Division of the County into Baronies.
After William the Conqueror had given the county of Cumberland to
Ranulph de Meschines, who had married his niece, and whom he made Earl
of Carlisle, or, as some say, of Cumberland, this Earl divided the county
into eleven baronies; Copeland, Allerdale below Derwent, Wigton, Burgh,
Dalston, Greystock, Gilsland, Crosby, Liddell, and a nameless barony in
the south-east part of the county, under the fells, given to Adam FitzSwein. He reserved in his own hands the forest of Inglewood, which
afterwards became part of the Crown demesne. A part of this was some
time, by royal grant, vested in the Kings of Scotland, afterwards resumed
by the Crown, and granted to the Nevils. The whole was granted by King
William III. to the Portland family, and is now vested in the Duke
The barony of Copeland was given by Ranulph to William de Meschines,
some say his brother, others a younger son, who built the castle of Egremont, and gave that name to the barony, which comprised the whole ward
of Allerdale above Derwent except the honour of Cockermouth. William
de Meschines left an only daughter; and this barony passed by successive
female heirs to Fitz-Duncan, Lucy, and Multon, who took the name of Lucy.
The division between coheiresses in this family will be more particularly
spoken of hereafter. The whole became eventually vested, by gift and
purchase, in the Percy family, whose ancestor married Maud (fn. 1) , heiress of
Anthony Lord Lucy, in the fourteenth century, and is now vested in the
Earl of Egremont, by descent from Charles Duke of Somerset, who married
the heiress of the noble family of Percy. The honour of Cockermouth, with
the lordship of the five towns, Brigham, Dean, Eaglesfield, Braithwaite, and
Greysouthern, was given by William de Meschines to Waldeof or Waldieve,
son of Gospatric Earl of Dunbar; and except a temporary possession by the
Whartons (fn. 2) , has passed in the same manner as the barony of Egremont, and
is now the property of the Earl of Egremont.
The great barony of Allerdale, given also by William de Meschines to
Waldieve, has passed in the manner already described under the barony of
Egremont, and is now the property of the Earl of Egremont.
The barony of Wigton (fn. 3) was given by William de Meschines to Waldeof,
and by the latter to Odard de Logis, whose posterity took the name of
Wigton, and became extinct in the male line about the middle of the fourteenth century, after which the barony of Wigton passed to the family of
Lucy, and has descended with Allerdale to the Earl of Egremont.
The barony of Burgh (fn. 4) was given by Earl Ranulph to Robert D'Estrivers,
from whose family it passed by successive heirs female to the families of
Morvill, Multon, Dacre, and Howard. In 1684 it was purchased of Henry
Duke of Norfolk by the ancestor of the Earl of Lonsdale, who is the present
The barony of Gilsland (fn. 5) was given by Earl Ranulph to his relation Hubert
de Vallibus or Vaux. From his family it passed, by successive heirs female
to the Multons, Dacres, and Howards, and is now the property of Charles
Earl of Carlisle. Naworth Castle has long been the chief seat of this barony;
it is supposed to have been at an earlier period at Irthington.
The barony of Dalston was given by Earl Ranulph to a younger brother
of the Vaux family; but having escheated to the Crown, it was granted by
King Henry III. to the Bishops of Carlisle. It comprises only the parish of
Dalston: the north part of the barony, which is in the parish of St. Mary
Carlisle, was assigned to the Prior, and now forms the manor of John de
Capella, belonging to the Dean and Chapter.
The barony of Crosby, given by Earl Ranulph to Waldeof, was by the
latter conveyed to the second Bishop of Carlisle and his successors, and is
still annexed to the see. It comprises the parish of Crosby, and part of
The barony of Liddell, comprising the parishes of Arthuret and KirkAndrews, was given by Earl Ranulph to Turgis de Brundas or Brundey:
it was afterwards in the Estotevilles, and passed by marriage to the
Wakes. The heiress of Lord Wake having married Plantagenet Earl of
Kent, it came eventually to the Crown. Having been granted to
George Clifford, Earl of Cumberland, it was purchased of him in the
reign of James I. by the ancestor of Sir James Graham, Bart. the present
The barony of Kirklevington, or Kirklinton, which comprised the parishes
of Kirklinton and Scalesby, was given by Earl Ranulph to the Boyvills,
amongst whose coheirs it was divided at an early period.
The barony of Greystock, comprising the parishes of Greystock and Dacre,
was given by Earl Ranulph to Lyolf, whose descendants took the name of
Greystock; from them it passed by female descent to the Dacres and Howards, and is now the property of his Grace the Duke of Norfolk.
The barony given by Earl Ranulph to Adam Fitz-Swein, and called after
his name, comprised the parishes of Kirkland, Melmerby, &c. This barony
was at an early period divided into severalties.
Kirk-Oswald was also formerly a barony, though not enumerated among
those distributed by Earl Ranulph. It comprised the parishes of KirkOswald and Croglin. This barony belonged to the Engaynes, and passed by
female descent to the Morvilles and Dacres.
The proprietors of the several baronies, particularly those of the larger
ones, granted numerous manors to their dependents, most of which having
passed through various hands, continue to be held under such of the baronies
as still exist.