Drigg Parish

  > Which extends about four miles in length, 2 miles in breadth, is bounded on the north by Gosforth parish, on the west by the Irish sea, on the south by the river Mite, which separates it from Muncaster, and on the east by Irton parish and Wasdale chapelry; and is divided by the Irt into two parts, called Drigg and Carleton, but which form only one township. The soil on the east side of the Irt is chiefly a deep clay and fertile loam, but on the west and north it is mostly of a sandy nature. It is remarkable for yielding large quantities of fine potatoes, which, in the latter end of the last century, produced in the market of Whitehaven the annual sum of 300. The Irt, which flows S.W. by W. from Wastwater, to the west end of Drigg village, is frequented by salmon, and abounds with trout, &c; and Camden speaks of the shell fish in this river producing pearls. Near the sea shore is a strong chalybeate spring, highly esteemed for its medicinal properties, and was once visited by invalids and others from many parts of the kingdom. There is also on the sea coast in this parish, a huge rock, called Carl Crag, measuring 12 feet in length, 9 in breadth, and 5 in height, being one of those detached masses of rock known by the name of Boulder Stones, which by some unknown agency have been removed from their native beds. Three hollow tubes of a vitrified substance were observed some years ago, projecting from a sand hill on the coast, one of which was traced downward to the depth of thirty feet. It is supposed they were produced by the action of lightning on the drifted sand. The parish, which contains 429 souls, and 4063 rateable acres of land, rated at about 2000, is nearly all freehold and tithe free, lord Muncaster, the lord of the manor, and lay rector, having, in the last century, taken common land (1100 acres) in lieu of tithes, and enfranchised his customary tenants. The land (121 acres) allotted for the manorial rights is a rabbit warren.

Drigg village is a street of well-built detached houses, bearing various names, and extending from the vicinity of the sea to Holm Rook1, on the Whitehaven road, within 2 miles N. of Ravenglass. The parish anciently abounded with oaks, from which it is said to have derived its name, Derigh, or Dergh, signifying oak in the Irish language. The manor belonged, in the reign of Henry II to the Estotevills, whose heiress carried it in marriage to Baldwin, lord Wake, baron Liddell, from whom it passed to the Greystokes, Harringtons, and Curwens, but was sold in the reign of James I, by Sir Nicholas Curwen, to Sir William Pennington, of Muncaster, whose posterity have since enjoyed the manorial rights, but major-general Wyndham is lord paramount of the whole parish. The lord of the manor has a right to Flotsam - wreck floating on the water; Jetsam - goods cast on shore from any vessel; and Lagan - goods that are sunken from a wreck. The Church2, which is said to be the original erection, is an humble edifice, consisting of a nave and chancel, with a porch, and a bell turret carrying two bells. It is dedicated to St. Peter, and was rectorial before it was appropriated to the priory of Conishead, in Lancashire, by Anselm de Furness. On the dissolution of the religious houses, it was granted to the Curwens, and was sold, with the manor, to an ancestor of lord Muncaster. The advowson was sold, by the late lord Muncaster, to Samuel Irton, Esq., who is the present patron of the benefice, which is now only a perpetual curacy, certified to the ecclesiastical commissioners at 88. The Rev. Henry W. Hodgson, M.A. is the present incumbent, who has for his curate the Rev. William Angell, B.A. In 1828, the Revd. Wm. Thompson, M.A., a native of this parish, erected a commodious school house in Drigg. The school is vested in seven trustees, viz. the bishop of Chester, lord Muncaster, the rector, the incumbents of Muncaster and Drigg, the master of St. Bees school, and the founders' heir at law in perpetuity. The bishop of Chester is appointed visitor, "with the usual visitorial powers incident to the office of visitor of a charity." The master is to teach eight poor children, natives of the parish, for the payment of 1s. entrance, and 1s. per quarter each; but he is allowed to take other pupils, to the number of forty-five, who pay a regular quarterage for the different branches of learning in which they are instructed. The site was given by lord Muncaster, and the endowment is 42 a year, of which 2 are for the repairs of the school, and the remaining 40 are paid to the master, who has a good house adjoining, also built by the founder. Mr. Isaac Clements, B.A. is the present master.

Carleton is a constablewick, lying between the rivers Irt and Mite, containing a few dispersed houses, and the hamlet of Hall Carleton with Carleton Hall, the seat of Joseph Burrow, Esq. about one mile north of Ravenglass. The hall commands fine views of Scawfell3, the Pikes, Great Gable, and other stupendous mountains. Carleton is supposed to be derived from Carleton, (Villa Rustica) a place inhabited by carles or husbandmen, and so called since the time of the Romans. The grandfather of the present lord Muncaster enfranchised the tenants of this as well as the other part of the manor of Drigg.

The Whitehaven and Furness Junction Railway runs through this parish, which is chiefly occupied by resident yeomen. There is a school in Carleton which was endowed in 1727, by Joseph Walker, in the amount of 200, but the endowment is now almost wholly alienated. 


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




1. Holm Rook is now rendered Holmrook.
2. Drigg church was re-built in 1850.
3. Scawfell is now usually rendered Scafell, and the Pikes are now known as Scafell Pike

19 June 2015

Steve Bulman