Kirkby Stephen Parish


THIS parish is very extensive, being about ten miles in length, and averaging about five in breadth. It is a rugged uneven district, consisting of lofty fells, hills, valleys, and thwaites. The river Eden rises at its southern extremity, and runs through the whole length of the parish, receiving in its course many tributary streams; the Smardale rivulet1 flows down its western side, and on its northern limit is the river Belo2, besides which it is also refreshed by numerous small becks. The land in the vallies and thwaites is tolerably fertile, and some of the higher lands and fells afford good pasturage for cattle. It is bounded on the south and east by Yorkshire, on the north by the parishes of Brough and Warcop, and on the west by those of Crosby Garret and Ravenstonedale, and contains the eight townships of Kirkby-Stephen, Hartley, Kaber,* Nateby, Smardale, Waitby, Wharton, and Winton, and the two chapelries of Mallerstang and Soulby, and in 1841 its population amounted to 2850 souls. It is divided into three lordships, of which the Earl of Lonsdale, the Earl of Thanet, and Sir George Musgrave are proprietors.

KIRKBY-STEPHEN is an ancient market town, consisting principally of one long street, extending from north to south, and containing about 260 houses and 1400 inhabitants, including the inmates of the workhouse, for the East Ward Union. The houses have a clean and respectable appearance, and are built of a stone called breccia (vul Brockam) which is composed of angular fragments of limestone, in a cement of red sand stone; "and the formation of this strata, on which the town stands, must, according to geological theory, have been the result of one of nature's wildest freaks."± It is distant four miles S. by W. of Brough, ten miles S.E. of Appleby, twenty-four miles N.N.E. of Kirkby-Lonsdale, twenty-four miles N.E. of Kendal, and 266 miles N.N.W. of London.

As the names of the various festivals of the church, such as Christmas, Candlemas, Palm Sunday, Corpus-Christi, Michaelmas, &c.,, testify that the religion of our forefathers was Catholic; so do the names of several towns and villages in the kingdom prove that they had existence anterior to the Norman Conquest, and are of Saxon origin.  Kirkby is a compound of two Saxon words, viz., Kirk, a church, and by3, a town, or place of abode, and Stephen being the name of the saint to whom the church was dedicated; the literal meaning of the words Kirkby Stephen, is "The Church Town of St. Stephen," and as the first two names are purely Saxon, it is evident that a church and town most have been in existence here prior to the Conquest, which was effected by William, Duke of Normandy, in A.D. 1066, but how long before there is no evidence to show.

MARKETS AND FAIRS. - In the 25th of Edward III (1530), Roger de Clifford, Baron of Westmorland, obtained a charter for a market to be held here on Friday, and two yearly fairs on St. Mark's and St. Luke's days and morrows. King James I, by his charter, in 1606, granted to George, Earl of Cumberland, instead of the foregoing markets and fairs, "one market on Monday and two fairs yearly; one on the Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday after Whitsuntide, and the other on the two days next before the feast of St. Luke, and on that feast day; with a court of piepowder,4 tolls, tollages, and other jurisdiction thereunto belonging." The market is still held on Monday, and is numerously attended by the inhabitants of the surrounding dales and villages, but the fair after Whitsuntide is obsolete. St. Luke's fair, which was established by royal charter in 1350, is noted for a very extensive show of sheep, and is proclaimed by the lord's bailiff with the usual formalities, amidst the chaotic din produced by the bleating of sheep, the barking of cur dogs, and the stentorian voices of the hundreds there assembled. There are also two other fairs for sheep and cattle held here in the spring, viz., on the Monday before March 20th, and April 24th, and also one on the 29th of October. But the horse fair held on the 29th of September, the day previous to Brough Hill fair, is the largest: on this day, which is called the cowper day, a term signifying the exchange of one article for another, there is a very extensive show of horses, both good, bad, and indifferent. The market place, which is tolerably spacious, has a middle row of shops, and on its north side a convenient market house and piazza, called the cloister, on account of its being raised over the entrance to the church yard. The upper part of the building rests on eight stone pillars, and the whole was erected in 1810, as appears by the inscription, pursuant to the will of Mr. John Waller, an officer in the British navy.

The market and fairs of Kirkby-Stephen, seem to have been all along of considerable importance, for Hollinshed, in his Chronicles, published in 1577, mentions one of the spring fairs; and Dr. Burn, who wrote to 1777, says that "Kirkby-Stephen is a considerable market town, noted for the sale of a great number of stockings knit there and in the neighbourhood;" but, for some years, this species of manufacture has ceased to be of any consequence here, though it is still carried on to a limited extent in the town and adjacent dales. About fifty years ago, a person, named Titley, established a manufactory of coarse wool hats here, and about the same time the building, which still bears the name of factory was erected for a cotton mill, by Messrs. Greaves, Lane, and Co., who became bankrupts in 1810, when Mr. John Dand took the premises, and after carrying on the cotton trade, and also a bank, for about three years, he likewise failed, and the fabric is now converted into the workhouse for the East Ward Union. An extensive tannery was subsequently established in the town, under the auspices of Mr. Joshua Wharton, who, at his decease, bequeathed the business to Mr. William Dixon, who, in connection with it, established a wholesale shoe manufactory; but, in a luckless hour, the fates turned the tide of fortune against him, and he too was proclaimed a bankrupt. This "was the tocsin of the manufactures of Kirkby-Stephen."

THE CHURCH (St. Stephen's), is a venerable Gothic structure, consisting of nave, chancel, and side aisles, and a lofty tower, in which are four bells. The chancel was nearly all rebuilt a few years ago; in the early English style of architecture, and the other parts of the church have recently undergone material alteration, at a considerable expense. There were formerly chapels here, belonging to the Smardales, Whartons, and Hartleys. No sepulchral memento records the destiny of any member of the former once chivalrous family; but in the chapel which belonged to the Whartons, and which is now roofless, there is a splendid altar tomb, six feet square, and raised three feet above the floor. Here are three alabaster figures, as large as life, representing Thomas, the first Lord Wharton, and his two wives, as appears from the following Latin inscription at the west end of the tomb:

Thomas Whartonus, jaceo hic, hic
utraque conjux,
Elionora, suum hinc, hinc habet
Anna locum;
En tibi, terra, tuum, carnes ac
ossa resume;
In coelos Animas, tu Deus
alme, tuum."

The foregoing has been thus paraphrased:-

"I Thomas Wharton, here do lie,
With my two wives beside me,
Ellen the first, and Ann the next,
In hymen's bands who tied me.
O earth resume thy flesh and bones,
Which back to thee are given,
And thou, O God, receive our souls,
To live with thee in heaven."

In the recess belonging to Hartley Castle is a gravestone with this inscription:

"Hic jacet Ricardus Musgrave, miles, juxta Elizabetham, uxorem suam, et Thomam filium, et hæredem eorum: qui obiit ix die Mensis Novembris, Anno Domini M.CCCC.lxiiii., Cujus animæ propitietur Deus. Amen.

In English:- Here lieth Richard Musgrave, Knight, near to him, Elizabeth, his wife, and Thomas, their son and heir; who died on the 9th day of November, 1464. May God have mercy on his soul; or, to whose soul may God be propitious. Amen.

There in also in the same chapel, the figure of a man in armour, with a sword girt to his side, a lion couchant, and a truncheon or broken spear at his feet, with some amulets on the breast plate. This is supposed, by some, to be an effigy of Baron Musgrave, who died in 1379; and, by others, a cenotaph, in memory of Sir Andrew de Harcla, who was attainted and beheaded in 1322, by Edward II; but the former supposition is by far the most probable.

In the time of William the Conqueror, the church belonged to Ivo de Talebois, Baron of Kendal, who gave the same, with two carucates of land to St. Mary's Abbey, at York; but after the dissolution of that establishment by Henry VIII, who seized upon the whole of the monastic property, the rectory and advowson of Kirkby-Stephen, were sold by Edward VI to Sir Richard Musgrave, of Hartley Castle, of whom they were purchased, with the exception of the com and hay tithes of Hartley, Soulby, and Kaber, by Thomas Lord Wharton, of Wharton Hall, and were subsequently sold to an ancestor of the present Earl of Lonsdale, who is consequently joint impropriator with Sir George Musgrave, of Eden Hall. In the early part of the 13th century, it was decreed that the vicarage, which had been previously taxed at 100s., should in future enjoy the whole altarage, with all the appurtenances of the said church and its chapels, except a small portion of the tithes; and that the vicar, who was " to have a good manse and eight ox-gangs of land, should pay out of the whole of his revenues an annual quit rent of 20s. to the abbey, and sustain all archidiaconal charges. In 1318, the vicarage was valued at £5, and in 1535, it is entered into liber regis, or king's books, at £48 18s. 5d., but is now worth upwards of £200 per annum, and is enjoyed by the Rev. Henry King, B.A., who purchased it of the Rev. T. P. Williamson, to whom it descended from the Claytors, who possessed it after Matthew Swales, to whom it was granted by the late Duke of Wharton. Both the rectorial and vicarial tithes have recently been commuted for a yearly rent charge of £364. 9s. 11d.

The Vicarage House, which was built about ninety years ago, by the Rev. Henry Claytor, L. L.D., is an elegant mansion, pleasantly situated on the eastern bank of the Eden. There is also an elegant mansion at Stobars, half a mile W. of the town, created by James Brougham, Esq., in 1829, and now occupied by Martin Irving, Esq.

The Independents have a chapel in the New Inn yard; purchased in 1810. This chapel had been previously occupied by the Sandemanians and Baptists. The Wesleyan Centenary chapel, built in 1839, is a neat edifice, and has a school house at the rear of it, erected at the expense of the late Mr. John Inman, for a Sunday school, adjoining to which is a small burial ground.

The GRAMMAR SCHOOL, at Kirkby-Stephen, was founded in 1556, by Thomas Lord Wharton, under letters patent granted for that purpose, by Queen Elizabeth. The founder endowed it with the ancient rectory-house, garden, and buildings adjacent, besides the yearly rent charges of £12 for the master, 26s. 8d. for the usher, and £6. 13s. 4d. to two exhibitioners, to be sent to Oxford or Cambridge, "to have each £3 6s. 8d. a year, for seven years." These sums, amounting to £20 per annum, were to be paid out of the corn tithes of Kirkby-Stephen and Winton; but in 1736, by a decree in chancery, they were all ordered to be paid out of the tithes of Winton, then belonging to Robert Lowther, Esq., purchaser of the residue of the Wharton estate, and now to the Earl of Lonsdale, as his successor. During the confusion of the licentious Duke of Wharton's affairs, the school was closed eleven years, after which an arrear of £280  was recovered and expended in the reparation of the school and master's house, and in the purchase of a field near the south end of the town, now worth £10 a year. An annual rent charge of £6 was subsequently bequeathed to the school by Sir Thomas Wharton, to be paid out of an estate at Nateby. In 1623, the Rev. John Knewstuble bequeathed to St. John's College, Cambridge, an annuity of £5, to be paid there to a poor scholar from this school, till he "be of standing to take the degree of master of arts;" after which another is to be nominated by the vicar and schoolmaster. The present master is Mr. George Steadman Rowland, who receives 5s. per quarter from each of the scholars, of whom there are now about forty. The school is open to all the boys of the town and its vicinity. A youth named John Vartie, who received an excellent classical education in this school, having obtained a situation in a bank at Gravesend, rashly committed forgery, in order to enable him to accomplish a resolution which he had formed of going into France to study the Hebrew and other oriental languages; but being apprehended and found guilty, was offered as a sacrifice to the laws of his country. His body lies buried at Gravesend, where a monument is erected to his memory. While under sentence of death he wrote on the wall of his cell, a few lines in Latin, of which he gave the following translation:-

"Thou hapless wretch, whom justice calls,
To breath within these dreary walls;
Know, guilty man, this very cell
May be to thee the porch of hell:-
Thy guilt confessed - though Christ forgiven,
Mysterious change! it leads to heaven."

The East Ward Union. - As has already been seen, the building called the factory has been converted into a workhouse for this union, having been fitted up for that purpose at a considerable expense. The union comprises the following parishes and townships, viz., Asby, Broughs, Brough Sowerby, Crosby Garret, Great Musgrave, Hilbeck, Hartley, Kaber, Kirkby-Stephen, Kirkby-Thore, Little Musgrave, Mallerstang, Milbourne, Nateby, Orton, Ormside, Ravenstonedale, St. Lawrence, Appleby, St. Michael Bongate, Stainmore, Smardale, Soulby, Temple-Sowerby, and Warcop, and the expenditure for the relief of the poor for the half year ending 30th September, 1848, amounted to £1526 10s. 5½d. Mr. John Askew is governor, Rev. Stephen Hutchinson, chaplain of the workhouse, and Mr. Thos. Mason, clerk to the board of guardians.

In Kirkby-Stephen parish are many antiquities of the baronial era, and it abounds with picturesque views as will be seen in the following historical and descriptive sketch of its township, and village.

HARTLEY TOWNSHIP is mostly a bleak and mountainous district, containing some veins of lead and copper, which were formerly wrought with a considerable profit, but are just being abandoned; and upon Hartley Fell a seam of coal has been worked. Hartley village in pleasantly situated on the east side of the river Eden, half a mile E. of Kirkby-Stephen. About half a mile S.E. of the village is Ewbank Crag, a lofty ridge of rock, over which a stream of water falls twenty perpendicular yards. Near to it is a conical eminence, on which stood Hartley Castle, now a farm house, but anciently the seat of the warlike family of Musgrave. The original edifice, which was probably erected by the Hartleys, was destroyed by the Scots in 1359. Burn, who wrote in 1777, says, it was "a noble building, standing upon an eminence, overlooking the village of Hartley, the town of Kirkby-Stephen, and many other villages; but the late Sir Christopher Musgrave, in a great measure, demolished it, and removed the materials of wood and lead, for the reparation of his seat at Edenhall, in Cumberland." The manor was long possessed by a family named Hardclay, or Harcla, one of whom, Sir Andrew de Harcla was created Earl of Carlisle, in 1322, by Edward II, as a recompence for his services in arresting the progress of a formidable rebellion; but in the year following was executed for high treason, and his estates forfeited to the king, who granted the manor of Hartley to Lord Nevil of Raby, who sold it to Sir Thomas Musgrave. The ancestor of this ancient and illustrious family came over with William the Conqueror, and they were soon after seated at Musgrave, in this county, for which they were frequently returned to parliament, as knights of the shire, and filled many offices in the state with great ability. Sir Richard was created a baronet in the ninth of James I, (1611), and that title has since been possessed by his descendants. The late Rev. Sir Christopher John Musgrave, the ninth baronet, died May 4th, 1834, and was succeeded in dignity and estate by his brother, Sir George Musgrave, of Eden Hall, Hartley, and Musgrave, tenth baronet. He was born June 14th., 1799, and was educated at University College, Oxford. Master Philip, his son and heir-apparent, was born at Goldington, June 5th, 1833.

Hartley township contains 2023A. 3R. 13P., rated at £1669 7s. 5¼d., and the principal owners of the soil are Sir Geo. Musgrave, Orton Bradley, Esq., and Mr. Christopher Harker. Eden Place, the seat and property of Orton Bradley, Esq., is a pleasant residence, about one mile from Kirkby-Stephen.

In 1800, Messrs. Clark and Harker gave the interest of £40 to the poor of this township.

KABER township, which has a large village of its name, two and a half miles N.N.E. of Kirkby-Stephen, is in the south division of Stainmore forest, and being mostly on the south side of the river Belo, is principally in the parish of Brough. The village of Higher-Scales5, three miles N.E., and the hamlet of Rookby, two miles N.E. of Kirkby-Stephen, are also in this township, which contain a about 170 inhabitants. The manor was anciently held by the Kaberghs, from whom it passed to the Fulthorps, who held it from about the year 1350, till the reign of Philip and Mary. It was afterwards possessed by the Wandesworths and Wadesons, but in 1618, Sir John Wadeson, sold it
for £1,200 to four individuals, in trust for the landowners. Here is a school endowed with about £10 12s. a year, arising from the interest of £143 left in 1689, by Thomas Waller, and a field, called Sandwath, which lets for three guineas a year, purchased with £5 given by Miles Monkhouse, in 1727; £20 given by George Petty, in 1744; and £50 bequeathed by Anthony Morland. "In 1663, after the restoration of Charles II, an insurrection of the republican party was intended, and a great number of the disaffected party held their meetings at Kaber Rigg, where several of them were taken prisoners by the militia, and executed at Appleby, for joining in this conspiracy, called the Kaber Rigg Plot." A cattle fair, established here in 1833, is held on the Friday before Hawes fair, which is held on the last Tuesday, in February. Rateable value of Kaber £1,881. 15s.

MALLERSTANG is a large township and chapelry, extending from the source of the Eden northward, to within two and a half miles of Kirkby-Stephen, being nearly five miles in length, and containing the hamlets of Castlethwaite, Hanging-Lund, Outhgill, Shortgill, and Southwaite, with several scattered dwellings dispersed through the deep vale or the Eden and the secluded glens and thwaites on either side of that river. This district was anciently a vast forest, inhabited by every description of game, and in the 13th century, a great rendezvous of Roger the forester, and other archers. The Earl of Thanet is lord of the manor, and Mr. Robert Atkinson is bailiff of the forest.

THE CHAPEL OF EASE, which stands nearly in the centre of the township, five miles S. of Kirkby-Stephen, is of very ancient foundation, and about fifty years ago had a burial ground attached to it. After remaining sixty years in a state of dilapidation, it was repaired in 1663, by the Countess of Pembroke, who endowed it with lands at Cawtley, near Sedbergh, in Yorkshire, then worth £11 a year, which was to be given to the curate, on condition that he teach "the children of the dale to read and write English, in the chapel." The property now lets for £26. per annum.

pendragoncastle.jpg (63580 bytes)In 1714, it was augmented with an estate at Gardale, now worth £60 a year, purchased with £400, given by the Earl of Thanet and the governors of Queen Anne's bounty; the latter of whom, in 1772, gave £200 more, which, with another £200, given by the Countess Dowager Gower, was expended in the purchase of another estate at Cawtley, now let for £55 a year; so that the living is at present worth £141 per annum, and is enjoyed by the Rev. Robert Robinson. The school, which adjoins the chapel, is taught by Mr. Thomas Whitehead.

Castlethwaite hamlet is about four miles S. of Kirkby-Stephen; and here are the ruins of Pendragon Castle, perhaps the most interesting relic of antiquity in this county. It is said to have been built in the time of Vortigern, by Uter Pendragon, youngest son of Constantius, King of Britain. He was surnamed Pendragon in consequence of having been likened to a dragon's head, by the great prophet Merlin, and was made king after the death of his brother Aurelius Ambrosius, in A.D. 500. He was father to the renowned King Arthur, and was an eminent warrior, but died by treachery and poison about the year 520, and was buried at Stonehenge, on Salisbury plain.

There is a tradition that, in order to fortify this castle, he attempted to change the course of the Eden; and his vain efforts have long been proverbial, to the following inharmonious couplet:-

Let Uter Pendragon do what he can,
Eden will run where Eden ran."

pendragoncastle1.jpg (61367 bytes)In 1314, the castle, with a vaccary, or cow pasture, was held by Andrew de Harcla, at a rent of 6d. per annum, and in 1334 was the residence of Idonea de Veteripont, in which year she died there. In 1340 it was burnt by the Scots, but afterwards repaired. It was again laid ruins in 1541, and continued in this state till 1660, when it was thoroughly repaired by the Countess of Pembroke, who about the same time restored all her other castles; but, in 1685, it was dismantled by the Earl of Thanet, since which time it has suffered so much from age and neglect, that the only part now remaining is the mouldering ruins of a square fewer, which stands on the eastern bank of the secluded vale of the Eden, exhibiting a lamentable spectacle of desolation.

This castle, formerly the manorial seat of the Forest of Mallerstang, which belonged to Sir Hugh de Morville, before it was granted, with the rest of the Barony of Westmorland, to the Veteriponts, was a very strong fortress, the walls being battlemented, and in some places four yards thick. The Countess of Pembroke also built the bridge across the river near the castle, and erected the stone pillar upon the large conical eminence called Hugh Morvill's seat, at the south eastern extremity of Mallerstang, about three miles from the castle.

Hanging Lund hamlet, six and a half miles S.; Outhgill hamlet (where are situated the chapel and a good inn,) four and a half miles; Shortgill hamlet, five miles S.; and Southwaite hamlet, three miles S. of Kirkby-Stephen, are all in Mallerstang chapelry, the rateable value of which is £1,290 10s., and the largest owners of the soil are the Earl of Thanet, Matthew Thompson, and John Grimshaw, Esqs.

NATEBY is a village and township about a mile S. by E. of Kirkby-Stephen, and is supposed to have received its name for having been in the baronial era, the residence of the nativi, or bondmen, of the lords of Pendragon. It occupies a romantic situation on the east side of the Eden, near Stenkrith Bridge, where the river forms a loud foaming cataract, falling to a considerable depth, amidst numerous broken and impending rocks, with round holes in them, from one to six feet in diameter, and from six inches to
two or three yards in depth. Whether these singular cavities have been formed by the operations of nature, or are the result of human labour, is not known. Some have supposed the Druid's selected this yawning gulph of shade, solitude, and agitation, as a place of worship and judicature, and perforated many of the rocks in order to increase the sacred horror which their mystic rites were calculated to inspire in the minds of the deluded Briton. Dr. Borlase describes a place similar to Stenkrith, in his account of Cornwall, and thinks it must have been used for Druidical worship. About two and a half miles E. of the village is that lofty mountain, denominated the Nine Standards, on account of some stones set up there to mark the boundary of Westmorland and Yorkshire. The manor passed to the Whartons in the reign of Henry V. or VI., and is consequently now the property of the Earl of Lonsdale, whose ancestor, Robert Lowther, Esq., purchased the whole estate of that family, in 1728. The other principal landowners are Messrs. Robert Waistell and Richard Dixon, and the quantity of enclosed land is 1,068A. 3R. 25P., rated at £984.

Nateby School has a small endowment of land, purchased with various benefactions.

Smardale is a small township, two and a half miles S.W. of Kirkby-Stephen, containing only a few houses, situated in a deep vale between Crosby Fell and Ash Fell. The manor was sold in 1290, by the Hellbecks, of Hellbeck, to the family of de Smardale, from whom it passed, in 1385, to the Warcops, and subsequently to the Daltons, but now belongs to J. Wakefield, Esq. The hall is an ancient building, now occupied by a farmer. Near it is a place called Chapel Well, where there was formerly a small chapel.

Smardale is derived from Smere, clover, and del, dale, consequently, Cloverdale is a literal translation of that word.

SOULBY is a well built village, near the confluence of the river Eden and the Smardale beck, two and a half miles N.W. of Kirkby-Stephen. Its township has a tolerable level and fertile soil. The commons were all enclosed in 1810. Two large cattle fairs are held here annually, viz., on the Tuesday before Easter, and on the 30th of August, the latter was established about 1797, and the other in 1825. There is a good bridge of three arches in the village, erected in 1819. The manor anciently belonged to a family of its own name, from whom it descended to the Musgraves. The Chapel, which stands in the centre of the village, was built in 1665, by Sir Philip Musgrave, lord of the manor, and consecrated, on St. Luke's day, in the same year by Bishop Stern. It was set forth in the act of consecration, that the said Sir Philip Musgrave, and his heirs and assigns, lords of the manor of Hartley castle, shall repair the said chapel from time to time, and have the power to nominate a fit minister to be approved and licensed by the bishop. Sir George Musgrave, of Eden hall, is therefore patron of the curacy, which, by various augmentations, now possesses about 100 acres of land, worth upwards of £90 per annum. The present incumbent is the Rev. Stephen Hutchinson. The chapel is a neat edifice, with 110 sittings, all of which are free.

J. Wakefield, Esq. is impropriator of the corn tithes, which have been long let to the inhabitants on a 999 years' lease, at a yearly rent of £50. The school has been endowed since 1768, with various small gifts, producing about £3 yearly.

Here is a small Wesleyan chapel, erected in 1833, at a cost of about £80. The principal landowners are Mr. Thomas Hutton, Sir George Musgrave, and the Rev. E. Collinson; and the number of acres in the township is 2475A. 2R. 5P.

WAITBY is a small hamlet and township, about one and a half mile W. by S. of Kirkby-Stephen. There is said to have been anciently a market town here, with a castle, chapel, and cemetery, but no trace of either is now to be seen. The manor was originally held by a family named Wate, or Wateby, a collateral of which family as Gilbert de Wateby, who was an eminent conveyancer, in the reign of King John. It subsequently passed through the Dacres, Warcops, and other families, to Sir John Lowther, of Stockbridge, who, in the reign of James II, sold the tenements to freehold. In 1713, James Lowther, Esq., of Whitehaven, sold the manor to Richard Monkhouse, Esq., of Winton, from the executors of whose descendant it was purchased by the Rev. John Adamthwaite, D.D., lately deceased, and is now held by John Wakefield, Esq.

The Free School for Waitby and Smardale township, is situated on Waitby Fell, and was erected in 1680, by Mr. James Highmore, of London, but a native of this township, who endowed it with £400, with which land was purchased at Cautleythwaite, near Sedbergh, now let for about £45 per annum, of which £5 is given in bread to twelve poor widows, of Waitby, or Smardale and the rest to the schoolmaster, Mr. Thomas Brunskill.

The largest land owners are Mrs. Atkinson, Mr. lsaac Sowerby, and Miss Waller, and the quantity of enclosed land is 469A. 0R. 33P., rated at £475 13s. 6d.

WHARTON is a township, with about a dozen, dispersed dwellings, in the vale of Eden, two miles S. of Kirkby-Stephen. The Wharton family were seated here as early as the reign of Edward I. Sir Thomas Wharton, knight, was advanced to the dignity of baron, by Henry VIII., for his signal defeat of the Scots at Sollom Moss6. Thomas, the fifth Lord Wharton, was very active in bringing about the revolution, and afterwards in opposing the Tory ministry, in the reign of Queen Anne; for which services he was created Viscount Winchendon, and Earl of Wharton, and last of all, Marquis of Wharton. Philip, sixth Lord Wharton, and second marquis, was only seventeen years of age at the death of his father, "He was a person of unbounded genius, eloquence and ambition; had all the address and activity of his father, without his steadiness; violent in parties and expensive in cultivating the arts of popularity, which, indeed, ought to be in some measure charged to his education under such a father, who, it is said, expended £80,000 in elections - an immense sum in those days, by which the estate became encumbered, and the son was not a person of economy enough to disengage it. The young marquis first set out in the world as a violent Whig, and for his extraordinary services both in and out of parliament, was created Duke of Wharton. He afterwards set up in opposition to the ministry, then became a Tory, then a Jacobite, and ultimately a rebel to his king and country. He accepted a commission in the king of Spain's army, against Gibraltar, and ended his life of dissipation in a Benedictine convent in a small village in Spain, where the charitable fathers hospitably sheltered this expatriated wanderer and outcast of society, who, as Pope says, "wanted nothing but an honest heart." He died at the early age of thirty-two, leaving no issue, though twice married, - firstly, to Martha, daughter of Major-General Holmes, and secondly, to a maid of honour to the Queen of Spain. In 1728, the manor of Wharton was sold to Robert Lowther, Esq., of Mauld's Meaburn, an ancestor of its present owner, the Earl of Lonsdale, who is the principal land owner. The hall, formerly the seat of the Wharton family, has long been in ruins, except a small portion of it, now occupied by a farmer. It was a large quadrangular building, with four corner towers, and a court in the centre. Its park extended over the place where stood the ancient village which was demolished, and the tenants driven to Wharton dikes, on the opposite side of the Eden. About half a mile south of the hall are the ruins of an old building, called Lamerside castle. Rateable value, £684 8s. 6d.

WINTON is a large and pleasant village, one mile N. of Kirkby-Stephen, and its township contains upwards of 300 inhabitants. The Earl of Thanet is lord of the manor as part of the seigniory of Brough, but several portions of it are held by inferior lords, amongst whom are the Earl of Lonsdale, J. Wakefield, Esq. and Henry Jackson, Esq., solicitor. In the village is a school, erected in 1659, by subscriptions raised principally through the exertions of the Rev. William Morland., M.A., who had been ejected from the rectory of Greystoke, by the commissioners of Oliver Cromwell. It was endowed, in 1681, by Robert Waller, with land at Kaber, now let for £9 a year; and, in 1722, by Richard Monkhouse, with the interest of £100. None of the scholars are taught free, but the master is limited to an average charge of 3s. 6d. per quarter for the education of boys and girls.

About one mile N. by W. from Kirby-Stephen, is a neat mansion called Beck Foot, the seat of Miss Pattinson. Skelcies, a large estate in this township, containing rich pastures, is the property of Mr. Matthew Robinson, gent.

Eminent Men. - Winton is distinguished as being the birth place of Drs. Langhorne and Burn; the former well known by his various essays in prose and verse. Amongst the numerous works produced by this prolific genius are ...7  and in conjunction with his brother, William Langhorne, published ....7 He was a prebendary in Wells Cathedral, and rector of Blagdon, in Somersetshire, where he died in 1779, having been in a wasting decline for three years.

Dr. Richard Burn, who died vicar of Orton, Nov. 20th, 1785, was author of two celebrated works, viz., "Office of Justice of the Peace," and "Ecclesiastical Law," both of which went through several editions. He also, in conjunction with Joseph Nicholson, Esq., devoted a great deal of time and labour in compiling the Histories of Westmorland and Cumberland.

* The township of Kaber is partly in Brough parish.

± This stone, commonly used for building purposes in this district, where it may be frequently seen in the bed of the Eden, alternating with the red sandstone, so prevalent throughout the extensive vale of that river. The mountains in the vicinity of the town are very lofty, and are of the class geologically termed metaliferous limestone, being composed of strata of limestone, sandstone and shale, all lying above the secondary limestone, and below the millstone grit. The minerals they contain are the common galena, or sulphurate of lead; the green phosphate of lead; and brown and yellow copper pyrites, with green and blue carbonate of copper. The upper strata of limestone are mostly composed of encrinites, or trochites, and are frequently worked as ornamental marbles. Fossil shells, resembling the winged cockles, or partaking of the united characters of the scallop shell, and cockles, are often found in the middle strata; and in the lower strata a species of nautilus, together with innumerable madreporites, chiefly of the species termed junci lapidei. The mountains afford a great variety of Alpine plants, and the vallies and plains are well stocked with those peculiar to champaign countries.

The curfew, which is now the signal for children to retire to bed, continues to be rung here to this day. The word is an amalgamated corruption of the French verb and noun, couvre feu, i.e., cover the fire.


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




1. Now the Scandal Beck, although the hamlet of Smardale retains the name, and there is a Smardale Bridge crossing it.
2. Now the River Belah.
3. "Kirk" and "by" are usually identified today with the Scandinavian invaders.
4. A court, with jurisdiction for the duration of the fair only, and applicable to all-comers, to administer rough-and-ready justice.
5. This is probably what shows on the map today as Heggerscales.
6. The Battle of Solway Moss, 1542.
7. Long lists of now obscure works have been omitted.

Photos © Steve Bulman.

© Steve Bulman