Records : The Church of the Reformation

Pages 176-190

Register and Records of Holm Cultram. Originally published by T Wilson & Son, Kendal, 1929.

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XIV. The Church of the Reformation.

We have seen (p. 158) that at the Dissolution the abbey church was left standing; but there was no authority on the spot, with the means and the desire to keep it in good condition. The ownership of the rectory and tithes, as the next chapter will tell, was no longer in local hands, so that those who had the responsibility of maintaining the chancel neglected it. The parishioners required only a part, ultimately cut down to about two-thirds of the nave, for purposes of worship; and the story of the next two hundred years, as it relates to the fabric, is one of struggle against indifference, dilapidation and poverty.

On March 25, 1579, the great east window was blown in; this is the date given by Edward Mandevile, the vicar, in describing the repairs of 1591; and a petition of 1580 says that lead, stone and wood had been carried away from the building already falling to ruin. The MS. of Thomas Denton, quoted in the Lysons' Cumberland (p. 114) puts the main period of destruction at the time of the Civil Wars; but long before that the mischief had been wrought. We can trace the stages in the churchwardens' accounts and the parish registers, and follow the gradual changes which transformed a magnificent abbey-church of Transitional character into the curious building as it stands now.

The earliest registers begin in 1580 and, kept by Rowland Chambers of Mosside as clerk, they continue until the end of 1597. The next part has been lost; they begin again only after eleven years. The churchwardens, one from each of the four Quarters of the Holm, with assistant wardens, usually worked with the Sixteen Men representing the manor, together acting as overseers of the poor under the act of 5 and 6 Edward VI, and after 1572 under that of 14 Elizabeth. The wardens' accounts were submitted to the Sixteen Men, and many such entries are preserved, mostly trivial, but in some cases throwing light on the history. The earliest register was transcribed by the Rev. G. E. Gilbanks when he was curate of the parish and extracts are given in his book, Some Records of a Cistercian Abbey (London, 1899). We give here only such as refer to the church.

1585. Repairs to the lead roof are mentioned.

1586. More was spent on "lead, sowder, iron worke," etc.

1587. New slates for the church.

1590. 3s. 8d. spent for "iron and workm[an]ship to the belles" and Mandevile the vicar notes—"In the xiiij day of May there fell out of the foit of the steeple vault over above the poulepoit thre great stons wch braste the stalle where I use to sitt and some part of Chambers stall and a ledge of the comm[uni]on table. A little tyme before it fell there was ould Steven and sertaine others standing where the fall hapned and so was I there also and came forthe. I imediatly went to the church againe and there were the said stones fallen, it was the morrowe after a court was houlden in the church and the jury was that day togethe[r] in the churche." (fn. 1)

1591. The vicar writes—" Upon occation p[ar]tely of the premises but more espetially for that in the Chancell there were ma[n]ye corneres wherein people were alwayes jangling and talking in tyme of devine se[r]vice which abuse I thought to redrese for the honor of God, for these causes I moved the parisheners to remove to the low churche [i.e. the nave] wch is proper to all the parishe and for the better drawin of their myinds to this good purpose I repared the lead, washed over the wau [whitewashed the walls], repared all the glasse windowes, lefte not a hole in any of the[m] within the compasse of the parishe churche, and this being donne in August and September 1591, in October following I sett it with fourmes wch cost me the very worke bysydes the wood, for it perteyned to the parishe, xxxiijs. xd. and upon the Sunday the twenty after trenitye being the xvij day of October 1591 I began to do service and ministred the sacrement yt same day. The(y) were very quiet and made noe question about there places as many dowted they shoulde." The churchwardens' accounts give items beside what the vicar spent—work on the pulpit, windows, lock to the 'steple dore,' setting the communion table, amending the font, 'purging the church, and other necessaryes'; and the vicar continues—"Upon a presenteme[n]t mayd to the Ordinarye yt ye chancell was in great decay … the Ivings [ivy] growing in many places upon the waules wth divers other delapidations pitifull to se, I procured a comission … and … by the advise and consent of the churchwardens [did] raite every rente tennante yt payethe corne tythe … foure pence for every bz. [bushel] … wch came to this somme of xxviij li. if every one should pay truly … who refused for a whyle but in thend most of them yealded and … I repared [and] redified the east window as it is now and glazened all the windowes in the churche to the valey of 60 foite and 500 holes, but the most part of this was donne wth oulde glasse that we tooke downe out of the ould east windowe where stoneworke is now sette."

1592–3. More small repairs; and though 1597 was a plagueyear a stone found in a small house near the church reads—"ED. MANDEVILE CLERICs FIERI FECIT HOC OPVS A° DNI 1597 : HOC BONVM." Then the records fail, but from the lost register a passage has been copied into a later book from which we learn, in Mandevile's words:—" 1600[–1]. The Steeple of ye Church being of ye height of 19 fathoms did suddenly fall down to ye ground upon ye first day of January 1600 about three o'clock in ye afternoon and by ye fall thereof brought down a great part of ye chancel both timber, leed and walls, and after ye said fall, the same continued in a very ruinous manner for ye space of two years during which time there was much leed, wood and stone carried away. There was present at ye fall Robt. Chambers and myself, both of us being within ye church at ye very time of ye fall, and yet by ye good pleasure of God we escaped all perils.

"1602. By means of ye Bishop of Carlisle there was a commission granted to George Curwen, gentleman, and me Ed. Mandevile vicar there, for re'edifying a comely and sufficient chancil, taking … ye old materials of ye chancil … to rebuild a new one … Anno 1602 and 1603 this commision was given by ye Chancellor, Masters and scholars of ye University of Oxford [owners of the tithes and therefore responsible for the chancel] … This work came to £180 and odds … Masons were Martin Harrison, John Dent, Arthur Dent and Tho. Stephenson. Plumrs Simon Myres and John Smart. Carpenter John Fearon. This work being finished, it so happened that upon Wednesday the 18th of April an: 1604 one Christopher Hardon carrying a live coal and a candle into ye roof of ye church to search for an iron chizil which his brother had left there, and ye wind being exceeding strong and boistrous it chanced that ye coal blew out of his hand into a daw's nest, which was within ye roof of ye church and forthwith kindled ye same, which set ye roof on fire in such a great sort, that within less than three hours it consumed and burnt both ye body of ye chancil and ye whole church except ye south side of ye Low Church which was saved by means of a stone vault. Upon which great mishap Tho. Chambers and William Chambers did most utterly and maliciously put a Bill into ye Excheqr therein alledging that ye said Hardon did burn ye church wilfully by ye procurement of Thos. Hardon cousin of yt Christopher Hardon and me Edward Mandevile to whom ye said Christopher was servant. This false accusation they went about to prove by divers witnesses but they failed in ye proof and so ye matter when it came before ye Ld Treasurer and ye Barons of ye Excheqr was thought not worthy of hearing and so dismissed ye court thereof for ye same year 1604. I ye said Edwd Mandevile did re-edify ye chancil of ye said church of my own voluntarie will which cost me £88 and some odd money and in ye year 1606 the parishioners were commanded by ye Bishop to repair ye body of ye church who were taxed to do so by ye Churchwardens and ye 16 men who were appointed for that purpose." (fn. 2)

1630, March 4. "Whereas the church is in great Ruin," a rate for repairs was ordered. Next year, those who had refused to contribute were to be presented.

1635, June 18. "The sume of the Account for two yeares by past … for the adorning of the church according to the Lo. Archbishopp of York his Commissions Injuction of the yeare 1633, wch Taske [i.e. tax or rate] was assessed the fourth part of the whole yeares Rent of all Coppyhold and Lease Land [etc.] and young men according to their ability [i.e. means] £72 8s. 5d."

1636, July 12. "Agreed by Mr. Robson, Vicar, and the Sixteene … that whereas there was a Taske assessed … for the reparacyon and adorning of ye church, and … xj l. yet unpaid … the churchwardens shall present unto ye Chapter Court all those who are behind …"

1638, Sept. 12. "A taske . . towards the reparac'on of the church now in decay … for every horse tenement 4d., every demy 2d., and every Tradesman, servant or young man of ability in stock 2d."

1639. Details of expenditure of the above include mending the bells 2s. 2d., washing the church clothes, 12d., a Register Booke 3s. 4d. and delivering it 4d.; "swappes" [i.e. levers] and bellstrings, 10d.; casting [cleaning out] the churchyard gutters 2s. 4d.

1650, Nov. 26. "The Church being now in great decay both in ye Roofe, Windowes and otherwise, wch the same reparac'ons will (as we conceive) amount to ye sume of £100," fresh rates were demanded. The bells were shifted, new locks made for the chest and the door, a new "beare" [bier] was ordered, the churchyard wall repaired, and £49 in three payments made to plumbers, for the lead roof, and £3 4s. 10d. to glaziers.

For part of the Commonwealth period the registers are missing. On Jan. 21, 1653[–4] Robert Wittie, clerk and schoolmaster, agreed to pay James Jackson, bailiff, 20s. a year and to show him the registers at the year's end [to copy out the entries? Jackson's Diary, C. & W. Trans. n.s. xxi, 102].

1661, May. "Great decay" and another small rate for repairs.

1665, March 28. "The Bells shall be removed and shall be hung again at the Bell Greese [steps] where they formerly were." "June 28. Perceiving ye Bell Greese to be weake … the said Bells shall be hung on the north side of the Church at ye west ende of ye Leads there."

1671, Oct. 11. "Whereas ye chancel there is in great decay and hath bene soe for some yeares bypast, it being to be repaired at the cost of Sr William Dalston [the tithe farmer] … the Minister and XVI Men … doe agree that £13 6s. 8d. be forthwith … collected … for furnishing 2 men to goe about causing ye said Sr Wm. Dalston to repaire the sd. Chancel. William Heade, vicar."

1673, April 16 … . "Washing the surpluse [etc.] 8d.; killing of ffoxes, 2s.; mending the cushion for pulpitt, 2d.; to Robt. Wittie for a Registr Book, 3s. 4d." July 1, Wm. Dalston, Baronet, was presented at the Ecclesiastical court for the chancel being "in great decay."

1679. The new mode of raising money by purveys (fn. 3) took the place of the older assessment by tenements, when 5 purveys were assessed for church purposes and poor-relief; but for churchexpenses the old system still held good for a time.

1685, Aug. 27. "Whereas there has been a Tax assessed for ye repair of ye Church and that ye same will not serve for the repairs of ye leades, windows and workmen's wages, we do therefore order … that every horse-place or tenement … shall paye … 6d., every demy 4½d. and every foote place or foote tenement 3d., and every tradesman or young man of ability in stock 3d. John Hewytt, minister."

1686. The church windows " in great decay," and a rate levied.

1687. The church " in great decay"; a rate of 3s. 6d., 2s., 1s. 9d. and 11d. was levied, John Holme signing as vicar. The repairs cost £50 15s. 3d.

1691, Aug. 25. John Gibson, curate, four of the XVI Men and three churchwardens sign an order for 10 purveys for repairs; and Nov. 10 a further order was made for four purveys.

1692. " Received by me Tho. Fothergill for writeing the Register … and other things belonging to ye office, 8s.; also for a church Bible and a Comon prayer Book, £2 7s. 5d."

1697. Twenty purveys to be gathered for the repair of the church … John Ogle, Vicar. On Nov. 5 the XVI Men agreed to allow wood to be cut in Wedholme for repair of the church and the sea-dyke; also that the stones in the bell greese be taken down and used for the repair of the church. And Jan. 17 that the repairs being finished £14 be collected towards discharging the workmen.

1699, March 15. Four purveys ordered for repairs of the "great decay" of the church, and spent on lead and mending the bells, etc.

1703, July 7. Bishop Nicolson visited the church and wrote (Miscellany Accounts, p. 26)—"The Inside of the Church was full of Water, the Rain falling in plentifully everywhere. The parishioners, about 15 or 16 years agoe, took off the Lead from the South Isle (the Arches of whch are now dropping down) to cover that on the North. The Fabrick is large, tho' onely the Body of the Church is standing, of nine Arches on each Isle, and very high. Tis now in a shamefully neglected state; and, ' tis to be fear'd, will be dayly in a worse. The Slates, on that part which was last mended, are miserably Shatter'd; and a great many of 'em are gone. The Vicar has a Garden-Stead, or little Close, where there was formerly a Vicarage-House; but the present curate (Mr. Ogle) farms a House at a good distance from the Church. His salary is 40 li. out of the great Tythes, and the Surplice-Fees. They have a Schoolmr (one Isaac Anderson) who, without Salary or Licence, teaches the Children in a House at a pretty distance from the Church; which has lost the Conversation of the Boyes, as being too raw and unwholsome a place for them to sit in and not on any consideration of the Mischief commonly done by such Inmates." (fn. 4)

1723. "The Quaker sesses which was not pd. was 9s. 2¼d."

1723–4, Jan. 30. The church "very ruinous," four purveys ordered.

1724 (From the Bishop's Registry, Carlisle). "We whose names are underwritten do nominate and appoint the honourable Sir Richard Musgrave, Baronet, Robert Lamplugh, Esq., James Lowther, Esq., Mr. Wm Tomlinson, Mr. Edward Hutchinson, John Barwis, Francis Granger, John Penrice, John Jackson, Mr. James Farish and Mr. Tho. Jefferson, vicar, to be Trustees and Commissioners for the repair or rebuilding of the church of Abbey Holme."

"John, by divine Commission Lord Bishop of Carlisle to all (etc.) Whereas upon our personal view and observation of the fabrick … the same appears to us so much in disorder (etc.) and whereas the parishioners upon a General Meeting or Vestry … have agreed to erect a new Church and Chancell … and have by their petition desired our consent and authority … Know Ye therefore that the said Bishop … do give our License (etc.) to take down the said ruinous fabrick … and in the place thereof to erect a new fabrick … with decent and uniform seats … according to the modell hereunto agreed … The materials of the old fabrick … shall be used … to the new … or otherwise … and concerning the seats … we reserve the disposition or allocation … and we hereby give license and leave to the Rev. Thos. Jefferson . .. or the curate there to execute his office in the schoolhouse Isle of the said Church or other convenient and decent place (etc) … Given at Rose Castle, 27th July, 1724." (fn. 5)

1727. Another purvey ordered for repairs.

1728, Oct. 28. The XVI Men allow wood to be cut in Wedholme to replace rotten joists and two dormonts [main beams of the roof].

1728–9, Jan. 30. Accounts passed for £82 12s. 1d. for work done; and April 28, two further purveys ordered; and Sept. 11, the XVI Men agree to further cutting in Wedholme for churchbuilding.

1730, March. Agreement between the Churchwardens and Richard Smirke (fn. 6) of Wigton, house-carpenter, who is to set up all pews, galleries and other work in the church, using wood from Wedholme and "to work all wood to the best advantage as to make no waste" etc. "all chips and shavings to be at the churchwardens' disposal," for £37. The tablet recording the work bears—'GUARDIANI ECCLESIÆ J. P[enrise], J. H[ayton] 1730 J. R[igg], T. K[nubley],' with a text in Latin, Hebrews xiii, 14. This is on the storey then added to Abbot Chamber's porch and used as a vestry. When all was done, it was described by Dr. Waugh as —"neatly and conveniently seated, with handsome galleries, and it is altogether a beautiful church; but though it stands high, strangely damp. It contains seats for 846 persons." There were 141 numbered pews, and the church rates, fixed by a 'process' of June 30, 1732, varied from as low as 3d., at which some tenants were assessed, to £1 8s. for Sir James Lowther, bart., who had two pews allotted him, £1 3s. 2d. for two pews to Sir Richard Musgrave, and 10s. 3d. for one pew to William Burton, esq., lord of the manor, i.e. tithe farmer. Only one tenant is named as a Quaker, Daniel Senhouse of Angerton, who ought to pay a 6s. rate. The total amounts to £25 15s. 3d., divided among 229 families.

1745. The accounts contain, among others, the following:— "Imp. a Book of Articles, 7s. 6d. Bread and wine at Whitsuntide, 7s. 4d.; ditto. at Michaelmas, 7s. 4d.; ditto. at Christmas, 7s. 4d.," and at each time "for expences, 4s." Also—"July 16, spent when Mr. Chancellor [Waugh] viewed £1."

1746. The bells were overhauled at a cost of £2 3s.

1749, Oct. 26. The Terrier states:—"Imprimis, one small parcel of Glebe land containing by estimation ¼ part of an acre, let at 2s. a year to Daniel Lightfoot and adjoining to his dwellinghouse in Abbey Town and enclosed on each side. Item, there is yearly paid to the Reverend Mr. Thomas Boak, Vicar, the sum of forty pounds at two equal payments … at the feast of St. Michael … and . . at the Annunciation … by the University of Oxford or the occupiers of the said Tithes, John Brisco Esq. or his order. Item, all the Great Tithes arising out of the Parish … and now in the occupation of John Brisco Esq. as all the Tithes of wool, lambs, calves and all other Tithes or Ecclesiastical duties … except surplus [surplice] fees which are as follows—Each Burial pays 8d., Each wedding 1s., except it be by Licence, then 5s., each Churching 6d. N.B. At Newton Arlosh there is an Ancient Buryingplace for which Burials there the Surplus fees is 16d. The Tithes and Profits of the Vicarage of Holm Cultram are worth at the Improved Value communibus annis about forty-five pound per annum." The terrier is signed by Thos. Boak, vicar; Daniel Parkin, Joseph Skelton, Joseph Taylor, John Osborn, churchwardens; Joseph Holliday, Thos. Barnes, Abraham Wise, Jos. Harrison, chief inhabitants.

1762. "Binding the Church Prayer Book, 5s."

1763. "16 days plaistering the Church £1 4s.; lime and leading [carting] for ditto., 1s. 9d.; laying a Bridge in the Churchyd. 1s."

1764. "New churchyard gates, £1 1s. 10d."

The windows are a continual expense, costing 5s. to 9s. a year; and that the damage was not merely done by the weather is suggested in the following extract:—

1766, Jan. 25. "Whereas a great complaint is made of assembling in the Church in the night by Singers and a Rabble following them with an intent to do all the mischief they can, Breaking windows, abusing the Church, Leaving their indecent excrement in the Seats, with resolute malice against the Assembly or ye Church, To the Great Dishonour of Almighty God and the ignominious ridicule of our Religion by all them who are of another persuasion, Besides defiling the Holy and Sanctified place where Moses and Joshua might not stand but with their Shoes off, such and such like I say vindicating themselves to do Greater Damages when conceived. Also we order and strictly forbid any proclamation to be made in the Church or Churchyard Relating to any Games such as Hunting, Hare coursing, Cockfighting, Wrestling, Dancing School or any other Gaming. And also Minister, Churchwardens, Clerks, Schoolmaster, Schoolmistress and Parents, they are to restrain children from playing there, which will prevent breaking of windows, Breaking of Tombstones and Headstones and writing Ridiculous Sentences upon them to the great dishonour of the sanctified place and damage to the Parish. Given under our hands, Isaac Jefferson" [Foreman of the XVI Men]. (fn. 7)

Subsequent entries in the accounts for a hundred years need little notice, until we come to the period of modern restoration.

1865, Dec. 14. A vestry meeting discussed a letter from the University of Oxford recommending the consideration of a report by Mr. J. A. Cory, the architect, to the effect that the dampness of the church was a very serious feature. He proposed taking down the walls built between the pillars of the ancient arcade and putting a wall outside, hollow and with a damp-course; removing clay from beneath the floor and relaying the flags; putting in new seats, desk and pulpit and removing the galleries. He estimated the cost at £900, or with a modified scheme, £580. He also suggested heating, taking down the bell-cote and carrying up the porch to form a tower, and doing away with the plaster ceiling. The cost of these additions would be about £1500. The University offered £500, but the proposal was defeated by five votes to four; one reason alleged being that the country was then suffering from rinderpest and consequent poverty; and nothing was done for nearly 20 years.

1883, May 25. The proposal for restoration was carried; but confined to making the church dry, removing the galleries and re-seating the church. The floor, which had been raised by burials made in the church up to the end of the 17th century, (fn. 8) was cleared of two feet of soil and relaid in concrete at the original height of the nave floor. The best of the old seats were re-used. The roof (fn. 9) and walls were found to be in good order generally; funds were provided by the family of Dunne of London to enable the wall to be removed, showing the whole of the inside of the arch. The new oak panelling in the chancel was erected to the memory of the Rev. A. F. Sheppard, and is so inscribed. The new oak seats were given by Mrs. and Mr. J. J. Martindale of High House as thereon inscribed. On the north pillar at the original division between nave and choir, Mr. Thomas Salkeld Borrodaile in 1910 placed a brass to the memory of his ancient kinsman, the last abbot and first rector.

The Clergy

Gawen Borrodaile, first and only clerical rector, 1538–52. In his time, local wills name 'Sir' William Symondson, clerk and John Alanby, curate of Holm Cultram (formerly monks). On Borrodaile's death the tithes were given to the University of Oxford, and subsequent incumbents were vicars.

'Sir' William Robinson, perhaps until 1552 vicar of Newton Arlosh, He is said to have resigned in 1564.

'Sir' George Stubb, presented by Humphrey Mitchell, who had a grant of the avoidance from the University. G. Stubb witnessed the will of Robert Chamber in 1566.

'Sir' William Adcock, 1576, collated by Bishop Barnes.

'Sir' Henry Symson, 1577, collated by the same; died 1578.

'Sir' Christopher Symson, 1578, collated by Bishop Meye as in his own right. He resigned in 1581.

Edward Mandevile, M.A., 1581, collated by the same. He was executor to the will of Edward Mandevile of Sevill, 1591. His work at the abbey church has been described above. He died 1607.

Robert Mandevile, M.A., 1607, instituted on the presentation of the University of Oxford. He had graduated M.A. of Queen's College from St. Edmund's Hall on July 6, 1603.

Thomas Jefferson, 1617. To him Charles Robson was apparently curate from about 1629.

Charles Robson, 1632; a Cumberland man, matriculated Queen's College, Oxford, May 5, 1615, aged 17; B.A., Oct. 24, 1616; M.A., June 21, 1619 and S.T.B. (i.e. B.D.) July 10, 1629. He was preacher to the English factory at Aleppo (before settling at Holm Cultram) and died in 1638. During his curacy he asked the parish to pay for his B.D. hood; they took counsel's opinion, and the answer was—"The Ordinary cannot compel the Churchwardens to find their priest a hood at the parish charge, because a hood is habitus scholasticus … though the Ordinary may compel a priest who is a graduate to wear his hood according to the 58th canon."

William Head, instituted May 10, 1638. He was brother to Thomas Head of Carleton, Cumbd.; graduated B.A. from Queen's College, Oxford, June 11, 1634; M.A., May 11, 1637. He held the living throughout the Commonwealth and Restoration, and died 1684. On Sept. 10, 1683, "Mr. King then Minister att Holme" is named in James Jackson's Diary (C. & W. Trans. N.S. xxi, 129) probably curate.

John Hewitt, ordained priest March 15, 1684, and instituted to Holm Cultram on the day following with presentation from the University of Oxford. Foster states that he was son of Francis Hewitt of Warrington; matriculated at Brasenose College, April 10, 1674, aged 18; B.A., 1677; M.A. 1681.

John Holme, instituted to 'Holme Cultram alias Newton Arlosh' in 1687. Son of John Holme of Brampton, Westmorland; matriculated Queen's College, Oxford, March 22, 1677, aged 19; B.A., 1682; M.A., Feb. 12, 1684. Under him as curates were Thomas Fothergill, April 22, 1692, and Peter Farish, April 13, 1694.

John Ogle, 1694; B.A., May 23, 1691. His curates were James Farish, licensed Oct. 9, 1695; John Parker, April 13, 1699; George Smith and John Thomas in the same year; and James Currie, licensed Jan. 1, 1713.

Thomas Jefferson, M.A., instituted 1715; resigned 1730 having accepted the living of Lamplugh. In 1720 Thomas Nicholson is named as curate and schoolmaster.

Thomas Boak, B.A. instituted Dec. 24, 1730. On July 11, 1750, John Anderson, deacon, was licensed assistant curate by Bishop Osbaldiston. A tablet reads:—"Rev. Thomas Boak vicar … for 35 years who departed this life Nov. 8th 1766 aged 62 years … Margaret daughter of Thomas and Jane … April 26th 1746 aged 11 years … Mary … Jany. 23, 1748, aged 11 years … William their son who departed this life at Bengall Sept. 1762 aged 22 years … Jane widow of Rev. Thos. Boak who died Sept. 19th 1786 aged 78 years." She was a Reed of Knowhill.

Matthew Kay, M.A., instituted April 18, 1767; afterwards D.D. He died in 1783. In 1768 John Hogarth was curate and schoolmaster.

Clement Watts, B.A., admitted to the perpetual curacy of Holme Cultram May 13, 1783.

John Pattinson, July 5, 1797, admitted and licensed on the death of Clement Watts. He was non-resident. During the whole of his incumbency William Barker acted as his curate. He resigned 1808 or 1809.

John Thompson, M.A., instituted April 28, 1809.

John Starkie Jackson, M.A., July 18, 1814; of the family living at Swinsty and Mosside; vicar also of Kingston and Iford, Sussex; died March 11, 1822; buried at Milton, Wilts. A tablet to his memory is in the chancel at Holm Cultram.

In 1817 the present vicarage was built at a cost of £1000.

Robert Collinson, M.A., July 25, 1822; resigned April 16, 1842.

Joseph Simpson, M.A. of Queen's College, Oxford; presented by the University June 22, 1842; honorary canon of Carlisle. On Dec. 6, 1845, the Bishop granted licences to him and his curates to perform divine service in the recently erected chapels at Mawbray and Causeway head. On Nov. 1, 1847, Isaac Bowman was licensed to the curacy (and became first vicar) of St. Cuthbert's. On July 18, 1849, Francis Redford was licensed curate (and became vicar) of St. Paul's, Holme Low, and Robert Whiteman, who became first vicar on the new foundation of St. John's, Newton Arlosh. On Canon Simpson's retirement to Carlisle, Arthur Ashworth was licensed to the curacy of Holme; and after the vicar's death, Nov. 4, 1864, the parish petitioned the University that Mr. Ashworth should succeed to the vicarage. On Dec. 6 a vote was taken; Ashworth 174, Fearon 86. A tablet to Canon Simpson, of Redmain, Isel, is in the chancel.

Arthur Ashworth, M.A. of Magdalen Hall, Oxford, instituted Jan. 4, 1865. Owing to failure of health he gave up active work to curates, James G. Mallinson, Dec. 21, 1872; Calvin Beaumont Winstanley, M.A., March 6, 1873; John Ward, M.A., Jan. 21, 1874.

Arthur Francis Sheppard; B.A., Jan. 6, 1875. Under him the restoration described above was effected. His curates were, G. E. Gilbanks, M.A., Dec. 4, 1889, the author of 'Some Records of a Cistercian Abbey'; H. H. Parker, M.A., Jan. 16, 1902 (later, vicar of Arlecdon); C. W. Addison, Dec. 17, 1904 (later, rector of Kirklinton).

William Baxter, M.A., of Queen's College, Oxford, was instituted Aug. 9, 1905, on the death of Mr. Sheppard. He had been curate at St. John's, Workington, 1892; vicar of Barrow-onTrent and Twyford (Derbyshire), 1895–1905; to whom we owe a 'Description of Holm Cultram Abbey,' read to the British Archaeological Society, 1908, and a paper on the ancient Granges of Holm Cultram (C. & W. Trans. N.S. xiv, 274ff).

The Modern Chapels and Churches

St. Cuthbert's (Mawbray) was built 1845 at a cost of £743. Isaac Bowman was curate, Nov. 1, 1847, who became vicar when the chapel was made parochial. The following have been vicars:— John Short, 1852, who retired from active work July 13, 1869, when John Wagstaff, and afterwards Thomas Chapman, June 8, 1870, and William Bridges, Feb. 1, 1871, supplied the church as curates. On Mr. Short's death, William Bridges was instituted, Feb. 20, 1872; on his death, John Bardsley, and on Mr. Bardsley's death in 1920, Claude P. Moore, B.A., Durham, succeeded. The living is in the gift of the Vicar of Holm Cultram. The school and master's house, built 1845, gave place to a new school after transference to the School Board.

St. Paul's (Causewayhead, Holme Low), built 1849 at a cost of £835 to seat 357 persons; made parochial 1850 and declared a rectory, 1867; in the gift of the Vicar of Holm Cultram. The first curate, afterwards vicar, was Francis Redford; followed by William Bone, Dec. 30, 1860; James Preston Richards, June 11, 1865; Robert Leitch, M.A., Sept. 8, 1872; Fred. Walker, Dec. 4, 1875; Henry Marshall Todd, Nov. 11, 1885; Robert Walker, 1898, (Curate of Silloth 1893; vicar of West Newton 1895) rural dean 1911.

St. John's (Newton Arlosh). On the new foundation the curate from July 18, 1849, was Robert Whiteman or Wightman, afterwards vicar; during a temporary suspension William Rothery was curate until Jan. 9, 1861. After the vicar's cession he was followed by William Mutrie Shepherd, May 1, 1865; William Thomas Rooke, July 16, 1873 on the cession of Mr. Shepherd; he resigned Dec. 18, 1889, followed by Norman Salesbury, M.A., Feb. 19, 1890; John Mitchell, Jan. 9, 1897, and H. G. Rogers, M.A. Oxford, F.R.C.O., 1920.

Christ Church, Silloth, was built in 1871 at a cost of £4410, to seat 320 persons. The present parish was carved out of St. Paul's in 1872. The living is in the gift of the Simeon trustees. The clergy have been Charles Hinde, M.A., resigned Nov. 21, 1877; William Horne, Jan. 9, 1878; on his cession, Septimus Herbert, M.A., Nov. 11, 1885, to whom were curates William T. Storrs, June 20, 1886, and William P. Ingledow, Jan. 9, 1889 (later, rector of Whicham). On Mr. Hebert's cession, Fred. Arthur Dixon, June 9, 1890; and on his cession, Herbert Alwyn May 11, 1893, whose curate was Robert Walker, Aug. 4, 1893 (afterwards rector of St. Paul's, above). On Mr. Alwyn's cession, James Sowter, March 14, 1900, who resigned Dec. 18, 1901, followed by Robert Alfred Humble, Jan. 16, 1902, B.A. Durham; deacon 1887; priest 1889; curate at St. Barnabas, Sheffield, 1888: vicar of Lindley, Yorks., 1890, and of St. Luke's, Huddersfield, 1897.


  • 1. The entry is of interest as showing that the crossing was then used for all ordinary purposes, including secular meetings. The fall of stones was the beginning of the ruin of the tower, which soon fell altogether. We understand its collapse the better when we remember that the Cistercian rule forbade tall towers. This and high towers in other Cistercian abbeys were very late additions, and built upon existing walls and insufficient foundations.
  • 2. In the next chapter will be found the opposition view of the case and of the "wicked Vicar." The statement in Chambers' breviate of pleadings against Dalston (then tithe-owner) states that Mandevile and Curwen had destroyed some of the foundations of the chancel and taken the lead and timber of the 'cross isles' to repair the chancel. This is the only mention in writing of the transepts, of which the foundations were uncovered in the exploration of 1906.
  • 3. The Oxford English Dictionary quotes a letter from our member of Council, the late Mr. C. C. Hodgson, that "a purvey was a sum of £100 and according as £100, £200 or £300 was required the Qr. Sessions ordered one, two, or three purveys to be levied. A certain sum was fixed against each parish as its contribution to the purvey. This system was found in time to operate unfairly, and in 1810 a special Act of Parliament was obtained abolishing Purveys." The parish purveys here mentioned were the proportion payable by Holm Cultram towards the £100 levied on the whole county.
  • 4. A Bible at one time in use at the abbey and now in possession of Mr. Timperon of Silloth is covered with the names of scholars, who no doubt considered the use of pen and paper a luxury.—Note by F. Grainger. See further (under 1724) for the 'Schoolhouse aisle,' apparently the north aisle, then so used; and chapter XX, under 1718, for the move to a schoolhouse.
  • 5. The bishop was Dr. John Waugh, bishop of Carlisle from 1723. To him, rather than to his son Dr. John Waugh, chancellor from 1727, is to be attributed the movement for the rebuilding, after 150 years of ineffectual repairs.
  • 6. In 1752 Robert Smirke was born at Wigton; he became a popular artist and Royal Academician. His son, also R.A., was the architect in 1810 of the Courts at Carlisle.
  • 7. His tombstone on the N.W. side of the porch tells us that he was of Kingside and died Sept. 7, 1792, aged 82 years. He lived in the copyhold tenement last on the left side going towards Silloth and probably, from the lettering over the door, built when he M married. In the orchard is a stone globe with date 1725, under a walnut-tree, which is uncommon in this district.
  • 8. The bodies were not allowed to remain there permanently; after a time the bones were taken up and placed in a 'corpse hole,' said to have been under the gallery stairs.
  • 9. In 1909, Mr. J. H. Martindale, F.R.I.B.A., of Carlisle, having discovered that the plaster ceiling put up in the early 19th century covered fine oak timbers (p. 125), it was proposed to open them out, and the cost was borne by the family of Sir Walter Scott, of Beauclere, Northd., who in his lifetime had given the east window. This has exhibited the 15 original oak principals, fixed at a lower level; and the 30 stone corbels now inserted under them have been carved with a series of emblems, described by Mr. Martindale as follows, starting from the east. First pair; the Bible opened at the Ten Commandments, and a Latin cross on Calvary steps with I.N.R.I. Second pair; emblems of the Evangelists. Third pair; the Virgin and Child, and 'the sword piercing the heart.' Fourth pair; the 'Carta Caritatis' of love to all mankind, on a scroll with the Cistercian seal attached, and the opening words of St. Bernard's hymn 'Jesu dulcis memoria,' with the music of the ancient tune on a four-line staff. These occupy the two bays of the arcade now forming the ritual choir; the following are in the part now used as the nave:—the royal arms of Scotland for King David and Prince Henry, as founders of the Abbey; the arms of Edward I, who worshipped in the church; the arms of the sees of York and Carlisle; the arms of Citeaux and of Melrose, mothers of the Order and of this abbey; the arms of Holm Cultram, a lion rampant with a cross, and for the daughter house of Gray Abbey, its name 'Jugum Dei,' and the figure of a yoke as the Irish abbeys did not use arms. The next corbels have emblems of SS. Cuthbert, Roche, John the Baptist and Paul, for the chapels of the ancient parish; then follow the arms of Queen Mary and of the University of Oxford, and finally the family arms of the Bishop of Carlisle under whom the restoration was effected and of Sir Walter Scott, to whose memory the work was carried out. The last four corbels illustrate the Cistercians, with the sower, wheatsheaf and fleece, and the date A.D. MCMXIII. On the left of the entrance a brass plate bears an inscription to Sir Walter Scott, whose son and daughter erected the oak ceiling. Mr. Martindale considered the main roof-timbers to be pre-Reformation, lowered to their present position in 1730 (C. & W. Trans. n. s. xiii, 250).