Dufton Parish


This parish is a large mountainous district, eight miles, in length, and about five in breadth, bounded on the north by Milbourn forest, on the south by Murton, and Warcop Fells, on the east by the river Tees, which separates it from the county of Durham, and on the west by Long Marton parish. It is all comprehended in one township, containing three hamlets or villages, with several dispersed dwellings, and 466 inhabitants. The Tees expands itself here into a broad lake1, called the wheel, and forms that stupendous cataract denominated Caldron Snout. The Earl of Thanet is lord of the manor, which contains some excellent veins of lead ore, which is raised by the London Lead Company, who have a smelt-mill here, and who give employment to a great number of the inhabitants. In 1848, these mines produced 600 bings2 of lead. The parish contains 4,253 A. 2R. 2P., and its rateable value is 2,188 16s. 11d.

DUFTON is a small but well built village, three miles and a half N. of Appleby, on the south side of a rivulet which rises in Scordal Head, and flows westward to the river Eden. Dr. Burn thinks it may have derived its name from a person named Duff, having been its original proprietor, but, in the early part of the 13th century, the manor belonged to the Greystokes, from whom it passed in marriage to the Dacres, of Gilsland, and afterwards to Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel, whose grandson Henry granted a lease of the lordship for ninety-nine years, to Sir Christopher Clapham, knight, who, in consequence of an omission in the lease, cut down and sold the whole of Dufton Wood. The lordship was subsequently purchased by John Winder, Esq., whose son devised it to Edward Milward, Esq., and, in 1785, was sold to the Earl of Thanet, whose tenants pay fines arbitrary.

The Church (St. Cuthbert) is a plain substantial edifice, distant about half a mile north of the village. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at 19. 0s. 6d., in the patronage of the Earl of Thanet, and incumbency of the Rev. Edward Jackson, who was instituted in 1834. Three large stinted pastures, containing 2,500 acres, were enclosed here in 1827, when about forty acres were allotted to the rectory in lieu of tithes, for that part of the parish, and in 1847 the tithes of Dufton were commuted for an annual rent charge of 148 the first payment of which was made in July, 1848.

The Wesleyans, who are rather numerous in this parish, have a chapel here, erected in 1820, at a cost of 130, and the Primitive Methodists have one erected in 1839, at a cost of about 150.

The Free School, which was rebuilt by subscription in 1824, has the following endowments:- In 1670, Christopher Walker left the interest of 40 for a schoolmaster, to be appointed by the rector, the lord's bailiff, and the principal inhabitants; and in 1692, Michael Todd bequeathed an annual rent charge of 14 10s., to be paid out of his estate at Knowle-green, in the parish of Staines in Middlesex, viz., 4 to the schoolmaster, 5 to the poor on Michaelmas day; 4 for apprenticing two poor boys every year: 10s. for a sermon on the Sunday after Michaelmas day; and 20s. to poor men who attend to hear the said sermon. Owing to the trustees having neglected to appoint successors, this charity was for many years withheld, but was ultimately recovered by a suit in chancery, with an arrear of 123, which was settled, upon the school. In 1785, the rent charge was removed, and is now paid out of an estate in this parish, by the Earl of Thanet. The poor of Dufton parish have also 100 in 4 per cent stock, left in 1799, by Mr. Joseph Robinson, to be distributed on St. Thomas' day. The late Mr. Joseph Ellwood, of Whitehaven, bequeathed six guineas, to be distributed on Christmas day, in bread and money, to ten poor widows or householders of Dufton, and he also left a like sum for the same purpose to the township of Knock, in Long Marton parish. A subscription library which now consists of 130 volumes, was established at Dufton, in 1846. Mr. H. Yeats is the librarian.

Dufton Hall, a very ancient building on the north side of the village, is now occupied by a farmer.

Birkdale is a wild mountainous district in this parish, containing a few dispersed dwellings, about eight miles E.N.E. of Dufton; and Keisley is a hamlet one mile and a half S.E. of the same village. Mr. Robert Blencarn is lord of the manor of Keisley, and owner of most of the soil.


Mannix & Co.,History, Topography and Directory of Westmorland, 1851





1. This feature was presumably drowned in the creation of Cow Green Reservoir, immediately north of the waterfall of Cauldron Snout.
2. For mining terninology, see Alston parish description.

Dufton village has its own web-site at www.dufton.org.uk

19 June 2015

Steve Bulman