North Westmorland: Clerks of the peace and High Constables

Pages 42-43

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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In this section


For the County.

The Custos Rotulorum of the county has the appointment of the Clerk of the Peace. Whereas, by reason of sundry persons having been granted the office of the Clerkship of the Peace being not learned nor yet meet nor able for lack of knowledge and learning to occupy and exercise the office, many indictments as well of felony, murder and other offences and misdemeanors and the process awarded upon the same, have been made frustrate and void by negligent ingrossing, enrolment and keeping the same by the aforesaid Clerks to the great hindrance of Justice, etc. For reformation whereof be it enacted that every Custos Rotulorum for the time being shall at all times hereafter nominate, elect, appoint and assign such able persons who are instructed in the Laws of the Realm as shall be able to exercise and occupy the office, so that the said Clerk demean him in the said office justly and honourably. See Act 37 Henry VIII, c.1.

The title of "Clerk" originally belonged to the Holy Ministry of the Church as the monks were perhaps the only men in those times who could use a pen. And as such monks were at first appointed officers of the Courts of Law, we gain the second sense which denotes any person, whether clerical or lay, who practises his pen to record all things judicially done by the Justices in any court.

The following is a list of the Clerks of the Peace for Westmorland, going back as far as the Rolls of Quarter Sessions allow.

1669–1678 Richard Rowlandson.
1678–1681 George Fothergill.
        –1688 — Hudson.
1706–1729 Richard Baynes.
1729–1736 William Carleton.
1736–1744 William Wilkin.
1744–1750 Richard Wordsworth.
1750–1755 John Robinson.
1763–1776 Joseph Robinson.
1776–1778 John Nicholson.
1778–1780 George Wheatley.
1780–1792 Joshua Nicholson.
1793–1797 Henry Tatham.
1798–1800 — Saul.
1800–1812 John Richardson.
1812–1838 Rich. S. Stephenson.
1839–1888 John Bell.
1888–1916 John Bolton
1916–1918 Alexander Milne.
1919– H. B. Greenwood.


For the East and West Wards.

East Ward. West Ward.
1661–1664 John Hall. 1661–1664 Thomas Rigg.
1664–1666 John Gowling. 1664–1666 William Langhorn.
1666–1674 William Fairer. 1666–1674 William Thwaites.
1674– Thomas Birkbeck. 1674–1679 Richard Smith.
1698– Thomas Robinson 1679– John Smith deputy.
1702–1703 Henry Aiskill. 1683–1702 John Smith.
1703–1716 John Robinson. 1703–1706 John Webster.
1716–1717 Thomas Scaife. 1706–1731 Richard Smith.
1717–1725 Thomas Monkhouse.
1725–1730 Anthony Parkin.
1730–1742 Charles Robinson. 1731–1756 Henry Holme, the elder.
1742–1744 Thomas Lamb.
1744–1753 Robert Bownass.
1753–1787 John Bownass the elder. 1756–1797 Henry Holme, the younger.
1787–1798 John Bownass, the younger.
1798–1803 John Cleasby. 1798–1844 Thomas Holme.
1803–1822 Richard Dixon.
1822–1835 William Dixon. 1844– Henry Holme.
1835– Thomas Harrison.
1849–1856 John Bird.

In 1856 Cumberland and Westmorland joined together in appointing Mr. John Dunn as Chief Constable over the two counties. His salary was not to exceed £300 with £150 for all travelling expenses, and that Westmorland should not be called upon to pay more than one-fourth of such salary and expense.