Renwick Parish

  The parish of Renwick1, anciently spelled Ravenwick, lies between the Croglin and Ravenbeck rivulets, and extends four miles from east to west, and two miles from north to south. It contains 4220 rateable acres, and 319 inhabitants. The soil is mostly of a gravelly nature, and, considering its proximity to the fells, rather fertile. In the year 1814, an Act of Parliament was passed for enclosing the parish. The manor of Renwick belonged from an early period to the family of Staveley, till the reign of Edward I, when they became extinct. It was afterwards part of the possessions of Andrew de Harcla, but being forfeited to the crown by his attainder2, it was given by Edward III to Robert Eaglesfield, confessor to Philippa, his queen. In 1341, it was settled by Eaglesfield, on Queen's College, Oxford; but some of the estates are occupied by their freeholders, and the rest by customary tenants. All the land owners formerly paid a prescription in lieu of tithes, except the owners of one estate, at Scale houses, long in the possession of the Tallentire family, who have had an exemption on account of an ancient owner having slain a "cockatrice :3" this is said to have happened about 260 years ago.

The parish contains the village of Renwick, on the west side of Thackmoor Fell4, three miles E.N.E. of Kirkoswald; and also the small hamlet of Scale Houses5, four miles north-east of the same town. The church is dedicated to All Saints, and was rebuilt in 1733, at the expense of the parishioners; and again, in 1845, at a cost of 480 raised by voluntary subscription, aided by a grant of 40 from the society for building and enlarging churches. It is a very neat structure, in the pure Norman style of architecture; and the chancel windows, being of moulded stained glass, are much admired. The living is a perpetual curacy, and was appropriated to Hexham Priory, but afterwards belonged to the Priory of St. Mary, at York. After the dissolution, in the 20th of Elizabeth, it was granted to Edward, earl of Lincoln, and Christopher Gowffe, to hold of the manor of East Greenwich, at 13s. 4d. yearly rent, with the exception of the advowson, bells, and lead of the church. From the grantees, the rectory and tithes were conveyed in parcels. The benefice was certified to the governors of queen Anne's bounty at 4 and although augmented by 600 from that bounty, and 200 given by the countess dowager Gower, is yet very small, being worth only about 90 a year. Lands were purchased with these sums of money in the parishes of Addingham and Ainstable. The Revd. John Williams de Lancy Lawson, of Uxbridge, is patron, and the Rev John Watson, perpetual curate of Cumrew, is the incumbent.

In 1775, Thomas Tallentire left the interest of 5 to the master of Renwick School, but no child is taught free on account of this charity. The school-house was rebuilt by subscription in 1838. About ninety years ago, William Percival left the interest of 10 to the poor of this parish, to be distributed at Christmas and Easter. 


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



1. Renwick is pronounced "Rennick"
2. Andrew de Harcla was executed for treason in 1322.
3. A cockatrice is usually described as being a sort of serpent.
4. Thackmoor Fell is now Thack Moor.
5. Scale Houses is now shown on the map as "Scales".

30 April 2008

Steve Bulman