Plumbland Parish

  Adjoins the parish of Gilcrux, and comprises only 2970 acres of land, rated at 2241 3s. 4d., and a population at 729 souls. It produces both coal and limestone in abundance, and here is also a little freestone, but of inferior qualify. It contains the two contiguous villages of Plumbland and Parsonby, and the hamlets or small manors of Arkleby and Warthole, distant 7 miles E. by N. of Maryport, and 10 miles S.W. of Wigton. The manor anciently appertained to the Orfeur family, the last of whom sold it to Sir Wilfred Lawson, of Isell, so that Sir W. Lawson, of Brayton Hall, is its present lord, but Mrs. Dykes, of Dovenby Hall, owns a great part of the soil. The church, dedicated to St. Cuthbert, is rectorial, having a glebe of 72 acres, and a revenue, as certified to the ecclesiastical commissioners, of 371 per annum; of which about 105 arises from the tithes not yet commuted. Henry Curwen, Esq., is patron, the Rev. John Wordsworth is rector, and the Rev. C. C. Southey is the officiating curate. Plumbland Grammar School was founded by capt. John Sibson, who, in 1759, bequeathed to it a sum of money, which is vested in the public funds, and now produces 87 6s. a year. The bequest was not to take place till the death of his wife, which happened in 1797, and the next year the foundation was effected, and in 1799 the school was built. It contains two rooms, each 42 feet by 24, one of which is for the classics, and the other for English, writing, arithmetic, &c. This excellent charity is vested in four governors, and the school is free to all the children of the parish, subject to the regulations described in the will of the founder.

Warthole, or Wardale1 estate, belonged to the abbey of Calder, but is now the property of Mrs. Dykes. Here were usually kept the watch and ward, and signals given to Moothey beacon, in Isell parish. Arkleby Hall was anciently the seat of a family of its own name, who held it for many generations, till an heiress carried it in marriage to the Martindales, one of whom, Roger de Martindale, forfeited it in the reign of Elizabeth, for his adherence to Mary Queen of Scots. Queen Elizabeth gave it to Sir John Penruddock, whose grandson of the same name was beheaded at Salisbury, in 1652. In the wall of the building are three rude pieces of sculpture. The old hall was pulled down about the year 1740, by Gustavus Thompson, who built a good dwelling upon the site, called Arkleby House, now occupied by a farmer. Parsonby adjoins Plumbland village, on the N.E. and is the estate containing the glebe belonging to the rectory. 


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




1. Warthole (Wardale) shows on modern maps as Wardhall.

Paul Haslam, who has an interest in the history of education in the county, has transcribed a School Inspector's Report for Plumbland School, ca. 1867. I'm grateful for his sharing it with us.

28 June 2008

Steve Bulman