The Vale of Lyvennet

Its Picturesque Peeps and Legendary Lore

By John Salkeld Bland



CRAIK TREES is one of the oldest buildings in the parish, having originally been of the class known as Tower House. The tower was at the south end, where the groundworks may be seen. It has been pulled down, and the material used in the farm buildings. In one of these is a small ogee tower window, and in the modern porch is a slab with rudely cut and almost obliterated arms of the Lancasters. There still remains in the interior the lower portion of a turnpike stair, by which the tower has been ascended.

It was the residence of the Lancaster family. The first of whom there is any record are Ambrose Lancaster and Thomas; aged respectively 80 and 52 years in 1591; they were sworn as witnesses in some law transactions between Christopher Lowther, Esq., and his tenants of Maulds Meaburn. Ambrose was the 6th son of Lancelot Lancaster, Esq., of Stockbridge. The next who is recorded is Christopher Lancaster, great-grandson of the before mentioned Lancelot; in him the male heirs of the family failed. He had four daughters, the first married to Sir Christopher Lowther of Whitehaven, who by paying out the other sisters, swept away the whole of the Lancaster property. Some of the Pickerings of Crosby afterwards resided at Craik Trees, but it is now in the hands of farmers. The name originated from the cry of rooks; these are all gone, with the trees in which they must have built, with the exception of one ancient gnarled ash.

A little below is a spring of somewhat a sacred character, from which, in Catholic times, it is said water was taken to baptise infants in Crosby Church; it is now grown up, being a complete quagmire; but by thrusting a stick in, stones can be found at the bottom.

On Meaburn Hill is a large stone obelisk, erected by Thomas Bland of Reagill on the site of the house in which resided for many generations the ancestors of the celebrated Joseph Addison, whose father, Lancelot Addison, was born here. Lancelot Addison was the son of Lancelot Addison. He was educated at Queen’s College, Oxford; and afterwards passed many years in travelling through Europe and Africa, and was known as an author on various subjects. He was afterwards Rector of Milston in Wilts, then Archdeacon of Coventry and Dean of Lichfield. He married for his first wife Jane, daughter of Nathaniel Gulston, Esq., and sister of Dr. Gulston, Bishop of Bristol; and had issue Joseph, his eldest; Gulston, Governor of Fort St. George; Lancelot, Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford; and three daughters. For his second wife he married Dorothy, daughter of John Danvers, of Shakerstone, Leicestershire. He died in 1703, aged 71. Joseph, his son, is well known in the periodical productions of Tatler, Spectator, and Guardian, and also from his tragedy of Cato, whose dying soliloquy is enough to immortalise any one author.

He was in succession Commissioner of Appeals, Under-Secretary of State, Secretary to Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, and Keeper of the Records; Secretary to the Lords Justices, and finally one of His Majesty’s principal Secretaries of State.

He died in 1719, aged 49 years. He left behind an only daughter by the Countess of Warwick, whom he married in 1716.

Note: - On the next page, viz : page xx, there is a drawing of “Flass House, Maulds Meaburn, the seat of Wilkinson Dent, Esquire,” giving a view of the house, with the gardens in front, and the Lyvennet in the foreground.  This occupies the upper half of the page. The remainder has been kept for a description, but it has never been written.




The Vale of Lyvennet, Its Picturesque Peeps and Legendary Lore, By John Salkeld Bland, 1910.
Originally transcribed by Diane Coppard and Kate Burns, and reproduced here with their permission.

19 June 2015.

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