A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1914.
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The township of Over Kellet, sometimes called Lesser Kellet, is roughly an oval in shape, the main axis, about 3½ miles in length, lying south-west and north-east. Near the southern end is the wooded hill called Kellet Seeds, rising to 470 ft. above the sea; from the summit fine views can be obtained. Another hill, Aston Heads, about a mile to the east, attains the same height. The higher ground extends along the central axis, sloping away to the west and to the north, where the Keer forms the boundary. Here the surface descends to less than 25 ft. above the sea and is liable to floods. The area of the township is 3,210 acres, (fn. 1) and in 1901 there was a population of 438.
The village lies at the foot of Kellet Seeds, on the north side, at the intersection of cross roads. It stands about 200 ft. above the sea and is built round the green, about an acre in extent, in the centre of which stands the cross. The pedestal of this is ancient, the cross itself being a restoration by the late Mr. Johnson of Hall Garth. (fn. 2) To the bottom step of the cross are fixed two sets of hinged iron staples, forming part of the original stocks. The pound stood at the eastern corner of the green, where the post office now is. Hall Garth, built about 1826, is on the west side of the green, and on the east is the vicarage, which replaced an older building in 1862. The church lies a little way outside the village, to the south-east; opposite to it is Kirkhouse, while Birkland Barrow and Swarthdale are to the east. The northern end of the township forms the leafy hamlet of Capernwray. Between it and the village is Kellet Park, through which Swarth Beck flows north to join the Keer.
The old high road from Lancaster to Kendal (fn. 3) goes north through the village, having a branch to Capernwray. It is crossed by the road from Carnforth to Kirkby Lonsdale. The Lancaster and Kendal Canal passes through the north-west corner, as also does the Wennington and Carnforth branch of the Midland and Furness Railway Companies. A stream formerly known as Mill Beck runs, now under cover, for some distance by the side of the Lancaster road, and, after passing under the village green, sinks into the ground about half a mile north-west. The mill which it turned has long since disappeared. At the north corner of the green, within the grounds of Hall Garth, is the old town well, now partly covered up, from which the water is conveyed to a watering trough by the roadside. There are many ancient farm-houses in and near the village, most of them having moulded door lintels, inscribed with initials and dates. Lucas, the historian of Warton, remembered about 1700 a very ancient house which had stood in the centre of the village; it had no chimney, but there was a wall in the middle of the apartment, 5 ft. or 6 ft. long by 3 ft. high, to confine the fire. (fn. 4)
The inhabitants are almost entirely devoted to agriculture. There is a large stone quarry in Capernwray, and many old lime-kilns are scattered over the township. The land is mainly meadow and pasture, but there is some arable. The south-western half of the parish lies upon Carboniferous Limestone and the north-eastern upon the Millstone Grit. Except where there are beds of peat moss lying in hollows on the higher ground, the whole of the subsoil is self-draining. Beans used formerly to be an important crop; oats and barley, roots, potatoes and seed grass are now grown.
Two fairs for cattle, established by custom, were formerly held on 29 April and 9 October, but they have long been discontinued. (fn. 5) The village club festivals have also ceased.
The following field-names occur in deeds and in the tithe award:—Aldwray or Olvera, Azeard or Assured Croft, Blabberstone Rein, Borderig, Coney Garth, Coppack, Gills Croft, Gowbrigg or Goldbridge Dales, Hall Garth, Helks, Herron, Linedrains, Lunslet, Malvis or Melvis, Magots, Millersbarrow Dales, Mouter or Mootha, Ove Oaks, Pedder Pots, Sabsa, Sampitoes, Sellflat, Standersbarrow, Great and Little Rays, Thoristone, Timrigg, Watten Fallow, White Cross, Winder Garth, the Yanhams (Avenames).
The commons, which extended to about 1,033 acres, were inclosed in 1805, in accordance with an Act of Parliament obtained in 1797. (fn. 6) Kellet Moor was in 1536 a meeting-place of the Pilgrimage of Grace. (fn. 7)
The pipe line of the Manchester water supply from Thirlmere passes through Over Kellet. The Carnforth water supply is derived from a reservoir formed in the course of Swarth Beck in the higher land north-east of the village.
The manor of OVER KELLET, although in Domesday Book surveyed with Nether Kellet, (fn. 8) was perhaps even then separate from it, for the survey of 1212, when it had become divided into moieties, shows that it was held by a different tenure, viz. in thegnage by a rent of 15s. It was assessed as three plough-lands. (fn. 9)
In a rental of 1226 the thegnage rent of Adam son of Osbert and William son of Orm, both then deceased, was given as 15s. (fn. 10) Adam son of Osbert in 1194 made peace with Richard I, after the rebellion of John Count of Mortain, by a fine of 10 marks (fn. 11); he died about 1206. (fn. 12) He appears to have held a moiety of Kellet in right of his wife Maud daughter of Uctred, for in the last-named year Henry de Kellet, lord of the other moiety, released to her all his right in a plough-land and a half in Kellet and half a plough-land in Bare. (fn. 13) Maud was undisputed tenant of this moiety of Over Kellet in 1212, holding in thegnage by a rent of 7s. 6d. (fn. 14) She died about 1219, for in that year her son, as Adam son of Adam de Kellet, paid 31s. as relief on succeeding to the lands of Maud de Kellet his mother. (fn. 15)
The younger Adam was also known as Adam de Coupmanwra or Capernwray, having probably fixed his principal dwelling-place in that part of the township. He was a benefactor of the abbeys of Cockersand (fn. 16) and Furness, (fn. 17) and in 1228 was one of the perambulators of the forest bounds. (fn. 18) He had a brother William. (fn. 19)
Thomas son and heir of Adam de Capernwray had livery of his father's lands in 1236, paying 15s. 6d. as relief. (fn. 20) He was escheator for the county about 1249 and later, (fn. 21) and in 1252 held the bailiwick of the forest. (fn. 22) He was a benefactor of Cockersand Abbey (fn. 23) and Lancaster Priory, (fn. 24) and in 1269 gave an oxgang of land in Kellet and various privileges to Furness Abbey. (fn. 25) He died not long afterwards, his heir being William son of Richard de Burgh, a minor, in ward to William le Boteler of Warrington. (fn. 26)
William de Burgh was dead in 1279, when his widow Margery demanded dower in various places, (fn. 27) but he had, perhaps as early as 1274, alienated his moiety of Over Kellet to Randle de Dacre and Joan his wife. (fn. 28) Randle in 1278 obtained the licence of Edmund Earl of Lancaster for inclosing a park in Over Kellet in the places called Stangerbarrow and Storthes. (fn. 29) Joan, as widow, had some disputes, (fn. 30) but in 1297 it was found that she held in Over Kellet, Bare and Heysham for homage and service, doing suit to the county and wapentake courts and rendering yearly 20s. 1d. and a sore hawk. (fn. 31) The 'sore hawk' probably indicates that a change in the service due from this moiety of Over Kellet had already been made, for Randle de Dacre in 1323 held the moiety by rendering one sore goshawk or 12 d. yearly, (fn. 32) and this tenure was recorded in later inquests. (fn. 33)
The moiety of the manor descended to Randle de Dacre, rector of Prescot, (fn. 34) who granted it to Thomas Brown, apparently for the benefit of a certain Ellen de Huyton. (fn. 35) After her death it passed to Ralph de Nevill Earl of Westmorland, (fn. 36) but he appears to have given it with his daughter Philippa in marriage to Thomas de Dacre. With the other Dacre lands it was declared forfeit after the battle of Towton in 1461, but the next year was granted, with other manors, to Sir Richard Fiennes and Joan his wife, she being granddaughter and heir of Sir Thomas Dacre. (fn. 37)
Soon afterwards this moiety of Over Kellet is found included with the Harrington of Hornby manors, (fn. 38) so that, like Hornby, it came in 1489 into the possession of Sir Edward Stanley, afterwards Lord Mounteagle, (fn. 39) and thus descended to William Parker Lord Mounteagle, (fn. 40) who, in conjunction with Elizabeth his wife and Henry Parker, conveyed it by fine to George Middleton of Leighton in Yealand in 1597. (fn. 41) As will be shown later, the purchaser already held by inheritance a third part of the other moiety of the manor. His estate is the only 'manor' of Kellet recognized in later times. For a time it descended with Leighton, (fn. 42) but in 1669 Sir George Middleton and Anne his wife conveyed to John Otway and others the manor of Over Kellet, (fn. 43) and shortly afterwards Sir John Otway, made a knight in 1673, (fn. 44) became sole lord of the manor. By Braithwaite Otway, one of his legatees, the manor was sold to Oliver Martin or Marton early in the 18th century. (fn. 45) Little seems known of the new lord, (fn. 46) except that he purchased the advowson of Lancaster. He was succeeded by his son Edward, M.P. for Lancaster 1747–58, and recorder also from 1748 till his death in 1758, when his brother Oliver, noticed among the vicars of Lancaster, succeeded. At his death in 1794 his son Oliver came into possession, but being of unsound mind there is nothing to relate of his tenure. He died in 1843. His brother George Richard, high sheriff in 1832, having died before him, the heir was George, son of this brother, who was M.P. for Lancaster 1837–47 and high sheriff in 1858. In 1867 he was succeeded by his son, the late Col. George Blucher Heneage Marton, high sheriff in 1877 and M.P. for the Lancaster division in 1885–6, who on his death in 1905 was followed by his son Mr. George Henry Powys Marton, the present lord of the manor. No courts are now held.
While this moiety of the manor has never been divided, the other moiety was from early in the 13th century held in two or three portions. This second moiety of Over Kellet was probably held by the Bernulf son of Orm who was in 1212 described as 'ancestor' of the then holder. (fn. 47) Orm son of Bernulf about 1160 acted as one of the jurors who determined the bounds of Furness Fells. (fn. 48) Somewhat later he and his brother Adam attested a Heaton charter, (fn. 49) and it is recorded that he gave this brother a third part of his tenement in Kellet and Claughton. (fn. 50) William son of Orm (fn. 51) also attested the Heaton charter, and may safely be identified with the William de Kellet who in 1194 made his peace with the king by a fine of 20 marks, (fn. 52) double the sum paid by the lord of the other moiety. He died not long afterwards, for in 1199 Henry de Redmayne agreed with the king concerning the wardship of the land and heir of William de Kellet, paying 20 marks. (fn. 53) The heir is not here named, but he may have been the Henry de Kellet who held the estate from 1203 to 1208. (fn. 54) In 1210–11 Gilbert de Kellet rendered account of 20 marks and a palfrey due for livery of his lands, (fn. 55) and he was in possession in 1212, when William is stated to have been his father. (fn. 56)
Gilbert de Kellet was a benefactor to the abbeys of Furness (fn. 57) and Cockersand, desiring to be buried in the latter. (fn. 58) He was one of the perambulators of the forest in 1228, (fn. 59) and died in 1235 (fn. 60) or 1236. In the last-named year his son William paid relief on coming into possession of his lands, including a plough-land and a half in Kellet. (fn. 61) He granted an oxgang of land to Furness Abbey. (fn. 62) He died without issue in 1242, when Roger de Croft, his nephew, and Vivian Gernet and Godith his wife, sister of William, paid relief on succeeding. (fn. 63) Godith appears to have left no one to succeed to her part of the moiety, (fn. 64) so that the whole devolved on the Crofts, (fn. 65) of whom an account is given under Dalton in Kendal. There is some variation in the later inquisitions. The Croft share was usually called a half and at others a third part of the moiety of Over Kellet, the remainder being held by Claughton alone or in conjunction with Urswick. (fn. 66) Thus in 1396 John de Croft of Dalton gave to feoffees the fourth part of the lordship of Over Kellet (i.e. half of a moiety), with lands, &c., which Richard de Croft held for life of John's inheritance; yet in 1420 this part was recorded as held of the king in socage by a rent of 2s. 6d., which was the rent of a third part of the moiety. (fn. 67) On the partition of the Croft estates in 1489 their part of Over Kellet was included in the Middleton share, and so descended, (fn. 68) as stated above, to the George Middleton who in 1597 purchased the other moiety of the manor; so it falls out of notice, as merged in the greater estate.
The origin of the Claughton share of the moiety has not been recorded. William de Claughton is the first known to have held it, appearing as joint lord in disputes of 1277–8. (fn. 69) He probably inherited from Godith sister of Gilbert de Kellet. (fn. 70) The Claughtons disappear during the following century, and appear to have been succeeded by the Blackburns of Capernwray. This surname occurs in the district in 1392, when Richard son of John de Croft of Dalton and William son of Henry de Singleton of Fermonholes laid an armed ambush for one of the duke's justices, Robert de Blackburn, and slew him. (fn. 71) Some minor notices occur. (fn. 72)
Thomas Blackburn of Capernwray died in 1517 holding various lands in Kellet of the king by a rent of 2s. 6d. His heir was his brother John, aged thirty. He held lands in Arkholme also. (fn. 73) John Blackburn was assessed to the subsidy in 1543. (fn. 74) Robert Blackburn in 1560 sold part of his estate to Henry Croft of Claughton, (fn. 75) and Marmaduke Blackburn and Margaret his wife in 1572 sold or mortgaged a further portion to William Croft, (fn. 76) and confirmed the same in 1585 to Gabriel Croft and his brothers William and Edward. (fn. 77) The Blackburns continued to live at Capernwray after this, but the Crofts appear to have acquired all their part of the manor of Kellet, and there is an incidental notice of courts being held. (fn. 78) The above-named Henry Croft was the son of Thomas Croft, who died in 1556 holding messuages, &c., in Over Kellet in socage, (fn. 79) having purchased them two years previously from John Harrington and Anne his wife. (fn. 80) The Crofts, as will now be shown, also acquired the remaining part of this moiety of the manor. (fn. 81)
This Urswick part came from the third part of his moiety of Kellet which Orm son of Bernulf granted to his brother Adam. (fn. 82) In the earlier period it was held of the two lords of the moiety, each of them therefore holding a fourth part of the manor; but in the 14th century it came to be reckoned as an independent part, though it does not seem to have been regarded as a 'manor.' Thus was created the confusion between third and fourth parts already spoken of. Adam had land also in Urswick, (fn. 83) and this gave occasion for the surname of his branch of the family. Gilbert son of Adam attested a charter passed before 1190, (fn. 84) and received a moiety of Capernwray from Maud de Kellet, a rent of 3s. a year being due for it. (fn. 85) Adam son of Gilbert gave land in Urswick to Furness Abbey, (fn. 86) and from his kinsman Gilbert de Kellet he obtained a third part of the vill of Claughton. (fn. 87) Adam left a son who as John de Capernwray son of Adam de Urswick granted land in Kellet to Furness Abbey. (fn. 88) Adam de Urswick and Isabel his wife in 1307 obtained from Edmund de Nevill, probably acting as trustee, 4 oxgangs of land in Over Kellet, (fn. 89) and in 1319 they obtained similarly from John de Hornby the younger the manor of Capernwray; both were settled on Adam's heirs. (fn. 90) Adam son of Adam de Urswick in 1337 granted an oxgang of land in Over Kellet to John de Urswick, rector of Tatham; it had formerly belonged to Orm de Urswick. (fn. 91)
The descent is not clear, for it does not explain why the Flemings did not inherit this with other parts of the Urswick estates, like Claughton. Another difficulty is created by the record of an Adam de Urswick, who was coroner of the county, but retired in 1323 owing to ill-health. (fn. 92) Another Adam de Urswick was chief forester of Bowland, (fn. 93) and served in the French wars of Edward III, being present at Crecy. (fn. 94) He died in 1361, and was succeeded by his son Robert, (fn. 95) who has been noticed in the account of Upper Rawcliffe. (fn. 96)
The Urswick estates in Kellet did not descend in the same way, but probably went to a John Urswick who occurs about 1420, (fn. 97) and who may be the John who had land at Catterall in 1438 in conjunction with his wife Helen and their son Thomas. (fn. 98) Another Thomas, grandson of a John Urswick, died in 1519, having sold his lands in Over Kellet to William Redmayne, but his mother Mary had them for her life. They were held of the king in socage by 2s. 6d. rent, (fn. 99) and can thus be identified with the old third part of the moiety held by the Urswicks long before. William Redmayne of Twisleton in Ingleton died in 1536 holding five messuages, lands, &c., in Kellet of the king by the eighth part of a knight's fee and the rent of 2s. 6d. (fn. 100) In 1568 his grandson and heir the next William Redmayne conveyed his estate in Over Kellet and Claughton to Gabriel Croft. (fn. 101)
Gabriel Croft was in 1587 succeeded by his brothers William and Edward, who in 1590 made a feoffment of their estates, which included a fourth part of the manor of Over Kellet. (fn. 102) Though described as a fourth part of the manor, it was twothirds of a moiety of Over Kellet, and accordingly the socage rent due to the king for the estate therein held by William Croft at his death in 1606 was found to be 5s. a year. No manor was claimed. (fn. 103) The same return was made after the death of Edward Croft in 1614. (fn. 104) The estate was probably dissipated piecemeal. A remnant seems to have descended to another Edward Croft, who in 1702 sold to John Wilson of Hall Garth a rent of 15s. from Over Kellet and Borwick, with all other profits, jurisdictions and hereditaments within the liberties, and passed over to him all deeds, court rolls, &c. No 'manor' was expressly named. (fn. 105)
HALL GARTH, with the homestead and lands, formed part of the demesne lands of the Dacre moiety of the manor, and was demised by the second Lord Mounteagle, who died in 1560, to John Barwick according to the custom of tenant right. Thomas Barwick son of John succeeded, but his son George Barwick of Kendal complained that in 1592 he was expelled from a parcel of it called Grassgarth by Walter Curwen, (fn. 106) who claimed under a grant from Richard Middleton to his father Richard Curwen. (fn. 107) In 1675 Thomas Wilson of Over Kellet, who about the same time endowed the school there, purchased Hall Garth and other parcels of the demesne from Sir John Otway, who had, as shown above, recently purchased from Sir George Middleton; a rent of 1s. 3d. was to be paid to the Crown. Thomas Wilson soon afterwards sold to his brother John, who died in 1707, (fn. 108) leaving a son Henry Johnes Wilson, who ultimately succeeded and died in 1772. Through his wife Elizabeth he acquired the manor of Carnforth, in the account of which further details of the descent are given. His daughter Mary married Dr. James Ainslie of Kendal, (fn. 109) but had no issue, and after her death in 1820 Hall Garth went to her husband's descendants by his first wife, Margaret Farrer. The eldest son, Montague Farrer Ainslie, died in 1830 and his brother Henry in 1834, being followed by his younger son Dr. Gilbert Ainslie, (fn. 110) master of Pembroke College, Cambridge, from 1828 till his death in 1870. His representatives in 1891 sold the estate to the late James Henry Johnson, and in 1904 it was purchased by William Farrer, one of the editors of the present History. Since its purchase by the Wilsons the estate has been augmented in extent by the absorption of many small tenements. (fn. 111)
The manor of CAPERNWRAY has been mentioned incidentally as held with parts of the manor of Over Kellet. There may have been two estates with the same name, one derived from the grant by Maud de Kellet to Gilbert son of Adam and held in 1319 by Adam de Urswick and the other that held by Thomas Blackburn in 1517; but though, as recorded, the services were quite distinct, it is possible that the Urswick manor was acquired by the Blackburns. The above-named Thomas held the manor of Capernwray, with lands there and in Arkholme, of Lord Mounteagle by rendering a pound of cummin yearly. (fn. 114) The Blackburns alienated lands in Capernwray as well as in Kellet, (fn. 115) but Thomas Blackburn of Capernwray in 1627 alleged, in partial explanation, that his father Marmaduke, on account of his age, had wished to be relieved of the care of his estate and therefore demised it to Gabriel Croft of Claughton, a near kinsman, and went to live at Gabriel's house, taking with him all his deeds. (fn. 116) Two years later Thomas Blackburn compounded for his manor of Capernwray and lands there, two-thirds being liable to sequestration for his recusancy, by an annual fine of £10. (fn. 117) Robert Blackburn of Capernwray in 1647 had to compound with the Parliament for taking the king's side in the Civil War; nothing is said of his religion, so that he must have been a conformist. (fn. 118)
Robert Blackburn and Joan his wife in 1650 released the manor of Capernwray to Edward Cresset, who may have been acting for Sir Robert Bindloss of Borwick. (fn. 119) At any rate, Sir Robert and Rebecca his wife in 1664 conveyed the manor with lands and mill there, perhaps in trust, to William Tatham, (fn. 120) and again in 1674 to Sir John Otway, the purchaser of Over Kellet, (fn. 121) Soon afterwards the separate manor of Capernwray ceased to be noticed. The estate there has descended to Mr. Marton in the same way as his part of the manor of Over Kellet, and the family have always made it their seat. Lucas writes: 'A little before the end of last century  the old hall at Capernwray was partially pulled down and a new one erected. When the old building was to be demolished the workmen found the walls . . . so firmly cemented that they were obliged to blow them up with gunpowder.' (fn. 122) It is now occupied as a farm-house. After the inclosure of the commons in 1805 a mansion-house was erected upon a portion of the inclosed common during the time of Mr. Oliver Marton. In 1830 it was known as Keer Bank, but was afterwards re-named Capernwray Hall, (fn. 123) and is the chief seat of the Martons of Capernwray.
Apart from some minor estates, one of which was an oxgang of land held in 1347 by John Croft of Durslet, (fn. 124) the remaining ancient tenements were those of religious houses. The Knights of St. John of Jerusalem early had an estate there known as Withwaites. (fn. 125) Birklandbarrow, as appears from charters cited above, (fn. 126) was held by Cockersand Abbey and demised to tenants at will. (fn. 127) After the Suppression it was sold by the Crown in 1546 to Richard Stephen and George Buck, (fn. 128) who seem to have sold to Thomas Standish, for he in 1572 conveyed the estate of Birklandbarrow to Richard Burton. (fn. 129) Richard died in 1587 holding a messuage and land in Over Kellet of the queen as of her manor of Greenstead in socage; his heir was his son Thomas, aged twelve. (fn. 130) It was still owned by this family in 1697, when depositions were taken in a suit between Janet Edmondson on one side and Thomas Burton, Mary his wife, Richard Burton (son of Thomas), Anne his wife, Richard Gibson and John Cumming. Janet, a cripple, was daughter of Richard Burton, deceased, by Alice Eskrigg, his first wife, and granddaughter of Thomas Burton, and she claimed maintenance from the estate. Her father had married a second wife, Ellen Stout, and had issue the defendant Thomas and other children. After Richard's death the stepmother turned Janet out of the house, and she took refuge with her grandfather, then living; afterwards she taught school at Holme, near Burton, and about 1669 married Richard Edmondson. A copy of her father's will, dated 1638 and proved 1665, was produced. One witness deposed that Richard Burton was a lieutenant in the army at the latter end of the Civil War and was buried at Over Kellet, a musket being shot off at the time. The following parcels of his land were named:—Luncelet, Kiln Close, Middle Barrow, Moss Close, Helks, Wooveakes and Hemplands. (fn. 131) Birklandbarrow was in 1805 and 1847 the property of Richard Gibson. It was purchased by Mr. Septimus Booker, and is now the property of his son, Mr. John Lee Booker of Swarthdale.
The gifts to Furness have been recorded above. There were 2 oxgangs of land, each of them in 1412 let at 7s. a year, one to Adam de Langshaw and the other to Richard son of William de Beck. (fn. 132) After the Suppression the lands were retained by the Crown for a time, (fn. 133) as appurtenant to Beaumont in Skerton, and were sold in 1628 to Edward Ditchfield and others. (fn. 134) St. Bees in Cumberland appears also to have had some land in Kellet. (fn. 135)
Swarthdale was built about a century ago by the Rev. J. Stainbank, rector of Halton and curate of Over Kellet. Later it became the property of Admiral Barrie and then of Captain W. Barrie, R.N. The last-named sold it to the late Septimus Booker in 1872. He in 1885 was succeeded by his son Mr. John Lee Booker, the present owner and the patron of the vicarage.
Hogarth or Hogget House perhaps derived its name from former owners. One Edmund Hoggard of Over Kellet in 1653 complained that two-thirds of his small estate had been sequestered for recusancy by mistake, he being a Protestant and attending Protestant worship; later, however, he asked leave to compound under the Recusants' Act. (fn. 136) The Hogarth House estate was about that time owned by John Wilson, who gave an endowment to the church to secure a preaching minister. He died in 1669. His eldest son Richard rebuilt the house; younger sons Thomas and John have been noticed in the account of Hall Garth. From Richard descends the present owner, Mr. Henry Talbot Wilson. (fn. 137)
John Thompson in 1597 purchased from Lord Mounteagle a considerable estate in Over Kellet, a water-mill being included. (fn. 138) It does not occur in the records again, and was perhaps sold to the occupiers in parcels. The names of Eskrigg, (fn. 139) Gibson, (fn. 140) Leaper, (fn. 141) Lucas (fn. 142) and Wither or Widder (fn. 143) occur in inquisitions and otherwise.
According to the hearth-tax return in 1666 there were in the township eighty-one hearths liable. The largest houses were those of Sir Robert Bindloss and Robert Wither, each with four hearths; Richard Lucas's had three, but no other more than two. (fn. 144)
The existence of the north-country tenant right has been referred to already. According to depositions made about 1550 there was within the manor an ancient custom called 'the Town's term,' by which in addition to their yearly rents and services the tenants paid at every ten years' end an additional year's rent. A double rent was also paid as fine on succession. (fn. 145)
The church of ST. CUTHBERT (fn. 146) is situated about a quarter of a mile to the south-east of the village on rising ground and consists of a nave and sanctuary under one roof, 58 ft. 6 in. long internally by about 13 ft. 6 in. wide, (fn. 147) with north and south aisles, north porch and west tower. There is also a vestry in the angle between the tower and the north aisle. The oldest part of the building is the west arch and pier of the south aisle, which, together with the respond, are of early 13th-century date and transitional in character. The west respond of the north aisle is probably also of the same period, and if in its original position would indicate an aisled nave in the first building of the same width as the present one. The plan of the early church can only be conjectured, and probably consisted of a nave and small square-ended chancel. There are, however, no indications of transitional work east of the pier just mentioned, the remainder of the building having apparently been erected in the 16th century, to which date the arcades, outer walls and tower must be assigned. There was a restoration in 1863–4 when the easternmost pier and arch of each aisle and the whole of the east wall were rebuilt and a new porch erected. (fn. 148) In 1909 the whole of the exterior walling, with the exception of the east end, was covered with rough-cast and dormer windows were inserted in the roof over the sanctuary, one at each side.
The building as reconstructed in the 16th century is on plan a parallelogram, the total width of which is 35 ft. 6 in., the aisles being divided from the wider middle space by an arcade of four arches on each side. At the east end there is a straight piece of wall 4 ft. 6 in. long on each side, forming the original sanctuary, and the west responds, which are square and have chamfered abaci, project respectively 2 ft. 9 in. and 1 ft. 5 in., making the spacing of the arcades slightly unequal. The external walling is apparently of rubble with angle quoins, but is now hidden by the modern rough-cast, and the roof, which is of a single wide span over both nave and aisles, is covered with green slates and has overhanging eaves. The south wall is probably built on the foundations of that of the early 13th-century church, the aisle being only 6 ft. 6 in. wide, but on the north side the building was probably extended, the width of the aisle being 10 ft. 6 in. The arcade walls are 14 ft. in height to the wall plate and the side walls average about 9 ft. 6 in.
The east window is a modern pointed one of three lights with perpendicular tracery, and the new walling is of coursed roughly dressed stones with coping and apex cross to the gable. There is a buttress at each side of the window at the end of the nave arcade walls. No traces of mediaeval ritual arrangements remain, the whole of the chancel (which occupies the easternmost bay) being modern. The arches of the north arcade are all obtusely pointed, of two chamfered orders springing from octagonal piers 21 in. in diameter and 6 ft. 9 in. in height to the top of the capitals, which follow the section of the piers and have two chamfered members. The bases are hidden by the wooden floors of the pews, except at the east end where the piers have been rebuilt and the detail is different. The three easternmost arches of the south arcade are of similar form to those on the north, but the middle pier is less in diameter and has a deeper moulded capital, apparently of late 15th-century date. It may be part of a previous rebuilding of that period. The original west arch is semicircular in shape and of a single square order now covered with cement, and the pier, which is 2 ft. 3 in. in diameter, is circular in section and has a shallow bell-shaped capital with large square abacus. The base is square but partly covered by the floor of the pews, and the height to the top of the capital is 6 ft. The north aisle is lit by three square-headed windows each of three roundheaded lights, with an external hood mould and double chamfered jambs, and there is a modern square-headed window of two lights at the east end. The windows of the south aisle are modern. All the walls are plastered internally, and the roof, which has plain principals, is plastered between the spars.
The porch, which is 7 ft. 6 in. by 6 ft., stands near the east end of the north wall opposite the second bay from the east, being so placed by reason of the nature of the site and position of the church in relation to the village. The inner doorway is modern. Two fragments of a grave cover with floreated cross are built into the north-west angle of the building, and there is another sculptured fragment in the lower part of the south wall. The floor has a downward slope to the east, following in some measure the fall of the hill-side on which the church is built. (fn. 149)
The tower has a moulded plinth and terminates in an embattled parapet, but the walls, which are covered with rough-cast like the rest of the building, are unmarked externally by string courses or any other indication of the internal stages. There is a vice in the south-west corner and diagonal buttresses of five stages at the western angles carried up the full height to the top of the parapet. The eastern angles have flat pilaster buttresses facing north and south. The west door, which has a pointed arch of two hollowchamfered orders, is now built up in its lower part and made into a window, and above it is a squareheaded window of three rounded lights similar to those in the north aisle. The belfry windows are of similar type, but that facing south has no hood mould. The north and south walls below the belfry are blank. The tower arch is of two chamfered orders dying into the wall at the springing and is the full width of the tower. The present boarded floor, from which the bells are rung, is 2 ft. 6 in. above that of the nave.
At the east end of the south aisle are mural monuments to Thomas Wilson, founder of the free grammar school, who died in 1702; John Wilson of Hall Garth, who died in 1707; and Henry Wilson of Hall Garth, who died in 1772. At the other end of the aisle are the royal arms of George III. There is a brass on the north side of the sanctuary to Robert Speight, who died in 1822.
There are three bells in the tower, one of which is of pre-Reformation date. It bears the inscription in Gothic characters, 'Sancte Petre ora pro nobis.' The second bell is inscribed 'iesvs be ovr speed 1664'; and the third is by T. Mears of London, 1824.
The registers begin in 1658. (fn. 150)
The churchyard lies chiefly on the north side of the building and slopes down the hill-side from west to east. The entrance from the road is at the east end, but was formerly on the north side, near to where the base and part of the shaft of a cross are still standing. (fn. 151)
The chapel as shown above can be traced back to the beginning of the 13 th century, but the written evidences do not begin so early, the earliest intimation being in April 1281, when the incumbents of benefices in the deanery of Amounderness were ordered to meet the Archbishop of York at Kellet. (fn. 152) The Archdeacon of Richmond, as rector of Bolton, had the Kirkhouse estate, which was sometimes called a manor. (fn. 153) The curate would normally be appointed by the archdeacon and by the Bishop of Chester in later times, but the patronage was at some time alienated. (fn. 154) In 1698 the inhabitants, resenting the interference of the vicar of Bolton, desired the Bishop of Chester to appoint directly, allowing them to nominate the curate. (fn. 155) The present patron is Mr. John Lee Booker of Swarthdale, (fn. 156) who also owns Kirkhouse. (fn. 157)
There was no chantry foundation, and the curate was paid by the small tithes. In 1650 the income from this source was £10, and £50 a year had been added out of the sequestered tithes by the Parliamentary Committee. (fn. 158) About 1717 the curate's income was certified as under £9, (fn. 159) but several gifts were made to secure 'a preaching minister,' and in particular George Eskrigg in 1715 gave his messuage and land, then producing £24 a year, towards the stipend. (fn. 160) The income is now stated to be £258. (fn. 161) The benefice was declared a vicarage in 1866.
|oc. 1540||William Southworth (fn. 162)|
|oc. 1562||William Robinson|
|oc. 1580||Marmaduke Burton (fn. 163)|
|oc. 1602||Henry Reynolds (fn. 164)|
|c. 1610||—Barker (fn. 165)|
|1611||Robert Preston (fn. 166)|
|c. 1640||William Curwen (fn. 167)|
|oc. 1650||William Smith (fn. 168)|
|1655||Michael Altham (fn. 169)|
|1674||Oliver Dickonson, M.A. (fn. 170)|
|1682||Henry Batty (fn. 171)|
|—Smith (fn. 172)|
|1698 ?||Thomas Jackson (fn. 173)|
|1699||John Turner (fn. 174)|
|1714||Thomas Atkinson (fn. 175)|
|1738||John Benison (fn. 176)|
|1739||John Brunton, B.A. (assistant curate)|
|1746||Silvester Petty (fn. 177)|
|1761||Robert Fletcher, B.A. (fn. 178) (St. John's Coll., Camb.)|
|1795||James Stainbank (fn. 179)|
|1862||George Quirk, M.A. (fn. 180) (Worc. Coll., Oxf.)|
|1888||Charles Timbrell Fisher, B.A. (Brasenose Coll., Oxf.)|
|1907||John Edward Wade Johnston|
There is a Wesleyan chapel, opened in August 1879 and rebuilt in 19l0. (fn. 181)
George Fox early made disciples in Over Kellet. Robert Wither or Widder, a native of the place, 'who was one of the Lord's worthies,' from 1654 till his death there in 1686, gave his testimony in Lancaster and many other towns in the north of England, suffering much in consequence of this and his refusal to pay tithes or the 'Sunday shillings.' (fn. 182) Thomas Wither's house at Kellet was in 1689 used as a Quakers' meeting-place. (fn. 183) One or two members of the Society of Friends were buried in a close near the house, which still exists as Brookside Farm House.
A school is mentioned in 1650, (fn. 184) but the only considerable endowment was the £200 given by Thomas Wilson about 1670. (fn. 185) The money was used in the purchase of the Keer Holme estate, and produces £68 a year. It was intended to found a grammar school, but there has long been only an elementary school. A dame's school was built on the village green about a century ago by subscription, but the building, which is now the post office, was sold in 1899 and the proceeds applied to new buildings for Wilson's school.
Thomas Wither in 1709 gave land for the apprenticing of poor children. (fn. 186) The income of this and some minor charities amounts to £17 4s. 4d., of which part is paid for apprenticeship fees and part for education. John Blackburn and others (fn. 187) left money which was invested in land, and this was sold in 1799 for £80 and other lands purchased for £55. On the inclosure of the commons 2 acres were given in respect of the Poor's Riddings, part of the charity lands. These benefactions have merged in Wither's charity.
Of the above-mentioned Keer Holme estate part belonged to the overseers, who received three thirteenths of the rent. In 1864–5 the railway companies purchased part of the land for £660, and it was resolved by the school trustees and the overseers to buy out the interest of the township in the estate. The purchase-money is invested in £601 railway preference shares, producing £18 0s. 6d. a year for public uses.
The township property consists of the village green and the pinfold, and formerly there was a public quarry. (fn. 188)
Thomas Wither bequeathed part of his estate in 1715 to the Society of Friends. (fn. 189) This was exchanged in 1830 with Montague Farrer Ainslie for lands in Yealand Conyers.