Lamplugh Parish

  > Extends about six miles in length from north to south, and three miles in breadth, and is bounded on the south by Ennerdale, on the west by Arlecdon and Distington, on the north by Dean, and on the east by Loweswater and Crummock-water1. The soil is mostly gravel or loam, and is generally incumbent on limestone. A great part of the parish is very elevated, and commands extensive prospects, but near Lamplugh Hall, (now a farm house) the surface is level, and here is a mineral spring of a powerful astringent quality. The lofty eminences called Blake Fell and Knock Murton2, or Beacon Knock, are in this parish, and it is intersected by several mountain streams. It contains iron ore and limestone, and is divided into the four townships of Lamplugh, Kelton, Murton, and Winder, which comprise 6354 acres, rated at 3607 12s. 6d. Its population in 1841 was 645. The Roman road from Egremont to Cockermouth passed through the "close by Lamplugh cross and street gate;" and on an eminence near Stockhow hall estate, are the remains of a Druidical circle3, called Standing stones. Tradition says that a table, four feet wide and several yards long, was made out of a single plank of an oak tree which grew on Blake Fell, "where now is nothing but the naked and moving debris of the slate rock." The half of it now stretches across the farm kitchen at Lamplugh hall, - "a noble though much diminished specimen of the growth of the oak in the days when the squirrel was chased from Lamplugh Fells to Moresby, without its alighting on the ground."

Lamplugh township contains a small hamlet and several scattered houses, bearing different names, and situate from eight to nine miles E.N.E. of Whitehaven, between two branches of the river Marron, which rises in this parish. Mr. Denton supposes it was called by its ancient Irish inhabitants Glan-Flough or Glan-Fillough, which word signifies a wet dale, vallis humida, and hence the present word Lamplugh, or Lanflogh. It gave name to the ancient family of the Lamplugh, many of whom were, for their valour, knighted in the field. The manor belonged at a very early period to William de Lamplugh, baron of Kendal, who exchanged it and Workington, with Gospatric, son of Orme, for Middleton, in Lonsdale. After the death of Gospatric, his son Thomas gave Lamplugh to Robert de Lamplugh and his heirs "for paying yearly a pair of gilt spurs to the lord of Workington." This Robert died in the reign of Henry II and is the first named in the family pedigree, certified by John Lamplugh, Esq. in 1665, to which year he traced twenty-four descents. He was colonel of foot in the service of Charles I and was wounded and taken prisoner at the battle of Marston Moor, in 1644. Richard Lamplugh, Esq. built Dovenby Hall, and was succeeded by his son Robert, whose son Richard died in 1763. Thomas Lamplugh, Esq. the last heir of this family died at Copgrove, in Yorkshire, February 18th, 1783. John Lamplugh Lamplugh Raper, Esq. is now lord of the manor of Lamplugh and Murton, but the old hall, the ancient residence of this knightly family, has been replaced by a substantial farm house. The gateway bears on a shield the date 1595. The tower was taken down in 1821, when it was found that the mortar was harder than the stone itself, and the walls, being eight feet thick, required the force of gunpowder to rend them asunder.

The Church4, dedicated to St. Michael, is an ancient edifice, situated near the hall, consisting of a nave and chancel. The latter part is more ancient than the former, and is said to have been the family chapel of the Lamplughs, when the parish church stood at Kirkland, a distance of three miles. The benefice is a rectory, in the patronage of the lord of the manor, and incumbency of the Rev. Jos. Gilbanks. It is valued in the king's books at 10 4s. 7d. but was returned in 1835 at 256; and the tithes were commuted in 1839, for a rent charge of 300 per annum. In 1731, or 1732, Richd. Briscoe, Esq. bequeathed a yearly rent charge of 12 to this parish, to be paid out of the Skelsmere estate, and divided as follows, viz. 6 8s. to the school master; 2 for the purchase of books for the children, and 3 12s. for poor women. The school endowment is now 7 4s. The chief part of the township of Lamplugh belongs to J.L.L. Raper, Esq., Mr. Jph. Dickinson, and a few others.

Kelton township contains a number of dispersed houses, and the hamlet of Kirkland, which is about six miles N.E. of Whitehaven. Kelton, or Ketels, town, (i.e. villa Keteli) was parcel of the manor of Lamplugh, until separated from it by Ketel, son of Eldred, son of Ivo de Talebois, but it was holden as a fee of Beckermet. It was successively in the families of Leigh, Salkeld, and Patrickson, and having been purchased by Sir John Lowther, Bart. is now the property of the earl of Lonsdale, who is also one of the principal landowners, but Mrs. H. Dixon, Mr. T. Bowman, and a few others have estates here.

Murton, or Moortown, township comprises the small hamlets of Smaithwaite, Lund, Whinnah, and several scattered dwellings, distant about eight miles east by north of Whitehaven. At Lane-foot5 is an iron forge, belonging to Messrs. W. and A. Nicholson, where spades, shovels, and edge tools are manufactured; and in the township is iron ore, though no pits are open. Murton gave name to a family who resided here for several generations. It passed in the reign of Edward II to the Lamplughs, who formerly enjoyed great power here, "to arrest and hold pleas of greater nature than debt or detinue6." The soil belongs to several proprietors.

Winder is a township about 6 miles E. by N. of Whitehaven, containing the small hamlet of Rowrah, and nine other farms bearing separate names. The Rev. Geo. Lewthwaite, Mr. John Skelton, and Mr. R. Armistead, solicitor, are the largest land owners, but the earl of Lonsdale is lord of the manor.


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




1. Crummock-water is now rendered Crummock Water.
2. Blake Fell is only 573 metres; Knock Murton is 447m.
3. The stone circle is not marked on the map. Bulmer's directory of 1901 says that only 6 stones remained, the others having been blasted, and the stones used in fences.
4. The church was re-built in 1870, but substantial parts of the old building were re-used.
5. Lane-foot is now Lanefoot.
6. Detinue is the wrongful possession of property.

19 June 2015

Steve Bulman