Kentdale, as distinguished from the town of Kirkby-in-Kendale,
was in the eleventh and first half of the twelfth century the name of a
district in that part of North-Western England, which had lain within
the power sometimes of the earls of Northumbria and sometimes of the
earls of Mercia. The mutability of the rule over a portion of this area
is well shown in the case of the land "Twixt Ribble and Mersey" by the
system of assessment by ploughlands or carucates peculiar to the Danelagh, which overlay the earlier system of assessment by the English
hide, peculiar to Mercia and Wessex. To the north of the Ribble we
find this "Debatable Land" divided, in the period under review,
into the districts known as Amounderness, Lonsdale, Kentdale,
Cartmel, Furness and Copeland. Further inland the northern half
of the then non-existent county of Westmorland was known as
"Westmaringaland," and comprised the later East, Middle and West
Wards of that county.
Towards the end of the tenth, or early in the eleventh, century
these regions, being under the jurisdiction of the Danelagh, were
subjected to a system of rating for certain well-known purposes upon
a fixed basis of assessment as follows:
|Twixt Ribble and Mersey
The feature of this system was the tenmanlot on tenmantale of 14
carucates or ploughlands, the Latin term being decena, that is the
English tithing. This subdivision seems to have corresponded to the
"hundred" of 12 carucates, which obtained in Lincolnshire and other
parts of the Danelagh, and was incidental to the common pledge of
those living within the tithing that they would be answerable for the
good behaviour of each member within the tithing, and for such
penalties as any member might incur towards the King and earl
through misdeed, trespass or default.
The region of Kentdale appears to have been divided into 6 tenmantales, each of 14 carucates. In the tables which follow, the
carucates have been apportioned to the townships named in the
Domesday survey. As, however, the survey does not always give the
villar assessment of each place, it has been necessary in a number of
instances to estimate it. It will be seen that the sum total of the
carucates of the manors of Strickland and Beetham, and of the members of the outlying Lonsdale manors of Whittington and Austwick,
amount to 87 carucates. This excess over 6 tenmantales is due to the
inclusion of Sedbergh, which, though situate in Lonsdale, was a parish
of itself and appears to have been unconnected either with Kentdale
or Westmarieland, except possibly as a member of a tenmantale or
frankpledge of which the other members belonged to Kentdale.
1066. The members of Gillemichael's manor of Strickland, which
was in the king's hands in 1086.
||Strickland, Estimated at
||"Bodelford" (now Natland)
||Burton in Kentdale (part)
||Dalton in Kentdale, Lancs.
1066. Certain members of Torfin's manor of Austwick, Yorks.,
which was in the king's hands in 1086.
||Priest Hutton, Lancs.
||Warton in Kentdale, Lancs.
1066. Certain members of Earl Tostig's manor of Whittington,
Lancs., which was in the king's hands in 1086.
1066. The members of Earl Tostig's manor of Beetham, which
Roger of Poitou had in 1086 and Ernuin the priest held under him.
It will be seen that at the date of the Domesday survey (1086)
Beetham and its members had been granted to Roger of Poitou, lord
of the greater part of Lancashire, and of an extensive fief in the
Midlands, Lincolnshire and East Anglia. Roger had given the
manor and its seven members to a notorious pluralist, Ernuin the
priest, who held of him in other counties. The other three groups of
manors were in the king's hands under the charge of the sheriff of
Yorkshire. The two expeditions of William Rufus to York in 1091
and to Carlisle in 1092, were probably instrumental to the king's grant
of all Kentdale, including Beetham and its members, to Ivo Taillebois,
who appears to have obtained Kirkby Stephen also. This grant is
known to us by Ivo's gift in alms to St. Mary's, York, of the churches
of Kirkby Kendal, Heversham and Kirkby Lonsdale, the town of
Hutton "Riof," the church of Beetham with its land called Haverbrack, the church of Burton in Kentdale with one carucate of land,
and the church of Clapham, Yorks, with a carucate. (fn. 1) It will be
observed that the only church of the region of Kentdale not possessed
by Ivo Taillebois and so not given to St. Mary's abbey was that of
Warton in Kentdale. This is fairly conclusive evidence that prior to
the date of Ivo's grant, Roger of Poitou had surrendered Beetham
and received Warton and its parish, namely Yealand, Borwick and
Priest Hutton, in exchange; whereby this particular parish in "Kentdale" became involved first in the honor and afterwards in the
county of Lancaster.
Ivo Taillebois died about 1097. His widow, Lucy, daughter of
Thorold of Angers, or the Angevin, the first founder of Spalding
abbey, married Roger Fitz-Gerold. From the possession of land in
Westmarieland by the Roumares, who were the descendants of Roger
Fitz-Gerold, it might be inferred that he had an interest in Kentdale,
in succession to Ivo Taillebois. If so, no evidence of this has been
discovered. It is safer to infer that the crown resumed possession of
Kentdale after the death of Ivo and that Henry I gave the whole
territory, except Warton and its members, to Nigel de Aubigny, who
probably received at the same time Sedbergh, Thornton in Lonsdale,
Burton in Lonsdale, Bentham, Clapham, Austwick and Horton in
Ribblesdale, besides several manors in Craven.
The next event of importance to this region was the grant by Henry I,
about the year 1114, to his nephew, Stephen of Blois, of the whole
honor of Lancaster, late the possession of Roger, count of Poitou,
who had incurred forfeiture in 1102. By this grant Warton with its
members, Cartmel and Cartmel Fells, Furness and Furness Fells,
came into the possesion of Stephen with all the rest of the lands
in Lonsdale, Amounderness and Twixt Ribble and Mersey that
eventually comprised the county of Lancaster.
Not one single document has survived to illustrate the tenure of
Kentdale by Nigel de Aubigny. He died in 1129, leaving his son, the
future Roger de Mowbray, a youth of 10 or 11 years, as heir to his vast
estates. In 1130 these lands were in the king's hands by reason of
wardship, but Kentdale is not mentioned in the Pipe Roll of that
year, although Burton in Londsale and other estates of Roger de
Mowbray are named therein. At that time Westmarieland was in the
king's hands, presumably by the surrender of Ranulf Meschin in 1120,
when he succeeded to the earldom of Chester. But not all Westmarieland is accounted for in the Pipe Roll, for the farm of the
demesnes of that region was returned as of no more than £29 4s.
yearly value, and in regard to Noutgeld we can only say, owing to
defects in the document, that £43 was paid into the Treasury and an
undecipherable amount left owing. It is a reasonable assumption
from these figures that Kentdale was not then a part of the crown
estate with Westmarieland.
We now come to the difficult period which covered the reign of
Stephen. Fortunately we possess distinct and clear evidence that
Stephen, as king, enfeoffed a knight of the lands of Warton in Kentdale
and the wide territory of Garstang, in Lancashire, to hold for the service
of one knight. This was William de Lancaster, son of Gilbert by
Godith his wife, (fn. 2) described in the Inquest of service made in 1212 as
"Willelmus filius Gilberti primus," (fn. 3) that is, the first to be enfeoffed
of that fee. About the same time Roger de Mowbray, who was of age
about the year 1140, enfeoffed the same William of all the grantor's
land of Lonsdale, Kentdale and Horton in Ribblesdale, to hold by the
service of four knights. (fn. 4) The date of this charter is indeterminate,
but it was certainly issued during the period 1145–1154. It did not
continue effective for very long.
During the greater part of Stephen's reign, Cumberland, Westmarieland, and probably Kentdale and Lancashire as far south as the
Ribble, were in the hands of David of Scotland. A few of his charters
of confirmation of this period relating to these regions have come
down to us in monastic chartularies. (fn. 5) Whilst under his rule all
Westmarieland was granted to Hugh de Morevill, whom Sir Archibald
C. Lawrie describes as David's "life-long friend." (fn. 6) He was constable
of Scotland during the latter part of David's life. When Henry II
came to the throne, in 1154, it is certain that Westmarieland was in
Morevill's hands and with it the lordship over the greater part of
Kentdale. At that time William de Lancaster no longer held anything
in Kentdale of Roger de Mowbray; but he appears to have held his
lands in Westmarieland and Kentdale of Morevill by rendering
Noutgeld of £14 6s. 3d. per annum, and some 16 carucates of land in
nine vills in Kentdale as farmer under Morevill. In 1166 William
de Lancaster I held only two knight's fees, of the new feoffment of
Roger de Mowbray in Sedbergh, Thornton, Burton in Lonsdale, and
the other places in Yorkshire previously named, which his descendants
held long after of the fee of Mowbray by the same service. The
Mowbray connexion with Kentdale had come to an end upon the
accession of Henry II, who placed Hugh de Morevill in possession of
Westmarieland in return, possibly, for past services and in pursuance
of the policy of planting his favourites in regions of great strategic
importance. Probably the change of paramount lord had little, if
any, effect on the position of William de Lancaster in Kentdale.
There was a close tie between another family of Morevill, who were
tenants of the honor of Huntingdon, and the Lancasters of Kentdale.
Hugh de Morevill, constable of Scotland, died in 1162 and was succeeded by Richard his son, who then became constable. This Richard
married Avice, daughter of William de Lancaster I, at whose death in
1170, Morevill promised Henry II 200 marks for a writ of right of the
lands which he claimed in marriage with his said wife. (fn. 7) As this fine
was recorded on the Lancashire Pipe Roll, it would appear that the
lands which he claimed were in Lancashire or Lonsdale, rather than in
Kentdale. Richard and Avice confirmed to the monks of Furness,
lands in Selside in Ribblesdale and Newby, Yorks., the year before
Avice's death which occurred in December, 1192. (fn. 8)
An important episode during the first decade of the second Henry's
reign was the royal confirmation of an agreement made before the king
between the monks of Furness and William, son of Gilbert, to fix for
all time the boundaries between Furness Fells and Kentdale, and
for a partition of Furness Fells between the two parties. (fn. 9)
Reference to the former tenure of Westmarieland by David of Scotland occurs in the letter of the young King Henry, addressed to
William the Lion, of Scotland, in 1173, pressing for his help against
the young king's father. Therein he wrote:
I will give thee the land which thy ancestor had;
Thou ne'er hadst so great an estate in land from the king,
The border-land; I know no better under heaven.
You shall have the lordship in castle and in town;
All "Westmarilande" without any gainsaying . . . (fn. 10)
It is unnecessary to repeat the oft-told story of the young Henry's
insurrection against his father and the defeat and capture of William
the Lion, at Alnwick, on 13 July, 1174.. The result, as it affected
Kentdale, was that Westmarieland was taken into the king's hands.
For three years from Michaelmas, 1176, we have particulars of the
farm of the demesne lands, late Hugh de Moreville's, namely £90 2s. 5d.,
and the amount of Noutgeld paid for lands held of him by cornage in
Westmarieland and Kentdale, namely £55 19s. 3d. In these sums
were included the farm of 16 carucates in Kentdale, namely £8 18s. 2d.,
the farm of the fishery of Kentdale, namely £5, and the Noutgeld of
William de Lancaster's lands in Kentdale and Westmarieland, namely
£14 6s. 3d. For the next few years these lands were held under an
official of the crown, to whom Westmarieland had been granted
during the king's pleasure for his support in the king's service.
We pass on to the death of William de Lancaster II, which occurred
in 1184. Of him it was recorded by Robert of Toreigni that he was
"magnae honestatis et possessionis vir." He left an only daughter
named Helewise as his heir, whose custody Henry gave to the celebrated William Marshal, afterwards created earl of Striguil or Pembroke, lord of Cartmel and founder of the Augustinian priory there.
Towards the end of his reign Henry II gave the young heiress in
marriage to Gilbert Fitz-Reinfrid, son of his steward, Roger FitzReinfrid, with her entire inheritance. (fn. 11) King Richard confirmed the
grant at Rouen on 20 July, 1189, a fortnight after his accession; (fn. 12) and
on 15 April in the ensuing year he granted to Gilbert, acquittance of
the Noutgeld of £14 6s. 3d.; due from his land of Westmarieland
and Kentdale, and of suits of shires and the like, for the service to be
done thenceforth by Gilbert and his heirs, of one knight. (fn. 13)
By another charter of the same date Richard granted to Gilbert
his whole forest of Westmarieland, Kentdale and Furness, to hold as
fully as William de Lancaster I had held it and by the same bounds,
together with the forest in Kentdale that he had given to Gilbert,
with six librates of land, to hold in as beneficial a manner as Nigel de
Aubigny, had ever held it; further that what was "waste" in the
woods of Westmarieland and Kentdale, in the time of William de
Lancaster I, should be "waste" still, excepting purpresture (i.e.
encroachment or improvements) made by the licence and with the
consent of the lords of the fee of Kentdale and Westmarieland. (fn. 14)
This was probably equivalent to a grant of all the wastes and forest
in the dales above Kentdale, to the bounds of Copeland and Westmarieland, and possibly extending into Furness. The clause in
respect to "waste" was retrogressive as concerned the inhabitants
of the district, for it clearly limited the activity of the dwellers in
making enclosures and improvements in the wild portions of Kentdale
to such as were made under licence and with the consent of the lords
of Kentdale. Consequently those who had reclaimed fell, forest and
dale-lands without licence become trespassers on the forest and
amenable to pains and penalties. Evidence is found early in the
reign of Henry III, that the privilege hereby granted to the lord of Kentdale was harsh and injurious to the inhabitants; and that the then lord
was disregarding the charter of the forest, then lately issued to
secure greater liberty for those who dwelt within the metes of the
Hence Henry III, in 1225, addressed to William de Lancaster III,
the following letter:
We have heard grave complaint on the part of the knights and
true men of the county of Westmarieland that, whereas we granted
and commanded with all of our realm that all the woods, except
our own demesne woods, should be disafforested which were afforested by King Henry II, our grandfather, or King Richard, our
uncle, or King John, our father, since the time of the first coronation
of the said King Henry, our grandfather, and in the charter of that
liberty was contained that as we held ourself towards our own
dependents, so our magnates should hold themselves towards theirs;
you nevertheless hold as forest in the same state as they formerly
were certain woodlands and moors afforested since the time abovestated, to the injury and loss of knights and others, your true men
and neighbours. Wherefor we command and firmly enjoin that you
permit the said woodlands afforested since the aforesaid time to be
holden disafforested in accordance with the tenour of our said
charter above expressed; so doing in that behalf lest, if you act
otherwise, repeated and more serious complaint thereof be borne
to our ears. Witness the King, at Westminster on June 30th, 1225.
A letter in like terms was directed to Robert de Vieuxpont (lord of
Appleby). (fn. 15)
The interesting circumstance that the lords of Kentdale in the time
of Henry II were only farmers under the lord of Appleby of an important part of Kentdale, is disclosed by another charter of King
Richard, issued in November or December, 1189, wherein he granted
to Gilbert Fitz-Reinfrid these crown estates in Kentdale:
In (Over) Levens I carucate with the fishery of the vill.
" Farleton and Beetham 4 carucates.
" Preston (Patrick) and Holme 4 carucates.
" Burton in Kentdale 2 carucates.
" Hincaster I carucate.
" Preston (Richard) I carucate.
" Lupton 3 carucates.
The fishery pertaining to the said lands.
This grant was made in return for a simple payment of £100; the
lands so granted were to be held by the service of one knight with
baronial franchises, and were to be quit of Noutgeld and other
exactions. (fn. 16) King John confirmed this grant on 25 April, 1200, in the
same terms. (fn. 17) The identification of these estates is based on the
following premises. Over Levens, where the Hall stands, was granted
by William de Lancaster II to Norman de Redman with the reservation
of the fishery in the Kent. The "De Bethum" family held the
major part of Farleton and Beetham, and in John's reign were posessors of the fishery between Arnside and Blawith. Gospatric son of
Orm and his son, Thomas, held the major part of Preston Patrick and
Holme; Patrick de Culwen, or Curwen, younger brother and eventually
heir of Thomas, gave his name to the former place. Lands in Burton
in Kentdale and Lupton were held early in the 13th century by the
"De Burton" family.
By an inquiry held in 1201 it was found that 6 librates of land in
Kentdale with a fishery that used to render at the Exchequer 100s.
were always (sic) in the hands of King Henry, the King's father, and
after of King Richard, as his demesne until he gave that land and
fishery to Gilbert Fitz-Reinfrid. (fn. 18) This confirms the opinion that the
de Lancasters did not hold the whole of Kentdale in fee.
By these various grants Gilbert Fitz-Reinfrid was endowed with
full baronial status throughout Kentdale and the outlying members,
his service to the crown for the same being definitely fixed at the
service of two knights. A comparison between the lands granted in
1189 with those surveyed in Domesday, shows that the former lay
exclusively (1) in the manor held by Torfin, whose eventual successor
was usually Nigel de Aubigny, and (2) in earl Tostig's manors belonging
to Beetham. It may be surmised that the fishery in the vill of Levens
was at the Force in the Kent, and that pertaining to the whole of the
granted lands was the fishery of the estuary, mostly exercised between Arnside, Holme Island and Meathop Fell. The Pipe Roll for
the second year of Richard I shows that the fishery of Kentdale had
been farmed as a crown estate at £5 per annum, and the 16 carucates
of land in the nine places named above at £8 18s. 2d. From Easter,
1194, until John's accession Gilbert was charged with these farms,
nor did he obtain a discharge at the Exchequer and confirmation of
the grants until he had found security to pay King John a further
fine of £100. As the action of the barons of the Exchequer in charging
these rents upon Gilbert was no doubt due to Gilbert's adherence in
1194 to John, count of Mortain, who was also lord of the honor of
Lancaster, of which Gilbert was a feudatory, it was symptomatic of
John's character to demand this fine from his old adherent.
After a careful review of the evidence which has been sketched
above, the author is of opinion that no barony or reputed barony
of Kentdale existed prior to the grants of 1189–90; and that neither
William de Lancaster, son of Gilbert, nor William de Lancaster II,
his son and successor, can be rightly described as "baron" of Kentdale. It is certain that whilst Westmarieland was in the hands of
Hugh de Morevill by grant of Henry II down to Michaelmas, 1176,
when it was taken into the king's hands, the Noutgeld of £14 6s. 3d.
due yearly by William de Lancaster I and afterwards by his son.
William de Lancaster II, was paid to Hugh de Morevill and received
by him as part of the issues of his land of Westmarieland. In 1178
and 1179 the entire Noutgeld of Westmarieland and Kentdale was
£55 19s. 3d., in which sum was undoubtedly included £14 6s. 3d.
due from the lands of William de Lancaster II in Kentdale and Westmarieland. In addition to Noutgeld a farm of £8 18s. 2d. for the 16
carucates in Kentdale, and £5 for the fishery of Kentdale, were
similarly paid until Michaelmas, 1176, by the lord of Kentdale to Hugh
de Morevill. It appears therefore improbable, if not impossible,
that Kentdale was held by barony prior to 1190. That it was a barony
after that date is proved by the following entry on the Pipe Roll for
"Lancastre" of 5 Henry III (1221):
Nova oblata. Willelmus de Lancastre debet 100. li. pro relevio
suo per plegios annotatos in [rotulo] originalium anni quarti Regis
Kentdale was within the marches of Scotland. On 17 January,
1258, the King of Scotland having been taken out of the custody of
the Council set over him, until his lawful age, the following, among
73 persons, were summoned to join the expedition that the king was
about to send to Scotland to deliver the said king:
Robert de Vieuxpont, Walter de Lindesay, Roger de Lancaster,
and William de Forness; all the marchers (marchiones) of Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmarieland, Copeland, Cartmel,
Kentdale and other lordships and liberties were commanded to come
with a multitude of footmen and archers. (fn. 19)
Some suggestions may be offered with reference to the relation
between the vills of Kentdale recorded in Domesday Book and the
Strickland included Staveley, Kentmere, Longsleddale, Bannisdale, Strickland Roger, Strickland Kettle, Crook and Winster.
Kirkby Kendal included Kirkland, Nethergraveship, Underbarrow with Bradleyfield (anciently Greenrigg), New Hutton and
Mint included Mintsfeet and Spittal ?
Patton included Skelsmergh, Bretherdale and Fawcett Forest ?
Selside with Whitwell, Whinfell, Docker, Lambrigg, Grayrigg and
Helsington included Sizergh.
"Bodelford" was Natland.
Hutton included Old Hutton and Holmescales. But Killington
and Firbank being in the parish of Kirkby Lonsdale are not likely to
have been included in Hutton.
The parishes of Windermere and Grasmere were "forest." Down
to a comparatively recent period there were no freeholds in these
parishes except the Fleming estate in Rydal and Loughrigg, monastic
land such as the Conishead Priory estate at Baisbrown, a small
freehold estate in Little Langdale, and a freehold at Lickbarrow.
Windermere water was a several fishery of the lords of Kentdale,
and so it has always lain in Kentdale and the county of Westmorland.
The printing of these records was begun some years ago; but owing
to war-time and post-war difficulties the work was suspended until
Mr. John F. Curwen, F.S.A., undertook to continue it. The author
also wishes to acknowledge the courtesy of the late Sir Joscelyn Bagot,
Bart., and Sir Gerald Strickland, for permitting abstracts of their
valuable documents to be made for the purpose to which they have
been applied in these pages.