Uldale Parish

  > Is bounded on the east by Caldbeck, on the south by Bassenthwaite, on the west by Ireby, and on the north by Bolton; and is about five miles in length and two in breadth, "exclusive of several mountains in the parish, where its boundary is not certainly known." It derives its name from the river Ellen1 (anciently called Elne, Alne, or Olne, and by the Romans, Olena), which has its principal source in this parish, from two small lakes; one of which, Over Water Tarn2, is about 1 mile, and the other, Little Tarn, about half-a-mile in circumference - both pretty well stocked with different kinds of fish. About 1 mile S.E. of these lakes is a fine cascade, known by the name of Whitewater Dash3, where a brook tumbles from a lofty mountain; and, after a great fall of rain, its foaming down the rocks, which may be seen at a considerable distance, is grand and imposing. The parish consists of three hamlets or divisions, viz., Uldale, Aughertree, or Auhertree, and Above-Ouze - in the latter of which are Longlands and Orthwaite - and is comprised in one township and manor, of which general Wyndham is lord. The soil above the village of Uldale is a clay or strong loam, and produces excellent crops of barley, oats, turnips, &c.; and the Uldale Hall estate, now belonging to Mr. James Burn, has long been noted as one of the finest grazing farms in Cumberland. The division Above-Ouze, which is more mountainous and much colder, is not so fruitful - the crops there being generally light; but it affords good pasturage for sheep, of which between 4 and 5000 are kept in the parish - which, like Caldbeck and other adjoining parishes, is famed for the Herdwick breed4. Large quantities of limestone are got here and a small seam of coal lies under the surface. Here are also some veins of copper, which were wrought, with indifferent success, about sixty years ago. The parish contains about 2500 acres of land, belonging to several owners, the principal of whom are Joseph Gillbanks, Esq., Mr. James Burn, Joseph Railton, Esq., Mrs. Fell, Mrs. Parkin, Mr. H. Norman, Mr. J. Cowx, and Mr. J. Cape. The lands are nearly all freehold. On Uldale common are some ancient ruins, apparently the remains of two Roman stations5; and near Orthwaite hall appear the relics of another. This hall, which now belongs to J. Gillbanks, Esq., was formerly the property of Brown, the great African traveller6. The population of the parish, in 1841, was 172 souls, and it is rated, for poor rates, at 1668 16s. 2d., and for the county, 1739 10s.

Uldale village is situate 6 miles W. by S. of Hesket Newmarket, 9 miles S. by W. of Wigton, and one mile S. by E. of Ireby. A sheep fair was established here in 1791, and continues to be held annually on the 29th of August; when from 500 to 1000 sheep are generally exposed for sale. The Church - which stands about half-a-mile from the village, on the road to Ireby - is small, being only 22 yards long and 8 broad. It was built, at the expense of the inhabitants, in 1730, and is kept in good repair. The benefice is a rectory, in the patronage of Joseph Gillbanks, Esq., who, in 1833, purchased the advowson of the Rev. John Cape, M.A., and who has lately rebuilt the chancel (in which is a good stained glass window), and also added a vestry to the edifice. The tithes were commuted in 1839 for a yearly rent charge of 130, exclusive of surplice fees and Easter dues; and the glebe land is 22A. 1R. In 1835 it was returned as of the net annual value of 151. The Rev. Joshua Clark is the present incumbent.

The Grammar School, at Uldale, was founded in 1726, by one Matthew Caldbeck, of Ruthwaite, who bequeathed to it 100; and another 100 was raised by subscription amongst the rest of the parishioners. Both these sums were laid out in the purchase of freehold land, which is now let for about 25 a year. Thomas Thomlinson, who died in North Carolina, in 1802, bequeathed the residue of his property (not otherwise disposed of) to the schools of Bromfield, Thursby, Wigton, and Uldale, the share allotted to the latter being 350, for which the master receives about 10 yearly interest; making the endowment 35 per annum. With a view to increase its general utility, a change has lately been made in the constitution of this school, by which nearly all the children are required to pay a certain quarterage. The master is chosen by seven trustees, of whom the rector is always to be one; Mr. Charles Creighton is the present master. The other charities belonging to the poor of the parish are - 4 4s., left in 1719, by John Dalston; 8 14s., as the interest of 200, bequeathed in 1771 by Thomas Cape; 2 8s., bequeathed by the above named Thomas Thomlinson in 1798; and a free quit rent of 4s. 6d. a year, recently purchased with 5 left by a Mr. Cowx.

The manor was first granted out of the barony of Allerdale by Waldeof, the son of earl Gospatrick, to Adam, a descendant of Lyolf, baron of Greystoke, from whom it passed to the Bonekills; whose heiress carried it in marriage to David Bregham, who forfeited it to Anthony, lord Lucy, by joining the Scotch patriotic army, commanded by Sir William Wallace7 - who was no less extraordinary for his strength and valour than his companion (Bregham) was for his horsemanship; - "whereupon," says Mr. Denton, "the Scotts thus rhymed on them :-

"The man was ne'er so wight or geud,
But worthy Wallace durst him byde;
Nor never horse so wild or weud,
But David Bregham durst him ryde."

Aukertree8 is one mile N. by E.; Longlands, one mile E. by S.; and Orthwaite, two miles S. of Uldale village.


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





1. The derivation of the name "Uldale" is incorrect. It is much more likely to be derived from the Norse Ulf, either a personal name, in which case "Ulf's Valley", or from wolf - "Valley of the Wolves" (personal communication, Darrel Swift).
2. Over Water Tarn is today simply known as Over water.
3. Whitewater Dash is now more usually given as Dash Falls.
4. Herdwick sheep may still be seen in the Lake District, though not nearly as common as in the past. They are extremely hardy, and are sometimes said to have been introduced by the Vikings. A picture of a Herdwick ram can be seen here.
5. The "Roman stations" are near Aughertree Farm (pron. Affertree), to the N.E. of Uldale, and are an Iron Age or Romano-British farming settlements. The one near Orthwaite is marked on the map as a "Moat", and therefore of Norman date, probably 13th century (Darrel Swift).
6. Brown, the African traveller - this is William George Browne, 1768-1813, who explored parts of the Egyptian desert; (personal communication, Andre Engels). There is a thin pamphlet in Carlisle library which describes Orthwaite Hall, and three families who owned it. One of these is the Browne family. William George Browne never set foot in the building, despite owning it. He was killed in Persia, in unknown circumstances.
7. Wallace's campaigns took place at the end of the 13th century.
8. Aukertree is the 3rd variant spelling for Aughertree.

There is an excellent treatment of Uldale at http://www.whitestreet.freeserve.co.uk/uldale/uld.html

Photo Steve Bulman.

19 June 2015

Steve Bulman