THE PARISH OF ST. MICHAEL, LOWTHER
Including the Manors of Whale, Hackthorpe and
Within this parish we have a Tumulus on Hackthorpe farm.
Stone circles, one half a mile north of Baxter Rash on Lowther Scar,
two near Lowther Church, and one on Knipe In Scar. Three
Hogbacks at Lowther church, two of them representing rude female
heads and busts awaiting release from the snakes of Hades that are
curled up below them; while the third depicts a bear at each end of
the house, embracing it with fore and hind paws in a desperate
clutch, but being muzzled unable to do more than show impotent
malice, for the dead have been buried in the Christian hope of eternal
life. Collingwood, Ancient Monuments.
The first mention of the church is contained in the institution by
Archbishop William Wickwane, of William de Capella, subdeacon
and one of the de Hutton family, as rector to the church of Lowther
on 7 July, 1280. During the vacancy of the See of Carlisle the
collation devolved upon the Archbishop by authority of the Council.
On 22 July following the Archbishop directed a mandate to William
de Capella; rector of the church of Lowther, his Official in the diocese
of Carlisle, as follows:—"Since we have received the profession and
obedience in due form of our venerable brother Radulph [Ralph
Irton], Bishop of Carlisle, which he made in person and under oath
before us at our church of York, for himself and his church of
Carlisle . . . we have delivered into his trust the spiritualities of the
aforesaid diocese . . . write therefore in your letters containing word
for word this information to the Archdeacon, clergy and people of
the diocese bidding them that they humbly obey and support the said
Radulph as their bishop." Reg. of Arch. Wickwane, pp. 222, 223.
Soon after this, viz.:—on 17 May, 1282, the abbot and convent of
Byland conveyed to Master William de Capella, rector of the church
of Lowther, their manor of Fawcett, quit of punishment for escape
of beasts within Scleddisdale, Borwedale, and Wascedale, for his own
animals to be agisted, to hold for the term of his life or cure for 40s.
In the "Antique Taxatio Ecclesiastica" of Pope Nicholas IV, made
in the year 1291, the church is valued at £35; but by the "Novo
Taxatio" of 1318 the value is reduced to £5. The "Valor Ecclesiasticus" made by order of Parliament, 26 Henry VIII, 1535, is as
|Lowther Rectory, Miles Fleming, incumbent.|
|The said Rectory is worth in—|
Site of mansion with glebe and 3 cottages||£1||12||2|
|Tithes of grain||£20||0||0|
|" hay, flax and hemp||10||0|
|" lamb and wool||£2||6||0|
|Oblations and the lesser fees in Easter Book||£2||15||4½|
|Reprisals to wit—|
|Pension to the priory of Carlisle||£1||6||8|
|Synodals 4s., and Procurations 5s. 8d.||9||8|
|Clear annual value||£25||7||2½|
|A tenth part whereof||2||10||8¾|
The Commonwealth Survey of 1657 gives the following:—
That the right of presentation to the church is in Sir John Lowther.
That William Smith is present incumbent there and hath for his
maintenance all the tithes within the parish which are worth by the
year £40 and the glebe land which is worth £14 by the year.
The church was rebuilt between the years 1682 and 1686 by John,
Viscount Lonsdale. Bishop Nicolson speaks of it in 1703, as being
"in the fairest condition of any parish church in the diocese." The
whole fabric was restored in 1856.
A list of the Incumbents whose names have been met with during
the present research.
|1280–1320||William de Capella|
|1366||Walter de Welle|
| –r.1586||Thomas Fairfax|
On 3 September, 1638, Richard, son of Sir Christopher Lowther, in
love of the place and parish of his birth, gave £100 to the parish to be
employed for the salary of a schoolmaster to teach freely the young
children of the parish. At the same time Sir John Lowther, bart.,
gave a site "in the Slacke" to the parson and churchwardens of
Lowther to be employed in the erection of a school house. This was
built in 1640 upon a small piece of ground, measuring barely a rood.
When, however, the building fell into decay, William, earl of Lonsdale
in 1810 gave £100 and built a new school in a more convenient
situation at Hackthorpe.
Indenture made 6 November, 1826, between William earl of Lonsdale of the one part; and the Rev. James Satterthwaite D.D. rector
of Lowther, Thomas Walker of Whale, and John Walker of Lowther
Low Moor, churchwardens, of the other part. That whereas for
many years there had been a school at Hackthorpe whereof the Rev.
James Thornborough Ward is now master, the said earl now grants
to the rector and churchwardens a yearly sum of £10 for the said
master, the principal sums of £200 having been given by William
James of Penrith, mercer, and by a benefaction made many years
ago. The said £10 to be issuing out of the freehold messuage and
lands purchased by the earl of Edmund Bowman. Close Roll 10505,
pt. 73, n. 5.
Indenture made 6 November, 1826, between William earl of
Lonsdale, and the Rev. James Satterthwaite D.D., rector of Lowther,
and Thomas Walker and John Walker, churchwardens, that whereas
Richard Holme, late rector, dying in 1738, gave £100 as salary for a
school mistress to teach girls and the younger children of the parish
of Hackthorpe, and the same after his death was divided among the
parishes of Hackthorpe, Whale and Melkinthorpe, and the portions
of the two former were laid out in lands in Hackthorpe, now the said
lands having been sold to the said earl and £60 been paid by the said
Trustees, the said earl grants to them £24 a year issuing from his
freehold messuage at Celleron with the lands thereto belonging, lately
purchased of Edmund Bowman, to pay £10. 10s. 0d. to the schoolmistress of Hackthorpe school, £10. 10s. 0d. to the school mistress of
Whale and the remaining £3 to the school mistress of Melkinthorpe.
Close Roll, 10505, pt. 73, n. 6.
John, first Viscount Lonsdale, by deed dated 5 May and by Rules
and Orders dated 14 September, 1697, and by will dated 16 September, 1698, gave to Trustees the following directions. "Whereas I
have ever taken it to be my duty, as much as in me was, to endeavour
the good of my country, and more especially of that part where the
residence of my family and my estate was; I have therefore made
several experiments to establish such manufactures as I conceive
might be most proper; but finding it very different to bring any such
thing to perfection, I have turned my thoughts another way and
what the poor were unwilling to receive I intend to apply to the
advantage of gentlemen, in providing a better means for their
education than is anywhere yet established that I know of." To
this end he left to the Trustees the manor of Dernbrook in Craven;
the rectory and parsonage of Hale in West Cumberland, charged with
the payment of a yearly salary to the curate; a messuage and
tenement called Armstrong's tenement situate at West Linton in the
parish of Kirk Levington; and the school-house lately erected, etc.
Mr. Withers and Mr. Trant were the first masters who had £50 a-piece
paid to them every half year.
From 1697 to at least 1740 the college appears to have been kept
going and it is interesting to note that Anthony Askew of Kendal in
his will dated 5 December, 1733, granted to three feoffees certain
lands and the sum of £350 in trust for the education of his grandson,
either at Lowther or Sedbergh schools and afterwards at one of the
Universities, "to be brought up either in divinity, law or physic as
his genius shall tend."
On 17 May, 1739, Sir James Lowther wrote "My lord Lonsdale
(Henry 3rd Viscount) seems resolved to turn the charity back to the
promoting some manufacture at Lowther town, which he thinks will
not only do more good to the country as it will employ a good deal of
the coarse wool and consume more provisions. Perhaps Mr. Sunderland may be sent to Ireland, to take an account of some manufactures
there, such as the linen, before my Lord resolves what to set up at
Lowther, when Mr. Wilkinson leaves the school which will be in
Up to at least 1802 a carpet manufactory was carried on in the
building known as the College. The Report of the Charity Commissioners in 1822 led to a suit in Chancery and resulted in the
establishment of the scheme of 1831.
Probably as a motte and bailey this strength is mentioned in 1287
when Alice, daughter of Peter de Thrimby quitclaimed certain lands
to Hugh de Louthre. About the middle of the 14th century a pele
tower was erected but there is no record of the owner receiving a
licence to crenellate it. Then some hundred years later a second
tower was built to the westward leaving sufficient space for the great
15th century hall between them. Each tower had a vaulted basement with three floors above.
Machel says that the ancient village of Lowther was considerable.
Beside the Hall it consisted of the church, the parsonage house and
seventeen tenements, all of which were purchased by Sir John
Lowther, in the year 1682, and pulled down to enlarge his demesne
and open up the prospect of his house, for they stood just in front of
it. Between this time and 1685 Sir John rebuilt the great hall. His
son writing in his Memoir says, "The buildings between the old
tower [east tower] and Lowther Hall [west tower] were made by my
father . . . both the lead and the wood I bought by my father's
appointment of Lord William Howard, being the roof of the great
hall at Kirkoswald Castle." This block, about 60 feet in length was
of two storeys with a curiously embattled parapet and a large cupola
rising from the centre.
In 1726 the building was mostly destroyed by fire and for a period
of eighty years it seems to have lain waste and neglected. Between
years 1802 and 1808 Sir William Lowther, created 1st earl of Lonsdale in 1807, rebuilt the present castle from designs by Sir Robert
Now serving as a farm house, was erected by Sir Christopher
Lowther in the reign of James 1 and here his son Sir John was born.
The manor was held by the Strickland family from the time of
Edward 111 and continued in their possession until the purchase by the
Lowthers in 1535.
A "little low mean-looking building" of the 16th century, which
occupied a low site near the beck, was pulled down during the last
century. The manor passed from the de Melkinthorpes to the
Musgraves and afterwards to the Fallowfield family whose heiress
transferred it by marriage to the Dalstons who sold it to the Lowther
Unknown malefactors broke into the house of Geoffrey de Melkinthorpe and Richolda his wife, cut their throats and carried away
their goods. Alice, daughter of Adam, first found Richolda, she is
not suspected. Afterwards Warin de Melkinthorpe, Adusa Frikes
and Agnes la Breweress were taken for the same burglary and
imprisoned in the castle of Appleby, from which prison the said
Warin escaped in the time of Ralph de Nottingham, then sheriff.
The chattels of the said Warin are worth 23s. The aforesaid Adusa
was hanged for the same burglary, her chattels were worth 5s. and
Agnes la Breweress was delivered in the presence of the Justices.
And the vills of Hakethorpe, Clyburne and Stirkeland did not come
fully to the inquiry therefore they are in mercy. Assize Roll, 1256,
Writ "sicut pluries" to the Bishop to distrain William de la
Capella, parson of Lowther, one of the collectors of the clerical fifth.
A similar writ had been issued in 1312 when, together with the abbot
of Shap, he was collector thereof in Westmorland. Again in 1313
he was called upon to render an account of the fifth for the time when
he with the abbots of Shap and Holm Cultram and the prior of
Carlisle collected the amount. This was a writ issued for the third
or fourth time.
Thomas de Stirkeland, knt., enfeoffed Walter de Welle, parson of
Lowther and others of his lands and tenements in Quinfell, Grarig
John de Louthre, by Adam de Croseby his attorney,
appeared against John Bone, parson of the church of Lowther in a
plea that he render unto him 40s. which he owes. The defendant did
not come and the sheriff was ordered to summons him, and the sheriff
now returns that he is a clerk and beneficed in the Bishopric of
Carlisle and has no lay status in his bailiwick, therefore the sheriff is
commanded that he take him that he may be here at Easter. De
Banco Rolls, 469, m. 223d; 470, m. 225d.; 472, m. 541d.
John Bone, parson of the church of Lowther appeared
against William del Fermory, chaplain, in a plea that he render unto
him a reasonable account of the time when he was his bailiff in
Lowther and receiver of money for the same John. De Banco Roll,
470, m. 12.
William del Fermory, chaplain, by Adam Crosseby his
attorney, against William son of John Carter of Louthre in a plea
that he render unto him 40s. Which he owes. De Banco Rolls, 470,
m. 225d.; 472, m. 466d.
William son of Robert Thomson, by Adam Crosseby his
attorney, against John Shepherd of Hakthorp and John his son in a
plea wherefore with force and arms the same William was assaulted
at Hakthorp, beaten, wounded and ill-treated. De Banco Roll, 471,
Hugh de Louther 'le fitz,' knt., against Robert de
Louther brother of Hugh de Louther in a plea that he render unto
him £100 which he owes. De Banco Roll, 471, m. 157.
John de Hoton of Louthre, by Adam Crosseby his
attorney, against Henry Mariotson, Robert Dannay and William
Rose in a plea that each of them render unto him 40s.; and against
John Gest and William his son that they render 40s. which they owe.
De Banco Rolls, 471, m. 82d.; 472, m. 313.
John de Hoton of Louthre, by Adam Crosseby his
attorney, appeared against Richard Swynhirdson in a plea that
whereas by Edward, late King of England and grandfather of the
present king it was ordained that if any servant was retained in the
service of anyone by agreement and withdrew without reasonable
cause or licence he should be subject to imprisonment. The aforesaid
Richard late servant of the said John, at Tranthwayt withdrew from
his said service without cause to the grave damage of the said John.
De Banco Roll, 471, m. 82d.
John de Whitefeld, by Adam Crosseby his attorney,
against Thomas Best, Roger Sprentlop and Isabella his wife, William
Gollane, Henry son of William dell Hall, William Robynson de
Hakethorp, Nicholas de Crakehale, John Shepeherd, John Porter,
John Sympson and Thomas de Betham in a plea wherefore with
force and arms they broke into the close of the said John de Whitefeld
at Melcanthorp and his trees and underwood lately growing there
they cut down and his corn also growing there they mowed down and
all the said trees and underwood, corn, goods and chattels they found
there they took and carried away to the value of twenty marks.
De Banco Roll, 471, m. 284d.
Laurence de Whale, by Adam Crosseby his attorney,
against John Caponn in a plea that he render unto him 40s. which he
owes. De Banco Roll, 475, m. 224.
Lowther paid a fifteenth as a subsidy to the king amounting to
13s. 4d.; Lowther Quale, 17s.; Melkinthorpe, 15s.; and Hackthorpe,
18s.; a total of £3. 3. 4. Excheq. Q. R. Miscell. Books, vol. 7.
At the inquest taken at Brougham on 5 April, 1530, it was found
that Walter Strickland, knt., was seised inter alia of six acres of land
in Thorpe; one and a half acres of land in Lowther and two parts of
the advowson of the parish church of Lowther with power to present
a clerk to the said church when void alternately; and four acres of
land in Sharough. The lands in Thorpe, Lowther and Sharough
are held of the heir of Thomas Parr, service unknown, worth yearly
clear 20s. Walter Strickland died 9 January, 1528, and Walter
Strickland the younger is his son and heir, aged fourteen years.
Excheq. Inq. p.m., series ii, file 129.
1537 30 May.
Hugh Fleming of Coniston, esquire, and Lancelot
Lowther, gentleman, did covenant that the said Lancelot should
marry Joan daughter of the said Hugh. That either should pay for
their marriage apparel; that meat and drink shall be at the charge
of the said Hugh and also the licence; that the said Hugh is to give
the said Lancelot and Joan bedding and "inseyght" (furniture) as
shall stand with his worship to give; and that the portion shall be
£66. 13. 4d. to be paid at the parish church of Lowther.
At the inquest taken at Kirkby Kendall on 13 September, 1599,
the jury found that William Knipe was seised inter alia of messuages
in Melkanthorpe now in several tenures of divers tenants thereof
according to the custom of the manor or lordship of Melkanthorpe.
They are held of the earl of Cumberland by knight's fee and are
worth yearly clear 40s. William Knipe died 8 April last past and
Anthony Knipe is his son and heir, a minor to wit of the age of 16
years on 2 July last. Chanc. Inq. p.m., series ii, vol. 258.
Certificate of William Smith, rector, and Christopher
Holme, churchwarden, of Lowther parish, to Quarter Sessions, that
John Wilkinson of the Park Foot had not been to church for the
four Sundays last past. They desire that the Statute in that behalf
provided may be executed upon him.
1669–1672 Hearth Tax Roll
1669–1672 Hearth Tax Roll, Lay Subsidy 195, n. 73.
|Sir John Lowther||15|
|William Smith, vicar||3|
Six householders were exempted from paying the Tax by Certificate.
1678 8 April.
Quarter Sessions issued an order to several inhabitants
of Melkinthorpe to appear at the next Assize to give evidence for and
on behalf of our Sovereign Lord the king against Richard Braison for
uttering false money.
1694–5. 7 February.
It is ordered that the constables at Lowther do set
forth watch and ward and if they find any vagrants wandering or
begging that they strip them to the waist and whip them and then
convey them to the place of his or their birth or where they last dwelt
for a year.
1696 1 August.
Richard Holme, rector of Lowther, signed the antiJacobite "Association" formed throughout the Kingdom for the
protection of William III.
Henry, third Viscount Lonsdale, succeeded his brother, Richard.
In the year 1715 he was constituted Custos Rotulorum and afterwards
Lord Lieutenant of the counties of Cumberland and Westmorland.
On 3 October of that year he took the usual oaths and Test.
1733 10 July.
William Bouskell alias Bousfield of Hackthorpe, blacksmith, was indicted by Quarter Sessions for entering into a certain
close, called Great Tranthwaite, being the freehold of the Rt. Hon.
Henry lord viscount Lonsdale and in the occupation of Isaac Thompson and Jonathan Savage, as farmers thereof, and with force and arms
did tread down the corn and grass and with horses and other cattle
did eat up and destroy the same and with strength of arm did drive
out and remove the said Isaac and Jonathan from their said farm.
Fined one shilling.
1758 4 November.
Sir James Lowther, son of Robert Lowther of
Mauld's Meaburn succeeded his cousin the 3rd viscount and being
chosen Lieutenant and Custos Rotuloram for Westmorland took the
oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, the oath of Abjuration and made
the Declaration against the doctrine of Transubstantiation.
1830 19 April.
William Jackson, rector of Lowther, took the usual
oaths on qualifying as a Justice of the Peace.
Hugh Cecil Lowther was born 25 January, 1857, and succeeded
his brother, St. George Henry, as 5th earl of Lonsdale on 8 February,
1882. Thus for fifty years he has been head of the House of Lowther,
throughout which time, in the late Lord Birkenhead's phrase, he has
been, "a great aristocrat, a great sportsman and a very kindly