Parishes (West Ward): St Cuthbert, Clifton

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 (West Ward): St Cuthbert, Clifton', in The Later Records Relating To North Westmorland Or the Barony of Appleby, (Kendal, 1932) pp. 296-301. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]

In this section



Within this parish are Standing Stones half-a-mile south of the village, and earthworks quarter-of-a-mile south-east of the church.


The first notice of the church is contained in the "Antique Taxatio Ecclesiastica" of Pope Nicholas IV, made in the year 1291, where it is valued at £10. By the "Novo Taxatio" of Pope Clement v made in 1318 the value is reckoned at £1. In the year 1303 Bishop Halton collated Peter Tilliol to the vacant rectory, saving to the prior and convent of Wartre the accustomed yearly pension of one mark. Barton church was appropriated to the same priory of Wartre in Yorkshire and it will be noted that in the following valuation, made in 26 Henry VIII, 1535, the above pension came to be a reprisal to Barton vicarage.

Clifton Rectory, John Clifton, incumbent.
The said rectory is worth in—
The site of a mansion 2 0
Tithe of grain £7 0 0
" hay 5 0
" lamb and wool 13 4
Oblations and the small fees 1 2 0
£9 2 4
Reprisals to wit—
Pension to Barton Vicarage 13 4
Synodals 3s., Procurations 2s. 8d. 5 8
19 0
Clear annual value £8 3 4
a tenth part whereof 16 4

The Commonwealth Survey of 1649 valued the living at £40, John Winter being the then minister. The subsequent Survey of 1657 is as follows:—

That the right of presentation to the church formerly belonged to the Bishop of Carlisle but now is in his highness the Lord Protector. That John Winter is incumbent there and hath for his maintenance the whole tithes of the said parish worth £21 by the year. And that there is no glebe land belonging to the same.

The church was restored considerably and the chancel rebuilt in 1849.

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

1303– Peter Tilliol
        –r.1314 Henry de Carlisle
1314–r.1317 T. de Caldebeck
1317– William de Ribton
1535– John Clifton
        –d.1566 Thomas Ellerton
1566–d.1583 John Wybergh
1583– Edward Maplett
        –d.1632 John Fletcher
1632–r.1634 Robert Simpson
1634–1668 John Winter
1668–d.1707 Rowland Borrow
1707–d.1722 Jeremiah Seed
1722–d.1735 Jeffery Bowness
1735–r.1769 Curwen Hudleston
1769–1801 Wilfrid Hudleston
1802–d.1818 Jonath. Moorhouse
1818–d.1840 John Robinson
1841–d.1847 Michael Dand
1848–d.1868 Joseph Wood
1868–d.1870 William Hodgson
1870–1891 Will. Keys-Wells
1891– W. M. Keys-Wells

The Rev. W. M. Keys-Wells thinks that Curwen Burrow was curate to his cousin Curwen Hudleston in 1758; that William Hogarth was curate from 1789 to 1800, and that Wilfrid Hudleston with the aid of his curate retained the living till 1801.

Joshua Burrow was admitted at the age of 16 to a scholarship at St. John's, Cambridge on 23 June, 1683. He was the son of Timothy Burrow, husbandman. Born at Nether Kellet near Carnforth in 1667; B.A. 1686–7, rector of Hutton 1695–1728, and of Asby from 1728 to 1739. He married at St. Bees in 1706 Catherine the daughter of Thomas and Joyce Curwen. Their son Curwen Burrow was born at Hutton in 1706, went to school at K. Lonsdale and at the age of 17 he was admitted to a scholarship at Christ's, Cambridge, on 16 April, 1723. He matriculated in 1726, became a scholar in 1727, B.A. in 1729–30, was ordained deacon in July, 1730, and priest in September, 1737. His mother and Curwen Hudleston's mother were sisters and coheiresses of Thomas Curwen.


Clifton Hall.

Hugh de Morville granted the manor and village of Clifton to a Gilbert Engayne, and a Gilbert, in the time of Edward 111, was the last male of the name in the direct line. He had only one daughter, Eleanor, who married in 1364 William de Wybergh of St. Bees. Having regard to the importance of the manor and its position on the highway, guarding as it does the ford of the Lowther, it is only reasonable to assume that a much stronger fortalice than the present one, once occupied this site.

The Wyberghs played their part in Border warfare and built the present pele tower at some time after 1475. Fortune appears to have dealt fairly evenly with them up to the time of the Civil War; then she deserted them for a long period. Thomas Wybergh had mortgaged in 1640 the manor of Clifton to Sir John Lowther for £700 and dying in 1646 left the debt unredeemed and a heritage of costly litigation. His son, Thomas, born in 1628, suffered terribly as a Royalist and was in the list of delinquents whose estates were ordered to be sold in 1652. Another Thomas, born in 1663. was taken prisoner in 1715. On 19 November, 1745, the commissariat officer of the prince demanded one thousand stones of hay, fifty bushels of oats and six carts of straw for the use of his royal "Hyness," to be delivered immediately under pain of military execution for noncompliance. Again on the retreat north on 17 December, a demand of six hundred stones of hay, two hundred bushels of oats and eight carts of straw was made under the same penalty. So that the family is "supposed to have sustained more loss than any in the countrey."

About 1800 the domestic quarters were pulled down and in 1819 Joseph Robinson says, "The Hall is now reduced to a solitary tower, its slated roof and modern sash windows spoil that interest which we should otherwise feel in contemplating the ancient edifice."


Lowther Bridge, over the river Lowther.

This bridge is built upon the Bradwath mentioned in 1347. John Marshall, vicar of Edenhall, in his will dated 29 July, 1362, left a shilling apiece to six bridges of which Lowther and Eamont were two, the others being in Cumberland. Testa. Karl., 64. Thomas de Anandale, rector of Asby, left by his will, dated 18 November, 1374, one mark (13s. 4d.) each to eight bridges of which Lowther was one. Ibid., 107. On 14 July, 1380, there was issued a grant of pontage for six months for the repair of the bridges of "Loutherbrig and Amotbrig" from things for sale passing over or under them or by the "Castelwath of Burgham." It appears on the list of public bridges made on 28 April, 1679. On 4 October, 1686, it was ordered that the High Constables of both Wards do view the decay of Lowther Bridge and report whether it will be requisite to take down the arch and what the charges for repairing the same will amount to. On 20 November they reported that it was necessary to take down the arch and that the estimated cost would be £80. On 21 February following it was ordered that a warrant be issued to the High Constables of the East and West Wards for the speedy assessing and levying of 3s. in the pound for this purpose.

On 11 July, 1699, the bridge was again presented as out of repair when £5 was ordered to be raised for the repair of that end leading to Clifton. Whereas it appeared to be necessary to build a wall at the bridge for securing the water from overflowing the highway and for the security of the bridge at a cost of £7, it was ordered on 6 October, 1701, that the Court do pay £4 toward the cost providing that the surveyor do cover the same with sods laid in clay for the security of the same. Again, on 22 April, 1734, it was reported that the weir and wall at the south side were in great decay and needed speedy repair.

On 3 October, 1757, it was reported that William Boult of Penrith, being an evil disposed person, did with force and arms maliciously break down, throw over and destroy certain parts of the ledges of Lowther Bridge whereby the same were lost so that his majesty's subjects could not pass over the bridge with their horses and carts as they were wont to do without great danger to their lives and the loss of their goods. Therefore it was considered that he should be fined the sum of £1. 10. 0.

On 29 May, 1802, Thomas Holme, High Constable of the West Ward, was ordered to engage good workmen to repair this bridge. On 24 April, 1875, the Bridge Surveyor reported that the eastern arch had given way in so serious a manner as to render the bridge dangerous, and that nothing short of rebuilding would be sufficient On 1 July following Quarter Sessions resolved to rebuild the bridge on a new site and that it should be a skew bridge of two stone arches; that it be 18 feet wide between the parapets and that the cut-water be carried up so as to form recesses for foot passengers; that the stone be brought from Forrest Hill or other approved quarry on Penrith Fell; and that the old bridge be used as a temporary one until the new bridge was available. William Grisenthwaite's tender for the sum of £3995 10. 0 was accepted.



Mandate from the king to the Bishop of Carlisle to cause to appear before the justices at Westminster, William de Ribton, rector of Clifton, to answer a plea of debt against Ughtred de Geveleston. In 1321 he received dispensation of absence to study for two years. Bp. John de Halton Register.

1377 Michaelmas.

William de Engaine in his own person appeared against John Bell, John Joneson, Henry Stellyng and John de Talentyre of Clifton in a plea wherefore with force and arms the grass of the said William was depastured and trodden down by certain beasts, to the value of £10. Defendants did not come. Case adjourned until the octave of S. Hilary. De Banco Roll, 468, m. 124.


Clifton paid a fifteenth as a subsidy to the king amounting to 20s. Excheq. Q.R. Miscell. Books, vol. 7.

1669–1672 Hearth Tax Roll

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


Tho. Workeman 1
Robert Robinson 2
Mr. Rowland Borrow 3
Rowland Chapelhow 1
Tho. Browne 1
Christopher Bolton 1
Richard Sanderson 1
John Judgson 1
Christopher Ion 1
widow Browne 1
Tho. Thompson 1
Tho. Booke 1
William Savage 1
Robert Tinkler 1
Christopher Varey 1
Lancelot Wilkinson 1
John Watterson 1
John Hartley 1
Tho. Wybergh 1
William Fletcher 1
Richard Carter 1
John Booke 1

Nine householders were exempted from paying the Tax by Certificate.


William Mill 1
Hugh Workeman 1
Tho. Birbecke 1
William Sutton 1
John Wilkinson 1
Stephen Harryson 1
William Webster 1
Edmond Thompson 1
Rob. Robinson 1
Edmond Browne 1
Margaret Todd 1
Tho. Browne 1

1696 1 August.

Rowland Borrow, rector of Clifton, signed the antiJacobite "Association" for the protection of William 111.


The Rev. Robert Patten, chaplain to Gen. Forster in the rebellion of 1715, was buried here.

1796 26 November.

For the provision of soldiers to serve in the army, the parish of Clifton having 51 inhabited houses had to provide one man.


One hundred and forty-four acres, being parcels of common and waste lands in the manor of Clifton were ordered to be divided and inclosed by an Act of Parliament of this year. William earl of Lonsdale was lord of the manor; Samuel Goodenough, bishop of Carlisle, was patron of the rectory and parish church; Jonathan Moorhouse was rector; and Thomas Wybergh was one of the proprietors who was entitled to Right of Common. The Commissioners appointed were Robert Lumb of Lowther, John Machel of Low Plains, and John Norman of Kirkandrews upon Eden.


The Wesleyan Chapel was erected.

1886 21 October.

The Rev. William Keys-Wells, rector of Clifton, took the usual oaths on qualifying as a Justice of the Peace.