Pages vii-xvii

Records Relating To the Barony of Kendale: Volume 1. Originally published by Titus Wilson and Son, Kendal, 1923.

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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:

Westmarieland 420 504
Copeland 84
Kentdale 84 504½
Furness 82
Cartmel 18
Lonsdale 179½
Amounderness (part) 141
do. (part) 30 504
Twixt Ribble and Mersey 474

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.

Suggested tithings. carucates.
I Strickland, Estimated at [4]
" Kirkby (Kendal) [2]
" Mint [I]
" Patton [2]
" Helsington [2]
II "Bodelford" (now Natland) [1]
" Old Hutton [2]
II Stainton [2]
V Burton in Kentdale (part) [2]
VI Dalton in Kentdale, Lancs. [2]
Domesday total 20

1066. Certain members of Torfin's manor of Austwick, Yorks., which was in the king's hands in 1086.

Suggested tithings. carucates.
IV Middleton [3]
IV Mansergh [3]
III Kirkby Lonsdale [6]
III Lupton [3]
III Preston Patrick [3]
V Holme [3]
V Burton [2]
VI Priest Hutton, Lancs. [1]
VI Warton in Kentdale, Lancs. [6]
Estimated total 30

1066. Certain members of Earl Tostig's manor of Whittington, Lancs., which was in the king's hands in 1086.

Suggested tithings. carucates.
IV Casterton 3
IV Barbon 3
IV Sedbergh 3
III Hutton Roof 3
Total 12

1066. The members of Earl Tostig's manor of Beetham, which Roger of Poitou had in 1086 and Ernuin the priest held under him.

Suggested tithings. carucates.
II Beetham 6
" Heversham 2
" Levens 2
" Hincaster 2
V Farleton 4
V Preston Richard 3
VI Yealand, Lancs. 4
VI Borwick, Lancs. 2
Total 25

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 forest.

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 [1220].

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 mediæval townships.

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 Scalthwaiterigg.

Mint included Mintsfeet and Spittal ?

Patton included Skelsmergh, Bretherdale and Fawcett Forest ? Selside with Whitwell, Whinfell, Docker, Lambrigg, Grayrigg and Dillicar.

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.


  • 1. Cal. of Charter Rolls, iii, 115. See the Illustrative Documents, No. 1 in the Appendix.
  • 2. Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R., 392.
  • 3. Book of Fees, (P.R.O.), 206.
  • 4. Illustrative Documents, No. 11 in the Appendix.
  • 5. Prescott, Register of Wetherhal, n. 198; Lancs. Pipe R., 274–5.
  • 6. Early Scottish Charters, 273.
  • 7. Pipe R., 16 Hen. II, 53.
  • 8. Furness Coucher, ii, pt. 2, 311–46 pass.
  • 9. Lancs. Pipe R., 310.
  • 10. Chron. de Jordan Fantosme, lines, 264–269.
  • 11. See Illustrative Docts, No. III in the Appendix.
  • 12. Benedict, Gesta Henrici, ii, 73.
  • 13. Lancs. Pipe R., 396. Orig. charter at Levens, and illustrated here opposite page 2.
  • 14. Lancs. Pipe R., 399.
  • 15. Patent Roll, 575.
  • 16. Abbreviat Placitorum, 400.
  • 17. Rot. Chartarum, 50.
  • 18. Abbreviat Placitorum, 67.
  • 19. Close Roll, 42 Hen. III, m. 12d.