Magna Britannia: Volume 4, Cumberland. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1816.
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IREBY, in the ward of Allerdale below Derwent, is a small market town on the road from Keswick to Wigton, twelve miles from the former, and six and a half from the latter. The parish is divided into the townships of High and Low-Ireby, containing together, in 1811, 87 houses, and 399 inhabitants.
The manor of High-Ireby was given by Alan, son of Waldieve, Lord of Allerdale, to Gospatric, son of Orme; a younger son of Gospatric assumed the name of Orme de Ireby, and was ancestor of two families of that name. William de Ireby, the last of the elder branch had two daughters, married to Estoteville and Lascelles, in the reign of Henry III. This manor was inherited by Lascelles, and passed by marriage to Seaton. Christopher Seaton, son of the heiress of Lascelles, was attainted for taking part with Robert Bruce. At a later period this manor belonged to the Barwis family, of whom it was purchased by an ancestor of Sir Frederick Fletcher Vane, Bart, the present proprietor.
The manor of Routhwaite was granted by Alan, Lord of Allerdale, to the Bruns, from whom it passed at an early period to the Dentons. In 1676 Thomas Denton, Esq. sold it to Mr. Peter Norman of Carlisle (fn. n1). It is now the property of Sir Frederick Fletcher Vane, Bart.
The manor of Low-Ireby, or Market-Ireby, belonged anciently to the Thursbys whose heiress brought it to Boyvil. It was acquired of the Boyvils by William de Ireby, a younger brother of the family before-mentioned. Christian, daughter and heir of this William, married Thomas, the son of Duncan Lascelles, and afterwards Robert Bruce. This lady conveyed Low-Ireby to Thomas Middleton, from whom it passed to the Tilliols. On the death of Robert Tilliol, the last of the family, in 1433. it was allotted to Isabel, his sister and coheiress; one of the coheiresses of her son William Colvill, brought this estate to the Musgraves. Sir John Ballantine married Ann, one of the daughters and coheirs of William Musgrave, the last of the Crookdake family, from whom it descended to the family of Ballantine; it is now the property of Mrs. Jane Ballantine, widow.
The market at Low-Ireby was granted in 1237 to William de Ireby, to be held on Thursday, together with a fair for three days at the festival of St. Matthew (fn. n2). There is still a small market for butchers' meat (fn. n3), &c. on Thursday, and there are two fairs, one for horses on the 24th of February, the other a great sheep fair, particularly noted for an excellent shew of mountain tups and ewes, on the 18th of October. The church of Ireby was given by Alan, Lord of Allerdale, to the prior and convent of Carlisle.
This parish has been inclosed under an act of parliament passed in 1811, by which lands were allotted to the dean and chapter of Carlisle, or their lessee, in lieu of tithes. The dean and chapter are patrons of the perpetual curacy, which, although still a small benefice, has within the last five years been twice augmented by Queen Anne's bounty. The priory had two estates in this parish, Isaacby, or Prior's-hall, and Newbiggin, formerly called a manor: Newbiggin is now a grange belonging to the dean and chapter; Prior-hall is divided into leasehold tenements held under the dean and chapter. Matthew Caldbeck founded a school at Low-Ireby in 1726, and endowed it with the interest of 100l.
IRTHINGTON, in Eskdale ward, lies about two miles and a half from Brampton. It is divided into the townships of Irthington, Leversdale, Newby, and Newtown, containing collectively in 1811, 143 houses, and 911 inhabitants. The manor of Leversdale, and the whole of this parish, are parcel of the barony of Gilsland, belonging to the Earl of Carlisle. Leversdale was for some generations the property of a family who took their name from the place. Near the church is the keep of a castle, which probably was the seat of some of the family of Vaux or de Vallibus, for one of whom there is an ancient grave-stone in the parish church. It is said to have been the chief seat of the barony of Gilsland before Naworth Castle was built.
The church was given by Robert de Vallibus to the priory of Lanercost, to which the great tithes were appropriated. They were granted, together with the advowson of the vicarage, by King Edward VI. to Sir Thomas Dacre. Joseph Dacre, Esq. is the present patron and impropriator.
IRTON, in the ward of Allerdale above Derwent, lies about sixteen miles from Whitehaven. The manor has belonged almost from the time of the conquest to the ancestors of Edmund Lamplugh Irton, Esq. of Irton hall, the present possessor. The manor of Santon, in this parish, belonged in the reign of Henry III. to Alan de Copeland, of Bootle, in whose family it continued several descents. It is now the property of Mr. Irton.
The church of Irton, which had been appropriated to the nunnery of Seaton, was granted on the dissolution to the Penningtons. Their descendant, Lord Muncaster, is the present impropriator and patron of the perpetual curacy.
This parish has been inclosed pursuant to an act of parliament passed in 1809, under which an allotment of land was given in lieu of tithes to the impropriator, and two statute acres were allotted for the better support of the school. The endowment has by subsequent benefactions been increased to 170l. the interest of which is paid by the trustees to the master.
ISEL, in the ward of Allerdale below Derwent, lies about three miles from Cockermouth. It is divided into the townships of Blindcrake, Isel and Redmain, Isel Old Park, and Sunderland; containing altogether, in 1811, 74 houses and 278 inhabitants. The manor of Isel was given by Alan, son of Waldieve, to Ranulph Engain, whose grand-daughter brought it to the Morvils. Ada, coheiress of Hugh de Morvil, one of Thomas-aBecket's assassins, married to her second husband, Thomas de Multon. Margaret, the heiress of Multon, brought Isel to the Leighs in the reign of Edward II. Thomas Leigh, Esq. the last heir male of this family, gave the manor of Isel to his wife Maud, (who had been widow of Redmain): this lady gave it to her third husband, Sir Wilfred Lawson, great uncle of Sir Wilfred Lawson of Isel, who was created a baronet by King James II. in 1688. Upon the death of Sir Wilfred Lawson, Bart. in 1806, the title became extinct; and the Isel estate, under his will, is now the property of Wilfred, a younger son of Thomas Wybergh, Esq. who has taken the name of Lawson: he is as yet under age.
Isel Hall, the seat of the Lawsons, an ancient mansion, with a square tower, situated in a beautiful valley on the river Derwent, has been many years deserted by the Lawson family, whose chief residence has been at Brayton-hall.
Redmain, in this parish, was given by Alan Lord of Allerdale to the priory of Gisborne. After the Reformation it was granted to the Curwen family, who continued to possess it in 1688 (fn. n4) : it is now part of the Lawson estate. At Chapel-guards were some time the ruins of buildings, of which there are now no remains: it is probable there might have been a chapel there dedicated to the Holy Trinity; the adjoining grounds are demesne lands called the Trinities, belonging to the Lawson estate. Chapel-guards is the property of Allan Pearson, Esq. of Bridekirk. Redmain was the birth-place of Dr. Joseph and Dr. Bolton Simpson, two eminent classic scholars. Dr. Joseph Simpson, who was born in 1710 and died in 1796, rector of Weyhill in Hampshire, published an edition of Epictetus, which went through several editions; the Choice of Hercules by Prodicus; Characters of Theophrastus, &c. Dr. Bolton Simpson, who was born in 1717 and died about the year 1785, published an edition of Xenophon.
The church of Isel, which is in the deanery of Allerdale, was appropriated to the priory of Hexham. Queen Elizabeth granted the rectory and advowson in 1559 to Thomas Leigh, Esq. Mr. Wilfred Lawson is now impropriator of the great tithes and patron of the vicarage. Sir Wilfred Lawson, who died in 1737, gave to the vicar the tithes of Blincrake, Sunderland, Isel-Old-Park, and Isel-gate, in lieu of the tithes of Isel demesne. This parish has been inclosed under an act of parliament passed in 1808, by which lands were given in lieu of tithes.
Kirk-Andrews on Eden
KIRK-ANDREWS ON EDEN, in Cumberland ward, lies three miles and a half from Carlisle. This parish is part of the barony of Burgh (fn. n5), belonging to the Earl of Lonsdale. The rectory is united to Beaumont, and is in Lord Lonsdale's patronage. There has been no church in this parish for many years, but the parishioners still bury their dead in the cemetery. The rectory belonged formerly to the priory of Marrick in Yorkshire. It is said that there was formerly a church at a place called Kirksteads, about a mile south of the village of Kirk-Andrews, where there is still the appearance of a church-yard. This parish has a share of the interest of 50l. bequeathed by Mr. Thomas Pattinson, in 1785, for the purpose of educating the children of the poor of Beaumont, Kirk-Andrews, and Grisdale.
Kirk-Andrews upon Esk
KIRK-ANDREWS UPON ESK, in Eskdale ward, on the borders of Scotland, lies about two miles from Longtown, and eleven from Carlisle. It is divided into the townships of Kirk-Andrews-Middle, Kirk-Andrews-Nether, Moat, and Nichol-forest; containing altogether, in 1811, 367 houses and 2,086 inhabitants. The whole of the parish is within the barony of Liddell, already described, belonging to Sir James Graham, Bart. of Netherby. The moat, supposed to have been the ancient site of the barony, is in this parish, but has been already spoken of under Arthuret (fn. n6). The parish church was rebuilt in the reign of Charles I. by Sir Richard Graham, on the site where the church of Kirk-Andrews, long before demolished, had stood, on the banks of the Esk: this was done under the authority of letters patent from the King, which define the boundaries of the restored parish, comprising a part of the depopulated parish of Eston, the remainder being in the parish of Arthuret. The advowson of the rectory belongs to Sir James Graham, Bart. Not far from the church is one of the border towers, built as a protection against the hostile inroads of the Scots.
In this parish is Solom or Solway Moss, already spoken of, celebrated for the victory obtained over the Scots (fn. n7) in the reign of Henry VIII. and for the remarkable overflowing of the Moss in the year 1771. The eruption began on the 15th of November; it continued to flow for several days, covering with its black stream several hundred acres of fertile land, and destroying many of the tenants' houses. The mischief at first seemed almost irreparable; but by the spirited exertions of Dr. Graham, who was landlord of the whole inundated tract, the ground was gradually cleared, at a great expence, and again brought into cultivation; and there is now not a trace of this extraordinary inundation to be seen.
At Nichol-forest is a chapel of ease, which in 1744 was augmented by Queen Anne's bounty. The minister is nominated by the rector. The endowment of the school at Kirk-Andrews has already been spoken of under Arthuret. (fn. n8)
KIRK-BAMPTON, in Cumberland ward, lies six miles from Carlisle. It is divided into the townships of Kirk-Bampton, Little-Bampton, and Oughterby; containing collectively, in 1811, 89 houses and 458 inhabitants. The greater part of this parish is held under the Earl of Lonsdale, as of his barony of Burgh; some lands are holden under Sir Wastell Briscoe, Bart. and the hamlet of Langrigg under the rectory. There were formerly some mesne manors in this parish, which were originally united in one, and the property of Sir Hildred de Carlisle, who had his seat here. His lands were divided among his descendants. In the reign of Edward II. William de Montacute and Elizabeth his wife held a moiety of the manors of Kirkbampton and Oughterby, or Utterby, and the advowson of the church of Bampton (fn. n9), which appear to have belonged to William de Carlisle (fn. n10). This estate was afterwards in the Stapletons, who, in Henry VIII.'s reign, conveyed it to the Dacres of Lanercost, by whom it was sold in severalties to the tenants. Eudo de Carliell conveyed an estate in Little-Bampton, &c. to the family of Bampton. This estate appears to have passed to the Musgraves of Crookdake, the coheiresses of which family enfranchised the lands. We find also (fn. n11), that in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, Thomas Brisby conveyed an estate called the manor of Little-Bampton to Southaick and Tolson; the latter conveyed it to John Dalston, Esq. by whom it was sold in severalty to the tenants. The manor of Studholme, in this parish, was given in the reign of Henry II. by Sir Hildred de Carlisle, to a family who took their name from that place; the manor had been dismembered long before the year (fn. n12) 1688; but the estate still belongs to their immediate descendant Mr. Joseph Studholme, of Shincliffe, near Durham.
A moiety of the rectory was given in the reign of Henry II. by Adam, son of Robert, to the hospital of St. Nicholas at Carlisle. This moiety is now vested in the dean and chapter, under whom it is held on lease by Joseph Liddell, Esq. The right of presentation to the other moiety, long called the rectory of Kirk-Bampton (the other moiety having no concern with the cure) has been disputed ever since the reign of Queen Elizabeth. There were then three claimants, Cuthbert Musgrave, Esq. William Briscoe, Esq. and Christopher Dacre, Esq. In 1610 those families joined in a presentation. In 1740, on the death of Thomas Story, who had been incumbent 61 years, and who is said to have buried every one of the parishioners who were living at his induction, Henry Viscount Lonsdale presented. The advowson is understood to be now jointly in the Earl of Lonsdale and Sir Wastell Briscoe, Bart.
KIRK-BRIDE, in Cumberland ward, lies six miles from Wigton. The manor was given by Adam, son of Odard, second baron of Wigton, to his second son, who took the name of Kirkbride: in this family it continued several generations, till a coheiress of George Kirkbride, Esq. the last heir male, brought a moiety to the Dalstons of Dalston-hall. The other moiety having become vested in the Crown, was granted by King Henry VIII. to Thomas Dalston. After this the whole manor continued in the Dalston family till the year 1764, when it was sold by Sir George Dalston, Bart. the last of the family, to Joseph Wilson, Esq. of Pomfret. It was conveyed by the latter to — Matthews, and of him purchased by the late Earl of Lonsdale. It is now the property of the present Earl. At Moorhouses, in this parish, was an ancient seat of the Dalstons. (fn. n13)
The church of Kirk-bride, which is in the deanery of Allerdale, is a rectory; the advowson belongs to the Rev. Francis Metcalfe, the present incumbent. Dr. Anthony Hall, son of Henry Hall, rector of this parish, born at Kirk-Bride in 1619, was editor of Leland's Scriptores, Trivet's Annals, and other works; he was one of the editors of the Magna Britannia, the first volume of which was published in 1720, and has dedicated the account of Cumberland to his father.
KIRK-CAMBOCK, is a depopulated parish in Eskdale ward. A market at this place on Tuesday, and a fair for three days at the festival of St. Peter and St. Paul, were granted in 1251 to William de St. Edmund, then rector, and his successors (fn. n14). King Edward I. was at this place for four days (March 1—4.) on his way from Lanercost to Carlisle in 1307 (fn. n15). The manor was held under the barony of Gilsland successively by the families of De Cambock, Terrye or Tyrer, Leversdale, and Stapleton. It now belongs to the Earl of Carlisle, as parcel of the barony of Gilsland. The church was given at an early period to the priory of Carlisle. The rectory now belongs to the dean and chapter; but the church was in ruins long before the Reformation, and has never been rebuilt: the lessees nevertheless covenant to repair the church, and provide an able and sufficient curate. The inhabitants chiefly apply to the church of Lanercost for the rites of baptism and sepulture. No account is taken of this parish in the late population returns.
KIRKLAND, in Leath ward, lies on the borders of the county, five miles from Temple-Sowerby, in Westmorland, which is the post-office town. It is divided into the townships of Culgaith, Kirkland and Blencarn, and Skirwith; containing collectively, in 1811, 141 houses and 608 inhabitants.
The manor of Blencarn was anciently parcel of the barony of Adam Fitz-Swein, and afterwards belonged to his descendants, the Nevills. In the reign of King John, it was in moieties between the families of Thursby and Whitby. The Boyvils afterwards possessed the whole, as heirs to the Thursbys, and sold it to John de Hercla. In the year 1340, King Edward III. granted the manor of Blencarn, which had belonged to Sir Andrew de Hercla, attainted, to William Langleys, or English (fn. n16), whose daughter brought it in marriage (after the death of her brother) to the Restwolds: from this family it passed by sale to the Loughs. It is now the property of Mrs. Fydell and Mrs. Tufnell, as nieces and coheiresses of Lough Carleton, Esq. who died in 1792.
The manor of Skirwith was originally parcel of Adam Fitz-Swein's barony. It appears to have been successively in the families of Spigurnell, Fitzwalter, Lancaster, Place, Hutton, Middleton, and Hutton; Mrs. Agnes Fleming, widow, purchased it in the year 1607; it is now the property of her descendant Sir Daniel Fleming, Bart. of Rydal, in Westmorland. Skirwithhall, an old seat of the Flemings, has been pulled down, and a farm-house built on the site.
The Skirwith Abbey estate was so called from a tradition, for which we can find no foundation, that it was the site of a religious house. This estate forms a small manor, which, since the middle of the sixteenth century has passed through the families of Benson, Lowther, Chambre, Langcake, Sanderson, Bird, and Aderton, all by purchase. The lastmentioned family sold it in 1768, to John Orfeur Yates (fn. n17), Esq. the present proprietor. Skirwith Abbey, a modern built mansion, ornamented with extensive plantations, is the seat of Mr. Yates.
The manor of Culgaith was parcel of Adam Fitz-Swein's barony, his daughters married Crevaquer and Montbegon; the elder afterwards married Nevill. The manor long continued in moieties; in the reign of Edward I. one belonged to Sir Michael de Hercla, the other to Mulcaster and Hawksley. After this we hear of the manor as only one estate, granted on the attainder of Andrew de Hercla, Earl of Carlisle, to Sir Hugh Moriceby, for his bravery and good services in taking the earl prisoner in the castle at Carlisle (fn. n18). Lady Knevett, heir general of the Pickerings and Moricebys, sold the demesne to Henry Crackenthorp, Esq. and the manor to certain feoffees for the tenants, subject to a quit rent of 28l. 4s. 1d. which she afterwards sold to the Dalstons, and which is now vested in Richard Atkinson, Esq. of the East India Company's service.
A place at Culgaith, called Kirklandres, or Kirk-Andrews, with wood and land adjoining, was conveyed by Simon, Abbot of St. Mary in York, to Sir Michael de Hercla, Knight, in the reign of Edward I. as appears by a record of the reign of Edward II. in which it is stated, that Sir Michael agreed to give a yearly rent of 40s. for it to the Monks of Wetheral, though the estate was worth only 10s. per annum, because it was a desirable situation for his own residence (fn. n19). This Sir Michael was father of Sir Andrew de Hercla, Earl of Carlisle, who was executed at Carlisle in 1327. The Kirk-Andrews estate is now held under the dean and chapter by the Crackenthorp family.
In the parish church of Kirkland, which was rebuilt in 1768, are monuments of the Fleming family (fn. n20). The church of Kirkland was appropriated to the priory of Carlisle in the reign of Henry VI. The dean and chapter are now appropriators and patrons of the vicarage.
At Culgaith is a chapel of ease, founded at an early period by the lord of the manor; and afterwards, as it appears, given by Adam Fitz-Swein to the priory of Pomfret (fn. n21). It has been twice augmented by Queen Anne's bounty; the Rev. Christopher Bowerbank gave 160l. towards it by will. The chapel was rebuilt in 1758. The minister is nominated by the vicar.
Kirklinton, or Kirklevington
KIRKLINTON, or KIRKLEVINGTON, in Eskdale ward, lies ten miles from Carlisle. The parish is divided into the townships of Hethersgill, Middletownship, and West-Linton, or Levington, containing collectively in 1811, 318 houses, and 1412 inhabitants. The barony of Levington was granted by Ranulph de Meschines, in the reign of William the Conqueror, to Richard Boyvil, whose posterity took the name of de Levington. Sir Ranulph de Boyvil, or Levington, the last of the family, died in the year 1253, leaving an infant daughter, Harriet, afterwards the wife of Eustace de Baliol, to whom and her husband, a market at Levington on Thursday, and a fair for three days at the festival of St. Peter, (both long ago discontinued,) were granted in 1263 (fn. n22). On the death of the said Harriet, without issue, this manor or barony was divided between the six sisters of her father or their representatives (fn. n23). We have no account of what became of the other parts of this manor or barony, but it appears that the Tilliols became possessed by purchase from the Turps, of a third, consisting of the manor of Kirklinton, which passed to the Musgraves, and was sold by Sir Edward Musgrave of Hayton Castle, to Edmund Appleby, Esq. who died in 1698. Joseph, son of Edmund Appleby, married a daughter of Dacre of Lanercost, and the family eventually becoming possessed of the estates of that branch of the Dacres assumed the name. The manor of Kirklinton is now the lifehold property of the widow of the late William Dacre, Esq. the fee being in her son Joseph Dacre, Esq. now resident in the East Indies. The hall is in the occupation of Mr. John Ewart. Near Mrs. Dacre's house are the traces of an ancient mansion or castle, supposed to have been the site of the barony, and the residence of the Boyvills.
The manor of West-Linton was the property and residence of a younger branch of the Boyvills, whose heiress brought it to the Highmores of Harbybrow, in the reign of Edward IV. By the latter it was sold in the reign of James I. to the Blencowes (fn. n24). It is now the property of the Earl of Lonsdale.
The Hetheringtons, an ancient family, were of Kirklinton for several generations, and possessed some estates there, which are now by bequest the property of their relative John Bacon, Esq. of the First-Fruits Office. Mrs. Dacre is patron of the rectory, which is in the deanery of Carlisle. There is a Quakers meeting-house at a place called Sike-side.
George Graham, the celebrated watch maker, esteemed the first general mechanic of his time, who invented and constructed the sector, for the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, by which Dr. Bradley discovered the aberration of the fixed stars, was born at Horsgills, in this parish, in the year 1675. (fn. n25)
KIRK-OSWALD, in Leath ward, is a small market town, 8½ miles from Penrith, and 293 from London. The parish is divided into the townships of Kirk-Oswald and Staffold; the former in 1811 contained 116 houses, and 636 inhabitants, the latter 49 houses, and 309 inhabitants.
The manor of Kirk-Oswald belonged in the reign of King John to Sir Hugh Morvil, one of Thomas a Becket's assassins, who acquired it in marriage with the heiress of Estoteville. This Sir Hugh had a charter for a market in the reign of King John, on Thursday, and a fair on the feast of St. Oswald (fn. n26). From the Morvils this manor passed by descent to the Dacres, and with the barony of Dacre of the south, to the Fynes's and Lennards. The coheiresses of Thomas Lennard, Earl of Sussex, sold it to Sir Christopher Musgrave, Bart. of Eden-hall, ancestor of Sir Philip Musgrave, Bart. the present proprietor. The manor of Little-Croglin has been long annexed to that of Kirk-Oswald.
There are but small remains of the ancient castle of Kirk-Oswald, said to have been built by the Engaynes. It was improved by Sir Hugh Morvil, who inclosed the park; Thomas de Multon enlarged and fortified it; Thomas de Dacre, who married the heiress of Multon, beautified it at a great expence. We find Thomas Lord Dacre frequently residing at KirkOswald in the reign of Henry VIII. (fn. n27)
Mr. Sandford, who wrote an account of Cumberland about the latter end of the seventeenth century (fn. n28), speaks of this castle as "the fairest fabric that ever eyes looked upon." It was pulled down in his time, and the pictures of the Kings of England, which decorated the hall, described by Mr. Sandford as 100 feet (fn. n29) in length, were removed to Naworth, where they are still to be seen in the hall of that castle. Mr. T. Denton, who was contemporary with Mr. Sandford, and wrote in 1688, describes Kirk-Oswald Castle as a bare shell or heap of stones, and says, "that Lord William Howard pulled it down and removed the pictures and several monuments of antiquity to Naworth Castle; after which time Kirk-Oswald was never inhabited." In some particulars Mr. Denton seems to have been mistaken, as certainly Kirk-Oswald was not the property of Lord William Howard, and Mr. Sandford speaks of having himself seen the hall at Kirk-Oswald and the portraits in it, which were afterwards removed to Naworth. They might have been presented to the Howard family at the dismantling of KirkOswald Castle by the Lord Dacre of the south.
Croglin-hall, in this parish, within the manor of Kirk-Oswald, was sold by William, son of Sir Charles Howard, to George Towry, Esq. who possessed it in 1688 (fn. n30). After the death of William Towry, Esq. without issue, in 1727, it was sold to Mr. Johnson, and is now by inheritance the property of Mrs. Burrowes, widow. The hall has been for some time occupied as a farm-house.
The market at Kirk-Oswald, which is only for butchers' meat, &c. is still held on Thursday; there are now two fairs, on the Thursday before Whitsuntide, and August 5; they are small fairs, but cattle are sometimes exhibited for sale. The town of Kirk-Oswald was burnt by the Scots in 1314. (fn. n31)
Staffield, or Staffol, sometimes written Staffold, belonged formerly to a family of that name, which became extinct in the reign of Henry V. when the coheiresses married Chambers, Mulcaster, and Blennerhasset. This estate was afterwards successively in the Fletchers of Hutton, and the Lowthians; it is now the property and residence of Richard Lowthian Ross, Esq. whose father, George Ross, Esq. inherited it from his uncle Mr. Richard Lowthian, the last of that family.
Harescough, or Harescow, was given by Ada de Engain to the priory of Lanercost; after the reformation it was purchased of the crown by the Dacres of Lanercost. It was conveyed by that family to Dr. Peter Barwick, physician in ordinary to King Charles II. who gave it to the chapel and poor of Witherslack in Westmorland.
The church of Kirk-Oswald was in 1523 made collegiate for twelve secular priests. Queen Elizabeth in 1587, granted the reversion of the college estate, including most of the great tithes of this parish, to Edward Downinge and Miles Doddinge. This estate not long afterwards came to the Fetherstonhaughs, who seated themselves at the college-house near the church. The present possessor is Charles, the son of the Rev. Charles Smallwood, vicar of Kirk-Oswald, by the sister of Timothy Fetherstonhaugh, Esq. who died in 1797. This gentleman has assumed the name of Fetherstonhaugh in addition to that of Smallwood.
In the parish church are memorials of the family of Fetherstonhaugh, particularly the monument of the loyal Sir Timothy Fetherstonhaugh, who was beheaded at Chester in 1651. It has the following inscription:
M. S. Timothei Fetherstonhaugh de Kirk-Oswald equitis vexillarii, ab antiquâ de T. H. in agro Northumb. stirpe oriundi; quantum pro publicis afflictæ patriæ vindiciis (grassante tunc conspiratione, perfidissimâ) et molitus et perpessus, oculos huc adverte, lege, lege. Causam Regis et ecclesiæ Ang. extremo capitis fortunarumq[ue] periculo perpetim asseruit, aureos 300 in regium subsidium ultro erogavit; cohortem militarem suis ipsius sumptibus conscripsit. Filium Henricum primogenitum equestri dignitate sub vexillis regiis insignitum in perduelles ad mortem usq[ue] dimicantem; res familiares misere tabefactas, se suaque per omnia aspera jactata, aspexit, et invicta animi magnitudine sustinuit. Tandem, hostium in manus inauspicato incidit, in vincula conjectus est, & in civitate Cestriæ immaniter decollatus, 22° die Octob. A.D. 1651.
Mr. Fetherstonhaugh, the present proprietor of this estate, has in his possession some letters, full of affection to his wife and family, addressed by Sir Timothy to Lady Fetherstonhaugh, from Chester Castle; one of them is his farewell letter, written on the 20th of October, two days before his execution. With these letters is a petition of Dame Bridget Fetherstonhaugh, his widow, setting forth the grievous plunder of property which she had suffered after his decease.
Kirk-Oswald is in the deanery of Allerdale; most of the great tithes as before-mentioned, are annexed to the college estate. The tithes of Blundersfield belong to Joseph Hodgson; those of Staffold mostly to the several proprietors of lands, who purchased them of the Towry family. The vicarage is in the gift of the crown.
In the year 1598, 583 persons died of the plague in this parish, being equal to more than half the present population of the whole parish. This destructive pestilence began in the preceding year, in which forty-two persons died of it.
There is an old established Presbyterian meeting-house at Huddlesceugh, in this parish, which was rebuilt in 1711, and is endowed with a house and gardens, and about nine acres of land. The society is said to have been originally established at Melmerby about the year 1653.