Isell1 Parish

  > Extends about five miles on the north bank of the Derwent, and is about 2 miles in breadth, being bounded on the west by Bridekirk, and on the north and east by Torpenhow. It possesses a strong soil, incumbent on limestone, naturally productive of grass. Though no mines are wrought in the parish, it is supposed to contain both coal and copper; and old workings are seen in several places, and at Moota Hall is a freestone quarry. It contains 535 inhabitants, and 6760 acres of land, mostly belonging to Sir Wilfred Lawson, Bart., and H. T. Thompson, Esq., with a few resident yeomen, and is comprehended in one manor, "which was originally a demesne of Allerdale, but being granted out by Alan, became a dependant manor of the barony; and Redmain, a small manor, which Waldeof gave to the monastery of Gysburn." It was afterwards possessed by the Morvil, the Multon, and Leigh families, from the latter of whom it passed by marriage to Wilfred Lawson, who was knighted by James I, and is now possessed by Sir Wilfred Lawson, Bart., of Brayton hall. The parish is divided into the three townships of Blindcrake, Isell, and Redmain; Isell old park; and Sunderland; and its rateable value is 4080 6s. 6d.

Isell, or Isel, is a small village, pleasantly situated on the north bank of the Derwent, 3 miles E.N.E. of Cockermouth, and its township, which contains 347 inhabitants, is rated at 2802 14s. The Church, dedicated to St. Michael, is a small ancient edifice, on the banks of the Derwent, consisting of a nave, chancel, porch, with a bell turret carrying two bells; each end being surmounted with two very ancient crosses. It was formerly rectorial, but being appropriated to Hexham priory, is now only a vicarage, the advowson of which was given in 1559, by Queen Elizabeth to Thomas Leigh, Esq., from whom it passed with the manor to the Lawson family, so that it is now in the patronage of Sir W. Lawson, and the Rev. Christopher Hilton Wybergh, M.A. is the present incumbent. The living was certified to the ecclesiastical commissioners as of the average annual value of 157. Except Redmain, the whole parish is tithe free, lands having been allotted in lieu thereof at the enclosure. Isell Hall, the ancient seat of the Lawsons, is now occupied by William Wybergh, Esq., brother to Sir Wilfred Lawson. It is a very ancient mansion, and was evidently a place of defence, occupying a pleasant situation near the river, surrounded with gently rising eminences, finely clothed with wood. Isell Grange, a mansion near the hall, is the residence of Capt. Peter Wybergh, R.N. Towards the western extremity of the parish, at a place called Chapel Guards, are the remains of extensive buildings, supposed to be the ruins of a religious house; and at Redmain, the site of Redmain hall is still pointed out by the inhabitants. Near to Isell is a neat parish school, rebuilt in 1836, at a cost of about 120. Sir W. Lawson and H. T. Thompson give 10 a year each, for the education of 14 children at this school; and about the year 1823, a Mr. Cannell, merchant, of London, left the interest of 500 3 per cent to the poor and school of this parish; viz. the interest of 300 to the former, and of 200 to the latter. The vicar and churchwardens are the trustees of this charity. The bridge at Isell was built in 1691, at a cost of 500.

Blindcrake, or Blincrake, is an irregularly-built village, four miles N.E. of Cockermouth; and Redmain is a small but neat village, three miles N.E. of the same town. After the dissolution of the monasteries, the latter estate was granted to the Curwens, of Cammerton, but it now forms part of the manor of Isell. The tenants are all enfranchised.

Dr. Joseph Simpson and Dr. Bolton Simpson, his brother, were born at Redmain. The former published several learned works, amongst which are 'Epictetus,' 'The Tablet of Cebes,' 'The Choice of Hercules, by Prodicus,' and 'The Characters of Theofrastus;' and the latter published an edition of 'Zenophonis Memorabilia.

The tithes of Redmain have been commuted for 41 16s.; viz., great tithes, 35, paid to the hospital at Dovenby and the school there; and the vicarial tithes, 6 16s.

Isell Old Park township contains 107 souls, and a few scattered houses, 4 miles E.N.E. of Cockermouth. Rateable value, 748.

Sunderland is a small, but neat and pleasantly situated, village and township, six miles N.E by E. of Cockermouth, containing only 81 inhabitants. Here is a drain tile manufactory, belonging to Mr. Robert Lucock, of Plumbland. The rateable value of the township is 529 12s. 6d.


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




1. Isell - now Isel.

19 June 2015

Steve Bulman