Dean Parish

  > Is bounded on the north by Brigham, on the east by Loweswater, on the south by Lamplugh and Arlecdon, and on the west by Distington and Workington, being about three miles in length and breadth, and lying on both sides of the river Marron, which is formed by the union of several small streams, near Ullock, and flows northward to the Derwent. The soil varies from a rich loom to a light gravel, and is generally fertile in the production of wheat, oats, and potatoes. Limestone abounds at Dean, Dean-scales, and Pardshaw; white freestone, of the best quality, at Branthwaite and red freestone on the common, where there are two quarries for the use of the parishioners, and where coal is also got, and it is expected the latter will shortly be worked more extensively than it has been hitherto. The parish is divided into three townships, viz., Branthwaite, Dean, Ullock, Pardshaw, and Dean-scales1, and contains 6360 acne of land, and 876 inhabitants. It is rated at 5786 10s,, and the principal land owners are Henry Curwen, Esq., of Workington, John Harrison, Esq., of Whitehaven, and Mr. John Hudson, of Ullock, but gen. Wyndham is lord of the manor, which passed with the other possessions of the ancient lords of Allerdale, to the Lucys, and was granted by the sixth earl of Northumberland to Sir Thomas Wharton, Knight, who was his steward, from whom it passed to the duke of Somerset, but, as before stated, is now the property of general Wyndham. The land is all freehold, except a few small plots, for which a 20d. fine is paid by virtue of a decree in chancery.

Dean township has a small village near the east side of the Marron, five miles S.W. of Cockermouth, and six S.E. by E. of Workington. The church, dedicated to Saint Oswald, is an ancient structure, near the village, consisting of a nave, chancel, one side aisle and porch, with a bell turret, carrying two bells. The turret and chancel are surmounted with two ancient crosses. It Is said to have been rebuilt about the year 1447, and consecrated by the bishop of Dromore. The benefice is a rectory, valued in the king's books at 19 13s. 1d. In 1426, Henry Percy, earl of Northumberland, presented to this living, but the advowson passed to the Wharton family in the seventeenth century, and was granted by Philip, duke of Wharton, to Matthew Smailes, Esq., from whom, after several transfers, it came to the late rector, the Revd. Miles Tarn, and is now possessed by the present incumbent, the Rev. Samuel Sherwen, who resides in the rectory house, which is contiguous to the church. The living is worth about 320 per annum. At the enclosure of the commons, about seventy years ago, land was allotted in lieu of tithes. In the church yard is an old sepulchral cross, on an octagonal flight of steps; and at the church stile is the Grammar School, which was founded and endowed with 10 a year by John Fox (a native of this place) of the Goldsmith's Company, in London, who still appoint the master on the recommendation of the inhabitants. The school was rebuilt in 1779. Until within the last few years the poor of this parish had several small benefactions periodically distributed amongst them, but they have been discontinued in consequence of the commissioners' auditor refusing to have them paid out of the poor rates. Population of Dean township in 1841, 226.

Branthwaite is a scattered village on the steep banks of the river Marron, 4 miles S.E. of Workington. Here is a paper mill, belonging to Mr. R. L. Pearson, and a saw mill belonging to Mr. Stewart Jameson. The excellent white freestone found in this township, is already noticed. General Skelton, who died in 1737, devised Branthwaite to captain Jones, whose son took the name of Skelton, but general Wyndham is now lord of the manor, the customary tenants of which were enfranchised by Henry Skelton, Esq., on payment of 80 years purchase. Population in 1841, 300.

Ullock, Pardshaw, and Dean-scales township contains a population of 350 souls. Ullock is a village of dispersed houses, on the banks of the Marron, at the southern extremity of the parish, 5 miles S.W. by S. of Cockermouth.

Pardshaw, or Pardsey, is a small hamlet, 4 miles S.S.W. of Cockermouth; and Pardshaw Hall is another small hamlet in this township, 4 miles S. by W. of the same town. There is here an ancient Meeting House, belonging to the Society of Friends; and Burn says Pardsey Cragg, was formerly a "most famous place for Quakers, being remote from any church." Pardshaw school is endowed with 3 12s. a year, the interest of 100 left in 1822, by Sarah Fletcher.

Dean-scales, or, "Shields in Dean for the Cattle," is a hamlet, of good houses, 3 miles S.W. by S. of Cockermouth.

Biography - John Dalton, M.D., who was born at Dean in 1709, was an admired poet, and author of verses descriptive of the vale of Keswick, and its neighbourhood. In 1750, he adapted to the stage Milton's2 "Masque of Comus," when it was represented at Drury Lane Theatre for the benefit of Elizabeth Foster, Milton's grand-daughter. The prologue on the occasion was written by Dr. Johnson3, and spoken by Garrick4


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




1. "The parish is divided into three townships, viz., Branthwaite, Dean, Ullock, Pardshaw, and Dean-scales," should read "The parish is divided into three townships, viz., Branthwaite, Dean, and Ullock, Pardshaw, and Dean-scales."
2. Milton - John Milton, 1608-1674.
3. Dr. Johnson - Samuel Johnson, 1709-1784, writer of the first English dictionary.
4. Garrick - David Garrick, 1717-1779, one of the foremost Shakespearean actors of his age.

19 June 2015

Steve Bulman