Appendices: The churches

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, 'Appendices: The churches', The Later Records Relating To North Westmorland Or the Barony of Appleby, (Kendal, 1932), pp. 377-378. British History Online [accessed 19 June 2024].

John F Curwen. "Appendices: The churches", in The Later Records Relating To North Westmorland Or the Barony of Appleby, (Kendal, 1932) 377-378. British History Online, accessed June 19, 2024,

Curwen, John F. "Appendices: The churches", The Later Records Relating To North Westmorland Or the Barony of Appleby, (Kendal, 1932). 377-378. British History Online. Web. 19 June 2024,

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In the absence of any positive claim to the spiritual oversight of Carlisle and this diaconate of Westmarieland, which had long been neglected by the bishops of Durham, William Rufus after his conquest in 1092 appears to have tacitly annexed it to the diocese of York, under the charge of the archdeacon of Richmond. This annexation was confirmed by Henry 1 to archbishop Thomas between the years 1109 and 1114. When the king, however, formed the diocese of Carlisle in 1133 he compensated the archdeacon for his loss of the northern halves of Cumberland and Westmorland by persuading archbishop Thurstan to grant him special quasiepiscopal rights within his archdeaconry.

Of the twenty-four ancient churches in the Barony we find that they are equally divided between Vicarages and Rectories. The two at Appleby, Kirkby Stephen with its chapel at Brough, and Morland were granted to St. Mary's abbey at York. Orton was granted to Conishead Priory; Ravenstonedale to Watton Priory; Crosby Ravensworth to Whitby abbey; Bampton, Shap and Warcop to Shap abbey; while Askham and Barton were granted to Wartre Priory. Twelve, that have remained Vicarages to this day.

Cliburn, Musgrave and Ormside although at first granted to St. Mary's at York and Clifton to Wartre, were each ceded back to the bishop of Carlisle as their respective revenues were deemed insufficient to maintain a vicar or afford any benefit to the monasteries, the abbots, however, reserved to themselves a pension from each rectory. The advowson of Lowther appears to have been originally divided into three parts, one being granted to the Priory of Carlisle, one to the Priory of Watton, while the other third remained in lay hands; it is now a rectory. At Asby and Kirkby Thore the abbeys of Byland and Holm Cultram held considerable possessions there but the churches remained as rectories; while again the churches of Crosby Garrett, Dufton, Long Marton, Newbiggin and Brougham have remained rectories on account principally of their small revenues. Perhaps for them it is fortunate for on appropriation, although the chancel of the church was maintained by the religious house, the chief burden fell upon the parishioners who naturally resented the diversion of most of the revenue to a wealthy body. Then again, with the exception of the Augustinian canons, the regular clergy seldom conducted services outside their own monasteries, as a general rule it was the secular clergy who were made vicars, men who were poor and had to augment their inadequate stipends as best they could. Gladly did some receive the right of cutting timber for "housebote and haybote" (for house or hedge repair), no small boon at a time when the vicarages were built of wood, and sometimes they received the right of pasturing their geese and cattle in the common pasture of the village, yet, without the benefactions of the laity, appropriated churches could ill afford both rectoral and crown taxation let alone find the money for the growing need of rebuilding. It remains only to be said that in the Valor Ecclesiasticus the word Synodalmeans a tribute to the bishop or archbishop, and Procuration a payment to the archdeacon at the time of his Visitation in lieu of hospitality.

The effect of the Scottish Wars of Independence upon the churches in the devastated area is seen by Pope Clement's mandate to Bishop John de Halton to ascertain afresh their true value. His Novo Taxatio of 1318 reduced the total value of these twenty-four churches from £764. 7. 8. to £116. This militant bishop, who had lost and suffered so much at Rose Castle, confirmed the appropriation of Warcop church to Shap abbey "in consideration of the ruined condition and poverty to which the canons were reduced by the incursions of the Scots."

The earlier names and dates in the lists of Incumbents that appear in several churches, and printed here, are somewhat problematical and should not be relied upon wholly unless proven by the foregoing text or other documentary evidence.