Loweswater Parochial Chapelry

  > Extends about seven miles from north to south, and three miles from east to west; is bounded by the mountains of Grasmoor, Whiteside, Mellbreak, Blakefell, and Lowfell1, and by the parishes of Lamplugh, Dean, and Brigham; contains 4,360 acres of land, and 436 inhabitants, resident in ninety houses. The Lake of Loweswater gives name to this picturesque district, which comprises part of Crummock lake, and the waterfall of Scale Force. Several of the mountains appear conical in some points of view, and are very abrupt, but many of the acclivities are clothed with brush wood, and a few trees, which greatly enhance the beauty of the romantic and diversified scenery of this neighbourhood. A lead mine was opened at Godferhead, about twenty-six years ago, but was abandoned some six years since, after the company had lost about 6,000 by the speculation.

Loweswater was formerly part of the parish of Saint Bees, "to which it still pays a small annual tribute of 3s. 4d., if taken to the mother church, from which it is distant upwards of seven miles; or 6s. 8d. if the curate of Saint Bees has to apply for it !" It is divided into the two townships of Loweswater and Mockerkin with Sosgill, and its rateable value is about 2200. The soil in the enclosed land is generally light and gravelly, producing excellent oats and potatoes, with some wheat and barley. It is divided from Lorton by the river Cocker, which together with several small streams, refresh this parish.

The hamlet of Loweswater is situate near the foot of the lake, seven miles south of Cockermouth. The Church, which was erected by the inhabitants in 1827, on the site of the original Chapel of Ease, is a neat edifice, with a bell turret, surmounted by four ancient crosses. One of the priors of Saint Bees erected the old chapel, which was certified at 4 10s., "part arising by interest of money given by will, and the rest made up by the inhabitants," but it was augmented in 1745 with 400, of which 200 was obtained from queen Anne's bounty, 100 given by Dr. Stratford, and 100 by the inhabitants. The benefice is a perpetual curacy in the patronage of the earl of Lonsdale, but the inhabitants had formerly the advowson, and from time immemorial presented through the medium of twelve sidesmen. Sir H. R. Vane, Bart., is the impropriator of the tithes, which were commuted in 1844, for a rent charge of 64 per annum. The present value of the living is about 55, and is enjoyed by the Rev. Jeremiah Atkinson. In 1842, a neat school was erected here by the late John Marshall, Esq., and is now endowed with the interest of 100, chiefly contributed by the Marshall family: the incumbent is the present master. There is another school on the common, where it was built in 1782, and endowed by Mary Mirehouse with 200. On Saint Thomas' day, the poor receive the interest of 75, the bequests of W. Woodville, (50), John Tiffin, (20), and John Nutt (5), left in the years 1687, 1752, and 1784. The manor of Loweswater was an ancient demesne of Egremont, but by partition between the daughters of Richard Lucy, "it fell to the share of Alan and Alice Multon, as the twentieth part of the barony of Egremont." It again reverted to the Lucys, and was given by Maud to her second husband, the earl of Northumberland, by whose descendant, the sixth earl, it was given to Henry VIII, who sold it to Richard Robinson, from whom it passed to John Robinson, of London, of whom it was purchased by Thomas Stanley, Esq., whose daughter sold it to Anthony Patrickson, Esq., of whom it was purchased by Gilfred Lawson, Esq2., but is now the property of William Marshall, Esq., M.P., except the manor of Mockerkin and Sosgill, of which general Wyndham is lord, but several of the farms are occupied by their owners.

Thackthwaite is a hamlet 5 miles south of Cockermouth, in Loweswater constablewick; and Mockerkin is a small village, situate on a lofty eminence five miles S.S.W. of the same town, and forms, with two farms called Sosgill, a separate constablewick.

Loweswater, locus in valle vel profundo, says Dr. Denton, "is the name of a great lake in the vale next to Lamplugh on the east side." Mr. West's description of this lake is as follows :- "Proceed from the bridge by High-Cross3 to the lake. Having passed through a gate that leads to the common the lake spreads out before you a mile in length and about a quarter of a mile in breadth. The extremities are rivals in beauty of hanging woods, little groves, and waving inclosures, with farms seated in the sweetest points of view. The south is overlooked by the lofty Mellbreak, at whose foot a white house, within some grass enclosures, under a few trees, stands in the point of beauty; the eastern shore is open, and indented with small bays; the opposite side pleasing. Carling Knot4 presents a broad pyramidal front, of swift ascent, covered with soft vegetation, and sprinkled with many aged solitary thorns. This lake, in opposition to all the other lakes, and the fall of the mountains, has its course from north to south, and under Mellbreak falls into the Crummock water."



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




1. Blakefell and Lowfell are now Blake Fell and Low Fell respectively.
2. Gilfred Lawson - perhaps a mis-spelling for Wilfred Lawson.
3. High-Cross - now Highcross.
4. Carling Knot is now Carling Knott.

19 June 2015

Steve Bulman