This neat and flourishing town, the largest in Westmorland, and the capital of the great Barony, Deanery, and Parish of its own name, is pleasantly situated on the west side of the river Kent, beneath a lofty scar or cliff, opposite the ruins of the ancient baronial castle, 12 miles NW by N of Kirkby-Lonsdale, 21 miles N of Lancaster, 23 miles SSW of Appleby, 45 miles S of Carlisle, 71 miles NW by W of Leeds, and 259 miles NNW of London. It occupies the two townships of Kirkby-in-Kendal and Kirkland, so that, with its suburbs in Scalthwaite-rigg and Nether Graveship, its total population may be estimated at upwards of 11,000 souls, a considerable increase having taken place since the enumeration of 1821, when its number of inhabitants was 10,455. It is intersected by four principal streets, one of which lies north and south, forming a spacious and busy thoroughfare of one mile in length, which leads northward to the beautiful lake of Cumberland and Westmorland, on their road to which a great number of tourists pass through Kendal, where there are two excellent inns for their accommodation, and from which Windermere, the largest lake in England, is distant only about 8 miles westward. Other streets branch off in every direction, and they are all well paved, and the houses built of limestone, and covered with blue slate, there being neither a brick not a tiled building in the whole town. The stone used here is brought from the fell or scar on the west side of the town, and is capable of receiving as high a polish as most marbles. Though the town is very ancient, it has now a modern appearance, nearly all the old houses being re-built, and many new streets and rows of neat buildings being erected during the last thirty years. The white appearance of the houses – (having all either fronts of smooth stone or plaster) is greatly enlivened by the number of Lombardy poplars which spire about them, and by the long range of hanging gardens on the west, and the sloping meads and plantations on the east, where the noble stream of the Kent washes the skirts of the town, is crossed by three good bridges, and abounds in excellent trout. That Kendal is no modern town, is proved by that old pile of buildings which was removed in 1803 from the middle of Highgate, and which from the time of its erection, about the year 1500, was called New-biggin, signifying new building. The streets underwent but little alteration till 1782, when Lowther-street was built. Stramongate bridge was enlarged in 1794. The Mill-bridge, which had stood since 1668, was re-built in 1818, when Kent-lane was widened. The completion of the Canal to Lancaster, etc. in 1819, gave a powerful impulse to the building spirit of the inhabitants, which still continues to extend the limits of the town, and to improve its general appearance and public accommodations. A large range of houses in Wildman-street were built in 1819; and in the following year, Caroline-street, Union-street, Cross-street, and Strickland-place were formed by the Union Building Society; and in the next year, 1822, the principal entrances to the town were widened, viz. At Nether-bridge, Strickland-gate, and Wildman-street, and an obstruction at Blindbeck-bridge was removed. Since then a row of pleasant and elegant houses, called Kent terrace, a long pile called Castle-row, and the buildings forming Castle-street and Ann-street, have been erected; and various other additions and improvements have been made and are still in progress at Beast-bank, Cross-bank, and in other parts of the town.

The CASTLE, of which four broken towers and part of the outer wall still remain, "was old and decayed even in Camden’s time, and hath been never since repaired," except in 1813, when the foundations were strengthened, and skirted with a now thriving plantation, forming a fine object in view from the town. It had a large demesne, and a park with deer, "which was disparked in the 8th of Elizabeth. The administration of the affairs and revenues thereof seems to have been divided into two distinct stewardships, bearing the name to this day of Upper and Nether Graveships." This fortress, the ancient seat of the Barons of Kendal, and the birth-place of Katherine Parr, the last queen of Henry VIII. stands on the east side of the Kent, upon a hill composed of rounded stones, embedded in a black sandy cement. It is well worth visiting, both from the beauty of its commanding situation, and from the interest always excited by the venerable relics of former days. Its appearance, however, is more imposing at a distance than close at hand. Some antiquaries are of opinion that it occupies the site of a Roman station. Opposite the castle, on the western side of the town, is Castle-how-hill, which is within sight of the Roman station at Water-crook, "and is very like the exploratory mounts, which Horsley observes, are to be seen in other places, especially near the military ways." On this eminence, the inhabitants in 1788, erected an obelisk, to commemorate the glorious revolution of 1688. BLACK HALL, an ancient building in Strickland-gate, was for centuries the residence of the Wilsons, one of whom, Henry Wilson, Esq. was in 1575, chosen the first alderman of Kendal, the office of mayor not being instituted till 1636. The Black Hall property, and most of the old family estates, are now the property of Edward Stephenson, Esq. of London. The WHITE HALL, a large ancient mansion, whose site is now occupied by a modern public edifice, was long the residence of the Robinsons, now of Rookby Park, near Greta Bridge. The ancient family of Chambre (De Camera), was seated here many generations after the reign of Henry III. ABBOT HALL, in Kirkland, was re-built in its present form in 1759, by the late Col Geo. Wilson, who sold it to John Taylor, Esq. of whose trustee it was purchased by Sir Alan Chambre, Judge of Common Pleas; but, in 1801, it came into the possession of Christopher Wilson, Esq., who resides chiefly at Rigmaiden Hall. It is approached through a small park, and has before its western front some fine trees and a gravel walk. Collinfield, a very ancient house, the property of Anthony Yeates, Esq., was once occupied by the celebrated Countess of Pembroke. The Musgraves, of Castle Mills, are descended from the Musgraves formerly of Hayton Castle.

There have been several EARLS of KENDAL, viz. John, Duke of Bedford, John, Duke of Somerset, and John de Foix, the latter of whom was a Frenchman, raised to that dignity by Henry VI. for his faithful services in the French wars; and since that time his "family write themselves Earls of Longuerville and Kendal." George, Prince of Denmark, husband of Queen Anne, was by King William created Earl of Kendal. There has also been one DUKE of KENDAL, viz. Charles, Duke of York, the third son of James II. who died young; "and finally, Erengard Melusina Schuylenberg, a German lady, who came to England with George I., was by that monarch honoured with the title of DUCHESS of KENDAL. Baron Kendal is one of the secondary titles of the Earl of Lonsdale.

KENDAL BOROUGH comprises only that part of the town within the limits of the township of Kirkby-in-Kendal, and is governed by a corporation, consisting of a mayor, recorder, 12 alderman, 20 capital burgesses, etc. but it sends no members to parliament. By the first charter, granted by Queen Elizabeth, in 1575, the burgh had not a mayor, but was governed by an alderman, recorder, and 12 assistants; but by the charter of the 11th of Charles I. confirming that of Elizabeth, and granting more ample privileges, the corporation was established in its present form, "to have a common seal, with power to take lands not exceeding £100 a year." These charters were surrendered in 1683 to Charles II. who granted a new one; but James II. in 1685, reestablished them, and revoked that of his predecessor, on the ground that their surrender had not been recorded. The mayor is chosen yearly out of the alderman, on the Monday before Michaelmas-day. The alderman remain in office during life, and are replaced by the survivors. The capital burgesses are chosen by the mayor and aldermen, and remain in office "during their good behaviour." The mayor and aldermen also appoint a recorder, a town-clerk, a sword-bearer, and two serjeants at mace. The mayor is a clerk of the markets; and the mayor and two senior aldermen are coroners. The mayor, recorder, (or deputy recorder), and two senior aldermen, or three of them, hold, on every third Thursday, a Court of Record, and View of Frankpledge, "and have cognizance of pleas of matters arising within the borough, not exceeding £20." They have also power to make bye-laws, for the government of all officers, artificers, burgesses, inhabitants, and resiants in the borough, so that they are "not contrary to the laws of the land." They and the burgesses may "appoint searchers and inspectors of woollen cloth and cottons, and impose fines for offences committed in the manufacturing thereof." And the charter declares that "no petty chapman or artificer, not free of the borough, shall, except in open fair or market, put to sale any wares or merchandizes (except victuals), without license of the mayor and aldermen, under their seals." And that "the mayor, recorder, and two senior aldermen, shall be justices of the peace; and they may hold SESSIONS, and hear and determine offences, except treason, murder, felony, or any other matter touching the loss of life or limb, in which they shall not proceed, without the king’s special command. And the justices of the county shall not intromit, unless in defect of the justices of the borough." "Provided that nothing herein shall derogate from the right of the hereditary sheriff of the county, with respect to any goods or chattels of felons and fugitives, waifs, deodands, estrays, view of frankpledge, tourns, and county court, or execution of process."

Amongst the trademen of this corporation were seven FREE COMPANIES, viz. Mercers, Shearmen, Cordwainers, Tanners, Skinners, Tailors, and Barbers, each of which had two wardens and a separate hall, but none of them now exist – the last of them, the Cordwainers’ Company, being "broken" about the year 1800, by the late Mr. Robert Moser; the Company not being able to produce a charter to enforce the usual fine of £10 upon those masters who commenced business within the borough, and were not freemen of the same; so that the injurious monopoly, which excluded non-freemen from participating in the trade of the town is now dormant, if not defunct, and they are no longer confined to that part of the town without the borough, in Kirkland township. The corporation hold the tolls of the borough under a lease of the Earl of Lonsdale and the Hon. F. G. Howard, of Levens, who are joint lords of the manor, which is chiefly burgage property, held by tenants, for the admission of whom Courts used to be held yearly, but have long been discontinued. The warehouses and wharfs on the canal basin belong to the Corporation, as also does some other property in the borough. Their revenue is partly expended for the improvement of the town. The QUARTER SESSIONS for the Borough of Kendal are held on the Thursdays, after the first whole weeks after Epiphany, Easter, St. Thomas a Beckett, and after Oct. 11th, and for the Barony of Kendal on the succeeding Fridays. The COURT OF CONSCIENCE, established by Act of Parliament in the 4th of George III. 1764, extends to the whole parish of Kendal, for the recovery of debts under 40s., which are not to be sued for in any other court; but its jurisdiction does not extend to debts for rent, nor to any contract "where the freehold doth come in question, nor to any matter cognizable by the Ecclesiastical court, or before the Justices of the Peace." The Mayor, Recorder, or Deputy-Recorder, with 18 other gentlemen, are the commissioners of this court, and six of the latter are changed every year on the 3d of May, by a selection of six others from the principal inhabitants of the parish. The Court is open once in three weeks, or oftener if necessary, and has power to issue warrants, with costs, for the seizure of debtor’s goods or bodies, but no debtor can be imprisoned more than three calendar months. Mr. Thomas Richardson is clerk of this Court, which, as well as the others, is held in the TOWN HALL, a neat and commodious building in the Market place, built in 1759 on the site of the old one, erected in 1592. The Mayor gives here two public entertainments annually, one on accession to office and another on his resignation. A grand festival, called the Kendal Guild, is sometimes held; that on the 4th, 5th, and 6th of June, 1759, exceeded any former one in variety and splendour. The HOUSE OF CORRECTION at the north end of the town, serves both for the borough and the county, and was built in 1786, but was greatly enlarged and altered in 1828 and 1829, so that it now contains 35 sleeping rooms, and 15 day rooms, with a Governor’s house, commanding a view of the whole prison, which is circumscribed by a strong wall, enclosing a triangular area nearly 240 yards in circumference. Mr. James Fawcett is the present Governor. The following is a list of the:


Mayor, Thomas Harrison, Esq.

Recorder, Fletcher Raincock, Esq.

Deputy-Recorder, Edward Tatham, Esq.


William Berry, Esq. }

John Harrison

} Senior Alderman

Michael Branthwaite

Thomas Holme, Esq. }

George Forrest

Thomas Harrison

John Moffett

Jonathan Hodgson

Joseph Swainson

John Pearson

George Webster

Town Clerk, Mr. William Berry


Zephaniah Banks

George Webster

George Berry

Emanuel Burton

John Thompson

Myles Fenton

John Hallshead

Thomas Richardson

Joseph Banks

Thomas Relph

Joseph Clarke

William Longmire

Francis Pearson

Stephen Bell

(six vacant.)

Sword Bearer, James Webster

Serjeants at Mace, John Walker and Anthony Hodgson


In a Chronological Table, containing the annals of Kendal, the following events are noticed. In 1598, no fewer than 2500 persons fell victims to a ravaging plague. In 1617, King James lodged one night in Stricklandgate, on his road towards Scotland. In 1635, the Kent overflowed, and the water entered the church vestry, and on the following day 48 persons were drowned in Windermere lake. In 1782, the Kent was again flooded, and rose higher than it had ever done before. – In 1649, when King Charles was beheaded, Sir M. Langdale marched with a body of Kendal men to besiege Appleby castle. In 1715, about 1600 Scotch rebels lodged one night in Kendal and then proceeded southward; again in 1745, about 6000 rebels, in the hopeless cause of the House of Stuart, passed through the town. Turnpike-roads were formed between the years 1652 and 1760, and the numerous Pack Horses employed at Kendal were soon yoked to waggons and other carriages. The shock of an Earthquake was felt in Aug. 1787, and again in Nov. 1817. That brutal sport, Bull-baiting, was suppressed at Kendal in 1791. A remarkable instance of longevity was noticed in 1798, when 30 persons, whose united ages amounted to 2520 years, averaging 84 each, were interred in Kendal church yard. In 1803, a regiment of Volunteers, consisting of 1100 men, was raised in the Kendal and Lonsdale Wards; and in 1821 a corps of Yeomen Cavalry was raised in Westmorland, – Kendal finding one troop.

MANUFACTURES: – Kendal is the seat of an ancient woollen manufacture, to which it is chiefly indebted for its steady prosperity. It is remarkable that a coarse kind of woollen goods made here, chiefly for America, have gone by the name of Kendal cottons* for a much longer period than the real cotton manufacture has been known in England. Besides these, Kendal has long been famous for the manufacture of linseys, serges, druggets, knit worsted stockings, and sailor’s hosiery, and for the tanning of leather; in each of which branches a considerable number of persons are employed. The manufacture of these articles has, however, of late years, greatly declined, but other manufactures of a finer description have been introduced, specially of fancy waistcoats, linen cloth, checks, and carpets, of every quality. The river Kent affords plenty of water for its numerous mills, dye-houses, and manufactories, amongst which are paper mills, corn mills, bobbin mills, and woollen, spinning, carding, and fulling mills, etc. A considerable branch of trade here in the manufacture of cards for dressing wool and cotton, and two useful machines used in this art were invented here, viz. An engine for pricking the leather, invented by William Pennington, a millwright, in 1751, and an engine for crooking the wire teeth, invented by Dover Bayliff, a card maker, in 1775. Combs of every description are also made here, and the trade was facilitated about four years ago by Mesrs. William and George Berry and Co., who introduced into their manufactory a machine for sawing ivory, and cutting the teeth of ivory combs, invented by Thos. Eastham. When trade is brisk this firm cuts up about 4 cwt. of ivory per week.

* In 1770, upwards of 3500 pieces of Kendal Cottons were sent to Liverpool for exportation to New York, Jamaica, Barbadoes, Dominique, St. Kitts, Newfoundland, Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland.

The MARBLE WORKS in the town and neighbourhood, belonging to George and Francis Webster, are very extensive, and were first brought into repute by the late Mr. Webster, architect, who, about 30 years ago, constructed machinery on the river Kent, for sawing and polishing the marble. This machinery is now brought to such a state of perfection, that every description of mouldings, whether straight or circular, is now wrought by it with more accuracy than manual labour; and the flutings of diminishing columns are finished by it in a most beautiful and regular style. In the town Messrs. Webster have their splendid show-rooms, for manufactured chimney-pieces, etc. The surrounding mountainous district supplies the finest black and other marbles; and the advantage possessed by Kendal of sea and inland navigation, facilitates the importation of Italian marble, to be here manufactured and re-shipped to most of the principal towns in the kingdom. – The limestone of Kendal Fell, of which the town is mostly built, was first polished as marble in 1788, and is very hard and beautiful, being variegated with petrified shells, etc. Large quantities of it are burnt at the lime-kilns, for mortar and manure; the burners paying to the corporation one halfpenny for every bushel. The inhabitants have long been characterized for industry, frugality, honesty, and an independent spirit, by which virtues they have always continued to flourish, and many have raised themselves to affluence, but not by the oppression of the poor, who are here more comfortable than those of most other manufacturing towns, though the evil effects of too much machinery is gradually diminishing their wonted prosperity. The Kendal woollen manufacture appears to have existed as early as the reign of Edward III. For that monarch, "having solicited a great many men from the Low Countries, well skilled in cloth making," sent a colony of them to Kendal in 1338, after which the town so rapidly increased in trade and population, that in the two following reigns special laws were enacted for the better regulation of the manufacture of Kendal cloths. Before this all the wool of the country was exported, and being manufactured in the Netherlands, was such a source of riches as to occasion the Duke of Burgundy to institute the order of the Golden Fleece. For several centuries the buckram, or green druggets, made at Kendal and some other places, was the common clothing of the poor in London and other cities and towns; and Shakespeare makes the humorous Falstaff say,

"But as the Devil would have it, three misbegotten

Knaves, in Kendal green, came at my back, and let

Drive at me."

For the accommodation of the tradesmen, etc. here are two highly respectable BANKS, which were first opened in January, 1788, long before which several of the manufacturers here had issued brass tokens, to obviate the scarcity of the money of the realm. Of these tokens Mr. Todhunter has in his Museum specimens of five different coinages issued by Thomas Sandes, in 1656; the Mercer’s Company in 1657; the Shearmen’s Company, in 1666; by James Cock, jun. In 1667; and one by Oliver Platt, a gentleman, then resident at Summer-How, near Kendal.

MARKETS AND FAIRS: – As the country people for many miles round attend the Kendal market and fairs, the town combines the character of a manufacturing place with that of the centre of a rich agricultural district. The market is held on Saturday, and was established by a charter granted by Richard I. to Roger Fitz-Reinford, Baron of Kendal, and confirmed by Edward II. and III. and Elizabeth, together with two fairs yearly, on the eves, days, and morrow of the feasts of St. Mark, and St. Simon and Jude; but four fairs are now held annually, viz. on March 22, April 29, and Nov. 8, for cattle; and Nov. 9, for horses. The November cattle fair is the largest. A hiring for servants is held on the Saturday before Whit-Sunday, and Horse Races have been held yearly in the last week of June since 1820, on the Racecourse formed by subscription, upon Fisher’s plain.

Though many improvements have been made, the Market place, in the centre of the town is still too small, though it is now used almost exclusively as the corn-market – sheep and cattle being exposed for sale in the New road, flesh in the Old and New Shambles (opened in 1804) at the head of Highgate and south side of the Market-place; fish at the head of Finkle-street; and potatoes, etc. in Stramongate. The fairs are held at the place called Beast-Banks. One of the most striking proofs of the great improvements of the agriculture of this part of Westmorland, since the enclosure of the commons and the use of lime as manure, is shown by a comparison of the state of the grain market of Kendal about 35 years ago, with that of the present time. At the former period no wheat was exposed here for sale, and 30 loads of oats was considered a full market – the inhabitants being then supplied with flour and meal by badgers from a distance – but a great change has taken place, and now it is not uncommon to see 200 loads of wheat, and a much greater quantity of oats and other grain in the market. The quantity sold here in the year ending September, 1825, was 15,809 quarters, of which 3880 were wheat, 7773 oats, 4089 barley, and 67 rye and beans. During the last four months of the year 1828, no less than 7274 quarters of grain were sold here for upwards of £13,820, the average prices per quarter being, for wheat 67s. 7d., for oats 24s. 6d., and for barley 37s. 8d. After the completion of the canal in 1819, the office of Corn Inspector was removed from Burton to Kendal. Here was, till 1823, an Inspector of Raw Hides and Skins, from whose report, in August, 1823, it appears, that during the preceding twelve months, no fewer than 16,241 sheep, 4278 calves, and 1578 cows were slaughtered here. The custom of making pies of minced mutton mixed with fruit and sugar in the Christmas season, prevails here to such an extent, that on every 24th of December, from 700 to 1000 sheep are slaughtered in the town and neighbourhood.

CHURCHES. – Kendal Parish Church dedicated to the Holy Trinity, is a large handsome Gothic fabric, standing in that part of the town within the township of Kirkland. It is 180 feet long and 99 feet broad, "with five alleys, each of them being parted by a row of eight fair pillars." It has a strong tower 72 feet high, and contains an excellent peal of ten bells, but in 1816 it had only eight, which, in 1775, had been re-cast out of the ancient peal of six. In the church are four chapels, three of which belonged to the ancient families of Parr, Strickland, and Bellingham, and the other is the proper choir of the church, though it is called the Aldermen’s, because they were wont to sit there. The Stricklands, of Sizergh hall, still use their chapel as a burial place, and several of the family lie interred there under a rich marble monument, and there are in other parts of the church some other ancient and modern tombs and tablets of marble. The Organ is said to be one of the finest in the north of England. In the church, which will seat 1500 hearers, were formerly several chantries, amongst which were "Our Lady’s," St. Anthony’s, St. Thomas-a-Becket’s, and Trinity Guild, with five stipendiaries." This church was given by Ivo de Talebois to St. Mary’s Abbey, York, but after the dissolution was granted by Queen Mary to Trinity College, Cambridge, to which the patronage, the great tithes, and the tithes of wool and lamb still belong. The vicarage, of which the Rev. John Hudson, M.A. is incumbent, is valued in the king’s books at £99 5s., and is not worth much more now, owing to its revenue arising chiefly from prescript payments, which were nearly the same then as at present. In the monastic times there were in the town several chapels and a Lepers’ Hospital, the latter of which was dedicated to St. Leonard, and stood at the place called the Spittle or Spital, and now belonging to the Earl of Lonsdale. The patronage of this hospital was given by William de Lancastre to Conishead priory, and its revenue was valued at the dissolution at £11 4s. 3d. It was granted by Henry VIII to Alan Bellingham and Alan Wilson Esqrs. Besides All-hallows Chapel, which stood at the east end of Stramongate bridge, and St. Anne’s Chapel, formerly situated near Dockwray hall, there were two others, one near Abbot hall, and one at Chapel hill. The church organist has a salary of upwards of £60 per annum, arising partly from seat rent, and from a field in Park-lands left in 1698 by Janet Wilson, and now let for £16 a year. In 1822, the church-yard was enclosed with iron palisadoes, and the handsome pillars and arches of the church have just been re-chiselled and stripped of their many white-wash coats with which the bad taste of former days had covered them. The Vicarage-house has also been improved by the conversion of two old tan yards into a tasteful shrubbery. ST. GEORGE’S CHAPEL fronts the Market-place and Stricklandgate, and is the only chapel of ease in the borough. It was built in 1754, at a considerable expense, towards which the executors of the will of Dr. Stratford, Commissary of the Archdeaconry of Richmond, gave £600. The said Dr. Stratford bequeathed about £12,400 for charitable uses, out of which sum his executors augmented 58 poor benefices and curacies. The Rev. John Tatham is the perpetual curate, but the Rev. Ferdinand Faithful, A.B. officiates, and the vicar is the patron of the living, which has been augmented with Queen Anne’s bounty.

CHAPELS. – Dissenters in Kendal are very numerous, and ten different congregations of them have their respective chapels, viz. the Society of Friends, Unitarians, Inghamites, (built 80 years ago) Scotch Seceders, Independent Calvinists, (built 1782) Glassites, (built 1826) Scotch Baptists, and Wesleyan, (built 1808) Independents, and Primitive Methodists, (built 1823). The chapel belonging to the congregation associated with the United Secession Church of Scotland is under the ministry of the Rev. Robert Wilson, A.M. and was, till 1823, occupied as a theatre. It stands in the Woolpack yard. The Independent Chapel, in Lowther-street, was graced with a handsome new front in 1828. The Unitarian Chapel, near the Market-place, is a large edifice with a spacious burial ground, and a small endowment which includes the New shambles, and a house for the minister, the Rev. John Harrison. The Inghamite Chapel, at the head of Hallow-lane, has a burial ground; as also has the Friends’ Meeting House, which was re-built in 1816, and now contains ample room for its numerous and respectable congregation, amongst whom rests Mr. Brougham’s greatest strength in his contest with the Lowthers for the representation of Westmorland. Here is also a Roman Catholic Chapel, which was re-built in 1793, and is now under the pastoral charge of the Rev. Thomas Wilkinson. Amongst the RELIGIOUS SOCIETIES in Kendal, are the Auxiliary Bible Society, formed in 1810; the Ladies’ Bible Association, formed in 1822; and the District Committee of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, within the deaneries of Kendal and Lonsdale, in the diocese of Chester. Of the last the Earl of Lonsdale is patron; the Rev. John Hudson, president; the Rev. Joseph Fawcett, secretary & librarian; and Mr. John Gandy, treasurer. The committee distributed in this district during the year ending Feb. 1827, 131 bibles, 234 new testaments, 298 prayer-books, and 310 other books and tracts. Sunday Schools, so necessary for the civil and religious instruction of the poor in all manufacturing towns, were first established at Kendal in 1785, and there are now five of these useful institutions here, attended by about 200 children.

CHARITY SCHOOLS are here as numerous, and as liberally endowed and supported, as those of any other town of a similar population, there being at present upwards of 700 children in Kendal and Kirkland reaping the benefit of these institutions, of whom 500 attend the day schools.

THE FREE GRAMMAR SCHOOL, a large building on the west side of the church yard, was founded by Adam Pennyngton, of Boston, in Lincolnshire, in the year 1525, and was afterwards liberally endowed with the spoils of dissolved chantries, etc. by Edward VI. Philip and Mary, and Queen Elizabeth, so that is yearly revenue is now about £37, exclusive of exhibitions. In 1717 it was certified that the master’s salary was £28 13s. 4d. yearly, viz. £19 5s. 4d. our of the crown rents, and £9 8s. paid by the Chamberlains of Kendal, besides £8 a year for an Usher paid by the said Chamberlains out of lands, pursuant to the bequest of "Mr. Johnson, formerly usher himself." Other benefactors were Dr. Airay and Richard Jackson, the latter of whom was master of the school, and left the interest of £100 to his successors. Both master and usher are nominated by the mayor and aldermen. The Exhibitions belonging to this school are as follows: viz. 40 s. yearly left in 1627, by Dr. George Fleming; 20s. yearly, left by Joseph Smith; £5 per annum, left by Mr. Sandes; 40s. left by Mr. Jopson; three exhibitions from Kendal, and four from Kirkby Lonsdale, left by Henry Wilson, to be paid out of the tithes of Farleton, then worth £35, or £5 a year to each scholar; and the interest of £100 left in 1631 by Henry Park, for a poor boy of the parishes of Kendal, Heversham or Millom. All these bequests are for poor scholars to be sent to Queen’s College, Oxford, except the last-mentioned, for which Oxford is named, but no particular college specified. The Rev. John Sampson is the present master.

THE BLUE COAT SCHOOL and HOSPITAL, where 40 boys and 30 girls are clothed and educated till 14 years of age, and where 8 poor widows have separate apartments and gardens, with an allowance of 4s. 11d. per week each, were founded in 1659 by Mr. Thomas Sandes, a manufacturer of Kendal cottons, who endowed them with two estates at Skelsmergh and Strickland, (now let for about £110 per annum) "for the use of eight poor widows, to exercise carding and spinning wool, and weaving of raw pieces of cloth for cottons called Kendal cottons; and for the use of a schoolmaster to read prayers to the said widows twice a day, and to teach poor children till prepared for the free school of Kendal or elsewhere. Since the foundation of this excellent charity, it has been augmented with the following bequests, viz. the Round-dale-field in Natland, and two houses in Highgate, left by Joseph Dawson, in 1723, and now let for £33 13s. per annum; a rent charge of £3 out of Greenrigg in Underbarrow, left in 1733 by the Rev. – Crosley; a moiety of Aykriggs, let for £16 12s. and bequeathed in 1735 by Dr. Archer; the Barrow-house estate in Brigsteer, let for £12 a year, and left by John Gibson in 1753; the Martin Croft, left in 1765, by Wm. Herbert, and let for £14 16s. a year; an annual rent charge of £1 1s. out of houses in Stramongate, left in 1780 by Thomas Gibson; a yearly rent charge of £10 out of the Golden Fleece Inn, left in 1782 by Christopher Woodburn; the sum of £500 left in 1815 by John Postlethwaite; £600 left in 1818 by Mrs. J. Harrison; and upwards £4600 left by various benefactors. In addition to which the Institution is aided by an annual subscription which generally amounts to about £55, making the total annual revenue about £270. The founder also bequeathed a LIBRARY which, by subsequent contributions, has been increased to about 400 volumes, amongst which are many works of the fathers of the third, fourth and fifth centuries, and some Latin and Green authors. The schoolmaster, Mr. Wm. Lewthwaite, is the librarian, and any person is allowed to read the books in the library, but none are allowed to take them out, and such care was used for their safety that those left by the founder were long fastened to the shelves with chains just long enough to allow the reader to reach them down to the table, but happily, the excellent Library and its visitants are not now insulted by this suspicious precaution, and the poor aged widows are no longer expected to carry on a manufactory of "Kendal cottons," as directed in the will of the founder, whose charities Machel says, "would have been more laudable if what he gave had not been obtained by sequestrations." The Mayor and Aldermen are trustees of this institution, as well as of the Grammar School. Six of the poor widows are selected from the town, one from Strickland Roger, or Strickland Ketel, and the other from Skelsmergh or Patton – the overseers having the nomination. Girls were not educated on the foundation till 1789.

The SCHOOL OF INDUSTRY, established in 1799, is partly supported by subscription, and the interest of two bequests, viz. £25 12s., left in 1820 by Mrs. Jane Emerson, and £250, left in 1815 by Mr. John Postlethwaite.* It is conducted by Mr. John Dawson and two female teachers, who have generally about 130 children under tuition, but the boys are too busily employed in setting the teeth of wool cards, and the girls in knitting and sewing, to make much progress in learning; though the employment of the girls may properly be considered a necessary concomitant of female education, that of the boys is not at all consistent with any principle of scholastic tuition; and it cannot be expected that they are to spend their days in fixing card teeth, -- an avocation in which few but women and children are ever engaged, and which they may learn in a few hours at their own fire sides.

* Mr. Postlethwaite was a native of Millom, but spent the last fifty years of his life at Kendal, in the character "of an able and upright attorney," delighting in "doing good and in administering comforts to the poor and distressed." He left £500 to the British and Foreign Bible Society, besides £250 each to the Blue Coat and Industry Schools, and Widow’s Hospital at Kendal.

The BOYS NATIONAL SCHOOL ranks as the most beneficial scholastic charity of Kendal. It was built by subscription in 1818, and munificently endowed by Matthew Piper, Esq., a worthy Quaker of Whitehaven, who died in 1821, aged 93 years, and lied buried, agreeable to his own request, beneath the centre of the floor of this school, to which he bequeathed £2,000 in the 5 per cent. annuities, besides two similar bequests to two schools at Whitehaven and Lancaster. The mayor and aldermen are the trustees, and Mr. Henry Austin the master of this large seminary, where upwards of 150 boys receive gratuitous instruction, but the school will hold 320. The GIRLS NATIONAL SCHOOL, where 120 females are educated by subscription, was built in 1823, and contains a separate room for the girls of the Blue Coat School.

The GREEN COAT SUNDAY SCHOOL was founded in 1813 by Mr. Wm. Sleddall, who endowed it with the interest of £525, for providing 35 boys with hats and green coats; 12 girls with green gowns and bonnets, and 2s. weekly for a schoolmaster to teach them on sabbath days. The two junior aldermen, and two senior burgesses, are appointed trustees.

CHARITIES. – Numerous charitable bequests, for the benefit of the poor and schools of the large parish of Kendal, have been left at different periods, and their yearly proceeds, amounting to upwards of £1,100, are distributed by the trustees, agreeable to the wills of the donors. In addition to this mass of post-humous charity, here are several institutions for the relief of the poor, supported by the annual contributions of the benevolent inhabitants of the town and its vicinity, amongst which are the Lying-in-Charity, established in 1794; the Ladies’ Visiting Sick Society, formed in 1811; and the DISPENSARY, built in 1783, since which it has administered its healing benefits to upwards of 65,000 patients, averaging nearly 1,500 annually. The objects of this house of mercy are "the poor inhabitants of Kendal and Kirkland unable to purchase medicines," and medical and surgical assistance. A Fever House has just been erected, in an airy situation, and is annexed to the Dispensary, of which Mr. M. Gawthorp is the apothecary. Mr. Thomas Proudfoot, M.D., and the surgeons in the town, lend their aid gratuitously. The WORKHOUSE, a large and commodious building, pleasantly situated at the north end of the town, was erected in 1769, pursuant to an act of parliament passed in 1767, "for inclosing a piece of waste ground in the borough and township of Kirkby-in-Kendal, for the benefit of the poor, and cleansing the streets of the said town, and for confirming a rule or order of assize, and order of the high court of chancery, relating to the rates and assessments to be raised for the relief of the poor by the inhabitants of the said township, and the owners of lands, called Park and Castle Lands," who pay one-tenth part of the poor rates. The mayor, and twelve other inhabitants, are trustees of this act, which empowers them to set out roads, cleanse and light the streets, levy fines for nuisances, etc. to make orders for maintaining and employing the poor, to enforce the payment of rates and penalties, etc. But the affairs of the workhouse are more immediately superintended by the ten churchwardens, four overseers, Mr. Daniel Dunglingson, the governor, Mr. Richard Miller, the schoolmaster, and Mr. John Mann, the master of the harden manufactory, which has been profitably carried on since 1801, and gives employment to many of the paupers, of whom there are seldom less than 150 in the house, fed, as the reports say, at the weekly cost of 1s. 11 ¾d. per head. The amount of the poor rates, in 1827, for Kirkby-Kendal, was £3,510 15s. 4d., and for Kirkland £670 14s. 9d., but the latter township has no connection with this workhouse.

The GAS-WORKS, situated near Nether-Bridge, in Nethergraveship, were completed in 1826, and on the 25th of July in that year the town was for the first time illuminated with burning vapour. The company was formed at a public meeting, held in the Town Hall, on the 12th of October, 1824, and its capital now consists of 380 shares of £20 each, amounting to £7,600. The two gasometers at the works will contain 21,200 cubic feet of gas. FIRE ENGINES, belonging to the corporation, are kept at the Old Shambles, and in Coward’s Yard, Highgate.

LITERARY INSTITUTIONS. – Two weekly newspapers are published here every Saturday morning, viz. the Chronicle, commenced in 1811, and now published by Mr. Richard Lough; and the Gazette, commenced in 1818, and now published by Mr. Tyras Redhead, – the former being a Whig, and the latter a Tory, and each the property of a separate company, one at elections displaying great zeal for the house of Lowther, and the other for the indefatigable and talented Mr. Brougham. A newspaper, called the Kendal Courant, was published here before the rebellion of 1745, and a Magazine, called the "Agreeable Miscellany," and consisting of 16 pages, price 1d., was issued in 1749, and continued once a fortnight, but neither of them had a long life. The Lonsdale Monthly Magazine was commenced by Mr. Briggs, in 1819, and continued by him about four years. A sheet Almanack, called the Kendal Diary, was first published here in 1777, and is still continued by Messrs. Hudson and Nicholson. A News-Room was established in 1779, and another in 1820, both of which still exist, and are well supplied with papers, pamphlets, etc.; the oldest being at the White Hall, and the other in the market place. Besides the Free Library, at the Blue Coat School, here is a Mechanic’s Library, a Book Club, and a large Subscription Library, which, since its commencement, in 1794, has cost upwards of £2,000. The Book Club was formed in 1761, and is the means of drawing together once a year most of the gentry of the county, who meet generally in September, at a convivial entertainment, called the Venison Feast, which is succeeded by an assembly in the evening, called the Book Club Ball. Each members pays 10s. yearly for the purchase of books, which are sold annually and replaced by others. The MECHANICS’ AND APPRENTICES’ INSTITUTE was formed in 1824; its object is to furnish to the labouring population, at a cheap rate, the means of acquiring useful knowledge, and the scientific principles on which the different processes in the arts and manufactures are founded, in which laudable design it has been very successful, being liberally supported by the wealthy and intelligent part of the town. Mr. S. Marshall is the president, W. D. Crewdson, jun. Esq., the treasurer, and E. W. Wakefield, Esq., the secretary. A Natural History Society was established here in 1817, under the patronage of the Earl of Lonsdale; and in this class Mr. Wm. Todhunter’s MUSEUM deserves a place, having existed upwards of 30 years, during which time the proprietor has gathered together, at great labour and expense, a very large and interesting collection of antiquities, curiosities, specimens of minerals, fossils, mosses, lichens, etc.; stuffed birds, quadrupeds, etc., and musical limestones, of which latter tuned sets are offered for sale, possessing more sonorous and harmonious sounds than cast steel. Amongst the EMINENT MEN who were born or have flourished at Kendal, are Ephraim Chambers, Wm. Hudson, John Wilson, Dr. Thomas Shaw, Bishop Potter, and John Gough, Esq.

The WHITE HALL, a large public edifice with handsome stone fronts, looking into Lowther-street and Highgate, was built in 1823, from a beautiful design by the late Mr. Webster, architect. It cost about £6,000, raised in shares of £100 each. It is 148 feet long, and 37 feet broad, having its principal entrance ornamented with a receding balcony, fronted with columns and pilasters of the Ionic order, supporting a pediment surmounted with a handsome lantern, that gives light to the Billiard Room, besides which here are the subscription Library and News-Rooms, a large and elegant Ball and Card Room, with various other apartments. This edifice has its name from an ancient mansion that stood on its site. The old Theatre being now a chapel, Mr. Simpson has just erected a large Public Room, in Highgate, for the use of comedians and others. At the Beast-Banks is a good Bowling-Green, and near the town is the Race Course, where races are held annually in the last week of June. The Serpentine Walk, over the fell, on the west side of the town, is a delightful promenade, and was formed in 1824 by about 39 subscribers, who engaged the unemployed operatives during the stagnation of trade, to do the work, thus relieving the distressed, and conferring at the same time a lasting benefit on the town. The walk is beautifully shaded with trees, commands extensive views, and has upon the Cliff side a neat cottage for the accommodation of tea parties. It was open for the perambulation of the public till 1827, when much damage having been done to the plantations, it was closed, and is now only open to the subscribers and their families and friends.

The CANAL from Kendal to Lancaster, Preston, etc. passes through the great coal countries near Wigan and Chorley, and joins the canals in the south of Lancashire, thus opening a communication with nearly all the canals and navigable rivers in England, but its principal objects are to make an interchange of product between the coal and limestone districts, and to form a communication between the port of Lancaster and the interior parts of the north and south. For this great public work, an act of parliament was obtained in 1792, and during its progress the company obtained four other acts passed in 1793, 1799, and 1807, and 1819, in which latter year the canal was opened from Kendal to Tewitfield, on the 18th of June, by a grand aquatic procession. Its length from Kendal to its southern termination at Westhoughton, (including a connecting rail-road of 5 miles from Preston to Clayton-Green) is nearly 76 miles, of which course nearly 9 miles is navigated by the Leeds and Liverpool Company, between Whittle le Woods and Wigan. The fall from Kendal to the mid-level is 65 feet, and the rise from thence on the southern side is 222 feet. A collateral cut, near Chorley, is about 3 miles long; another near Borwick is nearly 2 ½ miles; and a third, from the Dock at Glasson, at the mouth of the Lune communicates with this canal at Galgate, and is about 4 miles long. The canal, which cost upwards of £600,000, crosses the Lune at Lancaster by a beautiful and stupendous aqueduct, passes a tunnel 378 yards long at Hincaster, and is fed by a large reservoir of 150 acres, near Killington, five miles E. of Kendal. The tonnage and other dues paid on this canal amount to about £28,000 per annum, and if the rail-road above-mentioned was to be swept away, and the canal cut through, as originally intended, the heavy expense incurred would be amply compensated by an increased revenue. It terminates at the basin on the east side of the Kent, over which a stone bridge of three arches was raised in 1818, forming an easy and direct road into the town of Kendal from the warehouses and wharfs.

EDENLINKS Hosted by CumbriaFHS
acknowlegements to Les Strong