Whitbeck Parish

  > Extends about 3 miles along the coast, and about 2 miles inland, being bounded on the south by Whicham, on the east by the mountain of Black Comb, on the north by Bootle, and on the west by the Irish sea. The soil towards the sea is rather sandy, inclining to a clay, and towards Black Comb, gravelly, and the surface of the parish is uneven and irregular. From the peculiar nature of the sand near Newton, ducks die here in a few months. A vein of peat moss, containing in some places, nearly one-fifth of the breadth of the parish, runs longitudinally through the middle of the greatest part of the land, dividing the soil into two kinds. The sea has made considerable encroachments in many parts of this parish, old roads and. hedges being visible some distance beyond low water mark. A medicinal spring near the sea shore was formerly much frequented, and was said to be "a sovereign remedy for the scurvy and gravel." Large trunks of oak and fir trees have been found in the peat moss, and about the middle of the last century a tree was dug up, whose trunk was about seven yards long and two in diameter. Nuts and acorns have been also found at a great depth; and in the parish are many curiosities well worthy of the traveller's attention. On Black Comb is a capacious cavity, supposed to be that of a crater, several hundred yards in depth and diameter, having at the bottom a spring of clear water, and round its margin a profusion of vitrified matter; and on this mountain is a fine cascade. About one mile from Bootle, on the Barfield estate, is a small lake, or tarn, 600 yards in circumference, abounding with perch and trout -, and in a tarn near Gutterby, are great quantities of leeches. Around here, and in the neighbouring morasses, ignes fatui, vulgularly called Will oth' Wisp, are frequently seen in the evenings, At Hall Foss, are the remains of a Druidical Temple, called Standing Stones, which formed a circle of twenty-five feet in diameter. Near to Annaside is another circular monument, consisting of twelve large stones; and on the Moorgreen farm are thirty stones, designated Kirkstones, similar in position to those of Stonehenge, in Wiltshire. A large cairn of stones, about fifteen yards diameter, may be seen about two hundred yards from this Druidical monument. It is stated in Hutchinson's Cumberland, that "when the wind blows from the east over Black Comb, the inhabitants of the houses which stand close under its base, find it most violent; when the wind blows from the sea, the most temperate. In Whicham, behind the mountain it is quite the reverse ; so that whenever it is calm in one parish it is stormy in the other, when it blows from the east or west." The number of rateable acres in the parish is about 2000, rated at 1616 10s. 2d., and the principal land owners are the earl of Lonsdale, Miss Eliz. Lewthwaite, and Mr. William Williamson, together with a few other residents. The population of the parish in 1841, was 208.

Newton is a small hamlet on the Broughton road, about 2 miles south of Bootle. The Church, which stands here, is dedicated to Saint Mary, and is an ancient edifice, but much modernized by the insertion of sash windows. It consists of a nave and chancel, with a bell gable at its western end carrying two belle. It has been "curtailed of its fair proportions," and a monumental effigy, said to be of one of the lords of Whitbeck, is now exposed to the weather. The church having been given to the priory of Conishead, by Gamel de Pennington, is now only a perpetual curacy, in the patronage and impropriation of the earl of Lonsdale. It was certified to the governors of queen Anne's bounty at 9 14s. 8d., and in 1835, was returned as of the annual value of 70. The tithes have been commuted at a yearly rent charge of 60. The benefice was augmented in 1747, with 200 from queen Anne's bounty, and 250 given by the patron and impropriator, being the produce of the sale of a portion of the tithes. About the year 1760, it received a further grant of 200, and in 1785 another 200 from queen Anne's bounty, and a further augmentation of 200, with which a house and land were purchased, now occupied by the minister.

Half the tithes were purchased by the late earl, of Charles Parke, Esq., in 1807; and the other moiety has been for a length of time sold to the land owners.

Annaside is a hamlet near the sea, 1 mile S.W. of Bootle.

Charities - The Hospital was built by the parishioners, and endowed in 1632, by Mr. Hen. Parke, of Kendal, mercer, (a native of the parish) with 400, the interest to be distributed to six poor people. In 1722 it was certified that an hospital was built, and that the money left by Mr. Parke had been vested in lands which yielded 24 per annum. It is now the asylum of three poor parishioners, who each receive 8 a year. In 1722 there was a poor stock of 30 belonging to this parish; and the following benefactions are entered in the register:- In 1580, John Kitchen gave 20 marks, half the interest thereof to be applied to the poor, and the other half to the church. In 1617, Lawrence Parke gave 10 for the like purpose. In 1634, Arthur Myers gave 10 for the use of the schoolmaster; in 1674 Henry Robinson gave 5 for the same purpose. In 1735, Agnes Walker gave 10 for the use of the poor, and in 1737, H. Parke gave the interest of 6 for the like purpose. Henry Parke and John Huddleston gave a donation for the poor on their entering into the hospital.



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



19 June 2015

Steve Bulman