Parishes (West Ward): St Cuthbert, Cliburn

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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John F Curwen, 'Parishes (West Ward): St Cuthbert, Cliburn', The Later Records Relating To North Westmorland Or the Barony of Appleby, (Kendal, 1932), pp. 291-295. British History Online [accessed 14 June 2024].

John F Curwen. "Parishes (West Ward): St Cuthbert, Cliburn", in The Later Records Relating To North Westmorland Or the Barony of Appleby, (Kendal, 1932) 291-295. British History Online, accessed June 14, 2024,

Curwen, John F. "Parishes (West Ward): St Cuthbert, Cliburn", The Later Records Relating To North Westmorland Or the Barony of Appleby, (Kendal, 1932). 291-295. British History Online. Web. 14 June 2024,

In this section



The Church was appropriated to the Abbey of St. Mary of York, but it does not appear by whom the grant was made. It was confirmed to the abbot and monks by Bishop Athelwold between the years 1133 and 1156, with the stipulation that the said abbot should allow a decent maintenance to the officiating minister. But between the years 1223 and 1246 an Award was made by the Prior of Carlisle and others between the bishop, Walter Malclerk, and the abbot and convent of St. Mary's, in which this church, together with Ormside and Musgrave, was ceded to the Bishop of Carlisle and his successors, saving a pension to the Priory of Wetherhal which was specially reserved. This cession was confirmed to bishop Silvester de Everdon in May, 1248, by the abbot Thomas and the convent.

It appears from the obligation of "Nicholas Malveysyn rector of Clifburn," made about the year 1250, that the pension reserved out of the living for the Priory of Wetherhal was ten shillings. With regard to the spelling of this place-name we find a certain Robert de Clifburn mentioned in a letter addressed to bishop Robert de Chauncy, dated St. Mark's Day, 25 April, 1275. Does the spelling mark its derivation ?

In the "Antique Taxatio Ecclesiastica" of Pope Nicholas IV, made in the year 1291 the church is rated at £13. 6. 8. with a pension to the abbot of York of 10s. By the "Novo Taxatio" of Pope Clement V made in 1318 the value is reduced to £3. 6. 8., for the reason of this see page 22. The "Valor Ecclesiasticus" made by order of Parliament, 26 Henry VIII, 1535, is as follows:—

Cliburn Rectory, Anthony Smythson incumbent.
The aforesaid Rectory is worth in—
The Mansion and Glebe annually 13 4
Tithes and oblations 8 12 4
£9 5 8
Reprisals to wit— £9 5 8
Synodals 3s., and Procurations is. 4d. 4 4
Clear annual value 9 1 4
A tenth part whereof 18

The Commonwealth Survey of 1649 rated the living at £40. Timothy Tully being incumbent. The subseqent Survey of 1657 gives the following:—

That the right of presentation to the church formerly belonged to the Bishop of Carlisle and now to his highness the Lord Protector. That Mr. John Ardrea is incumbent there and hath for his maintenance the tithes of corn, hay, wool and lamb and all other small dues and tithes within the said parish worth £20 by the year and the Glebe land which is worth £4 by the year.

The church was restored in 1849, when the stone bench that went all round the church walls was removed. Again it was very thoroughly restored during the incumbency of Canon Burton in 1886–7, on which occasion two inscribed Roman stones were found and rebuilt into the walls of the porch.

The following is a list of the Incumbents whose names have been met with during the present research.

1250– Nicholas Malveysyn
1306–d.1317 Henry Helpeston
1317– John de Burdon
1535– Anthony Smithson
1556–d.1557 Edward Knipe
1557–d.1577 Richard Phaer
1577–r.1587 Christopher Witton
1587–d.1625 William Meye
1625–d.1639 Richard Fleming
1639–r.1656 Timothy Tullie
1656–r.1673 John Ardrey
1673–d.1687 John Fenwick
1687–r.1688 Nathaniel Spooner
1688–d.1739 Richard Shepherd
1739–d.1760 Marmaduke Holme
1760–d.1803 Robert Stephenson
1803–d.1833 John Poole
1833–d.1841 John Robinson
1841– William Jackson
1858–1868 Clarke W. Burton


The Inclosure Act, under which this school was endowed in 1807 with an allotment of 10½ acres of the estimated value of £20 a year, directed that the same should be for the support and maintenance, so far as it would extend, of the schoolmaster for the time being of the grammar school of Cliburn, and in case there should not be any such school in Cliburn, then of such other schoolmaster as might be teaching there, for instructing the children of the landowners, farmers and other inhabitants.

For a few years after the Inclosure, the rent was applied towards the expense of building a school-room upon a small parcel of ground that George Workman gave for the purpose. The parishioners carried the materials for building and collected a small subscription to help in the cost. The school-house was rebuilt in 1877.


Cliburn Hall.

This hall dates back to about the year 1387 when Robert de Cliburn erected the pele tower. In 1567 Richard Cliburn erected a range of domestic apartments and inscribed his name and date in a rhyming couplet, similar to that at Newbiggin, over the door.

Richard . Clebur . thus . they . me . cawl .
Wch . in . my . time . hath . bealded . ys . hall .
The . year . of . our . Lorde . God—who . lyst .
For . to . neam—1567.

This Richard married Ellinor, daughter of Lancelot Lancaster of Sockbridge and he was succeeded by his son Edmund who married Grace the daughter of Alan Bellingham. Their great grandson, Timothy sold the manor in 1654 to Robert Collingwood who, two years later, sold it to Lt.-Col. Sawrey. The demesne then passed by mortgage to Edward Lee of Monkwearmouth who ultimately sold it in 1667 to Sir John Lowther.

The lead roof and battlements were taken off in 1872 when the tower was gabled over.


Cliburn Bridge, over the river Leith on the road between Cliburn and Morland.

This bridge appears upon the list of public bridges made on 28 April, 1679. In October, 1690, Quarter Sessions ordered that an assessment of 2d. in the pound should be levied for the repair of this bridge—an assessment that raised some fifteen pounds. On 6 October, 1755, it was ordered that the High Constables should repair the bridge, it being a public one. On 11 April, 1774, the Justices ordered the rebuilding in case the expense did not exceed £31. 6. 0 and on 9 January, 1775, the High Constables were ordered to pay for the rebuilding, the work now being certified as complete. During the great flood on 2 February, 1822, the bridge was broken down by the torrents of water, and on 27 March following a contract was made with Messrs. Castley for the rebuilding in red freestone at a cost of £180.

Cliburn Mill Bridge, over the Lyvennett on the road between Cliburn and Bolton.

Quarter Sessions ordered on 10 January, 1757, the High Constables to contract for the repair of this bridge, it being a public bridge belonging to the County. On 27 April, 1772, the High Constable of the West Ward was ordered to contract for the building of an additional arch, but not to exceed £20. During the great flood of 2 February, 1822, the bridge was washed away when it was at once ordered that a temporary wooden bridge should be erected over the Lyvennett at the Mill. On 15 July following it was ordered that a new bridge be erected according to a plan produced; the contract was let for £700.

Common Holm Bridge, over the river Leith.

This bridge appears upon the list of public bridges made on 28 April, 1679.



Emma daughter of William de Cliburn appealed against Alan de Eunethweyt for the death of Adam her husband killed in her arms. So that by her suit he is outlawed in the county. His chattels are not known because he is a stranger from the county of Cumberland. And because the jurors are informed that the aforesaid Adam was killed in the vill of Cliburn and the same vill did not arrest Alan therefore it is in mercy. Assize Roll, 1256, m. 10d.


Dominus John de Burdon, rector of Cliburn, obtained permission to study for five years, on condition that he was ordained sub-deacon in the first year. Register of Bp. John de Halton.

1378 Trinity.

John de Preston appeared against Robert de Cliburn in a plea that he render unto him 53s. 4d. the arrears of an annual rent of 13s. 4d. The sheriff is ordered to distrain. De Banco Rolls, 471, m. 358; 472, m. 366.

1379 Michaelmas.

Robert de Cliburn by Adam Crosseby his attorney, appeared against John de Stirkland of Melkanthorp in a plea wherefore with force and arms he with Thomas Williamson cut down and carried away the trees and underwood belonging to the said Robert, at Cliburn, worth 100s., and his corn and herbage lately growing there, worth 100s. with certain beasts they trod down and consumed. De Banco Roll 476, m. 366.


Cliburn paid a fifteenth as a subsidy to the king amounting to 24s. Excheq. Q.R. Miscell. Books, vol. 7.

1669–72 Hearth Tax Roll

1669–72 Hearth Tax Roll, Lay Subsidy 195, n. 73.


The Hall 6
Henry Wilkinson 1
John Wharton 1
John Cooper 1
William Cooper 1
John Bolton 1
William Martin 1
Richard Moore 1
Henry Shepherd 1
Mary Robinson 1
Thomas Betham 1
Edward Workman 1
Edward Atkinson 1
Thomas Wharton 1
Henry Wharton 1
Thomas Laycocke 1
Anthony Dennison 2

Twenty-three householders were exempted from paying the Tax by Certificate.

1706–7 2 January.

Thomas Cowper of Cliburn, yeo. was indicted for keeping a greyhound not being qualified so to do.

1796 26 November.

For the provision of soldiers to serve in the army the parish of Cliburn together with the Township of Great Strickland having 52 inhabited houses had to provide one man.


The Commons were enclosed when 189 acres were allotted to the rectory as a commutation for the tithes of the parish, and ten and a half acres for the endowment of the school.

1852 15 October.

Indenture between the Rev. William Shearman of Penrith, Wesleyan minister, of the 1st part; George Byers of Cliburn, yeo. and many others of the 2nd part; and the said Rev. William Shearman as Superintendent Preacher of the Circuit of the 3rd part. Those of the 2nd part being possessed of money for the purchase of ground whereon to build a Chapel, now for the consideration of £5 the said Rev. William Shearman sells to the said parties a piece of ground of 100 square yards, at the north-east corner of a small garth at Cliburn, near the dwelling house of Barbara Thompson adjoining the Town Street of Cliburn, lately purchased by the said Shearman of the said Barbara, subject to conditions similar to an Indenture bearing date 3 July, 1832, between certain parties for the settlement of a piece of ground and chapel at Skercoat in the parish of Halifax, for the use of Wesleyan Methodists. Close Roll 14422, pt. 100.

1868 5 September.

Rev. Clarke Watkins Burton, rector of Cliburn from 1858, took the usual oaths on qualifying as a Justice of the Peace.