Otherwise Cornhow, or Corno, about three miles in length, and two in breadth, contains several scattered houses and the hamlet of Middleton Place, 2½ miles N. by E. of Bootle, and four miles S.S.E. of Ravenglass. It is bounded on the north by Waberthwaite, on the south by Bootle, and on the east by a range of lofty fells, extending to the mountain of Black Combe. Many of the farms are occupied by their respective owners, and the parish is remarkable for the longevity of its inhabitants: in 1768, Mark Noble died here at the age of 113; in 1772, John Noble died, aged 114; and in 1790, William Troughton died at the age of 102. Besides the resident yeomen, the other principal land owners are lord Muncaster, Mr. William Falcon, Mrs. Ann Falcon, Richard Hobson M. D., Messrs. R. and J. Pickthall, John and Joseph Benn, J. B. Postlethwaithe, Thos. Jackson, capt. John Willock, John Jackson, and a few others.
The parish contains about 4200 acres, exclusive of roads, of which 3005 are inclosed, and the remainder in open common or pasture. The soil on the low or west side of the parish consists of a deep clay or loam, exceedingly productive in the growth of wheat and other grain; and on the high grounds it is for the most part light and dry, yielding large quantities of green and other crops; and here numerous flocks of sheep are grazed and fattened. Those in search of the picturesque would be amply repaid by visiting a deep ravine on the Corney Hall estate, called "Black Dub Gill," where the astonished spectator cannot fail to be agreeably surprised at the majestic rocks which rise one above another, clothed with wood of every hue, while the deep sound of the Annas,* which flows through this romantic glen, adds not a little to the general interest, making it one of the most delightful places in the neighbourhood. Iron ore exists in several parts of the parish, and many attempts have been made to obtain it, but the last at Kinmont was the most successful, the works having been carried on for six or seven years, by a spirited company from Kendal. Corney has long been noted for its superior breed of cattle, consisting of the long horns (now extinct), the short horns, and lastly the puddings, all of which have, on several occasions, obtained premiums at the different agricultural societies' exhibitions.
The manor belonged from the reign of king John to 'Michael the Falconer,' whose posterity assumed the name of Corney, and in whom it continued till the family became extinct in the reign of Hen. III, when the heiress brought it in marriage to the Penningtons of Muncaster, with whom it still remains, so that lord Muncaster is now lord of the manor of Corney and Middleton Place; and although several of the estates have been enfranchised, there are still many customary tenants. Geo. Harrison, Esq., of Whitehaven, is lord of certain lands, messuages, &c., and a few of the owners are lords of their own lands. About 60 acres of land, called Whituray, pays poor and highway rates to Waberthwaite, and a prescription or modus of 2s. a year to the rector of Corney. The Church, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, and occupying an elevated site near the centre of the parish, 4 miles S. S. E. of Ravenglass, and 2 miles N. by E. of Bootle, is a plain edifice, with a belfry carrying two bells; and there is now a subscription being raised for building a new vestry. It formerly belonged to the Abbey of St. Mary, York, which presented to the living in 1536, but is now a rectory in the patronage of the earl of Lonsdale, the advowson being purchased of John, first baron Muncaster, in 1803. The Rev. Clement Fox, M.A. is the incumbent. It is valued in the king's books at £9 17s. 1d., and was certified to the governors of queen Anne's bounty, at £22 11s. 10d. The tithes were commuted in 1845, for a yearly rent charge of £147 apportioned on 2719A. 2R. 9P. of land; but of this sum £2 9s. is charged upon 34A. 3R. 24P. of glebe, so that the actual sum is £144 11s. On the moor (which was divided in 1818) are evident marks of a Roman entrenchment, consisting of a large circle, 65 yards in diameter, encompassed by a deep ditch, 25 feet broad. The population of the parish in 1841, was 273. Mr Edward Troughton, in eminent mathematical instrument maker, of London. was born at the farm house called Welcome Nook, in this parish. The interest of £30 has been left to the poor of the parish of Corney, who do not receive parochial relief, and it is distributed annually on Christmas day.
Middleton Place is a small hamlet about a mile north of the parish church. It was once the residence of, and gave name to, the ancient family of Middletons.
High Corney is another small hamlet, 3¼ miles N.N.E. of Bootle; and Parknook, which contains a good Inn, and a grocer's and blacksmith's shop, is 1¼ mile N.N.W. of the parish church. The manor court is held at Parknook.
*The Annas takes its rise on Corney Fell, and after flowing through the parish, enters that of Bootle, which it divides from Whitbeck, finally emptying itself into the sea at the hamlet of Annaside. On the 29th of July, 1836, the inhabitants of this parish were suddenly alarmed by the bursting of a waterspout on Corney Fell. The mountain in question presented one entire sheet of water, which came rolling down with awful impetuosity, and in its course demolishing fences, tearing up and rendering impassable the roads, washing down several bridges, and inundating the low grounds to an extent never before known.
Mannix & Whellan, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Cumberland, 1847
19 June 2015
© Steve Bulman