Records of Kendale: The recusants

Pages 43-53

Records Relating To the Barony of Kendale: Volume 3. Originally published by Titus Wilson and Son, Kendal, 1926.

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To shew the spirit of non-toleration that moved the magistrates in 1667 we give the two following letters. The first from Daniel Fleming to Sir Thomas Braithwaite, Thomas Layburne and Nathaniel West, dated 25 January, 1666/7, desiring them as Popish Recusants to give him an account of all arms in their possession and to engage to hold them for the king's service. To which Nathaniel West replied that he is not so well furnished with arms as he was against Sir George Boothe's business, when he lived at Borwick. He has only two fowling-pieces and two swords, and his servants have three swords. The king has not any subjects that will swear higher allegiance than the Papist will. (Hist. MSS. Com., 12th Rep., p. 44). The second from Alan Bellingham to Daniel Fleming, dated 2 February, 1666/7, saying that nearly twice as many Papists were presented at the Sessions in the 16 Charles 1 (1640) which makes the fidelity of the present constables and churchwardens appear doubtful, for it is believed the number of Papists has much increased. Ibid. 45.

Daniel Fleming to Sir John Lowther, dated 24 April, 1674. We in this part of the county having no public directions how to act against Dissenters, save His Majesty's proclamation for the suppression of Popery, dated 20 November last past, in pursuance of the same we issued out our warrants requiring the constables and churchwardens to return us at our next Quarter Sessions a perfect schedule of the names of all Papists and Popish Recusants, and when these presentments shall be made I think we shall make the Clerk of the Peace put all persons presented that shall be above 16 years old into an Indictment. . . . . . and upon their non-appearance, to make such a proclamation against them as is directed us by the Statute of 3 James, so that at the following Quarter Sessions they must either appear and traverse or be convicted, which will entitle His Majesty to two-thirds of their estates, etc., etc. Sir John Lowther replies with approval saying that the Justices in the Bottom have resolved to proceed against those who absent themselves for one month, under the Statute of 23 Elizabeth, which is in general terms and not confined to Popish Recusants. The fine is 20s. for the month. Hist. MSS. Com. 12th Report, p. 110.

On 9 October, 1678, Sir George Fletcher, James Bellingham and Daniel Fleming issued a warrant to search the houses of the following persons, being Popish Recusants, Sir Thomas Strickland of Sizergh, Sir Thomas Braithwaite of Burnehead, Anthony Duckett of Grayrigg, John Leyburne of Witherslack and others. (Ibid., 149). On 15 December, Mr. John Browham, high constable of Kendal Ward reported that the arms taken from Anthony Garnet of Skelsmergh included a backsword, a rapier and a case of pistolls, one wanting a lock. From widow Palat (Platt) in Skelsmergh, an old musket and a dagger. Also that one silver hilted rapier was delivered back again to Sir Thomas Strickland, and one little gun to Mr. Peter Mowson. (Ibid., 151). There were 143 Popish Recusants in the Barony of whom 54 were marked as "convicted," 13 as "Protestant," 7 as "beggars" and one who "will go to Church tomorrow." Ibid., 152.

On 22 January, 1678/9, the constables issued a further schedule of the arms taken:— from Sir Thomas Braithwaite, one rapier and one carbine; from Mr. John Pickering, one large gun; from Mr. Peter Mowson, one little gun; from Mr. Stephenson, one old sword; from Mr. Anthony Duckett, a back, breast and head piece, two fowling pieces, one musket with a firelock and one great sword; from widow Platt, one old gun; from Mr. John Wilkinson, one Scottish side pistoll; from Sir Thomas Strickland, a back, breast and head piece, one case of pistolls and holsters and one silver-hilted rapier; from Walter Kendall, one large fowling piece. Ibid., 154.

Sir Thomas Strickland declared that he could not take the oath for it styles the king Supreme Governor in all Spiritual things, thus he would be bound to follow the king's religion whatever it might be. He is willing, and thinks that all Recusants would also be willing, to take the oath of Allegiance. He would swear to defend the king against all enemies domestic or foreign, and against the Pope no less than against a pagan, should he invade the king's dominions. Ibid., 154.

On 5 October, 1680, Daniel Fleming and others wrote to the Earl of Sunderland, informing him that in obedience to the king's commands they had bound over a great number of Popish Recusants to keep the peace and to appear at the Sessions to take the oaths. Most did appear accordingly and took the oath of Allegiance. Ibid., 171.

In accordance with an Order of Council for disarming all Papists and disaffected persons and after Sir John Lowther's call upon such to appear at the Round Table on May 20, 1692, to answer to all interrogations then put to them, warrants were issued for the arrest of those who refused to appear, and for the seizure of their horses above the value of £5, viz., Hugh James of Levens, Timothy Banks of Crooklands, Thomas Shepherd of Sizergh, Henry Guy of Watercrook, Richard Pinder of Kendal, Sir Thomas Graham of Kendal, Robert Stephenson of Dodding Green, William Thornborough, Anthony Barwick, Mr. Shatford of Kendal, Mr. Kilner late of London and Thomas Pickering. On the following day was issued a further list of those whose horses were to be seized, viz. from, Sir Christopher Philipson, Mr. Wytham, and Mr. George Leyburne. Ibid.,329.

Sir Daniel Fleming appears to have been as lenient as he could be, for the Earl of Carlisle accused him, on 17 March, 1695/6, of an insufficient execution of the Council's Order, saying, "The principal Papists have been secured in all parts of England and the same ought to be done in our Country." To which Sir Daniel replied that the Papists and Non-jurors were so few and inconsiderable in Westmorland that they were not dangerous. Moreover the mob is so averse to them and to Popery that there would be twenty to one against them. However, on 21 March, he forwarded the following particular account of the Papists within the county of Westmorland.

Sir Thomas Grymes, Knt. and Baronet, and his lady with their servants, are, and have been above a year, lodgers in Kendal. He is ancient, goes very seldom out of the house and has no arms or horses.

Sir Thomas Strickland, of Sizergh, Knt., his lady and children did in 1688, or soon after, go into France as it is said with his Majesty's licence, where he died as it is reported, and not any of the rest of them have since been in this county. The estate is farmed to Protestants.

Anthony Duckett, Esq., aged and infirm, often laid up with the gout, has not any arms, or horses above the value of £5 a piece to be sold.

Thomas Brathwaite, Esq., his wife and children have been above five years last past lived in the City of York, and his estate in this county has ever since been farmed to Protestant tenants.

George Leyburne, Esq., and his family, are now and have lived for divers years in this county, he is very infirm with the gout and goes seldom abroad. He has no arms nor horses above the value aforesaid.

Marmaduke Tunstal, his son-in-law, has lived since his marriage with Mr. Leyburne. He has not any arms or horses above the value abovesaid.

Marmaduke Witham, (fn. 1) doctor, his wife and servants have lived for divers years in the county of York.

Robert Stephenson, never acted in any public employment but followed his husbandry and has not any arms or horses above the value abovesaid. Ibid. 341.

Warrant from Sir William Fleming, J. Grahme, and Daniel Wilson directing the constables forthwith to set two sufficient men well armed on the day time, and four men by night, to watch and keep sufficient ward within their constablewicks and to take, apprehend and sieze all Papists and suspected persons that shall be found travelling or in any suspected houses and cause the same to be brought before the justices to find sufficient security for their good behaviour. Given under our hands and seals this 4th day of August, 1714. Browne MSS. vol. i. n. 25.

Warrant to the high constable of Kendal Ward and to the constables of Milnthorpe and Beetham, dated 28 August, 1714, from John Harrison and John Archer, justices of the Peace, for search to be made for any arms, weapons, or gunpowder, in the custody of George Hilton, esq. of Bethom, a Papist. Browne MSS. vol. i. n. 24.

Whereas a warrant was granted for apprehending George Hilton of Bethom, esq., which said warrant was not executed, we his majesty's Justices of the Peace being informed that the said George Hilton was concerned in the late rebellion against his Majesty King George, and that since the defeat of the rebels at Preston hath made his escape. These are therefore to require and command you the chief constable of Kendal Ward to make diligent search in all and every constablewick within your said Ward, and if upon such search you should find the said George Hilton that then you immediately apprehend him and convey him to the Common Gaol of this county and deliver him to the keeper thereof. Warrant from Daniel Wilson, John Archer, John Fisher and Anthony Askew, dated 26 November, 1715. Browne MSS. vol. 1, n. 35.

Summons from Daniel Wilson, John Archer and Anthony Askew to Thomas Shipherd, George Hilton, John Hale, John Burrow and William Clawson, all of Beetham, to appear at the Moot Hall in Kirkeby Kendall, to take the oaths prescribed for the further security of his Majesty's person and Government and the succession of the Crown in the heirs of the late Princess Sophia, being protestants, and for extinguishing the hopes of the pretended Prince of Wales and his open and secret abbettors. Dated 15 December, 1715. Similar summonses to Mrs. Askew, widow in the island in Applethwaite, Miles Atkinson and Benjamin Harrison both of Applethwaite, James Longmire de Linefitt, James Longmire de Orrest, John Longmire de Calgarth and George Elleray de Houe of Applethwaite, Robert Stephenson of Newhouse and George Dennison of Mirehead, both in Grayrigg, Samuel Newby of Tenterden in Docker and Thomas Dawson of Crosthwaite. Dated 15 December, 1715. Browne MSS, vol. i, nos. 40, 45, 48, 49.

The Jacobite rising in 1715 was the cause for the compilation of the English Catholic Nonjuror Register, so that the authorities might keep control upon all such as might be suspected of sympathising with the Pretender. In this Register (fn. 2) we find the following:—

William Helme, of Workington, gent., who owned a freehold house called "Staney" at Whinfell, in the parish of Kirkby-Kendal, valued at £12.

John Leyburne Witham of Witherslack Hall, gent., who owned a freehold estate at Beetham, the same as Marmaduke Witham, dec. was lessor of in 1712, valued at £94.

Anne Strickland, widow of Walter Strickland, late of Sizergh, who owned an Annuity out of the Manor of Sizergh as per deed of settlement, dated 2 August, 1700, valued at £100.

George Hilton of Beetham, esq., who owned tithes out of Beetham and Witherslack, valued at £39 15s.

Hugh, Lord Clifford, who owned tithes of Kirkby-Lonsdale, etc., valued at £150 12s. 5d.

Margaret Barrow, who owned a house and shop in Highgate, Kendal, during her widowhood, valued at £1 6s.

Nathaniel Dixon, butcher, who owned two freehold houses.

Walter Kendall of Over Meathop, yeoman, who owned a freehold house.

Margaret Wilkinson of Bradley-field, widow, who owned a house, passing at her death to her son John and his heirs, valued at £11 5s.

John Wilkinson, (fn. 3) of Bradley-field, gent., son of the last, who owned an estate in fee at Kirkby Kendal, valued at £23 10s.

Dorothy Garnett and her three daughters Mary, Agnes and Anne, as coheirs of James Garnett, dec., who owned a house "Garnetfolds" at Skelsmergh, valued at £1 5s.

Edward Holme of Fawcett Forest, yeoman, who owned a freehold estate at Selside, valued at £2 7s.

Oliver Platt of Skelsmergh, yeoman, who owned a house.

Thomas Pearson, yeoman, who owned a house called "Myers" at Docker.

Jane Thornburgh, widow of Rowland Thornburgh of Skelsmergh, who owned a jointure annuity paid her by Elizabeth Thornburgh "now an infant," valued at £40.

Robert Stephenson, of Dodding Green, gent, who owned an estate at Skelsmergh, valued at £116 18s. 7d.

Richard Johnson of Sizergh Fell-side, yeoman, who owned a copyhold house.

Anthony Burne of Sizergh Fell-side, yeoman, who owned a cottage and land in Stainton and a cottage at Heversham, valued at 16s.

Dorothy Morley, widow of William Morley, who owned a house called "Millhouse" at Patton and two closes for life of her mother, Agnes Holme.

William Thornburgh of Selside Hall, gent., who owned Whitwell Hall in his own possession, valued at £9 15s. 10d.

William Gandy of Beetham, who held with three others one-third of the Parsonage-house of Beetham, held in trust by William Sandford of Askham, and Timothy Banks of Skipton, for William Gandy, Anne Gandy his sister and their infant brothers, James and Anthony, all four being children of William and Eleanor Gandy, valued at £26 5s.

Winifred Strickland, widow of Sir Thomas Strickland who owned an Annuity out of the rectory of Kirkby Lonsdale, valued at £200.

Lawrence Anderton, Bart. of Lostock, who owned the castle and park of Kendal, etc., in fee, valued at £230.

An assessment on Papist Estates in the Barony of Kendale, made in the year 1723. Browne MSS. vol. ix, n. 10.

Total Sums per ann. In Constablewick. Total Assessment.
In Underbarrow.
John Wilkinson, a messuage at Bradley Field 11 5 0 11 5 0 1 19
In Crosthwaite and Lyth.Thomas Dawson 2 0 0 2 0 0 0 7 0
In Witherslack and Meathop.
John Leyburn Witham 100 0 0
Mr. Hilton 12 0 0
Walter Kendall 10 0 0
Lord Clifford 4 6 10
Jane Thornburgh, widow, her jointure out of Roland Thornburgh's estates 40 0 0
166 6 10 29 2 3
In Beetham and Farleton.
Mr. George Hilton 18 10 0
Lord Clifford 43 5 7
Henry Charles Howard, esq.
Free rent at Farleton 0 6 8
William Gandy 26 5 0
88 7 3 15 9
In Haverbrack.
Mr. George Hilton 2 0 0 2 0 0 0 7 0
In Levens.
Lord Clifford 1 0 0
Anthony Burn 2 10 0
Richard Johnson, a cottage at
Sizergh Fell-side 1 0 0
Thomas Strickland, esq. 0 17 0
5 7 0 80 18 9
In Helsington.
Thomas Strickland, esq. for
Sizergh 175 10 0
Thomas Strickland, esq. for
Lakerigg 67 10 0
243 0 0 42 10 6
In Stainton.
Anthony Burn's house 0 16 0 0 16 0 0 2
In Sedgwick and Staintion.
Thomas Strickland, esq. for
Tithes 66 10 0 66 10 0 11 12 9
In Natland.
Thomas Strickland, esq. 30 12 0
do. for Tithes 26 0 0
56 12 0 9 18
Thomas Strickland, esq., for
Free Rents 0 12 0 0 12 0 0 2 1
In Kendall.
Nathaniel Dixon 8 0 0
Margaret Barrow 3 0 0
Arthur Dixon 3 0 0
Peter Barwick 2 0 0
Sir Lawrence Anderton, Kendal Castle and Park 230 0 0
Mr. Robert Stephenson 23 19 0
269 19 0 47 4 10
In Skelsmergh.
Mr. Robert Stephenson 30 0 0
do. for Rents 8 2 3
Oliver Platt 12 0 0
James Mount 14 0 0
Mrs. Thornburgh 25 0 0
89 2 3 15 11 11
In Patton.
Dorothy Garnett 8 0 0
Dorothy Morland, land and mill
in her own possession 8 0 0
16 0 0 2 16 0
In Whitwell and Selside.
William Thornburgh 50 0 0
Edward Holme 1 10 0
Mr. Robert Stephenson 5 0 0
Mrs. Thornburgh 23 6 8
Margaret Atkinson 20 0 0
99 16 8 17 9 2
In Whinfell.
Mr. Robert Stephenson 69 5 0
Mr. William Helme 12 0 0
Mrs. Thornburgh 25 10 0
106 15 0 18 13
In Fawcett Forest.
Mr. Robert Stephenson 1 4 0
Edward Holme 6 0 0
7 4 0 1 5
In Old Hutton.
Lord Clifford, Gatebeck tithes 13 10 0 13 10 0 2 7 3
In Docker.
Thomas Pearson 6 0 0 6 0 0 1 1 0
In K. Lonsdale.
Lord Clifford for Sellet Banks 15 0 0 15 0 0 2 12 6
Thomas Strickland, esq. for the Rectory 240 0 0 240 0 0 42 0 0
In Burton.
Lord Clifford for Curwen Woods 12 0 0 12 0 0 2 2 0
In Barbon and Mansergh.
Thomas Strickland, esq. for tithes and barns 65 0 0 65 0 0 11 7 6
In Lupton.
Thomas Strickland, esq. for tithes and barns 40 0 0 40 0 0 7 0 0
In Preston and Holme.
Lord Clifford, Tithe barns 38 0 0 38 0 0 6 13 0
Francis Warwick, esq 4 6 8 4 6 8 0 15 2
do. demesne lands 222 0 1
Edward Sisson Barton 37 10 0
John Mounsey 5 0 0
Charles Howard, esq. 32 1 3
Mary Troughton 1 1 9
297 13 1 51 19 6

Protestant Recusants.

Under the policy of Clarendon and Sheldon the strict enforcement of all the penal laws against Romanist and Protestant Recusants alike was urged, but under the first half of the "Cabal" ministry (1667–73) conventicles were connived at and the Westmorland non-conformists received a quiet toleration from the magistrates. Then came the famous Declaration of Indulgence (15 March, 1671/2) by which Charles 11 suspended the operation of most of the penal laws in matters ecclesiastical against those of his subjects who did not conform to the Church of England. Many of the local Presbyterians availed themselves of the Indulgence but the Quakers appear to have refused it on account of the oath required.

The following list of licences taken out in 1672 is gathered from the Cal. of State Papers, Dom., 1671/2, pp. 503, 550; 1672, pp. 352, 379, 380, 579; 1762/3, pp. 95 and 260.

May 13. The house of John Garnett, Kendal, Presbyterian
July 16. " George Benson, Kendal, Independent.
July 22. " William Warriner, Whinfell, Presbyterian
" "William Syll, Kendal, "
Sep. 5. " John Gernet, Kendal, "
Oct. 28. " John Hinde, Stainton, "
" "Edward Briggs, Heversham.
Dec. 9. " James Cock, Kendal Park.
" "James Atkinson, Kendal.

But the hope of tolerance was short lived, the "Cabal" administration was breaking up and on 7 March, 1673, the Declaration was withdrawn. On the 29th of the same month the Test Act was passed, directing all officers to government to receive the sacrament according to the form of the Church of England and to take the oaths against Transubstantiation, etc. Then on 12 February, 1674/5, the king issued his recantation" that all our licences were long since recalled and that no Conventicle hath any authority, allowance or encouragement from us." As an immediate result John Otway and other magistrates, on 27 March following, issued their warrants, as stated above, when some 134 persons were presented at the 16 April Sessions for having abstained from attending their parish churches.

In April, 1687, James II issued his Declaration for liberty of conscience, giving his subjects leave to "meet and serve God after their own way and manner, be it in private houses or places purposely built or hired for that use," on the understanding that such places were to be made known to and licensed by the magistrates. Two years later came the Toleration Act of 1689, which, although it did not alter the law, relieved from penalty all persons who took the new oath of allegiance and supremacy and also made a Declaration against Popery and which further allowed the Quakers to substitute an affirmation for the oath. While it did not relax the provisions of the Test Act it laid the foundation of religious liberty, and from it dates the legal existence of Nonconformist congregations.

For instance on 15 January, 1691/2, the house of James Garnett, Moss-side in Crosthwaite, was licensed for Mr. Richard Frankland to preach in. (K. Order Book, 1669–96). In 1697 Quarter Sessions ordered that certificates be granted to the following houses set apart for religious worship for Protestants "defealing" from the Church of England, so that they be used according to law. K. Order Book, 1696–1724.

The house of George Birkett of Crook.

" Miles Addison of Stainton.

in 1699 The house of John Hind of Stainton, and

in 1705 " Thomas Benson of Ambleside.

Then on 11 October, 1706, the Quakers came forward and received from the Court the following licences. K. Order Book, 1696–1724

A Meeting House in Lambrigg.

" Preston Patrick.

" Windermere.

The house of John Thompson of Crook.

" George Thompson.

" Robert Thompson.

"Miles Suart in Touthorn.

" Robert Chambers in Sedgwick.

" John Sutton in Lupton.

"Richard Atkinson in Farleton.

" Dorothy Harrison in Great Langdale.

"John Thompson of Powbank.

" George Preston of Powbank.

" Joseph Pearson of Crosthwaite.

" Joseph Baynes of Stangerthwaite in Killington.

" John Thornbeck in Middleton.

In subsequent years the following places were licensed for religious worship.

1713. A Meeting House in Crook Quaker.
1714. The house of Roger Hind in Burton, "
1715. " John Atkinson of Crack Hall "
" " Benjamin Gilpin in S. Roger, "
1761. " Robert Richardson in Killington.
" " George Gregg in Lupton.
1810. " Thomas Winn in Barbon.
1811. " William Davis in K. Lonsdale.
1816. " Henry Cock in Holme.
1816. A building in K. Lonsdale, Independent.
1818. " Hutton Roof, "
" " Burton, "
" The house of George Robinson in Burneside, Wesleyan.
1819. A building in Milnthorpe, Independent.
1821. The house of Thomas Huck in Fawcett Forest.
1823. " John Atkinson of Garth Row, Underbarrow.
1827. " Robert Forrest in Ambleside.
" " Robert Lawrence, par. Heversham.
1828. " Richard Ward in Firbank.
1829. " John Bell in Grayrigg.
1842. " Thomas Rodick, Wood Close, Arnside.
1849. " Robert Hayton, Score Cragg, Grasmere.


  • 1. Marmaduke Witham of Cliffe, co. York, M.D., aged 8 years in 1665, married for his first wife Catherine the daughter of John Leyburne of Cunswick and Witherslack. John Leyburne Witham was probably his son by this marriage.
  • 2. The English Catholic Nonjurors of 1715, Ed. by Very Rev. Edgar E. Estcourt, M.A., F.S.A., and John Orlebar Payne, M.A.
  • 3. Probably identical with J. W. (alias Curwen) named by Foley in his Records of the Jesuits, as "son of John and Margaret of Westmorland" who entered the Eng. Coll. Rome, on 24 April, 1694, and was ordained priest in 1698, and who afterwards came to England