North Westmorland
Clerks of the peace and High Constables


Institute of Historical Research



John F. Curwen

Year published




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'North Westmorland: Clerks of the peace and High Constables', The Later Records relating to North Westmorland: or the Barony of Appleby (1932), pp. 42-43. URL: Date accessed: 22 November 2014.


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For the County.

The Custos Rotulorum of the county has the appointment of the Clerk of the Peace. Whereas, by reason of sundry persons having been granted the office of the Clerkship of the Peace being not learned nor yet meet nor able for lack of knowledge and learning to occupy and exercise the office, many indictments as well of felony, murder and other offences and misdemeanors and the process awarded upon the same, have been made frustrate and void by negligent ingrossing, enrolment and keeping the same by the aforesaid Clerks to the great hindrance of Justice, etc. For reformation whereof be it enacted that every Custos Rotulorum for the time being shall at all times hereafter nominate, elect, appoint and assign such able persons who are instructed in the Laws of the Realm as shall be able to exercise and occupy the office, so that the said Clerk demean him in the said office justly and honourably. See Act 37 Henry VIII, c.1.

The title of "Clerk" originally belonged to the Holy Ministry of the Church as the monks were perhaps the only men in those times who could use a pen. And as such monks were at first appointed officers of the Courts of Law, we gain the second sense which denotes any person, whether clerical or lay, who practises his pen to record all things judicially done by the Justices in any court.

The following is a list of the Clerks of the Peace for Westmorland, going back as far as the Rolls of Quarter Sessions allow.

1669–1678Richard Rowlandson.
1678–1681George Fothergill.
        –1688— Hudson.
1706–1729Richard Baynes.
1729–1736William Carleton.
1736–1744William Wilkin.
1744–1750Richard Wordsworth.
1750–1755John Robinson.
1763–1776Joseph Robinson.
1776–1778John Nicholson.
1778–1780George Wheatley.
1780–1792Joshua Nicholson.
1793–1797Henry Tatham.
1798–1800— Saul.
1800–1812John Richardson.
1812–1838Rich. S. Stephenson.
1839–1888John Bell.
1888–1916John Bolton
1916–1918Alexander Milne.
1919–H. B. Greenwood.


For the East and West Wards.

East Ward.West Ward.
1661–1664John Hall.1661–1664Thomas Rigg.
1664–1666John Gowling.1664–1666William Langhorn.
1666–1674William Fairer.1666–1674William Thwaites.
1674–Thomas Birkbeck.1674–1679Richard Smith.
1698–Thomas Robinson1679–John Smith deputy.
1702–1703Henry Aiskill.1683–1702John Smith.
1703–1716John Robinson.1703–1706John Webster.
1716–1717Thomas Scaife.1706–1731Richard Smith.
1717–1725Thomas Monkhouse.
1725–1730Anthony Parkin.
1730–1742Charles Robinson.1731–1756Henry Holme, the elder.
1742–1744Thomas Lamb.
1744–1753Robert Bownass.
1753–1787John Bownass the elder.1756–1797Henry Holme, the younger.
1787–1798John Bownass, the younger.
1798–1803John Cleasby.1798–1844Thomas Holme.
1803–1822Richard Dixon.
1822–1835William Dixon.1844–Henry Holme.
1835–Thomas Harrison.
1849–1856John Bird.

In 1856 Cumberland and Westmorland joined together in appointing Mr. John Dunn as Chief Constable over the two counties. His salary was not to exceed £300 with £150 for all travelling expenses, and that Westmorland should not be called upon to pay more than one-fourth of such salary and expense.