinson family afterwards gave 100 to this school, for the benefit of the whole parish (which now participates in the former bequest also), and, about the year 1757, it was expended in the purchase of two fields, which now produce about 20 per annum; which, together with the bequest of Thomas Thomlinson, Esq., makes the master's salary amount to 43 a year, exclusive of the dwelling house. Mr. William Jefferson is the present master.

Crookdake is a scattered hamlet, 5 miles W.S.W. of Wigton. The manorial rights of the ancient land belong to F.L.B. Dykes, Esq., and those of the pasture and common, to General Wyndham. Crookdake Hall, now a farm house, bears marks of great antiquity, and was long the seat of a branch of the Musgrave family, whose daughter and heiress carried the manor, in marriage, to the Ballantynes, a family of note in Scotland; one of whom, under the latinized name 'Bellandenus,' was the author of a learned treatise entitled De Stata. An heiress of the last of this family married Lawson Dykes, Esq., who, in 1773, assumed the surname and arms of the Ballantynes, in connection with his own. In Bromfield church is an ancient monument to "Adam of Crookdake," a celebrated warrior, who resided at this hall.

Scales, another hamlet of dispersed houses (called High and Low Scales) in this township, on the west side of Crummock Beck, 1 mile S. of Bromfield, and 4 miles W. by S. of Wigton; the property of John Reay, Esq., of London, who erected here, about 18 years ago, a good dwelling house, which is now occupied by his aunt, Mrs. Susanna Charles. Tradition says that the lands of Gill were granted to one of his ancestors and his heirs by William the Lion, king of Scotland, in the 12th century, "not only as a reward for his fidelity to his prince, but as a memorial of his extraordinary swiftness of foot in pursuing the deer, outstripping in fleetness most of the horses and dogs." The conditions of the grant were that he should pay a peppercorn yearly, and that the name of William should, if possible, be perpetuated in the family. From the foregoing, it appears that the Gill estate has belonged invariably to the Reays, as long perhaps as any other estate in the kingdom has to one family. There have been several eminent men of this name, most of whom are said to have migrated from this parish. For the meaning of the word Scales, see Caldbeck parish.

Allonby is a neat but irregularly built town and fashionable4 bathing place; for which it is well adapted, the sands here being smooth and firm, and the inclination of the beach towards the sea so gradual that bathing may be safely performed at all times of the tide; and so extensive are they, that races and other sports are sometimes held on them.

Here is an excellent hotel, a good inn, and four other public houses, besides several commodious lodging, houses, for the accommodation of the numerous visitors who frequent this place during the summer months. A suite of hot, cold, and vapour baths was erected here in 1835, at a cost of 1800, raised in shares of 5 each. In the same building are news and assembly rooms, the former supported by a subscription of 1s. a week, 3s. a month, or 7s. a year. Miss Hodgson is the librarian; Mr. Robert Bowman is secretary; and Mr. Robert Wilson, manager of the baths.

Allonby is situated 5 miles N.N.E. of Maryport, commanding a fine view of the coast of Galloway, Criffell mountain, and a long range of the Scottish heights.

The Herring Fishery here at some seasons is very productive, but, at others, the shoals of this fish, after remaining in this channel ten years, are said to leave the coast, and, after staying away for a like period, to return again; their revolutions being "as regular as those of the planets, the flowing of the tides, or the vicissitudes of the seasons."

The chapelry contains 1216A. 3R. 24P., rated at 1944 12s. 1d.; and including West Newton, with which it forms a joint township, 2979A. 3R. 24P., of the rateable value of 4011 5s. 9d. The principal land owners of Allonby are the executors of the late William Beeby, Jonathan Wilson, John Saul, Richard Dickinson, Peter Nicholson, Mrs. Sarah Bragg, Michael Satterthwaite, Thomas Bouch, and John Osborne; but Oliver Tomlinson Windowe, Esq. is lord of the manor, and holds an annual court here.

This place is supposed to have derived its name from Alan,† the second lord of Allerdale, who is said to have resided here on account of its solitude and vicinity to the abbey of Holm Cultram, which he had undertaken to rebuild, and to have given it to some of his kindred, who afterwards called themselves De Alanby. It subsequently passed to the Flembys, Blennerhassets, and Thomlinsons, and finally to its present lord.

The chapel of ease, dedicated to Christ, is a neat edifice, rebuilt by subscription, in 1845, on the site of the old one, which was erected in 1744, by Dr. Thomlinson and some of his relatives, at Blencogo, and consecrated in 1745 by bishop Fleming. The generous founder endowed it with 200, which, with 200 obtained from queen Anne's bounty, were vested in a rent charge of 16 to be paid out of an estate in Abbey Holm. It subsequently received another augmentation, which was laid out in the purchase of land near Carlisle. The vicarial tithes of the chapelry were commuted in 1845, for 18, and the corn tithes of 13 acres, which belong to the bishop of Carlisle, for 3 3s. a year. The vicar of Bromfield is patron, and the Rev. Wilfrid Hartley is the incumbent.

Adjoining the chapel is the school, endowed in 1755, by Mrs. Thomlinson, relict of Dr. Thomlinson, with 100 which was vested in land now let for 7 10s. a year, for which the master teaches 10 free scholars.

North Lodge, so called from its situation at the north end of the town, is the occasional residence of Thomas Richardson, Esq., of Stamford Hill, near London. The building overlooks the Solway, and its two wings consist of six neat cottages, three on each side, occupied rent free by as many poor families. The British School, which was erected here by subscription, in 1840, has been endowed by the same benevolent individual, with 50 a year, viz. 25 each to the master and mistress, arising from the proceeds of a certain sum of money invested for this purpose in the Darlington Railway, and should the profits exceed 50 the teachers are to have the benefit. The weekly payments of the children attending this school, are 2d. each. Here is a Meeting House belonging to the Society of Friends, who form a numerous and highly respectable portion of the inhabitants of this neighbourhood. They hold monthly meetings at Wigton, Maryport, Allonby, and Beckfoot. The Independents have a chapel here, built about four years ago. Population of Allonby chapelry, in 1841, amounted to 811 souls; and here is a meat and vegetable market held every Wednesday.

West Newton is a pleasantly situated village, at the junction of two small rivulets, 3 miles E. by N. of Allonby, and 8 miles N.E. of Maryport, and W. by S. of Wigton. This portion of the parish formerly constituted a separate township, but is now united to that of Allonby, though still a separate manor, and contains 1763 acres of fertile land, rated at 2066 12s. 10d. West Newton is supposed to have been so called in contradistinction to Newton Arlosh, which lies to the east, in the parish of Abbey Holm, and its manor which formerly included Allonby, was granted by Alan to Odard de Wigton, who gave it to Ketel, father of Adam de Newton, who first assumed that name. It was subsequently carried in marriage by an heiress, to Roger Martindale, in whose family it continued for three or four generations, after which their heiress conveyed it to one of the Musgraves, from whom it passed by marriage to the Jolliffes, one of whom, Charles Jolliffe, Esq., is its present lord. The old baronial seat, or castle as it was called, some fragments of which still remain, stood at the west end of the village. West Newton is partly held by customary tenure, subject to a fine of two years' rent on the death of the lord or change of tenant, the remainder is freehold. A court is held here annually, by the lord of the manor, who is also a considerable land owner. The other principal proprietors are Jerh. Richmond, John Todd, Wm. Richardson, Joseph Wise, Joseph Timperon, Wm. Cape, J. Wilson, and Miss Matthews. Population of West Newton, in 1841, 335.

Captain Joseph Huddart, F.R.S., an elder brother of the Trinity House5, London, was a native of Allonby, where, having worked some time as a mechanic, he commenced the business of a fisherman; he gradually advanced to be captain in the East India Service, and was celebrated as a first rate naval geographer.

Blencogo township has a village, 4 miles W. by S. of Wigton, and contains about 1900 acres, rated at 1424 1s. 7d, belonging to 0.T. Windowe, Esq., the executors of the late Mrs. Boucher, T. Jackson, J. Parker, and a few others, with several resident yeomen. This manor was granted by Waldieve, to Odard de Logis, in whose posterity it seems to have continued for several generations. It was granted by Henry VII to Richard Cholmley, Kt., and was held by one of this name, probably the same, in the 35th of Henry VIII by fealty only, as of his manor of Wigton. Queen Elizabeth, in the 31st year of her reign, granted it to Walter Copinger and Thomas Butler, to hold by fealty only, and not in capite. It belonged to Richard Barwise, in 1635, and in the next century was possessed by the Tomlinsons, and is now held by Oliver Tomlinson Windowe, Esq., who holds a court here annually.

Blencogo is said to have derived its name from the Irish Bala, a town, corruptly Blayn, or Blen, and Cogo, from the Celtic Gogawr, a corn field, the place being formerly spelt Blengoqgon, which "denotes a copsy or woody village, favourable for corn." Hutchinson says chenopodium bonus henricus, or mercury, grows wild in the corner of the streets, as also does the hyoscyamus niger, or black henbane, which, though poisonous to men, dogs, and birds, does not affect cows, goats, horses, and swine, but is very grateful to the last mentioned; as also does the artemisia abscinthium, or common wormwood. Population in 1841, 211.

Rev. Jonathan Boucher, M.A., was born here, in 1737, and, after his return from America, where he had spent several years, published "A View of the Causes and Consequences of the American Revolution." He was also an able coadjutor to Mr. Hutchinson, in his compilation of the History and Antiquities of Cumberland; and spent 14 years preparing a provincial and archeological Lexicon, as a supplement to Johnson's Dictionary, but it was never published. He died at Epsom, of paralysis, in 1804, aged 67 years.

Dundraw township has a small village of its own name, 3 miles W. of Wigton, and contains 2190 acres of fertile land, chiefly freehold, rated at 2427, mostly belonging to Sir W. Brisco, Mrs. Fell, and John Barnes, of Kelsick, with several other resident yeomen. The township includes also the small villages or hamlets of Kelsick, or Kelswick, 4 miles W. by N., Moor-row, 3 miles W., Weyrigg, or Wheyrigg6 4 miles W., and Waverbridqe, 2 miles W. of Wigton. Various etymologies have been given for the name Dundraw, but the most natural seems to be from the Celtic Durin-drach, a place sheltered from the storm. The manor was included in the grant made by Waldieve de Logis, who is said to have given it to his son Gilbert, who took the name of Dundraw; but it has long been in the possession of the Brisco family, and now belongs to Sir Wastel Brisco, Bt., who holds a court annually at Weyrigg. The soil is a deep strong loam, in a high state of cultivation. "Kelsick, (a Cald or Cold sike,) on the north eastern boundary of the parish, may seem to be the counterpart of Mealrigg on the north west.‡" Moor-row is, as its name implies, a row of houses contiguous to the moor, and is merely a continuation of Weyrigg. Population in 1841, 329.

Langrigg and Mealrigg constitute a township, containing 1960 acres, rated at 1988 14s., belonging to several proprietors, the largest of whom are Wm. Barwise, Esq., Mr, John Younghusband, Mr. John Pearson, the Rev. H. Wybergh, and the Clark, Miller, and Stamper families.

Langrigg is a pleasant village, consisting of several good houses, on a long ridge of land pointing eastward from Bromfield, 6 miles W. by S. of Wigton. The manor was given to Dolphin, son of Aylyard, but was possessed by the De Langrigqs, from the time of Henry III, till it passed to the Porters, from whom it came to the Osmotherleys. It was sold by the last of this family, the Rev. Salkeld Osmotherly, to Thomas Barwise, Esq., in 1735, and is now possessed by William Barwise, Esq., of Langrigg Hall - a good mansion, occupying a delightful situation, a little north of the village.

Mealrigg, or Meldrigg, is a small hamlet, consisting of seven farm houses, situate at convenient distances from each other, on a ridge of good land; and its name is supposed to be a corruption of Millrigg from some windmill having once stood here. It is situate 8 miles W. by S. of Wigton; and here is a spring supposed to possess some medicinal properties. Population of the township, in 1841, 262.


*Munghu, or Mungo, in the ancient Pictish language, signified one dearly beloved. He is said to have been of royal blood amongst the Picts, and was bishop of Glashu, or Glasgow. Having devoted his whole life to the duties of his mission, in the propagation of the gospel, he died in 610, aged 85 years.

† "Allerdale itself, however, as well as this its lord, Allan, are probably derivative names from the contiguous little stream Elne, or Ellen; which, like sundry congenial names (in Germany, in particular) of streams of water, got its name from the alni, or alder trees, with which its banks may be supposed to have abounded." - Hutchinson.

‡ Hutchinson.


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




1. Holm-Cultram, i.e. Abbey Holme or Holme Cultram parish.
2. The Solway Frith is now the Solway Firth.
3. West Newton is now Westnewton.
4. Allonby is no longer fashionable; Bulmer's Directory of 1901 still calls it so, but the baths had closed by this date. The herring fishery, which Bulmer says had about 50 boats in the 1860's was also much reduced by 1901, boats no longer being used; the remaining fishing being carried out with stake nets. Allonby today is a quiet, attractive sea-side village.
5. Trinity House - the authority responsible for the upkeep of lighthouses and provision of harbour pilots.
6. Moor-row is now Moor Row, and Kelsick and Wheyrigg are the usual spellings today.

19 June 2015

Steve Bulman