XIII. The Holm Under Elizabeth.
After the manor came into the hand of the Crown, several
attempts were made to induce the copyholders to give up their
tenant-right. The first was in 1555, when a dispute arose as to
the method of tithe-paying, and on Oct. 8 a commission was
appointed consisting of John Dacre, Thomas Salkeld, William
Musgrave and John Ellis, who decided that certain money
payments should be substituted for payments in kind. The
question was re-opened in June 1570 by another commission;
the evidence is printed in Nicolson and Burn, ii, 183–188, and need
not be repeated here, because there is a fuller account of the parish
in the answers given on Jan. 15, 1573, to a third inquiry. The
commissioners then were Lord Scrope, Richard Ashton, Richard
[Barnes], bishop of Carlisle, Edmund Hunt, Simon Slingsby,
Lancelot Marshall, Anthony Barwise, Edward Braddel, receiver
general for Cumberland, and Thomas Crompton, deputy auditor;
to whom the jury of local men deposed as follows:—
"1.—The site of the abbey with certain of the domains is
devized to Robert Chambers for 21 years, 457 acres of land and
pasture, yearly rent £26 19s. 8d.; of which Robert Hodgson has
9 acres 1 rood in copyhold. Other portions of the domains are let
to Thomas Deves (47 acres and 38 days-work of meadow) at
£4 13s. 8d.; Edward Musgrave (92 acres 1 rood) at £6 8s. 3d.;
Stephen Skelton (New Park) at 4s.; John Brisco, Hugh Stamper
and Thomas Chambers (3 acres, the feast of cattle, warren of
conies and fishing) at £16 13s.; Robert Chambers of Wolsty
(55 acres 1 rood) at £1 10s.; John Borrowdell (47 acres 3 roods
with a moss) at £4 5s. 6d.; Richard Benson (20½ [?] acres) at
£12 14s.; and Edward Philipson (Salt coats and Saltpans) at
"2.—There are no lands holden at will, but—
"3.—Certain cottages letten by lease for 21 years to John
Brisco, Hugh Stamper and Thomas Chambers at £3 7s. 10d.,
which sum is charged with the domains.
"4.—There are no freeholders.
"5.—No bondage tenants; all saving the Leasers before
written are Customary tenants by copy of court roll or copyholders
. . to have their tenements to them and their heirs for ever, by the
custom of the lordship, paying the accustomed rents. What
number of acres every man holdeth cannot be presented because
they were never measured … albeit divers surveys have been
taken. [They pay] fines at death and changing of tenants, and at
every alienation or surrender one year's rent, and at the change of
the Prince [the Crown being landlord] one penny every tenement
and … halfpenny gressoms every five years. [They] serve the
prince on these Borders in peace and wars with horse and armour
according to the rate and custom of these Marches … uphold the
sea-dykes from Robert Taylor's house at Skinburness unto John
Askew Hole, and do suit of court as by their grant more at large
under the Great Seal doth appear…
"7.—There are two water-cornmills; Abbey Mill, demised
with the site to Robert Chamber for £10 yearly; and Dubmill,
demised to Richard Benson at £6. The tenants of Skinburness,
Blitterlees, Wolsty, New and Old Mawbray and Edderside are
bound by custom to grind at the Dubmill and to repair the same
with thacke, and cast [clear out] the dam when needed, and therefore they are the first served.
"8.—No several pasture saving in the domains. There is a
common or bare waste which belongeth only to the customary
tenants for cattle (etc.) according to the rate or stint of old time
made … and if any tenant on the west side of the Waver do
keep more cattle on the common than his stint he payeth agistment … to John Brisco, Hugh Stamper and Thomas Chambers,
agisters of the same from the Queen's Majesty. They say further
that the said Leasers … do injury . . unto the said tenants
bewest the water of Waver in that they trouble the said tenants for
agistment of cattle depasturing upon the marsh from Skinburness
to [Calvo?] Crekes, which said marsh is not liable to the agistment
paying; … and also … if any tenant … let any of his arable
land [go] to grass and thereupon do grass his own cattle … and
for agistment of their best horse which they keep for service of the
prince, which in that respect time out of mind of man was ever
allowed free of agistment …
"9.—There is no common to spare to be improved.
"10.—There are none that occupy improvements but such as
pay rent to the Queen's Majesty for the same.
"11.—There be no concealed or attainted lands … to their
"12.—Thomas Deves hath an intack of one rood, rent 3d.
William Allonby hath a rood, rent 2d. Thomas Stamp[er] hath
half an acre, rent 6d. Hugh Stamp[er] half an acre, rent 7d.
John Wise, half an acre, rent 4d. and John Pape, a highway
through the same to his meadow. Gawen Richardson, half an
acre, rent 6d. Richard Barnes, half an acre, rent 1s. Divers others
there hath been and because they paid no rent … they were laid
down … to the common; and when the tenants of New Mawbray
were overblown with sand of the sea, upon survey made by the
late lord William Dacres, his lordship … appointed their houses
to be shifted (fn. 1) … whereby her Majesty hath neither loss of rent
nor of lands.
"13.—No woods of account, but one parcel set with oak, birch
and holly called Wedholme wood, granted … for the maintenance of the sea-dykes.
"14.—No park of deer, but a warren of conies rented at 13s. 4d.,
a fishing of the Stank, rent 10s., the prize fish, 13s. 4d. [i.e. the best
fish of the catch, due to the lord of the manor], the abbot's coop,
rented at 1s. 8d., all demised for 21 years to John Brisco, Hugh
Stamp[er] and Thomas Chamber.
"15.—No [?] but what is demised to John Brisco for 21s. a
year, and no pannage.
"16.—The saltpans are letten to Edward Philipson at £8 4s.
"17.—No mines; the common moss, letten to John Borrowdale
at 23s. 4d. and Wedholme moss, to Robert Chambers at 6s. 8d.
"18.—In some years more and some years less [of wreckage ? but it is not stated].
"19.—Two Court Leets in the year, time out of memory.
"20.—Two fairs in the year, on Mawndie Thursday and Corpus
Christi day, upon which days toll is due to the Queen's Majesty and
all fish of royalty [as sturgeon], wrecks of the sea, felons' goods,
"22.—There are certain Chapels … contained within the
leases before specified and rents reserved upon the same; a
parsonage of the Holme lordship in the gift of the university of
Oxford; the parsonage and vicarage of Wigton and Burgh-by
Sands in the Queen's Majesty in right of this lordship. In the
abbey's time there was a rent of 13s. 4d. from Camerton, which
hath not been paid of a long time, for what cause or how they
"23.—A perfect rental … followeth last in this roll … they
can do no more than … by the last survey, the book whereof wascertified into the Exchequer.
"24.—No reprisals nor allowances saving £18 13s. 4d. a year for
the fee of the head steward and clarke's fee, £2 10s. 8d. for the
bailiff's fee and £4 6s. 8d. for the learned steward.
"25.—There is a decay in the sea-banks of Mawbray and
Wolsty, and about 60 acres overblown with sand. A strong peile
called Newton [Arlosh church] tower hath been ever a notable
safeguard and defence … as well for all the tenants on the east
side of Waver as also of the east stock and goods, which tower is
now decayed in the roof and will cost … £5. There be also four
bridges of wood in decay; the Long Bridge, which will cost £8,
Cromford bridge, £3, Hartlaw bridge, £10, and Selat bridge, £1 6s.
8d. to repair, which all have been upholden and maintained by
the chief lord … the want thereof may be the utter undoing of
the whole tenants and lordship.
"26.—Wolsty Castle … ruinous … viz. the Hall which will
cost to be repaired in timber, slate, iron nails, laths, lime, carriage
and workmanship £24; the Chamber at the end of the hall,
£21 4s.; the Evidence house, £17 6s. 8d.; the kitchen, peathouse,
byre and stable £44 19s. 4d.; in all £107 4s.; and if the said castle
be not maintained … for the defence of that west part …
fourteen townships, viz. Dubmill, Old Mawbray, New Mawbray,
Beckfoot, Wolsty, Blitterlees, Silloth, Skinburness, Hayrigg, Mireside, Calvo, Brownrigg and Sevile, of the rent yearly of £120 17s.,
should utterly be spoiled and destroyed by the enemies and so
should the Queen's Majesty lose all those rents.
"27.—They can make no further value concerning the lease of
Robert Chambers (article 1).
"29.—The number of the tenants doth appear in the rental
following—one hundred serviceable men, furnished with horse and
armour … and fourscore serviceable men furnished with meaner
horses or nags, and all the rest are footmen furnished with bows
or spears, besides the men's sons and servants.
"30.—The fishing of Seaton is decayed by reason of [the fact
that] Flimby park and the woods there growing, which was the
maintenance of that fishing, was sold away by the Prince, whereby
there is now no woods to be had to maintain the same, which is the
very cause of the decay thereof.
"31.—The decay of the Salt-pans rent came by means that
half of them were worn away by the rage of the sea's floods and
divers workmen in them drowned, so as there was nor is any
found left to plant or make new pans and repairs.
"32.—As for boon days, so long as they were charged with
them they had great commodity and benefit from them, as for
every plough, for three days' work, seventeen white herrings and
six red herrings, a quarter of a killin [cod], a quarter of a salmon,
three wheat loaves, three loaves of yeoman's bread and three
gallons of ale; and for every shearbond in harvest, to every person,
three days, three loaves of bread, six white herring and three pints
of ale; besides that in the time of Christmas every year every
tenant and his wife dined in the abbey, whereof they say that ever
since the dissolution of the abbey they have been denied … the
"33.—The number of the acres of the rivings [divisions of the
ploughed townfields] are sixteen score, whereof fourscore go
yearly and answer £3 rent, besides 19 acres of the said fourscore
being in the occupation of divers tenants … answer no rent in
this charge, and besides 2 acres of the said number allowed to the
"34.—There is no decay of the Colt park.
"35.—No encroachments saving those specified in the 12th
article, and that John Langcake, John Austin, Anthony Wise and
William Smith of Saltcoats have removed their houses by license
of Mr. Swift, then auditor, from the danger of the sea-floods.
Also … the sea-floods have wasted four acres of arable lands of
Brownrigg and Red Flatt of their acrewall, whereby they are not
able to pay their rents … whereof they crave allowance and are
in danger of great damage by the said flood in time to wear away
all, without some remedy be found for the safe guard thereof by
the Queen's Majesty, for that the same lieth not within the limits
of the sea-banks that the tenants of the lordship are bound to
maintain but hath ever been maintained by the chief lord of the
The answers of 1573 show the Holm as a typical Cumbrian
manor, of which the constitution need not be described in general
terms; its subsequent history will be given in chapter XVI. By
the fifth answer, we see the importance attached to Border service
as the basis of the 'custom' on which the land was held. In
1538 the following muster gives the four Quarters of the manor
and their various grieveships, with the numbers of holdings
divided into Horsemen tenements of 15-20 acres, Demys of 10-12
acres, and footmen tenements of 2-6 acres each. It may be
remarked that these are not statutory acres, for the area included
the headriggs and the reins or balks which divided the land
actually ploughed from the holdings of neighbours in the commonfields.
Holm Abbey Quarter.
Holm St. Cuthbert Quarter.
Holm Low Quarter.
Holm East Waver Quarter.
The total muster included 135 horsemen, 106 demys and 131
footmen, making 372 men in all. With these totals may be
compared the figures arrived at from surveys of different dates
based on the holdings regarded as farms and cottages:—
|H. St. Cuthbert's
From this it appears that four men, more than the holdings
account for, were liable to service in 1538; and that after the
Dissolution the population slightly decreased. That is to say the
wealth of the Holm diminished, as we shall see from the difficulty
found in raising horsemen fully equipped, and in purchasing
firearms. The decay is seen in the next four extracts.
"A Breviat of the muster of Light Horsemen . . furnished with
horse, steel coat or jack, speare and steele cap fit for service upon
the Borders, certified to Lord Scrope, Lord Warden of the West
Marches of England, 28th March, 1580.—Holm Coltram 60,
decayed to 40. The officer of Holm apperteyninge to her Majestie
hath informacion that there owght to be kept within that office
threskore light horsemen and no more, whereof at this present are
furnished twentie. The residewe being in nombre 40 are altogether unfurnished, not havinge anye just cawse at all to alledge
for their decaye …"
In the Report by Edward Aglionby, 1592.—"West of Bourgh
[Burgh-by-Sands] lyeth the Holme Lordship under the Government of a Steward who ought to be resident within the Holme for
defence of the Lordshippe. His service is not so readie as Bourgh
to follow frayes except the fraye be amonges them selves, but his
service is to bringe the men under his charge … as the Warden
Jan. 11, 1596–7; Thomas Scrope to Burghley.—"I have
received by the Tenants of Holme your Lordship's letter, whereby
I see they petitioned you showing that the weapon of calyver
[the new and lighter musket, fired without a rest] is of little use in
this country and the charge is too great [a caliver cost 20s.] for any
benefit they get by it, and the same by the great dearth there is
will undoe them. I find them of the Holme by their setters on
alwayes ready to cross me." [This was, however, a time of
plague.] And later, Scrope and others write to Burghley:—"By
your Honor's warrant Mr. Rich. Musgrave brought hither from
Newcastle a proportion of calyvers to strengthen the Borders.
The Queen's tenants of Holm Cultram were appointed to receive
50, at rates settled by the officer and 12 honest and substantial
men; but it appears they … allege you that the tax is burthensome in this time of dearth … God be praised, for it is no greater
this year than it was last, and the most of them assessed are well
able to sustain the charge … and this complaint rather springs
from the backwardness of a few, not of the meanest ability, who
show a bad example."
The dangers of the Border and the duties of the service were real
enough, as an extract will show:—
1542 (the year of the battle of Solway Moss).—"The Scottes
upon Mounday a nyght the secunde of October to the nombre of
thre score in botes entered into the Lordshippe of Tholme and ther
ner to the see burnt two houses and did take two watchers (fn. 2) and
thre other; ane olde man they did bere away in a shete. The
same was done as I am informed upon displeasure for that to these
personnes by the same Scottes a redress [compensation] was made
in the last year …" (In continuation is the narrative of the
reprisals; how the English raided Annandale and burnt thirty
houses in Dumfries.)
Consequently, when Henry VIII in 1544 ordered every fifth man
to be taken to serve in France, there was dismay. In 1549 it was
proposed to import a hundred kernes (from Ireland) to strengthen
the western Border, and to place 20 of them in the Holm. The
inhabitants seem to have petitioned the king, and the answer to
the Lord Warden was "to cease to trouble thinhabitants of Holm
In 1592–3, spoils in Cumberland included the following within
the Holm:—"William Osmotherley, (fn. 3) gentleman, his house broken
and goods taken worth £200 and himself carried prisoner to Scotland; George Austin [of Saltcoats, as the Court Rolls show] 9 oxen,
£30; William Saunderson [Blitterlees] 6 horses, and Clokes worth
£10; Thomas Ullock [Calvo] prisoner, and ransomed at £14;
Anthony Penryse [Mosside] goods worth £40 and his ransom £40;
George Drape [Calvo] and Robert Wilkinson [Highlaws] 5 nags
worth £10; sheep from sundry men £5."
With the union of the crowns this perpetual state of Border
trouble ceased. But at the beginning of the Civil War it recrudesced for a time:—
1640. "To the Honble. Sr. Nicholas Byron, Governour of the
castle and citadell of Carlisle … the humble petition of the
Inhabitants within the Parish of Holm humbly sheweth that his
Ma'ties Tennants within the said Parish have heretofore from time
to time bene charged with light horse and demys besides foote and
night watch, all which have been provided at the Lord Warden's
comand … at our owne costs … We … have sustained
great dammage of the Scots by Boateing, insomuch that they have
burnt two or three townes at one time, violently taken away thre
schore head of Cattle, one hundred Sheepe, together with the
spoyle of the said Townes. Now soe it is that for the prevention
of ffuture harmes in these dangerous times … we … have for
our better safetie bene at the charges of thre schore poundes for
muskets and other warlike furniture, and have planted the same
upon the sea and is at charges with keepeing of men and municion
day and night. Nevertheless his Ma'ties poore Tennants have
reoeived a direccion or warrant from the Deputie Lieutenants for
to Levie everie fift man out of the said Parish, to come to the Cittie
of Carlisle or where it pleaseth them to appoynt, to be kept at our
cost and charges, which we are not able to performe … for we
live in the mouth of the enemie …"—" We conceive it reasonable for these reasons herein mentioned that the sd. Tennants be
freed from their attendance at Carlisle, in respect of their watches
and customs, and that they shall not neede to send every fift man
unless the Beacons be on fire and then all to come.—Leonard Dykes
ffirst of October 1640."
The Border laws did not prevent a certain amount of intercourse between the two countries, subject to licence from the
Lord Warden, and the following is a specimen:—
1569. "Henry Scrope, knyght, Lorde Scrope of Bolton, Lorde
Warden of the West Marches … doth license John Mackge,
Scottsman … may saflie with all his lofall goods and merchandyse … come into any creeke or harbor … to make his lawfull
exchange, paying his loful custome and dewte therfore and …
return agayne unto the Realm of Scotland without lett vexacion
or troble of any Englisheman in bodye or goods, so as the Scotsman do replevie to lie [lay] downe anything prejudiciall to the
Queen's Ma'tie her highnesse Realm lawes and subjects. And
this license lasting till Whit Sundaye next year under my signet
at Carlisle the vth daye of November in the xi yeare of our
Sovereign ladye Quene Elizabeth's Reign."