Millom Parish

  > This parish is the extreme southern part of the county, and stretches northward from the sea along the west bank of the river Duddon, to the source of the Esk, a distance of eighteen miles, averaging from two to four miles in breadth, and containing the four townships of Birker and Austhwaite, Chapel Sucken, Millom Below, and Millom Above, and the two chapelries of Thwaites and Ulpha. It is bounded on the north by the Esk, which divides it from Muncaster and Eskdale, on the west by Waberthwaite, Corney, Bootle, Whitbeck, and Whicham, and on the south by the mouth of the Duddon, which here expands into an open sandy bay, well known for its mussels and cockles. The parish seems isolated by the sea, and the mountains on the west and north. The southern part is in general fertile, but a large portion of the north consists of wastes and pasture grounds. Thwaites chapelry affords excellent pasture, as also does Ulpha, which contains extensive woodlands, with some good grazing ground. Limestone abounds in the parish, and is quarried in several places. Iron ore has been got at Hotbarrow1 and Millom Park, and smelted near the brook which still retains the name of Furnace-beck. Mr. Denton, who wrote in 1688, says that oak to the value of 4000 had been cut down in the park to supply the forges in this parish. The iron ore shows itself most at a place called Water-blean. Copper ore has been obtained at different times, though seldom in sufficient quantities to repay the working; but a rich vein was discovered a few years ago, in the manor of Ulpha, and is now worked by George Harrison, Esq. There are beds of slate in Millom park, and in Thwaites, but they do not break sufficiently large for use. Population, 1979, and rateable acres about 18,600. Hutchinson says a "great part of this parish is flat, and is exposed to a torrent of air that rushes up the gulph from the Irish channel; so that the lands are distressed with two natural evils - beating rains, and in dry weather, driving and overwhelming sands, which are carried by the winds to an amazing distance."

Millom Below is a large township, containing the village of Holborn Hill2, and several detached houses, about eight miles S.S.E. of Bootle, and nine miles W. by N. of Ulverstone3, near the estuary of the Duddon, where Cumberland is terminated by a tongue of land less than four miles in breadth at its point. The rateable value of the township is 2314 15s., and its population in 1841, was 356 souls. The earl of Lonsdale, Mr. Anthony Cragg, and Mr. Joshua S. Myers are the largest land owners. Dalzell, Dickinson, and Co have a brick and tile manufactory, near Holborn Hill.

Burrow Crails, or Barwick Rails4, is a natural harbour or creek, in this township, eight miles S.S.E. of Bootle, where slate, corn, &c. have been shipped, and coals imported in vessels of about 100 tons burthen. At Holborn Hill, nearly a mile N.N.W., a coast waiter is stationed, and a little above the harbour is the farm house called Burrow Crails. Holborn Hill is a large village on an eminence, eight miles S.S.E. of Bootle, and it is said to have been so called from its resemblance to the well known locality of that name in London. "The curious traveller, who has faith in tradition, may form from this spot some idea what the present centre of the British metropolis was two centuries ago." From an eminence near New-hall5, are extensive views of Duddon sands, the Lancashire coast, the Isle of Man, and the Welsh mountains. In 1824. an ancient British battle axe 13 in. long, was dug up at Lowscales5 and several other relics have been found in the same neighbourhood.

In 1250, Millom had a charter for holding a market here on Wednesday, and a fair for three days at the festival of the Holy Trinity. Nicholson and Burn, who wrote in 1777, say the market "hath been long discontinued."

The Church of Millom, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, is situate in this township, close to the Castle. It is a venerable edifice, consisting of a nave and chancel, a south aisle, and a modern porch, with a bell turret carrying two bells. The circular-headed north door has been walled up, and most of the old windows have given place to modem unecclesiastical substitutes. Near the east window is a piscina, and at the west end is an octagonal stone font, ornamented with quartre-foils, and a shield charged with the arms of Huddleston and a label. In the church is an ancient mural tablet, recording the names of several of the Huddleston family, and near to it is an altar tomb, ornamented with Gothic tracery, &c., on which recline the effigies of a knight and his lady, in alabaster, much mutilated; and also the remains of a wooden effigy of a knight "apparently of the 14th century," supposed to have been once clad in armour. In the church yard are the remains of a cross, the shaft of which bears four shields. It is grievous to see the neglected state of this ancient fabric, both internally and externally; its call for restoration seems alike unheeded by the earl of Lonsdale and the inhabitants, whose duty it is to keep it in repair. The benefice is now a discharged vicarage, in the patronage of the duchy of Lancaster, but was rectorial till 1228, when it was given to Furness Abbey; one moiety of the revenue being appropriated by Walter de Grey, archbishop of York, in 1230, for the maintenance of three chaplains in his cathedral. It is valued in the king's books at 8 5s. 8d., but was certified to the governors of queen Anne's bounty at the annual value of 26 1s. 8d., and in 1835 at 189 a year. It was augmented about the year 1721, with 256 left by the Rev. John Postlethwaite, master of St. Paul's school, London, a native of this parish, and 200 obtained about the same time from queen Anne's bounty, both of which sums were expended in the purchase of an estate, called Fawcett bank, near Sedbergh, in Yorkshire, which is now let for only 40 guineas, though it once let for 70 per annum. The Rev. Henry Pickthall, B.A., is the present vicar, having been inducted in 1836. The impropriated tithes, which belonged to the earl of Lonsdale, have nearly all been redeemed by the different landowners. The vicar has the patronage of the ancient chapel of Ulpha, but Thwaites chapel is presented to by several landed proprietors. The tithes of Chapel Sucken township were commuted in 1847, for a yearly rent charge of 128. The present vicarage house, and the glebe attached to it, were bought in 1781 for 240, of which 200 was obtained from queen Anne's bounty, and the remainder raised by subscription. It is situate in the township of Millom Above, distant about 1 mile from the church; the old vicarage house, which stood near to the church, having been pulled down during Cromwell's rebellion, "lest the rebels should take refuge therein." The school at Millom Below was endowed with 100 by Joseph Huddleston, Esq., who died in 1700, but that endowment was lost many years ago; it now enjoys, in common with the two schools at Millom Above and Thwaites, a share of a bequest of 800, bequeathed in 1811 by Sir. Wm. Atkinson, of Bog-house, who ordered it to be invested in Government Stock, and the interest (except 2 12s.) to be applied half-yearly for the education of poor boys and girls in these three townships, at the discretion of the trustees, provided "that not more than 4s. be given for teaching any poor scholar for a quarter, nor even that if the scholars can be well and diligently taught for less." Fifty shillings of the interest is to be given annually to the customers at Upper Beck stones-mill; no family to have more than three shillings, nor less than one. In 1722, it was certified that there was a poor-stock of 30 2s. belonging to this parish, "given by several persons not known." The particulars of Buckman Brow school are given under the account of Thwaites chapelry.

Millom Castle, of which there are considerable remains, was for many centuries the seat of the Lords of the seigniority of Millom, and though its venerable ruins have been neglected, they still point out its former strength and grandeur. It was fortified and embattled in 1335, by Sir John Huddleston, in pursuance of the king's license, and was anciently surrounded by a park well stocked with deer, and adorned with noble oaks, which it is said were cut down in 1690, by Ferdinand Huddleston, for the purpose of building a ship, and supplying fuel for his iron smelting furnace.

When Nicholson and Burn wrote in 1774. the park was "well stored with deer." The late earl of Lonsdale disparked it about 1802, when 207 deer were killed, and the venison was sold at from 2d. to 4d. per lb. The principal part of the castle now remaining is a large square tower, formerly embattled. The moat is visible on the south and west sides; the principal entrance seems to have been at the west front, by a lofty flight of steps. In the wall of an out house, are the arms of Huddleston, painted in proper colours, with the motto - Soli Deo honor et gloria. A small part of the castle is now occupied as a farm house. The seigniory of Millom is the most extensive lordship within the great barony of Egremont; it contains the parishes of Millom, Bootle, Corney, Waberthwaite, Whicham, and Whitbeck, extending about eighteen miles in length, and about eight miles in breadth, but is divided into several manors, which are holden immediately of Millom, as Millom is of Egremont, with some difference of service. This seigniority anciently possessed great privileges, its lords had the power of life or death, and enjoyed jura regalia in the six parishes forming their seigniority, and it was a special jurisdiction into which the sheriff of the county could not enter. To commemorate the power of its lords, a stone has been recently erected with the following inscription:- "Here the Lords of Millom exercised Jura Regalia." It was given in the reign of Henry I by William Meschines, to the father of Godard de Bovil, (alias Godardus Dapifer) who gave to Furness Abbey a carucate of land with the appurtenances, called Monk Force. The Boyvills, or Boisvilles, afterwards took the surname of de Millom, and held this lordship in their male issue, from the reign of Henry I till the reign of Henry III, a space of 100 years, when their name and family ended in a daughter, Joan, who brought their inheritance in marriage to Sir John Huddleston, Knight, who was then lord of Anneys, near Millom, and could trace his ancestors for several generations before the Conquest. His descendants possessed Millom for above 500 years; seven of the family were knighted for their valour, and one of them (Sir William) raised a regiment of foot at his own expense, for the service of king Charles I. William Huddleston, the twenty-first of his family who held Millom, left two daughters, Elizabeth and Isabella, the former of whom was married to Sir Hedworth Williamson, Bart., who in 1774 sold the estate for little more than 20,000 to Sir James Lowther, Bart., whose descendant, the present earl of Lonsdale, is now lord of the manor and owner of a great part of the soil. The lordship of Millom still retains its own coroner, and that office is now held by Christopher Hobson, Esq., of Cross House, Bootle.

Millom Above township adjoins Millom Below on the north, and contains two small villages, called The Hill and The Green, besides a number of scattered houses, about four miles S.S.W. of Broughton, in Lancashire; the Hill is about eight miles S.E. by S. of Bootle. Its rateable value is 2043 15s., and its population in 1841 was 411 souls. There are several springs in this township below Marsh Side, impregnated with salt, and of a purging nature; there is also a similar one at Hotbarrow, and are called by the neighbours Holy Wells.

Birker and Austhwaite is bounded on the north and west by the Esk, and on the east by Ulpha. This township contains the small lake called Devoke Water, and the waterfalls of Stanley Gill and Birker Force, is situate about seven miles E. by N. of Ravenglass, and its population in 1841, was 105 souls. The inhabitants have the privilege of marrying, burying, &c., at the neighbouring chapel of Eskdale, by reason of their distance from the church and chapels in their own parish. Austhwaite was granted in 1102 to the ancestor of a family who assumed that name, by Arthur de Boyvill, but that family becoming extinct about the year 1345, the heiress married Nicholas Stanley, Esq., ancestor to Edward Stanley, Esq. M.P. of Ponsonby Hall, the present lord of the manor. Dale Garth Hall, now a farm house, was the residence of the family till the seventeenth century, when John Ponsonby, Esq. removed into the parish of Ponsonby. The arms of the different branches of the family were emblazoned in painted glass, on almost every window of the house.

Chapel Sucken (or Sunken) is a long narrow township, in the south part of the parish, stretching between a small rivulet and the sea, six miles S. by E. of Bootle. It comprehends the small hamlets of Haverigg and Kirksanton, with a few scattered dwellings, and in 1841 contained 214 inhabitants. Its rateable value is 1498, and its largest landowners are Mr. Wm. Wilson and Mr. Joshua S. Myers. It is supposed there was once a church at Kirksanton, and that the township was an independent rectory, but the vicar of Millom is entitled to the tithe of corn and a modus in lieu of hay, which as has been seen above, is now commuted for a yearly rent charge of 128. In Kirksanton is a circular pond or small tarn, about 400 feet in circumference, which might be made very ornamental. There is also near to this place a small tumulus, on the summit of which are two stones standing perpendicularly, about eight feet in height and fifteen feet asunder. They are called standing stones, and near to these, Hutchinson says "several other large stones6 stood lately, placed in a rude manner." Haverigg is eight miles S. and Kirksanton (or Sankton) five miles S. by E. of Bootle.

Thwaites is a township and parochial chapelry, containing the three small hamlets of Duddon Bridge, Hall Thwaites7, and Lady Hall, with several dispersed houses, and extending from Millom Green along the banks of the Duddon, to Duddon Grove, about two miles W.N.W. of Broughton, the delightfully situated mansion of the late Miss F. E. Millers, and now the property of the Rev. Geo. Millers, M.A., minor canon of Ely who has succeeded to the whole of the freehold estates of this amiable lady. The other principal landowners of this township are John Lewthwaite, Robert Postlethwaite, and Thomas Dixon, Esqrs. Its rateable value is 1975 10s., and in 1841 it contained 356 inhabitants. At Duddon Bridge is an iron furnace; and a little above Duddon Grove is Hans Bridge, spanning the river with two arches, which spring from perpendicular rocks. The manor of Thwaites was held under the lords of Millom by a family of that name in the reign of Edward I. It is now the property of the earl of Lonsdale. The Chapel, dedicated to St. Anne, is situate near Thwaites Hall, about three miles from the parish church. It is a neat edifice. rebuilt in 1807, the former building, which was erected in 1721, at the expence of the inhabitants, by whom it was endowed with 200 having shewn symptoms of decay. It has also received 800 from queen Anne's bounty, a private donation of 100, and a Parliamentary grant of 1000, given in 1825. It was certified in 1715 as having no endowment, and in 1835, was returned as of the average value of 99. The Revd. James W. Sanders, M.A. is the perpetual curate, and has a neat parsonage house at Bridge End, in Millom Above township, erected in 1847. The church is about to be enlarged, by which one hundred additional sittings will be obtained. The benefice is in the patronage of the proprietors of the Beck bank, Broadgate, Graystone house, and Oaks estates, with the earl of Lonsdale, who, as lord of the manor and lay-rector, has a casting vote. Thirty-two shillings a year, as the interest of a sum of money secured on two closes in the Bridge-end estate, is paid as follows, viz. 16s. to the schoolmaster, and 16s. in bread to the poor; the latter appears to have been left, in 1778, by Alan Smithson, of Bank house. John Wennington gave 30, and Bernard Benson, 5, for the use of the poor of this chapelry; these sums are secured upon two tenements in the neighbourhood. In 1757 a library of 48 volumes was founded here, by the associates of Dr. Bray, but they are nearly all gone. At Swineside8, in this chapelry, are the remains of a Druids Temple, called by the neighbouring people Sunkenkirk, consisting of 50 large stones, with several small ones lying amongst them; the largest is a huge stone of a conical form, nearly nine feet high; there is another now fallen eight feet long; another is seven feet in height, and eleven feet nine inches in circumference, and the largest at the entrance on the left side is five feet six inches in height, and ten feet in circumference. They form a circle about 84 feet in diameter, having an entrance about five feet wide. Mr. Gough says, "no situation could be more agreeable to the Druids than this; the mountains almost encircle it; not a tree to be seen in the neighbourhood, nor a house, except a shepherd's cot at the foot of a mountain, surrounded by a few indifferent pastures."

Buckman Brow School is a neat building, in the Elizabethan style, erected in 1845 by Miss Frances E. Millers, who also left 2000 for the instruction of girls, between the ages of 5 and 16 years, in sewing, reading, writing, and arithmetic, and the Church catechism; 30 a year shall be allowed to a governess, and a residence: the number and mode of admission of the children to be at the discretion of trustees, who shall be the ministers of the respective chapelries of Broughton-in-Furness and Thwaites, and the owners of the estates of Duddon-grove, Ulpha, and Broadgate. Miss Elizabeth Casson is the present mistress, and the number of children in attendance is about 80. The personal property of the late truly benevolent Miss Millers is estimated at 60,000.

Hall Thwaites hamlet is 4 miles S.W. and Lady Hall hamlet, 3 miles S. by W. of Broughton.

Ulpha chapelry, on the west side of the Duddon, 4 miles N.N.W. of Broughton, is eleven miles in length, and more than three in breadth, and comprises about one third of this large parish, extending along the river from Duddon grove to the mouth of the mountains of Hardknott and Wrynose, near the three shire-stones, where meet the counties of Cumberland, Westmorland, and Lancashire. "The lower part of Ulpha is very woody and good land, the upper part more rocky and barren," being terminated by the above lofty and rugged mountains, to the left of which are Birks Fell, Harter Fell, Whit Fell, Great Pike, Hirt Fell, and several smaller eminences. The remains of Hardknott Castle are situate about half way up the mountain. It was once a fortress of great importance, but the date of its erection is unknown. A Roman road crosses both Hardknott and Wrynose, and may be traced for eight or ten miles. This parochial chapelry contains 5600 rateable acres, besides nearly 5000 acres of uncultivated mountain, and its rateable value is 1286. Lord Muncaster, Henry Dawson, Esq., and the Rev. George Millers, M.A., are the largest land owners; the latter of whom owns Ulpha Park, the residence of the late Miss Millers, who died in 1847. The Old Hall, now a farm house, bears marks of great antiquity, and was probably the seat of the lords of Ulpha. Near to it is a well, called Lady's Dub, where tradition says a lady was killed by one of the numerous wolves that formerly infested this region, the soil of which has been greatly improved by cultivation, especially in the low grounds, where wheat was first grown in 1784. The higher lands are mostly sheep farms, but a large portion of the chapelry is covered with woods and coppices. Rainsbarrow Wood produces large crops of fine hazel nuts, zinc has been found here, and a copper mine is now worked in the chapelry.

The Chapel of Ulpha, dedicated to St. John, is distant seven miles north of the mother church, and was certified to the governors of queen Anne's bounty at 5, of which 3 6s. 8d. was the ancient chapel salary. It has since been augmented with queen Anne's bounty, and was returned in 1835, at 49. The benefice is a perpetual curacy in the gift of the vicar of Millom, and in the incumbency of the Rev. J. Walker. The ruins called Hardknott Castle9, are supposed to be those of "a chapel or cross," erected on this mountain, as was the case on Cross Fell. Mr. John Gunson, late of the Plough Inn, being a good classical scholar, once presented his bill in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, to please three "quizzing" students from Saint Bees' school, whose ignorance on this occasion shone as conspicuous as their impertinence to their learned but unassuming host. Frith Hall, now a farm house, was formerly an inn, at which the minister married seventeen couples by the fire side in 1730.

Ulpha, Uffhay, or Ouffa, derived its name from Ulf, son of Evard, whose posterity enjoyed it till the time of Henry III, after which it passed to the Huddlestons, who enclosed a park for deer, which is still called Ulpha Park. George Harrison, Esq. of Linethwaite, near Whitehaven, is now lord of the manor. Population in 1841, 375.


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




1. Hotbarrow is now Hodbarrow.
2. Ulverstone is correctly spelled elsewhere as Ulverston.
3. Holborn Hill was absorbed by Millom, which expanded considerably on the back of the iron industry.
4. Barwick Rails is now Borwick Rails.
5. New-hall is now New Hall, and Lowscales is Low Scales.
6. "standing stones" are the remains of 4 stone circles, collectively known as the Lacra Stone Circles.
7. Hall Thwaites is now Hallthwaites.
8. Swineside is now known as Swinside.
9. Hardknott Castle is a Roman fort, and well worth a visit.

19 June 2015

Steve Bulman