Parishes (East Ward): St Michael, Appleby

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 (East Ward): St Michael, Appleby', in The Later Records Relating To North Westmorland Or the Barony of Appleby( Kendal, 1932), British History Online [accessed 14 July 2024].

John F Curwen, 'Parishes (East Ward): St Michael, Appleby', in The Later Records Relating To North Westmorland Or the Barony of Appleby( Kendal, 1932), British History Online, accessed July 14, 2024,

John F Curwen. "Parishes (East Ward): St Michael, Appleby". The Later Records Relating To North Westmorland Or the Barony of Appleby. (Kendal, 1932), , British History Online. Web. 14 July 2024.

In this section


Including the Manors of Crackenthorpe, Helton Bacon, Murton and Langton.


This church was granted, together with the church of St. Lawrence, to Richard the abbot and to the convent of St. Mary at York by Ranulph de Meschines, about the year 1088. The grant was confirmed by Henry I. It was a collegiate church and we find reference to the "Chapter of Appleby" and to "Robert the dean," in the confirmation by Athelwald of the church of Crosby Ravensworth to the monks of Whitby, dated between 1147 and 1156.

In the "Antique Taxatio Ecclesiastica" of Pope Nicholas IV, made in 1291, the church is valued at £30 and the vicarage at £13. 6. 8. By the "Novo Taxatio" of 1318 the value is reckoned at £5 and £1 respectively. See page 22. "The Valor Ecclesiasticus" made by order of Parliament, 26 Henry VIII, 1535, gives the following:—

Vicarage of St. Michael's in Appleby. Bernard Thomlinson incumbent. Rectory appropriated to the Priory of Wetherhal, a cell of St. Mary's, York.
The aforesaid vicarage is worth:—
Mansion and Glebe and 2 tenements £1 2 0
Tithes of grain 5 0
" wool and lamb 9 0 0
" hay, flax and hemp 2 4 4
" calves 6 8
" lead ore 1 6 8
Oblations and the lesser fees as in the Easter Book 6 0 0
Revenue out of the chapel of Crackenthorpe 15 0
£20 19 8
Brought forward £20 19 8
Reprisals to wit
Synodals to the Bp. of Carlisle 4 0
" " Archdeacon 1 4
Procurations 1
6 10½
Clear annual value 20 12
A tenth part whereof 2 1

That the vicar may be entitled to the tithe of Lead, which if obtainable would make a very considerable addition to his vicarial income, is very doubtful. Some custom or usage is indispensable in proof to establish a right to this sort of tithe and there is no proof or other document to support it. Such a tithe is not to be found at the First Fruits or Tenths Office. Caley, Feudal Hist. of Westmorland.

The Commonwealth Survey of 1649 values this living at £50. Robert Simpson, minister. The subsequent Survey of 1657 gives:—

"That the right of presentation to the church was heretofore in the Bishop of Carlisle or in the Dean and Chapter. That the tithe corn of Bongate town is in the possession of Mr. Robert Hilton by lease from the said Dean and Chapter and is worth by the year £12 out of which is paid to the Trustees for Maintenance of Ministers £4 during the continuance of the lease. That the tithe corn of Langton and Flakebrigge in the said parish are in the possession of the said Robert Hilton by lease from the said Dean and Chapter and are worth by the year £2. 6. 8. out of which is paid to the said Trustees 13s. 4d. during the continuance of the lease, and also the tithe corn of Marton which is worth by the year £4. 10. 0. out of which is paid to the said Trustees £1. 6. 8. during the lease. That the tithe corn of Crackenthorpe is in the possession of Lancelot Machell by lease from the said Dean and Chapter and is worth by the year £12 out of which is paid to the said Trustees £1. 6. 8. during the continuance of the lease. That Mr. Ambrose Rowland is incumbent and hath for his maintenance the glebe land worth £4 by the year and the tithe wool and lamb with other small tithes worth £45 by the year."

"The Right honorable the Lady Anne Clifford, Countess dowager of Dorset, Pembroke and Montgomery, repaired the church, 1658."

At Chapel Hill in Crackenthorpe there was a chapel dedicated to St. Giles, the oblations of which were valued at 15s. a year.

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

1369 Richard de Aslacby
1379 John Reynald
1452 John Marshall
1535 Bernard Tomlinson
        –r.1561 George Lancaster
1561–r.1569 John Smith
1569–d.1576 Gregory Scott
1576–1579 Thomas Burton
1579–r.1582 Thomas Fairfax
1582–d. 1611 William Porter
1612–1613 John Teasdale
1614–1634 John Spencer
1634–r.1651 Robert Simpson
1653–1660 Ambrose Rowland
1660–r. 1661 Robert Simpson
1661–d.1712 Barnaby Simpson
1712-d.1738 James Cock
1738–1772 John Hill
1789–d. 1823 A. Harrison Shaw
1823– Thomas Bellas


Indenture made 15 October, 1853, between Joseph Salkeld of Hilton and Esther his wife of the one part, Hugh, Bishop of Carlisle of the 2nd part, and the Rev. Thomas Bellas, vicar of St. Michael's of the 3rd part. That the church of St. Michael being situate at an inconvenient distance from many parts of the parish, the said Joseph and Esther for £10 convey to the said vicar and his successors, with consent of the said Bishop, a piece of freehold land, part of a close called Thwaites Allotment at Hilton abutting on the highway from Hilton to Murton on the east and bounded on the west and south by the remainder of the said close, and on the north by land of the Trustees of Thwaites School. That the same land and the chapel intended to be erected thereon may be appropriated for consecration and for ever remain for a Chapel of Ease to the said parish church of St. Michael at Bongate for the celebration of divine service. Close Roll, 14609, pt. 103, n. 10.

The chapel was opened in June, 1856. Murton and Hilton were formed into an Ecclesiastical parish 12 June, 1863.


Thwaites School in Murton. The Rev. James Cock, vicar of St. Michael's, who died in 1738 left £20 to be shared between four persons, each of whom should pay 4s. 2d. per annum for the schooling of poor children within the township of Murton. Joseph Idle, about the year 1800 left the interest of £12 and about the same time Robert Hodgson left a close, called Moor End, consisting of about 6 acres and a cattlegate in a common pasture called Thwaite for the benefit of Thomas Bousfield, who was schoolmaster for over 46 years, and his successors.


Crackenthorpe Hall.

John Machell was lord of Crackenthorpe in 1266 when he was defendant in an action brought by William de Crackanthorpe claiming that John had promised to let William grind at his mill all the demesne corn. From this time the Machell family possessed the manor until we come to the year 1685 when Hugh Machell rebuilt the Hall. The Hill MSS. (vol. iv, 132) says it was "new remodelled and made shorter than before." Thomas Machell the antiquary, was brother to this Hugh, and he wrote enthusiastically concerning the Hall:—

"It is a delicate pile of building facing to the north as most of the principal houses do, having a pedament and two spears or cupilos at the top of the house; the one for pleasure, the other for uniformity sake for a stack of chimneys which cometh through of stone . . . . It hath two courts before it and a way which flanketh them from the town to the kitchen so that none can come to the house upon any occasion but they will see the front and beauty of it."

Lancelot Machell, lord of Crackenthorpe, sold on 29 August, 1786, the Manor and Hall for £12,000 to Richard Bellas of Brampton, acting for Lord Lonsdale, and thus ended five centuries' connection of the Machells with Crackenthorpe. In 1877 Captain Machell purchased back the Hall, restored the old portion and added to it a new house.


Coupland Beck, over the beck of that name on the road between Appleby and Brough.

This bridge appears on the list of public bridges made on 28 April, 1679. On 15 July, 1707, it was presented to Quarter Sessions that this bridge and the causey at the end was out of repair and ought to be repaired at the expense of the County. Again on 3 October, 1743, it being a public bridge was ordered to be repaired. On 9 January, 1775, it was ordered that the High Constable of the East Ward should meet the Surveyor of the Turnpike Road and make an estimate of the expense of rebuilding the bridge. This new construction was greatly damaged during the great flood in the Eden on 2 February, 1822. On 5 January, 1887, Joseph Bintley reported that the bridge consisted of two arches of 18 feet each and a central pier 6½ feet wide which obstructed the debris that flowed down the stream. He suggested taking away the pier, raising the abutments and constructing thereon an iron girder bridge at an estimate of £522.


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


Whereas there hath been spent a sum of £3. 5. 0. upon the repair of Murton Bridge, Quarter Sessions ordered on 2 October, 1699, that the High Constable of the East Ward do pay two parts and the High Constable of the West Ward one part of the same.



John de Crackenthorpe fell from a certain horse into the water of the Eden near to Crackenthorpe and was drowned in the same. Alice his sister first found him and is not suspected nor any other person. Judgment, misfortune. The price of the horse and harness is 20s. for which the sheriff answers. And Adam de Paccon and Hugh de Beauchamp valued falsely the aforesaid deodand therefore they are in mercy. Assize Roll, 1256, m. 11.


Richard de Aslacby, vicar of St. Michael's, Appleby, made his will on Friday before All Saint's Day, 1 November, 1369, desiring to be buried in his church. Among many bequests he left 13s. 4d. to the maintenance of the bridges of Brough and Sowerby. Testa. Karl., 96.

1378 Easter.

Adam Bacon appeared against William de Langton of Langton in a plea wherefore with force and arms the corn and grass belonging to the said Adam at Helton Bacon, worth 100s. with certain beasts was depastured, trodden down and consumed. De Banco Roll, 470, m. 296.

1378 Easter.

Thomas de Warthecop appeared against Thomas de Spense del B. . . . in a plea wherefore with force and arms the herbage of the said Thomas de Warthecop at Murton worth 100s. with certain beasts was depastured, trodden down and consumed. De Banco Roll, 470, m. 296.

1378–9. Hilary.

Thomas de Musgrave, knt., by Adam Crosseby his attorney, against John Paynson in a plea that he render unto him a reasonable account of the time when he was his bailff in Murton. De Banco Rolls, 473, m. 326; 474, m. 317d.

1379 Michaelmas.

William de Helton appeared against John, vicar of the church of St. Michael, Appleby, in a plea wherefore with force and arms the corn and herbage of the said William, lately growing at Helton Bacon and worth £10 with certain beasts was trodden down and consumed. De Banco Rolls, 476, m. 12d.; 477, m. 21; 478, m. 12d.; 479, m. 12.

1379–80 Hilary.

John Paynson was summoned to answer Thomas de Musgrave, knt., in a plea that he render unto him a reasonable account of the time when he was his bailiff in Merton. Thereupon the same Thomas, by William de Soulby his attorney, complained that whereas the said John had been bailiff for the said Thomas at Murton for one messuage with appurtenances from the Feast of S. Martin, 40 Edward III until the same time then next following and for the same time he had the care, custody and administration of the goods and chattels of the same messuage being forty sheep, three horses and one steer, etc., the said John although often requested hath not rendered the same to the said Thomas, therefore he claims damages to the value of £100.

The said John, by John Oxenthwayt his attorney, comes and defends the force and injury and sayeth that he does not owe the account aforesaid because on Monday next after Palm Sunday, 51 Edward III, at Hartley before William de Lunden, auditor, he rendered a full account of the said chattels and this he is ready to verify. It is ordered that an inquiry be made and that the parties appear here at Easter to answer, etc. De Banco Roll, 477, m. 509d.

1380 Trinity.

John Reynald, vicar of the church of St. Michael of Appleby, by his attorney, appeared against Thomas Oliphant in a plea that his dogs chased 200 of his sheep at Appleby and incited them to bite the sheep so that forty of the said sheep died, the value of £4, and the rest were much deteriorated. Also that his cattle consumed his pasture to the value of 100s. The said John complained that this happened on Monday after the Nativity of St. John, 2 Richard II, with swords, bows and arrows and continued for a year to his great damage. And Thomas by his attorney answers that he is not guilty of the said trespass and both put themselves on the country.

On Saturday in Quadragesima week at Appleby before William Thurning and Roger de Fulthorp, the jurors say on oatn that Thomas Oliphant as to the chasing is not guilty but as to the depasturing and consuming of the herbage and grain he is guilty to the damage of 16s. 8d. Therefore John recovers against Thomas the said 16s. 8d. but is in mercy for making a false claim as to the residue of the trespass. De Banco Rolls, 479, m. 378; 480, m. 344.


The Borough of Appleby in Bondgate paid a fifteenth of its goods as a subsidy to the King amounting to 38s.; Crackenthorpe, 28s.; Helton Bacon, 23s.; Murton, 22s.; and Langton, 18s. A total of £6. 9s. 0d. Excheq. Q.R. Miscell. Books, vol. 7.

1529 9 July.

John Hertley, priest, by his will desired to be buried in the cathedral church of St. Peter in York. "I bequeath to Richard Lame of Appelbie a fox fure and a mantell of reid lame, being in my chamebre at Appelbie. Also I will the said Richard Lame have the bill of dettes which is owing unto me to the some of xiijli, of the which xiijli, I will the said Richard shall gyve unto an honest and wel disposed preist to sing for my saull at Sanct Michael's church in Appelbie, for the space of on yere, fyve pounddes; also 40s. to Richard Lame his wiffe and childer to prey for my saull; and to every one of his servauntes xvjd.; and the rest of the said xiijli. I bequeath to my twoo susters and also 40s. which lies in my chest at Appelbie in the howse of the forseid Richard Lame. Also I bequeath to my said twoo susters ij fetherbeddes, wherof the on fetherbed is at my chambre at Appelbie and the other at Yorke. . . . Also I will that my Lord Bushope of Carllell have on half of xxiijli. whuch Sir Henry Hertley, vicar of Applebie, my brother, owe unto me, if it please his lordship to take paynnes to recover the same; and the other half to be disposed by my said executours for t'helth of my saull." Surely an ingenious way of recovering a debt as the vicar would not like to refuse his bishop's claim and would probably repay the money which his brother had pleaded for in vain.

1647 8 September.

The Commonwealth Commissioners made a determined effort to put down pluralism in the church. Here is an instance:—Upon information that Dr. Dawes is vicar of Barton and rector of Asby, and Robert Simpson is incumbent of Bongate and of Ormside, and Richard Burton is incumbent of Dufton and of Orton in Cumberland; it is ordered that the said Dr. Dawes, Mr. Burton and Mr. Simpson do every one of them severally make their election before 20 October next which of the said respective benefices they will adhere to and which they will relinquish.


The tithes of Crackenthorpe in lease from the late Dean and Chapter of Carlisle, were settled upon Roger Bateman, esquire, and the churchwardens of Old Hutton to and for the maintenance of a godly and able minister, as there was an exceeding great want of a preaching minister at Old Hutton.


Petition of Robert Simpson to the House of Lords for restitution to his living in Bongate, showing that for twelve years last past he had been most illegially ejected and thrust out of his vicarage of Bongate and from the exercise of his ministerial duty for his loyalty to his majesty and praying for the security of the profits thereof until his title to the vicarage shall be determined by due course of law. It is endorsed by Philip Musgrave thus:—I can certify the petitioner was minister of Bongate and is a conscientious able divine. He was ever well affected to his majesty and ejected without any lawful authority in 1651.

1669–1672 Hearth Tax Roll

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


Rend. Lee 1
John Wilson 1
John Jackson 1
Edmd. Skelbecke 1
Robt. Douer 1
Humph. Hill 1
Mr. Sympson 4
Tho: Douer 1
Fr: Harryson 1
John Walker 1
John Bolton 1
Tho: Marshall 1
Jenkin Morland 1
John Emm'son 1
Henry Ramner 3
Jo: Bainbridge 1
wid. Cowen 1
Willm: Emm'son 1
wid. Bellis 1
John Bremer 1
James Yaire 1

Eight of the inhabitants were exempted from payment by Certificate.


Lanc: Machell Esq. 4
Tho: Sympson 1
Robt. Sheepherd 1
Robt. Lawson 1
Hugh Sheepherd 1
Rowland Stephenson 1
Hen: Nicholson 1
Lane: Nelson 1
Hugh Holme 1
Willm. Dobson 2
John Hill 1
Rich. Hill 1
John Holme 1
Hen: Sympson 1
Hugh Sheepherd 1

Twelve inhabitants were exempted from payment by Certificate.


John Ranson 1
Edwd. Orton 1
Geo. Porter 1
Tho: Warton 1
wid. Hutchinson 1
wid. Porter 1
Richard Smith 1
Geo: Robley 1
Humphrey Bird 1
Mich: Harryson 1
Willm: Blackett 1
Anth: Harryson 1
Peter Rawnson 1
Willm: Johnson 1
Rob. Bellis 1
Humph: Jackson 1
Anth: Stephenson 1
Edwd. Stephenson 1
Lane: Hall 1
Geo: Speddin 1

Fourteen inhabitants were exempted from paying by Certificates.


obert Hilton 6
Tho. Rackstraw 1
John Harryson 1
Richard Corry 1
Tho. Hostling 1
Richard Teasdall 1
William Harryson 1
John Teasdall 1
Mary Teasdall 1
John Rackstraw 1
Tho. Harryson 1
John Correy 1
John Porter 1

1681 20 April.

Whereas Agnes Chrisbrough the wife of Robert Chrisbrough of Murton stands convicted for felony to the value of 6d., it is ordered that she be committed to the House of Correction for the space of a fortnight during which time she is to be placed at work and then released.

1709–10 9 January.

James Birkbeck of Bleatarn, yeo. and others were indicted for riotously and unlawfully assembling at St. Michael's of Appleby and assaulting William Laikland and William Emerson, Sheriff's officers, in the execution of their offices. Birkbeck was fined 25s.

1712 28 April.

John Hewetson of Appleby, yeo. indicted for forcibly entering in to the common field called Bongate Field at Battlebarrow, parish of St. Michael's and in a parcel of land of the said common field belonging to John Baynes, called Le Fryery Waistes, diging up the said John's soil and glebe and diverting a water course or ditch; fined 6d.

1745 22 April.

Presentment that 300 yards in length and two yards in breadth in the King's highway lying in a place called Bongate Moor leading between the market towns of Appleby and Barnard Castle is dirty founderous and in decay and that the inhabitants of the parish of St. Michael's, otherwise called Bongate, ought to repair the same.

1759. 8 January.

Presentment that William Bainbridge and Richard Allon both of Murton, yeomen, did by hushing for lead ore at a certain place called Gilderthwaite and Whitemine upon Mellfell in the parish of St. Michael's in such manner poison and pollute the streams of water called Murton Town Beck and Eden so that the streams became unwholesome and corrupt so that H.M. subjects could not enjoy and receive the benefit of the said water.


Whereas there are certain tracts or parcels of common and waste grounds, falled Bongate Moor and Burrells Moor or Whinns. And whereas the Rt. Hon. Sackville, earl of Thanet Island, is lord of the manor, and that he with Sir James Lowther, bart., John Robinson, esquire, John Thompson, gent. and others are the proprietors with a right of common; and whereas John Hill the elder, is vicar of the church of St. Michael and the lord bishop is patron; and whereas the Dean and Chapter of Carlisle are Impropriators of the tithes of corn and grain. May it please your majesty that it may be enacted that Thomas Heelis of Appleby Castle, George Wheatley of Lowther, Thomas James of Penrith, Thomas Gibson of Oddendale and Isaac Denton of Loningfoot in the parish of Sebergham, may be the Commissioners for carrying the Act of Inclosure into execution.

1781 3 October.

Proclamation that whereas it has been presented to us the Justices that the Lord's Day has been for some time past shamefully profaned by persons exercising their calling, doing all servile work, opening shops, using boats or barges, driving stage coaches, deligencies, waggons, carts, and other carriages, travelling for hire, drovers driving their cattle and carriers travelling and following their business on a Sunday with impunity and in such manner as gives great scandal and bad example and calls loudly for redress; the said Justices now assembled do unanimously signify their determined resolution strictly to enforce the laws and statutes made for the better observation of the Lord's Day, and to punish with the utmost severity all persons who shall henceforth be wicked and hardy enough to offend against the same statutes. And for the better effectuating the desirable purposes and good intentions of the said Statutes, all churchwardens, constables and other peace officers are hereby strictly charged and enjoined to exert themselves in the discharge of their duty by diligently enquiring after and giving the most speedy information against all such offenders. And in order the better to enable the said Justices to execute these wholesome Statutes which the wisdom of the Legislature has provided, the assistance of all good subjects and well disposed persons is hereby particularly desired, etc. That the Clerk of the Peace do forthwith get 500 copies of the above Resolution printed to distribute.

Contrary to this Proclamation Thomas Ferguson was convicted on 18 October, 1824, in the penalty of 20s. for travelling with and driving several cattle on the Lord's Day at Bongate, and on 23 April, 1827, William Irving for travelling with and driving several sheep. There are several similar convictions.

1796 26 November.

For the provision of soldiers to serve in the army as required by the late Act, the parish of St. Michael's together with the parishes of Asby and Newbiggin, having 151 inhabited houses, had to provide three men or pay a penalty of £20 for everyman missing from the quota.

1818 23 July.

Indenture between John Blacket of Helton, yeo., of the one part and John Cousin of Helton, agent for Mr. Bland of Murton Mines and others. Witnesses that for 5s. the said Blacket has sold to the said parties the newly erected Meeting House and the ground on which it stands, being 54 feet on the south side joining Thwaites Pasture and 35 feet on the east end adjoining the road between Helton and Murton, for the purpose of holding the yearly Conference and to enjoy the said messuage for the preaching of God's Holy Word therein and to preach no other doctrine but what is contained in John Wesley's Notes on the New Testament and four volumes of fifty-three Sermons. Close Roll, 9859, 59 George III, pt. 46.

1837 20 June.

Indenture made between John Blackett of Hilton, Michael Craig of Murton, Joseph Craig of Holme near Appleby and Anthony Robinson of Murton, of the 1st part; and John Cousin of Hilton and many others of the 2nd part; and Abel Dernaley of Appleby, Superintendent Preacher of the Circuit, of the 3rd part. Witnesses that for 10s. those of the 1st part sell to those of the second part, all that parcel of land lying on the side of Thwaites Pasture in the parish of Murton, adjoining the highway from Hilton to Murton, being 40 by 31 feet, bounded on the west and north by land of Matthew Atkinson, on the south by land belonging to Murton School; with the Chapel, erections and buildings thereon, to have and to hold the same to the use of the Wesleyan Methodists. Close Roll 11822, pt. 201.

Again on 27 May, 1843, Michael Craig, sold to Anthony Robinson for the sum of £1. 10. 0. a further piece of land, 10 by 8 yards, in the village of Murton bounded on the north-east by lands of James Hall, on the south-east by the public street, to have and to hold for the use of the Wesleyan Methodists according to the revised Constitution as expressed in an Indenture enrolled 4 April, 1842, re a Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Deptford, co. Kent. Close Rolls, 12956, pt. 103.

Four years after John Wesley established his Meeting House at "the Foundery" in Moorfields in 1739, he published the Rules of "the United Societies" of London, Bristol and Newcastle. Each Society is described as "a company of men having the form, and seeking the power, of godliness, united in order to pray together, to receive the word of exhortation and to watch over one another in love, that they may help each other to work out their salvation." After his death in 1791 the yearly Conferences, without actually altering these Rules, have found it necessary to issue certain regulations, owing no doubt to development but also to internal dissension and secession, so that chapels in the future should be founded upon clear Rules and regulations as constituted and expressed in this Indenture made for the chapel at Deptford.

1860 2 January.

Ordered by the Court of Quarter Sessions that a plot of land, buildings and premises, situate at the foot of Battleborough, agreed to be purchased from the Earl of Lonsdale, for the purpose of erecting a Police Station and strong-room, be conveyed to the Clerk of the Peace and his successors.