Dalston Parish

  > Extends about six miles in length, and three miles in breadth; being bounded on the E. by Leath Ward, on the W. by the parishes of Thursby and Westward, on the N. by Cummersdale, High Blackwell, and Wreay townships; and on the S. by the parish of Sebergham. The population of the parish in 1841 was 2874 souls, and it contains 12,413 acres of land, of the gross value of £15,129, consisting in general of a dry loam, except near Dalston village, where it is gravelly, and is mostly "laid down to grass for pasturage and meadow," but all kinds of grain thrive well in every part of this extensive parish. A great part of the arable land lies rather low, inclining gently to the river Caldew, which flows northward, and has upon its well-wooded banks three large cotton mills, an iron forge, a flax mill, and two corn mills, all of which are in Buckhow-bank1 township, but close to the village of Dalston. The parish is also refreshed by the Raugh, Ivegill and Shalk rivulets, and is remarkable for antiquities and ancient mansions, amongst which is Rose Castle, the seat of the bishop of Carlisle. It is divided into the following six townships, viz., Buckhowbank, Cumdevock2, Dalston, Hawkesdale, Ivegill, and Raughton3 and Gatesgill.

dalston2.jpg (17231 bytes)Dalston township has a large and populous village of its own name, pleasantly situated on the picturesque banks of the Caldew, four miles S. by W. of Carlisle. It contains 944 inhabitants, and 657 acres of fertile land, belonging to several proprietors, of whom Mrs. and Mr. Joseph Richardson are the principal, but the earl of Carlisle is lord of the manor. The cotton manufacture was first introduced here by Mr. George Hodson, from Manchester, about the year 1780, since which the population has been greatly augmented. A market for flesh is held here every Friday. An ancient cross, raised on several steps, and bearing many coats of arms, amongst which are those of bishop Kite, stands at the east end of the village. The church, dedicated to St.dalston1.jpg (21724 bytes) Michael, is a neat edifice, occupying a pleasant situation, and now about to undergo considerable repairs. The benefice is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £8 18s. 1½d., but, after the Restoration, it was augmented with corn tythes to the amount of £30 a year, and with a legacy of £300 left by bishop Smith, which was expended in the purchase of land adjoining the vicarage, so that the benefice is now worth about £200 per annum. The bishop of Carlisle is patron, and the Rev. John Wordham Dunn, B.A. is the present incumbent. His lordship has exchanged the corn tithes of Dalston township, for the small tithes of the Rose estate. Dr. Paley, archdeacon of Carlisle, was vicar of this parish, and his successor, the late Rev. Walter Fletcher, A.M., chancellor of the diocese, who died in 1846, enjoyed this living for fifty-three years, to whose memory there is a handsome marble monument, with a bust, in the chancel, erected by subscription, and executed by M.A. Watson, of London, a distinguished artist, who is a native of this place. In 1847, George Cowen, Esq., presented to the church a handsome organ, by Nicholson, of Newcastle. At Ivegill, is a Chapel of Ease, and in this village is a Methodist Chapel.

The Grammar School, at Dalston, is open to all the children of the parish, at a low quarterage. It appears to have been founded at an early period, but part of the original endowment was lost during the rebellion, in the reign of Charles I. Bishop Rainbow and others, made an addition amounting to an £110 but it is now reduced to £60 a year. In 1696, bishop Smith endowed this school with New-hall estate, in Hawkesdale, consisting of a cottage, and about eight acres of land, which had been forfeited by one John Lowther, who was executed for the murder of George Briscoe6. The land, cottage, and barn, are now let for £22 10s. per annum. The commissioners for enclosing the common lands in this parish, about the year 1806, granted an allotment of land, to erect a new school, with a house for the master, who has usually from 60 to 90 boys and girls under his care. The school, which had been rebuilt by bishop Smith, was taken down in 1815, when the present comfortable edifice was erected by subscription. In 1847, the sum of £200 was left to this school by Mrs. Fletcher and Mrs. Hodgson, executrixes of the late chancellor Fletcher, who was the last surviving trustee to the will of John Tiffin, of Brownelson, whereby a sum of money was at his disposal for charitable purposes. In 1814, Miss Strong bequeathed the interest of £100 to be paid to a schoolmistress, for the education of poor girls in Dalston, under the direction of the bishop, who is also trustee and governor of the Grammar School. In 1726, Dr. Benson left the interest of £50 to the poor of this parish. The vicar and sixteen of the resident land owners, are trustees for this charity.

There was anciently a hermitage near Dalston, which, in 1343, was occupied by a recluse called Hugh de Lilford; "but where his cell was, or when, or by whom it was first constructed, there is no record or tradition to point out." Annexed to it was a chapel, dedicated to Sir Wynomius, the bishop. It is supposed by some to have stood at the place now called Chapel Flat, in a deep and romantic part of the vale of Caldew, environed by rocks and hanging woods. There was formerly a circle of rude stones near the village, ten yards in diameter, supposed to have been the remains of a Druid's temple; and at a little distance from them was a tumulus, three yards high, and eight in diameter. On the rich vale of Dalston was a large earthen embankment, called a "Bar,"* or Barrow4, extending from Dalston Hall to Cumdevock, a distance of three miles, raised for the purpose of protection against the incursions of the Scottish moss troopers. Near this embankment several "bar houses" were erected, and occupied by people, whose duty it was, on the approach of the enemy to give an alarm, by the ringing of bells and blowing of trumpets, on the sound of which the inhabitants drove their cattle, &c. behind the bar for safety.

Dalston Hall, now a farm house, is a very ancient building, but the date of its erection cannot now be ascertained. Remains of ancient grandeur are visible on many parts of it, and at the end of a dark passage is a strong iron gate, which was intended to secure the chapel, now used as a milk house. Upon the cornice, above some curiously carved spouts, is placed a head, said to be of Roman sculpture; and in the field fronting the hall are traces of a Roman camp, the ditch and vallum of which, on one side, are still tolerably perfect, and near to it is a barrow.

The Dalston family, though dispossessed of the barony, retained the surrounding estate, called the manor of Little Dalston, and a younger branch of them was seated at this hall till the male line became extinct by the death of Sir George Dalston, Bart. It was purchased by Monkhouse Davison, Esq., in 1761 for £5060; and was sold in 1795, to John Sowerby, Esq., a native of Cummersdale, who left this neighbourhood in very humble circumstances and went to London, where he amassed wealth to the amount of £700,000. It is now the property of his son, col. Thomas Sowerby, who is lord of the manor of Little Dalston, which pays arbitrary fines and a customary rent.

Dalston Barony, which appears to have been co-extensive with the parish, was granted by Ranulph de Meschines to Robert de Vallibus, brother of the first baron of Gilsland, who assumed the surname of Dalston. It was possessed by his descendants till king John gave Cumberland to David, king of Scotland, who settled this barony on one Morrison; but in the following reign it was seized by the English crown, with which it continued till 1230, when Henry III granted to "Walter, bishop of Carlisle, and his successors, the manor of Dalston, with the advowson of the church there, with sac and soke and woods and mills, and all other appurtenances: to hold the same disafforested, with the power to assart, and make enclosures and dispose of the wood at their will and pleasure without the view or interruption of the foresters, or other officers, and that they shall be free from suits and summonses, and pleas of the forest; and have liberty to hunt within the said manor, and shall hold it as a forest, as the king held the same before the said grant. The said bishop and his successors to find one canon regular, to say mass every day in the church of St. Mary, Carlisle, for the souls of the king, and of his father, and all his ancestors and successors." The barony was divided into five parts, viz., the manor of Great Dalston, and the small dependant or mense lordships of Little Dalston, Cardew, High Head, and Gateskill and Raughton. Great Dalston comprises the principal portion of the parish, and is a mixed manor, consisting of freehold, copyhold, and customary tenements, with some leaseholders for life. The wife of a copyhold, or customary tenant cannot be deprived of dower, in this manor, by the husband selling or surrendering his estate, unless she join in such surrender. It has been settled by several decrees in chancery, that none of the tenants of Dalston, except badgers and drovers, shall pay toll at Carlisle.

John Miller, F.R.S., the celebrated engine maker, of the firm of Miller, Ravenhill, and Co. London, is a native of this place.

Buckhowbank, (East and West) a township and populous suburb of Dalston village, is situated on the east side of the Caldew, where there are two corn mills, a large flax mill, an iron forge, a saw mill, and three extensive cotton mills; two of which. containing about 12,000 spindles, are worked under the firm of Jacob Cowen and Sons, and, together with the forge and one corn mill, are the property of George Cowen, Esq. The other cotton mill, the property of col. Sowerby, is worked by Carrick, Blenkinsop & Co. and gives employment to several persons. At the iron works here, called Dalston Forge, are made all kinds of agricultural implements; large quantities of cotton and thread are manufactured at the Flax-mill, by Lowthian and Parker, who have also an establishment at Carlisle. The township contains 626 inhabitants and 2130 acres of excellent wheat land, viz. 1063 in west, and 1067 in east Buckhowbank. The bishop of Carlisle is lord of the manor, except that part of the township which is in Little Dalston manor, of which colonel Sowerby is lord, and the principal land owner of Buckhowbank west, where Robert Blamire, Esq. and Mr. Thurnam, of Carlisle, have small estates; the chief proprietors of Buckhowbank east are Thos. Salkeld, Esq., and Mr. George Robinson, but Mr. John Bewley and a few others have small estates here.

Brownelson, two farms in this township were formerly given to the priory of Carlisle by Henry Dalston, the second of that family, who resided at Dalston Hall.

Unthank and Lingey-close-head are two small hamlets in this township.

Cumdevock township contains a straggling village of its own name, 1½ mile S.W. of Dalston, 361 inhabitants, and 2190 acres of land, the property of several owners, many of whom are resident, but the bishop of Carlisle is lord of the manor. It also contains the hamlet of Cardew 1½ mile W. by N. of Dalston. The manor of Cardew was anciently called Kar-thew, signifying in the Pagan language of the Danes, God's fen, and consisted of about fourteen customary tenements which were enfranchised in 1672, by George Denton Esq., reserving only a small quit rent and the royalties. The manor was sold in 1686, to an ancestor of its present lord, the earl of Lonsdale, who is owner of Cardew-hall, now a farm house, where resided Mr. John Denton, whose curious and voluminous manuscript is copied at length in Hutchinson's History of Cumberland. His descriptions of this county, written about the middle of the sixteenth century, was continued by Mr. Gilpin down to his own time. Cardew Lees is another hamlet in this township, 1½; mile N.W. of Dalston, and is comprised within the manor of Parton. The Gill, another small hamlet, is partly in this, and partly in Hawkesdale township, one mile S.W. of Dalston, near to which is Thomlinson Lodge, a neat building in the Elizabethan style, erected about eight years ago, by its present proprietor, Mr. W.A. Thomlinson.

Shalkfoot is also a hamlet in Cumdevock township, 2½ miles west of Dalston. The brook, at the foot of which this place stands, and which is variously called Shalk-beck, Shawk-beck, Chalk-beck, and Choke-beck, runs into a level bog, 2 miles long, and a quarter of a mile broad, formerly consisting of reeds and bulrushes, but latterly, by a judicious system of drainage, converted into arable and pasture land. The rivulet rises on Warnel Fell, and divides this parish from that of Westward. It joins Lough-beck, and they together take the name of Wampool. On its rugged and rocky banks are chalk quarries, where three different beds of stone are wrought, viz., one of red free stone, of an open grit; another of very white free stone, of a close body,; and a seam of limestone. The extent of the workings, the quality of the stone, and an inscription on one of the cliffs, clearly prove that the Romans obtained materials here for the erection of that part of the wall westward from Carlisle. Christ's church, in Botchergate, Carlisle, was built with stone from these quarries, and it is probable that stone for erecting the cathedral and city walls, was procured here. There is, on a protuberant cliff, seven or eight yards above the rivulet, the following Roman inscription -

"Legionis Secundę Augustę milites Posuerunt Cohors tertia Cohors quarta"

The fact of this rock retaining an inscription since the Romans were in Britain, proves the durability of the fine free stone of these quarries. The cliff formerly rose several yards above the inscription, and was called Tom Smith's Leap, from a person of that name having thrown himself over the awful precipice to avoid being taken prisoner, and was killed on the rocks beneath. In this quarry are a great variety of petrifications, amongst which are shells of different kinds. About a quarter of a mile south of this place, is a sulphurous spring, of a very greasy nature, rising from a bed of grey limestone. The Green Quarries have yielded large quantities of excellent red slates. Lady Hill's Quarry is on the west side of the stream in Westward parish; and here are extensive old workings, in which there were once a few stones, with Roman names upon them. Cunning garth seems to have been a Roman entrenchment, and near the quarries are several ancient barrows, one of which was called Toddle Hill, forty yards in diameter, and seven yards high. Several urns, containing ashes, skulls, bones, &c. have been found on this hill, which has been entirely taken away for the reparation of the roads, and for building purposes.

Gatesgill and Raughton township contains 2798 acres, belonging to several owners, some of whom are resident, and the other principal proprietors are Lord Brougham, Thos. Salkeld, Esq., Mrs. Watson, and Mr. Edward Bond. Gatesgill and Raughton are two neighbouring hamlets, distant about two miles S.E. of Dalston. The former was anciently called Gatescale, "being a whinney place where the inhabitants of Raughton made Scales of Shields for the goats." The name Raughton is derived from the Raugh rivulet. At the conquest this manor was part of Inglewood forest, and was first cultivated by one Ughtred, in whose posterity it remained for many generations, and afterwards passed to the Stapletons and Musgraves, one of whom sold it to the tenants in fee. In Burns's time there were in this manor 22 freehold tenants, who paid £1 8s. 8¾d. yearly free rent, and did suit and services at the lord's court, when called upon; paid annually £2 13s. 2d. to the chief lord of Inglewood forest, and sent a representative to the forest court at Hesket, every St. Barnabus day.

Hawkesdale township contains 2987 acres of land, belonging to several owners, of whom the bishop of Carlisle, Thomas Salkeld, Esq., W. Blamire, Esq., R. Twentyman, and the Misses Wilkins, are the principal, and extends along the west side of the Caldew, from one to three miles S. of Dalston. In 1803 the bridge here was carried away by a rosecastle.jpg (34546 bytes)great flood. Rose Castle which is in this township, and so called perhaps, from the sweetness of its situation, in a pleasant vale, 7 miles S. by W. of Carlisle, has evidently been built at different periods, and was, like other castles, so constructed as to afford the family protection from the attacks of an enemy. Until the 1652, when the castle was partly destroyed by Oliver Cromwell, the walls and ditch were kept in good repair. Bishop Rainbow expended upwards of £1100 in repairing this castle, though defeated in his trial against his negligent predecessors for dilapidations. Dr. Vernon, who held the see of Carlisle from 1791 to 1807, greatly improved and beautified the castle, having completely repaired the principal front, which had long worn a decayed and irregular aspect. Indeed, all the bishops of Carlisle, from the revolution down to the present time, have contributed to the reparation of this episcopal palace, which is now occupied by the Right Rev. and Hon. Hugh Percy, D.D., who was installed bishop of Carlisle, in 1826, and who erected Percy's tower, and greatly improved the palace. The sash windows, which ill accorded with the gothic architecture, have been altered so as to correspond with the rest of the building, which is in form nearly two sides of a square, with north and south fronts, commanding a picturesque view up and down the vale of Caldew, and having before them beautiful lawns, decorated with groups of trees, and skirted with tasteful gravel walks. Some of the apartments are very elegant, and all are neat and convenient. The small family chapel is decorated with a piece of tapestry, in which is interwoven the account of the infant Moses being found in the ark of bulrushes by Pharoah's daughter. Strickland's tower, which in its original form was a complete quadrangle, with five towers, and a number of turrets, encompassed by a mantle wall, is supposed to have been the ancient keep of the castle. The bishop, for the time being, is allowed to reimburse himself by the sale of wood growing on the demesne, for the expenses incurred in repairing the castle, near to which are some remains of two small square fortifications, but they are almost defaced, the ground having been so tilled.

Ivegill, or High Head township, contains 1651 acres, the property of several proprietors, many of whom are resident, and the other principal owners are lord Brougham, T.G. Bradyll, Esq., W. Blamire, Esq., and Mrs. Wilson. It is situated on the banks of the Ive rivulet, 4 miles S. by W. of Dalston. Here, in a romantic situation, on the brinks of a precipice, stands High Head Castle, formerly occupied by the Richmonds, but now only a farm house. It has no remains of strength or grandeur, except a gateway tower, with an exploratory turret at one corner, and the curtain wall with the shattered remains of a tower above the rivulet. About the middle of the last century, it was repaired, and the apartments finished in a most sumptuous manner, by a Mr. Brougham, but its only tenements for some time after were "swallows and jackdaws:" it was at length let to a farmer. The manor of High Head, or Pela de Hivehead, as anciently written, was long held by the Hercla family, but on the attainder of Andrew, earl of Carlisle5, it was forfeited to the crown, and was granted to Ranulph de Dacre. It was held by William L'Englise, in the 18th of Edward III by the service of delivering a red rose at the king's exchequer, in Carlisle. In the reign of Henry VIII it was held by William Restwood, who sold both the castle and manor to John Richmond, Esq., whose descendants have since possessed them. The tenants pay arbitrary fines, and do boon service. Here is a Chapel of Ease, to Dalston, and now under the ministry of the Revd. Richard Dugdale, B.A. It was erected by William, son of William L'Englise, and stands close to the castle. The advowson has always been vested in 16 trustees, chosen from the different hamlets in the chapelry, which appears to include Middlesceugh and Braithwaite. It has twice received queen Anne's bounty, with which land was purchased near Keswick and Hesket -New-Market. In 1795, Hutchinson says it had a "stock or endowment of £300. secured in the hands of John Gate, Esq., of Whitehaven, as executor of Henry Richmond Brougham, Esq., at £5 per cent." The whole income was then £30 a year, including a small stipend paid annually from the castle. The interest of £300 as ancient chapel stock, and 20s a year, the gift of Isabella Miller, are paid annually to the curate, the latter sum appears to have been intended by the donor, for the person who performed the duties of clergyman and schoolmaster.

*The names "Barhouse lane," "Trumpet croft," " Bellgate," &c. are still retained.


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




1. Buckhow-bank is now referred to as Buckabank.
2. Cumdevock is now Cumdivock.
3. Raughton is pronounced "Raffton."
4. The remains of the "bar" referred to as "extending from Dalston Hall to Cumdevock" is presumably what is now referred to as the Bishop's Dyke, still visible near Dalston Hall.
5. The fate of Andrew de Harcla is described under the Carlisle entry.
6. Bill Anderson (to whom many thanks) has found an entry in "Bonded Passengers to America" by Peter Wilson Coldham, printed by Baltimore Genealogical Publishing Co Inc. in 1983, to the effect that the death sentence was commuted to transportation to Barbados in July 1699. His residence is quoted as being Rose Causeway, Dalston. Transportation was commonly for a fixed period of years, so he may have returned to England; if anyone has information on his eventual fate, I would be pleased to hear from you.

For Dalston connections with cock-fighting and Holy Wells, see Sports and Festivities.

Dalston has its own web-site too - see www.dalston.org.uk.

Photos © Steve Bulman.

19 June 2015

© Steve Bulman