Townships: Staveley

A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1914.

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'Townships: Staveley', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8, (London, 1914) pp. 281. British History Online [accessed 29 February 2024]

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Staveley, 1451.

This township occupies a valley sloping down northward to the lower end of Windermere, the hamlet of Staveley itself being about a mile from the Lake and from Newby Bridge. On the east of the valley rise the steep tree-clad sides of Cartmel Fell, attaining 1,054 ft. above sea level at Gummer's How; on the west of the valley are the minor hills by Backbarrow and Bigland. The area is 4,199 acres, (fn. 1) and in 1901 there was a population of 340.

The principal roads converge to Newby Bridge, which stands on the Furness side of the bridge there crossing the Leven. One road goes south-west along the river's bank to Backbarrow and Low Wood; another, its continuation in the opposite direction, crosses the Fell towards Kendal, and has a branch going north near the shore of Windermere. Another goes south-east up the valley and over the hills to Newton, Lindale and Grange; this has a branch southward to Cartmel. Staveley hamlet lies on a cross-road connecting the Grange and Kendal roads.

There is a parish council of five members to administer the township affairs.


There was no manor of Staveley nor any noteworthy estate, the whole being held formerly by the customary tenants of the Cartmel canons. The rental of 1508–9 (fn. 2) gives many particulars of them. James Newby took a whole tenement in Staveley, occupying half during his mother's life and the whole afterwards, but his son Robert might have the best part of the same. He paid 2s. 8d. each term, 3s. 4d. service, 2s. 4d. ingress, 1½d. for tithe hay, and 4 bushels of barley for tithe corn. James Newby also had the mill called New Mill, like his father William before him, at a rent of 40s. a year. Agnes daughter of Walter Barra took her father's tenement to occupy at his will during his life and the whole after his death; if she should take a husband it should be under the same gressom, and if she should die without son or daughter the tenement should remain to James Newby. (fn. 3) In Hazelrigg, Seatle (fn. 4) and Ayside (fn. 5) Christopher Barwick and many other tenants occur. (fn. 6) In some cases a payment called carriage was made. Later the mill of Staveley seems to have been held with that of Backbarrow. (fn. 7) High Cark Hall at one time belonged to Atkinson of Longlands. (fn. 8) Fell Foot, once belonging to Robinsons, was in 1859 purchased by the late Col. Ridehalgh. (fn. 9)


Nothing is known of the origin of the chapel at Staveley. Henry Longmire was 'reader' in 1618. (fn. 10) In 1650 it had no maintenance, but Thomas Preston was compelled to allow the minister £50 a year on compounding for his estates. (fn. 11) This curate was Gabriel Camelford, 'a godly and painful man in his calling,' (fn. 12) and a zealous Puritan, who refused to conform to the restored Book of Common Prayer in 1662, ministering as a Nonconformist for many years. (fn. 13) This chapelry was better served than the others, and a resident curate was settled in it by 1673. The curate in 1689, Robert Bulfell, was' conformable.' (fn. 14) A school was established in the chapel, and the curate-schoolmaster had in 1717 about £15 a year, being the fixed stipend. (fn. 15) Further endowments were procured, and the income is now £215 a year. (fn. 16) The patronage is vested in the Bishop of Carlisle. The present church of St. Mary was built in 1793 and restored in 1897. A district chapelry was assigned to it in 1876. (fn. 17)

The following have been incumbents:—

1693 Edmund Law (fn. 18)
1742 Richard Sandys
1773 Martin Wilson Lamb
1828 Edmund Townley (fn. 19)
1864 Thomas John Cooper, M.A. (fn. 20) (Univ. Coll.,Oxf.)
1874 John Harvey Ashworth, M.A. (Univ. Coll.,Oxf.)
1882 Henry Ashe, B.A. (St. John's Coll., Camb.)
1893 Edwin Heath, B.A. (fn. 21) (T.C.D.)


  • 1. The Census Rep. 1901 gives 4,295 acres, including 5 of inland water.
  • 2. Duchy of Lanc. Rentals and Surv. bdle. 4, no. 9.
  • 3. Other tenants are named Cany, Sande, Finsthwaite, Kilner and Harrison. For a dispute between the Kilners of Staveley in 1588–9 see Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), iii, 80, 221.
  • 4. Seitill.
  • 5. Ayshed.
  • 6. Among the surnames are Bell, Casson, Sowrey (Salrey), Swainson, Stanes, Brockbank, Barbour; also Richard Bigland and Margaret his daughter, wife of Hugh Lancaster, who had the tenement formerly Thomas Bigland's. In 1591 there was a dispute between John Barrow on one side and George and Isabel Barrow on the other concerning a tenement at Ayside; the customs of the manor were involved; Ducatus Lanc. iii, 282.
  • 7. Ibid, i, 301.
  • 8. Stockdale, Annals of Cartmel, 511.
  • 9. Ibid. 527.
  • 10. Cartmel Reg.
  • 11. Plund. Mins. Accts. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 19, 82. There was already an income of .£3 6s. 8d.; ibid. 90. The £50 seems to have been paid regularly; ibid, it, 288.
  • 12. Commonw. Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), 142.
  • 13. In 1672 he received a general licence as a Congregationalist; Cal. S. P. Dom. 1672, pp. 574, 676. See the account of Tottlebank in Colton and Calamy, Nonconf. Mem. (ed. Palmer), ii, 496. Edward Russell was minister of Staveley in 1673.
  • 14. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 230. Bulfell (or Bulfield) was in priest's orders and had been curate and schoolmaster from 1682; Stratford's Visit. List, 1691.
  • 15. Gastrell, Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc), ii, 505; it was served by a priest licensed to the chapel. There was a chapelwarden.
  • 16. Carlisle Dioc. Cal. The patronage was formerly vested in the owner of Holker, being transferred to the Bishop of Carlisle in 1867.
  • 17. Lond. Gaz. 5 Dec. 1876.
  • 18. Father of Bishop Law.
  • 19. His son the Rev. Charles Gale Townley is seated at Townhead in this chapelry.
  • 20. Later (1888–1907) incumbent of St. Paul's, Grange, Hon. Canon of Carlisle 1883.
  • 21. Mr. Heath has assisted the editors in compiling the list of incumbents.