Diocesan Histories : Carlisle




A glance through the pages of the Carlisle Diocesan Calendar shows that almost the whole of the machinery by which the diocese is worked has been recast, or invented since the beginning of the present [19th] century. Under, therefore, the title of the "Nineteenth Century," it is now proposed to give some account of such machinery, including under the term the educational and charitable institutions connected in their origin with the Church of England.

It is not necessary to repeat here, what has already been stated in the first chapter of this little book, as to the enlargement of the diocese in 1856 by the addition of a new archdeaconry to the solitary one which, from Bishop Ęthelwulf's consecration to Bishop Percy's death, constituted the diocese of Carlisle; and as to the more recent rearrangement and division of those two archdeaconries into three. Nor is it necessary to here repeat the information there given as to the deaneries and the parishes.

When the nineteenth century opened, Vernon-Harcourt was Bishop of Carlisle. In 1808 he became Archbishop of York, and was succeeded at Carlisle by Dr. Goodenough, Dean of Rochester, and eminent as a botanist. A magnificent herbarium formed by him in the last century was, on his death, given to the Carlisle Museum, where it long remained useless and neglected, until the corporation of Carlisle wisely transferred it to the authorities at the Kew Botanical Gardens. Traditions still linger in Carlisle of the
stately presence and figure of Dr. Goodenough, as he appeared for the first time in his cathedral,1 and of the Spartan discipline he maintained among his numerous progeny. Three of his sons held stalls in Carlisle cathedral, while his daughters were provided for by snug little arrangements out of the salaries of the officials of the Consistory Court of Carlisle. The Goodenoughs in the cathedral stalls of Carlisle were most energetic in carrying on the evil policy of interfering unduly in the political contests at Carlisle, and figure frequently in the local political caricatures and skits, as also did the more celebrated dean, Dr. Isaac Milner, president of Queen's college, Cambridge. Milner held the deanery from 1792 to 1820, thus almost covering the episcopates of Vernon-Harcourt and of Goodenough, 1791 to 1827. With both these prelates he was on friendly terms, though belonging to a widely different school of religious thought to what they did. This appears from a remark made by Dr. Paley, to a friend:-

"Why, yes; 1 told the Bishop of Carlisle (Dr. Vernon-Harcourt) that about the evangelical doctrines themselves I must leave him to judge, but that if he chose to hear them urged with great ability and placed in the most striking point of view, he must go and hear our dean."2

Paley, in a letter writes:-

"When the Dean of Carlyle preaches you may walk upon the heads of the people. All the meetings (i.e. the Dissenters), attend to hear him. He is, indeed, a powerful preacher."

Of the congregations the dean had to preach to, a graphic picture is presented in a letter from the dean's brother, the Reverend Joseph Milner, vicar of Hull, to a friend:-

"The people here (Carlisle), the aborigines [!], are well-behaved, simple people; the refinement, shall I say, or the lewdness and impudence of the southern part of our island, they know not. They have the sample, I take it, of the manners of the whole country in the time of James I; but they are withal very ignorant in religion: they wander as sheep without a shepherd. They seem, however, open to conviction; they have conscience. There are, here, some Methodist and Dissenting interests, but feeble and of little weight, nor is there a Dissenter here of any popularity, or, as it should seem, of any religions zeal.3 What a fine field for a pastor steady, fervent, intelligent, and charitable ! Pray ye to the Lord of the harvest, &c. I inculcate this duty on those I have access to; for it is a pitiable thing to see the ignorance of this place,- ignorance, rather than contempt of Divine truth, is its character. The Lord may, in His time, send them a supply. At present their state is lamentable beyond expression."4

This letter was written in 1797, and in it Joseph Milner makes one exception to his universal condemnation:-

"Old Mr. Fawcett . . . . who, I am glad to find in his old age, seems to be sitting at the feet of Jesus, and hearing his word."

In the year 1800 a son of "old Mr. Fawcett" was appointed, - greatly through the influence of Dean Milner, - perpetual curate of St. Cuthbert's church, Carlisle, - a post he retained until his death in 1851, at the age of eighty-two. In the Rev. John Fawcett, perpetual curate of St. Cuthbert's, the "aborigines" of Carlisle found a pastor such as Joseph Milner considered they required, "steady, fervent, intelligent, and charitable." Mr. Fawcett became, in succession to Dean Milner, the leader of the Evangelical party in Carlisle; and, though he had his enemies and his detractors, he attained a position of greater popularity and power in Carlisle than any clergyman had ever done before or has since, although nigh forty years have by now, passed over his grave, and although changes have been effected in Carlisle churches, and notably in his own church, which he would have denounced with vigour, yet his influence is by no means dead. Those who recollect him, his venerable appearance, and his preaching, will appreciate Dean Milner's remark about him, "That man is rich in the Scriptures."

In 1812 Bishop Goodenough started a project for establishing in Carlisle a school on the system known as Dr. Bell's, or the National System. A strong difference of opinion arose between the bishop and the dean over the religious difficulty; the bishop insisted that the children should be instructed in the liturgy and catechism of the Church of England, and should go with their teachers regularly to church every Sunday. To this last the dean and an influential party strongly objected, but the bishop carried his point,5 and the school, long known in Carlisle as the Central School was founded.6 To this school Dr. Goodenough paid the most assiduous attention; giving it his personal superintendence and spending in it several hours daily; nor did the controversy between bishop and dean interfere with their friendship, or prevent the dean from supporting a proposal that the chapter should subscribe to the school. Another difference (again a friendly one) arose between bishop and dean on the occasion of the establishment in Carlisle, by the dean in 1813, of an Auxiliary Bible Society. There existed all over the country great differences of opinion on the propriety of Churchmen associating with Dissenters in the management of Bible Societies,7 and the bishop stood aloof from the Carlisle Society, whose presidency was accepted by the then Lord Morpeth (George, sixth Earl of Carlisle). Of this society Mr. Fawcett was a great advocate, as also of the Church Missionary Society, of which a branch was formed in Carlisle in 1817. Of it the dean accepted the presidency, but he stood alone so far as regarded the cathedral clergy; the bishop also remained aloof, and among the laity few persons of rank or station enrolled their names in the list of supporters. A society for the relief of necessitous widows and orphans of the clergy in the diocese of Carlisle was founded in 1819, with apparently the concurrence of all the local church parties. This society only covers the ancient diocese, but the portion added in 1856 is covered by the Kendal Clerical Charity, which dates from 1786. In 1814 a local branch of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge was in existence in Carlisle, of which the Rev. John Brown was secretary and treasurer. A branch of the Society for Propagating the Gospel was established in 1835. Most of the other great Church societies have at various times established branches in the diocese, but so long as the Fawcett influence was in full vigour, and during the episcopates of Bishops Villiers and Waldegrave, the societies popular with the Evangelical party received the most support in and near the city of Carlisle. Of late years the tendency has been much more to equality.

Coming to purely local societies connected with the ancient diocese of Carlisle, in addition to the Society for the Relief of Necessitous Widows and Orphans, founded by Bishop Goodenough in 1819, a Carlisle Diocesan Clergy-Aid Society was established by Bishop Percy in 1838, the object of the Society being to aid in supplying assistant curates to aged or disabled incumbents of inadequate income, and to poorly-endowed parishes, which, from their area or population, require the services of two or more clergymen. The Carlisle Diocesan Education Society was founded in 1855, by Bishop Percy and Dean Tait (Archbishop of Canterbury), and others for the promotion and improvement of education throughout the diocese. During the earlier years of its existence the work of the Society was of a general character and considerable sums were spent on school building, extension, books, and apparatus. On the passing of the Elementary Education Act of 1870, the Society reconsidered its position, and came to the conclusion that the objects for which it was instituted would be best carried out by taking in hand as its special duty the important work of inspection and examination in religious knowledge, which the law of the land now left to voluntary agencies. A diocesan inspector of religious education was therefore appointed by the Society in 1872, and an assistant inspector has since been added. In the year just past the religious examination of 31,884 children has been inspected and reported upon, and 2,636 children and 150 pupil teachers have been examined on paper. Thirty-nine Board Schools have also been examined by the diocesan inspector. The Carlisle Diocesan Church Extension Society was established in 1862 by Bishop Waldegrave with the fourfold object of (i) of promoting the increase of church accommodation within the diocese, by aiding in the erection of new churches, and in the restoration and enlargement of old ones; (ii.) of aiding in the erection, or purchase, or enlargement of parsonages; (iii.) of assisting in augmenting benefices of small income; and (iv.) of promoting the provision of mission-rooms. Since its inauguration in 1862, up to the end of 1888, the Society has dispensed in grants £57,163 6s. 4d., which sum his been met from public and private sources by the sum of £316,974 10s. 10d. The result has been the building or restoring 128 churches, the building or improving of 94 parsonages, and the building or maintaining of 16 mission rooms. The work done by this Society in the diocese cannot be too highly estimated.

The diocese also has a Clerical Training Fund established in 1873, and a Missionary Students' Fund established in 1874, both doing good work. There is also a Church of England Temperance Society, of which the bishop is president. The Diocesan Clergy Aid Society (already spoken of) has the administration of two very useful funds. One, the Boutflower Memorial Fund for sick clergymen of the diocese, established in memory of the late Archdeacon Boutflower, who died in 1883: grants from it are available to enable a sick clergyman to obtain professional and other aid, rest from work, or change of air. The other, the Harvey Goodwin Rest Fund, which has been recently established by a few friends of Bishop Goodwin, in commemoration of his seventieth birthday; its purpose is to enable clergymen of small means to obtain a holiday from home, even though not suffering from sickness. These societies cover the whole diocese, but in addition to them there are many local ones, some of which, like the Carlisle Female Visiting Society, date from the last [18th] century.

Dr. Goodwin, on his appointment to the diocese of Carlisle, lost no time in establishing a Diocesan Conference. This has proved a most valuable wheel in the diocesan machinery, and has succeeded in eliciting weighty expressions of opinion from both clergy and laity on various important questions that have from time to time arisen, locally and nationally. The Constitution of the Conference is as follows:-



1. A Conference, consisting partly of Clergymen and partly of Laymen shall be from time to time convened under the presidency of the Bishop of the Diocese, for the purpose of taking counsel concerning questions affecting the religious and social interests of the country, and specially concerning those which immediately affect the well-being and efficiency of the Church of England.

2. The following Clergymen shall be members of the Conference:- The Dean and the Canons Residentiary, the Archdeacons, the Honorary Canons resident in the Diocese, the Rural Deans, the Proctors for the Clergy in Convocation, the Diocesan Inspector of Schools, and four Clergy elected from each Rural Deanery by the Ruridecanal Chapter.

3. The following Laymen (being Members of the Church of England) shall be Members of the Conference:-The Chancellor of the Diocese; a number not exceeding twelve, invited each year by the Bishop; and a number not exceeding eight, nominated for each Rural Deanery by the Lay Members of the Ruridecanal Meeting.

4. The Standing Committee shall have power to add to the Conference a number of Members not exceeding four, who may be either Clergymen or Laymen. The Hon. Treasurer and the Hon. Secretaries shall be ex officio Members.

5. Any elected Member, Clerical or Lay, failing to attend the Meetings of the Conference for two consecutive years shall cease to be a Member, but may be re-elected: and it shall be the duty of the Ruridecanal Chapter or Meeting to fill up his place for the remainder of the period for which he was elected.



1. The Bishop shall be Chairman.

2. The subjects discussed shall be such as shall be appointed by the Bishop, or as shall be introduced by permission of the Conference, due notice being given of any subject which any Member wishes to introduce.
Any resolution intended to he moved by any Member reading a paper, or introducing a subject, shall be forwarded to one of the Secretaries for the purpose of being printed and placed in the hands of the Members before the Session at which such resolution is to be moved.

3. In cases of voting upon any question, the Members of the Conference, Clerical or Lay, shall vote in general as one body. It shall, however, be competent to any five Members of the Conference to demand that the votes of Clerical and Lay Members taken separately: in which case a resolution shall not be regarded as carried, unless it be carried by a majority in each body, the Bishop in all cases having a casting vote.

4. As a general rule, Members of   the Conference shall only speak once upon each question, and for a limited time; fifteen minutes being allowed to the first speaker, and ten minutes to subsequent speakers.

5. The representatives of the press shall be admitted.

6. A Standing Committee shall be appointed annually, whose office it shall be to confer with the Bishop of the Diocese on matters connected with the Conference, and to transact any necessary business when the Conference is not in session; and the said Committee shall consist of the Secretaries, the Treasurer, and twelve other Members to be named by the Conference, and of whom six shall be Clergymen and six Laymen.


1. The Ruridecanal Chapter shall be constituted as follows:-

A. The Rural Dean (chairman).
B. All Incumbents in the Deanery.
C. All Priests officiating in the Deanery with the Bishop's Licence.
D. All Clergymen resident in the Deanery, who may receive an invitation from the official members of the Chapter (A, B, C).

The Archdeacon shall have the right of attending any Chapter within his Archdeaconry, but shall not have the right of taking the chair.

A book containing the minutes of the Chapter shall be kept by the Rural Dean.

The subjects discussed at the Chapter shall be (1) such as may be directed by the Bishop; (2) such as may be agreed upon by the Members of the Chapter.

The number of meetings to be held in the year, and all other details of arrangement, must be settled by each Rural Deanery for itself.

2. The Ruridecanal Meeting shall be constituted as follows:-

E. The Lay Representatives (being members of the Church of England) to be elected yearly by the Laity of each Parish, District, or Church, within the Deanery, at a Vestry to be called by the Incumbent for that purpose, notice of the Meeting to be given, if the Incumbent thinks fit, in Church on the Sunday previous, and a written or printed notice to be affixed to the Church door. The election may take place in the Easter vestry meeting, at the discretion of the Incumbent. The names of the persons elected to be sent by the Incumbent to the Rural Dean.

G. The Lay Representatives from the Deanery to the Diocesan Conference.

The Members representing the Deanery at the last Conference shall be considered to be in office until the conclusion of the Meeting called for the election of their successor.

H. Masters of Church of England Elementary Schools, in such proportions as each Ruridecanal Meeting may decide.

The Ruridecanal Meeting may, if it please, invite certain other Laymen (being Members of the Church of England) not exceeding in number one-third of the Churches within the Deanery.

The practical arrangements for the Meetings shall be strictly analogous to those for the Chapters.

Reports of Ruridecanal discussions must be sent to the President at least one month before the date fixed for the Meeting of the Conference, in order to ensure the insertion of them in the general report of the results of the Chapters and Meetings laid before the Conference.

In the first six years under the original constitution the average attendance was 57 clergy and 51 laymen, a total of 920 [sic.]. In the next nine years the average attendance was 59 clergy and 51 laymen, total 110. In 1887, the first year after the amended constitution, the attendance out of a total of 267 members, was 141, - namely, 82 clergy and 59 laymen; in 1888 the attendance, out of 265 members, was 142, namely, 89 out of 109 clergymen, and 53 out of 155 laymen. The annual printed reports of the proceedings of the conference contain many papers and debates of the highest interest.

Since the establishment of the Diocesan Conference it has been held regularly every year, with one exception, - 1884. In that year the Church Congress was held in Carlisle, under the presidency of the Bishop of Carlisle, who, in his address to the Diocesan Conference of the following Year; spoke as follows:-

"Whatever may have been the fruits of the Congress (at Carlisle) for the church at large, I have had abundant proof that advantages have accrued to this city and diocese for which I feel deeply thankful to the Dispenser of all Events. Increased respect for the National Church; increased apprehension of her influence, activity, and power; a drawing together of the hearts of those who love the things of God, though not seeing things ecclesiastical with the same eyes, - these are a few, and only a few, of the results which I venture to attribute to the Carlisle Church Congress."9

In addition to the Diocesan Conference at Carlisle, the rural deans of the diocese assemble annually for two days at Rose Castle to hold consultations, and conferences are frequently held there of experts in education, and other subjects of interest to the diocese.

The Church army has recently received the official sanction of the Bishop of Carlisle, and has been introduced into parishes in Carlisle and Workington with, it is believed, good effect.

Another wheel is shortly to be introduced into the diocesan machinery by the appointment of a suffragan bishop. The announcement by Dr. Goodwin of his intention to apply for a suffragan bishop somewhat startled the diocese, people fearing that untoward necessity had arisen. All, however, are rejoiced to hear that, after an episcopate of twenty years' duration, and after passing his seventieth birthday, the bishop recognises the necessity of curtailing his almost preternatural activity in travelling about his diocese, and of delegating some of his duties to another. Dr. Goodwin is too valuable to, and too valued in, his diocese for the inhabitants to contentedly watch him spend himself when he should spare himself. It is their fervent hope that the assistance now contemplated may ensure his long remaining with unimpaired powers in his present position.

Here, perhaps, is the place to mention a scheme which Dr. Goodwin promoted in 1877, with a view of circulating in each parish the financial history of the parish itself, and so encouraging the parishioners to look upon the parochial endowments as a property in which they have a permanent interest, the idea being that this would lead the parishioners to oppose confiscation even when proposed upon the fascinating plea of religious equality, and would also put the extinguisher upon many falsehoods. Dr. Goodwin invited each parochial clergyman to draw up a strict and clear account of the source of the endowments in each parish; and at a meeting of rural deans, held at Rose Castle, a small committee of experts was appointed to act as referees and advisers. In a certain number of parishes the work has already been done, and in others it is being done, but many difficulties hinder it from being generally carried out.

At the commencement of this chapter we alluded to the educational and charitable institutions of the diocese. It is not proposed here to go into the history of the hospitals, dispensaries, and other kindred institutions of the diocese; but they have one and all found their best friends among the bishops, the deans, and the dignitaries of the diocese. The Cumberland Infirmary almost owes its being to Dr. Percy, and it owes its enlargement to Drs. Goodwin and Close, and these three, the late Chancellor Burton, and the canons of Carlisle have supplied much of the administrative talent that has run the infirmary. The Convalescent Institution at Silloth, the Border Counties Home for Incurables, and other charities, will ever be connected with the name of Burton, and at the present day, when the committee of a charitable institution gets into a difficulty, financial or administrative, the cry is at once raised, "Let us go and consult the bishop," who never fails to suggest a way over, through, or round the trouble.

The diocese of Carlisle, as extended in 1556 [a typo for 1856], has always been rich in educational foundations, endowed or not, which mostly had their origin in the sixteenth century, though they may have succeeded older schools, connected with dissolved religious houses. For accounts of these schools and of their endowments the curious must refer to the usual books and sources of information; a list of their founders and benefactors, royal, archiepiscopal,10 episcopal, and otherwise, would show the close connexion originally intended to be established between these schools and the Church of England, a connexion now much modified, in some cases by the adoption of schemes under the Endowed Schools Acts, which transferred the management from purely ecclesiastical authorities to bodies composed of ex officio representatives and co-optative members. These schools have had, like all other schools, their ups and downs; but some of them have occupied very high positions indeed, and have turned out scholars who rose to the highest places in the Church, frequently to the episcopal bench. Such schools were Appleby, where bishops Smith and Waugh received their education, as also did Barlow, bishop of Lincoln; Lancelot Addison, dean of Lichfield; Mr. Secretary of State Robinson (Jack Robinson), Thomas, Fothergill and Thomas Collinson, both provosts Of Queen's College, 0xford; Sir Joseph Yates, Justice of the King's Bench, &c. Bampton, where Gibson, bishop of London, the learned editor of Camden; Oswald, bishop of Raphoe; Burton, dean of Kildare; Sir J. Wilson, Justice of the Pleas; and many more divines and scholars, emanated. One master of this school boasted that he had educated more than 300 priests. Heversham, responsible for Preston, bishop of Ferns and Killala; and Watson, bishop of Llandaff. Kendal, for Law, bishop of Carlisle. Kirkby Lonsdale, for John Bell, QC. Winton, for Chancellor Burn. Great Blencow, for Lord Chief Justice Ellenborough. Bromfield, for the Rev. Jonathan Bouchen. Carlisle, for Thomas, bishop of Rochester, Tullie, dean of Carlisle, and J.A.D. Carlyle, chancellor of Carlisle. There was never, throughout the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, lack of opportunity in the diocese of Carlisle for those who would work to obtain a sound education at very moderate cost, frequently gratuitously. But in the end of the eighteenth century, and mere so in the nineteenth century, these schools fell largely into decay; one cause was, that the local gentry commenced to send their sons from home to be educated at the great public schools, or at academies, where they met only persons of their own rank; the other, that these schools did not move with the times; they frequently taught Latin and Greek, and Latin and Greek only; and when these languages were the only passport to distinction all classes were satisfied with them. But a demand arose for other knowledge, available in the commercial and engineering and other lines of life; and boys were sent away to other places to acquire such, and also to unlearn the local accent. Many of these schools have now awoke, and in one way or another have been regenerated: some of them seem to have bright futures before them.

The capstone to this educational edifice was the exclusive privileges which natives of Cumberland and Westmorland enjoyed at Queen's College, Oxford. Were the lists of matriculations at that college published and the careers of the students followed out, the number of priests of the Church of England that would be proved natives of the two counties would be as extraordinary as the heights in the Church to which many of them rose from being mere peasant lads. The vast majority of the natives of Cumberland and Westmorland who went to universities selected the Church as their profession, but many attained to high positions in political and legal life. Changes at Oxford have largely deprived the natives of the two counties of the preferences they enjoyed at Queen's College, Oxford; these changes have not been for the educational interests of the diocese.

But if the capstone of the edifice has been somewhat dislodged, new stepping-stones have been placed at the foot thereof by the establishment, in 1878, of "The George Moore Educational Trust," for promoting the improved education of children in the public elementary schools of the diocese, by establishing scholarships of from £5 to £10 annual value, to be held at some public elementary or superior school; and exhibitions of £50 annual value, to be held at some superior place of education. These scholarships and exhibitions are open to boys and girls who have attended for three years some public elementary school in the district.

The theological college of St. Bees, in the diocese of Carlisle, was founded by Dr. Law, bishop of Chester, in the year 1816, and endowed by the Earl of Lonsdale with the incumbency of St. Bees. Its object is to supply a good and economical education for candidates for holy orders. The Bishop of Carlisle is the visitor.

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1. It should be recorded that he was the last Bishop of Carlisle to wear a wig, and Milner the last dean.
2. "The Life of Isaac Milner," by his niece, p. 116.
3. The Dissenting interest in Carlisle in 1797 the date of this letter, consisted of a Presbyterian chapel Fisher-street, with a regular succession of ministers from 1688; a chapel in Annetwell-street, built for a Presbyterian congregation about 1780, then in the hands of Lady Glenorchy's connexion; a Friends' Meeting-house in Fisher street, belonging to a Friends' Meeting in Carlisle, founded by George Fox; a Wesleyan Methodist chapel, also in Fisher-street, built in 1786. It may be mentioned that from the Reformation to 1799 there was no place of Roman Catholic worship in Carlisle. The celebrated Dr. Robert Henry, was minister of the Presbyterian chapel from 1748 to 1760.
4. "The Life of Isaac Milner," p. 130.
5. See "Life of Isaac Milner," chap. xxiv., for the correspondence between the bishop and dean.
6. Ibid.
7. Much information on this subject is in "The Life of Isaac Milner," chaps. xxiii., xxiv., and xxv.
8. A regard to space compels us to abbreviate by the omission of some details. The revision in 1886 mainly consisted of eliminating a large ex officio lay element, whose members did not attend.
9. Advantage was taken of the opening of this Congress to present the Bishop of Carlisle with a very beautiful pastoral staff for the use of himself and his successors in the see. The presentation was made by Lord Muncaster on behalf of a large body of subscribers, clerical and lay.

Diocesan Histories : Carlisle,
by Richard S. Ferguson, Chancellor of Carlisle
Published by SPCK, London, 1889


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19 June 2015

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