Heversham Index

Kendal Ward

Heversham Parish History

Heversham Parish extends northward from Milnthorp to Crosthwaite, a distance of eight miles, and is about three miles in breadth. It is intersected by the rivers Kent and Belo, the Kendal and Lancaster Canal, and several becks or rivulets winding through picturesque valleys, between diversified fells, scars, crags, and fertile undulated grounds, studded with neat hamlets, villas, and farm houses. It is crossed by the road from Lancaster to Kendal, etc; and a new road branches off at Milnthorp to Ulverstone. It is bounded by the parishes of Kendal, Burton, and Beetham, and by a small part of Cartmell fells. It contains three Chapels of Ease, and seven Townships, of which the following forms an enumeration, with the number of inhabitants in 1801, 1811, and 1821, and the estimated annual value of the lands and buildings in 1815:





Annual Value £










Crosthwaite & Lyth Chpy.







Hincaster Twp.







Levens* (a new Chapel) Twp.







Milnthorp & Heversham Twp.







Preston-Richard Twp.







Sedgwick Twp.

(Crosscrake Chapelry)

Stainton Twp.


























* A small part of Levens township, at Brigsteer, is in Kendal parish


HEVERSHAM is a neat village, with several good houses, pleasantly situated on the Kendal road, 1 ¼ mile N. of Milnthorp, with which it forms a joint township. The CHURCH, dedicated to St. Peter or St. Mary, was built about the year 1601, on the site of the old one, which was in that year completely destroyed by fire, with all its monuments, bells, organ, and other ornaments. It is a fine Gothic fabric, with side aisles, and a square tower, with three bells cast in 1605, 1662, and 1669. It was re-pewed about 1770, and its interior is now remarkably neat, and has several mural tablets in memory of the Bellingham, Preston, and other families. It was granted soon after the Conquest by Ivo de Talebois to St. Mary’s Abbey, York, by the name of the church of Eversheim, or Eureshaim. After the dissolution of the monasteries Queen Mary, in 1553, granted the rectory and advowson to Trinity College, Cambridge, except the corn tithes of Crosthwaite, which Edward VI had granted to John Southcoat and Henry Cheverton. The said college has still the patronage of the vicarage, which is valued in the king’s books at £36 13s. 4d., and is now enjoyed by the Rev. George Lawson, M.D. On the enclosure of the commons in 1803, the tithes of the whole parish were commuted for an allotment of about 650 acres given to the vicarage; and an allotment of 663 acres, with the Plumgarths estate, in Strickland Kettle, (purchased by such of the townships as had not common land) given to the above named college in lieu of the rectorial tithes. The vicar’s allotment, when ring-fenced by the parish, was valued at £420 a year, and the lands given to the college at £600 a year, and they are both held of the commissioners of the Inclosure Act, under a renewable lease of 26 years. Near the church is the GRAMMAR SCHOOL, which was built and founded in 1613, by Edward Wilson, of Nether Levens, who endowed it with 26 burgage messuages and tenements in Kendal, (from which the master receives £21 12s. 8d. yearly), and a rent charge of £3 out of Dawson’s Close, in Stickland Kettle. Being without a master from 1698 till 1737, the school was suffered to decay, but was re-built in the latter year by Richard Watson, Bishop of Landaff, and Wm. Preston, Bishop of Ferns, in Ireland, both of whom has received the rudiments of their education here. In 1788, Henry Wilson, then Vicar of Heversham, in conjunction with the associates of Dr. Bray, founded a library in the school, and prevailed with the inhabitants to subscribe £230 to purchase a dwelling-house for the master, with two field and an allotment of moss-land, so that the master’s yearly income from the school endowment is now upwards of £50, having received an allotment of land at the inclosure. The school is open to all the boys of the parish without charge, except for writing and arithmetic. In 1824, £267 11s. was subscribed to re-build the school and house. The founder of this school also endowed it with two Exhibitions (one to Queen’s College Oxford, and the other to Trinity College, Cambridge) of £6 13s. 4d. each, to be paid out of the great tithes of Leck, but being many years withheld, they were recovered in the Duchy Court of Lancaster in the 24th of Charles II with £500 arrears and interest, and now afford £53 per annum to each scholar, who is to remain only four years at college, and is to be nominated by the heirs of the founder. There is also an Exhibition of £20 a year from this school to Magdalen College Cambridge, called Milner’s Exhibition, to be held four years; and it has the privilege of sending a candidate for one of Lady Hasting’s five Exhibitions in Queen’s College Oxford. The other CHARITIES belonging to this parish produce about £300 yearly.

Within the manor of Heversham are three pleasant villas, viz. PLUMTREE-BANK, John Wilson, Esq.; PLUMTREE HALL, Edward Pedder, Esq.; and DEEPTHWAITE, Wm. Bindloss, gent. This manor, of which the Hon. Fulk Greville Howard is now lord, was in the reign of the Conqueror held by Tosti, Earl of Northumberland, from whom it passed to Roger of Poictou, and from him to the Barons of Kendal, one of whom, Wm. de Lancaster, gave it in marriage with his daughter to Alexander de Windesore, from whom is passed to the Duckets, and afterwards to St. Mary’s Abbey, York. After the dissolution, Phillip and Mary granted it to E. Moyses, R. Foster, and R. Bowskell, from whose descendants it passed through several families to its present possessor, but most of the tenants have been enfranchised. Bishop Watson was born at Heversham in 1737, and died in 1816, at Calgarth, his seat on the banks of Windermere, and was buried at Bowness. He was the son of a poor but worthy clergyman, who brought up a large family on the slender stipend of Cross-Crake chapel, and the profits of Heversham Grammar-school, where he made many excellent scholars. Poverty however did not prevent him sending his son to Cambridge, where he appeared in the then rustic dress of his native county, and obtained the name of the Westmorland Phenomenon, amongst those of his contemporaries whom had more reason to be proud of their clothes than their learning. This appellation, though intended as a mark of ridicule, proved prophetic of the youth’s future career in literature.

ACKENTHWAITE, DEEPTHWAITE, LEASGILL, ROWELL, and WOODHOUSES, are all hamlets in the township of Heversham and Milnthorp, distant ½ mile to 2 miles N. of the latter town. Part of Leasgill is in Levens township.

BRIGSTEER, a village, 3 ½ miles SSW of Kendal, mostly in Levens township, and partly in that of Helsington, in Kendal parish, being situated at the south end of Underbarrow Scar.

BEATHWAITE GREEN, a village, 4 ½ miles S. by W. of Kendal. – see Levens following.

CROSS-CRAKE Chapelry. See Stainton following.

CROOKLANDS, a village in Preston Richard, on the canal, where the Earl of Balcarres has a coal-wharf and coke ovens, 3 ½ miles NE. of Milnthorp.

CROSTHWAITE AND LYTH, a large township and chapelry, forming a picturesque and well cultivated district, extending from 4 to 8 miles NNW. of Milnthorp, and containing the hamlets of Bowland Bridge, Crosthwaite Church-town, Crosthwaite-green, How, Hubbersty-Head, Pool-Bank, Raw, and Tarn-side, with a number of dispersed dwellings. Lyth is a separate constablewick, on the south side of the chapelry, separated from Witherslack by the long ridge called Lyth-fell or Whitbarrow Scar. The CHAPEL, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, stands near the small but pleasant village of Church-town, in the centre of the vale of Crosthwaite, which extends in a westerly direction to Bowland Bridge, near Cartmel Fells. It was re-built about 16 years ago by the inhabitants, and is about 8 miles NW. by N. of Milnthorp. The original chapel was an ancient edifice, and in 1556 was endowed with parochial privileges, by the Bishop of Chester, in consideration of its great distance from the mother church. The chancel and steeple were built by Wm. Gilpin, who, in 1626, gave £50 towards the three bells. The living is a perpetual curacy in the gift of the land-owners, and incumbency of the Rev. James Strickland. Since 1716 is has been augmented with £1000 of Queen Anne’s bounty, £200 raised by subscription, and the interest of £400 of the £2000 left in 1817, by Tobias Atkinson, who directed that the interest of £300 should be paid to the schoolmaster, and £10 each yearly to six indigent housekeepers in the chapelry above the age of 50 years, and who have never received parochial relief. Of the chapel money, £600 was laid out in the purchase of an estate at Dent, in Yorkshire, and another in Little Langdale, and £600 still remains at interest in the Bounty office. There is also a small cottage belonging to the curate, and an ancient yearly salary of £5 8s. 10d. paid by the inhabitants. A good school-house, built by subscription, stands adjoining the chapel-yard, and besides the £300 above named, is endowed with about £13 a year, arising from the CHARITIES, which belong to the township. About the year 1810, the inhabitants allotted about 350 acres of the common land, to be for ever appropriated towards the support of paupers, so that the poor rates here are now very moderate. At Crosthwaite, Messrs. Elgin, Roberts and C. have a paper mill, and James Wilson a corn-mill and malt house. At the hamlet of Raw, in Lyth, are several lime-kilns, and at Pool Bank a wood hoop manufactory.

ENDMOOR, a village in Preston Richard, 4 ½ miles NE. of Milnthorp.

HINCASTER, a small village and township, 2 ¼ miles N. by E. of Milnthorp. In the Domesday-book it is called Hennecastre, but there is no tradition or traces of a castle here.

LEASGILL, a village in the township of Levens and Heversham, 1 ¾ miles N. by W. of Milnthorp.

LEVENS township contains the village of Beathwaite Green, with part of those of Brigsteer and Leasgill; the hamlets of Sizergh Cottages and New-Bridge, and several dispersed dwellings, amongst which is LEVENS-HALL, the beautiful seat of the Hon. Fulk Greville Howard, M/P. standing in a delightful park, with extensive gardens, on the eastern side of the river Kent, a little above the bridge and the Kendal road, 2 ¼ miles N. of Milnthorp, and 4 ½ miles S. by W. of Kendal. The hall is a venerable mansion, deeply embosomed in wood, and having towers, the summits of which command extensive views of the surrounding country. The whole has been frequently repaired and beautified, and, as an object for the attention of the antiquary, or the lovers of the picturesque, stands unrivalled in this part of the country. The interior possesses and endless variety of exquisite carved work. Except the new tower recently erected, all the house abounds with carved oak wainscots, etc. representing a great variety of figures, emblems, and ornaments, said to have been lavishly bestowed on the building in the reign of Elizabeth by one of the Bellinghams, who was determined to "outdo his contemporary, Walker Strickland, Esq. of Sizergh," in his taste for such decorations. Though the house is no way altered from its original form, great improvements have been made in every part by the present proprietor, "he having found it in a state of dilapidation, and having laid out many thousands in the purchase of valuable furniture, according with the antiquity of the place, besides repairing the waste which time had made." The carved work in the north dining-room is so rich and expensive that it has been valued at no less than £3000, according to the present scale of wages. It has a most interesting carved chimney-piece, supported by large figures of Hercules and Samson, and bearing in compartments admirable emblematical representations of the five senses, four elements, and four seasons, with a poetical inscription. Another room is hung with rich gobeline tapestry, representing a pathetic tale from one of the Italian poets, most exquisitely finished; in fact all the principal apartments are decorated with the most costly hangings of the richest colours, in all the splendour of tint, and corresponding with the rest of the furniture. In the entrance hall are various relicts of ancient armour, bearing the bruises of war and the rust of time. The view from the lower apartments is not very extensive; but the wood in the grounds being very ancient and finely planted in avenues and clumps, the prospect on every side is of the most agreeable kind. An extensive tract of level ground, sweetly broken with trees, extends along the river, runs through the large park, which is well stored with fallow deer, and has at its head the waterfall called Leven’s Force, where the stream of the Kent tumbles from a rock of height sufficient to convert it into froth as white as snow. On the southern side of the river, at the place called Kirksteads, are the remains of a circular building said to have been a temple dedicated to Diana. "On the other side of the river is a spring called the Dropping Well, which is of a petrifying quality; and, in a short space of time, will turn moss, wood, leaves, and the like into stone." LEVENS GARDENS are the admiration of every visiter to this delightful seat, being first laid out and planted in the old German style by Mr. Beaumont, gardener to King James II who resided here with Colonel Graham, during some part of the troubles of his royal master. Some years ago these gardens were in a wild and neglected state, but Colonel Howard, who has a well-cultivated taste for the "style and fashion of other days," has greatly improved them, without changing their original form, under the judicious management of Mr. Alexander Forbes, who has been many years gardener here, and in 1820 published an excellent work on "Ornamental Gardening." The walks and harbours are shaded with a profusion of yews, lives, and other evergreens, cut into a variety of grotesque forms. In the centre of the gardens is an excellent Bowling Green. The Mayor and Corporation of Kendal and the friends of the house of Levens, after having proclaimed the fair at Milnthorp, on the 12th of May, come to these sylvan shades and spend the afternoon in eating radishes etc. drinking Morocco, (excessively strong old ale) smoking, bowling, and in a variety of other sports and amusements. This annual festival has been held regularly since the time of Colonel Graham.

The Manor of Levens is in Domesday Book called Lefuenes, and at the conquest was held by Tosti, Earl of Northumberland, from whom it passed to Roger of Poictou, and afterwards to Ketel son of Uchtred who had large possessions in the part of the county, but subsequently sold that part of this manor called Over Levens to the Redeman family, who continued at Levens Hall from many generations till the reign of Henry VII when it was sold to Alan Bellingham, of Burneshead, who purchased Fawcet Forest of the Crown, and had a grant from Henry VIII of the Lumley Fee. He was treasurer of Berwick, and deputy warden of the Marches. His descendant of the same name, and last of the family at Levens, died about 1690 having wasted a vast estate, and sold Levens and the rest of his property in Westmorland to Colonel James Grahme, or Graham, privy purse to James II and younger brother of Sir R. Grahme, Bart. Of Netherby. The Colonel married Dorothy, daughter of the Earl of Berkshire, and was a Member of Parliament for Westmorland from 1708 to 1722. He died without male issue, and his only daughter carried his estates in marriage to her cousin Henry Bowes Howard, Earl of Berkshire. Henry Howard, the twelfth Earl of Suffolk and Berkshire, died without male heirs, and bequeathed all his Westmorland estates to his mother, Lady Andover, and, after her decease, to his sister Frances, whose husband, Richard Bagott, assumed the surname of Howard, and left an only daughter and heiress, the present Lady Howard, of Levens, who married the Hon. Fulk Greville Upton, brother to Lord Templetown, and son of the late Coteworthy Upton, Baron of Templetown in Ireland, and said to be descended from the Upton family of Ingmire Hall, in Yorkshire. On his marriage with this rich heiress to honourable gentleman relinquished the name of Upton, and is now styled the Hon. Fulk Greville Howard, and is M/P. for Castle-Rising, in Norfolk, and lord of the following MANORS in Westmorland, viz. Levens, Milnthorp, Heversham, Clawthorp, Kendal, Kirkland, Helsington, Crosthwaite-with-Lyth, Crook, Staveley-with-Hugill, Skelsmergh, Longsleddale, Sadgill, Fawcet Forest, High House, Watts-field, and Fathorn. Kirkland is partly copyhold and party burgage-tenure, and like Milnthorp has a Court Leet and Baron. The Earl of Lonsdale and Colonel Howard are joint lords of Kendal, and let the tolls to the Corporation; the property is chiefly burgage tenure, and courts used formerly to be held to admit the tenants. In the other manors, the customary property is of arbitrary tenure, subject to fines and heriots, but most of the estates have been enfranchised, so that the free tenants now merely owe suit and service at the lord’s courts. The small manor of Nether Levens was held by the family called de Levins, and was sold by Lord Montgomery in 1694 to the Wilsons’, of Dallam Tower.

LEVENS CHAPEL is a new and handsome gothic fabric, situated at the village of Beathwaite Green, and having an octagonal spire rising from a short tower. Being on an eminence it is a conspicuous object in the view at a considerable distance. It was built in 1828 at the cost of £2,000 by the Hon. F. G. Howard and his lady, who have also built a neat house for the curate, and intend to allow, and afterwards to bequeath, £200 a year for the curate, and £10 for the clerk. They have recently appointed the Rev. Wm. Stephens, A.M. to the living. Lady Howard in 1810 established a school here, in which she generously pays for the education, and partly clothes 40 poor girls. Colonel Howard, in 1825 erected another school, in which 140 boys and girls are educated on the Madras system, solely at his expense, so that the inhabitants will ever remember with gratitude the munificence of the present representatives of the house of Levens. Eaves Lodge is a pleasant but now untenanted mansion.

LYTH, 4 miles NW of Milnthorp. – See Crosthwaite.

MILNTHORP, a small but well-built market-town, forming a joint township and manor with Heversham, and situated on the north side of the river Belo, near the estuary of the Kent, 7 ½ miles S. by W. of Kendal, 4 miles NW of Burton, and 14 miles N. of Lancaster, by the new road. It is a dependant sea-port under Lancaster, and has belonging to it four or five vessels of nearly 100 tons burthen each, but they seldom can get nearer to the town than Arnside or Haverbrack. There are in the town and neighbourhood several extensive flax mills, and large quantities of excellent twine and linen thread are spun, a considerable portion of which is manufactured here into sheetings, bed-tics, wrappers, sacking, bags, sails, etc. etc. Wool is carded at Stainton mill, and spun into stocking and blanket yarn, and on the Belo are also two Paper mills. The town consists principally of one long sheet, at the east end of which are some elegant houses, in pleasant and open situations; and on the north side is a branch of modern buildings called the New Row. Many improvements have been made in the town during the last twenty years, and it now contains about 1000 inhabitants. The market is held on Friday, (no corn) and two fairs for cattle, sheep, and horses are held annually on the 12th of May and 17th of October. The latter was established about twelve years ago, but the May fair is of ancient date, and is proclaimed in the morning by the lord’s steward and a numerous train of gentlemen, who afterwards close the day in mirth and festivity at Levens Gardens, with the lord of the manor, who has the tolls collected during the fair, and holds Courts Leet and Baron every year. The Protestant inhabitants attend the parish church at Heversham, distant one mile north, the only place of worship in the town being an Independent Chapel, built in 1820, and having a small Sunday school. A National School was established here in 1819, and now affords gratuitous instruction to 100 children, exclusive of a large number of Sunday scholars. For the support of this truly beneficial institution, George Wilson, Esq. of Dallam Tower, liberally subscribes two-thirds of the expense, and the rest is contributed by the inhabitants. The large incorporated Workhouse, situated a quarter of a mile NE of the town, was erected in 1813, at the cost of £4,990, agreeable to the Act of Parliament passed in the 22d of George III by and for the use of Sixteen Townships, viz. Heversham with Milnthorp, Levens, Sedgewick, Stainton, Hincaster, Underbarrow with Bradley-Field, Burton, Beetham, Scalthwaite-Rigg with Hay and Hutton-I’-th’-Hay, Crook, Natland, Witherslack, Haverbrack, and Meathop with Ulpha, in Westmorland ; and Dalton and Yealand-Redmayne, in Lanchashire; each subscribing their quota towards the building according to the average amount of their poor rates during the preceding three years. The house and garden occupy two acres, and detached from the house, upon a pleasant eminence, is a fever ward, belonging to the institution. The whole is built on an excellent plan, and is well conducted by the Governor, Mr. John Rowes. The paupers grind all the corn used in the house at a small hand-mill, and are many of them employed in weaving coarse linen cloths, checks, linsey-woolsey, etc. The Visiters and Guardians meet on the first Wednesday of every month, and the paupers are fed at the weekly cost of 2s. 4d. per head. George Wilson, Esq. of Dallam Tower, is the Visiter, and Mr. Wm. Bindloss, of Deepthwaite, the Deputy-visiter. Petty Sessions are held in the workhouse every alternate Wednesday, George Wilson and William Waltham Atkinson, Esquires, are the regularly attending magistrates, and Mr. Wm. Clapham is their clerk.

MILTON, a hamlet is Preston-Richard, 3 miles NE by E. of Milnthorp.

PRESTON-RICHARD, a large township, containing the hamlets of Birkrigg Park, Crooklands, Endmoor, Low Park, Milton, Raw-End, and Storth-End, and several dispersed dwelling-houses, bearing different names, and distant from 2 to 5 miles NE of Milnthorp. It is crossed by the road and canal from Kendal, on the latter of which, at Crooklands, Earl Balcarras, the great Wigan coal owner, has an extensive wharf, and a numerous range of coke ovens. There was a long succession of persons of the name of Richard de Preston, owners of this manor upwards of two hundred years, and several of them knights. – The Preston family, of Holker, having failed in male issue, this manor was sold to Sir John Lowther, and now belongs to the Earl of Lonsdale, together with the adjoining manor of Preston-Patrick, in Burton parish; but Machel says the Earl of Derby is lord paramount of both these manors, which were divided by and received their distinctive appellations from Richard de Preston and Patrick de Culwen. OLD HALL, the ancient manor-house, is the seat and property of William Johnson, Esq., being purchased by his ancestor in 1603. Near it is the farm still called Deer Park. There was another park at Birkrigg, where there is a place called the Sepulchre, being a deserted Quaker’s burial ground. About 1770, a very ancient "hammer-head of stone" was dug up at Endmoor.

SEDGWICK, a small village and township, 3 ½ miles S. of Kendal, intersected by the canal, and bounded by the river Kent, which here lie near to each other. Near the village, John Wakefield, Esq. and Sons, of Sedgewick House, have a large Gunpowder Mill, which was built about sixty years ago and now produces about eighty barrels of powder weekly.

STAINTON township comprises the hamlets of Stainton-Row, Barrows-Green, Cross-Crake, Helm, and Halfpenny, with a number of straggling houses, distant from 2 ½ to 5 miles S. by E. of Kendal. Part of Barrows-Green is in Natland township. On the beck which flows to the Belo is a woollen mill, two flax mills, a corn mill, and a bobbin manufactory. The manor was held by the Flemings and Stricklands, but in 1674 Sir Thomas Strickland sold all the tenements to freehold. Crosscrake Chapel includes within its jurisdiction the townships of Sedgwick and Stainton, and is centrally situated for the inhabitants, 3 ½ miles S. by E. of Kendal. It is a neat edifice with one bell, and was re-built in 1773 by the help of a charity brief; and in 1823 had a burial ground attached to it. The original chapel was erected about the reign of Richard I by Anselm de Furness, son of the first Michael le Fleming. Sir William Strickland gave it to Cartmel Priory. Having no provision for a curate after the Dissolution, it was long neglected and ruinous, till 1757, when Bishop Keene, Dr. Stratford, and the curate gave £200 to obtain £200 more from Queen Anne’s bounty. These sums were laid out in the purchase of two estates at Dillicar and Killington. In 1763 it was augmented with £400 more, obtained from Queen Anne’s bounty, and laid out in land at Sedburgh, and a yearly rent-charge of 25s. in Garsdale. The vicar of Heverhsam is the patron, and the Rev. John Cartmel, A.B. the incumbent curate. The School near the chapel has just been re-built by subscription, and is endowed with the interest of £100. The poor of Stainton (not paupers) have 11s. yearly given to them, from the bequest of John and Jane Gilpin, left in 1774, in trust to the overseers.

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Kendal Ward