Cleator Parish

  Is about three miles in length from north to south, and 1 mile in breadth from east to west, extending between the rivers Keeble1 and Ehen, and containing the large village of Cleator, distant about two miles north of Egremont, and five miles S.E. by S. of Whitehaven. A hamlet of neat houses with a good Inn, was built in Cleator Moor, in 1846, and several other neat cottages have recently been erected in this parish, which abounds in iron ore, coal, lime, and brick clay. There are in the parish 151 cottages, chiefly occupied by the workmen employed at the large flax mill and iron forge, Hematite iron works, the coal works, &c. The flax mill, at which about 300 hands are employed, is fitted up with 850 spindles, put in motion by water wheels equal to the power of 90 horses. The iron ore pits in this parish and neighbourhood are very productive, yielding weekly about 1500 tons of excellent ore. The Hematite Iron Company's Works, on Cleator Moor, were commenced in 1842, and when finished, will employ upwards of 500 men. There are five steam engines, of the aggregate power of 205 horses, and three furnaces capable of turning out 240 tons of pig iron weekly. The Hematite pig iron is made here from red ore alone, without an admixture of iron stone, and is, perhaps, the first place in England where such a process has been adopted. The soil, which is all freehold, has a large proportion of clay, and is naturally wet, except a few small parcels of light limestone land; but its mineral treasures render it highly valuable. The parish contains 763 souls, and 2839 rateable acres of land, which is rated at 3533. The principal proprietors are Thomas Ainsworth, Esq., who has a neat mansion here, called Flosh, erected in 1832. The Messrs. Fisher, Lindow, Robertson, Jenkinson, Mawson, and Dean, H. Senhouse. Esq. capt. J. R. Walker, Mrs. Smith, and the Carron Foundry Company are also proprietors in this parish, which (with Egremont) claims a right of common on the adjacent mountain of Dent, an eminence on the east side of the river Ehen.

Major-general Wyndham is lord of the manor of Cleator common, which affords excellent pasturage for sheep. The manor of Cleator belonged in 1315 to the monastery of St. Bees. On an inquisition of knight's fees in Cumberland. in the 35th of Henry VIII, it was found that the free tenants of Cleator held it jointly of the king in capite, as of his castle of Egremont, by the ninth part of a knight's fee, and 12d. sea-wake; but it has long been enfranchised.

The Church is a small edifice dedicated to St. Leonard, and was rebuilt a few years ago. It was wholly appropriated to the Abbev of Saint Mary, at Calder, and is now a perpetual curacy in the patronage and appropriation of T. R. G. Braddyll, Esq., of Conishead Priory, Lancashire. The Rev. Wm. Morley Jukes is the incumbent of the curacy, which was certified to the governors of queen Anne's bounty at 6 13s. 4d., of which 2 was paid by the crown and the rest by the impropriator. A Roman road from Egremont Castle to Cockermouth passed through the parish, and it is described as being eighteen feet wide, and formed of cobbles and freestone, but it was cleared away in 1815, at Todholes.

Wath2 is a hamlet in this parish, with a few scattered houses and a corn mill, about four miles S. E. from Whitehaven. Crossfield is another small hamlet in the parish, near to which is an enclosure, said to have been a Quakers' burial ground, still called Meeting-house Croft, the property of capt. J. R. Walker, of Gilgarran.

Mr. Wm. Litt. who wrote two very interesting works, entitled Wrestliana and Henry and Mary, illustrative of the manners and customs which prevailed in the neighbouring parishes during the last century, was born at Bowthorn, in this parish.


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




1. The river Keeble is now the Keekle.
2. Wath is now Wath Brow.

29 April 2008

Steve Bulman