Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archæol.

Transactions of the Cumberland & Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society (Volume vol 14 no 1) online

. (page 15 of 18)
Online LibraryCumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and ArchæolTransactions of the Cumberland & Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society (Volume vol 14 no 1) → online text (page 15 of 18)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

book would be to detach the leaves from the cover, and rebind them
arranged in the right sequence of their contents. The objection to
this plan is that it would aggravate the confusion arising from
several of the leaves having the entries on one page upside-down
and on the other the right way up, the dates on the two pages being
wide apart. Mr Parker and the late rector (T C Vaughan) supplied
notes here and there directing where next to turn ; and the story of
the book, as I have now told it, will further lessen the difficulty
of understanding its contents.

No. Ill, containing marriages 1754-1812, is not the authorised
book " published according to Act of Parliament by Joseph Fox
Parish Clerk to the House of Commons ", with pages not only ruled
but partly printed, and "specimen forms" filled up on its flyleaf.
It is a book 8 inches by 6, each page of which has lines ruled in red
ink, but with no heading or printed matter of any kind.

The Castle Carrock transcripts begin at 1667. Those for 1670,
73-4-5, 1681, 84, 87-S, are missing, but from those that remain all
the lost entries of eight of the years from 1667 to 1679 and the lost
baptismal entries of eight of the eleven following years can be
recovered for the register.

The predominating clan in Castle Carrock three centuries ago, as
shewn by the Field Book of the Barony of Gilsland (A D 1603), and,
though to a less degree, in the last century, as shewn by the
register, were the Hodgsons. But the present rector (Rev R G
O'Gorman), to whom I wrote asking whether any of them still
remained in the parish, replied that he buried the last of them the
very day on which he received my letter.


Jno Watson, Curate: — " No. I (parchment & bound), baptisms and
burials 1731-1812. No. II (paper bound) marriages 1755-1811".

Whellan (p. 42) : — " The registers commence at 1579".

Bp Nicolson (p. in): — "The Register-Book is onely of paper; and
begins at 1639. It appears in it that a great many Children of
Foreigners were baptized here in the time of the Civil Wars by one
Mr Alexander Allan; who, they say, was a Scot and reckon'd a
more knowing and pretious man (in his way) than most of bis
brethren ".

Mr Watson, curate (perpetual) of Cumrew from 1828 to 1866, and



rector of Castle Carrock from 1S2S to 1839, failed to observe that the
book at Cumrew which he reported as No. I contains marriages
down to the passing of Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act in 1753.
X r does he seem to have been aware of the existence of an older
book, beginning at 1679; which Whellan. by a copyist's error or
a misprint, has reported as beginning at 1579.

A still older book, beginning at 1639, but now missing, was
evidently seen by Bishop Nicolson, when he visited Cumrew in


The oldest existing register, a paper book, 7 inches by 5^, bound
in leather, contains

Baptisms 1679-1690. 16^5-1707, 1709-1731
Burials 1679-16S9, 1695-1706, 1709-1731
Marriages 1679-1731.
But these entries do not occur in the order in which I have placed
them. The book begins with baptisms 1717-1731, without a flyleaf
or heading to its first page, suggesting the inference that these
baptismal entries do not now occupy their original place in the
register; which inference seems to be confirmed when later on we
find baptisms 1709-1717 ending with an entry dated October 8, 1717.
at the bottom of a page, and turning back to the first entry in the
book find it dated October 31, 171 7, all the entries from 1709 to 1724
being in the same handwriting. But this is a matter on which the
story of the Castle Carrock Xo. II forbids the drawing of hasty

At intervals throughout this Cumrew book occur various and
mostly copious memoranda : churchwardens' accounts, with special
reference to extensive " reparacon " of the church in 16S4-5-6 ; forty
'• king's briefs " from 1679 to 1697, the amounts collected varying from
•• 6-4^ for relief of Irish Protestants *' down to " id for reparacon of
St Alban's '', the brief for Irish Protestants signed by " Will.
Xicolson, Archdeacon "; long memorandum in 1715 of "absolution
& release from sentence of excomunication " ; two baptismal entries
dated 1676, and two 1667, doubtless originally in older book no longer
extant, one of them recording baptism (in 1667) of " Marke son of
Henry Gill ", ancestor of present-day Gills of Cumrew ; farewell note
bv Mr John Calvert, stating that he " served the curacy from October
1679 to July 1690, and left ye church complete within & without, and ye
people in good order, good xtians, Soli deo gratia " ; scraps of Latin,
not always as correct as Mr Calvert's, by other curates, e.g., "scrip-
turn per me quintus die mensis Novembris 1697", and " parcere
subjectis atque debellare superbos "; yearly distribution of "interest
of church stock" among the poor; notices of nomination of new



incumbents; sixty one affidavits of "burying in wollen " with
names of the witnesses and officiating minister; items (undated) of
assessments, church rate, '• progall and income tax"; and several
long and curiously worded memoranda of gifts bestowed by John
Calvert and others on the church, attested by the signatures of the
churchwardens and some of the leading parishioners, e.g., "Sep-
tember ii, 1687, Mr John Beacham and Tho Simpson churchwardens,
Mr John Atkinson, Thos Ivison p'ish clerk, Mr John Dixon (procter),
Chris Gill, Adam Hodgson ", each of whom made "his mark ".

Much more, if space permitted, might be said about this old book;
which, if printed, well edited, and carefully collated with the tran-
scripts, would be highly interesting to students of local history.
Meanwhile it needs repair.

Of the aforesaid names Atkinson, Gill, and Ivison, still remain in
the parish. But who and what was the "procter"? The church-
wardens ior 1713-4 in their " presentments " say : " The churchyard
wall is not cannonical but ought to be repaired, & ye house yt
belongs to ye procter of Cumrevv". There is not now in the
parish, nor has there been within living memory, any one called the
"procter"; and this designation would have puzzled posterity if
Bishop Nicolson, writing in 1704, had not incidentally explained
its meaning. Speaking of the church as " stuff d a little too much
with seats " he says : " There's one for the Curate himself, or (his
patron) the Dean and Chapter; another for the procteur, as they
call him, or Lessee of the Tithes ; and a third for Laird Atkinson,
the richest man in the parish" (Miscellany Accounts, p. nij. The
procter then was the man who, according to the custom of those
times, leased the tithes from the Dean and Chapter, to whom they
then belonged. They now belong to the incumbent, to whom they
were made over in 1872. He is therefore now virtually the rector,
though for some reason which I do not understand he can only
legally be called the vicar"; which designation, like all other p.
curates, he received by Lord Blandford's Act in 1868.

The separate book for marriages (1754-1812) is, as at Castle
Carrock, not the authorised book, but one 8 inches by. 6f, ruled with
red ink lines, without printed matter of any kind.

The transcripts begin at 1665 ; but those for 1668, 1671, 1673,
1675, 1676, and 167S, are missing. Some of the later transcripts

* Bishop Goodwin, when instituting me to Newton Reigny, in 1SS5, said :
" You are the rector ; but I may not call you so ". The Newton parishioners,
however, always speak of their minister as "the rector ".


are also missing; but the loss of these is of the less consequence as
the register begins at 1679. I found, by the way, among the Cumrew
transcripts, one from Raughton H^ad ; v i755-6) signed by "Jos Sevi-
thwaite.f Vicar", which had been put there by accident, and has
now been transferred by the registrar to its proper place.

Mr Calvert, whose name figures conspicuously (1679-1690) in the
miscellaneous contents of Cumrew register, and who devoted him-
self with considerable energy to the repair of the church, when
signing his last transcript, wrote (in very ornamental style): "Our
church is completely repaired within & without, and nothing is
wanting in her to a church, nor will be we think for 60 years to
come if ill hands keep off". He was evidently anxious that
posterity should not be unacquainted with his work. Yet his name
has not found a place in the local histories. Whellan, the only
county historian who gives any list of the Cumrew incumbents,
records none of earlier date than William Wilkinson, nominated in
1724. In partial remedy of this defect I subjoin the names of some
of Mr Wilkinson's predecessors, recovered from various sources.
Christopher Rickerby, afterwards rector of Castle Carrock, signs the
Cumrew transcripts as curate in 1674-1676. John Calvert, after-
wards p. curate of Rockliffe, was p. curate of Cumrew from 1679 to
1690. Philip Musgrave is mentioned as curate in connection with
briefs in 1690 and 1691. John Atkinson nominated 1695. John
Wilkinson signs distribution of church stock in 1696 and 1697.
Thomas Addison signs as curate in i6gg, and is mentioned as
curate by Bishop Nicolson in 1703 (Miscellany Accounts, p. 112).
Christopher Rickerby junior, nominated in 1704, signs the stock in
1706 and 1707. John Hunter was curate 17C9-1724, and may be
identified as the scribe whose entries raise the question whether
some of the contents of this book are in their original order (ante
p. 220).

John Parker, p. curate (1765-1813) of Cumrew, was from 1777 to
1813 assistant curate to Rickard Dickenson, rector (probably non-
resident) of Castle Carrock (ante p. 218).


Samuel Hudson. P. Curate : — " No. I, baptisms, burials, &
marriages, 1694-1731, very imperfect and in some places almost
illegible. No. II, in better condition, baptisms & burials 1732-1783,

Vicar of Castle Sowerby 1739-17G2.



marriages 1732-1753. Nq. Ill, christenings & burials 1783-1812.
Nq. IV, marriages 1754-1812".

Whellan (p. 673) : — " The parish registers are preserved frqm


Whellan qr his informant failed to notice Nq. I, which is still
extant. It is an octavq volume, 7 inches by 5^, bound in rough
boards, perhaps originally covered with calf, containing 64 leaves of
rough white paper; the first nine of which record burials 1695-1711
and marriages 1699-1700; the next 32 leaves are blank, except one
page, on which are seven entries relating to the Morley family ; and
the last 23 contain (upside-down) baptisms and marriages 1701-1731,
and burials 1711-1731.

This volume is certainly " imperfect", especially in the marriage
entries, down to 1711, but nowhere "illegible". The first nine
leaves are also much wqrn away at their edges ; but with care the
bqok might and should be repaired.

On the flyleaf are recorded three baptisms (two dated 1681 and one
1685), the burial in 1694 of " Francis son to William Morley", and
(with the date worn off) " Eliz. Dridon buried ". These entries
were doubtless made in consequence of the loss of an older book
which had contained them, and because of the importance of the
families with which they were concerned. Two p. curates of Cum-
whitton married into the Morley family: — -

1713, May 31, Mr Nicholas Reay & Eliz Morley married
1726, Aug 31, Mr Andrew Bell & Mary Moriey married.
Mr Reay's marriage, by the way, is also recorded in the Castle
Carrock register. Hutchinson (vol i, p 177), writing in 1794, and
quoting from Housman's Notes, says : " The family of Dryden are
said to have been settled here for several generations ; they are
people of property, and have always been greatly esteemed for their
industry, honesty, and simplicity of manners. From an old writing
remaining in the family, made in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, it
appears that Erasmus Dryden, of Canons-Abbey in Northampton-
shire Esq, had then some estates in Cumwhitton parish, and the
present possessors are of the same family". Both of these names,
Morley and Dryden still remain in the parish. Dryden also occurs,
variqusly spelt, in Brampton, Lanercqst, and Walton registers.

The same flyleaf contains memoranda of eight "briefs" in 1704,
and four in 1705, the total sum collected by the twelve being only
5 shillings, more than half of which was " concerning the poor
sufferers of Orange ".

Mr Nicholas Reay, noticed above as wedded to Elizabeth Morley
in 1713, deserves honourable mention as an exceptionally careful



registrar. Beginning with his " nomination, November 23, 1711,
from ye Worshipful ye Dean and Chapter of Carlisle, to ye Curacy
of Cumwhitton ", he prefaces his entries with this heading : " A
Register of all Weddings, Births, and Burials, in the parish of
Cumwhitton, since January the first Anno Domini (according to the
Supputation of ye Church of England) 171 1 ". It was a mere coinci-
dence that he began his work in the register on the first day
(January 1) of the historical year. So he was careful to note that
his chronology was "according tc the Supputation of ye Church of
England", since at that time, whereas January 1 had long been
adopted as the first day of the historical year, the ecclesiastical as
well as the legal and civil year did not begin till March 25. His
date, January 1, 1711, therefore, according to historical computation,
was January 1. 1712. It is noticeable that, whereas he describes
his register as of " Weddings, Births, and Burials", the only birth-
date he records is that of one of his own children : " 1716 April 6
Margaret daughter of Mr Reay born ". His other children, and all
other children, he registered as baptized. His daughter Margaret
was doubtless baptized elsewhere. Why then did he record her
birth in Cumwhitton register ? Because of Act 7 & 8 William III,
c. 36, for some account of which see ante, voi v, pp 35-6; and it may
have been owing to the same Act that he substituted births for
baptisms in his heading to the register. He wrote quite a copper-
plate hand, which it is a pleasure to read. We shall meet with it
again in two other registers in this deanery.

The transcripts begin at 1665 ; but from that date to the first
year of the existing register (1694) only nine are extant. Thence to
1711 eight are extant. None of Mr Reay's transcripts (1711-1718)
are missing. He wrote them with his accustomed care, and on
excellent paper. Too often in those days transcripts were written
on such scraps of paper that it is no wonder that many of them are
now missing.

To the meagre list of Cumwhitton p. curates supplied by Whellan
(the only local historian who gives any list at all) which begins with
Edward Anderson (1813) may be added from various sources a few
other names. Lord William Howard's Housebook has these items :
" 1624, Nov 16, Pay'd to Sir Thomas Millburn, clarke, late curate of
Cumwhitton, for serving the cure thear since my Lord's entrance to
the same, xxx s " (p 219); and " 1633, Dec 13, To Richard Gibson,
Viker of Cumwhitton, for his halfe yeare's wages for serving the
cure ther, due at St Thomas' Dave, iij 1 ' " (p 339). In Cumrew register
an affidavit of a " burial in woollen " was written on July 3, 1681,
"coram Johanne Stanwix curate de Cumwhitton"', who signs the



Cumwhitton transcript in iGSg. Bishop Nicolson in 1704 mentions
"Mr Robley their new curate" and "Mr Sommers ye late curate
here " who " modest and humble as merely schoolmaster quitted them
soon after he had gotten Deacon's orders; let not Robley do the
like" (Miscellany Accounts, p. 113). Nicholas Reay was p. curate
here 1711-1718. Andrew Bell was nominated in 1725.

Besides the two names already mentioned, Dryden and Morley, the
following names, prevalent here 200 years ago, are still represented
in the parish; Fisher, Hall, Hewitson, Leach, and Pearson.

On a pew appropriated to the Fishers of Nunfield in this parish
are, in raised letters, the initials F R & M F, and the date 1700. The
name Nunfield is derived from Nunnery in Ainstable parish, to the
lord of which in accordance with an ancient custom the owner of
Nunfield estate formerly paid a goose and a cartload of coals yearly
(Whellan, p. 673).

Samuel Hudson, who forwarded the return in 1832, though not
included by Whellan among the p. curates of Cumwhitton, is men-
tioned by him as rector of Castle Carrock 1832-1835 ; on which I
have to remark that the lists of p. curates in the local histories are
far more incomplete than those of rectors or vicars, the reason
being that the Carlisle episcopal registers, as far as I have searched
them, while recording the institution of the latter seldom record the
licensing of the former. The present vicar of Cumwhitton (Rev J
Maudsley) informs me that Samuel Hudson's first entry in the
register is dated June n, 1S21, and his last July 7, 1835. I do
not, as a rule, think it worth while to supply names of incum-
bents unmentioned in the local histories since 1754, because they
can easily be obtained from the marriage register after that date,
and from the baptismal or burial register after 1812 ; of which
facility however the historians have insufficiently availed themselves.
There was a Samuel Hudson who was vicar of Castle Sowerby from
1801 to 1S41, perhaps the father of the p. curate of Cumwhitton;
for Castle Sowerby is too distant from Cumwhitton for it to be likely
that both livings were held by the same man.


T Ramshay, Rector: "No. I, baptisms & burials 1703-1812,
marriages 1703-1753. No. II, marriages 1754-1S12. I certify this
to be the amended return. T.R.".

Whellan (p 624) : "The registers commence in 1711 ".

Whellan is incorrect. The registers begin, as reported by Mr
Ramshay, in 1703.

Mr Ramshay,


Mr. Ramshay, rector of Nether Denton 1795-1834, was also (1795-
1S41I vicar of Brampton, where he resided, and had perhaps left the
return in 1S32 to be sent in by his curate, who must have made
some mistake, which was perceptible to Mr Rickman, clerk of the
House of Commons, to whom all the returns were addressed, and
who was from first to last the prime mover in this useful work. He
it was who first suggested the call for the returns. " The value of
such a test, it was not doubted, would be very great, if government
would sanction the addition of this to the population inquiries.
This sanction Mr Rickman obtained, and hence the publication of
that useful document the Parish Registers Abstract"" (Burn's History
of Parish Registers, p 13). There is extant in the British Museum a
letter from Lord Melbourne's secretary, stating his lordship's
approval of Mr Rickman's further suggestion "that the answers of
the clergy with regard to extant parish registers should be deposited
in the British Museum ", and desiring him " to take the necessary
steps to carry this arrangement into effect''. Xor did he discharge
this duty in a perfunctory manner; for when he had reason to think-
that a return was incorrect he wrote to the sender, asking him to
amend it, e.g. to Mr Ramshay, whose reply shews that Mr Rickman's
doubt had been well founded. I suspect that inaccuracy was often
due to the reporters ignorance of the way in which the registers
were affected by Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act. Such inaccuracy
would of course be detected by an expert; though, by the way, Mr
Rickman should have asked for an " amended return " from Cumrew
, p. 220).

Mr Nicholas Reay, formerly p. curate of Cumwhitton (ante, p. 223),
rector of Nether Denton 171S-1736, in his answers to the Articles of
Inquiry in 1718, said : " There is no parchment book, wherein the
year and day of each wedding, christening, and burial, are recorded".
He could not have meant that there was no register book at all, but
that there was only a paper book; the contents of which, since 1703,
we find that he copied into a parchment book, to which he prefixed
this heading: "The Register Book of the Parish of Denton wherein
the Day of every Christening, Wedding & Burial in the sd Parish is
registered since the year of our Lord God 1702. N.B. The year of
our Lord God still beginneth on the 25 th of March". Mr Reay,
as I have before noticed, was an excellent registrar, and one might
naturally think that he found no register extant of earlier date than
1703, or he would have copied it ; but this, as will be seen later on,
cannot be taken for granted.

The existing No. I, its cover and leaves having become loose, has
recently been rebound by order of the present rector (Rev A
O'Connor) and churchwardens. Among


Among the rectors preceding Mr Reay were the Culcheths, father
and son ; but how long the father held the benefice the county
histories do not state. Thus Nicolson & Burn say (II, p 510) :
" In 1692 William Culcheth was rector, and resigned ; after him
Richard Culcheth ; on whose cession in 1703 Thomas Pearson B A
was collated by Bishop Nicolson ". That W Culcheth held Nether
Denton at least 25 years is evident from the fact of the oldest extant
Nether Denton transcript (1667) being signed " W Culcheth,
rector". He was probably a son of the "Mr Culcheth" who is
mentioned in Lady Halketh's Autobiography (quoted in a note to p.
297 of Lord William Howard's Housebook) as " steward at Naworth
Castle" in 1649. Richard Culcheth's " cession " of Nether Denton
occurred soon after, and perhaps in consequence of, his institution to
Brampton in 1702. Bishop Nicolson, visiting Nether Denton on
May 7, 1703, calls him "the late incumbent" (Miscellany Accounts, p
3); and Nether Denton was not one of the four livings which the
bishop on February 26, 1703-4, said he was endeavouring to hold
(ante, p. 215).

The transcripts begin at 1667; between which year and 1703,
when Mr Reay's copy of the old register begins, fourteen of them
are missing. Thence to 1718 five are missing. Of Mr Reay's
transcripts (1718-1736), beautifully written, as usual, and on good
paper, none are missing.

Equally characteristic of Mr Reay's love of order is the following
protest in the first "presentment" after his institution as rector:
" 1718, the steeple of our church is not in good repair, neither have
we any bell ; no decent communion table in the chancel, neither is
there a carpet of silk or other decent stuff to cover the same in time
of divine service, neither is there any linnen cloth to cover the
elements of bread and wine ".

Among the most prevalent names in this register are Bell, Carrick,
and Hutton, the two former of which still remain in the parish.

Down to the year 1736 the baptisms, burials, and marriages, of
over Denton parish, were registered at Nether Denton.


Geo Gilbanks, Perpetual Curate: — "There are no registers an-
terior to 1813. Baptisms, burials, and marriages, 1736-1812, were
entered at Lanercost, and previous to that period (from the best
information) at Nether Denton."

Mr Gilbanks, p. curate (1786-1845) of Lanercost, Over Denton, and
Farlam, correctly reported from personal observation that the Over
Denton " baptisms, burials, and marriages, 1736-1812, were entered



at Lanercost ", and was accurately informed that they were entered
"previous to that period at Nether Denton ".

Over Denton, a small parish of 1039 acres, though in the county
of Cumberland, was anciently regarded as in the diocese of Durham,
but in 1703 was transferred to the bishop (Nicolson) of Carlisle
1 Miscellany Accounts, p. 4), when Richard Culcheth, if he ever held
it at all, after his " cession " of Nether Denton, only held it a few
months. From 1704 to 1736 it was successively held by Thomas
Pearson and Nicholas Reay, rectors of Nether Denton, but in 1736,
on the death of Mr Reay, was transferred to Thomas Fawcett, p.
curate of Lanercost, by whose successors it was held with Lanercost
and Farlam until 1859, when it was annexed to the then newly-
formed ecclesiastical parish of Gilsland.

Some years ago a correspondent of one of the Carlisle newspapers
wrote : " I respectfully submit that there is no place known to the
oldest inhabitant as Over Denton; there are certainly Upper and
Nether Denton, and they are sometimes spoken of as High and Low
Denton ". But, whatever they may be called by inhabitants, old or
young, documentary evidence inclines to Over and Nether. It is

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 15 17 18

Online LibraryCumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and ArchæolTransactions of the Cumberland & Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society (Volume vol 14 no 1) → online text (page 15 of 18)