Ravenstonedale History & Directory

· Bowderdale Angle

· Fellend Angle

· Newbiggin Angle

· Town Angle

RAVENSTONEDALE PARISH is a region of valleys, thwaites, and fells, bounded by Mallerstang, Smardale, Raisbeck, Tebay, and that part of Yorkshire lying north of Sedbergh. The river Rother, and several streams which form the source of the Lune rise here, as also does the Raven beck, which flows northward to Smardale, through a fine open valley formed into rich pastures. The parish, which contains 1059 inhabitants, is all comprised in one manor and township, though for the convenience of collecting rates, etc. it is separated into four divisions, called TOWN, BOWERDALE, FELL-END, and NEWBIGGIN ANGLES. The MANOR, with the advowson, was granted by one Torphin to Watton priory, in Yorkshire, of the order of Sempringham, which was founded in 1148, and had numerous privileges granted to it by several popes and kings, in all of which Ravenstonedale participated, for Anthony Fothergill, of Trannahill, who wrote in 1645, says that if a murdered fled to the church here for sanctuary, and tolled the holy bell (as it was called) he was free, and that if a stranger came within the precincts of the manor, he was safe from his pursuer. The lord of the manor hath still the jurisdiction of probate of wills and granting letters of administration; and the steward of his court administers the oath of office to the churchwardens. After the dissolution of the before-named monastery, Henry VIII. granted this manor to the Whartons, who sold it to the Lowthers, so that the Earl of Lonsdale is the present lord, but most of the estates have lately been enfranchised.

RAVENSTONEDALE TOWN contains about 100 houses, pleasantly situated at the confluence of two rivulets, 4 ½ m. SW. of Kirkby Stephen, and 8 miles ESE. of Orton. A small market is held here on Tuesdays, and a fair on the Thursday after Whit-Sunday. It bears evident marks of being once a much larger town that it is now. A little to the north of it is the Lord’s Park, enclosed by a high wall, and containing an eminence, called Gallow Hill, on account of criminals having been executed there. The park was walled round by Lord Wharton, in 1660, "but there is no remembrance of any deer having been kept there." Upon Ash Fell a lofty hill on the north side of the park, is a house cut out of the solid rock, capable of holding six cows. Near Rother Bridge, lately erected at the south end of the parish, is a circle of large stones, supposed to have been a Druid’s Temple. In 1774, an antique copper vessel was found buried in the peat, half a mile from the town head, where, in 1700, there was a tarn, well stocked with perch and eels. The parish CHURCH, dedicated to St. Oswald, is a neat and commodious structure, built in 1744, on the site of the old one, which had two rows of seats below the communion table, "where it is said the steward and jury of the manor sat formerly, in their court of judicature." The malefactors were imprisoned in a hollow arched vault, the ruins whereof are still to be seen on the north side of the present church. The benefice is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Earl of Lonsdale, and incumbency of the Rev. John Robinson, D.D. of Clifton, for whom the Rev. Robert Robinson, B.A. officiates. In 1777, the whole glebe and houses belonging to the curate, were worth about £18 a year, exclusive of the ancient salary of £8 paid by the lord of the manor as impropriator; a rent-charge of £5 1s. purchased in the manor of Bleatarn, with £100 left by the Rev. Wm. Morland; 27s. a year arising from land purchased with £20 left by John Fothergill, for a sermon on the 10th of August; and the interest of £5 left by Henry Fothergill, for a sermon on St. Bartholomew’s day. But the living has been augmented with various bequests, etc. amounting to £800, with which, in 1826, land was purchased at Dubbs, worth upwards of £30 per annum. In 1786, Mr. Giles left the interest of £20 for an annual sermon, and John Holmes, left a similar bequest for the parish clerk, but these are included with the other Charities belonging to the parish. The PRESBYTERIAN CHAPEL in the town is a neat edifice, and ranks amongst the oldest Dissenting places of worship in the county, having existed since about the year 1662, when the congregation was formed under the pious and successful labours of the Rev. Christopher Jackson, who was ejected by the Act of Uniformity from Crosby-Garret, or Crosby-on-Hill. It was endowed by Philip Lord Wharton with £100, which was laid out in land, together with £86 left by Mr. Pindar, John Thompson, Isabel Langhorn, James Fawcet, and George Murthwaite. Various other benefactions, amounting to about £100, are let out on interest by the trustees. The Rev. Robert Hamilton Bonner (a native of Scotland) has been minister here upwards of 14 years, and resides in the large dwelling-house belonging to the chapel, which has a burial-ground attached to it.

THE FREE GRAMMAR-SCHOOL, for the benefit of the whole parish, was founded about 1688, by Thomas Fothergill, B.D. (master of St. John’s College, Cambridge) and several others of his name and kindred, all natives of this parish, who endowed it with about £450, which was laid out in the purchase of three small estates, viz. Horngill, in Asby parish, Foxhill Rigg, in Sedbergh parish, and land at Bousfield, in Orton parish; but only the latter now belongs to the school, the trustees having improperly, and perhaps illegally, converted the other into two rent-charges, amounting only to £11 per annum, though the land is now worth upwards of £70 a year, and at the time of this abusive change (1703) was let for about £30 a year. The whole endowment is bow about £42 per annum, of which £5 is a rent-charge, left by Philip Lord Wharton. The present school-room and master’s house were built in 1758, by subscription, and three donations, amounting to £40, given by George Fothergill, D.D. principal of Edmund Hall, Oxford; Thomas Fothergill, D.D. provost of Queen’s College, Oxford; and Henry Fothergill, M.A. "all three brothers, born at Lockholme in this parish." The school is free for Latin and Greek, but a quarterage is paid for the other branches of education. The Fothergills appear to have been the principal family here. The churchwardens informed Bishop Nicholson, in 1703, that they had not had a beggar in the parish within the memory of man, and had never a gentleman amongst them, "except only the curate and schoolmaster."

THE TOWN ANGLE forms the north-east division of the parish, and includes the neighboring HAMLETS of Cross-bank, Lockholm, and High and Low Stenner’s Keugh, distant from 1 to 2 miles SW. of the town.

BOWDERDALE, the south-western "Angle" of the parish, includes the village and deep dale of its own name; and also WEASDALE, distant from 2 ½ to 4 miles WSW. of the town.

FELL-END ANGLE, the south-east quarter of the parish, includes the Hamlets of Backside, Dovengill, Murthwaite, and Wandale distant from 2 ½ to 4 miles S. of the town.

NEWBIGGIN ANGLE, the north-west division of the parish, includes the Village of Newbiggin, and the Hamlets of Coldbeck and Greenside, situated within one mile NW. of the town.

Bowderdale Angle - Marked 1, reside at Bowderdale; and 2, in Weasdale

Thompson Richard, gent. Sear Sykes and Kirkby-Stephen





Thus * are Yeoman


 *Beck John, Dubbs

*Beck Richard, Sandwath

2 Buck Thomas

Cowperthwaite Geo., Wath

 Dawson Robert, Dubbs

Gibson Wm., Wath

1 Harrison Thomas

Hunter Geo., Browfoot

Medcalf James, Moss

1 Preston Thomas

2 Rennison Sarah

Robinson George, Garth

Sanders Thos. Tranmire

2 Thompson John

2* Udale Septimus

*Udale Joseph, Cowbank

2* Wilson John

2* Wilson John


Fellend Angle - Marked 1, reside at Dovengill; 2, at Murthwaite; and 3, at Wandale. Thus * are Yeoman, and the rest Farmers

Alderson Eleanor, Rother bridge

Dawson John, Backside

Dawson Robert, Studfold

3 Dent John

1* Dent Margaret

Eglin John, Foggygill

2* Fawcett George

Fawcett George, Northwaite

*Fawcett Isabella, Tarn

*Handley John, Northwaite

2* Handley Joseph

Herd, John, Sandbed

 3 Herd John

 Hunter Anthony, Streetside

*Hunter John, Sprintgill

1* Hunter Richard

Johnson Robert, Studfold

1 Kirkbride Thomas

* Law Henry Whiteclose

Medcalf _____, Wray-green

2* Parkin William

2* Shaw William

Thexton Thos. Sprintgill

 1 Tunstall Robert

2 Tunstall Tobert

Wharton John, Needlehouse


Newbiggin Angle - Marked 1, reside at Brownber; 2, at Coldbeck; 3, at Greenside; 4, at High Lane; and 5, at Low Lane

Brown Edmund, blacksmith

3 Clayton Thos. Butcher

2 Dawson Anthony, corn miller

1 Dixon Wm. Esq. chief constable & bridgemaster, Causeway end

Hill Christopher, joiner and wheelwright

2 Hodgson Miss Margaret

Ireland Frances, grocer

Medcalf Anthony, gamekeeper, Hag house

2 Rennison Christopher, gamekeeper

5 Thompson John, tailor

Wharton Joshua, Esq. Bents, and Kirkby Stephen

Wilson Richard, grocer and auctioneer



Thus * are Yeoman


 Bell Rd. Weesdale place

Bousfield Elizabeth

*Bovell Robert

*Brocks Joseph

3* Chamberlain Stephen

Clayton Thomas

*Fawcett John, Hill

3* Fawcett John

Fawcett Rt. Brackenber

1* Fothergill William

1 Fothergill John

3* Fothergill Richard

3* Fothergill Sarah

1 Guy John

Hewetson Richard, Hole

2 Knewstubb Edward

Medcalf George, Beckstones

Metcalf Anthy. Hag house

4 Medcalf John

*Milner John

Murray John

Murthwaite Rt. Rigg end

5 Nelson Michael

Potter Rd. Intake hall

5* Scarborough Thomas

4 Taylor Thomas

Thwaite James, Brackenber

Thwaite Simon

Walker Edw. Friar bottom

Whitehall Wm. Beckstones


Town Angle - Marked 1, reside at High Stenner’s Keugh; 2, at Low Stenner’s Keugh; 3, at Lockholm; and the rest in the town.

Airy Thomas, cooper

Bird Miss Dorothy, Gazehill

Bonner Rev. Robert Hamilton, Presbyterian minister

Bousfield Miss Mary

Brunskill Isabella and Ann, grocers

Brunskill Jonathan, clogger

Chamberlain Joseph, shoemaker and assistant overseer, Killmire

Clayton Thomas, butcher, h. Greenside

Coupland Dorothy, schoolmistress

Dawson Wm. spirit merchant

Fawcett Henry, shoemaker

Fawcett James, tailor

Fawcett Wm. tailor

Hall James, tailor

Hall William, tailor

Hardy, Charles, gent.

Hewetson Lydia, grocer and draper

Hewetson Eubank, wheelwright and joiner

Hewetson Thomas, wheelwright and joiner

Hunter James, vict. King’s Head, Coldbeck

Hunter Miss Mary

Hunter Stephen, grocer and draper

Jaques John, shoemaker and grocer

Langhorn John, master of the grammar school

Rennison Eliz. Grocer

Robinson Uzzl, blacksmith

Robinson Thomas, vict. Black Swan

Shaw Henry, vict. Black Bull, Cross Bank

Spencer George, surgeon

Stubbs Wm. joiner & parish clerk

Thompson Thos. Shoemaker

Udale Agnes, grocer

Wilkinson Elizabeth, draper



Thus * are Yeoman


 2 Adamthwaite Thomas

Alderson Chpr. Tarn house

*Beck Chpr. Hartlegarth

Binks Thomas, Gazehill

Birtley William

Bousfield William, Ashfell

*Bousefield William

Bradbury Wm. Street

3 Buck John, Piperfoot

Chamberlain John, Dame Intake

1 Cleasby James

*Coates Richard, Hill

*Fawcett Elizabeth, Hartlegarth

Fothergill John, Bleaflatt

Fothergill Margaret

Fothergill Jas. Ellergill

2 Furness Miles, Hall

3 Furness Wm. Banks

Guy George

Guy Isabella

Guy William, Flask

*Hewetson Benj. Green

*Hewetson John, Street

Hewetson Robert

3* Hewetson Robert

2 Hodgson William

Hutchinson Robt. Blenflatt

Hunter Ann

*Hunter Thomas

Hunter Thomas, Bowber head

3* Hunter Stephen

1 Kirkbride John

*Knewstubb John, Shawbrow

Mason Edward

3* Morland John, Stouphillgate

*Parkin Martha

3* Peacock Thomas, Head

Ralph, Sarah

Rennison Jas. Bowberhead

*Robinson John, Ashfell

Simpson Thomas, Ashfield

Swainson Eleanor, Far ground

Thompson Joseph

Thompson Rd. Lyse side

3* Turner Stephen

*Todd John, Egdale lane

*Wharton John, Ashfield

Wilson George Lyse side

*Wilson John, Crooks beck





To Kendal, Simon Alderson, dep. Fri 8 mng. Arr. Sat. 10 evg.

To Kirkby-Stephen, Simon Alderson, and John Udale Mon. dep. 8 mng.; arr. 8 evg.

To Sedbergh, Simon Alderson, and John Udale, Wed. dep. 7 mng.; arr. 9 evg.

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acknowlegements to Les Strong