Parishes: Newton-Regny - Ponsonby

Magna Britannia: Volume 4, Cumberland. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1816.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. Public Domain.


Daniel Lysons, Samuel Lysons, 'Parishes: Newton-Regny - Ponsonby', in Magna Britannia: Volume 4, Cumberland( London, 1816), British History Online [accessed 24 July 2024].

Daniel Lysons, Samuel Lysons, 'Parishes: Newton-Regny - Ponsonby', in Magna Britannia: Volume 4, Cumberland( London, 1816), British History Online, accessed July 24, 2024,

Daniel Lysons, Samuel Lysons. "Parishes: Newton-Regny - Ponsonby". Magna Britannia: Volume 4, Cumberland. (London, 1816), , British History Online. Web. 24 July 2024.

In this section

Newton-Regny, or Regney

NEWTON-REGNY, or REGNEY, in Leath ward, lies three miles from Penrith. It is divided into the townships of Newton-Regny and Catterlen, containing together in 1811, 44 houses, and 219 inhabitants. The manor of Newton belonged in the reign of Henry II. to the family of de Regny, whose descendant in the reign of Edward I. left four daughters coheirs. In the same reign we find this manor in the possession of Robert Burnel, Bishop of Bath and Wells (fn. n1), who in 1239 conveyed it to Hugh de Lowther, ancestor of the Earl of Lonsdale, who is the present proprietor. This was one of the earliest possessions of the Lowther family in Cumberland. The old mansion on this estate is occupied as a farm-house.

The manor of Catterlen belonged at the time of the conquest to Hudlan, whose son forfeited it in the reign of Stephen; King Henry II. granted it to Hubert de Vallibus, or Vaux, after which it continued many generations in a younger branch of that ancient family (fn. n2). John Vaux, Esq. the last of this branch, left two daughters, married to Richmond and Graham of Nunnery. This manor passed to the Richmonds, and under the will of Mrs. Susannah Richmond to J. C. Curwen, Esq. from whom it passed by sale to the Duke of Norfolk, who is the present proprietor. The old mansion of Catterlen-hall, built by Rowland Vaux in 1577, has long been in a dilapidated state, and occupied as a farm-house.

The church of Newton, which is in the deanery of Allerdale, has been appropriated from a very early period to the see of Carlisle. The bishop is patron of the perpetual curacy, which has been augmented by Queen Anne's bounty, aided by a benefaction of 200l. given by Dr. Holme. The commons of this parish have been inclosed under the act of 1803, for inclosing the forest of Inglewood.

Mrs. Isabella Miller left by will a messuage and garden for the use of the master of a charity school at Newton-Regny, but the school has no endowment.


ORTON, in Cumberland ward, is five miles from Carlisle. It is divided into the townships of Baldwin-holme and Orton, containing together in 1811, 80 houses, and 422 inhabitants.

The manor of Orton, held under that of Levington, belonged at an early period to a family to whom it gave name. John de Orton had a licence for making a park in 1340 (fn. n3); his heiress married Sir Clement de Skelton, whose coheiresses married Leigh, Bellasis, Ridley, and Blennerhasset. Between three of these the manor (fn. n4) was divided; in the reign of Queen Elizabeth the whole came by several purchases to the Briscoes, and is now the property of Sir Wastell Briscoe, Bart. who is patron also of the rectory. The manor of Wiggonby, in this parish, long ago annihilated, belonged to the Ortons, and was divided among their representatives (fn. n5). Orton is in the deanery of Carlisle. Mr. Thomas Pattinson in 1785, bequeathed the interest of 100l. as an endowment for the school.

William Nicolson, Bishop of Carlisle, afterwards of Londonderry, who died shortly after his nomination to the archbishoprick of Cashel in 1726, the learned author of "The English Historical Library," and other works, was born in 1655 at Orton, of which his father was rector.


OUSBY, in Leath ward, under Crossfell, lies eight miles from Penrith. The manor was at a very early period divided into moieties: in the reign of Henry III. these moieties were in the family of Falcard and Armstrong, shortly afterwards one of them was split into four, between coheiresses.

The estate has remained ever since in severalties, in the families of Crackenthorp and others, but the manerial rights seem to have been centered by purchase or otherwise, in that of Crackenthorp, and W. Crackenthorp, Esq. of Newbiggin-hall, in the county of Westmorland, is now considered as lord of the manor. The rectory, which is in the deanery of Allerdale, is in the patronage of the bishop. Thomas Robinson, who published "An essay towards a natural History of Cumberland and Westmorland," was rector of this parish from 1672 till his death in 1719; he was author also of two other works, entitled "A natural History of this World of Matter, and this World of Life," and "The Anatomy of the Earth."


PENRITH, in Leath ward, is a large market town on the great road from London to Carlisle, 287 miles from the former, and 18 from the latter. The parish is divided into the townships of Burrowgate, Dockray, Middlegate and Sandgate, Netherend Bridge and Carleton, and Town and Plumpton-head, containing collectively in 1811, 932 houses, and 4328 inhabitants.

The manor or honour of Penrith, which had been ancient demesne of the crown, was in the year 1242, assigned to Alexander, King of Scotland, with other manors (fn. n6), in pursuance of an agreement made at the conference holden at York in 1237, when Alexander consented to cede all claim to the counties of Cumberland, Northumberland, and Westmorland, for himself and his successors, in consideration of a grant of lands of 200l. per annum value, to be holden of the King of England, by the annual render of a falcon to the constable of the castle at Carlisle. (fn. n7)

John Baliol succeeded to these manors, but in the quarrel between him and King Edward I. they were seized and given to Anthony Bec, Bishop of Durham: the parliament, which was held at Carlisle, disapproving the grant, it was revoked, and these manors reverted to the crown. In the year 1345, the Scots with a large army entered Cumberland, burnt Penrith, and carried away great numbers of the inhabitants prisoners. The manors of Salkeld and Sowerby also were laid waste in revenge for their having been taken from John Baliol. In the year 1380 the Scots surprised Penrith during the time of the fair, put many of the inhabitants to the sword, and carried off many prisoners and a great booty (fn. n8). It appears by our historians, this town had been peculiarly obnoxious to the Scots, and had been burned in 1342 and in 1345. (fn. n9)

King Richard II. granted the manors of Penrith, &c. to John Duke of Britanny and Earl of Richmond; two years afterwards he granted them to Ralph Nevil, Earl of Westmorland, and his heirs male, to be held in as ample manner as they had been by Alexander King of Scots. It is probable that about this time Penrith Castle was built by the Nevils, as a protection to the town, against any future attacks of their hostile neighbours. By the death of Richard, Earl of Warwick, who was slain at Barnet Field, and died without issue male, the manor of Penrith reverted to the crown, and was immediately granted by King Edward IV. to his brother Richard Duke of Gloucester, afterwards King Richard III. It has been said that the Duke of Gloucester resided at Penrith for the purpose of taking effectual measures for the security of the county of Cumberland against the Scots, and indeed there seems little doubt of it, for we rind that the duke was sheriff of the county for five successive years, and he is described as of Penrith Castle. After this the honor of Penrith remained in the crown till 1696, when it was granted to William Bentinck, Earl of Portland. It is now the property of the Duke of Devonshire, whose father purchased it of the late Duke of Portland in 1787.

The extensive commons within the honor of Penrith and forest of Inglewood, have been inclosed under an act of parliament, passed in 1803.

There are considerable remains of Penrith Castle, which stands on an eminence to the west of the town. It is supposed to have been built by the Nevils, and enlarged and repaired by the Duke of Gloucester.

We have not found any positive account that Penrith Castle was occupied as a garrison during the civil war; it is probable that it was held by General Lambert, whose head-quarters were at Penrith from the middle of June till the middle of July 1648 (fn. n10). The castle was dismantled after the war, and the lead, timber, and other materials sold.

Penrith Beacon, on the summit of the Fell, overlooks the town, and commands a most extensive prospect, closed in on every side by mountain scenery.

Within the parish of Penrith are the following subordinate manors, Bishop'srow, belonging to the Bishop of Carlisle; Penrith, Hutton-hall, and Carleton. The mesne manor of Penrith belonged to the Hutton family of Hutton-hall from the reign of Edward I. till it was sold by Addison Hutton, M.D. the last of the family (fn. n11) in 1734, to John Gaskarth, Esquire, whose son in 1790, sold it to the late Earl of Lonsdale. It is now the property of the present Earl. Hutton-hall is in the occupation of John Orfeur Yates, Esq.

Mr. T. Denton says that the manor of Carleton was acquired in marriage with a daughter of Ralph Nevil, Earl of Westmorland, by Robert Lord Clifford, and that it was then (1688) the property of the Earl of Burlington, in right of his wife, who was sole heiress of the last Lord Clifford; he adds, that Carleton-hall (we suppose the fee) was purchased by Sir Thomas Carleton of George Clifford, Earl of Cumberland. Carleton was the residence of the family of de Carleton, nearly as early as the time of the conquest. On the death of Robert Carleton, Esq. the last of this ancient family, in 1707, the manor, which had been purchased probably of Lord Burlington or his heirs, was sold to John Pattinson, Esq. On the death of his son without issue, it became the property of his eldest daughter, who married Thomas Simpson, Esq. Mr. Simpson's son dying unmarried, Carleton devolved to his only daughter, the wife of the late James Wallace, Esq. His Majesty's Attorney General. It is now the property and seat of the Right Honourable Thomas Wallace.

The grounds of Carleton-hall command beautiful views of the windings of the Eamont, Lowther Woods, Brougham Castle, Whinfield Park, and Crossfell, with the range of mountains towards Northumberland.

There was a convent of grey friers of the order of St. Augustine, at Penrith, founded in or before the reign of Edward II. The site of this monastery was granted by King Henry the VIII. to Robert Tyrwhit, Esq. It was afterwards for many years in the family of Raincock, from whom it passed to the Gaskarths, and having been purchased of the Rev. John Gaskarth, by the late Earl of Lonsdale, is now the property of the present earl. The house which occupies its site is called the Friery, and is situate in a street called Frier-gate.

The market at Penrith is held by prescription. We find no charter. A small market for butchers' meat, &c. is held on Saturday, but the principal market day for corn, &c. for which it is a great mart, is Tuesday. There are considerable cattle fairs on the 1st of March, the 24th and 25th of April, and the third Tuesday in October; and also on the customary hiring days of Tuesday in Whitsun-week and Martinmas Tuesday (fn. n12). The ancient townhouse, spoken of in Gibson's edition of Camden, was burnt down by accident a few years ago, whilst occupied by a company of comedians (fn. n13). It appears on record that the men of Penrith had a right to all trees blown down by the wind within the forest of Inglewood (fn. n14). The principal manufactures of Penrith are checks and ginghams, which have of late years been upon the decline.

A tablet in the church states, that in the year 1598, 2260 persons died of the plague (fn. n15) : there must have been some mistake in this; it appears by the parish register, that only 583 persons died in the parish of Penrith of the plague. It is distinctly stated by prefixing the letter F. how many of them were buried on the Fells. The above-mentioned number, indeed, is very large, for it appears that the average yearly number of burials for some years before that period was only about fifty-two (fn. n16). Forty-two persons had been buried of the plague in 1597. Mr. Pennant, who visited Penrith in his tour to Scotland in 1769, says, that the town then contained about 2000 souls. The population of the town and its immediate suburbs was about 4000 in 1811, and is supposed to have been since considerably increased.

The church of Penrith, with the exception of the tower, was rebuilt in 1722, and is a large handsome structure. The chandeliers were given by the first Duke of Portland, in testimony of his regard to the inhabitants, for their loyalty in 1745. (fn. n17)

Several monuments, taken from the old church, are preserved; as that of Richard Coldall, Esq. of Plumpton, 1562; Sir Christopher Moresby, Knight, 1499; Sir Christopher Moresby, the younger, no date; Sir Christopher Pykering, Knight, 1516; Jane, wife of Thomas Dalston, Esq. (daughter of Wharton, of Kirkby-Thore) 1678. There were also the monuments of Thomas de Hutton, temp. Henry V.; Anthony Hutton, Esq. 1637; and Mary daughter of Sir Thomas Wilson, Secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth, married first to Robert Burdet, Esq. of Warwickshire, afterwards to Sir Christopher Lowther, ob. 1622. Of more modern date, since the rebuilding of the church, are the monuments of Dr. Thomas Bolton, rector of Greystock, 1763, and James Wallace, Esq. of Carleton-hall, sometime His Majesty's Attorney General, who died in 1783. In the chancel is the burial place of the Whelpdale family, but there are no memorials of them. The ancient monuments in the church-yard, have been already spoken of.

The church of Penrith, which is in the deanery of Allerdale, was given and appropriated to the Bishop of Carlisle at an early period. The bishop is patron of the vicarage, which has been augmented by a rent charge of 32l. per annum, out of the great tithes, the sum of 500l. bequeathed by Bishop Smith in 1702, and laid out in lands and other benefactions (fn. n18). Dr. Todd, who was vicar of Penrith from 1699 till his death in 1728, made considerable topographical collections for this county, and wrote a brief account of Carlisle, still in MS.

The grammar school at Penrith is of very ancient date; it appears that there was a school under the bishop's patronage so early as 1340. Bishop Strickland required his chantry priest to teach music and grammar at a salary of 6l. per annum. This revenue, after the reformation, continued some years in the crown, till Queen Elizabeth, at the instance of her secretary, Sir Thomas Smith, then Dean of Carlisle, founded anew the grammar school, and endowed it with the above-mentioned salary.

In the year 1661 William Robinson, citizen of London, gave a rent charge of 10l. per annum to the school. William Bleamire, Esq. in 1782, gave a rent charge of 6l. per annum, and one pound to the vicar, for preaching a sermon on education. The whole revenue of the school, including some smaller benefactions, does not exceed, about 26l. per annum (fn. n19), and the school, which was formerly in much repute as a classical seminary, has in consequence of the smallness of its endowment fallen much into decay. It is entitled in its turn with other Cumberland schools, to an exhibition at Queen's College in Oxford. William Bleamire, Esq. abovementioned, gave a further annual rent-charge for the purpose of providing a silver medal (fn. n20) of one inch and a quarter diameter, to be delivered at Christmas by the master, to such one of his scholars as should in his judgment compose the best Latin verses or theme on a proposed subject, and to provide a silver pen for the greatest proficient in writing, and a book of arithmetic for the best arithmetician; the residue, (if any,) to be retained by the master for his own benefit.

Mr. William Robinson above-mentioned, gave 20l. per annum for a girls' school. Mrs. Joan Lascelles in 1671, gave the residue of her effects to the said school: the amount was 100l. in lieu of which the executor gave a rent-charge of 5l. per annum.

Isaac Ritson, a native of this parish, who died at Islington, near London, in the 27th year of his age, published a translation of Homer's Hymn to Venus. Specimens of his poetry are printed in Hutchinson's History of Cumberland. He was a very eccentric character, and may be rather said to have given the promise of future literary eminence, than to have much distinguished himself by what he had written.


PLUMBLAND, in the ward of Allerdale below Derwent, is seven miles distant from Cockermouth, which is the post-office town. The manor of Plumbland belonged as early as the reign of Edward II. to the ancient family of Orfeur. Charles Orfeur, Esq. who died in 1725, sold it to Sir Wilfred Lawson, Bart. It has since been enfranchised; but the demesne land called High Close, where is the site of the ancient manor-house, continued in the Lawson family, and having passed under the will of the last baronet, is now vested in Wilfred, son of Thomas Wybergh, Esq. who has assumed the name of Lawson, and is as yet a minor. He is proprietor also of Arcleby Hall, which was purchased by Sir W. Lawson of John Satterthwaite, Esq. This estate was the property and residence of the family of De Arcleby, afterwards of the Martindales. Having been forfeited by treason, Queen Elizabeth granted it to Sir John Penruddock, grandfather of Sir John, who was beheaded at Salisbury by Cromwell in 1652. It was afterwards purchased by Gustavus Thompson (fn. n21), who was rector of Plumbland in 1702. His son, Gustavus Thompson, Esq. built the present mansion of Arcleby Hall, now occupied as a farm-house.

The manor of Warthole belonged formerly to the abbey of Calder: since the Reformation it has been for several generations in the family of Dykes. Warthole Hall, which was their seat, had been for some years past occupied by day-labourers: the greater part of it was pulled down in 1813. The estate is now the property of Joseph Dykes Ballantine Dykes, Esq. of Dovenby-hall, in the parish of Bridekirk.

John Christian Curwen, Esq. is patron of the rectory, which is in the deanery of Allerdale. The manor of Parsonby belongs to the rectory.

There is an excellent free school in this parish. The school-house, which was erected in 1800, contains two school-rooms, each 42 feet by 28; one for the classics; the other for English, writing, and accounts, the mathematics, &c. This school was founded by Mr. John Sibson, formerly of this parish, and endowed with lands, &c. producing an income of 87l. 6s. per annum. The founder directs that prayers, and an exposition of the New Testament, shall form part of each day's duty.


PONSONBY, in the ward of Allerdale above Derwent, lies near Calderbridge, where is a post-office, and nearly eleven miles south of Whitehaven. The manor belonged, at a very early period, to the descendants of FitzPonson, who were called Ponsonby before the reign of Edward II. They were ancestors of the noble Irish families of that name, and of the Ponsonbys of Hale. It was purchased of this family at an early period by the Stanleys, and is now the property, and Ponsonby Hall the seat, of Edward Stanley, Esq.

In the parish church are memorials of Frances daughter of Sir Thomas Whytt, one of the privy-council to King Henry VIII., some time wife of Thomas Hobe of Calder, afterwards of William Patryckson, Gentleman, ob. 1578; Thomas Curwen, Esq.; and Dorothy wife of George Stanley, Esq. 1786.

The church was given by John Fitz-Ponson to the priory of Conishead, and appropriated to that monastery. The Stanley family have now the impropriation, and nominate the perpetual curate.


  • n1. Robert Burnell, Bishop of Bath and Wells, held this manor by the service of finding an esquire in the King's army against Scotland, with an haubergeon and an iron helmet, at his own cost for forty days. Hugh de Lowther acquired this manor by the King's licence, and the King by his patent excused the said Hugh the above-mentioned service. Quo Warranto Roll, 29 Edward I.
  • n2. Mr. T. Denton states, that an heiress of this family brought Catterlen to the Musgraves of Hayton, but that it reverted to the Vaux's by the marriage of William Vaux with one of the daughters of Thomas Musgrave, Esq.
  • n3. Cart. Rot. 14 Edward III. 33. When John de Orton was called upon to prove his right to free warren in 1300, he alleged that his charter was destroyed when the town of Orton was burnt by the Scots. His claim was not allowed. Quo Warranto Roll 29 Edward I.
  • n4. Mr. T. Denton says, that by the custom of this manor, on failure of male issue, lands escheat to the lord: daughters never inherit.
  • n5. T. Denton's MS.
  • n6. Carlatton, Longwathby, Scotby, Great-Salkeld, and Castle Sowprby.
  • n7. See p. xviii.
  • n8. Walsingham.
  • n9. Chron. Lanercost and Walsingham.
  • n10. Rushworth.
  • n11. Dr. Hutton died in 1742.
  • n12. Mr. T. Denton, writing in 1688, says, "the market abounds with all sorts of corn, grain, meal, malt, salt, fruit, and butchers' meat, especially about Martinmas, they kill 300 or 400 beeves every market day. The chief fair is upon Whitsun Tuesday, for horses in Dockeray; cattle and sheep upon the Fell; and servants at the Cross to be hired. They have four guilds here, viz. Merchants, Tanners, Shoemakers, and Skinners."
  • n13. Hutchinson's History, I. 318.
  • n14. Inq. ad q. d. 2 Edward II. 103.
  • n15. It is said that when Penrith was plundered by the Scots in 1380, the plague was raging there, and that they carried back the infection with them, which occasioned a great mortality in Scotland.
  • n16. This is the average of eight years, from 1588 to 1595, both inclusive; the years 1587 and 1596 appear to have been years of more than common mortality; in 1587 there were 196 burials; in 1596, 124.
  • n17. The van of the rebel army halted at Penrith on their march southwards, on the 21st of November, and Charles Stuart with the rear on the 22d; they halted there also on their retreat to Scotland on the 17th of December. During the former rebellion of 1715, Penrith was taken possession of by a body of the rebels, headed by General Forster, who was soon afterwards defeated at Preston.
  • n18. Mrs. Mary Bell in 1740, gave the interest of 240l. to the vicar, for reading daily prayers.
  • n19. The school appears to have irrecoverably lost a considerable part of its revenue. See Nicolson and Burn's History. Vol. II. p. 411.
  • n20. The medal to have on one side the figure of Queen Elizabeth. On the other side this inscription, "Hoc meriti singularis præmium, ne virtuti bonisque moribus, nec studio literarum egregio, hos intra parietes, aut sua desit gratia aut incitamentum, dono dedit Gulielmus Bleamire Arm. Gubernator, A. D. 1797." Round the figure are to be the words, Regina Elizabetha Scholae Regiae de Penrith Fundatrix.
  • n21. Mr. T. Denton says that it was some time in the Orfeurs, and that the heiress of Charles Orfeur brought it to Mr. Henry Peirson, who sold to Thompson.