Parishes (East Ward): St James, Ormside

The Later Records Relating To North Westmorland Or the Barony of Appleby. Originally published by Titus Wilson and Son, Kendal, 1932.

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'Parishes (East Ward): St James, Ormside', in The Later Records Relating To North Westmorland Or the Barony of Appleby, (Kendal, 1932) pp. 189-194. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]

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Within this parish we have a pre-historic barrow at the church, and the Anglian Cup of the 8th century that was found in the church-yard in 1823. This highly ornamented piece of metal-work is of the best period of Anglo-Saxon art and was presented to the York Philosophical Society Museum by John Bland of Ormside Lodge.


The church stands upon the site that has been held sacred from pre-historic times, for here, beside the river, is a barrow in which skeletons have been found with their knees doubled up to their chins, and here in a later pagan interment a hoard of Viking Aged weapons was found in 1898. Within the ringed enclosure of earth and stone the first pagan cell would be erected close beside the ground that was consecrated by the burial of their dead, a spot that would be held sacred still as the people became christian and raised their cross, for they dared not desecrate it. Then, at a much later period, the tiny cell of the holy man would give place to a little wattle church for communial worship endowed with their votive offerings.

About the year 1087 the Normans took possession and later this little House of God was appropriated to St. Mary's abbey at York. In the year 1248 the abbot and convent granted the advowson to the Bishop of Carlisle and his successors, reserving to themselves the usual pension out of the same.

In the "Antique Taxatio Ecclesiastica" of Pope Nicholas IV made in 1291 the church is valued at £13.6.8, but in the "Novo Taxatio" it is reduced to £2. See page 22. The "Valor Ecclesiasticus" made by order of Parliament, 26 Henry VIII, 1535, gives us the following:—

Ormside Rectory, William Atkinson incumbent.
The aforesaid rectory is worth in—
Mansion and glebe 16 0
Tithes of grain, lamb and wool £13 0 0
Oblations and the lesser dues as in the Easter Book 2 0 0
£15 16 0
Reprisals to wit—
Synodals 4s., Procurations 2s.8d. 6 8
Clear annual value £15 9 4
The tenth part whereof 1 10 11¼

The Commonwealth Survey of 1649 valued the living at £50, Robert Simpson being the Incumbent. The subsequent Survey of 1657 is as follows:—That the right of presentation to the church was in the hands of the Bishop of Carlisle but now is in his highness the Lord Protector. That Mr. Robert Simpson is present Incumbent there and hath for his maintenance the glebe land which is worth £4 by the year, and the tithes of corn, hay, wool, lamb and all other tithes within the said parish which are worth £30 by the year.

Bishop Nicolson at his Visitation in 1703 records that "The altar in the quire here stands east and west. There are no rails, but the Rector has provided them at his own charge, and wants an injunction to the churchwardens to see them set up at the expense of the parish."

The tithes were commuted in 1846 for a rent charge of £78. 16s. 4d.

The church was restored in 1885–6 under Charles. J. Ferguson at a cost of £743, but happily the tower escaped although it remained unroofed till 1893.

In the churchyard there is a socket for a cross which bears the date 1643. A new cross was lowered into it in 1897 on the occasion of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, with the initials V.R. added.

A list of Incumbents whose names have been met with during this present research.

1284–1311 William de Gosford
1320– John de Morland
1484– William Hodgson
1535– William Atkinson
d.1565 Christopher Parker
1635–r.1661 Robert Simpson
1661–r.1679 Barnaby Simpson
1679–r.1726 John Simpson
1726–r.1727 Thomas Nicolson
1727–d.1731 William Nicolson
1565–d.1569 Richard Towlson
1569– John Watson
1571–r.1572 John Barnes
1572–r.1575 John Corry
1575–d.1582 Lancelot Manfield
1582–r.1585 John Braithwaite
1587–d.1591 John Hudson
1591–r.1635 Richard Burton
1731–d.1762 Thomas Cautley
1762– William Preston
1778 Thomas Spooner
1807– William Monkhouse
1811–1829 Robert Whitehead
1851 James Bush
1854–1856 Christopher Parker
1856– Thomas Clark



Grant by Sir Richard Tufton, bart. of Hothfield Place, co. Kent to the rector and churchwardens of Great Ormside of pieces of land near the said parish, bounded on the north-east and west by the said Sir Richard's land and on the south by the public road from Appleby to Great Ormside, to be for ever used as a school for the education of children of the labouring, manufacturing and other poorer classes in the parish of Great Ormside. To be open to H.M. Inspectors and conducted according to the principles of the National Society for promoting the education of the poor in the principles of the established Church throughout England and Wales, with power to use the same as a Sunday School, elect a teacher, etc. Trustees, Sir Richard, John Wakefield of Sedgwick House and William Sisson of Clifton near Bristol; any difference to be laid before the Bishop of Carlisle. Close Roll, 14711, pt. 63, n. 6. The school house was built by voluntary subscription.


Breeks Hall.

Situate half a mile south from the Church is now a farm house.

Ormside Hall.

The seat of the Barton family until they sold it, temp. Queen Elizabeth, to Sir Christopher Pickering, who died in 1620, from whom it passed to Cyprian Hylton, who died in 1652. The history of the building, which clearly started as a small peel tower in the 14th century, is unknown. Since 1811 the embattled roof has been taken off and a slated gable erected in its place. The Hall faces the church and forms three sides of a quadrangle, there are a number of arched stone passages, but the rooms possess no features of interest.


Helm Beck.

On 10 April, 1907, the Rural District Council of the East Ward, applied to the County for assistance in erecting a bridge over Helm Beck where the same crosses a highway. On 5 October the County resolved in favour of such a bridge and a grant in aid, but considered that the local landowners would be benefitted more than any one else and that they should therefore contribute a considerable proportion of the expense.

Little Ormside.

On 23 April, 1677, upon the petition of the inhabitants of Little Ormside setting forth that there is a bridge in course of erection and that the violence of great floods hath disabled one pillar, Quarter Sessions favourably considered the prayer and offered a gratuity when the bridge was sufficiently repaired and completed. On 1 October following Thomas Birkbeck, High Constable of the East Ward, was ordered to pay the said inhabitants, only as a gratuity, for and towards the repair of their bridge.

Foot Bridge, between the Townships of Great and Little Ormside.

On 28 November, 1807, a plan for the amendment of a public foot bridge now in great decay, broken and ruinous was laid before the Bench, and it being approved the High Constable was ordered to rebuild the same and that henceforth it be considered a County Foot Bridge.


1311 6 December.

Appointment of the Prior of Carlisle and William de Gosford, rector of Ormside, to the office of Vicar-General during the bishop's absence at the Council of Vienne. Register of Bishop Halton.

1311 6 December.

John de Morland was appointed to the church for a period of six months. On 6 October, 1322, he was instituted to the Rectory, in the collation of the bishop.

1340 28 August.

A question of common rights arose concerning the land of Great Ormesheved between Hugh de Ormesheved and Robert de Rosgill. Hugh claimed the right of pasturing the whole township. Robert, by William de Thornburgh his attorney, claimed to be the tenant of a fourth part. He said that Anketin de Meinwaryn, lord of Ormesheved, granted and by his charter confirmed to Robert son of Orm son of Ketel son of Elftred, together with Christiana his daughter in frank marriage, one fourth part of Ormesheved, and that Robert and Christiana were his ancestors and he was their heir and held it accordingly. And he further stated that he, Robert, held that portion in common with the aforesaid Hugh and that Hugh was seised, at his own will, in three portions without any injury or disseisin wrought by him. The jury found that Hugh and Robert depastured the grazing land in common, hence they were both seised in it, therefore it was agreed that Hugh gain nothing by this assize but is at the mercy of the court for a false claim.

1379–80 Hilary.

Robert de Ormesheved appeared against Thomas Skayf in a plea wherefore with force and arms the corn and herbage of the said Robert to the value of £10, lately growing at Ormesheved, with certain beasts was depastured, trodden down and consumed. De Banco Roll, 477, m. 455.


Ormesheved magna and parva paid a fifteenth as a subsidy to the king amounting to 39s. 4d. Excheq. Q.R. Miscell. Books, vol. 7.


William Hodgson was rector of Ormside when Sir John Johnson, chaplain at Penrith, made his will. The chaplain left his breviary to Robert Abbot, if he should take orders, but if not, then to Robert's brother William; but if neither is available he puts it into the hands of Sir William Hotteson [Hogeson or Hodgson], rector of Ormside, to give to whomsoever of his family should take orders, so that as long as it lasts it might be with some priest of his kin who will swear that he will pray for his soul.

1616 8 April

Indenture between Thomas Salkeld of Corby on the one part and Sir James Bellingham of Over Levens on the other part. Conveyance in consideration of the sum of £200 to the said Sir James Bellingham of the manor of Little Ormside and Great Ormside, co. Westmorland, and of certain messuages and tenements with the appurtenances.


From the Lady Anne Clifford's Diary we find that she seems to have employed always the local inhabitants to make her hay. For example, she had some meadow land at Ormside and it took 151 days of work to mow and carry the hay. She paid the local cottagers 1s. 4d. per day for their work, the whole sum coming to about £11.

1669–1672 Hearth Tax Roll

1669–1672 Hearth Tax Roll, Lay Subsidy 195, n. 73.


Mr. Francis Hilton 4
John Grigson 1
Barnaby Simpson, vicar 1
Thomas Richinson 1
John Fawcett 1
Christopher Taylor 1
Thomas Atkinson 1
widow Grigson 1
Thomas Yare 1
Thomas Rucke 1
William Simpson 1
George Robson 1
Mr. Robert Bartram 2
Christopher Lickbarrow 1
Richard Simpson 1
Lancelot Holme 1
John Harryson 1
Christopher Harryson 1
John Ewbanke 1
Thomas Stewardson 1
William Fawcett 1
Thomas Spooner 1


Peter Otway 1
widow Fawcett 1
Robert Sanderson 1
William Otway 1
Henry Hartley 1
Richard Otway 1
Thomas Coupland 1
Margaret Fawcett 1

Five householders were exempted from paying the Tax by Certificate.


An Act for dividing and inclosing the waste grounds and parcels of commons within the manor of Great Ormside was laid before Parliament this year. The Preamble states that whereas the Rt. Hon. Sackville, earl of Thanet Island, is lord of the said manor; and the said earl and Thomas Patenson, esquire, and others are proprietors of houses and lands and entitled to right of common; and William Preston, clerk, is Rector of the said parish and as such is entitled to the Glebe, tithes, moduses, payments in lieu thereof; and the Rt. Rev. Father in God, Edmund, bishop of Carlisle, is Patron of the Rectory, may it therefore please your majesty, etc.


There is a Wesleyan Chapel at Catherine Holme erected in this year with one hundred sittings.