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Dfctorfa Ibtetoi^ of the 
Counties of Englanb 












This History is issued to Subscribers only 

By Archibald Constable & Company Limited 

and printed by Butler fcf Tanner of 

Promt and London 




























v. a 



Dedication v 

Contents . . ix 

List of Illustrations . xi 

Editorial Note xiii 

Table of Abbreviations . xv 

Ecclesiastical History . . By the Rev. JAMES WILSON, M.A. . i 

Religious Houses . > 

Introduction ... . .127 

Priory of Carlisle J3 1 

Lanercost . ... . J 5 2 

Abbey of Holmcultram .162 

Calder -174 

Priory of St. Bees .178 

Wetheral .... . . 184 

Nunnery of Armathwaite ... . . 189 

Seton or Lekeley .'.... ... .192 

Four Houses of Friars .......... . 194 

Hospital of St. Nicholas, Carlisle IO 9 

St. Sepulchre, Carlisle .203 

,', St. Leonard, Wigton . 204 

Lennh', Bewcastle 204 

House of Caldbeck . .204 

House of St. John, Keswick . 204 

College of Greystoke . .204 

Kirkoswald 208 

Monumental Effigies . . By the Rev. CANON BOWER, M.A. . .211 

Political History . . -By the R CV - JAMES WILSON, M.A., and R. A. ALLISON . . 221 

Introduction . . By the Rev. JAMES WILSON, M.A 331 

Coal Mining . . By R. W. MOORE 348 

Hematite Mining .' By JOHN MACKELLAR MAIN .... . 385 

Eden and Esk Fisheries By THOMAS ROBINSON . 407 

Derwent Fisheries . By H. P. SEN HOUSE, M.A . 411 

Ravenglass Fisheries . By FREDERICK REYNOLDS 415 

Solway Fisheries . . By GEORGE HOLMES 416 

Sport Ancient and Modern. 

Introduction . By G. W. HARTLEY . . . . . . .419 

Fox Hunting . . By the Lady MABEL HOWARD 422 

Shooting . . By G. W. HARTLEY 428 



Sport (continued) PAGE 

Horse Racing . . By the Rev. JAMES WILSON, M.A 440 

Wildfowling . . By WILLIAM NICOL 446 

Foulmart Hunting . By the Rev. JAMES WILSON, M.A 452 

Sweetmart Hunting . . 455 
North Country Trail 

Hounds and Trails . By FRANCIS NICHOLSON, F.Z.S. 457 

Otter Hunting . . By WILLIAM STEEL 461 

Angling . . -By FRASER SANDEMAN ........ 464 

Coursing . . . By W. F. LAMONBY 469 

Game Cockfighting . By FRANCIS NICHOLSON, F.Z.S. 475 

Wrestling . . . 482 

Football . . . By C. W. ALCOCK, assisted by R. WESTRAY and R. S. WILSON . 491 

Forestry . . . . By J. NISBET, D.Oec 497 



Carlisle. By WILLIAM HYDE frontispiece 

Episcopal Seals, Plate I full-page plate facing 14 

Plate II .. . . 30 

The Meeting of Richard II and Bishop Merb with Henry of Lancaster 42 

Episcopal Seals, Plate III 46 

Thomas Smith, Bishop of Carlisle IO2 

Edmund Law, Bishop of Carlisle ... 108 

Seals of Religious Houses and Various . 130 
Representation of the defence of Carlisle by Sir Andrew de Harcla 

against the Scots in 1315 on a charter of Edward II to the 

City of Carlisle 262 

Sir John Lowther, bart 296 

John Christian Curwen, esq. . . ... . ,, 312 

Longitudinal section from Maryport to Whitehaven 

two full-page plates facing 348 
Maryport to Bolton Low Houses 

Ancient corves or baskets used at Whitehaven Colliery . . . full-page plate facing 352 

Town and Harbour of Whitehaven (1738) 362 


Ecclesiastical Map of Cumberland . facing 126 

Map of Castles and Fortresses ............ 276 



No claim to exhaustiveness is made for the lists of abbots and 
priors of the religious houses. It is probable that as the contents 
of private muniments and the public records become more accessible, 
new names will be added. Since the article on the religious houses 
was completed, the name of John, abbot of Holmcultram, in 1406, 
was brought to light by the publication of the Calendar of Papal 
Letters (vi. 77) : John, prior of St. Bees, was witness to a deed, dated 
1330, at Cockermouth Castle, and Nicholas de Warthill was prior 
of the same place in 1387, as stated in a charter at the British 

During the time of the preparation of this volume death has 
removed two esteemed colleagues the Rev. H. A. Macpherson, a 
zoologist of distinction, and Mr. William Steel, a keen sportsman as 
well as an experienced writer. 

The Editors wish to express their obligation to Mrs. Henry Ware 
for the loan of her valuable collection of casts of episcopal seals ; 
to the Cumberland and Westmorland Archaeological Society for the 
use of blocks ; to the Mayor and Corporation of Carlisle for liberty 
to photograph the initial letter of one of their royal charters ; to 
the Director of the Public Library, Carlisle, for the loan of engravings 
for reproduction ; to the Bishop and Chapter of Carlisle, the Earl of 
Lonsdale, and Lord Leconfield, for access to their muniments ; to the 
Rev. Dr. Greenwell, Mr. W. Farrer, Sir E. T. Bewley, Dr. George 
Neilson, Mr. William Brown, and Dr. Haswell, for advice and 
assistance readily given. 



Abbrev. Plac. (Rec. 

Acts of P.C. . . 


Add. Chart. . . 


Agarde .... 
Anct. Corresp. . 
Anct. D. (P.R.O.) 

A 2420 




Arch. Cant. 
Archd. Rec. . . 


Assize R. . . . 
Aud. Off. . . . 
Aug. Off. ... 
Ayloffe . . . . 



Berks . . . . 



Bodl. Lib. . . . 


Brev. Reg. . 



Bucks . . . . 







Cart. Antiq. R. . 
C.C.C. Camb. . . 

Certiorari Bdles. 

(Rolls Chap.) 
Chan. Enr. Decree 


Chan. Proc. . . 
Chant. Cert. 

Chap. Ho. . . . 
Charity Inq. . 
Chart. R. 20 Hen. i. No. 10 

Abbreviatio Placitorum (Re- 
cord Commission) 

Acts of Privy Council 


Additional Charters 


Agarde's Indices 

Ancient Correspondence 

Ancient Deeds (Public Record 
Office) A 2420 

Antiquarian or Antiquaries 


Archaeologia or Archaeological 

Archasologia Cantiana 

Archdeacon's Records 


Assize Rolls 

Audit Office 

Augmentation Office 

Ayloffe's Calendars 





British Museum 

Bodley's Library 


Brevia Regia 

Britain, British, Britannia, etc. 




Cambridgeshire or Cambridge 

Cambria, Cambrian, Cam- 
brensis, etc. 




Cartae Antiquae Rolls 

Corpus Christi College, Cam- 

Certiorari Bundles (Rolls 

Chancery Enrolled Decree 

Chancery Proceedings 

Chantry Certificates (or Cer- 
tificates of Colleges and 

Chapter House 

Charity Inquisitions 

Charter Roll, 20 Henry III. 
part i. Number 10 





Ch. Gds. (Exch. 



Close .... 


Colch. .... 



Com. Pleas . 
Conf. R. . . . 
Co. Plac. . . . 




Ct. R 

Ct. of Wards . . 


Cur. Reg. . . . 

D. and C. . . . 
De Bane. R. . . 
Dec. and Ord. 
Dep. Keeper's Rep. 


Devon .... 


Dods. MSS. . . 
Dom. Bk. . . . 


Duchy of Lane. 



Eccl. Com. 




Engl. Hist. Rev. . 
Epis. Reg. . 
Esch. Enr. Accts. . 
Excerpta e Rot. Fin. 

(Rec. Com.) 
Exch. Dep. . . 
Exch. K.B. . . 
Exch. K.R. . . 

Exch. L.T.R. . . 

Exch. of Pleas, Plea 

Exch. of Receipt . 




Church Goods (Exchequer 

King's Remembrancer) 

Chronicle, Chronica, etc. 
Close Roll 
Common Pleas 
Confirmation Rolls 
County Placita 
Cotton or Cottonian 
Court Rolls 
Court of Wards 
Curia Regis 

Dean and Chapter 

De Banco Rolls 

Decrees and Orders 

Deputy Keeper's Reports 

Derbyshire or Derby 



Dodsworth MSS. 

Domesday Book 


Duchy of Lancaster 


Easter Term 


Ecclesiastical Commission 



England or English 

English Historical Review 

Episcopal Registers 

Escheators Enrolled Accounts 

Excerpta e Rotulis Finium 
(Record Commission) 

Exchequer Depositions 

Exchequer King's Bench 

Exchequer King's Remem- 

Exchequer Lord Treasurer's 

Exchequer of Pleas, Plea Roll 

Exchequer of Receipt 



Exch. Spec. Com. 

Feet of F. . . . 
Feod. Accts. (Ct. 

of Wards) 
Feod. Surv. (Ct. of 

Feud. Aids . . . 


Foreign R. . . . 
Forest Proc. 




Guild Certif. 
(Chan.) Ric. II. 

Hants .... 



Heref. .... 
Hertf. .... 
Herts . . . . 



Hist. MSS. Com. 
Hosp ..... 
Hund. R. . . . 
Hunt ..... 
Hunts . 

Inq. a.q.d. . . . 

Inq. p.m. . . . 

Inst ...... 

Invent ..... 


Jas. . 

Lamb. Lib. 


L. and P. 

Lansd. . 
Ld. Rev. Rec. . 
Leic. . . . 
Le Neve's Ind. 


Lich. . . . 





Mem. . . 
Memo. R. . 
Mich. . . 
Midd. . . 
Mins. Accts. 

Exchequer Special Commis- 

Feet of Fines 

Feodaries Accounts (Court of 

Feodaries Surveys (Court of 

Feudal Aids 

Foreign Rolls 
Forest Proceedings 

Genealogical, Genealogica, 



Gloucestershire or Gloucester 
Guild Certificates (Chancery) 

Richard II. 


Harley or Harleian 


Herefordshire or Hereford 



Hilary Term 

History, Historical,Historian, 

Historia, etc. 

Historical MSS. Commission 
Hundred Rolls 

Inquisitions ad quod dam 


Inquisitions post mortem 
Institute or Institution 
Inventory or Inventories 


Lambeth Library 
Lancashire or Lancaster 
Letters and Papers, Hen. 



Land Revenue Records 
Leicestershire or Leicester 
Le Neve's Indices 

Lincolnshire or Lincoln 

Memoranda Rolls 
Michaelmas Term 
Ministers' Accounts 

Misc. Bks. (Exch. 
K.R., Exch. 
T.R. or Aug. 


Monm. . 

Mun. . . 

Mus. . . 

N. and Q. . 
Norf. . . 
Northants . 
Northumb. . 
Now. . 


Off. . . 
Orig. R. 
Oxf. . 


Palmer's Ind. . 

Pal. of Chest. . . 
Pal. of Dur. . . 
Pal. of Lane. . 



Parl. R 

Parl. Surv. . 
Partic. for Gts. . 





Pipe R 

Plea R 

Pope Nich. Tax. 
(Rec. Com.) 



Proc. Soc. Antiq. . 


R ..... 

Rec. . . . 
Recov. R. . . 
Rentals and Surv. 
Rep ..... 
Rev ..... 
Ric ..... 
Roff. . . . 
Rot. Cur. Reg. 
Rut. . 

Ser. . 
Sess. R. 

Miscellaneous Book (Ex- 
chequer King's Remem- 
brancer, Exchequer Trea- 
sury of Receipt or Aug- 
mentation Office) 

Monastery, Monasticon 


Muniments or Munimenta 


Notes and Queries 

Nottinghamshire or Notting- 
New Style 


Originalia Rolls 
Oxfordshire or Oxford 


Palmer's Indices 

Palatinate of Chester 

Palatinate of Durham 

Palatinate of Lancaster 

Parish, Parochial, etc. 

Parliament or Parliamentary 

Parliament Rolls 

Parliamentary Surveys 

Particulars for Grants 

Patent Roll or Letters Patent 

Prerogative Court of Canter- 



Pipe Roll 

Plea Rolls 

Pope Nicholas' Taxation (Re- 
cord Commission) 

Public Record Office 


Proceedings of the Society of 





Recovery Rolls 

Rentals and Surveys 




Rochester diocese 

Rotuli Curis Regis 


Salisbury diocese 

Sessions Rolls 


Shrops .... 


Soc. Antiq. . 


Somers. Ho. 

S.P. Dom. . . . 

Staff. .... 

Star Chamb. Proc. 



Subs. R. . . . 




Surv. of Ch. Liv- 
ings (Lamb.) or 




Society of Antiquaries 
Somerset House 
State Papers Domestic 

Star Chamber Proceedings 
Subsidy Rolls 

Surveys of Church Livings 
(Lambeth) or (Chancery) 

Topography or Topographi- 

Transl Translation 

Treas Treasury or Treasurer 

Trin Trinity Term 

Univ University 


Valor Eccl. 


Vet. Mon. . 
V.C.H. . . 

Vic Victoria 

vol. Volume 

Valor Ecclesiasticus (Record 

Vetusta Monumenta 
Victoria County History 

Warw. . 
Westm. . 
Will. . 
Wilts . 


Warwickshire or Warwick 




Winchester diocese 

Worcestershire or Worcester 





early ecclesiastical history of the county of Cumberland is 
enveloped in a dark cloud which the efforts of modern research 
are unable to penetrate. In the absence of satisfactory evidence, 
the story of the early missions, as far as it relates to our district, 
must be accepted with considerable hesitation. The monumental 
remains of the Roman occupation, though of great variety, give no 
indication that Christianity was accepted by the Roman legions or the 
auxiliary forces which guarded the great wall and colonized the country 
in the immediate vicinity. About the time of the departure of the 
Romans, it is said that Ninian pushed his evangelical mission beyond 
the Solway. As bishop of the nation of the Picts who dwelt south of 
the Grampians, his missionary sphere extended throughout the south- 
west of Scotland, and his cathedral church was built at Whithern or 
Candida Casa on the south coast of Galloway. 1 Bede tells us that he 
was a most holy man of the British nation who had been instructed at 
Rome in the faith, by whose instrumentality the Picts on this side of 
the mountains were led to forsake idolatry.* Though the historian gives 
no hint that he ever preached in the dales of Cumberland, the opinion 
of Geoffrey Gaimar cannot be overlooked when he identifies the Picts 
baptized by Ninian with the people of Westmorland. 3 If Ninian 
was born on the shores of the Solway, 4 the saint must have passed 
through Cumberland along the great military roads on his way to and 
from Gaul and Rome. As his father was a Christian, and as Ninian 
was baptized in infancy, the faith must have been accepted in the 
neighbourhood of Carlisle at an early date. 

When the protection of the Roman power was withdrawn the 
Britons were torn asunder by internal dissensions and hardly pressed by 
external invasion. For a century and a half all matters connected with 
the religious history of the district are in hopeless confusion. The 
events which led up to the battle of Ardderyd in 573 bring upon the 

1 Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Rolls Series), i. 31-2. 

1 Hist. Eccles. iii. cap. 4. 

Man. Hist. Brit. (Rec. Com.), 776. 

* The life of Ninian by Ailred, abbot of Rievaulx, written between 1147 and 1167, contains little of 
value in addition to the well-known passage in Bede with which he opens his narrative. It may be 
taken, however, as the tradition prevalent in the twelfth century that the coast of the Solway was the 
birthplace of the saint. 



scene the great apostle of the Cumbrian region. When we come to the 
labours of St. Mungo or Kentigern we catch a glimpse of what appears 
to be genuine history. In the opinion of Jocelyn, one of his biographers, 1 
Kentigern was the prominent figure in the revolution which evangelized 
the district. Some portions of the scenery of Kentigern's life can be 
identified in districts of modern Cumberland. Flying from Glasgow to 
escape the persecution of the pagans, he resolved to seek refuge among the 
Christian Britons of Wales, and arriving at Carlisle, where he heard that 
many among the mountains were given to idolatry, the saint turned aside, 
says his biographer, and, God helping him, converted to the Christian 
religion very many from a strange belief and others who were erroneous 
in the faith. For some time he remained in a thickly wooded place, 
and he erected a cross, from which the place took the English name of 
Crossfield that is, Crucis Novak where a new basilica was erected in 
Jocelyn's time and dedicated in the name of the blessed Kentigern. 
When his work in Cumberland was accomplished the saint pursued his 
journey by the seashore, scattering the seed of the Divine word where- 
ever he went till he reached Wales. 2 It was in 573, during Kentigern's 
absence, that the establishment of Christianity was secured by battle at a 
place which has been identified as the plains of the Esk near Arthuret. 
The new king, who had been brought up as a Christian in Ireland, 
recalled the saint. On his return the people flocked to meet him at 
Hodelm or Hoddom in Dumfriesshire, where he placed his see for a 
time till he transferred it to his own city of Glasgow. For many years 
he ruled his vast diocese, which is said to have stretched far enough 
south to include the present counties of Cumberland and Westmorland. 
In tracing the footsteps of St. Kentigern on his missionary journey 
through Cumberland the churches entitled in his name have been 
pointed out as witnesses of his triumph over the paganism of the dis- 
trict. Within the modern county there are eight such dedications, 
seven of which belong to parish churches which date at least from the 
twelfth century. The narrative of Jocelyn, compiled about the year 
1 185, agrees with the distribution of Kentigern churches in the county, 
and from it we may gather that these dedications were in Jocelyn's mind 
when he discoursed on the saint's wanderings in the neighbourhood of 
Carlisle. The churches of Irthington and Grinsdale are on the line of 
the Roman wall, the supposed route taken by Kentigern on his flight 
from Glasgow. Of the others, Caldbeck, Mungrisdale, Castlesowerby 
and Crosthwaite lie at the roots of the mountains which form the 
northern boundary of the Lake District. It was to the people living 
among the mountains that he is said to have directed his steps after his 
arrival in Carlisle. The two remaining churches of Aspatria and Brom- 

1 Two biographies of St. Kentigern are known to have been compiled in the twelfth century. A 
portion only of the earlier, written by an unknown author at the suggestion of Herbert, bishop of Glas- 
gow, remains to us, and has been printed in the Registrum Episcopates Glasguensis by Mr. Cosmo Innes. 
The complete Life, written about the year 1185 by Jocelyn, a monk of Purness, exists in two manuscripts : 
one in the British Museum, and the other in Archbishop Marsh's Library in Dublin. 

3 Historians of Scotland, v. 74. 


field are within short distances of the sea, situated in locis maritanis^ to 
which the saint was obliged to digress from the direct route to his de- 
stination in Wales. It has been claimed that these churches occupy 
sites hallowed by the presence of Kentigern. 1 None of them are men- 
tioned in Jocelyn's biography with the exception of Crossfield, which 
must be Crosthwaite. A church was built in Jocelyn's day on the site 
where it was believed that Kentigern erected the cross as the sign of 
salvation and as a witness to its triumph in the district. As no other 
Kentigern dedications are known in England, the tradition which ascribed 
the evangelization of Cumberland to his agency is deserving of the highest 

Nothing seems to be known for a long period of Kentigern's suc- 
cessors or the fortunes of the Christian church in the diocese of Glas- 
gow, which he founded and over which he ruled. The Inquest of 
David, 2 a document ascribed to the year 1 1 20, which deals with the 
history of the see, so far as it could be ascertained by ' the elders and 
wise men ' of Cumbria at that date, points to a serious state of affairs. 
The narrative of the Inquest is worthy of attention. The king of the 
province, the jurors said, co-operated with the magnates of the kingdom 
in founding, in honour of God and of St. Mary the Blessed Mother, the 
church of Glasgow as the pontifical seat of the bishop of the Cumbrian 
region. That church flourished in the holy faith, and by divine direc- 
tion received Kentigern as its first bishop. But after Kentigern and his 
many (plures) successors were gathered to God, insurrections, arising 
everywhere, not only destroyed the church and its possessions, but wasted 
the whole country and drove the inhabitants into exile. When a con- 
siderable time had elapsed, tribes of different nations poured in and took 
possession of the desolated region. These tribes, differing in race and 
language and custom, clung to heathenism rather than the worship of 
the faith. Looking back from the beginning of the twelfth century on 
the early history of the diocese of Glasgow, the Cumbrian jurors could 
see nothing but anarchy and confusion after the death of Kentigern. 
Several successors the saint is said to have had in his diocese, but neither 
their names nor the dates at which they lived have come down to us. 
The district was the battle ground of conflicting races Britons, Picts, 
Scots and Angles. Until the middle of the seventh century the con- 
fusion lasted, when the Anglian race obtained the mastery and absorbed 
at least the southern portion of the country into the kingdom of 

When we pass from the dark period during which the Britons 

1 Bishop Forbes first called attention to the dedications in Cumberland in connexion with Kenti- 
gern's missionary journey (Historians of Scotland, v. pp. Ixxxiii.-lxxxv.). Others have followed in the 
Bishop's steps (Trans. Cumb. and Westmorl. Arctxeol. Soc. vi. 328-337, vii. 124-127). But such methods 
of argument are very unsafe. Jocelyn evidently constructed his narrative from the Kentigern dedica- 
tions existing in his time. 

a Registrum Episcopates Glasguensis, No. I., printed at the joint expense of the Bannatyne and 
Maitland Clubs in 1843. Haddan and Stubbs, Councils and Eccles. Doc. ii. 17. In 1901 it was issued 
in facsimile as a tract in Glasgow. 



struggled for their independence, we obtain a few glimpses of real his- 
tory. The first light comes from the pages of two historians to whom 
we are indebted for much of our knowledge of the early history of 
northern England. Bede comes first in point of time, and it must have 
been from his pages that the anonymous author erroneously identified 
with Symeon of Durham, some centuries later, wrote the first authentic 
chapter of the religious history of Carlisle and the country around it. 
From these well-known and trustworthy authorities we learn that it was 
about the year 685 that the Church of the English became established 
beyond the Pennine range on the shores of the western sea. It is not 
known at what precise date Cumbria had been severed from British 
dominion, but in the year above mentioned Ecgfrid, king of North- 
umbria, gave to St. Cuthbert, who had been recently consecrated bishop 
of the Anglian diocese of Lindisfarne, 1 the city of Luel, that is, Carlisle, 
and the country for fifteen miles around it as a portion of the territory 
with which he endowed the see. 2 In that city Cuthbert placed a 
community of nuns under the rule of an abbess and founded a school. 
From Bede 3 we learn that the abbess was a sister of the Northumbrian 
king. When Ecgfrid set out on his fatal expedition against the Picts, 
Cuthbert came to Lugubalia, which was corruptly called Luel by the 
English, to speak to the Queen, who was there in her sister's monastery 
awaiting the result of the war. It was during that visit that the citi- 
zens of Carlisle conducted him to see the walls of the town and the 
remarkable fountain built by the Romans. It is of importance to notice 
the condition of the church within the borders of Cumberland at this 
date, so far as it can be ascertained from these northern chronicles. 
That some portion of it, if not all, was included in an organized diocese 
is undoubted. Cuthbert was bishop of Lindisfarne, a diocese which had 
been in existence for half a century with a succession of Scottish or Irish 
bishops. The points of difference between the English and Celtic rites 
had been fought out at the famous conference of Whitby in 664, when 
the Celtic Church was dispossessed of its hold on Northumbria. 
Lindisfarne was an English diocese from this time onwards, and Carlisle 
was included as an outlying portion of it, in which the royal family 
of Northumbria took a special interest. The bishop of the ecclesias- 
tical province in which the city was situated paid occasional visits to 
this part of his spiritual charge. While Cuthbert was in Carlisle pre- 
paring the Queen for the disaster which he foresaw on the moors of 
Nectansmere he was called to a neighbouring monastery to dedicate a 
church. 4 The name of the church consecrated has not been recorded, 

i Bede, Hist. Eccles. iv. 28. Bishop Stubbs dates St. Cuthbert's consecration on 25 March 685 
(Reg. Sacrum Anglicanum, Ed. 1897, p. 7). 

_ Symeon of Durham, Historia de S. Cutbberto, p. 141 ; Relatio de Sancto Cuthberto, pp. 230-1 , Surtees 
Society. The Lives of St. Cuthbert ascribed to Symeon are by an earlier author, probably in the tenth 

3 Vita S. Cutbberti, cap. xrvii. It is clear from the language of Bede that the Abbess of Carlisle 
was Ecgfrid's sister, and not the sister, but the sister-in-law, of the Queen. Freeman has taken this view 
of the passage (Trans. Cumb. and Westmorl. Archaol. Soc. vi. 256). 

4 Bede, Vita S. Cutbberti, cap. xxviii. 


but we know that it was not far from Carlisle, as he had undertaken to 
rejoin the Queen next day. Not long after he was called to the same 
city to ordain priests and to give benediction to the Queen herself, who 
had taken the veil in that monastery. It was on the occasion of this 
visit that the venerable priest and friend of St. Cuthbert, Herebert by 
name, came from his seclusion in an island of the large marsh in which 
the Derwent rises, the lake now called Derwentwater, as he used to do 
every year to receive from the saint admonitions in the way of eternal 
life. Bede's narrative supplies a beautiful picture of the state of the 
Church as it existed in the district towards the close of the seventh cen- 
tury, and rests on the surest historical basis, for Bede was recording 
events which had happened in his boyhood, and his account of St. 
Cuthbert was submitted for revision to men who had been well ac- 
quainted with what had taken place. 

It was political wisdom on the part of the Northumbrian rulers to 
use the organization of the church as the basis on which the many 
races of the kingdom might be united into one nation. For this reason, 
no doubt, local usages, such as the incidence of the Easter festival and 
the mode of tonsure, were abandoned in favour of a more universal 
custom. Whatever sort of submission was involved by the compromise 
at Whitby in 664 it did not obliterate the essential features of the Scottish 
Church. The whole tone of the church in the northern kingdom was 
Celtic. The early associations of the bishops of Lindisfarne, the train- 
ing of St. Cuthbert in the Celtic monastery of Melrose, the well-known 
objections of the King and Queen to the claims of Wilfrid, need not to 
be repeated here. The old features of the Celtic Church were retained, 
and chief amongst them was missionary monasticism. We have no 
trace of a parochial system in this portion of Cumbria before the 
Norman settlement in the twelfth century. The centres of ecclesiastical 
work were monastic rather than parochial while the district remained 
under English rule. The monastery of Carlisle and its school were 
centres of educational effort, in which clergy no doubt were trained, and 
from which they were sent forth to minister in the surrounding district. 
In Bede's day there was also a monastery near the river Dacore or Dacre, 1 
not far from Penrith, which was ruled by Abbot Thridred. The Celtic 
character of the Church in Cumberland about the eighth century is still 
further illustrated by the legendary life of St. Bega, who is said to have 
landed in a certain province of England called Coupland, and to have 
taken up her abode in a dense forest, where she spent many years in 
solitary devotion." 

1 Hist. Eccles. iv. c. 32. There seems to be no doubt that the Dacre in Cumberland is the place 
meant here, and that it was a monastery of considerable importance. It must have been in existence 
as late as 926, in which year it appears to have been the scene of the famous agreement between the 
three kings, when Eugenius, Ewen or Owen, king of the Cumbrians, and Constantine, king of Scots, 
made submission to king Athelstan. William of Malmesbury calls the place of meeting Dacor (Gesta 
Regum [Rolls Series], i. 147), but the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (i. 199) says that the peace was con- 
firmed at a place called Eamont. The collocation of names, seeing that Dacre and Eamont are so close 
together, is sufficient to identify the place as belonging to Cumberland. 

* Cotton MS. Faustina B. iv. ff. 122-39. 



By the defeat of Ecgfrid the kingdom of Northumbria was de- 
prived of some of its dependencies, for Bede 1 states that the strength of 
the English Crown from that time began to waver, insomuch that the 
Picts recovered their land and some of the Britons their liberty ; but it 
must not be taken that the ecclesiastical relations of our district with the 
see of Lindisfarne were disturbed by the catastrophe. Though the 
events which followed are shrouded for a long time in darkness, so late 
as 854, when Eardulf was consecrated bishop, Carlisle was a portion of 
that diocese. 2 During this episcopate came the Danish invasion, which 
swept every organization in church and state into the abyss of paganism. 
The whole kingdom of Northumbria was overrun and desolated by the 
Danes. The church was in dire jeopardy and its rulers hesitated whether 
to stand their ground or to flee. Eardulf on consultation with his clergy 
determined on flight. He summoned Eadred, abbot of Carlisle, surnamed 
Lulisc, from Luel the ancient name of the city, with whom he took counsel 
about the shrine of St. Cuthbert. 3 After an exchange of views it was 
deemed more agreeable to St. Cuthbert's wishes that his bones should 
not be left to the danger of desecration. Raising the holy and uncorrupt 
body of the father, says Symeon, 4 they placed beside it the relics of the 
saints, such as the head of St. Oswald, some of the bones of St. Aidan, 
together with the bones of those revered bishops Eadbert, Eadfrid and 
Ethelwold, successors of St. Cuthbert, and fled, abandoning the mother 
church of the Bernicians, which had been the residence of so many saints. 
No sooner had Bishop Eardulf departed with his sacred burden than a 
fearful storm burst over the whole province of Northumbria. Every- 
where did the Danes burn down the monasteries and churches, and carry 
fire and sword from the eastern to the western sea. For this reason the 
bishop of Lindisfarne and those who were guardians of St. Cuthbert's 
relics found no place of repose, but going now forward, now backward, 
hither and thither, they fled from the face of the heathen invader. 
Crossing into Cumbria they made their way to the mouth of the Derwent 
at Workington, with the hope of taking ship to Ireland. But as a storm 
prevented them leaving the haven, they bent their steps towards Gallo- 
way, where they stayed till the death of Halfdene, the Danish king, 
emboldened them to return. 

1 Hist. Ecdes. iv. cap. 26. 

2 Symeon of Durham (Surtees Society), i. 67. 

3 Ibid. i. 73. Ancient Monuments, Rites and Customs of Durham (Surtees Society), pp. 55-6. 

4 The story of the translation of St. Cuthbert's relics has been handed down as a precious tradition 
in the northern church. To the writings of Symeon (Of era et Collectanea (Surtees Soc.), i. 162-4), 
and Reginald (Libellus, Surtees Soc. pp. 16-19, 20-1), two of the historians of Durham, we are chiefly 
indebted for the details. Attempts to trace the course pursued by the fugitives, who carried the 
sacred burden, have been often made. John de Wessington, prior of Durham from 1416 to 1446, 
compiled a list of places where they rested, and hung it over the choir door of the church of Durham. 
The original compilation in the prior's handwriting has been found (Eyre, History of St. Cuthbert, 
pp. 98-9). The list includes as resting-places in Cumberland and Westmorland such parishes as St. 
Cuthbert's, Carlisle, Edenhall, Great Salkeld, Plumbland, Embleton, Lorton, and Cliburn, to which 
have been added, from other versions, Bewcastle and Dufton. In recent years all of the sixteen churches 
in the two counties which bear the dedication of St. Cuthbert have been added to the list (Trans. Cumb. 
and Westmorl. Archteol. Soc. ii. 14-20 j vii. 128-31). 


It has been supposed that the country lay in ruins after the inroad 
of the Danes, and that no remnant of church organization was allowed 
to exist for two centuries from that date. The ecclesiastical history of 
the period from the Scandinavian invasion till the conquest of the district 
in 1092 is confused and uncertain. Florence of Worcester tells us that 
the city of Carlisle which Rufus conquered in 1092, like some other 
cities in these parts, had been destroyed by the pagan Danes two hundred 
years before, and had remained deserted up to the time of its recovery ; 
but we cannot think that the Christian faith was totally obliterated from 
a district in which it had once taken so deep root, as we know it had 
done in the neighbourhood of Carlisle while the Northumbrian kings 
ruled from sea to sea. Whatever may have been the vicissitudes through 
which it passed, no history exists. 1 The state of the church of Cumbria 
south of the Solway between the invasion of the Dane and the conquest 
of the Norman is one of the great puzzles of our early history. 2 

When the district of Carlisle was added to English dominion by 
William Rufus in 1092, as a matter of course it would fall under the 
jurisdiction of the metropolitan to whose province it was adjacent. 
Twenty years before the annexation, a compact was made between the 
two archbishops at the council of Windsor in 1072, whereby the primacy 
over Scotland was assigned to York. 3 In these circumstances, whatever 
pleas were put forward by way of claim to the ecclesiastical oversight of 
the new province, the metropolitan had the determining voice in its 
ultimate bestowal. As a matter of fact the land of Carlisle became an 
integral part of the metropolitan diocese from the date of its conquest 4 
till the time arrived for the creation of a new see in the northern pro- 
vince. It will be seen that subsequent events assume this to have been 
the case. No certain information has been preserved to tell us the 
nature of the plans employed for the ecclesiastical organization of the 
district during the remaining years of William's reign. It is perhaps 
too much to expect. 

The first act for the supply of ecclesiastical institutions in the 
district has been ascribed to one of the followers of the Conqueror, 
who is said to have been placed in Carlisle by William Rufus shortly 
after the annexation. A story of the origin of diocesan institutions, 
which has been handed down by tradition from a remote period, is 
worth consideration, though we may not be able to accept it. It is 

1 It would be a mere romance to build up a narrative from the remains of Christian 
monuments with which the modern county abounds. From these lapidary evidences only one 
conclusion can be drawn. The Church had embraced the seaboard and penetrated the plains. 
Beyond this nothing more definite can be said. For these monumental remains, see V .CM. 
Cumb. i. 253-84. 

2 Freeman, William Rufus, i. 315. 

3 Haddan and Stubbs, Councils and Eccles. Doc. ii. 12, 159. By this agreement the jurisdiction of 
York extended from the boundaries of the diocese of Lichfield over the whole region northwards ' usque 
ad extremes Scotiae fines,' including the bishopric of Durham or Lindisfarne. 

4 Rival claims to the spiritual sovereignty of the new district were put forward by the bishops of 
Durham and Glasgow, but they were disallowed. For a discussion of these matters, see Haddan and 
Stubbs, Councils and Eccles, Doc. ii. 10-27. 



related that a certain chaplain called Walter, a Norman who came 
to England with the Conqueror, had obtained possession of the church 
of Carlisle and the church of Stanwix with their chapels and the vills 
around Carlisle. Walter being a wealthy man began to build within 
the walls of the city a noble church in honour of Blessed Mary the 
Virgin, but while the work was still in progress both Walter the chap- 
lain and William the king had died. On the accession of Henry, that 
king constituted Regular Canons in the great church, which Walter 
had founded, and gave them the churches and lands which belonged to 
the deceased chaplain as well as six churches in Northumberland with 
their chapels, namely, the churches of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Newburn, 
Warkworth, Rothbury, Whittingham and Corbridge. This having been 
done, Henry appointed Adelulf prior of the new institution and en- 
riched it with many dignities. After several years Archbishop Thurstin 
came to visit the district, and understanding that the Archdeacon of 
Richmond had no right in these parts he prevailed on the king to 
create a bishopric in Carlisle, the archbishop having given compensation 
to the archdeacon for the loss of jurisdiction over Cumberland, West- 
morland and Allerdale. By decree of Pope Innocent and licence of 
King Henry, the canons elected Adelulf their prior as first bishop of the 
new see, and Archbishop Thurstin consecrated him at York 1 in 1133. 
Before we go further it would be well to notice the earliest date at 
which the foundation of the priory can be fixed. A few years are not 
of great consequence in an undertaking of this kind, which must have 
taken a long period to complete. The accepted date, supported by a 
long series of local historians, has been fixed by one of the Scottish 
chroniclers, Abbot Bower of Inchcolm, the continuator of the chronicle 
of Fordun," who tells us that Henry, by the persuasion and counsel of 
his Queen, constituted regular canons in Carlisle in the year 1102. If 
the district was in the king's hand at that date, it is very clear proof that 
Ranulf Meschin had not yet arrived as its political ruler. In that case, 
as we might reasonably expect, no grant had been made either by Rufus 
or his successor till some definite steps had been taken for the ecclesias- 
tical settlement of the new province. That an effort had been made in 
the early years of Henry's reign to found the priory of Carlisle there 
can be no question. By the judgment of a jury delivered at Carlisle in 

Lansdowne MS. 721, ff. 54-5 sb. This document is headed, 'Ex Registerio patris Willelmi 
Strickland episcopi Carliolensis,' and appears to be in the handwriting of the early years of the seven- 
teenth century. From this source probably arose the tradition which we identify with the names of 
Tonge (Visitation of the Northern Counties in 1530 [Surtees Soc.], 102), Leland (Collectanea [ed. Hearne], 
i. 120-1), and Godwin (De Presul. Anglic [ed. Richardson], 761-2). 

> Scotichronicon, ed. Goodall, i. 289. It should be pointed out that Abbot Bower has jumbled up 
two distinct events in this passage, viz., the foundation of the priory in 1102 and the introduction of 
canons regular in 1133. The canons regular were brought to Carlisle long after the foundation. The 
Annals of Waverley say it was ' Adulf ' who ' put canons regular in the church of his See ' (Annales 
Monastici [Rolls Series], ii. 223). Matthew Paris tells the same story, that ' Athelulph, having been 
created a bishop, placed canons regular in the church of his see and endowed it with many honours ' 
(Historia Anglorum [Rolls Series], i. 245-6; Chronica Majora [Rolls Series], ii. 158). Other chroniclers, 
like Bartholomew de Cotton (Hist. Anglicana [Rolls Series], pp. 62, 417), and Thomas Rudborne (Anglia 
Sacra, i. 282) follow in the same line. 



1278-9 it is alleged that the site of the priory was ancient demesne of 
the Crown, and that Henry I had founded the priory in pure and per- 
petual alms about one hundred and eighty years before, as the jury found 
by an inspection of that king's charter. 1 In view of these statements it 
may be taken that the first ecclesiastical movement in the new district 
was the project of establishing a religious house in Carlisle, for which 
purpose the king, before any vassal was appointed for its civil adminis- 
tration, had appropriated by his charter a site suitable for the require- 
ments. If for no other reason than that he had a Scottish wife, 3 King 
Henry manifested a real interest in the frontier provinces of his king- 
dom in the early years of his reign. Soon after his accession he placed 
one of his chaplains, Richard d'Orival (de Aurea Valle), on the eastern 
border, and endowed him for life with the four churches of Warkworth, 
Corbridge, Whittingham and Rothbury, situated on four Northumbrian 
manors, in the King's hand. At a later date, while the chaplain still 
lived, the same monarch granted to the priory of Carlisle a reversion of 
these churches, and added as a direct gift the churches of Newcastle- 
upon-Tyne and Newburn in the same county. 3 

Throughout the reign of Henry I such rapid progress was made 
for the supply of religious institutions that at his death the district had 
been formed into a fully equipped diocese with a bishop at its head. 
The intensity of religious feeling was so marked that no fewer than four 
religious houses were founded during his reign within so small an area 
as the modern county. This is all the more remarkable when we re- 
member that the ecclesiastical movement was forced to keep pace with 
political progress. For this reason, perhaps, the King's project of com- 
pleting the priory of Carlisle, for which the site had been appropriated, 
was obliged to wait for several years. Ranulf Meschin, the new ruler 
appointed by King Henry, instead of supplementing the work of his 
sovereign in Carlisle, laid the foundation of a new institution at Wetheral, 4 
as a cell of the great abbey of St. Mary, York. During Ranulfs con- 
sulate the district must have settled down to some extent and become 
reconciled to English rule, for after his departure about 1 120, we meet 
with more manifest signs of ecclesiastical progress. We do not know 
as a matter of certainty the chronological sequence of ecclesiastical 
events as they took place during the first twenty years of Henry's reign. 

1 Cumberland Assize Roll, No. 132, m. 32. 

* Edith, daughter of Malcolm, king of Scotland, who after her marriage changed her name to Maud 
in compliment to her husband's mother. 

3 The two charters of Henry I. relating to the Northumberland churches have been often printed 
(Nicolson and Burn, Hist, of Cumb. ii. 540 ; Dugdale, Monasticon, vi. 144 ; Raine, The Priory of Hexbam 
i. App. No. v.). They are included in the confirmation charter of 6 Edward III., the original of which 
is still preserved in the diocesan registry of Carlisle. It should be noted that the grant of the four 
churches to Richard d'Orival, the royal chaplain, must have been made before 1107, when William 
de Werelwast, one of the witnesses, became bishop of Exeter (Registrum Sacrum Anglic, p. 41, new 
edition). From the witnesses to the charter granting the churches to the priory of Carlisle, the date 
must lie between 1116 and 1129. 

4 Reg. of Wetherhal, pp. 1-5. The editor, Archdeacon Prescott, says that the witnesses to the 
foundation charter of this institution would seem to agree with ' the first twelve years of Henry I.' There 
is little doubt of it. 



Important steps had been taken to supply two centres of religious enter- 
prise during that period, but little else seems to have been done. The 
completion of these institutions was the work of later years. When we 
examine the evidences one conclusion only can be arrived at, that the 
ecclesiastical reconstruction of the district according to Norman methods 
must be ascribed to the period 1 120-35 while the King had the govern- 
ment of the conquered province in his own charge. 

When we inquire for the agents upon whose shoulders fell the 
burden of church organization two names appear to whom the merit 
must be attributed. For the founding of monasteries or the creation of 
a bishopric the King needed the co-operation of wealthy men. While 
the district was ruled by a great vassal ecclesiastical progress was but 
slow. Ranulf at an early period of his rule set a good example by 
starting a religious house at Wetheral, and there is a strong presumption 
that his feoffee at Burgh-by-Sands had founded a parochial church within 
that barony. 1 But we have no proof that any serious effort at ecclesi- 
astical organization had been made till after Ranulfs succession to the 
earldom of Chester. Then almost immediately two men appear upon the 
scene whose names must be inscribed on the foundations of the ecclesi- 
astical edifice raised by Norman liberality in this portion of ancient 
Cumbria. To Walter the priest as the munificent benefactor of the 
priory, and to Adelulf, the first bishop of the diocese, must be ascribed 
the distinction of being the earliest pioneers in the ecclesiastical work 
of the district. 

Walter the priest, about whose antecedents we know practically 
nothing, stands out conspicuously as the agent in resuscitating the priory 
which Henry had founded in the city of Carlisle. There is no early 
authority, that we are aware of, to connect Walter with the land of 
Carlisle before the departure of Ranulf Meschin. In the sheriff's in- 
quisition of 1212* we have the trustworthy information that it was 
Henry I, and not William Rufus, who enfeoffed Walter with the 
manors of Linstock and Carleton at the annual cornage rent of 37^. 4^., 
and that it was by the licence of the same King that he assumed the 
religious habit in the priory of St. Mary, Carlisle, and endowed his 
adopted home with his worldly possessions. When we turn to King 
Henry's confirmation of Walter's benevolence, we get some more light 
on the extent of his possessions, and the date when his decision was 
made to become an inmate of the priory, and to bestow his property 
for the benefit of the institution. King Henry, addressing the Arch- 
bishop of York and all his barons of Cumberland and Westmorland, in- 
timated that he had confirmed to God and St. Mary and the canons of 
Carlisle all the churches and all the land which belonged to Walter the 
priest, free from the geld of cows and all other customs. 3 It was probably 

1 Harleian MS. (Reg. of Holmcultram), 3911, f. z8b. 

V.C.H. Cumb. i. 422. 

3 Henricus, Rex Angliae, Archiepiscopo Eborfacensi] et omnibus Baronibus et Ministris suis 
et fidelibus suis de Cumbrelanda et Westmarialanda, salutem. Sciatis me dedisse et concessisse 
deo et sancts Mariae et Canonicis de Cairlolio omnes ecclesias et totam terrain qux fuit Walteri 



about the same time that the six churches in Northumberland before 
mentioned were set aside for their benefit. While thinking of his own 
foundation in Carlisle, the King did not forget Ranulf's at Wetheral, for 
on that house also he conferred both lands and privileges. 1 The 
monarch's example was soon followed by the feudal tenants among 
whom he had parcelled the conquered territory. William Meschin, 
who had the same ecclesiastical sympathies as his brother, founded the 
priory of St. Bees,* outside Ranulf's fief, as a cell of St. Mary's, York, 
and some years later Ranulf his son established a Cistercian house at 
Calder. 3 We can scarcely review those critical years between the re- 
covery of the country in 1092 and its cession to Scotland in 1136 with- 
out being forced to the conclusion that little progress was made in its 
settlement or development while Ranulf acted as vicegerent and ruled 
the land. As soon as the King took over the administration, the district 
was split up into baronies and apportioned among trusty tenants, who 
co-operated with him in the establishment of missionary centres for 
civilizing and educating the inhabitants. 

But the crowning work of Henry's life in his northern dominions 
was the creation of the new territory into a diocese in 1133. Little 
could be done to wean the minds of the inhabitants from their Scottish 
sympathies while the district remained an isolated portion of the vast 
archdeaconry of Richmond. It was sound policy on the part of the 
King's advisers to constitute it into a bishopric, and to place it under 
immediate supervision. At that time the contest between Thurstin, 
archbishop of York, and the Scottish church continued to rage, the 
archbishop's claim to jurisdiction over the diocese of Glasgow having 
been asserted with especial vigour. There is little doubt that Fordun 
was right when he pointed to Thurstin as the true instigator of the 
scheme for a Carlisle bishopric. When Henry, probably on his visit to 
Carlisle in 1122, had seen John, bishop of Glasgow, performing ponti- 
fical offices in Cumberland, though he neither recognized him as his 
sovereign nor the Archbishop of York as his prelate, the King, on the 
advice of Thurstin, placed as his rival in the district ' Eadwald ' by force 
and violence, with the title of Bishop of Carlisle, because there was no 
one who dared to resist him. Bishop John was so mortified at seeing 
his bishopric thus dismembered without sanction of law or protest from 

presbiteri, et volo et firmiter precipio ut ipsi Canonici eas teneant in elemosinam bene et in pace 
et quiete de geldo vaccarum et de omnibus aliis consuetudinibus. Tfestibus] Nigfelo] de 
Albin[iaco] et Waltero Espec et Pag[ano] filio Johannis. Apud Wirecestriam (Chart. R. 6 Edw. III. pt. 
i. No. 30, by inspeximus). The division of the province into the two districts of ' Cumbreland ' and 
' Westmarialand ' at this early date is very interesting and may be compared with the Pipe Roll of 1130, 
where the same division is recognized. In 1248 Pope Innocent IV granted his protection and con- 
firmation of possessions to the prior and convent of St. Mary, Carlisle, and specially of the chapel of the 
church of Carlisle, with all offerings, tithes, and parish rights belonging to the said church, except the 
offering at Whitsuntide, and all the land formerly belonging to Walter the priest, which King Henry gave 
and confirmed by his charter (Cal. of Papal Letters, i. 250). This papal confirmation marks an im- 
portant point in the ecclesiastical position of the parish of St. Mary's, Carlisle, in its relation to the priory. 

' Reg. of Wetherhal, pp. 14-19, 22-27. 

i Reg. of St. Bees (Harleian MS. 434), lib. i. 1-3. 

Dugdale, Man. v. 339-40. 



the King of Scotland that he retired in disgust to a monastery. 1 Thurstin 
had no difficulty in satisfying the interested parties as far as English law 
was concerned. The archdeacon of Richmond was compensated for the 
loss of jurisdiction by the bestowal of such privileges as the right of in- 
stitution to and the custody of vacant churches within his archdeaconry, 
these privileges having been granted at the request and by the confirma- 
tion of the King. In fact many of the ecclesiastical immunities, which 
the famous archdeaconry enjoyed, may be traced to this period when a 
new diocese was carved out of its ample limits. 3 

In furtherance of the scheme for a new bishopric Henry had re- 
course to his old policy, when he set about the completion of the priory, 
of selecting a rich man as the first bishop. Among the royal chaplains 
he had a wealthy Yorkshire landowner, 3 Adelulf by name, who had 
taken the religious habit, and had become prior of St. Oswald's, Nostell, 
an Augustinian house near Pontefract. The difficulties of founding the 
bishopric were not insuperable when little or no provision had to be 
made for the maintenance of the office. The poverty of the see of 
Carlisle for the first century after its creation is well known. When 
Adelulf died in 1156 the bishopric remained derelict and vacant for 
about fifty years till adequate provision could be found for the support 
of the dignity. At first the separate endowment was ridiculously small. 
Though the priory of Carlisle was first founded, gifts of real property 
came in but slowly till the new foundation was raised to the dignity of 
a cathedral church in 1133. For some years after that date political 
events were not favourable to religious enthusiasm among the local 
magnates. Three years after its foundation the diocese passed under 
the sovereignty of the Scottish king while it remained subject to the 

1 Fordun, Scotichronicon, ed. Goodall, i. 449-50 ; Haddan and Stubbs, Councils and Eccles. Doc. 
ii. 27. 

3 When John of Hexham was describing the limits of the bishopric which Henry I had set up at 
Carlisle, he assumed the York oversight when he stated that the churches of Cumberland and West- 
morland which belonged to a York archdeaconry (quae adjacuerunt archidiaconatui Eboracensi) were 
bestowed on the new creation (The Priory of Hexham [Surtees Soc.], i. 109, 1 10 ; Twysden, Decem 
Scriptores, col. 257). In 1201 Honorius in his appeal to Pope Innocent about the archdeaconry of 
Richmond stated ' quod cum inclytae recordationis primus Henricus, rex Angliae, apud Car- 
leolum sedem episcopalem vellet de novo creari, quia ex hoc archidiaconatus Richemundiae 
laedebatur, rex ipse a bonae memoriae quondam Eboracensi archiepiscopo postulavit, ut in 
recompensationem cuiusdam partis, qua; subtrahebatur archidiaconatui memorato, ei predictas 
concederet dignitates ' (Hoveden, Chronica [Rolls Series], iv. 177-8). Whitaker has described the 
privileges of this archdeaconry in some detail (Hist, of Richmondshire, i. 34-6). From a description of 
the archbishopric of York in an Arundel manuscript Hinde has quoted the following statement about 
the diocese of Carlisle : ' Alterum Cardolensum, scilicet Carduel vel Carlel, qui fuit subtractus ab 
Eborascensi, non tamen demptus ab episcopatu ' (Symeon of Durham [Surtees Soc.], i. 221). In his 
' mappa mundi,' Gervase of Canterbury has enumerated such places as ' Holm Cotram,' ' Woderhall,' 
' Egremunt,' ' Carduil," and ' Ingelwde ' under ' Richemuntsire ' for ecclesiastical purposes (Gtsta 
Regum [Rolls Series], ii. 441). 

3 Selden has printed a charter out of his own collection whereby Bishop Adelulf, while Henry I still 
lived, endowed the deanery of York and William the dean and all his successors in the deanery with the 
tithes of the mills of Pokelinton and of his domain and of all his soch (decimas molendinorum de Pokelinton 
et de dominio meo et de iota socha), for so it had been provided and appointed by King Henry (Historie 
of Tithes, ed. 1618, pp. 337-8). The inference is obvious. Had Adelulf been exercising the right as 
prior of St. Oswald, the deed of gift would not have run in the name of ' Ael. Dei gratia, Carleolensis 
episcopus.' Besides, we have yet to learn that the priory of Nostell owned the manor of ' Pokelinton ' 
at this date. It is certain that the manor did not belong to him as bishop of Carlisle. 



metropolitical jurisdiction of York. It is this which makes the early 
history of the church of Carlisle so unique. For almost the whole of 
his episcopate Adelulf was an English bishop beneficed in the kingdom 
of Scotland. After his death in 1156, though the district reverted in 
the following year to English sovereignty, 1 no successor was appointed 
for almost half a century. During this long vacancy the diocese was 
reckoned a unit of the northern province administered by an archdeacon, 
with the assistance of a suffragan of York for the performance of ponti- 
fical offices. 2 While Adelulf lived he must have resided at his cathedral 
church, of which he was the head and in which he had his ' stool ' or 
' cathedra.' Owing to the peculiar vicissitudes of the see at this time, 
the early growth of the capitular institution at Carlisle is involved in no 
little obscurity. But there can be no question, as we shall learn from 
subsequent proceedings, that throughout the first episcopate the endow- 
ments of the bishopric and the priory were held to be indivisible, and 
that the bishop had no real property distinct from his cathedral church. 3 
The King of England was fortunate in his choice of the first bishop 
of Carlisle. Of all the prelates who have ruled the northern diocese Adelulf 
is pre-eminent, not only as a great churchman gifted with the will and 
the power to organize the new foundation, but also as a wise statesman 
and diplomatist capable of reconciling the many conflicting interests 
arising from his political position. Before he was raised to the see he 
was a personage of considerable influence at the English and Scottish 
courts. It is said by Eadmer that Henry I would not put an English- 
man even at the head of a monastery ; but if it be true that Adelulf was 
not a Norman, as we may fairly infer from his name, the historian's rule 
may be regarded as affording the usual exception. In any case it must 
be confessed that his qualifications eminently fitted him to fill with dis- 
tinction the difficult post to which he had been nominated. Though 
his diocese had been incorporated with the kingdom of Scotland, he was 
often employed on English affairs, and attended the English court on its 
peregrinations in various parts of England and on the continent. It is, 
however, a matter of doubt whether Adelulf was able to take up the 
administration of his diocese immediately after his consecration. The 
retirement of John, bishop of Glasgow, to the monastery of Tyron as 

Roger de Wendover (Rolls Series), i. 16. 

2 Though there was no bishop of Carlisle, the district retained a separate existence as a diocese, 
and did not become an archdeaconry of Carlisle within the archdiocese of York. When Uctred, son 
of Fergus, conferred the church of Torpenhow on the abbey of Holyrood, the canons of that place 
were empowered to hold it as freely ' sicut aliqua ecclesia in toto episcopatu Karloliensi ' (Liber Cartarum 
Sancte Cruets [Bannatyne Club], pp. 19, 20). Christian, bishop of Candida Casa, often ministered in the 
diocese of Carlisle, while it was vacant, as suffragan of York. He was present at the foundation of the 
priory of Lanercost about the year 1169 (Reg. of Lanercost, MS. i. i). In 1159 and 1160 the sheriff 
of Cumberland allowed him 14*. Sd. in each year, no doubt as a reward for his services (Pipe Rolls 
[Cumberland], 5 and 6 Hen. II.). Bishop Christian died at Holmcultram in 1186 (Chron. de Mailros 
[Bannatyne Club], 95). 

3 There were of course endowments of a spiritual nature which belonged to the bishop alone. 
For example, Archbishop Thurstin gave him the prebend of St. Peter's, York (Cal. of Papal Letters, i. 91). 
The Pipe Roll of 1188 gives an account of the episcopal revenues apart from those of the priory at that 



a protest against the creation of the bishopric is significant. As soon as 
Stephen had seized the throne, Pope Innocent II reminded him of the 
project of raising ' the place of Carlisle to the rank of episcopal dignity 
which Henry his royal predecessor had laboured to accomplish till his 
decease,' at the same time urging the King to supply what was lacking 
in the original foundation. 1 Whatever may have been the obstacles in 
the way of completing the formation of the see they were surmounted 
in 1138 when Alberic, the papal legate, held a provincial council of 
Scottish bishops at Carlisle. David, king of Scotland, was present with 
the bishops, abbots and barons of his kingdom. The council was also 
attended by Robert, bishop of Hereford, and Adelulf, bishop of Carlisle, 
who formed the legate's suite as he journeyed through England. By 
this synod John, bishop of Glasgow, was ordered to leave his retirement 
and return to his cure, and Adelulf was admitted to the favour of King 
David and established in his diocese. 2 

When the diocese had become finally absorbed into the English 
kingdom in 1157 the ecclesiastical sympathies of the local magnates 
upon whom the church depended for the support of its ministrations 
were not completely diverted into English channels. The church in the 
twelfth century was not insular or national, belonging to one race or one 
kingdom : it claimed an universal sovereignty over all nations. For 
this reason no doubt the political frontier which marked off the English 
from the Scottish kingdom was scarcely recognized at the outset among 
the benevolent landowners who first endowed religious institutions in 
this part of the country. But apart from religious considerations there 
was a community of feeling as well as an identity of aim among the 
people on both sides of the national boundary. By ties of property, in- 
termarriage and old associations, the inhabitants of ancient Cumbria 
remained practically one people for a long period after they had become 
politically separated. The needs of the church knew no political 
barriers. Religious houses in Scotland received grants from the lords of 
Cumberland after the severance of the diocese from Scottish rule. 
National prejudice did not hinder Scottish laymen from extending their 
benevolence to institutions on the English side of the Border. Turgis 
de Russedale, the baron of Liddel, appropriated the church of Kirkan- 

1 The Priory of Hexkam (Surtees Soc.) i., Appendix No. viii. This letter of Pope Innocent II to 
King Stephen, taken from the Great White Register of York, is dated at Pisa on 22 April, and as the Pope 
was there on that day in 1136, and apparently not in that month of any later year, Haddan and Stubbs 
say that 1 1 36 is almost certainly the date (Councils and Eccles. Documents, ii. 30). In this letter Innocent 
reminded Stephen that the see had been created ' ex dispensatione Apostolica.' Prynne had overlooked 
this fact when he took the formation of the diocese of Carlisle as the basis of his argument to show that 
the King had an inherent power without the Pope to create new bishoprics, alter dioceses, and curtail 
the privileges of archbishops, bishops, and archdeacons, so as to bind their successors thereby (Chrono- 
logical Vindication, ii. 232). 

2 The two Hexham historians, Richard and John, give identical accounts of this provincial council 
of Scottish bishops under Alberic the legate in 1138, John adding that ' Aldulf ' the bishop was received 
to the favour of King David and admitted to his bishopric by the intercession of the legate (The 
Priory of Hexham, i. 96-100, 121). The chronicle of Melrose, under date 1138, mentions Alberic's 
visit to David at Carlisle. 


WALTER MALCLERC (1224-1246). 

WALTER MALCLERC (1224-1246) 







drews or Arthuret 1 to the abbey of Jedburgh, a monastery which was 
also enriched with the church of Bassenthwaite by the gift of Waldef 
son of Gospatric.' The church of Torpenhow ' was granted to the abbey 
of Holy Rood, Edinburgh, by Uctred son of Fergus in right of Gunnild, 
daughter of Waldeve, his wife. The abbey of Kelso enjoyed a pension issu- 
ing out of the church of Lazonby 4 by the gift of Hugh de Morvill. The 
favours conferred on Scottish monasteries by Cumberland landowners 
were reciprocated from the other side. On the western border alone 
many instances might be given wherein the great lords of Annandale and 
Galloway were equally considerate to English institutions. No small 
portion of the endowments of the abbey of Holmcultram was situated 
in Galloway and on the northern shore of the Solway. 5 The family of 
Brus, the owners of the great fief of Annandale, were among the 
foremost benefactors of the priory of Gisburn in Yorkshire. 6 The 
priory of Lanercost had rent charges in Dumfries. 7 It is true that 
family ties or national sentiment had much to do with several of these 
endowments. One might expect that the abbey of Holmcultram should 
possess strong claims upon Scottish liberality, seeing that it was of 
Scottish foundation and the only institution left in the district as a relic 
of the Scottish occupation. Making due allowance for considerations 
of this sort, we should not forget the strong international sentiment 
which pervaded the people of both kingdoms, 8 and which had done so 
much to forward the interests of the church in the diocese of Carlisle. 

Though the establishment of churches cannot be ascribed exclu- 
sively to Norman agency, we are not left altogether in ignorance of the 
progress that church extension had made under the first Norman settlers 
in the new province. If we take the barony of Burgh by Sands, there is a 
strong presumption that the church of that place was founded by one of 
its early Norman owners. At the close of the twelfth century, when 
Hugh de Morvill made a grant of the church to the abbey of Holm- 
cultram, a schedule was drawn up of the lands with which it was 
endowed. From the circumstances of the transaction, it is clearly seen 
that the origin of the institution was a matter of common knowledge. 
The foundation of the church was spoken of; the first priest was named; 
the portion of land with which the church was endowed ' at its first 
foundation ' was set out. If Swain, the first priest, on his appointment 

1 Facsimiles of National A/SS. of Scotland, No. 38 ; Morton, Monastic Annals of Teviotdale, pp. 
57-9 ; Carl. Epis. Reg. Ross, MS. f. 262 ; Inq. ad quod damnum, 2 Edw. III. No. 3. 

2 Finium (Rec. Com.), 10 John, p. 10. 

3 Liber Cartarum Sanctae Crucis, Bannatyne Club, 19-20. 

4 Liber de Calcbou, Bannatyne Club, ii. 351 ; Reg. of Lanercost, MS. xiii. 25, 26 ; xiv. I. 
6 Reg. of Holmcultram MS. ff. 66-7, 91-125. 

6 Cart. Prioratus de Gyseburne (Surtees Society), ii. 340-52. 

7 Reg. of Lanercost, MS. ix. 13. See also a grant of Robert de Brus, lord of Annandale, of pasture 
in Gamelsby and Glassonby (Ibid. xiv. 4). 

8 The close communion between the canons of Carlisle and the canons of Holyrood in Edinburgh 
may be estimated by the ' confederacio ' for the purposes of prayer which existed amongst them on the 
death of one of their number (Liber Cartarum Sanctte Crucis, Maitland Club, p. cxxxv. ; Liber Vitce 
Eccl. Dunelm. (Surtees Society), p. xvi. The ' confederation ' is written in a comparatively modern hand 
in the Ritual Book of Holyrood. 



to the new church, had only one acre of land on the south side of the 
village for his support, the worldly possessions of his benefice were not 
destined to remain long at that figure. As other gifts of real property 
soon came in, it cannot be said of the landowners of Burgh that 
they were backward in making suitable provision for the maintenance 
of religious ministrations in that parish. 1 But we are not dependent 
on the example of Burgh alone to support the view that the parochial 
system was not fully established in Cumberland at the period when 
charter evidence furnishes us with guidance. If we look from the 
north to the south angle of the county as it now is, we shall find that 
a church was founded there and a parish formed so late as the 
pontificate of Henry Murdac, archbishop of York, that is, between 
1 147 and 1153. Copsi, the first lord of Corney on record, founded 
a church in his manor and gave it with its appurtenances at the date 
named to the priory of St. Bees, to which house it was confirmed by 
Roger, his son, and by other members of his family at a later date. 2 
It was owing, no doubt, to the wildness and isolation of the place that 
provision had not been already made, for the parish is situated on the 
side of a ridge of fells which forms the eastern boundary of that portion 
of the county and terminates in Black Comb. Of the ancient parish 
churches, that is, of those founded before the close of the twelfth century, 
Corney occupies the singular position that it is the only church in Cum- 
berland whose founder's name is at present known. 

Church extension throughout the county can be more easily under- 
stood by reference to its progress in the royal forest, which had not been 
split up into parishes till a late date. This is what might be expected, 
for in many places the need could not have been pressing : with the 
exception of the officers of the forest, the population within its bounds 
must have been very small. Penrith, on the southern limit, had its 
church at an early period, no doubt of royal foundation, as the King 
transferred it to the bishop when he created the diocese in 1 133." As 
all the churches within the forest were in the gift of the Crown in the 
first instance, we may take it that the King was in no way behind his 
subjects in making spiritual provision for his tenants in proportion to the 
property held in his own hand. All the unenclosed land in the forest 
was extra-parochial. When assarts were made and became inhabited, 
the tithes accruing from the cultivated land were the right of the Crown. 
Upon this point a notable case was heard in 1290 in a dispute about the 
tithes arising in certain enclosed lands called Linthwaite and Curthwaite. 
The King's attorney claimed them because these places were within the 
bounds of the forest, where the King alone could enclose lands, build 

Harleian MSS. (Reg. of Holmcultram), 3911, f. a8b, 3891, f. 32b. 

3 Reg. of St. Bees MS. (Harl. MS. 434), ii. 3. In the same Register are preserved the confirmation 
charters of Roger son of Copsi, Orm son of Roger, Benedict de Pennington, and Christina de Coupland 
and Waldeve her husband (Ibid. ii. 2). Christina de Coupland was probably the daughter of Copsi 
(Pipe Roll [Cumberland], 31 Hen. II.). 

3 Close, 3 Hen. III. m. lid ; Pat., 3 Hen. III. m. 5d ; Prynne, Chronological Vindication, ed. 1665, 
ii. 376. 



houses, found churches, 1 and assign the tithes to whom he pleased. The 
prior of Carlisle based his claims on former royal grants ; the parson of 
Thursby asserted that the enclosures were within his parish ; the Bishop 
of Carlisle put forward the singular plea that they were in the parish of 
Aspatria, the advowson of which belonged to him. 2 After much litiga- 
tion the tithes were awarded to the King, who afterwards granted them 
to the prior. 3 The church of Carlisle had many chartered privileges * in 
the forest of Inglewood, and the burden of providing spiritual ministra- 
tions eventually devolved upon the prior and convent. 

The practice of founding chapelries or district churches arose 
gradually as the need began to be felt in large parishes. It was usual 
for the owner of property at some distance from the parish church to 
obtain the bishop's licence to have an oratory in his house or to build 
a chapel on his estate, due regard being had to the rights of the mother 
church. The method of founding a chapel of ease differed but slightly 
from that of the parish church, except in the ecclesiastical status of the 
establishment. As far back as records carry us in Cumberland, the 
custom of erecting chapels was contemporaneous with the founding of 
parish churches. One of the earliest and most interesting of these 
foundations is the chapelry of Treverman in the parish of Walton, 
founded by Gilmor, son of Gilander, during the episcopate of ' Edelwan,' 
the first bishop of Carlisle, 113356. As lord of Treverman and 
Torcrossoc he caused a chapel to be constructed of wattlework (de virgis) 
at the former place and appointed his kinsman Gillemor to the chaplaincy, 
at the same time assigning him a certain parcel of land, afterwards called 
Kirkland, for his sustenance. It is particularly noted that the inhabi- 
tants had the benefit of all divine offices of religion, with the exception 
of baptism and burial, before the parish church on which it was 
dependent had been appropriated to the priory of Lanercost. 8 In 
later instances the ecclesiastical authorities were more particular in 

1 In the lordship of Penrith, which belonged to the Crown, a chaplain was maintained out of 
the revenues issuing from that place. Richard III. directed a warrant to his receiver ' of the lordship of 
Penryth in Cumberland that now is or for the tyme shalbe to content and paye yerely unto the same S r 
William (Bellendre, priest) the sum of fourty shillinges to thentent that the same S r William shall syng 
masse in the chapell of o r lady of grace at Amotbrigge. Yeven etc. at Notingham the xxth day of Marche 
a primo ' (Harleian MS. 433, f. i66b) 

3 Rot. Parl. (Rec. Com.), i. 37, 38, 48 ; ii. 44-5 ; Ryley, Placita Parliamentaria, ed. 1661, 
pp. 49-51. A compressed account of this suit was cited by Sir Edw. Coke in support of his explanation 
of the word ' assert ' or ' assart ' (4 Institutes, ed. 1648, p. 307). 

3 Pat. 22 Edw. I. m. 27. 

4 These privileges originated with the following charter of Henry I. : ' Henricus, Rex Angliz, 
justiciariis, vice-comitibus, baronibus, forestariis et ministris suis et fidelibus de Cumberlanda, 
salutem. Precipimus quod Canonici sanctz Mariae de Karlfeolo] bene et in pace et quiete 
habeant et teneant diuisas suas de foresta sicut eis dedi et concessi in elemosinam et sicut eis 
perambulari et demonstrari precepi et omnia aisiamenta sua in bosco et pascuis et omnibus rebus 
sicut in suo dominio. Et nullus eos vel homines siue res eorum inquietet super hoc super foris- 
facturam meam, set omnes res eorum in pace sint sicut elemosina mea. T[este] Nig[elo] de 
Albpniaco] apud Waltham ' (Chart. R. 6 Edw. III. pt. i. No. 30, by insfeximus). This charter, 
together with the grant of the lands of Walter the priest, was recited and confirmed by 
Henry II. 

6 Reg. of Lanercost MS. ff. 260-1. The internal evidence of this deed is conclusive that the 
bishop referred to by the jurors was Adelulf of Carlisle, and not ^Ethelwin of Durham (1056-1071). 
ii 17 3 


defining the relationship of the district chapel to the parish church. 
When Patric, son of Thomas de Workingto^n, founded the chapel of 
Thornthwaite about the year 1240, the abbot aVnd convent of Fountains, 
rectors of the parish of Crosthwaite, in which tlr v e new chapel was built, 
made a stipulation that all the chaplains should g* r ive obedience to the 
mother church and relinquish all claim to tithes, gre/it and small, and to 
all oblations and obventions, due and accustomed. 1 Tvhough the rights 
of the parish church were always jealously safeguarded, ii* did not prevent 
the occurrence of parochial troubles. When Thomas, rector of Dean, 
induced the inhabitants of Clifton to bury their dead in h ; is churchyard, 
the rector of Workington, in whose parish the chapelry was situated, 
appealed in 1219 and forced the rector of Dean to disi continue the 
practice. 2 J 

In course of time chapels attained to a position of independence, 
but it was frequently a long process. For various causes, a^ the need 
was felt, parochial rights were granted by the ecclesiastical authorities. 
The right of burial in the chapel yard was a crucial stage in the' develop- 
ment, and the concession was considered of such high moment tfriat every 
precaution was taken to maintain the supremacy of the mother Vchurch. 
The chaplain on his appointment was obliged to swear subjectionV to the 
rector, by whose will he was always removable ; the inhabitants emtered 
into an agreement to continue their contribution to the repairs oSf the 
mother church as well as to keep the chapel and all its belongingrs at 
their own charges. In all cases the consecration of the chapel yard was 
a necessary feature of the transaction ; in some cases the dedication i of 
the chapel is mentioned. In 1534 the right of burial was granted ito 
the chapel of Ennerdale by reason of its distance from St. Bees and tine 
great inconvenience occasioned at funerals by the badness of the roads. 3 
About the same time a similar privilege had been given to the chapel 
of Loweswater on the petition of Henry, earl of Northumberland, the 
good friend of the church in that neighbourhood. In a deed of extra- 
ordinary length 4 the relative position of chapel and mother church w/as 
set out with a minuteness which showed what a firm grip the moniks 
kept over their subordinate churches. It was given with its endowment 
of two oxgangs of land to St. Bees by Randulf de Lindesay and Hectreda 
his wife soon after the foundation of the priory. 5 Many of the indepen- 
dent cures in Cumberland have attained their present position by this 
process of development from district chapels. 

Reg. of Fountains (Cotton MS. Tiberius, C. xij), ff. 97-8. Patric son of Thomas had a grant of 
' Tornthayt in Derwentfelles ' from Alice de Rumelli, daughter of William fitz Duncan, in the early 
part of the thirteenth century, which place he undertook to assart and cultivate. It is noteworthy that 
as soon as the estate became inhabited, the owner set about at once to provide a chapel for his tenants, 
A late copy of the deed, by which Patric was enfeoffed, remains with his descendant at Workington Hall. 

" Reg. of St. Bees (Harl. MS. 434), ii. 15. In the Register of Glasgow there are several documents 
illustrating the origin and privileges of parish churches, and the jealousy with which their incumbents 
watched the tendency of chapels to interfere with the offerings and dues of the mother church which 
were only of inferior importance to its tithes (Reg. Epis. Glasguensis (Bannatyne Club), i. pp. xxiii. 
41, 48, 61, et passim). 

3 Reg. of St. Bees MS. viii. 13. 4 Ibid. ix. 6. B Ibid. i. 12, 29. 



The prolonged vacancy of the see, extending over nearly fifty 
years after the death of Bishop Adelulf in 1 156, was so unprecedented 
that writers of distinction were driven to hazard various guesses to 
account for it. The tradition among the antiquaries of the sixteenth 
and seventeenth centuries that a certain Bernard, indiscriminately styled 
Archbishop of Ragusa and Archbishop of Sclavonia, immediately suc- 
ceeded Bishop Adelulf, was transmitted to our own day and accepted 
without hesitation till recent years. In fact, two Bernards in succession 
were often conjured from the shades to supply the missing links and 
preserve the continuity in the roll of bishops. But the witness of the 
chronicles alone, without the aid of charter evidence, is conclusive that 
no bishop had accepted the see of Carlisle during the reigns of Henry II. 
and Richard I., though the former king, notwithstanding his well-known 
habit of keeping the ecclesiastical revenues of vacant dignities in his own 
hand, made a genuine attempt to remedy the scandal in Carlisle. So 
great was the injustice to the diocese that Gervase of Tilbury, a chronicler 
who wrote at the close of the reign of Richard I., while describing the 
condition of the northern province, stated that the archbishop of York 
had only two suffragan sees, Durham, which enjoyed so many privileges 
from the Roman church, and Carlisle, which by reason of its prolonged 
vacancy was relegated to oblivion more than to subjection. 1 When 
Robert de Torigni was accounting for the absence of some of the bishops 
from Prince Henry's coronation in 1170, he mentioned this fact among 
others that Adelulf, bishop of Carlisle, was dead and that his cathedra 
up to that date had remained without an occupant. 2 In 1 186 the king, 
being in Normandy, dismissed Hugh, bishop of Durham, from his attend- 
ance on the court, and sent him back to his diocese to celebrate the 
Easter festival, as there was no bishop in the northern province at the 
time, York with many other bishoprics in England being vacant, one of 
which was Carlisle, which had been without a bishop for almost thirty 
years. 3 

There can be no question about the sincerity of Henry's intention 
in 1 1 86 to fill the vacancy by the appointment of a bishop. Many 
things occurring at that time contributed to bring about this desirable 
work. Christian, bishop of Whithern, who had been acting as suffragan 
to the archbishop in his administration of the diocese of Carlisle, had 
died at Holmcultram in that year. 4 The King reached Carlisle about 
the same time on his expedition to punish Roland, lord of Galloway. 
There is reason to believe that Archdeacon Robert, the local head of 

1 The words of Gervase, in his Otia Imperialist, are important in this connexion ' Eboracensis 
Archiepiscopus hos duos tantum habet suffraganeos : Durhamensem, qui tot gaudet privilegiis Romanse 
ecclesis, quod jam in plenam se recepit libertatem : et Carleolensem, qui saepissime 'tanto tempore 
vacat, quod oblivioni potius datur quam subjection! ' (Leibnitz, Scriptores Rerum Brunsvicensium (Han- 
over, 1707), i. 917). 

* Chron. of Stephen, Henry II. and Richard I. (Rolls Series), iv. 245. 

Benedict Abbas, Gesta Hen. II. et Ric. I. (Rolls Series), i. 344. 

< Chron. de Mailros (Bannatyne Club), 95 ; Pipe Rolls (Cumberland), 5 and 6 Hen. II. ; Reg. of 
Lanercost, MS. i. i. 



the diocese during the vacancy, had died also in 1186, or had become 
so hopelessly crippled with debt that he was obliged to resign his charge. 
The occasion was opportune, as the King was in Carlisle, and as the 
need was urgent the canons of St. Mary's petitioned him for licence to 
elect a bishop. The choice of the chapter fell upon Paulinus de Ledes, 
master of the hospital of St. Leonard's, York, who was known as an 
honest, prudent and accomplished man. The election was very popu- 
lar in the city and diocese, and great rejoicing was manifested every- 
where, for the see had been so long bereft of the consolation of a chief 
pastor, the vacancy having continued since the death of Adelulf, the first 
bishop, in 1156. But unfortunately Paulinus was not willing to accept 
the nomination, though the King urged him to it by the offer of an 
annual rent charge of three hundred marks issuing from the churches of 
Bamborough and Scarborough, from the chapel of Tickell, and from 
two of the royal manors near Carlisle. 1 

It may be taken that King Henry did not despair of ultimately 
filling the vacancy, in spite of the abortive attempt in 1 186, for a revei- 
sion to the old condition of ecclesiastical government by means of an 
archdeacon was not permitted for at least two years. The custody of 
the bishopric was kept in his own hand, and no archdeacon was ap- 
pointed to the office vacated by Robert during that period. On no 
other supposition can be explained the singular entry in the Pipe Roll 
of 1 1 88 when the sheriff accounted to the Exchequer for the issues of 
the archdeaconry as well as the bishopric for the two years in question. 
The sheriffs return gives a welcome insight into the episcopal revenues 
at this early period. The sources of receipts from ' the bishopric of 
Carlisle for two years' are set out as the fees of two synods in the dio- 
cese and archdeaconry, oblations at Whitsuntide, issues of the churches 
of Carleton, Melburn, Dalston and the school of Carlisle, besides the 
pleas and perquisites of the diocesan court. It will be seen that at this 
date the bishopric, as distinct from the priory, was not endowed with 
any real property, the total revenue, which amounted in two years to 
52 IO..T. 6d. being exclusively of spiritual obligation. While the cus- 
tody remained with the King, the whole of the issues, with the excep- 
tion of a balance of 50.;., was spent on building operations, then in pro- 
gress at the great altar and pavement in the cathedral church and the 
dormitory of the canons. The only expenses of a purely episcopal or 
archidiaconal nature amounted to the small sum of 14.?., which was the 
cost of holy oil for the Easter sacrament and its carriage from London, 
the archbishopric of York being then vacant. The King's attempt to 
fill the bishopric having failed, the old system of administration through 
an archdeacon was revived in 1 188-9, when Peter de Ros was appointed 

' Benedict Abbas (Rolls Series), i. 349, 360 ; Hoveden (Rolls Series), ii. 309 ; Walter of Coventry 
(Rolls Series), i. 340. Paulinus de Ledes was afterwards mixed up in an interesting plea about the 
advowson of the church of Clifton between Richard de Marisco and the Canons of Wartre in 1199 (Rot. 
Curiae Regis [Rec. Com.], ii. 32-3). 



to the archdeaconry and also to the custody of the See. 1 For this reason, 
there is little doubt, the sheriff ceased to account for the revenues. It 
is probable that the archdeacon was appointed shortly before or soon 
after the death of Henry II. on 6 July 1189, when the project of an 
immediate filling of the vacancy was abandoned. 

The fateful journey of King Richard from the Holy Land in 1 192 
seems to have been the indirect cause of bringing the long vacancy in 
the diocese to a close. Touching at Ragusa 2 on the shores of the 
Adriatic, the King made the acquaintance of Bernard, the archbishop 
of that district, who perhaps befriended him in his sorry plight. Bernard 
came to England with King Richard, 3 or if he did not actually attend him 
on his homeward journey, it is known that he was in England a few 
years after the King's return. Bernard, archbishop of Ragusa, was 
present at the coronation of King John in 1199, and witnessed the 
homage of the King of Scots at Lincoln in the same year. 4 For some 
time after this date he was in constant attendance at the English court, 
with the probable intention of obtaining preferment in England. Mean- 
while, Pope Innocent was unable to account for the truancy of the arch- 
bishop, who, with characteristic temerity, had forsaken the church of 
Ragusa. In 1202 he directed a bull to the chapter of that place, in- 
forming them, as their pastor had been absent for more than four years 
and had not returned to his cure notwithstanding frequent expostulation, 
that they should proceed to elect a successor within one month from 
the date of receiving his licence. 8 The position of Archbishop Bernard 
was critical, as his tenure of the church of Ragusa had determined and 
no charge had been found him in his adopted country. The bishopric 
of Carlisle was still vacant, and though it possessed few attractions, even 
for a needy archbishop, Bernard was induced at last to accept it. 

The archbishop of York did not relish the prospect of importing 
another archbishop into his province, as if two suns could not be ex- 
pected to shine in the same firmament. The pope, however, disarmed 
the prejudice of Archbishop Geoffrey by the undertaking that Bernard 
should lay aside his archiepiscopal dignity, exercise the episcopal office 
in the diocese of Carlisle without the use of the pall, and pay due 

1 Errors about Robert's tenure of the archdeaconry have arisen from a misunderstanding of 
the ways of the Exchequer. The archdeacon was a debtor to the estate of Aaron the Jew of 
Lincoln, who died before 1189 (Mag. Rot. Pip. I Ric. /. [Rec. Com.], 219, 226). These debts 
appear in the sheriff's accounts of Cumberland from 1191 to 1195, the Jew's estate being in the 
King's hand. From the continued mention of Robert's indebtedness, it has been concluded 
that he remained archdeacon of Carlisle. Peter de Ros was archdeacon in January, 1190 (Reg. 
of Holmcultram MS. f. 51), and held that office till his death in 1196 (Hoveden, Chron. [Rolls 
Series], iv. 14). 

> Hoveden, Chron. (Rolls Series), iii. 185-6. 

" Annales Monastics (Rolls Series), iii. 450. 

4 Hoveden, Chron. iv. 89, 141. 

Migne, Patrologiae, ccxiv. 970-1. By all accounts Bernard was very unpopular in his diocese of 
Ragusa, and Innocent III. was glad to get rid of him. He told the archbishop of York, when he was 
begging the see of Carlisle for him, that Bernard had been unable to live safely at Ragusa, and if he re- 
turned again, ' mortis sibi periculum imminebat ' (ibid. ccxv. 58-9). William of Tyre, who brought 
up his Historia Rerum to 1184, has drawn a woeful picture of the inhabitants of Ragusa at this period 
' populo ferocissimo, rapinis, et caedibus assueto inhabitata ' (ibid. cci. 266-7). 



reverence and obedience to his metropolitan. 1 On 10 January 
12034 King John intimated to the archbishop of York that he had 
confirmed the arrangement, and at the same time he had directed his 
letters to the clergy of the diocese of Carlisle to receive Bernard and 
obey him as their bishop. 2 Thus closed one of the strangest chapters 
in the history of the northern church, for from this date the irregularity 
in the episcopal succession may be said to have ceased. Perhaps there 
is no diocese in England which presents so many curious features of 
ecclesiastical vicissitude. If we consider the political difficulties which 
confronted the first bishop, the lengthy vacancy which followed his 
death owing to the poverty of the see, the attempts which were made 
to remedy the deficiency, the personality of the second bishop as primate 
of a foreign province whose allegiance to the papal chair was so slender 
that he forsook his charge without permission, we can in some measure 
estimate the early struggles of our ancestors in building up the church 
in this portion of the kingdom, and the sacrifices they were called on 
to make before such a glorious heritage could be handed on to their 

Soon after the episcopate of Bishop Bernard it was found possible 
to put the tenure of the diocese on such a financial basis that a return 
to the old state of things which existed before his arrival was not likely 
to occur. The time had come for a partition of the property of the 
church of Carlisle between the priory and the bishopric. During the 

i This letter of Innocent III. to the archbishop of York is interesting. In the first place the pope 
expressed the fear that Bernard's poverty would bring the ministerial office into disrepute. He acknow- 
ledged also the source from which the grant of the bishopric of Carlisle was derived, for it was conferred 
on Bernard, not by the pope himself, but ' de munificentia et liberalitate clarissimi in Christo filii nostri, 
Johannis regis Anglorum illustris,' for his maintenance. It is important, too, in explaining Bernard's 
future position in the diocese of Carlisle, that is, the tenure of a suffragan see by an archbishop. Ber- 
nard's ecclesiastical status in relation to his metropolitan is thus set out ' Nos enim ei de sedis aposto- 
licae benignitate concessimus, ut in ipso episcopatu, absque usu pallii, officium episcopale valeat exercere, 
tibi tanquam metropolitano reverentiam et obedientiam impensurus ' (Migne, Patrologiae, ccxv. 
58-9). Bishop Stubbs must have overlooked this letter, as he does not acknowledge him to have been 
one of the bishops in regular succession. In one place he says that the see had not been ' filled up until 
1219, although administered for a time by Bernard, ex-archbishop of Ragusa' (Benedict Abbas, i. 344) : 
in other places he calls him 'the administrator of Carlisle' (Registrum Sacrum, p. 51, new edition; 
Hoveden, iv. 89). It is evident that Stubbs had been misled by the phraseology of some writs of 
Henry III. For instance, on the restitution of the temporalities to Bishop Hugh in 1218, the sheriff 
is commanded to give such seisin as ' Bernardus, Archiepiscopus Sclavonic, quondam custos ejusdem 
Episcopatus inde habuit cum custodiam inde recepisset per dominum Johannem Regem patrem nos- 
trum ' (Rot. Liu. Claus. [Rec. Com.], i. 369). There can be no doubt that Bernard was as much bishop 
of Carlisle as any of his successors. 

2 Rot. Litt. Pat. (Rec. Com.), pp. 3/b, 38 ; Rymer, Fcedera, new edition, i. 90 ; Migne, Patrologiae, 
ccxvij. no-Il ; Prynne, Chronological Vindication, ii. 241. But Bernard must have had the offer 
of Carlisle some years before 10 January 1203-4, ^e date of his nomination and acceptance, for King 
John granted the see to the archbishop of Sclavonia in 1200 till he could provide him with a better bene- 
fice (Rot. Chart. [Rec. Com.], i. 96b). Bernard was evidently holding out in hope of more important 
preferment, for in 1202 the diocese was still vacant (Rot. Litt. Pat. [Rec. Com.], i. 7), and in 1203 Alex- 
ander de Lucy had the archdeaconry and custody of the bishopric (ibid. i. 306, 35b). King John en- 
deavoured to supplement the slender income of the northern diocese. In 1206-7, he granted to ' Bernard, 
bishop of Carlisle,' an annual pension of twenty marks for life (Rot. Litt. Claus. [Rec. Com.], i. 67b ; Rot. 
Litt. Pat. [Rec. Com.], i. 76). As the bishopric was again vacant in 1214 (ibid. i. 118, 1380, 142, I42b), 
Bernard ruled the diocese from 1204 to 1214. Fordun states that in 1212 he was ' aetatis decrepitae, 
et infirmitatis continuae, sicque mortem in januis ei cerneret imminere,' and that he afterwards died as 
bishop of Carlisle ' episcopo Karliolis mortuo ' (Scotichronicon, ed. Goodall, ii. 12-13). 



long period while the diocese was without a bishop the endowments 
were at the sole arbitrament of the prior and convent, and the canons 
came to regard them as belonging exclusively to the priory. In due 
course they were disillusioned. While the nation was torn asunder by 
the indefensible conduct of King John, political feeling in Cumberland 
was on the side of the barons, who invited the Scottish king to espouse 
their cause, and offered to deliver up the city of Carlisle and the castles 
of the county to him. 1 When Alexander seized the county the bishopric 
was vacant by the death of Bishop Bernard. The canons not only re- 
ceived the King to communion, though he was in a state of excommuni- 
cation, but also committed the dark deed of electing a Scotsman to the 
vacant bishopric at Alexander's suggestion/ The act of treason brought 
a doom on the priory. On complaint of King John and the bishops to 
Rome, the papal legate in England was instructed to take extreme 
measures for the punishment of the offenders. The canons were forth- 
with expelled from Carlisle in 1218 and placed in other regular churches ; 
their election of a bishop was declared void ; and other canons, faithful 
to the English king, were appointed in their room. 3 

It is evident that the treason of these unfortunate churchmen was 
made the occasion of effecting a radical change in the relation of the 
bishop of Carlisle to his chapter. The time was opportune, as the see 
was vacant. Not only were the offending canons to be sent into exile, 
but the possessions and rents of their church were to be distributed 
between the bishop and the new canons, the complainants having urged 
that such measures would tend to tranquillity, as the priory, being near 
the Border, exercised much influence either for or against the King and 
realm. The papal mandate came into force soon after the consecration 
of Bishop Hugh de Beaulieu, which took place in February 1218-9. 
From this time onward through the episcopates of Hugh, Walter and 
Silvester de Everdon, a sordid controversy raged between those bishops 
and the canons on the division of the property of the church. Two 
legates in succession, Gualo and Pandulf, were arbitrators between the 
parties, with the assistance of local commissioners to arrange the details. 
The burden of the partition fell chiefly on the abbot of Holmcultram 
and the prior of Hexham, but various officials, lay and clerical, from 
the sheriff of the county to the rural deans, were employed from time 
to time to bring about an amicable arrangement. 4 It is unfortunate that 

1 Ayloffe, Calendar of Ancient Charters and Scottish Rolls, pp. 327-8 ; Chron. de Lanercost (Maitland 
Club), pp. 17-18, 25. 

3 Chron. de Lanercost, p. 27. 

a Cal. of Papal Letters, i. 48, 57, 68, 81. The King's complaint to the pope will be found on Pat. 
I Hen. III. m. 3d. The pope's mandate for the expulsion of the canons has been printed by Rymer 
(Fotdera [new edition], i. 147). 

* Honorius III., in May 1223, confirmed to Bishop Hugh and his successors, 'in accordance with 
letters of Popes Innocent and Adrian, the bishopric and parish of Carlisle, as defined by Turstin, archbishop 
of York, at the request of the chapter, with the consent of King Henry; namely the episcopal see in St. 
Mary's church, Carlisle, called of old ' Lugubalia,' in which are to be observed all the customs of other 
bishoprics in England ; the prebend of St. Peter's, York, granted by Turstin ; the church of Meleburn ; 
the land of Barou-on-Trent ; 5.1. daily by gift of the said King ; and all other lands, houses, and goods 
granted or that shall be granted by kings of .England or others ; also the ordinance of possessions and 



the first award made by Gualo has not been found, though fairly accurate 

schedules could be compiled from the evidences of later history. The 

second distribution made by Pandulf the legate while Hugh was bishop 

and Bartholomew was prior, and the final agreement between Bishop 

Silvester and Prior Ralf, are happily on record by inspeximus in a Charter 

Roll of 1 290.* The unpleasantness of this thankless duty fell chiefly to 

the lot of Bishop Hugh. For this reason we can well understand the 

acrimonious language used by the author of the 'Chronicle of Lanercost' 

in reference to this bishop, for that anonymous scribe took the side of 

. the canons throughout the dispute, alleging that they were coerced by 

fear diO death into celebrating divine offices with the King of Scotland. 

When Bikhop Hugh met with a fatal accident at the abbey of Ferte in 

Burgundy on , his return from the Roman court in 1223, the chronicler 

saw in his deatH ..the just judgment of God for the expulsion of the 

canons and the fraudulent of their property.* 

The name of Walter Mauc:lerk will rank among the foremost of the 
early bishops of Carlisle who have^ ( contributed by their exertions and 
influence to the endowment of the biLhopric. As a young man he was 
appointed one of the king's clerks in the -reign of John, 8 and was often 
employed on the King's business in that andVJie succeeding reign. His 
connexion with Cumberland commenced before his consecration as 
bishop of Carlisle. He had been constable of Carlisle castle and sheriff 
of Cumberland in 1222, and was engaged in that year v O n the special 
business of the King in the district. 4 It is probable that h^ was a canon 
of Carlisle as well as a canon of Southwell when he was elected to the 
see in 1223, for the King intimated to the archbishop of Yoi r k that he 
had not assented to the election, and until that assent was &iven the 
archbishop was forbidden to confirm the choice of the canons. 8 During 
his episcopate the division of the property between the bishopric and 
the priory had advanced almost to completion. In 1244 Bishop Walter 
made an important concession* to the prior and convent of ii-ertain 

rents made by G(ualo) cardinal of St. Martin's, papal legate, and their divisions made between tha bishop 
and the prior and convent of Carlisle ' (Cal. of Papal Letters, i. 91). In 1 226, by order of the saml p 0pe) 
another report was made on the local conditions of the ordinance (ibid., i. 112). 

i Charter Roll 18 Edw. I. (83) No. 26. The date of the first ordinance by Pandulf is about j 22O> 
and the final agreement was made in 1249. Innocent IV. issued a bull, 17 January, 1248, on the Catena 
qutstionis between Bishop Silvester and his chapter about the division of the possessions of the Cjhurch 
of Carlisle (Add. MS. 15,356, f. 239 ; Cal. of Papal Letters, i. 256). 

Chron. de Lanercost, pp. 27, 30. Bishop Silvester, also concerned in the division of the prc^p ertVj 
' transit eciam sed horribiliter ex hoc mundo, equo lapsus et fractus cervicibus ' (ibid. p. 62). Mlttbew 
Paris (iii. 333, ed. Madden) tells the same story that on 13 May 1254 this bishop died ' supinv ls cor . 
ruens de equo et ossium dissolutis compagibus expirans.' Bishop Walter did not fare so badly, -hough 
he had many troubles. 

a Rot. Lift. Claus. (Rec. Com.), i. 2ob. * Ibid. i. 49ob, 5O2b, 513. 

Chron. de Lanercost, p. 31 ; Cal. of Papal Letters, i. 57 ; Reg. of Abp. Gray (Surtees S^ )C i ety ) ) 
134 ; Rot. Litt. Claus. (Rec. Com.), i. 56ob, 573b ; Pat. 7 Hen. III. m. ad. The profession of subj ect i on 
made by Bishop Walter to Archbishop Gray of York is as follows : ' Ego Walterus, Carleolensis e i ectus 
episcopus, profiteer sanctae Eboracensi ecclesiae, et tibi, Waltere, Ebor. archiepiscope et Angliae p r i maS) 
et successoribus tuis canonice substituendis subjectionem et canonicam obedientiam, et propn a manu 
confirmo et subscribe ' (Reg. of Gray [Surtees Soc.], p. 144). 

8 Bishop Walter's concession to the canons of Carlisle is recited in the Inspeximus charter Of 5 Edw. 
III., the original of which still remains among the archives of the bishop of Carlisle. The deed w, s dated 
at Carlisle on 3 April, in the twenty-first year of his pontificate. 




liberties and privileges which had been previously granted to them 
jointly by Henry III. From the same king he obtained the manor of 
Dalston 1 in 1230, which has afforded the principal residence of the 
bishops of Carlisle almost from that date. The grant was afterwards 
extended by the addition of ample privileges in the neighbouring forest. 
As patron and benefactor of the Friars from their first coming to Eng- 
land, he was instrumental in importing colonies of the Dominicans and 
Franciscans into his cathedral city. 2 

As a courtier and diplomatist the fortunes of Bishop Walter shared 
in the vicissitudes of success and defeat according as he pleased or dis- 
pleased his royal master. At one time he held the highest offices in the 
state, and at another he was under arrest or in flight. In 1233 he went 
into exile beyond the sea for no other reason, in the opinion of the 
chronicler of Lanercost, 3 than for the wrong done by the King to him 
and his church of Carlisle. The quarrel must have been acute, for on 
his flight the diocese was put under an interdict on the first Sunday in 
Advent, and the regular and secular clergy were obliged to say the 
divine offices in a low voice with closed doors. The estrangement, 
however, did not last long, for in 1234 the same authority reported that 
the bishop had become reconciled to the King. There can be little 
doubt that Bishop Walter had been harshly treated. The King gave 
him the treasurership of the Exchequer in 1232 to hold during life, but 
by the influence of Peter de Roches, bishop of Winchester, he was 
dismissed in a summary manner. 4 Intending to cross the channel from 
Dover, with the view perhaps of laying his grievances before the pope, 
he was seized by the King's messengers. The bishop of London, being 
an eye-witness of the indignities inflicted on the distressed bishop, 
threatened to excommunicate all who had laid violent hands on him, 
and repaired immediately to the court to submit the matter to the King. 5 
The bishop again visited the court and took part in the baptism of 
Prince Edward in 1239." Though he was joined with some of the 
other bishops in a commission to discuss the affairs of the church in 
1 24 1, 7 his relations with the King were not as cordial as they were 
before the rupture. King Henry sent him a reprimand in 1243 com - 
manding him not to intermeddle in affairs of state, as it was high time 
that he attended to the health of his soul. 8 Galling as the rebuke must 
have been to the old favourite, it was not till three years afterwards 

1 Chart. R. 14 Hen. III. pt. ii. m. 10. 

Chron. de Lanercost, p. 42. We are told in the Annals of Bermondsey that in 1206 St. Francis 
instituted the rule of the Friars Minors, and in that year was made the translation of the first prior, 
Petreius, by the lord Bernard, formerly archbishop of Ragusa, who had come to England with King 
Richard, from whom he had received custody of the bishopric of Carlisle (Annales Monastici [Rolls Series], 
iii. 450). 

3 Chron. de Lanercost, pp. 42-3. 

4 Charter 16 Hen. III. m. 4 ; Madox, History of the Exchequer, 1711 edition, pp. 568-9 ; M. Paris, 
Chronica Majora (Rolls Series), iii. 240. 

6 M. Paris, Chronica Majora, iii. 248 ; Historia Anglorum, ii. 358. 

6 Ibid. iii. 539-40 ; Historia Anglorum, ii. 422. 

7 Chronica Majora, iv. 173. 

8 Close 27 Hen. III. pt. i. (Vase.) m. I3d. 

n 25 4 


that he took the King's hint and retired from the see of Carlisle. 
Divinely inspired, as it was thought at the time, Bishop Walter resigned 
his bishopric in 1246, and took refuge among the Friars Preachers at 
Oxford, where he did many memorable things before his death. 1 
Matthew Paris puts a different complexion on the cause of his resigna- 
tion, ascribing it to qualms of conscience, as the bishop feared his entry 
on the episcopate in the first instance had not been legitimate. 2 It 
would be nearer the truth perhaps to accept the bishop's own statement 
that the causes of his retirement were old age and weakness of body, 
which rendered him incapable of doing his work. Archbishop Walter 
Gray, before releasing him from the pastoral care of the diocese, bore a 
willing testimony to his loyalty to the church of York and to his dili- 
gence in the exercise of the episcopal office. 3 Before he left the diocese 
the King gave him licence to make his will. 4 He died at Oxford in 
1 248, in the religious society of those whom he favoured and endowed 
before he had embarked on the stormy sea of temporal affairs. 

Few striking events of diocesan interest took place during the 
episcopates which covered the latter portion of the thirteenth century. 
Like Bishop Walter, his predecessor, Bishop Silvester de Everdon had 
held high office in the state before his election to the see of Carlisle. 
Matthew Paris, who always spoke in admiration of this bishop, in de- 
scribing his nomination in 1 246, said that he had been king's clerk and 
sometime chancellor of England, a man of great fame and conversation, 
well versed in legal forms, specially in matters relating to chancery, but 
that he was unwilling to accept the proffered honour, not so much on 
account of his riches, as his reluctance to undertake the burden of the 
episcopal office. 6 At last, under pressure, though he considered himself 
unworthy, he consented. During the few years of his episcopate he 
was much engaged in legal 7 and political affairs, and took part in the 
stirring contests between the church and the crown. The memorable 
struggle on the right of free election to bishoprics is well known. 
Bishop Silvester was one of the four prelates chosen by the lords spiritual 
to wait on the King at the parliament held in London in 1253 f r t ^ ie 
purpose of demanding those liberties he had sworn to maintain, the 
most fundamental of which and the most pressing at that moment was 
the right of election. It was only on that condition they would consent 
to supply him with the money he asked for. The King turned upon 
the prelates, and with an unusual display of indignation asked them in- 
dividually where they would have been had he not exercised his discre- 

Annales Monastici, ii. 337 (Annals of Waverley) ; iii. 170 (Annals of Dunstable) ; iv. 94 (Chronicon 
Thomae Wykes). 

2 M. Paris, Chronica Majora, iv. 564 ; Historia Anglorum, iii. n. 

Reg. of Abp. Walter Gray (Surtees Society), 98. 

Nicolson and Burn have printed this licence (Hist, of Cumberland, ii. 255-6). 

Chronica Majora, v. 16; Historia Anglorum, iii. 40. 

Chronica Majora, iv. 569-587 ; Historia Anglorum, iii. 30, 302. 

Bishop Silvester was a justice itinerant with Roger de Thurkelby at York at Michaelmas, 1251 
(Cal. Doc. Scot. [Scot. Rec. Pub.], i. 336 ; Foss, Biographia Juridica, p. 242). See also Fine Rolls (Rec. 
Com.), ii. 130 ; and the Guisbro' Chartulary (Surtees Society), i. 216. 



tion in the filling of their sees. His ironical reference to the bishop 
of Carlisle, as he addressed him, was bitter in the extreme. ' And you, 
Silvester of Carlisle,' he said, ' who have been licking my chancery as 
the clerkling of my clerks, I have raised to a bishopric, and I have made 
you a somebody at the expense of many divines and great men whom I 
have passed over in your favour.' But personal rebuke was not enough. 
The King called on them to resign, as they had been so unjustly elected, 
and promised that his partiality in their favour would put him on his 
guard in future, and prevent him from preferring any person to a bishopric 
without due merit. The bishops pleaded, in their embarrassment, that 
the past might well be overlooked, if security for the future was 
guaranteed. It was a drawn battle. The King obtained his subsidy, 
and the bishops were satisfied with the assurance that the liberties of 
the church would be respected. 1 Bishop Silvester was killed by a fall 
from his horse 3 in 1254. 

The effect of the bishops' remonstrance with the King was visible 
on the election of a successor to Bishop Silvester. The choice of the 
canons of Carlisle fell on Master Thomas de Vipont, rector of Greystoke, 
no doubt a member of the well-known local family of that name, though 
the King urged the claims of the prior of Newburgh. The canons, 
however, maintained their right, and Thomas was consecrated in 
February 1255 by the bishop of Durham. 3 As his short episcopate 
terminated in October 1256,* little remains of his episcopal acts in the 
diocese except a few confirmation charters to the religious houses of no 
general interest. 5 On his death, Walter de Kirkham, bishop of Durham, 
successfully pleaded his right to the sequestration of the benefices in his 
diocese belonging to the bishopric of Carlisle while that see was void. 
After inquiry in the king's court, the profits arising at that time and 
also on the previous vacancy were assigned to him by the King's writ, 
for which the bishop paid a thousand marks. 8 Again and again in after 
years the same claim was made and the same decision was given. In 
1279, on the avoidance by the death of Bishop Robert de Chause, when 
the custody of vacant bishoprics formed one of the articull cleri proposed 
before the King in parliament, the King acknowledged his charter to 
Bishop Walter above mentioned, and awarded the fruits of the bishop of 

1 Cbronica Majora, v. 374. Bishop Silvester joined with the other bishops on this occasion in pro- 
nouncing the sentence of excommunication on all violaters of charters (Rymer, Foedera, i. 289-293 ; 
Hemingburgh, Chron. (Eng. Hist. Soc.), i. 285 ; Stubbs, Select Charters, edition 1870, pp. 364-5. A 
corrupt version of the ' sentence ' is on record in The Whitby Chartulary (ii. 509-10), which has led Canon 
Atkinson into grievous miscalculations. 

* Chron. de Lanercost, p. 62 ; Chronica Majora, v. 431 ; Historia Anglorum, iii. 333. 

3 Chronica Majora, iv. 455 ; Historia Anglorum, iii. 337 ; Chron. de Lanercost, p. 62. 

* Chronica Majora, v. 588. 

5 Reg. of Wetherhal (Cumbld. and Westmorld. Archaeol. Soc.), p. 61 ; Reg. of Holmcultram MS. 
f. 25. One of the earliest acts of Bishop Vipont was a licence to Alan de Berwise to build a private chapel 
in Berwise. The deed is dated ' Apud la Rose vij Kalend. Marcij, pontificatus nostri anno primo,' i.e. 
23 February 1255 (Machel MSS. v. 255 ; Reg. of Wetherhal, p. 319). He had been consecrated only 
sixteen days (Chron. de Lanercost, p. 62). 

8 Nicolson and Burn have printed the King's writ (Hist, of Cumberland, ii. 257-8) from Prynne 
(Chronological Vindication, ii. 970). The letters patent will be found OR Pat. R. 44 Hen. III. pt. i. m. 5. 



Carlisle's churches in the diocese of Durham to Bishop Robert of Durham, 
and a writ was issued to Robert de Avenel to make livery accordingly 
and not to meddle with them further. 1 A different rule was applied to 
the custody of the spiritualities situated within the vacant bishopric ; 
these were adjudged to the primate of the province by order of Parlia- 
ment. A test case arose in 1328 after the death of Bishop Halton, 
when Robert de Barton, keeper of the bishopric, was ordered by 
Edward III. to cause the fruits and obventions of the churches of 
Penrith and Dalston, which were appropriated to the bishopric, to be 
delivered to William, archbishop of York, then keeper of the spiritu- 
alities, in accordance with the agreement in the late Parliament at 
Westminster, that the keepers of void archbishoprics, bishoprics, abbeys, 
and priories should only intermeddle with the temporalities and not 
with appropriated churches, prebends and other spiritual things. 8 Pre- 
cisely the same mandate was sent to the prior and convent of Carlisle, 
who had been appointed keepers of the temporalities on the death of 
Bishop Ross in 13 32." But this did not touch the right of the bishop 
in whose diocese the spiritualities of other bishops were situated. It 
was natural that these should revert to his custody and not to that of 
the primate. The bishop of Durham had custody of the churches 
within his diocese in the patronage of the bishop of Carlisle ; the 
spiritualities within the diocese of Carlisle were the perquisites of the 
archbishop of York. If this distinction be borne in mind, much con- 
fusion will be avoided. 

A new type of bishop succeeded on the death of Silvester de 
Everdon, not a politician engaged in statecraft, not a justice on circuit, 
but a bishop who devoted his energies to the duties of his office. When 
Robert de Chause 4 was elected by the canons in 1257, Archbishop 
Sewall, who, according to the annalist of Dunstable, made him fair 
promises and ill returns, temporized in confirming the choice, with the 
supposed intention of securing the appointment of a certain master 
John, thus causing a delay which obliged the bishop designate to appeal 
to the pope for redress. 8 On taking over the charge after two short 
episcopates, Bishop Chause was confronted with many difficulties, occa- 

1 The date of the articuli cleri found in the register of Archbishop Wickwaine (Letters from the 
Northern Registers [Rolls Series], 70-8) must be about the year 1279, the only possible year to make Article 
xiij intelligible. The see of Carlisle was vacant from 1278 to 1280. In 1279 the King addressed letters 
to his northern officers to deliver the sequestration to Bishop Robert de Insula (Close, 7 Edw. I. m. 3 ; 
Pat. 7 Edw. I. m. 5). 

Close, 2 Edw. III. m. 20. a Ibid. 6 Edw. III. m. 23. 

4 Though this bishop is found under various names, we have adopted that of Robert de Chause, the 
name given to him by Matthew Paris (Chronica Mafora [Rolls Series], v. 678). As Robert de Chauro he 
was rector of Stanton in the diocese of Ely in 1254, when by request of the Queen, whose clerk he was, 
permission was given him to hold additional benefices (Cal. of Papal Letters, i. 307) ; he was dispensed 
by Pope Innocent IV. on account of illegitimacy, and while Archdeacon of Bath, as Robert de Chaury, 
an indult was granted in 1257 that he might receive episcopal dignity (ibid. i. 347). A local chronicler, 
who ought to know best, calls him Robert de Chalize or Chalise (Chron. de Lanercost, pp. 101, 145). In 
the annals of Dunstable he is named Robert de Chawre (Annal. Monast. [Rolls Series], iii. 205). His name 
was given as Robert Chaury in 1290 by one of the clerks in the Court of Chancery (Pat. 1 8 Edw. I. m. 
20), and he was styled ' archbishop ' of Carlisle by another (ibid. 5 Edw. I. m. 3). 

Annales Monastici (Rolls Series), iii. 205. 



sioned probably by a previous slackness in the administrative work of 
the diocese. During the whole term of his episcopate from his consecra- 
tion in 1258 till his death in 1 278, his life was engrossed with a succession 
of disputes, sometimes acting as mediator in local differences, often 
standing out in defence of the rights and traditions of his see. As a 
reformer he met with determined opposition in the highest quarters. 
Yielding in his dispute with the abbey of St. Mary, York, in 1266, he 
relinquished his claim to the custody of the priory of Wetheral during 
a vacancy, as well as to the institution and removal of the priors, in 
exchange for the remission of an annual pension due to that priory from 
one of the churches in his patronage. 1 The King of Scotland failed to 
deprive him of the church of Great Salkeld 2 in 1261, though he was 
not so fortunate in his defence of the patronage of the church of Roth- 
bury in Northumberland, claimed by King Edward. 3 Richard de 
Crepping, who succeeded the bishop as sheriff of the county in 1272, 
unjustly charged him before the lord chancellor with urging his tenants 
to refuse the oath of fealty to the young king, a groundless allegation, 
which caused much bitterness in the district.* The last four years of 
the bishop's life were troubled by a long and expensive suit promoted 
by Michael de Harcla, who claimed that the manor of Dalston and the 
advowson of the church were his by right of hereditary succession, a 
suit which was still undecided at the bishop's death." He did not 
flinch from what he conceived to be the duties of his calling on account 
of the frowns of kings and magnates, but steadily worked for the rights 
of his diocese and the welfare of his spiritual subjects. With Robert de 
Chause the series of bishops who resided in the diocese and gave them- 
selves wholly to local administration may be said to commence. The 
chronicler of Lanercost has left us a beautiful picture of the piety and 
amiability of the bishop's character, his zeal for the honour of God, and 
the good of His people, which he said would never fade while the world 
lasted. 6 

The informalities attending the election of a successor to Bishop 
Robert involved the prior and convent of Carlisle in serious trouble with 
the Crown. In due course two of the canons were deputed to carry the 
news to London and obtain the necessary conge d'elire for the election of 
a new bishop. 7 The choice of the house fell on William de Rothelfeld, 
dean of York, who renounced the election and died soon after. With- 

> Reg. of Wetberbal, pp 73-7. 

1 Close 46 Hen. III. m. izd ; Rymer, Fcedera, i. 417. 

' Close, 6 Edw. I. m. I5d ; Pat. 18 Edw. I. m. 20; Chron. de Lanercost, p. 102; Rot. Parl. 
(Rec. Com.), i. 6b, 22b. 

4 Nicolson and Burn, Hist, of Cumberland, ii. 258. 

6 De Banco Rolls No. 6 Mich. 2 and 3 Edw. I. m. 6^d ; No. n, 3 and 4 Edw. I. m. 77d ; No. 17, 
4 and 5 Edw. I. m. 3d ; No. 36, 8 and 9 Edw. I. m. 43d. An account of this interesting series of pleas 
will be more appropriately given under the manorial history of Dalston. 

Chron. de Lanercost, pp. 101-2. 

? Pat. 6 Edw. I. m. 3. The licence to elect is dated 27 October, 1278. The name of the prior of 
Carlisle in 1282 was Robert (Carl. Epis. Reg. Halton MS. f. 14), though perhaps not Robert de Everdon as 
stated in Nicolson and Burn (Hist, of Cumberland, ii. 259). 



out petitioning for a fresh licence, the canons appointed a committee 
of the convent to proceed to election, and they chose Ralf de Ireton, 
prior of Gisburn in Yorkshire, and apparently a member of the 
well-known family of Ireton in Cumberland, and presented their choice 
to William, archbishop of York, who died before confirming it. The 
chapter of York refused confirmation, and the King also withheld his 
consent in high indignation that a second election should have been 
made without his licence. The convent appealed to the pope, and Prior 
Ralf repaired to Rome to support the petition. The pontiff appointed three 
cardinals to examine the election, and on account of the informality that 
they discovered, he cancelled it. Then on his own authority, in con- 
sideration of the character and learning of Prior Ralf, as he said, he 
appointed him bishop of Carlisle, and had him there and then consecrated 
by the bishop of Tusculum. Without further parley he intimated 
what he had done to the prior and convent of Carlisle, to the clergy and 
people of the diocese, to the archbishop of York and to the King. 1 
Though the King compromised with the pope for the sake of peace and 
accepted the provision, 2 he did not forgive the convent for the second 
election, for they were forced to pay the greater part of five hundred 
marks, of which they had been amerced in satisfaction of the irregu- 
larity. 3 

Bishop Ireton lost no time in taking up the threads of diocesan work, 
which had fallen from the fingers of his predecessor. It would appear 
that building or improvement was in progress at his cathedral, and that 
money was needed to complete it. Bending his energies at once in this 
direction, he summoned his clergy in synod for consultation, and made 
request for a subsidy. Though he only landed in England on 30 May, 
the synod was held in the following October, when the clergy granted 
him a tenth of their ecclesiastical revenues payable in two years on the 
basis of the true valuation. It was a drastic measure for a new bishop, 
and gave rise, of course, to much grumbling. The levy on the monastic 
house in which the chronicler of Lanercost was domiciled amounted to 
24 of the new money for one year, and drew from the poet of the 
establishment a caustic screed of Latin verse on the ill-doings of the 
shepherd who ought to feed rather than fleece the flock so long bereft 
of a pastor's care. As the chronicler distinctly says that funds were 
needed ad fabricam culmims majoris ecclesiae suae sedis, we should not 
wonder at the poor estimation in which the bishop was held by some of 
those who were called upon to supply them. In their eyes he was crafty, 

1 Cal. of Papal Letters, i. 461. The dean of York was elected 13 December, 1278 (Chron. de Laner- 
cost, p. 102). Nicolson and Burn notice an assize roll quoted by Prynne (Chron. V 'indie, iii. 1230), in 
which the prior of Carlisle pleaded that he and his convent did not understand that they had done any 
contempt or prejudice to the King by the second election, for that having obtained leave to elect and the 
person elected disagreeing thereto, they thought it was res integra, and that they might proceed to choose 
again; but if it was contempt, they submitted themselves to the King (Hist, of Cumberland, ii. 258-9). 
The annalist of Dunstable was in error when he stated that the prior of Gisburn appealed to the pope 
against the metropolitan (Annales Monastics [Rolls Series], iii. 283). 

2 Pat. 8 Edw. I. m. 10. 

3 Ibid. 10 Edw. I. m. 18 ; Close 10 Edw. I. m. 7. 



RALPH IRETON (1280-1292). 


JOHN HALTON (1292-1324). 

JOHN Ross (1325-1332). 

.s I !''< 



THOMAS APPLEBY (1363-1395). 


JOHN KIRBY (1332-1352). 

THOMAS APPLEBY (1363-1395) 


subtle, and very greedy, using his visitations as the means of wringing 
contributions from the simple-minded clergy of his diocese. 1 In the 
latter years of his life the bishop was often employed by his 
sovereign on political and other missions, chiefly in connection with 
Scottish affairs. 2 But the end was drawing near. In April 1291 he 
received a faculty from Pope Nicholas IV. to dispose by will of his 
personal property (not belonging to the service of the altar or to the 
Augustinian order of which he was a member) in funeral expenses and 
remuneration of servants and kinsmen, his debts being first paid. 3 On 
the last day of February 1292 he died at his house of Linstock after 
the fatigue of a journey in deep snow from London, where he had been 
attending Parliament, and was buried in his cathedral church. 4 

A most dreadful calamity befell the city of Carlisle a few months 
after Bishop Ireton's death, the desolation of the flock following closely 
on the removal of the pastor, as the chronicler of Lanercost pathetically 
described it. For the space of a whole day and night towards the end 
of May 1292 a tempest raged on sea and land. The winds blew with 
such terrific fury that travellers on foot and horseback were overthrown 
or driven from the track ; the sea was forced inland to a greater distance 
than ever was known by the oldest inhabitant, inundating the maritime 
districts and destroying crops and cattle. When the hurricane was at 
its highest, an incendiary, in a moment of malicious rage against his 
father for disinheriting him, set fire to certain houses without the city 
walls to the west of the cathedral, that a stranger might not enjoy his 
inheritance. The city and neighbourhood were soon in flames, and the 
devastation was universal. The chronicler of Lanercost, who was an eye- 
witness of the conflagration, has left behind him a vivid picture of the 
destruction. Streets, churches, municipal buildings, houses, muniments, 
organs, bells, wood, glass and stalls were burnt to ashes. The only 
houses of note left standing were the conventual buildings of the 
Jacobins or Black Friars on the west walls, which were saved with the 
greatest difficulty. It was particularly noted that the flames devoured 
the tomb of Bishop Ireton in the cathedral, mausoleum improbi exactoris, as 
the chronicler, retaining his old grudge against the bishop, referred to it, 
though that of his predecessor, Robert de ' Chalix,' escaped untouched. 
The culprit, at least the young man on whom suspicion had fallen, was 
taken, tried and hanged. 8 The destruction of the city was not altogether 
an unmixed evil. The fire taught the citizens the dangers to which 
they were exposed by the employment of wood in the construction of 
their houses. With the co-operation of the King, who granted them 
charters in place of those that were burnt, and in supplying stone for 

1 Chron. de Lanercost, pp. 102-6. 

3 Rymer, Foedera, new edition, i. 734-6, 738, 762, 766-8, 774. 

3 Cal. of Papal Letters, i. 534-5. 

4 W. de Hemingburgh, Chron. (Eng. Hist. Soc.), ii. 40; Chron. de Lanercost, pp. 143-4. The 
latter authority puts the bishop's death on the following day, I March. 

5 Chron. de Lanercost, pp. 144-5, 147; Walter de Hemingburgh adds that the culprit was found, 
tried, and hanged (Chron. ii. 40). 



the building of their houses, the city again rose to its ancient dignity 
and importance. 1 

It was fortunate that a prelate of the courage and resource of 
Bishop Halton ruled the diocese at the close of the thirteenth century. 
His election took place about the time of the calamity which laid the 
cathedral in ashes. 2 Four years afterwards the war with Scotland broke 
out with all its attendant miseries and disasters to the inhabitants of the 
Border counties. For almost three centuries from this date the history 
of the diocese, owing to Scottish invasions, is coloured by the troubles 
and devastations arising from its geographical position. The bishops of 
the period in question were sometimes military commanders, mostly 
north-country born, often natives of the county, not unfrequently cadets 
of great feudal families. Some of them, like Halton and Kirkby, con- 
trolled the garrison of Carlisle Castle, and, not content with acting on 
the defensive, went into Scotland more or less in a military capacity, at 
one time as diplomatists to effect a peace, and at another to carry fire 
and sword into the enemy's territory. Bishop Kirkby was held in 
particular detestation (summo odio) by the Scots for commanding in person 
on various expeditions in 1 337, and the enemy was not slow in retaliating 
on the bishop and all his belongings. 3 A visit to the bishop was a 
feature of almost every Scottish invasion. They sacked Rose Castle 
again and again, killed his deer, and emptied his fishponds. 4 Nearly all 
the bishops before the Reformation were employed in the adjustment of 
diplomatic relations and the arrangement of truces between the two 
kingdoms, and sometimes little thanks they got for their pains. After 
nearly thirty years of conspicuous service to the State, Bishop Halton 
on one occasion in 1321, after a period of unexampled suffering among 
his tenants and dependants, petitioned the Crown for relief, and asked 
that his expenses should be allowed for the nine weeks he spent at New- 
castle-upon-Tyne with other magnates on an embassy to the Scots, but 
it seemed to the King and the council that since the bishop went for 
the good of the realm in general and his own diocese in particular, and 
since his journey from Carlisle to Newcastle was not far, he must bear 
his own expenses." 

1 On the petition of the citizens of Carlisle in 1304, the King granted leave to take stone without 
hindrance in the forest of ' Inglewode ' for the building of their houses and the restoration of the same 
vill after the late fire (Rot. Parl. [Rec. Com.], i. i66b ; Ryley, Placita Parliamentaria, p. 255). In their 
petition for a new charter with all their former privileges, the citizens stated ' quod carte sue per quas 
eandem villam tenuerunt combuste fuerunt ' (ibid. i. 166-7). A new charter was granted in 1293, 
wherein it is testified that their late charters were burned by misadventure in a fire in the city of Carlisle 
(Pat. 21 Edw. I. m. 8). This confirmatory charter has been printed (Royal Charters of Carlisle, ed. R. S. 
Ferguson, pp. 10-11). 

3 Hemingburgh states that Bishop Ralf de Ireton died on the last day of February and the burning 
of the cathedral took place on the feast of St. Dunstan the archbishop (May 19) 1292 (Chronicon, [Eng. 
Hist. Soc.], ii. 40). Another account of the fire fixes the date on 30 May (Chron. de Lanercost [Maitland 
Club], 144). As the election of John de ' Halghton,' canon of Carlisle, to the vacant see was made on 
9 May, and the King's confirmation was given on 26 May (Nicolson and Burn, Hist, of Cumberland, ii. 262 ; 
Pat. 20 Edw. I. m. 12), it may be taken that the calamity to the cathedral church had no influence on 
the choice of the canons. 

3 Chron. de Lanercost, pp. 291-3. Close, 13 Edw. II. m. 19, m. 21. 

Ancient Petition, No. 5117. 



A few words will be sufficient to indicate the miserable condition 
of the diocese during the progress of hostilities between the two 
kingdoms. Seldom had the land absolute rest from the fear of invasion. 
There is little occasion to turn to the pages of chronicles for adequate 
language to describe the sufferings of clergy and laity on both sides of 
the Border in those barbarous struggles. From the pens of the Bishops 
of Carlisle pictures of woe and desolation have been handed down to us 
which no chronicler could imitate, unless he was a witness of the miseries 
he described and a sufferer in the spoliation. In pleading for an indul- 
gence in the payment of a royal tenth in 1301, Bishop Halton pointed 
to the miserable state of the diocese for the past four years and more, 
owing to the depredations of the treacherous Scots. Some of the 
religious were scattered, as their monasteries were destroyed, and several 
of the churches with their parishes were reduced to ashes, insomuch 
that the clergy were unable to live on the fruits of their benefices, 
but were forced to beg alms from place to place. 1 In 1318 the 
same bishop bewailed the dreadful injuries which his diocese had 
suffered for more than twenty-four years from cruel invasions. The 
Scots had slain men and women, old and young, orphans and widows, 
burnt nearly all the churches, houses and buildings, driven off their 
cattle, carried away their treasure, ornaments and every movable of 
value, and destroyed the whole country, so that the lands of the 
bishopric lay uncultivated, the sources of his revenues were wasted, 
and he himself was reduced to a state of indigence and want. For 
the relief of his urgent need he begged the pope to sanction the 
appropriation of the church of Horncastle in Lincolnshire to his see. 2 
Afflictions of this nature afforded a common theme of complaint to 
the bishops of Carlisle in the fifteenth century as well as the four- 
teenth, though of course the frequency of hostilities and the amount 
of damage depended on the recurrence of international disputes. Few 
indeed of the medieval bishops escaped losses or troubles from the Scots. 
The remains of the ancient defences at Rose Castle, their official residence, 
about seven miles to the south-west of Carlisle, are a witness to the 
present day of its former strength. 3 

The poverty of the diocese, caused chiefly by the Scottish wars, 
drove the bishops and the monastic corporations to cast covetous eyes 
on the wealthier of the parish churches, with the view of encompassing 
their appropriation. It was no new policy, for the religious houses had 
ample experience of this method of increasing their revenues. Priories, 
like Carlisle, Wetheral and St. Bees, were endowed with advowsons and 

1 Carl. Epis. Reg. Halton MS. f. 59; Letters from the Northern Registers (Rolls Series), 151. In 1309 
Bishop Halton excused his attendance at parliament ' propter distanciam, temporis brevitatem, timorem 
invasionis Scottorum, necnon corporis infirmitatem qua affligimur ' (Carl. Epis. Reg. Halton MS. 
f. 120). 

1 Carl. Epis. Reg. Halton MS. f. 211 ; Letters from the Northern Registers, 282-3. The bishop 
had obtained licence from the Crown to appropriate the church in 1314 (Pat. 8 Edw. II. pt. i. m. 17). 

3 John de Kirkby, the warrior bishop, had a licence to crenellate his house of ' La Rose ' in 1336, 
and the same liberty was repeated to Bishop Welton at a subsequent date (Pat. 10 Edw. III. pt. i. m. 27, 
29 Edw. III.). 

11 33 5 


had obtained rectories as early as the reign of Henry I. All the early 
bishops granted licences for appropriations, though the custom of the 
ordination or taxation of vicarages was not completely established till 
the reign of Henry III. and the episcopate of Walter, the fourth bishop. 
If we glance at the process by which the revenues of a parish church 
became the property of a religious house, it will be seen how step by 
step the monks gained their end. The advowson of the church of 
Crosthwaite, for example, was granted to the monastery of Fountains by 
Alice de Romelli, daughter of William fitz Duncan, about the year 
1212. Bishop Bernard confirmed the appropriation of the whole of the 
revenues, except an annual stipend of one hundred shillings, which he 
reserved for a vicar who should be elected by the monks and presented 
to the bishop for institution, the said vicar being answerable for all 
episcopal dues and having the cure of souls. The appropriation had 
the sanction of the pope, the metropolitan, and the prior and convent of 
Carlisle, but its completion was delayed by the resignation of the rector, 
who retired on an annual pension of five marks. Though this arrange- 
ment lasted through two episcopates and received the confirmation of 
Bishops Hugh and Walter, it was not brought to a successful issue till 
Henry de Curtenay had resigned his pension in 1227, an( ^ ^ Adam de 
Crosthwaite, the first vicar, had died some years afterwards. All the 
complications, however, were cleared away in 1250, when Bishop 
Silvester made a definite ordination of the vicarage by declaring particu- 
larly the various sources of the vicar's stipend, assigning him a vicarage 
house, certain tithes and other revenues. 1 In the taxation of vicarages 
after appropriation, unless the sources of the vicar's stipend were care- 
fully set out, quarrels with the impropriators were likely to ensue. 
When Adam, son of Adam de Levington, granted the church of Kirk- 
andrews on Eden to the nuns of St. Andrew of Marrig, though Bishops 
Bernard and Hugh in succession confirmed the appropriation of the 
church to their use, Ralf the chaplain succeeded in forcing a composition 
in 1263 whereby the nuns should receive a pension of sixty shillings a 
year, and that he and his successors should have peaceable possession of 
the residue nomine personatus* But ordinations were drawn up with the 
greatest care, so that the vicar was independent of the individual or 
corporation to whom the appropriation belonged. The division of the 
parochial revenues was so arranged that the incumbent was answerable 
to the bishop in spiritualities and to the impropriator in temporalities, 
yielding to the latter no other service than that which was due from any 
tenant of a lay fee. 

This policy of robbing parishes for the support of religious corpora- 
tions, some of which had no connection with the diocese or the county, 
though it had fallen to some extent into decay towards the close of the 
thirteenth century, was resuscitated after the outbreak of the Scottish 
wars and the impoverishment of the local monastic houses by the con- 

1 Reg. of Fountains MS. ff. 101, 323-330. 

* Collectanea Topografhica tt Genealogica, v. 235-6. 



centration of the national host on the Border for the invasion of Scotland. 
Edward I. was often the guest of the bishop and the local monasteries. 
The expenses of entertainment of the King and his court were a severe 
burden on their resources. But for a couple of centuries the losses 
caused by Scottish incursions were the reasons pleaded for the appro- 
priations. 1 In 1230 Henry III. had bestowed the manor of Dalston 
with the advowson of the church on the see, 2 but none of the bishops, 
though resident within the parish, had intermeddled with the fruits of 
the rectory till Bishop Halton had obtained a royal licence in 1301 for 
its appropriation, 3 and in later years he had no difficulty in getting the 
sanction of successive archbishops of York, when the way was made 
clear by the death or cession of the rector in possession. 4 The arch- 
bishop gave elaborate reasons for his consent, such as the burning of the 
cathedral church, the losses caused by the international troubles, the 
daily goings and comings of magnates on the Border, and the crippling 
expenses incurred by affording hospitalities on these occasions. 6 He 
contented himself by sketching out the broad principles on which the 
appropriation should be carried out, and the bishop of Carlisle filled in 
the lines. The last attempt at appropriation that need be mentioned 
was made by Bishop Lumley, who obtained a licence in 1441 to annex 
to his table the churches of Caldbeck and Rothbury on the old pretext 
that he was unable to support his episcopal dignity owing to his losses 
from the daily inroads of the Scots," but this appropriation never took 

One of the first chantries in the diocese was founded in 1300 at 
Bramwra by Thomas de Capella, vicar of Kirkbystephen. With the 
King's licence the founder alienated three messuages and seventy-two and 
a half acres of land in Newbiggin, Raughton, and Bramwra, for the 
purpose of maintaining one priest to celebrate in a chapel de novo con- 

1 On 8 July 1304 the King issued licences to the prior and convent of Carlisle for the appropri- 
ation of the churches of Addingham and Edenhall ' in compensation of the burning of their houses and 
churches, and divers plundering by the Scots,' both churches being of their own patronage (Pat. 32 
Edw. I. m. ii ; Inq. p.m. 32 Edw. I. No. 130). When the same king gave his consent for the appro- 
priation of Castlesowerby in 1307, the grant was made 'out of devotion to the Virgin Mary, and in 
consideration of the relics of Thomas the Martyr and other saints being in the church of St. Mary, 
Carlisle, and of the losses of the prior and convent by invasions and burnings of the Scots ' (Pat. 35 
Edw. I. m. 17). The appropriation took place on the death of the rector, Henry de Ritter, in 1309 
(Carl. Epis. Reg. Halton MS. f. 124). 

Chart. R. 14 Hen. III. m. 10. ' Pat. 29 Edw. I. m. 29. 

4 The ordination of Archbishop Corbridge, which recites the licence of King Edward, was made 
on 29 March 1301, ' cedente vel decedente rectore ipsius ecclesiae qui nunc est,' but the rector held out 
for some years. Archbishop Greenfield completed the ordination on 19 February 1306-7. In the 
record it is entitled ' Acceptacio et approbacio W. Archiepiscopi Eboracensis super appropriacione eccle- 
sie de Dalston.' The deed by which Bishop Halton assigned the stipend to the vicar ' Assignacio vicario 
de Dalston 'is dated 4 July 1307 (Carl. Epis. Reg. Halton MS. ff. 107-9). 

5 These were the reasons alleged by Bishop Kirkby in 1334 why his diocese was unable to pay the 
royal tenth demanded from the clergy (Carl. Epis. Reg. Kirkby MS. f. 308). In 1341 the same bishop 
absolved the diocese ' ab onere visitationis ' in consequence of their impoverishment by the Scottish wars, 
and pleaded his great charges in guarding the Marches, in which their churches were situated, that the 
clergy might give him a subsidy, specially as he foresaw a renewal of hostilities (ibid. f. 430). 

8 Pat. 21 Hen. VI. pt. 2, m. 22 ; Tanner, Notitia Monastica, ed. J. Tanner, p. 75 ; Nicolson and Burn, 
Hist, of Cumberland, ii. 273. 



struenda at the latter place for the souls of himself and his ancestors. 1 But 
the fashion did not take hold of the public mind till a much later date, 
when it became a rule to found chantries in parish churches. We have 
a notable example of this when it became necessary to transplant the 
chantry of Bramwra to the church of Hutton in 1361. Owing to the 
depreciation in the value of land caused by the scarcity of tenants and 
labourers after the great pestilence, 2 the endowments of the chantry were 
quite insufficient to maintain a chaplain at Bramwra. The chapel had 
been vacant for a long time and no priest was willing to undertake the 
duty. In these circumstances Thomas de Hoton in the Forest, upon 
whom the right of the founder had devolved, reconstituted the chantry 
in the church of St. James in Hutton, and gave, in addition to the old 
endowment, land in the vill of Hutton to sustain a perpetual chaplain to 
celebrate at the altar of the blessed Mary there for the souls of himself 
and his wife, Isabel, and for the souls of their parents and all their pre- 
decessors. It was stipulated that the advowson and patronage of the 
chantry should be vested in Thomas de Hoton and his heirs. In giving 
confirmation to the transference of the institution, Bishop Welton 
ordained that the chantry priest should sing or say (dicat cum nota ve/ 
sine nota] the Canonical Hours daily with the rector or parish chaplain 
of Hutton and celebrate at St. Mary's altar on Sundays with special 
commemoration of all souls above mentioned, using on other days of the 
week the office of the dead with Placebo and Dirige. It should be 
mentioned that the chaplain of the chantry was subject to the rector in 
all canonical and lawful demands. 3 The subjection of the chaplain to 

1 Inq. p.m. 28 Edw. I. No. 133. On 20 October 1302 a writ ad quod damnum was issued to the 
sheriff to inquire if Thomas de Capella may alienate to the bishop of Carlisle a messuage and forty acres 
of land in Newton Reigny (Carl. Epis. Reg. Halton MS. f. 62). The founder made an addition to the 
endowment of the chantry in 1310-1311 (Orig. R. 4 Edw. II. m. 19 ; Inq. ad quod damnum, 4 Edw. II. 
No. 66), and the bishop of Carlisle obtained the appropriation of the chapel in the following year (Orig. R. 
5 Edw. II. m. 21). John de Capella, a burgess of Carlisle, founded a chantry in St. Katherine's chapel in 
the church of the Blessed Mary, Carlisle, the chaplain of which was obliged to celebrate for his soul and 
for the souls of all the faithful departed for ever. In 1366 some of the tenants of the burgages, with 
which the chantry was endowed, withheld the rents from J. de Galwidia, the perpetual chaplain, to ' the 
peril of their souls and the prejudice of the said chaplain and chantry ' (Carl. Epis. Reg. Appleby MS. 
f. 156). 

2 We have little local information about the havoc made among the clergy by the great pestilence 
or Black Death of 1349 in this diocese. There is an ominous gap in the diocesan registers between 1347 
and 1352. When the plague attacked the province of York, the pope sent the archbishop an indulgence 
allowing every one to choose his own confessor with a proviso that the privilege should not be abused. 
A copy of this brief was sent to the bishop of Carlisle on 28 April, 1 349 (Letters from the Northern Registers 
[Rolls Series], 399-400). There is more explicit evidence of the devastation among the clergy caused by 
the second visitation, which was the cause of the removal of the chantry from Bramwra to Hutton. In 
1363 Bishop Appleby complained to the pope of the lack of priests in his diocese owing to the late pesti- 
lence, and prayed for the necessary faculties to promote forty persons, secular and regular, of the age of 
twenty to all the holy orders that they might minister in the same, and also to dispense twelve persons 
of illegitimate birth and six others being sons of priests or illegitimate sons of married men, so that they 
might be ordained and hold benefices with cure of souls (Cat. of Papal Petitions, i. 437). 

3 Carl. Epis. Reg. Welton MS. ff. 78-9. There is an account of a very curious dispute about the 
patronage of a chantry in the church of Brigham in 1532. Sir John Lamplugh had the King's letters to 
induct one Richard Robinson, clerk, but the church was held by force in the interests of the Earl of North- 
umberland. The parish priest was obliged to go ' to his chamer to say his mattens ' as ' the chirche 
dorrys was shett upe ne culd hawe entres in the chirche bot at such tymys as he was lattyne in.' The 
earl's servants abode day and night in the church ' and hawd meytt and drynke and a bed within the sayd 



the rector or vicar of the church in which the chantry was established 
was a prevailing feature of these foundations. When Lady Margaret 
de Wigton conferred the rectory of Wigton on the monastery of Holm- 
cultram in 1332 on condition that four monks should be added to the 
inmates of the convent and two secular priests should be maintained by 
the monastery in Wigton church for the purpose of celebrating masses 
for the souls of her ancestors and all the faithful departed, the Bishop 
of Carlisle in ordaining the chantry made provision that the chaplains 
should be under the control of the parochial vicar. 1 

The bishop presided in the diocesan synod 2 unless prevented by 
sufficient cause, in which case he commissioned a deputy, often the 
official or the prior of Carlisle, to act in his place. Though several of 
these commissions are recorded, one only need be mentioned. Bishop 
Welton, wishing to have counsel and advice from his clergy on arduous 
business, issued a mandate in 1353 to the Abbot of Holmcultram, 
recently made his official, and John de Welton, learned in the law, 
empowering them to summon together the prior and chapter of the 
cathedral church, abbots and priors exempt and not exempt, the arch- 
deacon, rectors, vicars, and other ecclesiastical persons within the diocese, 
and to expound to them when so assembled the business in hand. At 
the Michaelmas synod in the following year, the prior of Carlisle was 
commissioned to convocate the clergy, and to preside in the bishop's 
absence ; also to certify by his letters the result of their deliberations. 3 
By virtue of their appropriate churches, abbots and priors of religious 
houses not situated in the diocese were obliged to attend the Carlisle 
synod in person or by proxy unless the obligation was remitted by 
special grace. Bishop Welton was very considerate in granting these 
remissions. In 1354 he issued licences to Richard, prior of Wartre ; 
Thomas, abbot of Whitby ; and John, prior of Connishead, excusing 
their personal presence in synod during their tenure of office. 4 Mulcts 
(multe] were not unfrequent for non-appearance. In 1402 the abbot of 
Whitby was amerced in 2OJ-. because ' in no manner ' did he appear in 
the synod held after the feast of Michaelmas, and the abbot of Fountains 
was fined IQJ. in 1469 for a like offence. The mulcts of the parochial 
clergy were naturally smaller than those of abbots and priors, and varied 
considerably, perhaps according to the richness of the benefice or the 
contumacy of the offender. The rector of Greystoke had to pay 6s. 8</., 
and the rector of Brough under Stainmore, IQJ. for non-appearance in 
1402. The bishops were not very exacting in the levy or recovery of 
these fines. In 1494 the arrears amounted to the very respectable sums 

chirch and chantre.' With the help of the parishioners the intruders were finally expelled by force and 
possession was given (L. and P. of Henry Vlll., vol. v. 1433). 

1 Carl. Epis. Reg. Kirkby MS. ff. 280-1. 

2 The holding of synods and the payment of synodals seem to be coeval with the formation of the 
diocese. The acts of the early bishops of Carlisle assume the one and the other (Reg. of Wetherbal [Cumbld. 
and Westmld. Arch. Soc.], 44-5, 210-12 ; Reg. of Lanercost, MS. viii. 3, 6). 

3 Carl. Epis. Reg. Welton MS. ff. I, 10 ; Ibid. Kirkby MS. f. 403. 
' Ibid. Welton MS. ff. 9, 10. 




in each of the deaneries as follows : Carlisle, i ojs. ^d. ; Cumberland, 
115-r. ; Allerdale, 88j. lod. ; and Westmorland, 143^. \od. 1 In the 
matter, however, of the payment of synodals, the mandates of the bishops 
gave no uncertain sound. Bishop Appleby issued a monition to the 
dean of Cumberland in 1379 to warn those clergy, with whose names 
he had supplied him, that they must pay the respective sums at which 
their benefices were rated within twenty days from the date of the 

The most interesting document connected with diocesan synods in 
Carlisle may be found in the second of the ancient registers of the see 
bound up between the acts of Bishops Welton and Appleby. It has no 
date and little internal evidence upon which to found a conjecture as 
to the episcopate in which it was originally drawn up. 3 The compila- 
tion is made up of an introduction and sixty-two canons or constitutions 
on subjects of ecclesiastical work and administration. The statutes* 
embrace a wide range of subjects dealing with diocesan and parochial 
work. There are directions for the administration of the sacraments 
and the instruction of the people ; rules for the custody of churches and 
churchyards ; injunctions about sequestration, wills, tithes, litigation, 
excommunication and punishment ; regulations for the guidance of 
archdeacons, rural deans, and executors, for visitations, rural chapters and 
the recovery of debts. Several of the constitutions were drawn up with 
special reference to the clergy in all their private, social and public 
relations, domestic life, association with nuns, taverns, secular business, 
offices and courts, their ordination, learning, residence, amusements, and 
goods. Few of these diocesan regulations are without local colour. 
Though nearly all of them may be found among the institutes of other 
dioceses, they have been so adapted to the needs of Carlisle that they 

i These facts are taken from the original Compoti of registrars and rural deans now in the Bishop's 
Registry at Carlisle. 

Carl. Epis. Reg. Appleby MS. f. 312. Lists of the ' denarii synodales ' payable at various periods 
by the benefices of the diocese, arranged under deaneries, may be found among the diocesan muniments. 
For the fourteenth century, see ibid. Halton MS. G. 501-2, and ibid. Appleby, MS. f. 340 ; for the 
seventeenth century, the manuscript Rental of Bp. White ; and for the eighteenth century, the MS. 
Schedule of Bp. Osbaldiston. The synodals pro utroque termino were 4/. or ^s. for each benefice in the 
fourteenth century and only half of these sums in the seventeenth, but the custom of the eighteenth 
century reverted back to the payment of the full quota. Such churches as Stapleton, Eston, Cambok, 
Carlatton, and others were excused payment in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries owing to the de- 
struction caused by Scottish invasions. The payment of synodals and procurations was abolished in the 
diocese of Carlisle by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England by virtue of ' an instrument which 
has been sealed by the Board and which was published in the London Gazette on the 31 July, 1876.' 

3 The copy of the constitutions entered in the diocesan register of Carlisle (Welton MS. ff. 129- 
140) must have been made long after they had been enacted in synod and published by the bishop. The 
scribe, when adding marginal notes, was sometimes in doubt about the true meaning of an article and 
placed ut patft as a warning to the reader not to take his summary as absolute. The articles of greater 
importance and more frequent use are scored with index fingers. These constitutions probably belong 
to the great episcopate of Bishop Halton. 

4 The Carlisle constitutions were framed on the model of the statutes of the councils mentioned 
in the preamble. The Lateran council was held in 1215 under Pope Innocent III. The canons of the 
council of Oxford, held for all England under Archbishop Langton in 1222, were published in con- 
formity with those of the Lateran. The bishop of Carlisle followed closely the canons of Oxford in many 
particulars. The council of London, celebrated in 1237 under Otto the papal legate, the archbishops 
of Canterbury and York sitting with him, was also for all England. 



may be regarded as characteristic of northern ecclesiastical life and 
morals. The constitutions on the decline in popular esteem of the feasts 
of St. Cuthbert and on the prevalence of perjury in the diocese may be 
taken as examples of independent legislation. Few will withhold a word 
of admiration for their high religious tone and far-reaching usefulness. 
No one can read these diocesan constitutions without the conviction 
that the public worship of God had been conducted with a reverent 
solemnity and magnificent splendour capable of engaging the senses and 
impressing the hearts of the people of that distant age. 1 

There does not appear to have been any ritual uniformity in 
Cumberland and Westmorland before the promulgation of the Book of 
Common Prayer as the national use in the sixteenth century. By an 
enactment of the diocesan synod in the fourteenth century the Arch- 
deacon of Carlisle was obliged, when on visitation, to inquire whether 
the canon of the mass was celebrated in churches correctly and dis- 
tinctly according to the use of York or Sarum. 2 From this it may be 
gathered that either * use ' could be selected according to the predilec- 
tion of individual incumbents. When Sir Robert Parvyng attempted 
to found a college in the church of Melmerby in 1342, it was ordained 
that the master and chaplains, vested in surplice, amice and black cope, 
should sing matins and prime daily at sunrise according to the use of 
the church of Sarum. 3 On the other hand, in 1 369, Richard de Aslacby, 
vicar of St. Michael, Appleby, bequeathed to his son John a psalter and 
a breviary of the use of York. 1 In this respect Carlisle seems to have 
followed the custom of the metropolitan diocese of York, where the 
uses of York and Sarum were employed at discretion. 

The diocese of Carlisle was too compact to need the permanent 
employment of a bishop suffragan. Neighbouring bishops, or some- 
times the suffragans of York, were called in to perform the necessary 

1 For a century and a half after the Submission of the Clergy in 1534, when the diocesan synod was 
emptied of its legislative functions, the bishops of Carlisle continued to call their clergy together twice 
a year as aforetime, viz. soon after Easter and about Michaelmas, the traditional dates on which synods 
had been held in previous centuries. Bishop Robinson celebrated his sacnsancta synodos in 1606, the 
record of which still exists. At the Easter session, Chancellor Dethick presided, and at Michaelmas the 
bishop presided in person. In 1627, during the episcopate of Bishop White, there were ' two Synods 
in the yere on Thursdaies after Low Sunday and Michaelmas.' The total of the synodals paid at each 
session was 6 gs. 8d., of which sum js. 6d. was ' due to the fouer Rural Deans ; to the archdeacon, 
l igj. <)d. So there remains due to the Lo. Bishop every synod, 4 2s. $d. So this is pd. twice in the 
yere, scilicet, yerely, 8 4*. lod.' (Rental of Dp. White, MS.). In 1686 Bishop Smith issued a monition 
for holding a synod. He intimated to his apparitor-general that he purposed doing so for the whole of 
the diocese on Thursday, 19 August, in the consistorial place (loco consistorialf) of his cathedral church 
at nine o'clock in the forenoon. To this holy synod were called the Dean and Chapter of Carlisle, and 
all rectors, vicars, curates, and stipendiaries who were wont to be summoned ab antiquo. The clergy 
were required to pay ' the annual synodals and all other sums of money due and payable to us by reason 
of the said synod ' (Carl. Epis. Reg. Smith MS. ff. 87-8). Records of the diocesan synod should be care- 
fully distinguished from those of synods ad eligendum, that is, meetings of the clergy of the archdeaconry 
to elect proctors for convocation (ibid. ff. 186-7). 

Carl. Epis. Reg. Welton MS. f. 135. 

3 Ibid. Kirkby MS. f. 459. 

Ibid. Appleby MS. f. 178. In 1342 the Vicar of Morland, vultum lugulrem exhibens, complained 
to Bishop Kirkby that on his way from Morland to Penrith he lost his book, called a Journal, which he 
carried with him for the purpose of saying the Canonical Hours either on the road or in the vill of 
Penrith (ibid. Kirkby MS. f. 451). 



functions when the see was vacant or in cases of illness or absence. On 
several occasions during the latter portion of the twelfth century the 
bishop of Whithern, probably under commission from the archbishop, 
was employed in Carlisle, and remunerated for his services out of the 
Exchequer. 1 When Bishop Appleby was unable, owing to illness, to 
cope with the work entailed on him in preparation for the Eastertide of 
1371, he issued a commission to William, bishop of Sodor, solely for 
the consecration of holy oil and the confection of chrism, naming 
Maundy Thursday and Dalston church as the time and place for the 
performance of the function. 3 If a considerable time elapsed between 
the death or translation of one bishop and the enthronement of another, 
the services of a suffragan were requisitioned to do what was necessary. 
When William Raa, diocesan registrar, rendered his account to Bishop 
Story in 1464-5, he reported that he had nothing to answer in the 
matter of dimissory letters, as they had been issued without charge, no 
suffragan having been engaged before his incoming. The costs of em- 
ploying a suffragan during a vacancy were charged to the revenues of 
the bishopric. In 1478-9 Robert Whelpdale, the registrar, paid to the 
lord suffragan of York 2os. in part of a greater sum due to him by 
Bishop Bell. The same prelate, through his registrar, Richard Stanley, 
paid a sum of 4o.r. on 27 August 1489 for a like purpose. 3 It may be 
taken that the institution was not known in the diocese before the 
Reformation, and that when outside bishops were employed they were 
remunerated according to the services rendered. 4 

The frequent mention in the episcopal records of the occurrence of 
bloodshed and violence in churchyards arose partly no doubt from the 
practice of holding fairs and markets in such places during the medieval 
period. 5 Though the statute of 1285 (13 Edw. I. st. 2. cap. 6) alleged 
' the honour of the church ' as the reason for prohibiting the custom, 

1 Pipe R. 5 and 6 Hen. II. An allowance of 141. Sd. was made by the sheriff of Cumberland in each 
of these years, 1159 and 1160, to this bishop, 
a Carl. Epis. Reg. Appleby MS. f. 247. 

3 Accounts of the diocesan registrars, MS. 1464-90. 

4 The parliament of Henry VIII. (26 Hen. VIII. cap. 14), providing for the appointment of suffra- 
gans, specified the names of several towns which should ' be taken and accepted for the sees of Bishops 
Suffragans to be made in this realm and in Wales.' As ' Pereth ' is one of the towns mentioned in the 
Act, it was confused with Penrith in Cumberland, a pardonable error when it is remembered that the 
Cumbrian town was often written ' Perith,' and is often so pronounced at the present day. At no 
period, perhaps^was the confusion more inconvenient than in 1888, when the bishop of Ripon selected 
the town of Penrith as the titular see of his suffragan. The consecration led to a protest from the dio- 
cese of Carlisle, which contributed to the change of title to that of Richmond by Royal warrant in 1889. 
To this controversy we owe the 'Suffragans Nomination Act' (51 & 52 Victoria, c. 56) and the sub- 
sequent consecration of the Rev. H. Ware, on 11 June 1889, as the first bishop suffragan of Carlisle with 
the title of Bishop of Barrow-in-Furness. 

6 For the origin of fairs and markets in churchyards, see Spelman, Glossarium, s.v. Feria. Causes 
of blood were forbidden to be heard in churches or churchyards by a constitution of Archbishop Langton 
in 1222 (Lyndwood, Provincial, Oxford edition, p. 270). Markets were prohibited in churches (and in 
churchyards according to the gloss of John of Athon) by the constitution of Othobon in 1269 (Lyndwood, 
Constitutions Legatinae, p. 136). The penalties for striking or drawing weapons in sacred places are 
set out in the statute of 5 Edw. VI. cap. 4. The 88th canon of 1603 rigidly insisted on the inviolate 
character of churches and churchyards. Breaches of the seventh commandment or other uncleanness 
as well as the shedding of blood, were held to cause desecration (Carl. Epis. Reg. Welton MS. f. 5). 



there is good reason to believe that the real motive was of a different 
nature. In 1300 Isabel de Fortibus, countess of Albemarle, was sum- 
moned to show by what right she held a market at Crosthwaite without 
the King's licence, to which charge she replied by her attorney that she 
held no market and exacted no toll, stallage, nor any other profit, but 
that the men of that neighbourhood were accustomed to meet at the 
church there on festival days for the sale of flesh and fish. 1 As the 
practice was continued, the people of Cockermouth complained to 
Parliament in 1306 that the congregation of Crosthwaite bought and 
sold every Sunday in their churchyard corn, flour, beans, peas, linen, 
cloth, meat, fish and other merchandise to the detriment of the Cocker- 
mouth market, and in contravention of the rights of the Crown therein. 
In response to this petition the sheriff of Cumberland was ordered to 
stop the holding of the market in Crosthwaite churchyard on Sunday or 
any other day.* 

If the interests of commerce weighed with Parliament in forbidding 
Sunday markets in churchyards, another consideration altogether was 
present in the minds of the clergy of Carlisle. By a fourteenth century 
constitution of the diocesan synod, pleas and markets were forbidden to 
be held in churchyards. The canon declared that as our Lord and 
Saviour ejected those who bought and sold in the Temple that the 
house of prayer might not be made into the den of a thief, so it was 
justifiable for the synod to decree that public markets or pleas should 
not be held in churches, porches or churchyards on Sundays or other 
days, and that buildings should not be erected therein unless the time of 
war demanded it, and if they had been so erected they should be thrown 
down. Parish priests were also enjoined to forbid lewd dances (luitas 
choreas) or other shameful plays, specially on festivals of the church and 
vigils of saints, for those who did such things were accounted to sacrifice 
to demons and desecrate holy places and sacred seasons. 3 But the statute 
of the diocesan synod was not sufficient to check the custom in Carlisle. 
In 1379 Bishop Appleby learned that fairs and markets were held on 
Sundays and festival days in churches and churchyards throughout his 
diocese, and that owing to the tumult caused thereby it was impossible 
for rightly disposed persons to attend to their devotions. 4 In the bishop's 
opinion the time had come for the discontinuance of the custom, and in 
consequence the machinery of the diocese was put in motion to abate 
the nuisance. Many centuries were destined to elapse before the bishop's 
hopes were realized. 6 

1 Placita de Quo Warranto (Rec. Com.), p. 115. 

2 Rot. Parl. (Rec. Com.), i. 197 ; Ryley, Placita Parliamentaria, 332-3. 

3 Carl. Epis. Reg. Welton MS. f. 132. 

Ibid. Appleby MS. f. 313. 

6 Hutchinson relates a story of Thomas Warcop, Vicar of Wigton 1612-1653, in connection with 
the butcher market held in that town on Sundays during his incumbency. ' The butchers,' he said, 
' bring up their carcases even at the church door to attract the notice of their customers as they went in 
and came out of church ; and it was not infrequent to see people who had made their bargains before 
prayer began, to hang their joints of meat over the backs of the seats until the pious clergyman had 
finished the service ' (Hist, of Cumberland, ii. 479). 

II 41 6 


The bishops of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in the Border 
diocese were as a rule men of action, either as soldiers and diplomatists 
or as prelates and pastors. Bishop Halton, not merely by reason of the 
duration and strenuousness of his episcopate, but on account of his re- 
markable individuality, may be truly regarded as one of the greatest 
bishops that has ever adorned the northern see. His untiring energy 
during the early severities of international troubles, his attentive super- 
vision of the diocese, his independence of papal dictation, 1 his tact as a 
diplomatist, as well as his courage as a soldier, the trusted counsellor of 
his sovereign and the resolute defender of his clergy, the rebuilder of 
his cathedral and the impartial dispenser of justice among his people, 
qualities such as these shed a lustre on his episcopate and make it 
memorable for all time. Bishop Ross, his successor, was a prelate of 
different mould, a mere puppet of the papacy, who was wont to describe 
himself as bishop of Carlisle * by divine permission and by favour of the 
apostolic see.' a A local historian called him a man from the south 
(homo australis] imposed on the diocese by the pope. 3 From his subse- 
quent quarrels with the prior and convent about their appropriated 
churches * we may infer that the cathedral body never forgot the 
manner of his appointment when their own nominee was rejected in 
his favour. In many respects Bishop Kirkby's tenure of the see was 
the stormiest on record. When he was not fighting with the Scots in 
the open field, he was engaged in feuds with the pope, the chapter of 
York, or his own archdeacon ; B but he appeared to care as little for the 
threats of excommunication from Rome as the actualities of invasion 
from Scotland. When some of his officers were assaulted at Penrith in 
1337 and at Caldeustanes in the suburbs of Carlisle in 1341, he issued 
in each case a general sentence of outlawry against the assailants, and 
afterwards ordered the body of one of them to be exhumed and cast 
out of the churchyard. Before the mandate was carried out, however, 
he was induced to relent on the intercession of Robert Parvynk and to 
absolve the corpse. 8 His firmness in the exercise of disciplinary powers 
during a period of unexampled laxity caused by the Scottish wars pre- 
pared the diocese for the quiet episcopates which followed. There is 

Bishop Halton was a signatory to the non-allowance of a papal provision in 1305. Hugh, bishop 
of Byblus in Syria, presented letters from Benedict XL, appealing to the King for a provision, as Hugh 
had been harassed by the Saracens and was unable to maintain his dignity. The privy council of King 
Edward, of which Bishop Halton was a member, replied that the papal request was ' manifestly preju- 
dicial to the king and his royal crown, and therefore could not be granted ' (Rot. Parl. [Rec. Com.], i. 
lySb, 179). It was at Carlisle that the first anti-papal statute was passed by the English Parliament, 
35 Edw. I. cap. 2 (Ingram, England and Rome, p. 99). In 1318 Bishop Halton was selected as one of the 
peers to be in close attendance on Edward II. (Close 12 Edw. II. m. 2zd ; Rot. Parl. i. 4S3b). He 
was present at the great council of Vienne in 1311-12 when the Templars were suppressed (Milman, 
Latin Christianity, ed. 1867, vii. 298-302). His arrangements for the administration of the diocese, 
while he was ' in remotis,' and several of his acts, while he sojourned ' apud Viennam,' are recorded in 
his Register, MS. ff. 142-3. 

" Carl. Epis. Reg. Ross MS. f. 253. 

Cbron. de Lanercost, p. 253. 

Car!. Epis. Reg. Ross MS. f. 258. 

Ibid. Kirkby MS. ff. 358-9, 362, 367, 453-5, 458, etc. 

Ibid. ff. 355, 427, 431. 




no need to dwell on the domestic policy of Bishops Welton and Appleby, 
for apart from their political services on the frontier, their tenures of 
the see were chiefly remarkable for devotion to the work of the pastoral 
office. For almost the whole of his episcopal life, 135362, vigorous 
efforts were made by Bishop Welton to restore and beautify the choir 
of his cathedral. 1 The long episcopate of Bishop Appleby, 136395, 
was unhappily disturbed by a grievous commotion in his chapter, which 
threw the diocese into an uproar for several years. 3 

Little need be said of the two bishops whose episcopates brought 
the fourteenth century to a close. Robert Read was bishop of Carlisle 
only for a few months in 1396 before his translation to Chichester. 3 
Though Bishop Merks cannot have often visited his diocese during the 
two years he held the see, he is perhaps the most famous of all the 
medieval bishops of Carlisle. The speech * which he is alleged to have 
delivered in the Parliament of 1399 on behalf of his unfortunate 
sovereign, Richard II., has played an important role in the controversies 
about the royal prerogative which raged in the seventeenth century. 
Whether or not he made the speech ascribed to him, it is certain that 
the bishop was much in the company of King Richard before his de- 
position, and that he was actually present at the time it is supposed to 
have been delivered. Moreover, Henry IV. informed the pope in 1400 
that he had deprived Merks of his bishopric for high treason and 
treachery to his royal person. The portrait of this bishop, the earliest 
portrait of a bishop of Carlisle in existence, is preserved in the British 

None of the bishops of the fifteenth century left a permanent mark 
on the diocese except Bishop Strickland at the beginning and Bishop 
Bell at the end of the century. We do not attribute this phenomenon 
to the disturbed condition of the nation during the historic struggle 
between the houses of Lancaster and York half as much as to the short- 
ness of the episcopates. No fewer than eleven bishops ruled the diocese 

Carl. Epis. Reg. Welton MS. ff. 64, 74, 82, 109, 123. In 1363 the pope granted an indulgence 
to penitents who visited the cathedral, which had been burned, on the five feasts of the Blessed Virgin 
or who would lend a helping hand to the fabric (Cal. Papal Petitions, i. 437). 

J Carl. Epis. Reg. Appleby MS. ff. 348-53. This disturbance is noticed in the account of the 
priory of Carlisle. 

3 Bishop Robert Read was translated from Lismore to Carlisle on 26 January, 1395-96, and from 
Carlisle to Chichester on 5 October, 1396 (Cal. of Papal Letters, iv. 535, 539). In the same year John 
Frizelle, rector of Uldale, had an indult for seven years to let the fruits of his rectory to farm while 
engaged elsewhere, as he was unable to reside without danger owing to the whirlwinds of war 
(guerrarum turbines) which were afflicting the diocese (ibid. iv. 535). 

4 The controversies occasioned by this speech cannot be reviewed here. The speech is ascribed 
to the bishop by the contemporary author of the Chroniquedela Traisonet Mori de Rich. 11. (Eng. Hist. 
Soc.), pp. 70-1, though it is not mentioned by another French contemporary authority, the metrical 
chronicle of Creton (Archaeokgia, xx. 99), which states that no word was said in parliament in Richard's 
favour. Much has been written by the editors of these chronicles for and against the authenticity of the 
speech. It has been also recorded and embellished by Hall (Chronicle, p. 14, ed. 1809), Holinshed (Chron- 
icles, iii. pt. i. 512), and Shakespeare (Richard II., Act. iv. Scene i), from whom it passed into 
English literature. The speech has been often printed in separate form, as may be seen by reference to 
the catalogue of the library in the British Museum. Bishop White Kennett vigorously attacked the 
authenticity of the speech in three celebrated but now very rare ' Letters to the Bishop of Carlisle con- 
cerning one of his predecessors, Bishop Merks,' published in 1713, 1716, and 1717. 



during that period, a larger number than in any other century of its 
history, several of whom were in possession only for a few years. To 
the episcopates of Bishop Strickland, 1400-19, and of Bishop Bell, 
147896, may be traced various diocesan undertakings, some of which 
remain to this day. 1 But it must not be assumed from the frequent 
vacancies in the bishopric that the work of the church was altogether 
impeded, or that there was anything in the nature of lethargy or stagna- 
tion peculiar to the fifteenth century. The ecclesiastical machinery 
continued to move in its destined course : the bishops changed, but the 
organizations of the diocese went on. The ministers' accounts of the 
see 2 which have survived for this century show that the diocese was 
well equipped in all its departments, and that the diocesan officers of 
all grades were not slow in the performance of their duties. The dis- 
ciplinary powers of the court were exercised in the cases of clergy and 
laity as occasion required, and ample provision was made for bringing 
religious ministrations within reach of the people. The bishops kept a 
staff of domestic chaplains about them, who seem to have been passed 
on from one bishop to another, and were always ready to take charge of 
a parish when the incumbent died or was laid aside by illness. The 
parochial clergy worked under many difficulties. Licences for non- 
residence were often issued and pluralities were allowed. At one time 
the diocese was thrown into a turmoil as the fortunes of war gave suc- 
cess to the Yorkist or Lancastrian faction, and at another it was devas- 
tated by an incursion of the Scots. 

During the time of the relaxation of hostilities between the two 
kingdoms, inaugurated by the accession of the Tudor dynasty and the 
close of the wars between the rival Roses, more settled modes of life 
became possible and a new era may be said to have commenced. The 
close of the fifteenth century and the early years of the sixteenth 
witnessed an astonishing revival of ecclesiastical activity in the diocese 
of Carlisle. Though many of the parish churches in Cumberland bear 
traces of architectural alteration at this period, the new spirit is more 
manifest in the monastic houses. Within a few miles of the Border, 
three of the most important houses in the north-western county were 
situated, each of which was exposed to incessant attack. The priory of 
Carlisle, protected by the walls of the city, was more at liberty to follow 
its internal development without serious inconvenience, but Holmcul- 
tram and Lanercost were destitute of this advantage. As soon as inter- 

1 According to Leland, Bishop Strickland ' fecit magnum campanile in cathedrali ecclesia a medie- 
tate ad summum, una cum quatuor magnis campanis in eadem, et stalla perpulchra in choro, et co-oper- 
torium cancellae ejusdem. Aedificavit turrim magnam in manerio de Rosa, quae adhuc vocatur Strikelands 
Towre ' (Collectanea, ed. T. Hearne, 1774, i. 346). The same authority states that ' Strikland, bishop 
of Cairluel did the cost to dig ' the Penrith water supply (Itinerary, ed.T. Hearne, 1711, vii. 50-1). In 
the compoti of the diocesan receiver-general for 1488-9, there is a full account of the costs of rebuild- 
ing the castle and chapel of Rose. For the decoration of the chapel three images were purchased at 
York by Bishop Bell. 

Too little attention has been given to these diocesan accounts : they are full of the most curious 
information about the administration of the diocese during several episcopates from Bishop Strickland 
to Bishop Penny. They consist of numerous rolls of parchment and paper in the Registry of Carlisle. 



national matters began to settle down, there is ample proof of activity 
and vigour in repairing and improving what had been ruinated by 
neglect and war. The election of Prior Godebowre of Carlisle almost 
synchronised with the period indicated, and very soon after his appoint- 
ment his labour in beautifying the priory was begun. It is scarcely 
possible to exaggerate the value and amount of the work done by him 
and his two successors within the priory precincts. Their names or 
initials are found almost everywhere. Turning to Holmcultram, the 
largest and wealthiest house in the county, the same evidence of vitality 
and zeal was manifest at this time. Abbot Chamber was a great builder, 
and the fragments of his work in that church and neighbourhood are 
monuments of his energy and skill. Meanwhile the religious men of 
the neighbouring priory of Lanercost were not idle. There is no need 
to search the ruins for bricks and mortar, inscriptions and dates, as valid 
witnesses of contemporary facts. We have documentary proof that the 
prior and his brethren were just as active as their neighbours in bringing 
up their church and conventual buildings to the requirements of a more 
peaceful and settled period. 1 That which strikes us in all these improve- 
ments and decorations is the evidence it affords, which cannot be con- 
tested, that the monasteries on the Border were full of life and vigour at 
the time that violent hands were laid upon them. 

Conspicuous in this movement was the desire to recall the monas- 
teries to their ancient ideals of austere devotion and charity. With the 
restoration of the outward fabrics of the monasteries there was a corre- 
sponding revival of monastic rule and a general transformation of religious 
life. It was a time of national renascence. Wolsey was its guide. His 
attempt to save the church of England in its entirety by a judicious 
reformation has not received the attention it deserves. But we are only 
concerned with his doings so far as they relate to our own district. 
Synods of the regular and secular clergy were held and codes of regula- 
tions were drawn up and issued to the monasteries and the bishops. We 
have no certain evidence that any of the local ecclesiastical magnates 
took part in the deliberations at Leicester and London. Whether they 
did or not is immaterial ; we know their attitude. Prior Simon, whose 
zeal at Carlisle is well known, did not appear in person or by 
proxy at Leicester in 1518, but the worst complaint the visitors of his 
Order could make against him was that he had forwarded his dues with 
the accustomed liberality of his house.* It is fortunate that we have a 
clear statement, a year or two later, of the views of the bishop of 
Carlisle on the religious movement of this time. It is a most pathetic 

' Additional MS. 24,965, f. 218 ; L, and P. of Henry VIII., vol. iv. 128. 

2 The priors of Kyrkam and Worsthorpe, visitors of the province of York, certified ' quod prior 
de Carlill nee per se nee per procuratorem comparet, cum quo tamen mitius agitur prematura sua liberali- 
tate loci debita ' (Cotton MS. Vespasian, D. i. 68b). At this Council the Cardinal was admitted a con- 
frere of the chapter and commissioned to reform the Order (Ibid. Vitellius, B. iii. 223). Wolsey lost no 
time in issuing his ordinationei ft statuta, consisting of eighteen articles, on the internal discipline of 
Austin monasteries (Ibid. Vespasian, F. ix. 22 et seq.). These statutes have been printed by Wilkins 
(Concilia, iii. 683-8). The priories of Carlisle and Lanercost would be affected by these injunctions. 



letter ' from an old man just recovering from a severe illness, unable to 
undertake a journey to London. He deplored the obvious vices and 
errors which were beginning to spread without check through Christen- 
dom, and wished Wolsey success in their repression a task which the 
aged prelate acknowledged to be difficult. That was in 1520, be it 
remembered, several years before the domestic affairs of Henry VIII. 
had brought him into conflict with the papacy. This movement was 
a spontaneous effort of the English church to purge herself of the egregia 
vicia et errores and to bring herself into line with the requirements of a 
more enlightened age. In the hands of a prelate like Bishop Penny the 
new injunctions must have made a change in the religious houses and 
among the clergy within his jurisdiction. 

The ecclesiastical movement was continued with considerable 
vigour during the early portion of the episcopate of John Kite, who 
succeeded Bishop Penny in 1521. Wolsey had little faith in non- 
resident bishops. A few months after his translation from Armagh * 
my lord of Carlisle was requested with other prelates to be person- 
ally within his diocese on an appointed day. Lord Dacre, the steward 
of the episcopal manors, pleaded with the cardinal for delay owing 
to the scarceness of provisions in Cumberland, of which, he said, 
there was not enough to sustain the people without the help of the other 
northern counties. 3 There is abundant evidence that Bishop Kite was 
the firm ally of Wolsey in the reformation of the church, and an earnest 
prelate in the pastoral care of his people. ' I beseech you of pity,' he 
wrote to the cardinal in 1523, the year after his coming, ' to have mercy 
of many good men, women, and children of the parish of Bewcastle 
within my diocese, who, since before Easter last past, have had neither 
sacrament nor sacramental that I know of, though many of them have 
been often with me for redress. There are both aged and young who 
have not offended and yet are in like punishment.'* The diocese of 
Carlisle had its share in the reforming movement of this period. 5 The 

' L. and P. of Henry VIII., vol. iii. 77. The letter of Bishop Penny is the earliest known document 
connected with the Reformation in the diocese of Carlisle. It has been printed in full by the present 
writer in The Monasteries of Cumb. and Westmor. before Dissolution, App. i., Carlisle Scientific and Literary 
Society, 1899. 

John Kite, archbishop of Armagh, who had been employed on the King's business in Spain, was 
named among the bishops to attend Henry VIII. to ' The Field of the Cloth of Gold ' (Rymer, Fcsdera, 
xiii. 710). In the summer of 1521 he was translated to Carlisle through Wolsey's influence. The cost 
of the papal bulls amounted to 1,790 ducats, but for Wolsey's sake 275 ducats were remitted. It was 
considered a great compliment, as the pope was in great need of money at the time (Cotton MS. Vitellius, 
B. iv. 132, 136 ; L. and P. of Henry VIII., vol. iii. 1430-1, 1477). Kite had restitution of the temporali- 
ties of the see on 12 November, 1521 (Pat. 13 Hen. VIII. pt. I, m. n ; Rymer, Fcedera, xiii. 759); the 
papal bull, authorizing the preferment, bears date 12 July (L. and P. of Henry fill., iii. 1757)- Bishop 
Penny must have died early in 1521. 

Cotton MS. Caligula, B. ii. 252. 

4 L. and P. of Henry VIIL, vol. iii. 34, 36. The bearer of this letter to Wolsey was ' a clerke of my 
dyocesse, my servant and offycyall (who) hath licence of me, in as moche as my power is, for iij yeres to 
goo to his booke at some unyversite ' if necessary beyond the sea. 

5 Bishop Kite's friendship with the cardinal is well known. He was one of the bishops with whom 
Wolsey was accused of taking secret counsel in Lord Darcy's impeachment (L. and P. of Henry VIIL, iv. 
5749). After his fall, the cardinal and his attendants ' continued for the space of three or four weeks 
without beds, sheets, table cloths, cups and dishes to eat our meat or to lie in.' He was ' compelled to 




RICHARD BARNES (1570-1577) 



JOHN KYTE (1521-1537). 

JAMES USSHER (1642-1656). 


bishop's association with the cardinal was the means of supplying him 
with a subordinate who was perhaps a more famous man than his 
diocesan. William Byrbanke, the friend and correspondent of Erasmus, 
became archdeacon of Carlisle about the same time that Kite became its 
bishop. With the art of a courtier, which earned for him the sobriquet 
of the ' flatteryng Byshope of Carel,' l Kite told Wolsey that he had 
delayed Byrbanke's return from Rose Castle, as he wished to entertain 
him for the favour he bore to the court he came from.* There is little 
evidence of the archdeacon's personal residence in the diocese, but his 
appointment and his tenure of office may be taken as symptomatic of 
what was going on. Byrbanke was in the constant employment of 
Wolsey, acting as his agent in all the schemes in which that prelate was 
engaged. 3 A notable feature in the archdeacon's life was his friendship 
with Erasmus. From the pen of that illustrious man we have a picture, 
as he only could sketch it, of what Byrbanke was, the vir integerrimus of 
all his friends. The archdeacon of Carlisle was one of a constellation 
of brilliant men who dreamt of reforming ecclesiastical abuses without 
disturbing the unity of the church. Of this band of scholars Erasmus 
was the sun and the strength. While writing of these men he exclaimed 
to Byrbanke : ' O vere splendldum Cardinalem, qui tales viros habet in consi- 
//, cujus mensa talibus luminibus cingitur ! ' Even in the remote diocese 
of Carlisle two of Wolsey's friends were posted to carry out the policy of 
reformation in parish church and monastery with which his great 
name is identified. 4 

borrow of the bishop of Carlisle and Sir Thomas Arundell both dishes to eat his meat in, and plate to 
drink in, and also linen cloths to occupy ' (Life of Cardinal Wolsey, ed. Singer, pp. 225, 257-8). 

1 This nickname was given to Bishop Kite by the Earl of Northumberland in a letter to ' his beloved 
cosyn Thomas Arundel, one of the gentlemen of my lord legates prevy chambre ' (Cavendish, Life of 
Wolsey [ed. Singer], p. 463). 

* L. and P. of Henry VIII. , vol. iii. 2566. 

> Archdeacon Byrbanke appears to have been of Cumbrian extraction (Trans. Cumbld. and Westmorld. 
Archaeol. Soc. xv. 38). We find him as early as 1488 in the service of Bishop Richard Bell as his chaplain. 
In 1508 he was nominated by the Austin priory of Conishead in Lancashire as one of their proctors to the 
diocesan synod of Carlisle by virtue of the appropriation of the church of Orton in Westmorland to that 
house (Hist. MSB. Com. Rep. [Rydal MSS.], xii. App. vii. 5). He accompanied Archbishop Bainbridge to 
Rome as one of his secretarial staff. In Rome he made the acquaintance of Erasmus, which afterwards 
ripened into a life-long friendship. In 1512 he was appointed prebendary of Fenton in the church of 
York, which he held till he resigned in 1531 (Hardy, Le Neve, iii. 185). On the death of Cardinal Bain- 
bridge, he acted as one of his executors, and wrote some letters to Henry VIII. accusing the Bishop of 
Worcester of poisoning the cardinal (Cotton MS. Vitellius, B. ii. ff. 94-97 ; Ellis, Orig. Letters, 1st ser. 
i. 99-108). Bishop Silvester rewarded his traducer by defaming him in turn among his friends as ' that 
scoundrel Burbanke,' or again that ' he does not know under heaven a greater dissembler ' (Ibid. Vitellius, 
B. iii, f. 172). Pope Leo X. acted as peacemaker, absolving the bishop sub plumbo of all knowledge of the 
crime, and creating Byrbanke a prothonotary apostolic with a strong recommendation, on his departure 
from Rome, to the King's favour (L. and P. of Henry. VIII., vol. ii. 13 ; Dep. Keeper, Rep. ii. App. p. 190). 
At least six impressions of his seal exist, and all of them of the same date in February, 1524-25. They 
are attached to the deeds of survey and surrender of certain monastic houses taken by Byrbanke as com- 
missioner for Henry VIII. and Wolsey (L. and P. of Henry V '111. vol. iv. 1137). The illustration of this 
archdeacon's seal given above is the only seal of an archdeacon of Carlisle known to exist, and has been 
reproduced from the impression attached to the Tonbridge surrender. The seal now used by arch- 
deacons of Carlisle is a side vacante seal of uncertain date, procured at some date for the keeper of the 
see, when vacant, and has no connexion with the archdeaconry (Trans. Cumbld. and Westmorld. Archaeol. 
Soc. xv. 35-42). 

4 Erasmi Epistolae, lib. xvi. 3, p. 725 ; xviii. 41, p. 806 ; xxi. 57, p. 1 1 24 ; Jortin, Life of Erasmus, i. 
150 ; L. and P. of Henry Vlll., vols. ii.-iv. passim. 



But events travelled fast in these days. The church was not 
left to recover herself in her own way. The clouds were gathering 
around the monastic institution, not for the purpose of purgation but of 
extinction. When the storm broke, reform was not mentioned. The 
destruction of the monasteries was not conceived, matured and carried 
out in a day. The actual suppression was the outcome of long years of 
agitation, distress, calumny, bitterness, in which the sacred name of 
religion itself was imperilled. There is no trace in the diocese of 
Carlisle at this time of any opposition to the exercise of the traditional 
rights of the Crown in ecclesiastical affairs. The renunciation of papal 
authority was an easy matter in the diocese. The parish clergy followed 
their bishop, 1 and none of the regulars are known to have dissented 
either in Convocation or elsewhere. But the agitation and unrest which 
led up to all this had a serious effect on monastic communities. 

At this juncture cases arise in one of our local houses which throw 
out as in a mirror a picture of what was going on in the nation at large. 
In 1533 a monk of Holmcultram, Thomas Grame by name, was 
possessed of a procuratorial office in the neighbouring church of Wigton, 
a church appropriated to that monastery. As the profits of the office 
were spent on his own amusements to the detriment of the house, the 
seal was called in, but the monk remained obdurate and appealed to the 
Roman pontiff, who ' without consent or counsel of our chapter nor yet 
having licence from the visitors of the Cistercian Order ' pronounced 
him capax beneficii and overruled all objections. The monks must have 
felt now, if they had never felt before, the inconvenience of a foreign 
authority exercising jurisdiction in the internal affairs of English houses. 
At all events, the attachment of this monastery to Rome must have been 
very slender indeed, when the secular arm was invoked to set aside the 
papal decree. 2 

In the same year much more serious matters were brought to light 
in the monastery of Holmcultram, which caused no small stir among 
the friends and enemies of the monastic order. A short time before, 
Gawyn Borudall or Borradale, an inmate of the house, was a candidate 
for the vacant abbacy, but he was rejected in favour of Matthew Deveys, 
whose election was duly confirmed. In a brief space Abbot Deveys 
died after a short illness, which recalled to the monks the threats of 
Borradale in the hour of his defeat. Foul play was freely discussed, 
and the suspicion of poison rested on the rejected candidate. Borradale 
was arrested and confined in the dungeon of Furness Abbey, where he 
lay for nearly six months. 3 The uproar brings out many things which 
show us how matters were working up to the desired end. The Abbot 
of Furness, 4 the monk's gaoler, told Cromwell, the minister who had the 
King's business in hand, that Borradale was a ' masterful man ' with 

1 Bishop Kite's declaration of the Royal Supremacy in 1534 is one of those still surviving at the 
Record Office (Chapter House, Acknowledgments of Supremacy, s/a i. 27, Bp. of Carlisle). It is in beautiful 
condition with an undamaged impression of his seal. 

2 L. and P. of Henry Fill., vol. vi. 781. 

3 Ibid. vi. 986. 4 Ibid. vi. 1557. 



' secret bearers.' The notorious Dr. Legh, the future scourge of the 
monasteries, one of the secret bearers of the accused monk, interceded in 
his behalf and reminded Cromwell that he was capable of doing the 
King good service in that house and on the Border. 1 When we know 
that this was the monk, who was subsequently chosen Abbot of Holm- 
cultram for the purpose of surrendering the monastery into the King's 
hands, the scandal assumes a new magnitude and the intrigues of the 
royal agents come into view. We can now understand why it was that 
Borradale's name was omitted in after years from the infamous charges 
which blackened the characters of the rest of his brethren, when Legh 
and his associates made their reports to the King and Parliament on the 
eve of the suppression. 

Cromwell was now master of the monasteries. Every religious 
house in England was entangled in his net. There was no room in 
his system to distinguish between their virtues and their vices ; the 
hour for their complete overthrow had come. But the tales of his 
agents must be arranged in formal language and invigorated with 
official sanction. With this view, royal commissioners 2 were despatched 
to visit the monasteries and bring back a report for the information of 
the King and Parliament. It is of some interest to know that Thomas 
Legh, the most diligent of these visitors, was a native of Isell in Cum- 
berland. His associate, Richard Lay ton, was also north country born. 
These two men were the chief commissioners for the north. In their 
petition 3 to Cromwell begging for the post, it is stated that they knew 
' the fassion off the countre and the rudenes of the pepull ' and that 
through ' owre frendes and kynsfookes dispersyde in thos parties ther 
ys nother monasterie, selle, priorie nor any other religiouse howse in 
the north but other doctor Lee or I have familier acqwayntance ' with 
it. Ready tools like these could not be disregarded by a minister 
who was a matchless judge of men. With astonishing quickness they 
accomplished their task. From a study of their movements, not more 
than a few days could have been devoted to the visitation of all the 
houses in Cumberland and Westmorland. It is absurd to suppose that 
the commissioners had any intention to make a bona fide report on the 
condition of individual monasteries. There was no time to hold a 
serious investigation, and there is no evidence that any court of inquiry 
was held or witnesses called. By 28 February 1536, it was announced 
to Cromwell that ' a clean booke of the compertes ' was made and sent 
to his honourable mastership ' bye yor commissaries Doctor Layton and 
Doctor Lee ' and * a duble thereof would be brought to him shortly.* 

1 L. and P. of Henry V III., vol. vi. 985, 986. 

2 The instructions to the commissioners for the county of Westmorland have been printed in Trans. 
Cumbld. and Westmorld. Archaeol. Soc., xiii. 385-8, from the original book (L. and P. of Henry VIII., vol. v. 
721 (2). General instructions will be found in Burnet (Collection of Records, Oxford, 1816, i. pt. ii. 24-26). 

3 Layton's petition on behalf of Legh and himself has been printed by Wright (Suppression of the 
Monasteries, Camden Soc., pp. 156-7) from Cotton MS. Cleopatra, E. iv. f. 10. The business he was so 
desirous to undertake appeared so light, that he proposed ' to ryde downe one syde ' of England ' and 
cum up the other.' 

L. and P. of Henry VIII., vol. x. 363. 

ii 49 7 


Notwithstanding the indignation with which the King's declaration 
on the contents of the ' Black Book Jl was received in parliament, the 
arts of diplomacy counselled prudence in framing the Act of Suppres- 
sion. In order to allay the fears of the bishops and mitred abbots in 
the House of Lords, it was resolved to suppress only the smaller 
monasteries with a revenue under 200 a year. The preamble of 
the Act (37 Henry VIII. cap. 28) sets out the reason for parliamentary 
interference with the property and organization of the church. The 
monasteries, marked out for destruction, are stated to have been guilty 
of ' manifest synne, vicious, carnall and abhominable lyvyng ' on the 
evidence of ' the compertes * of the late vysytacions as by sondry cred- 
yble informacions.' But the larger houses, which were for the present 
exempted, were equally plunged in nameless infamy by the ' compertes ' 
of the late visitation, though, according to the same Act, ' relygyon is 
right well kept and observed, thankes be to God, in the great solempne 
monasteryes of this realme.' It is manifest that the statutory reasons for 
parliamentary action were fraudulent and that the court party had got 
up the alleged irregularities for the purpose of passing the Bill through 
both houses. In our own district the exemption of the Act affected 
only the abbey of Holmcultram and the priory of Carlisle, but all the 
other smaller communities, Lanercost, Wetheral, St. Bees, Calder and 
Shap, the nunneries of Armathwaite and Seton, and the friaries of Car- 
lisle, Penrith and Appleby were swept away. 

The dissolution of the smaller houses of religion caused unrest and 
indignation throughout the country. Insurrection broke out in Lincoln- 
shire and soon spread to the north. The rising in Yorkshire assumed 
such alarming proportions that the King was advised to treat with the 
rebels in a conciliatory spirit. An account of the Pilgrimage of Grace, 
as the rebellion was called, may be read in any history. But the notable 
feature of the rebellion in Cumberland was the entire absence of men of 
position from the movement. The rabble had no leaders. Even the 
parish clergy stood aloof. It is probable that the monks secretly fomented 
the disaffection ; but if so, with the exception of the abbot of Holm- 
cultram, they did not show themselves in the open field. The indiffer- 
ence of the clergy provoked the commons to a white heat of exasperation. 
It was openly discussed ' that they shuld never be well till they had 
striken of all the priestes heddes, saying they wold but deceave them.' 
A special grudge was felt against two or three of them. Chancellor 
Towneley, who was rector of Caldbeck, though his parishioners were 

i The Black Book does not exist in its entirety, but supposed fragments of it may be found at the 
Record Office and British Museum (L. and P. of Hen. VIII., vol. x. 364 ; Cotton MS. Cleopatra, E. iv. 
147 ; Lansdowne MS. 988, f. l). The portion relating to Cumberland and Westmorland has been often 
printed (Trans. Cumbld. and Westmorld. Archaeol. Soc., iv. 88-90 ; Monasteries of Cumb. before Dissolution, 

PP- 45-7)- 

3 For various reasons some writers have doubted whether the contents of the Black Book were ever 

read in parliament. There is now no doubt upon the point. Bishop Latimer says that ' when their 
enormities were first read in the parliament-house, they were so great and abominable that there was 
nothing but " down with them " ' (Sermons, Parker Soc., p. 123). In the Act of Suppression ' the com- 
pertes of the late vysytacions ' hold a prominent place. 



up, did not join the insurgents till a missive was sent threatening to 
hang him on the highest tree of the diocese. Roland Threlkeld, the 
pluralist vicar of Melmerby, Lazonby and Dufton, was treated in a 
similar fashion. 1 Rumours were current in London implicating the 
bishop of Carlisle, the prior of Lanercost, the vicar of Penrith, and 
others, but without sufficient reason. The Duke of Norfolk corrected 
the mistake about the vicar of Penrith, and Chancellor Towneley 
exculpated his diocesan from any knowledge of the rebellion. As for 
the prior of Lanercost, there is no evidence of his treason. 1 The only 
cleric of consequence, who took a prominent part, was Robert Thomson, 
vicar of Brough under Stainmore, a demented individual, who was 
regarded as a prophet among the people. When Norfolk ' tied up ' his 
threescore and fourteen of the rebels in the various towns and hamlets 
of the county, only one ecclesiastic 3 was among the number, a chaplain 
in Penrith, all the rest being of the labouring or agricultural class. 

In many ways the rebellion was an unexpected piece of good luck 
to the King and his advisers. It furnished them with a pretext to 
demolish the monasteries root and branch, and they were not long in 
setting about it. There was no talk now that ' religion was right well 
kept and observed ' in them as the Act of 1536 declared ; many of the 
monks were compromised by siding with the rebels, and the King was 
determined not to let the opportunity slip. The exemption of the 
statute in the first instance did not blind the abbot of Holmcultram to 
the ultimate intention of the legislature. When he joined the insurrec- 
tion and urged his tenants to follow his example, it was with the con- 
viction that the existence of his abbey was the stake for which he was 
about to play at the risk of his own life. On the day before the com- 
mons laid siege to Carlisle he sent the brethren in solemn procession for 
a blessing on the enterprise, praying the ' All myghty God prossper them, 
for yffe they sped not this abbe ys lost.' 

The King's agents forwarded to Cromwell indisputable proof of 

In the confession of Chancellor Towneley and the examination on oath of Robert Thomson, vicar 
of Brough under Stainmore, two lengthy documents, we get a good account of the insurrection in Cum- 
berland (L. and P. of Henry Fill., vol. xii. pt. i. 687 (i, 2). These and other documents have been 
printed in Monasteries of Cumb. before Dissolution, pp. 50-94. 

1 One of the county histories (Nicolson and Burn, Hist, of Westmorland, i. 569) contains a letter 
from the Duke of Norfolk to the King, correcting the rumour with regard to the vicar of Penrith. This 
letter is important, as the original does not now exist among the State Papers. It is said to have been 
procured ' from the lords' answer to the tenants concerning tenant right ' a manuscript in the hands of 
the editors in 1777. The cock-and-bull-story about the bishop of Carlisle was transmitted by Sir Thomas 
Wharton to Cromwell (L. and P. of Henry fill., vol. xi. 319), and demolished by Chancellor Towneley 
(ibid. xii. 687). There is no evidence known to the writer against the prior of Lanercost, except that 
he is mentioned in a despatch from the King to Norfolk, ordering him ' to be tyed up ' with a number of 
others. This is not the only mistake made by the King in that despatch. The document has been printed 
in full by the Surtees Society (The Priory of Hexham, vol. i. pp. cl.-cliii.). 

3 It is stated in a document ascribed to 1539 that ten men, chiefly coiners and thieves, were con- 
demned at the Carlisle assizes in the December of that year, but two of them ' for high treason, because 
they had bruted in those parts that the Comons were up in the South countrey.' One of these was 
Richard Howthwaite, sub-prior of Carlisle (Cotton MS. Caligula, B. iii. 156 ; Monasteries of Cumb. 
before Dissolution, pp. 92-4). The name of the ecclesiastic who was ' tied up ' with the others was Edward 
Penrith (L. and P. of Henry fill., xii. 498). 



Abbot Carter's treason/ The tenants of the lordship of Holmcultram 
testified to overt acts of rebellion. Thomas Grame, the monk who had, 
on the recommendation of Sir Thomas Wharton, previously intrigued 
for the abbacy on the death of Abbot Ireby, and who had so recently, 
with the connivance of the pope, defied the monastery in the matter of 
the Wigton office, came forward to tighten the noose on the neck of his 
late superior, and did not leave a single loophole through which the 
doomed man could escape. Before the King's pardon after the first in- 
surrection, and after the King's pardon at the second insurrection, the 
abbot was at the head of the insurgents. In dealing with the abbot, 
when his treason was so public, one would have expected at least the 
ordinary formalities of a regular trial. But justice did not suit the tor- 
tuous methods of the royal agents. Sir Thomas Wharton repaired 
' sekerethly ' with his confederates to the abbey, examined some witnesses 
procured by Dan Thomas, and afterwards boasted to Cromwell that he 
was able to depart from the abbey without the abbot's knowledge of his 
proceedings. 1 As the King had as yet no legal authority to dissolve the 
abbey, notwithstanding the abbot's treason, Holmcultram being one of 
the larger houses exempted by the statute, Gawyn Borradale, the late 
suspect for poisoning Abbot Deveys, was appointed the last abbot with 
the object of making a free surrender. The final act was not long de- 

There was little now to be done but to take possession of the houses 
and granges of the expelled monks. Before the royal commissioners 
started on their visitation, Cromwell was flooded with applications from 
all parts of the country for a share of the spoils. To these he paid 
little heed as long as the King's affairs sped to his liking. When it 
became necessary, as he told the King, ' to clinch the business and make 
the settlement irrevocable ' that is, to pass a confirmatory Act and to 
make legal the surrender of the greater monasteries the most useful of 
the large landowners had their applications graciously entertained. To 
write of the dismantling of the monastic nouses in Cumberland, the 
stripping of the lead roofs, melting the bells, the sale of the contents of 
dormitories and kitchens, the desecration of the altars, the holy vest- 
ments and all the instrumenta ecclesiastica of the conventual churches, 
would be a melancholy chapter of diocesan history. The church of 
Holmcultram was spared on the supplication of the inhabitants of that 
district. It was their parish church, they pleaded, and little enough to 
hold them all, being eighteen hundred ' houselynge' people; and it was 
their place of refuge as well, their only defence against their Scotch 
neighbours. 3 Dr. Legh, with infinite magnanimity, allowed the church 
to stand till the King's pleasure was known. 4 The property of the 

1 Cotton MS. Caligula, B. iii. 285, 286. 

2 L. and P. of Henry Fill., vol. xii. pt. i. 1259 (i.). 

> Cotton MS. Cleopatra, E. iv. 243 ; Ellis, Original Letters, 1st ser., ii. 90. 

4 It does not appear that the fabric of the conventual church was hurt in any way at the suppression 
of the abbey. The dilapidation of the chancel or choir in 1602 was the occasion of certain negotiations 
between the bishop and the University of Oxford for its repairs. In 1724 a faculty was issued to rebuild 



priories of Carlisle and Wetheral was still retained in the service of 
religion, but the monastic features of the one and the bulk of the build- 
ings of the other went down in the general devastation. 

Perhaps the most pathetic scene in the last act of this drama was 
the condition of the religious men who were driven from their houses. 
There is little doubt that all of them, or nearly all of them, had received 
patents for an annual pension, varying from 6 to a few marks accord- 
ing to station or age. It did not suit the royal policy to permit the use 
of the religious habit for the remaining life of the disestablished clergy. 
Writing of the surrender of Holmcultram, Dr. Legh told his employers * 
that ' the monks, arrayed in secular apparel, having honest rewards in 
their purses, are dispersed abroad in the country.' It was a high offence 
on the part of William Lord Dacre, in the eyes of the court hack who 
expected the grant of Lanercost, that the expelled monks were allowed 
to revisit their old home 3 in their ' chanons cotes.' These priests were 
forbidden to wear the ecclesiastical habit as well as to exercise the 
sacred function. A whole brood of them was scattered broadcast in 
the land in laymen's apparel, but unable to do laymen's work. The 
Duke of Norfolk reported to the King, after the suppression of the 
monasteries in the northern counties, that he had 300 monks on his 
hands wanting capacities. A few who had served the King were 
accommodated here and there, like Thomas Grame, the betrayer of his 
master, who was appointed by Dr. Legh to ' the chapel called 
St. Thomas' chapel to make him a chamber there ' one of the several 
chapels now extinct in the parish of Holmcultram. Some, like 
Edward Mitchell and Hugh Sewell of the priory of Carlisle, were 
selected to fill vacancies on the new foundation in order to save their 
pensions. But the mass of the dispossessed monks remained mere 
pensioners without clerical employment to the end of their days. They 
were required to show their patents periodically to their paymasters, as 
returned convicts are obliged to report themselves to the police. If 
they left the district where they were known, it was at the risk of 
losing their pensions. The lists of these pensioners appear year after 
year with monotonous regularity ; each year they grew fewer in num- 
ber ; some of them survived the collapse of their houses for almost 
half a century. 

The ecclesiastical legislation of Edward VI. added an important 
contingent to the multitude of the pensioners. One of the first acts of 
his reign was to seize the lands and endowments of the chantries, free 
chapels, stipendiary curacies and collegiate churches throughout the 
kingdom. It is true that the revenues of many of these institutions had 
been granted to Henry, his father (37 Hen. VIII. cap. 4) ; but the 

the nave and sell the materials to be got by dismantling the chancel ; at which date the church took its 
present shape ; or rather the shape as shown in Buck's print of 1739 with the groins of the chancel arches 
in situ. 

1 L. and P. of Henry VIII., vol. xiii. pt. i. 547, 551. 

* Ibid. xiii. pt. i. 304. 



spoliation was not complete when that monarch died. 1 The new Act 
(i Edw. VI. cap. 14) annexed their lands, goods and chattels to the 
Crown on a pretext of the ' superstition and errors in the Christian re- 
ligion, brought into the minds of men by devising and phan- 
tasying vain opinions of purgatory and masses satisfactory to be 
done for them which be departed, the which doctrine and vain 
opinion by nothing more is maintained and upholden than by abuse 
of trentals, chantries and other provisions made for the continuance of 
the said blindness and ignorance.' In order to allay public apprehension, 
there was a sort of promise held out that the money should be used for 
founding grammar schools, helping the Universities and making pro- 
vision for the poor ; but these pious intentions were never wholly 
fulfilled. 2 

As the Act was passed on 4 November 1547, and the commission 
to survey the spoils was issued on 14 February 15478, it cannot be 
said that much time was lost in putting the new law in force. The 
commissioners for Cumberland were authorized to survey and examine 
all colleges, chantries, free chapels, fraternities, guilds, stipendiary 
curacies, and other spiritual promotions within the county, the revenues 
of which had been given and ought to come to the King. In a certi- 
ficate 3 delivered into court on 6 December 1 548 by the hand of Allan 
Bellingham, the surveyor, the commissioners reported on the religious 
institutions of sixteen different places in Cumberland. Kirkoswald, a 

1 The commission for this survey, dated 14 February, 1546, consisted of Robert, bishop of Carlisle, 
Thomas lord Wharton, Sir John Lowther, knight, and Edward Edgore, esquire. The survey for the 
two counties was returned on six membranes written (save the last) on both sides, giving in detail the 
possessions of each chantry with the names of tenants and annual rent. The first three membranes 
comprise the chantries in the ' Countie of Cumbrelonde,' and the remaining three comprise those in 
' Westmerlonde.' The list for Cumberland begins with the ' Rood Chantry ' in the cathedral church 
of Carlisle. It had a total yearly rent of 4 I$s. $d. from tenements, a sum which agrees exactly with 
the subsequent survey of Edward VI. The ' goodes and cattalles belonginge to the same,' valued at 
3 5/. zd. in the Edwardian survey, are here set forth in detail thus : ' Furst, one messe booke, 3*. \d. ; 
foure aulter clothes, I2d. ; thre vestementes, 3^. q.d. ; two aubbes, izd. ; two candelstykes of brasse, zd. ; 
and challes of silver (55*.) parcell gylte weynge 15 ounces at y. 8d. the ounce ; a corporal with case, 
4<i. ; an olde chyste, lod, ; z crewettes, zd. (Total) 65 s. zd.' This survey, which is of considerable 
local interest, will be found at the Public Record Office under the official description of ' Rentals and 
Surveys, No. 846,' but formerly known as ' Exch. Q. R. Ancient Miscellanea, bundle - 7 / 1 -' In many parishes 
there were various small endowments for the perpetuation of obits, lights before the sacrament and 
other minor parochial institutions, which were plundered at this period. Among the ancient rentals of 
the see of Carlisle there is a survey of the ' Terre luminarium beate Marie ' in the parish of Dalston, of 
the time of Henry VII., which betokens an adequate provision for that purpose. The endowment con- 
sisted of no fewer than seventeen separate parcels, each parcel varying in value from l%d. to "js. a year, 
such as a messuage, a toft, a rood of meadow, an acre of land, a tenement, a cottage, and so forth, up and 
down the parish. The total rental amounted to Z<)s. $d. It is evident that these small parcels were be- 
queathed by the poorer tenants of the parish. 

2 Strype has given a list of free grammar schools founded by Edward VI. (Memorials, edition 1721, 
ii. 535-7), but if this list be carefully scrutinized, it will be found that very few of them had their origin 
in the reign of that monarch. The statement of J. R. Green that ' one noble measure, indeed, the foun- 
dation of eighteen grammar schools, was destined to throw a lustre over the name of Edward ' (Short 
History of the English People, edition 1891, p. 360), has been disputed by Mr. A. F. Leach in an article 
on ' Edward VI. : Spoiler of Schools ' in the Contemporary Review, September, 1892. The preface to 
the Yorkshire Chantry Surveys (Surtees Society) by Mr. Wm. Page should also be consulted. 

' This certificate, containing the survey of all the chantries in the county, is preserved in the Aug- 
mentation Office, Chantry Certificates, No. 1 1, Cumberland. 



parish with a population of five hundred * ' howseling ' people that is, 
of persons old enough to receive the Eucharist had a college in the 
parish church of the foundation of Thomas the late Lord Dacre, father 
of the Lord Dacre that then was. The lands and tenements belonging 
to the institution were valued at 89 IGJ. gd. The college in the parish 
church of Greystoke, on which three thousand ' howselinge ' people were 
dependent, was ' off the foundation of one Urbane, bishoppe of Rome at 
the peticon of one Rafe, baron of Graystocke, auncestour to the lorde 
Dacre that nowe is.' John Dacre, the master, was also parson and served 
the cure himself, there being no endowed vicar. There were two 
chapels belonging to the college called ' Watermelike and Threlkett, th' 
one distant seven miles and th' other six miles from the parish church.' 
The yearly revenue of the college amounted to 84 19^. 8*/., which, 
after deducting reprises of $ys. ic*/., left a rental ' clere by yere ' of 
82 u. lod. These were the only two collegiate churches in the 

The chantry of Our Lady in Hutton in the Forest was of the 
foundation of the ancestors of William Hutton to celebrate in the 
parish church there for ever. There were two chantries in Penrith, 
one in the castle and the other in the parish church ; the salary to the 
priest of the former was paid annually at the King's audit, the office 
being in the gift of the Crown. There were no lands to maintain the 
service of the priest in the parish church, but the incumbent received 
his stipend yearly by the hands of Sir John Lowther. The chantry of 
the Blessed Mary in Skelton and that of St. Leonard " in Bromfield 
were founded to celebrate mass and sing divine service in the parish 
churches there. The parish of Wigton contained three institutions 
coming within the purview of the Act, namely, the chantry of 
St. Katherine in the parish church, the hospital of St. Leonard, and a 
free chapel ' of the foundation of the ancestors of the late Earl of 
Northumberland to celebrate there, which was not observed, for it lieth 
on the Borders and is decayed and destroyed.' Three stipendiary cura- 
cies were endowed for the purpose of celebrating mass in the parish 
church of Torpenhow, the incumbents whereof received a salary of 4 
each. Though the parish of Crosthwaite contained two thousand 'house- 
ling ' people, there was but one chantry, that of St. Mary Magdalene, 
for the purpose of celebrating mass in the parish church. In Egremont 
there was a stipendiary, called a Lady priest, and in Brigham a chantry, 
both for the purpose of celebrating mass and singing divine service in 
the parish churches there. The chantries of Cockermouth were of a 
diversified description. The stipendiary of the parish chantry ' used to 
kepe and teache a grammer schole there and to pray for the soulle of 

1 In another list of the chantries, compiled when they were in the hands of the King, the population 
of Kirkoswald is set down as ' one thousand howseling people ' (Augmentation Office, Chantry Certificate 
No. 12, Cumberland). In both enumerations, of course, the parish of Dacre, being under the spiritual 
charge of the college, would be included. 

a When the revenues of this chantry were sold, it was called the chantry of St. George the Martyr 
in the church of Brumfeld (Augmentation Office, Miscellaneous Books, Ixvii. 148-50). 



the founder for ever.' Rowland Noble, the incumbent and master of 
the school, enjoyed the revenues, amounting to 1 1 6s., for his salary. 
Two stipendiaries were constituted ' of the gifte of the late Prynce of 
famous memory, Kinge Henrye the eight, to celebrate in the castle 
there ' ; there were no lands belonging to these chantries, but the in- 
cumbents yearly received their allowances from the King's receiver- 
general at Cockermouth. In Edenhall there was a chantry for the 
maintenance of the mass of the Blessed Mary in the parish church ; 
in Great Salkeld, a stipendiary curacy for the celebration of one mass in 
the parish church, ' off the foundacon of John Worsoppe ' with an 
annual revenue of 40-1-. ; and in Mosser, a chantry of Our Lady founded 
to find a priest to celebrate there for ever, but ' one Thomas Sawkeld 
Esquier receyvethe the yerlie profittes therof, by what tytle it is un- 
knowne, and gyvethe the priest 4/. towardes his fyndinge.' The city of 
Carlisle had no fewer than six chantries, endowed with lands and tene- 
ments affording revenues of varying amounts from 1 $s. 4^. to 4 1 3J. 5^. 
In the cathedral were the chantries of St. Katherine, St. Roke, the Rood 
or St. Cross and Our Lady, the incumbents of which used to celebrate 
mass there ; dependent on the church of St. Cuthbert were the chantry 
of Our Lady l and the chantry of St. Alban. " In all whych colleges, 
chauntryes, frechappelles, guyldes, fraternytyes, stypendaryes, ther ys no 
precher founde, grammer scole taught, nor pore people relevyd, as yn 
ther severall certyfycates yt dothe appere.' The pensions awarded to 
the priests of the dissolved foundations were about as much or almost 
as much as the salaries they were in the habit of receiving as incum- 
bents. 2 For this reason the secular priests were more liberally treated 
than the monks, inasmuch as no rule seems to have been observed in the 
granting of pensions at the dissolution of the monasteries. The lands 
and endowments of these institutions were immediately leased or sold, 
the sale often reaching as many as twenty-four years' purchase. Some 
of the property was bought by local people, but much of it went to 
professional jobbers like one ' Thomas Brende of London scryvener.' 3 

As the sale of the chantry lands was insufficient to provide the 
King with money to meet his pressing debts, a new commission was 
sent out in 1552 instructing local committees to seize all the goods, 
plate, jewels, and ornaments of the parish churches and chapels, ' leving 
nevir the less in every parishe churche or chappell of common resorte 

1 This chantry, which had the small revenue of 15*. $d. a year, does not appear to have been dis- 
solved. It does not occur in the list of chantries in the King's hand, nor is the incumbent, Henry Blan- 
rasset, mentioned in the list of ejected priests to whom pensions were bestowed. It is odd that the 
chantry of St. Alban is ascribed both to St. Cuthbert's church and to the cathedral. In the survey made 
by the local commissioners it is placed under St. Cuthbert's ; in the King's list it is catalogued under the 

2 These pensions are recorded on the King's list of chantries (Augmentation Office, Chantry Certi- 
ficates, No. 12, Cumberland). 

3 The particulars of the endowments, the names and rents of the tenants, the conditions of sale, 
the names of the purchasers, and the amount of the purchase money are all set out in schedules in Mis- 
cellaneous Books, Nos. 67 and 68, at the Augmentation Office. The property of the Carlisle chantries 
lay chiefly within the city, from which it would appear that they had been founded by burghers. 



two or more challesses or cupps according to the multitude of the 
people every such churche or chappell and also such other ornaments 
as by their discretions shall seme requisite for the devyne servyce in 
every such place for the tyme.' When the work was finished a certifi- 
cate was delivered into court, entitled ' A just veue and perfyt inventorye 
of all the guds, plate, juells, bellis, vestiments, and other ornaments 
within every pariche churche, chapell, brotherheid, gyld, or fraternitie 
in the countie of Cumbreland, maide by Sir Thomas Dacre, Sir Richard 
Musgrave, knights, William Pykerynge, Thomas Salkeld, Robert 
Lamplughe, Anthony Barwis, esquiers, auctorisid by the Kyngs Majes- 
tie's commission heronto datid the vjth day of May in the sext yeir of 
his Majesties reign.' The commissioners returned the schedules of 
church goods according to wards, ranging the churches under the 
wards of Cumberland, Leith, Eskdale, Allerdale above Derwent and 
Allerdale below Derwent : the Leath ward entries have been divided 
into two sections. As might be expected in a scattered and poor 
diocese like Carlisle, the sacred instruments of divine service were 
neither numerous nor valuable. A chalice of silver, a couple of vest- 
ments and a bell or two were the only requisites of some of the churches, 
but most of them of average wealth and importance possessed two 
candlesticks of brass and a pair of censers. In larger churches like 
Carlisle cathedral and Greystoke college the ornaments presented a 
greater and richer variety. By subsequent mandates directions were 
given for the disposal of the spoils. Churches were entitled to retain 
one or two chalices ' to thintent the said churches and chappelles may 
be furnysshedd of convenyent and comely things mete for thadmynystra- 
cion of the holy Communyon ' ; a proper cover for the ' communyon 
table ' and a surplice or surplices for the minister or ministers, the resi- 
due of the linen ornaments and implements to be distributed freely 
among the poor of the parish ; but all copes, vestments, altar cloths 
and other ornaments, as well as all parcels or pieces of metal, ' except 
the metall of greatt bell, saunce bells in every of the said churches or 
chapells,' were ordered to be sold to the King's use. 1 Before the whole 
of the proceeds of the sale reached the royal coffers, Edward VI. died, 
and Mary, who succeeded, at once stopped the spoliation of the parish 
churches. On inquiry in 1556 it was found that much of the plunder, 
of which the plate alone weighed 265 ounces, was in the custody of 
the Lady Ann Musgrave, the widow of one of King Edward's commis- 
sioners for Cumberland. No doubt, as much of the plate as was re- 
covered and could be identified was returned to the parishes to which 
it belonged, but the vestments and other ornaments, which had been 
' prysed by the sworne men ' and sold, were lost or destroyed.* 

> The Rev. H. Whitehead, a most diligent and painstaking antiquary, has printed the instructions 
of the commissioners for Cumberland and the full text of the survey from the ' Exchequer Q. R. Church 
Goods 3*5 and -fa 6 Edward VI.' (Cumbld. and Westmorld. Arcbaeol. Soc. Trans, viii. 186-204). 

3 Mr. Whitehead has written a very interesting appendix on ' Queen Mary's commission of inquiry 
as to church goods ' in Old Church Plate in the Diocese of Carlisle (pp. 316-8) from the original documents 

ii 57 8 


If all the parishes of Cumberland felt the scourge when the valu- 
able portion of their church furniture was confiscated, several of them 
were notoriously wronged in the matter of religious ministrations after 
the dissolution of the chantries and endowed curacies. The district of 
Mosser, which had its own chapel and priest, was absorbed into the 
extensive parish of Brigham. The staff of clergy which served Grey- 
stoke and the outlying chapelries, comprising an area of nearly eighty 
square miles with a population of 3,000 communicants, was reduced from 
seven priests to three. Of the eight clergy who ministered in the 
associated parishes of Kirkoswald and Dacre only two were left. The 
two parishes of Carlisle, embracing large areas around the city, were 
stripped naked of religious services except what could be afforded by 
two minor canons of the cathedral. Three stipendiary curacies in 
Torpenhow and three in Wigton were abolished ; in fact every endow- 
ment for the maintenance of assistant clergy in the larger parishes of the 
county was gathered into the royal treasury. 1 

The religious changes during the reign of Edward do not appear to 
have troubled the consciences of the clergy of the diocese. At least 
there is not much evidence to show that they warmly favoured or 
violently opposed the new Prayer Book. The progressive party was 
fortunate in securing the compliance of Robert Aldridge, bishop of 
Carlisle, for though he was not in sympathy with many of the liturgical 
innovations 2 we may well believe that his scholarly abilities exerted a 
moderating influence on the extravagances of some of the reformers. 
There can be little doubt that the bishop reflected the general attitude 
of the clergy of Carlisle. In 1540 King Henry had ordered him home 
to his diocese ' there to remain for the feeding of the people both with 
his preaching and good hospitality,' * and if he continued to cultivate 
in mature age the charm of eloquence which in his earlier years had 
captivated Erasmus, 4 we may be sure that his advocacy of the Reforma- 
tion on the old lines must have produced an impression on the northern 
clergy. We have not met with any cases of deprivation for resistance 
to the Second Book, but there was one notable figure in the diocese, 
Lancelot Salkeld, the last prior and first dean of Carlisle, who was 
unable to accept the new ecclesiastical position. As soon as the 
religious policy of Edward's reign became manifest, he took the wise 
step of resigning his deanery. At Christmas 1548, Sir Thomas Smith . 
was appointed to succeed him with the obligation to pay the late dean ' 

in the Public Record Office. The Marian inquiries went back to the spoliation of the lead and bells of 
cathedrals and monasteries in the reign of Henry VIII. 

The Survey of the chantries (Augmentation Office, Chantry Certificate, No. II, Cumberland) 
should be compared with Bishop Best's report on the clerical staff of his diocese in 1563 (Harl. MS. 594, 
f . 9), in order to see how the number of the parochial clergy had been reduced in the intervening period. 

2 Strype, Memorials, ii. 466. 

3 Proceedings and Ordinances of the Privy Council (Rec. Com.), vii. 88. 

4 Erasmus was much attached to Aldridge when he was master of Eton. In his letters he used such 
terms as ' Mi Roberte in Christo charissime,' and spoke of him as the ' blandae eloquentiae juvenis ' 
(Erasmi Epistolae, edition 1642, xxi. 26, 55, xxiii. 8). The two friends visited together the shrine of Our 
Lady of Walsingham (Life and Letters of Erasmus, ed. Froude, p. 229). 



a pension of 40 a year. 1 But none of the prebendaries followed Dean 
Salkeld into retirement. The reaction under Queen Mary was attended 
with few inconveniences. In 1554 Dean Salkeld was restored to the 
deanery, though Sir Thomas Smith was very loth to yield it to him. 
' About May,' he said, ' I gave up quasi sponte the provostship of Eton 
and the deanery of Carlisle, and I had a pension from the queen of 
100 a year.' As Dean Smith had never visited his deanery, the return 
of Salkeld to his old home must have been welcome to his former col- 
leagues. With the exception of a couple of the clergy, 2 who were 
deprived because they were married men, we have met with no other 
cases of mishap during Mary's reign. The atrocity of the stake and the 
faggot, thanks perhaps to the enlightened instincts of Bishop Aldridge, 
had not gained an entry into the diocese of Carlisle. Owen Oglethorpe 
who succeeded in 1557 was not the style of prelate, if we may judge 
him by the part he took in the theological discussions of the late reign, 
who would willingly consent to the penalty of death as a punishment for 
doctrinal aberrations. 3 

The intentions of Queen Mary to restore to the church what had 
been confiscated by the legislation of the late reigns, that is from 20 
Henry VIII., are matters of general history. When she could not pre- 
vail on her subjects to relinquish the spoils of the religious houses, she 
determined to set them an example by making a full restitution of all 
the church property vested in the Crown. With the masterly firmness 
of Tudor resolve, the Queen informed the privy council that her con- 
science would not suffer her to retain it, but with all her heart, freely 
and willingly, she surrendered all the said lands and possessions that order 
and disposition might be taken of them to the honour of God and the 
wealth of her realm. 4 Parliament was prevailed upon to pass an Act 5 
for this purpose as far as the Crown was concerned. By it, under the 
direction of Cardinal Pole, all rectories, impropriations, tithes, glebe 
lands, and other ecclesiastical possessions, which had been perquisites of 
the Crown since the twentieth year of Henry VIII., were to be employed 

1 Archaeologia, xxxviii. 97-127. In this paper Mr. J. G. Nichols has collected many additional 
particulars about the life of Sir Thomas Smith. Writing to the Duchess of Somerset in 1550, Smith 
stated among other things that the revenue of ' the deanery of Carlisle, paieing 40 /'. pencion to him that 
resigned it to me, is 8o/.' (Harl. MS. 6989, f. 141). Nichols questions the truth of Strype's statement 
that Sir Thomas ' repaired to his deanery of Carlisle,' as the order of the Council, which he quoted, does 
not support the inference that Smith ever visited the church of which he was nominally dean. 

3 The names of these incumbents were Thomas Atkinson, rector of Ormside, and Percival Wharton, 
vicar of Bridekirk, but they were restored by the royal commissioners at the accession of Elizabeth (S.P. 
Dom. Elizabeth, x. ff. 147, 149). 

' Fuller, the historian, accounted for the absence of martyrs in Cumberland during Mary's reign 
by the facts that the people were ' nuzzled in ignorance and superstition,' and that those who favoured 
the Reformation were connived at by Owen Oglethorpe, the courteous bishop of Carlisle ' (Worthies of 
England, ed. S. Jefferson, p. 8). If we can believe Fox, Isabel Foster, wife of John Foster, cutler, of the 
parish of St. Bride's in Fleet Street, London, who was burnt on 27 January 1556, was a Cumberland 
woman ' This foresaid Isabel was born in Greystock, in the diocese of Carlisle ' (Ac ts and Monuments, 
Ch. Hist, of England, vii. 748). 

* Fox, Acts and Monuments, Ch. Hist, of England, vii. 34. 

B 2 & 3 Philip and Mary, cap. 4. This Act was repealed by I Elizabeth, cap. 4, as that queen had 
intentions somewhat different from those of her deceased sister. 



in the augmentation of small livings, the maintenance of preachers, and 
the provision of exhibitions at the Universities for poor scholars. The 
cardinal lost no time in carrying out the intention of the statute and 
relieving the conscience of his royal mistress. The royal warrant, which 
restored these ecclesiastical possessions to Bishop Oglethorpe, is still pre- 
served in the diocesan registry of Carlisle/ As the document is dated 
14 November 1558, its provisions were never carried into effect. The 
Queen and Pole were dead and the Act was repealed not many months 
after the arrival of the warrant at the registry of Carlisle. But the 
Queen has left at least one memorial of her benevolent intentions which 
is still exercised in the diocese. It was by her gift that the bishops of 
Carlisle had obtained the right of advowson and collation to the four 
prebendal stalls in the cathedral, 2 a privilege which experience has proved 
to be of great moment in diocesan administration. 

The legislative changes for the settlement of the church introduced 
into the first parliament of Elizabeth were vigorously opposed by Bishop 
Oglethorpe of Carlisle, one of the most moderate and enlightened 
prelates on the episcopal bench at that time. Though he was the only 
bishop in England who could be induced to act at the Queen's corona- 
tion, 3 his papal sympathies were robust enough to enable him to join in 
the general resistance of the episcopate to the new departure in ecclesias- 
tical reform. For some reason not specified, he was obliged to enter 
into recognizance with certain other bishops to appear daily before the 
lords of the Council, and not to depart from London without licence. 
In addition he had to pay a fine of 250 f r ' contempt of late com- 
mitted against the Queen's Majesty's Order.' It is a curious circum- 
stance, showing the bishop's hostility to the proposed changes, that day 
by day as he appeared before ' Lord Great Seal ' in obedience to the 
conditions of his recognizance, he had been most assiduous in his attend- 
ance in the House of Lords, opposing the passage of the two great 
measures, the Supremacy and Uniformity Bills, then before the House.* 
When these measures became law, the bishop of Carlisle refused to take 

> The warrant is endorsed ' A graunte to Bishop Oglethorpe and his successors in the See of Carlisle 
of certain benefices and advowsons by King Phillip and Queene Mary, viz. : Bampton, Crosby, Millom, 
Irton, Dereham, Kirkoswald, etc., in Cumberland by Letters Patent ; date 5 & 6 Phil, and Mary,' a copy 
of which has been entered on the Patent Roll of that year. The cord, composed of mixed strands of 
green and white silk, still hangs from the vellum sheet,but the seal which it once carried is completely 
gone. The document has been printed by the present writer in Trans. Cumbld. and Westmorld. Archaeol. 
Sac., xv. 21-6. 

2 Pat. 4 & 5 Philip and Mary ; Tanner, Notitia Monastica (ed. J. Tanner, 1744), p. 75. 

3 The coronation of the Queen was solemnized with all the ceremonies of the ancient ritual. Bishop 
Oglethorpe had the use of Bonner's vestments for the occasion. A letter was sent by the Privy Council 
(Acts [New Series], vii. 42) ' to the Bishop of London to lende to the Busshopp of Carlisle, who is ap- 
poynted to execute the solempnitye of the Quenes Majesties Coronacion, universum apparatum pontificium 
quo uti solent Episcopi in hujusmodi magnificis illustrissimorum regum inaugurationibus.' The Queen con- 
tinued to hold Bishop Oglethorpe in kindly remembrance, for she told Bishop Robinson, when he did 
fealty for Carlisle in 1598, that she was resolved to furnish that see with a worthy man for his sake who 
first set the crown on her head (Fuller, Worthies of England, edition 1684, p. 135). 

* Compare Acts of P. C., vii. 79, 80, 81, etc., with D'Ewes, Journ. of the House of Lords, pp. 19, 21, 
23, 26-7, etc. The events of this period have been narrated in chronological order by Rev. Henry Gee 
(Elizabethan Clergy and the Settlement of Religion, 1558-1564). 



the Oath of Supremacy, and was deprived on 21 June 1559. But he 
did not long survive the final overthrow of the papal jurisdiction, for he 
died on the last day of that year and was buried in the church of St. 
Dunstan in the West. 

When steps were taken to put into operation the Acts of Supremacy 
and Uniformity as the legislative basis for the settlement of religion, the 
diocese of Carlisle was bereft of the guidance of its bishop. 1 On the 
very day that the Prayer Book was to come into use, 24 June, three 
days after Bishop Oglethorpe's deprivation, letters patent were issued for 
the royal visitation of the northern province by virtue of the powers 
vested in the Crown by the Act of Supremacy. 3 The Queen held the 
English clergy in the hollow of her hand. But it was thought advisable, 
after the resistance of the episcopate, to proceed prudently and to treat 
the consciences of the general body of the clergy with as much leniency 
as possible. The chief duty of the visitors was to enforce the settle- 
ment of religion as it was set out in the Prayer Book of 1559. It was 
the acknowledgment of the suscepta religio that played the most prominent 
part in the visitation of the diocese of Carlisle. Coming so soon after 
the Marian reaction, when the reforming movement suffered a temporary 
check, the liturgical changes made so many of the clergy to wince that 
no one could forecast what would be the result of the visitation. But 
the unrivalled diplomacy of Cecil in dropping for the present the Oath 
of Supremacy and fastening attention on the Prayer Book probably 
averted an ecclesiastical revolt. 

The commission which exercised the powers of visitation in the 
diocese of Carlisle consisted of only three members, Edwin Sandes, S.T.P., 
Henry Harvey, LL.D., and George Browne, esquire. The first act was 
to visit the cathedral, and for this purpose the whole capitular body was 
summoned to the chapter house on Tuesday, 3 October 1559. Prayers 
having been said and the word of God having been sincerely preached 
to the people by master Edwin Sandes, the aforenamed visitors, as it is 
related in the record, 3 sat judicially, and solemnly exercised the royal 

1 We have good authority for assuming that Archdeacon Neville was in favour of the liturgical 
changes then in progress. Soon after the Queen's accession, the following letter was addressed to Cecil 
by the Earl of Westmorland on the archdeacon's behalf : ' After my vearye hartie comendacons, wheras 
George Nevell, doctor in devinitie, archedeacon of Carlell, is desirous to be one of the Quenes Ma ts 
chaplins ordenarye to attende one quarter in the yere, thiese are to assure you that notwithstandinge he 
is of my howsse and kindred, yet if I did not knowe the man to be of honeste conversacon and therwith 
so well inclined and disposed to set fourthe, in his Cures and ells wheare, all suche good and vertuous 
doctrine as by the quene her highnes aucthoritie shalbe from time to time set fourthe, so as the procurers 
of his preferment shall susteine no lack therby, I wolde not voughtsafe this comendacon of him. But 
consideringe and trusting his service maye be acceptable to that respect, I am bold to desire you to further 
his sute, wherin yow shall binde me, besides hartie thankes to doo yow the like plesure. And thus fare 
you well.' .Frome London this xviith daye of December, 1558, by youre asseuryd ffrend, H. Westmir- 
land ' (S.P. Dom. Eliz. vol. i. No. 36). 

2 Ibid. iv. 33. 

3 The record of the Northern Visitation, embodied in a book of 400 pages, is a document of great 
importance. It is officially known at the Public Record Office as S.P. Dom. Eliz. vol. x. It opens with 
the commission to the visitors, and contains an account of the visitation of the four dioceses of the nor- 
thern province (ff. 1-108). Then follow the ' acta et processus habiti et facti coram commissariis in 
causis beneficiatorum et restitutionis beneficii, etc.' (ff. 121-205). Further on in the book we get a sum- 
mary of the Detectiones et Comperta and schedules of the absentees from the visitation. As the various 



visitation. The venerable dean, Lancelot Salkeld, the last prior of the 
old foundation, who had passed through all the vicissitudes of this 
eventful period, appeared personally and subscribed isoluntarie et bono 
animo to the articles of the received religion (suscepte religionis). Then 
the commissioners charged him on oath to make a return to the articles 
of inquiry on the morrow at noon. The four prebendaries also volun- 
tarily and willingly subscribed. Seven out of the eight minor canons 
appeared and did likewise. The other minor canon was detained in the 
country by reason of bad health. The commissioners found little to 
complain of in the internal affairs of the capitular body. The only 
presentations recorded among the detectiones et comperta of the visitation 
were 'that the Dean, Edward Mytchell and Richard Brandlynge, preb- 
endaries ther, have not byn resident as often as they oughte, nether 
have theye kepte their quarter sermones accordyng to the statutes. Item, 
Hugh Sewell, prebendary ther, hath not byn so often resydent as he 
oughte. Item, Barnabye Kyrkebride hath not byn resident nether kepte 
his quarter sermones as he oughte to have don.' The success of the 
visitors in reconciling the dean and chapter to the Prayer Book was a 
good omen for the rest of the diocese. On the following day, 4 October, 
the visitors sat in the choir of the cathedral to which the clergy and 
people of the deaneries of Carlisle and Allerdale were summoned. All 
the clergy who did not appear were pronounced contumacious. The 
visitation was continued on Friday in the parish church of Penrith, for 
the deaneries of Cumberland and Westmorland. During this session 
the commissioners ordered the fruits, tithes and other emoluments of 
the rectory of Marton (Longmarton) which William Burye, clerk, then 
possessed, to be sequestrated, and committed the power of sequestration 
to John Dudeley, gentleman. 1 Nearly a third of the parish clergy 
of the diocese absented themselves from the visitation, and were pro- 
nounced contumacious. 

By one of the provisions of the letters patent directing the visita- 
tion, the commissioners were authorized to restore incumbents who were 
unlawfully deprived during the late reign. Only two cases of restitution 
to benefices were made by the visitors in the diocese of Carlisle. In the 
case of the benefice of Ormside (Ormysyde), moved by Thomas Atkynson, 
rector, against Percival Yates, the commissioners at their session in 
Penrith on 6 October 1559, adjudged the benefice to Atkinson, and 
decreed that Yates should be removed from the same. But Atkinson 
did not enjoy his recovered rectory long, for we read soon after that the 
church of ' Ormysshed' had been vacant for a whole year by the resigna- 

sub-sections of this record have been used for the account of the royal visitation of the diocese of Carlisle, 
it has not been thought necessary to indicate the folio for each statement. The arrangement of the 
manuscript makes it easy to consult. Strype made use of this book, for he says : ' This commission I saw 
in the Queen's Paper House bound up in a volume in folio, containing all the inquisitions and matters 
done and found in this large Northern visitation ' (Annals, ed. 1709, i. 167). 

1 Bury was not deprived, for he died rector of Longmarton ; and was succeeded by Mr. George 
Bury, M.A., on 17 April 1562, on the presentation of Henry, Earl of Cumberland (Carl. Epis. Reg., 
Best, MS. f. 5). 



tion of the last incumbent. 1 Marriage was the cause of the deprivation 
in the other case. The motion was made by Percival Wharton, the 
former vicar of Bridekirk, against William Graye, the vicar in possession. 
Both parties appeared before the visitors in the parish church of Kendal 
on 10 October. Graye stated 'that the sayde Percyvall Wharton was 
instituted and inducted in the sayd benefice and beynge in possession 
was depryved for that he was maryed and as to the statutes he doth refer 
himself to the same.' The benefice was adjudged to Wharton, who 
enjoyed it till 1563, when he became vicar of Kirkbystephen. 2 The 
detections or comperta presented against the laity were neither specially 
characteristic of the time nor of a very serious nature. The church- 
wardens and parishioners of Morland, Great Salkeld, Shap, and Skelton 
presented that they had no register book ; the church of Great Salkeld 
was in decay ; the parishioners of Warcop lacked a Paraphrase, though 
they had a box for the poor ; the churches of Skelton and Kirkandrews 
had no curates ; presentations for breaches of morality were made only 
by the churchwardens of Cliburn and Newbiggin. When we remember 
that these detections were made in answer to the Articles of Inquiry, the 
churchwardens having first touched the most holy Gospels of God, it 
cannot be said that the diocese of Carlisle was in an unsound condition. 
The notable feature of the visitation was the alacrity with which the 
main body of the clergy subscribed to the Prayer Book, for though the 
number of absentees swells to a formidable list, the figures are deceptive, 
as several of the incumbents were pluralists or non-resident and subscribed 
in other places. 3 At a later date we shall be able to estimate the value 
of this conformity to the majority of the clergy and how much of it 
was due to fear. 

The conformity of Dean Salkeld was a great blow to a distinguished 
personage who was anxiously expecting to obtain his place. For more 
than two centuries it has been maintained that the dean of Carlisle was 
deprived by the visitors of 1559, but we have already shown that no 
fault was found in him at that time. As the error has been so often 
repeated * it may be convenient if we state the efforts that were un- 
successfully made to bring about his ejectment. The following letter 

1 ' Item quod ecclesia de Ormysshed in comitatu Westmorland, Carliolensis Dioceseos, vacat 
in presenti et vacavit per annum integrum per resignacionem ultimi incumbentis ' (Exch. Cert. Bishops' 
Inst. Carl., No. i). On 20 July 1565 Richard Towlson was collated to the rectory on the. death of 
Christopher Parker, the last incumbent (Carl. Epis. Reg., Best, f. 19). 

a Percival Wharton was appointed to the free chapel in the castle of Penrith in 1552 (Memo. R. 
Recorda, East., 5 Edw. VI. m. 33). He vacated the incumbency in 1554, when he had an exonera- 
tion of 23 exacted from him for the fruits of the said chapel (ibid. Mich., I and 2 Phil, and Mary, 
m. 194). 

3 For instance, George Nevell, rector of Bolton in Alderdale, was preconized at Carlisle, and, as he 
did not appear, was pronounced contumacious, but he must have appeared and subscribed at Penrith as 
rector of Great Salkeld, for his name does not find a place in the black list for the deanery of Cumberland 
in which his benefice was situated. 

* It seems that Hugh Todd was the first to start the theory of Dean Salkeld's ejection in 1559 for 
refusing the supremacy (Notitia Ecclesie, p. 8). To Todd may be traced the error in Le Neve (Fasti, 
ed. Hardy, iii. 246), and in all the local histories. It is worthy of note that early controversialists like 
Nicholas Sander, Bridgwater and Dodd did not claim Dean Salkeld as a papist, for his name does not 
appear on their lists. 



from Sir Thomas Smith, addressed to Cecil and dated 9 September 1560, 
throws a much needed light upon a very strange transaction. 

S r As I have bene ever so I praye yow let me be now bolde to treble yow in my 
small cawses. How be it I do not thinck this small. Ye know in Quene Maries tyme, 
as from diverse other whome they did not favor they toke away all spirituall livinge, so 
from me they toke the provostshippe of Eaton and the Deanery of Carleill. Eaton in dede 
I was content quasi nolens volens to resigne and did resigne. But the deanerie of Car- 
leill I never did resigne nor was therof deprived, and to saie the truth they never made 
matter of yt, but gave it streight to one S r Launcelot Salkeld. Now in this tyme 
emongs other I partlie at your advice put my peticon up before my Lord of Caunter- 
burie and other the Commissioners to be restored. Citacon was decrede and sent 
downe and not aunswerid, for the waye beinge so farre and those contrey men have all 
the shiftes in the worlde to avoide the lawe. Well, another was decreed and sent 
downe, enclosed within a Lettre directed from my Lords the Commissioners to the 
Maior of Carleill to se it servid. Yet wolde he not aunswer nor make a procter, but sent 
to me another excuse of sicknes, and that he wold either come or sende one to me to 
satisfie me out of hande. Now this Salkeld is dede, and I know nothinge dothe let 
whie I shold not enioie my Deanery of Carleill as frelie as ever I did. And therefore I 
am so bolde as to declare this unto yowe, that if eny labor be made to the Quenes Majes- 
tic for it, ye wold be so good as to show my right unto it, and to requier hir Highnes 
to be so gracious unto me as to let me enioie that w ch is myne owen, and w ch no man 
can take fro me by the lawe. Or if ye will be so good, though no labor be made, yet 
to shew this to hir Highnes lest it shold be graunted unwares, for if it shold be given 
to eny other (as I trust her highnes, being enformid of my right, will not) I must enter 
my sute against hym as an usurper, as I did against this Launcelote Salkelde, who, 
although he did enioie it all Quene Maries tyme, yet being now cited, neither wold nor 
could have aunswerid me. And after all kiend of delaies, now this Michaelmas I 
dowted not to have had hym deprivid and removid, one of the prebendaries there, 
a verie honest man, and whom the said Salkeld did sende unto me to entreate me to 
staie the sute against hym for a tyme, sent his man unto me with certaigne word of the 
said Salkeld's deth, w ch was on Tewisday the thirde of this moneth, willinge me to tak 
the Deanery uppon me and to declare the same with som open doeinge to the hole 
Chapitre. Which thinges I did miende to do, but not before I had made yow privie 
unto it and had furst your aide and advise. I praye yow let me be so bolde as to crave 
an aunswere of yow by this bearer my servaunt, if it be not to moche treble unto yow. 
I wold have waited uppon yow myself, but my rewme is now so sore uppon me that it 
puttith me in feare of an agew, but I trust with good guidaunce it shall rather be feare 
than daunger. Thus I committ yow to God From Theydon Mount in Essex the 
ixth of September, 1560. Yowres allwais to commaund, T. Smith. 1 

Amazement is scarcely the word to express our feelings at the 
audacious perversion of the truth which this pillar of the Reformation 
had made with regard to Dean Salkeld's connection with the capitular 
body. But a new anxiety was before him. There was another candi- 
date for the vacant deanery in the person of Hugh Sewell, one of the 
prebendaries. We must, however, allow Sir Thomas to tell his story to 
the end. There is another letter from him c to the right honorable S r 
WilP Cicill, knight, principall secretarie to the Quenes Majestic.' It 
is as follows : 

S r . When I cam fro the Cowrte havyng reposed my trust and confidence in yow 
after so gratious words of the quenes Majestic, I did so quiet myself that I thought 
this mater at an eand and me happy. Now I understand by my freend Michel that 
there is still a broile in it, and that there should be a commission derected out, w"* 

S.P. Dom. Eliz. xiii. 30. 


wherfore it should be I can not gesse. Yf for restitucon, I am in possession of the 
Deanery and so taken and reputed at Carliell as Deane, ffor there thei all know my 
right. And agayne for that mater it is all ridie before the Commissioners in the 
consistorie and two citacons were sent from my l(ord) of Cant(erbury) and the rest of 
the Commissioners to the lat usurper therof in his lief tyme t'apere and shew cawse 
whie he should not be avoided and I restorid, afore whom, if eny man have eny thyng 
against me, he may obiect it. Yf y e enquire of Sewell's habilitie, both my l(ord) of London 
and my l(ord) of Worcester and all the rest of the quenes Majesties visitors there 
knowes hym well enough, a man most unworthie not onely that but eny such rowme. 
And even in Quene Maries tyme when I had not myche favor as ye knowe, and mater was 
so right agaynst me, and partlie as the compleyning of Barnaby Kirkbride and hym, 
we were all callid before the cownscell. And when I was fownd innocent, there aperid 
such fowle matr agaynst them two for spoilyng of the churche and devidyng the goodes 
therof amonge them selves, and other wise misusyng of the revenues therof that the 
were comytted to the Flet. But what hath he to do with the Deanery now except 
to resigne it ? I still must crave of you, seyng I beg no new thyng, but to enioy myne 
owen, and desire nothyng so myche as quietnes to contynewe as ye have bene myn 
earnest freende and help that such one as he be not borne agaynst me to make contro- 
versie in my right where he hath none. For as I am contente with my pore livyng, 
so methynks in this world I should not feare that it should be demynisshed. Thus ones 
agayn and still beyng bolde to treble yow, I comyt yow to God. From Mounthall the 
xxiii of October, 1560. Y r allwais assuridlie, T. Smith. 1 

It is quite true that Sewell and Kirkbride appeared before the Council 
on 23 October 1555, in answer to summons, and the charges against 
them were committed on ro November following to Sir Edward 
Hastings, master of the horse, and Bourne, one of the secretaries, for 
examination, with power to send them to prison if they thought good 
till the matter was further investigated. 2 Though Bishop Sandes selected 
Sewell to preach at the Penrith session of the visitation in 1559, he can 
have had little respect for a man who was a zealous papist in Mary's 
reign and an ardent reformer as soon as Elizabeth came to the throne. 
Bishop Grindal, the other prelate to whom Sir Thomas Smith referred, 
informed Cecil three years afterwards that Sewell was ' discreditted by 
reason of his inconstancie.' 3 The importunity of the worthy knight at 
last prevailed, for Lancelot Salkeld died on 3 September 1560, and Sir 
Thomas Smith was installed in the deanery on the twentieth of the same 
month. 4 

The clergy of the diocese had a little breathing time to reflect on 
the ordeal through which they had just passed before they were again 
called upon to renew their allegiance to the religious settlement. Mean- 
while the see had to be supplied with a bishop. As yet Bishop Ogle- 
thorpe was the only clergyman of the diocese of Carlisle who suffered 
by the legislative changes made in the first parliament of the Queen. 
Though there was no legal impediment in the way of filling up the 
bishopric rendered vacant by the bishop's deprivation, no appointment 

i S.P. Dom. Eliz. xiv. 27. 

> Acts of the P. C. [new series], v. 1 88, 192. 

a Lansd. MS. (Burghley Papers, 1562-3), vi. 86. Hugh Sewell was appointed canon of the cathedral 
on 20 August 1547, on the death of William Florence (Rymer, Fcedera, xv. 190). The dean and chapter 
made him vicar of St. Lawrence, Appleby, in April 1559, and he was instituted to Caldbeck in Decem- 
ber 1560 (Exch. Cert. Bishops' Inst. Carl., No. i). 

4 Exch. Cert. Bishops' Inst. Carl., No. I. 

II 65 o 


had been made for over a year after his death. It was probably about 
the time of the northern visitation that Edwin Sandes was nominated to 
Carlisle, but he gave no reasons for declining it except a general reluct- 
ance to undertake the responsibilities of the episcopal office. 1 In urging 
Bernard Gilpin, the Apostle of the North, to accept the nomination 
early in the following year, Sandes reminded him that there was no man 
in that part of the kingdom fitter than himself to be of service to religion. 
He informed him also that by the Queen's favour he should have the 
bishopric just in the condition in which Dr. Oglethorpe left it ; nothing 
should be taken from it, as had been the case with some others. Gilpin 
is said to have replied that if any other bishopric but Carlisle had been 
offered to him, he might possibly have accepted it, but in that diocese 
he had so many friends and acquaintances, of whom he had not the best 
opinion, that he must either connive at many irregularities, or draw 
upon himself so much hatred, that he should be less able to do good 
there than any one else. 2 Ultimately, the see was filled by the conse- 
cration of John Best on 2 March 1561," a man who had been a select 
preacher for the northern visitors, and who had been instituted by them 
to the benefice of Romaldkirke, 4 in the diocese of Chester, void by the 
deprivation of Bishop Oglethorpe. There can be little doubt that 
Sandes was the instrument of his preferment. 

In a few months after the see was filled by the consecration of 
Bishop Best, steps were taken to bring those clergy to conformity who 
had refused subscription to the suscepta religio during the royal visitation 
of 1559. Early in 1561 the lord president of the north was ordered 
to inquire into certain secret conventicles of recusants which were 
reported to have been held in Cumberland and Westmorland and the 
other northern counties. In the following May a commission, consisting 
of the civil and ecclesiastical rulers of the northern province, was issued 

Zurich Letters (Parker Society) 1558-1579, No. xxxi. : Burnet, Coll. of Rec., iii. 382-3. In this 
letter, Sandes told Peter Martyr, on I April 1560, that he had returned to London fatigued in mind and 
body after his labours in the northern parts of England. The see of Worcester had been thrust upon him 
by the Queen, though he had wished to decline it, as he had done that of Carlisle, to which he had been 
nominated before. He relates his action in the northern visitation in taking down and burning ' all 
images of every kind.' Then he adds significantly : ' Only the popish vestments remain in our church, 
I mean the copes, which, however, we hope will not last very long.' This hope of the good bishop 
was never realized. The dean and chapter of Carlisle, replying to Bishop Rainbow's articles of 
visitation in 1666, stated that ' necessary utensils for the performance of Divine Service we have, and 
ornaments, as copes, etc., we intend shortly to have. But some of the Church utensils were imbezilled 
in the late times of usurpation, as the brazen Eagle, upon which y e chapters were read ' (Statutes of 
Carlisle Cathedral, ed. J. E. Prescott, p. 30). In an inventory dated I February, 1674, belonging 
to the same church, there are mentioned ' two wrought and embroidered copes ' which the dean and 
chapter still possess (ibid. p. 35). 

2 Memoirs of Bernard Gilpin, ed. C. S. Collingwood, pp. 122-5 5 '/* f Bernard Gilpin, ed. William 
Gilpin, pp. 58-60 ; Fuller, Church Hist., bk. ix. 63-4. 

3 Strype, Life of Parker, edition 1711, p. 67 ; Machyn's Diary, Camden Soc., p. 252. Sir John 
Hayward gives the surname of ' Beast ' to this bishop, the way in which ' Best ' was probably pronounced 
in the sixteenth century (Annals of Eliz., Camden Soc., p. 27). John Best had been deprived of his 
benefice in I555i an d afterwards went about privately from place to place in Lancashire and the adjoining 
counties preaching the Gospel to select companies assembled by assignation, and sometimes giving 
the Communion (Strype, Mem., ed. 1721, iii. 222, 471). 

* S.P. Dom. Elizabeth, vol. x. 



with the view of tendering the Oath of Supremacy to the clergy. 1 Bishop 
Best, who was a member of this commission, undertook the first visita- 
tion of his diocese, backed up by its protection and armed with its 
powers. It was during this visitation that the real trial of strength 
between the Old and New Learning was made in the diocese. The 
year 1561 marks a memorable period in the history of the reforming 
movement in which the church of Carlisle passed once and for all from 
the papal jurisdiction. From the bishop's own pen we have an account 
of the reception he met with from the clergy and laity of the diocese. 
After three sermons in the cathedral church, the common people, with 
much rejoicing, affirmed that they had been deceived. The same thing 
happened for the next two weeks throughout all his visitation; the 
gentlemen of the country received him in every place with much civility. 
He was unable to express his obligations to Lord Wharton and Lady 
Musgrave, his daughter, who had entertained him ' for ye Gospell's sake.' 
Lord Wharton was a worthy, wise man, and very well beloved in the 
country, in whose time, as the Bishop had heard, the country was never 
so well governed. But he had a very poor opinion of the clergy. 
'The preistes,' he reported to Cecil, 

are wicked ympes of Antichrist, and for ye moste parte very ignorante and 
stubburne, past measure false and sotle : onlie feare maketh them obedient. Onlie three 
absentid themselves in my visitacon, and fled because they wolde not subscribe, of ye 
which two belonge to my Lorde Dacres and one to ye Earle of Cumberland. Unto 
which I have assigned dayes undre danger of deprivation. Aboute xii or xiii churches 
in Gylsland, all undre my Lorde Dacre do not appeare, but bearyng themselves apon 
my Lorde refuse to come in, and at Stapilton and sondrye of ye other have yet masse 
openly, at whome my lorde and his officers wynke ; and althoughe they stande excom- 
munycate, I do no furdre medle with them untill I have some aide frome my lorde 
president, and ye consaile in ye northe, lest I myght trouble ye contrey withe those yt 
in maner are desperate, and yet I doubte not but by pollycie to make them obedient 
at my lorde Dacre commyng into ye contrey. 

The bishop perceived that Lord Dacre was 

something too myghtie in this contrey and as it were a prynce and ye lorde warden of ye 
West marches of Scotland and he are but too great frendes. 

It was the prevalent opinion in the district that the lord warden suffered 
the Scots to do harm in England with impunity and put off the days of 
march and justice on offenders for the purpose of drawing home Lord 
Dacre, who had been too long detained in London in the opinion of his 
friends. 3 As the bishop had been only four months consecrated when 
he commenced his visitation, he had little opportunity of making the 
personal acquaintance of his clergy or judging of their feelings and 
difficulties. At all events, it was determined to make an example of one 

1 In the commission it is stated that as certain ecclesiastical persons had absented themselves from 
the late visitation, the commissioners were appointed to administer the oath to all ecclesiastical persons 
in the northern province and to certify the reception and refusal thereof into Chancery. The text of 
the commission has been printed by Dr. Gee (The Elizabethan Clergy, pp. 172-3) from Pat. 3 Eliz. pt. 
10, m. 34d. 

2 S. P. Dom. Eliz. xviii. 21. This letter has also been calendared under Foreign Papers, Elizabeth, 
1561-2, No. 323. 

6 7 


of those ' wicked imps of Antichrist ' without further delay, and for this 
purpose the aid of the Council in the north was invoked. 

The bishop's success in bringing most of the recalcitrant clergy to 
a state of passive conformity must have exceeded his expectations. 
Much had taken place in the two years that elapsed since the royal 
visitation. There had been sufficient time to discuss the ecclesiastical 
changes and to make up their minds about their future attitude. It is 
noteworthy that only two of the clergy of the whole diocese, who had 
absented themselves from the bishop's visitation, pushed their resistance 
to the extreme limit and refused to acknowledge the legislative settle- 
ment of religion. These men were Hugh Hodgson, rector of Skelton, 
and Robert Thompson, rector of Beaumont, both churches being in 
the patronage and under the protection of Lord Dacre, who, as we 
have seen, was a resolute opponent of the reforming party. As 
Hodgson had been deprived of his provostship of Queen's College, 
Oxford, by the royal visitors in 1559, little compunction was felt in 
proceeding against him at once. Bishop Best had no power as yet to 
deprive for nonconformity, but as he was a member of the Northern 
Commission his duty was clear. Hodgson was arrested early in August 
at Kirkoswald, the house of Lord Dacre, 1 his patron, by the authority 
of the president and council of the north, and conveyed to York, where 
the oath was tendered to him, and by him peremptorily and obstinately 
refused. On 2 1 August the sentence of deprivation was pronounced, 2 and 
on 26 November Henry Dacre, bachelor of arts, was instituted to Skel- 
ton on the nomination of Lord Dacre, warden of the march. 3 The 
case of Thompson, rector of Beaumont, did not come on at that time. 
It was not, however, long delayed, for on 5 May 1562 Henry Hasel- 
head was instituted to the rectory, vacant by the deprivation of Robert 
Thompson, the last incumbent, who had obstinately refused to take the 
oath contained in the Act of Parliament. This nomination was also 
made by Lord Dacre. 4 There can be little doubt that these two recu- 
sants were influenced in their resistance by the shelter of the great name 
of Dacre, a nobleman who, in the words of Bishop Best, was ' some- 
thing too mighty in this country and as it were a prince.' These were 
the only victims of the Elizabethan settlement of religion in a diocese 
which contained at least 1 20 cures of souls, 5 including curates in quasi- 
sole charge. If we sum up the whole loss which the diocese sustained 
by the enforcement of the Act of Uniformity, we cannot count on 
more deprivations than those of the bishop and two parish priests. It 
cannot be said that the clergy as a body embraced the liturgical changes 
with alacrity, but none except those mentioned persisted in their refusal 
to work the new ecclesiastical system. 

> Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. (Rydal MSS.), xii. App. vii. 10. Dacre's influence may be gathered from 
the fact that the lord president wrote to him, after Hodgson's deprivation, that Richard Dudley might 
not forfeit his favour in consequence of his having arrested the priest in his lordship's house. 

Carl. Epis. Reg., Best, f. 3. 

3 Ibid. f. 4. Ibid. f. 5. 

Harl. MS. 594, f. 9. 



When Bishop Best had finished his first visitation and had come to 
an understanding with his clergy, his difficulties were not by any means 
surmounted. There was a deep underlying current of disaffection 
which caused him considerable anxiety for the ultimate triumph of the 
cause he had espoused. As far as the clergy of the diocese were con- 
cerned, the battle of uniformity was fought and won : the papal juris- 
diction was shattered : the supremacy of the Crown was treated with 
toleration : the book of Common Prayer was installed in the churches : 
the Injunctions were generally accepted and observed. But the clergy 
alone did not constitute the church ; the laity had still to be reconciled. 
If it were true, as the Bishop informed Cecil, that the common people 
heard him gladly, and that some of the gentry had entertained him for 
the Gospel's sake, yet there was a wide-spread opposition to the 
principles of the reformed religion among the great magnates of the 
two counties which forced him to proceed with the utmost caution. 
Six months after his visitation, on 14 January 15612, he opened his 
mind to Cecil again, and informed him by a secret message of the 
perilous position in which he stood. First, he said, there are here 
such rumours, tales and lies secretly blown abroad, partly by writings 
in French and partly by evil-disposed papists, secretly whispered in 
corners, that every day men look for a change and prepare for the same. 
The people desirous of it openly say and do what they wish concerning 
religion without check or punishment. The rulers and justices of the 
peace wink at all these things and look through their fingers. When 
the bishop pointed out these irregularities he only provoked private 
displeasure. Before the great men came into these parts, he could do 
more for Christ's Gospel in one day than he could do now in two 
months. He only wished to punish and deprive certain evil men, who 
would neither do their office according to the good laws of the realm, 
nor acknowledge the Queen's supremacy, nor obey him as ordinary. 
Such men as these were not only supported and tolerated, but also re- 
tained as counsellors and brought into open place, whereby those of 
evil religion were encouraged to be stubborn, and those who embraced 
the true doctrine were defaced and ignored. These men were kept in 
private households contrary to the orders of the archbishop of York, 
the lord president and the commissioners. The bishop dared not to say it 
was wrong, as he knew the danger thereof; but he assured Cecil that as 
long as this state of things lasted God's glorious Gospel could not take 
root there. If he were present to see the rule of Cumberland and 
Westmorland under the two heads thereof, 1 Lord Dacre and the Earl of 

1 Bishop Grindal, writing to Cecil on 21 January 1562-3, besought him to be good to the bishop 
of Carlisle. There were marvellous practices to deface him ' in my lawless country,' and by him to 
destroy the cause of religion. If the two noblemen of whom he complained were touched by the authority 
of the Privy Council, it would be a terror to the rest (Lansd. MS. vii. 57 ; Remains of Abp. Grindal, 
Parker Soc., pp. 267-8). Grindal always maintained a lively interest in the county of his birth, though 
he had not a very high opinion of its religious condition. In another letter to Cecil, dated 17 May 1563, 
he said that ' I have offte thowghte to make a generall sute to you for regarde for that litle Angle wher 
I was borne, called Cowplande, parcell off Cumberlande, the ignoranteste parte in Religion and moste 
oppressed off covetouse landlordes off anie one parte off this realme to my knowlege. I entende att my 

6 9 


Cumberland, it would cause him to weep. By the hand of a trusty 
friend he sent him a copy of certain articles in the French tongue 
which had been circulated in the diocese, causing much talk and great 
rejoicing among the papists, with such wishing and wager making about 
the alteration of religion, such rumours and tales of the Spaniards and 
French landing in Scotland and in the west marches of England for the 
reformation of the same, alienating the people's hearts which were 
quieted before. Little wonder that the people, after their experience of 
the rapid changes in religion under Edward VI. and Mary, were becom- 
ing bewildered, and were slow to accept the Elizabethan settlement ' for 
feare of a shrewid torne.' l Time only could give them confidence and 
wean them from their old ways. 

When we turn to Bishop Best's relations with the members of the 
capitular body of the diocese, we shall find that little help or encour- 
agement could be gained from that quarter. As a matter of fact 
this good prelate was obliged to fight the battle of the Reformation 
single-handed ; his greatest enemies were the men of his own house. 
Writing to Cecil on 15 April 1563, he complained that owing to the 
absence of Dr. Smith, the dean, the church of Carlisle was going to 
decay ; their woods were almost destroyed ; the leases of their farms 
were made to kinsmen for three or four score years, though the limit 
was twenty-one years by their statutes, 2 the canons themselves taking 
the profits ; where ten pounds were allowed yearly for repairs, nothing 
was done ; almost as little was done where thirty pounds were allotted 
for the poor and the mending of highways ; no residence was kept, no 
accounts ; the prebendaries turned everything to their own gain. The 
bishop was unable to bring about reform by his visitation, for they 
were confederate together, and the losses were their own. Three of the 

nexte cominge to you to discourse more largely off the state theroff which godde wyllynge shall be shortly. 
I have no more to saye for this matter, butt only to praye you yff yor graunte be nott fullye paste to 
take order bothe for the goode education off the Warde and nott to leave the poore tenantes subiecte to 
the expilation off these countrey gentlemen without some choyse ' (Lansd. MS. vi. 51). Twenty years 
after this date he founded the Grammar School of St. Bees in the ' litle Angle ' of Cumberland where 
he was born. 

1 S.P. Dom. Eliz. xxi. 13. The articles in French, which were circulated in the diocese and 
caused Bishop Best so much disquietness, were called ' Articles of the Religion,' scheduled under several 
heads (S.P. Foreign, Eliz. 1561-2, No. 771). 

1 The seventh statute contains the following restriction on leases : ' We will also that no lands shall 
be let on lease beyond twenty-one years, nor from time to time, as from three years to three years, or 
from seven years to seven years, or by way of renewal of any term after it shall have expired. Neverthe- 
less, we permit, that houses or buildings in cities and villages may be let on lease for a term of fifty years 
or at the most of sixty years ' (Stat. of the Cathedral Church of Carl., ed. J. E. Prescott, p. 34). These 
leases were afterwards the source of much trouble. From a statement by Attorney-General Gilbert 
Gerard, called the ' Case of the Colledge of Carlisle,' drawn up in 1568, we learn that most of the judges, 
but not all, thought that the leases were valid, though issued by the dean and chapter of Carlisle with 
a variation from the proper style and title. An authoritative decision in the courts was much needed 
(S.P. Dom. Addenda, Eliz., xiv. 31, 38). When 'Mr. Wolley, her Highnes' secretary for the Latyn 
tounge,' was appointed to the deanery of Carlisle in January 1577-8, he was instructed ' to understande 
the state of that churche, to th'ende that such thinges as were a misse might be reformed.' Certain of 
the same College remained in deep arrearages to the church ; the accounts should be looked into ; the 
tenants backward with their rents should be urged to pay [Acts of P. C. (new series), x. 131-2]. There 
are three interesting writs from Charles I. on the subject of leases made by the bishop and the dean and 
chapter of Carlisle in Carl. Epis. Reg. Potter, ff. 286-8. 



prebendaries were unlearned and the fourth unzealous. In a word, ' the 
Citie is decaid by theym, and Codes truth sclanderyled.' As a new 
warden of the western marches was about to be appointed, he recom- 
mended that some wise and grave men of experience should be joined 
with him in the commission, for it was hard to find a man that should 
not be quickly corrupted there and buy and sell poor men's goods and 
lives. The sheriff was vexing him so much about the affairs of the 
late Bishop Oglethorpe that his estates were of little value to him. 1 
Soon after this terrible indictment was delivered, Barnaby Kirkbride, 
one of the ' unlearned ' prebendaries, was gathered to his fathers, and a 
vacancy in the capitular body was created. The bishop did not spare 
' horseflesshe ' in order that his own nominee might be appointed. 
Gregory Scott was posted up to London with a letter to Bishop Grindal 
in furtherance of his candidature. In a letter to Cecil, begging the 
appointment of Scott, Bishop Grindal stated that the bishop of Carlisle 
had often complained to him of the want of preachers in his diocese, 
having no help at all from his cathedral church. Sir Thomas Smith, 
his dean, was occupied in the Queen's affairs, as he knew ; all his 
prebendaries (Sewell only excepted, who was discredited by reason of 
his inconstancy) were ' ignorante preistes or olde unlearned monkes.' 
One of the said unlearned prebendaries had lately departed, and the 
bishop of Carlisle was anxious to obtain the void prebend for Gregory 
Scott, ' beinge thatt countrie man borne, well learned and off goode 
zeale and synceritie,' as Bishop Grindal partly knew by his own ex- 
perience. The prebend was in value just 20 as he had been informed. 2 
It is satisfactory to know that Scott, with the help of such distinguished 
patrons, obtained the appointment and was installed on 2 May 1564, in 
the presence of Thomas Tukie, the official principal of Carlisle, and six 
of the minor canons, but none of the prebendaries assisted at the func- 
tion. 3 Bishop Best, being an advanced reformer of the Helvetian type, 
kept about him as private chaplains certain refugees, who had returned 
to England on the accession of Queen Elizabeth, and gradually slipped 
them into benefices or prebends as they became vacant by the death of 
the old priests. One of these, a Scotsman called John Mawbraye, 
Maybraye, or Makebray, a noted preacher at Frankfort in Queen 
Mary's days, was installed in the cathedral on 18 January 1565-6, 

1 Lansd. MS. vi. (Burghley Papers, 1562-3). 

2 Ibid. vi. 86. Bishop Grindal's letter is dated ' frome my howse att Fulham, 27 Decemb. 
1563,' and endorsed ' B. of London for Mr. Scott to be a prebendary of that church.' It has been printed 
by the Parker Society in the Remains of Abp. Grindal, pp. 285-6. Strype has explained that from the 
bishop's allusion to Sewell's inconstancy we may infer that he was ' a compiler under the late religion ' ; 
indeed Sewell changed his religion on every demise of the Crown. But the same writer misunderstood 
the reference to the departure of 'one of the said unlearned prebendaries,' as Kirkbride had died, and 
not ' fled abroad, perhaps to Louvain or some other place, as many of the papists now did ' (Strype, Life 
of Grindal, edition 1710, p. 85). 

3 Carl. Epis. Reg., Best, f. 14. Gregory Scott, the new prebendary, was a writer of verses and 
published ' A briefe Treatise agaynst certayne Errors of the Romish Church, etc. Very plainly, notably 
and pleasantly confuting the same by Scriptures and auncient writers. Compiled by Gregory Scot, 1570. 
Perused and licensed according to the Quene's Maiestie's Iniunction, 1574.' There can be no doubt 
about the strong Protestant flavour of the poet's sentiments. 



on the death of Edward Mitchell, one of the prebendaries. 1 As 
time went on, the dawn on the ecclesiastical horizon began to break 
before the bishop's eyes, and though he often complained of failing 
health and ' paynfull travails,' he lived to see a certain measure of suc- 
cess to crown his efforts. The poor opinion that Bishop Best enter- 
tained about the intellectual equipment and administrative ability of his 
prebendaries was not altogether justifiable. Charges so sweeping are 
seldom upheld. It is true that the state of the capitular body was bad 
enough, but we must not overlook the sentiments of Sir Thomas Smith, 
the dean, about the conduct of his diocesan and the effect of his inter- 
meddling in capitular affairs. In a letter to Cecil from Toulouse on 
10 February 1564-5, he complained of 'that busy Bishop of Carlisle' 
who had made such turmoil among the prebendaries of the church 
there, and pointed out that the bishop had more ' tongue ' than wisdom 
and goodwill. The dean did not wish to excuse the prebendaries, ' as 
they have done, so let them have ' ; but there was one Mitchell there, 
whom he had left as his vice-dean, who almost alone had held up that 
church by his worldly policy, so as to bring it out of debt. Every 
prebendary, the dean reminded Cecil, was catching for himself and 
his friends what he could in these days of religious changes. He 
knew the fashion of these countrymen well enough, that if the presence 
of Mitchell was withdrawn from the cathedral, the church would not 
stand long ; but what betwixt the bishop and the prebendaries, the 
dean was unable to get a penny out of them for a twelvemonth or 
more. 2 

The bishop had his diocese in some state of organization at this 
period so far as it could be expected from one in his difficult position. 
From a memorandum which he supplied to the Privy Council in July 
1563 in answer to certain articles of inquiry, we get a good idea of the 
condition and characteristics of the ecclesiastical area over which he 
ruled. In answer to the first article he replied that the diocese of 
Carlisle contained two shires, Cumberland and Westmorland ; but out 
of the former Coupland was exempted as being in the diocese of Chester, 
and out of the latter the barony of Kendal was exempted, being in the 
same diocese. By the second article the Council inquired ' into what 

i Among the refugees at Frankfort in 1554, Strype enumerates ' the Scotch preacher, John Make- 
bray, who was the first that preached the Gospel to the English there for about a year, and then went 
to another church in the Low Country (Mem., edition 1721, iii. 146-7). Makebray appears also in the 
list of exiles given by Whitehead in his Brief Survey of the Troubles begun at Frankfort, printed in 1575. 
In the same list we have the names of such north country men as Edmond Grindal and Edwin Sandes 
(Dodd, Church Hist., ed. Tierney, ii. 67). In July 1564 Lord Scrope, reporting to Cecil his conferences 
with the Scottish warden at Dumfries, stated that ' a chaplin of the Bishop of Carlisle, called Mawbraye, 
and two of the prebendaries of the same church, preached there several days to great audiences who liked 
their sermons and doctrine' (Foreign Papers, Elizabeth, 1564-5, No. 558). In the record of his collation 
to the prebend, to which he was inducted by Sewell, he is described as ' magister Johannes Maybraye, 
verbi Dei minister.' Mitchell, who preceded him, was ' in legibus bacchalarius ' (Carl. Epis. Reg., 
Best, f. 20). 

2 S.P. Foreign, Eliz., 1564-5, No. 980(7). Strype has much to say on the ' unreasonable leases 
in the church of Carlisle ' and the efforts that were made ' to redress the mischiefs the Popish spoilers 
of the church now reformed had done, as well out of malice as covetousness ' (Annals, ed. 1709, i. 510-1). 



maner of regimentes ' the diocese was divided ; whether the same be 
archdeaconries, deaneries or such like ; how many there were with their 
distinct names ; ' who occupieth the same roomes at this present and wher 
they are to your understanding ? ' The bishop answered that the dio- 
cese had but one archdeaconry, and that the archdeacon's name was 
Mr. George Nevell, who was not resident within the diocese, but lived 
at a place in Richmondshire called Well ; the diocese was divided into 
one deanery of the cathedral church and four rural deaneries, viz. 
Cumberland, Westmorland, Carlisle and Allerdale ; the dean of the 
cathedral, who was always absent by dispensation as he alleged, had 
under him four prebendaries of the same church, of whom none kept 
residence there, but lay upon their benefices abroad in the diocese. In 
reply to the third question he reported that as yet he knew not of any 
' exempte or peculiar places ' within the circuit of his diocese where he 
had not full jurisdiction as ordinary. The fourth and fifth articles were 
concerned with the number of churches within each archdeaconry, 
deanery or other regiment, which of these churches were parochial, 
how many of them had parsons, vicars or curates ; ' and wheras the 
parishes are so large as they have divers chappells of ease which have 
or ought to have curates or ministers in them, to certifie howe manye 
be of that sort in everie suche parishe, with the names of the townes or 
hamletts, where the same churches or chapells are so scituate,' and also 
to state how many households were within every parish or member of 
any parish that had such churches or chapels of ease. In the bishop's 
return of over one hundred parishes, there is no indication that any of 
the benefices were destitute of curates, or that there was any lack in the 
supply of clergy. Extensive parishes like Crosthwaite, Holmcultram 
and Kirkbystephen had the largest populations, exceeding those of the 
two Carlisle parishes, and such places as Kirkandrews-on-Eden, Grins- 
dale, Denton and RoclifFe were very sparsely populated. 1 

The attention of the second parliament of the Queen was turned 
to the enforcement of the Royal Supremacy among the clergy and laity 
alike. The chief provisions of the penal Act 2 of 1563 were concerned 
with the repression of papal sympathy and the acceptance of the oath 
of allegiance. Under this new legislation the justices of the peace were 
directed to search out defenders of papal authority and certify the pre- 
sentments into the Queen's Bench under penalty. Before the justices could 
be employed on this delicate business, it was necessary to have satis- 
factory assurances of their loyalty to the religious settlement and their 
capabilities to administer the Act. From Bishop Best's return of the 
justices, dated 18 November 1564, we get an insight into the condition 
of conformity among the educated portion of the laity of his diocese. 
As soon as the bishop had received the Council's letter he had a con- 
ference with such ' grave wyttye men, good in relligion as favourers of 
the policie of the realme nowe established,' but with men of contrary 

1 Harl. MS. 594, f. 9. Compare also ibid. 595, f. 85. 
2 5 Eliz. cap. i. 

n 73 10 


religion he durst have no conference. A great obstacle to the good 
success of the ' policies established ' was the perpetual continuance of 
the sheriffwick of Westmorland, by which means there was always 
some one in office who by no means favoured ' the true way.' Sus- 
picious people were allowed to pass through the country unapprehended, 
and some had ' in the wyld mountaynes preached in chappells.' The 
Queen's receivers and other officers of the lower sort, not being good in 
themselves, often discouraged such as dared not displease them. The 
tenants of noblemen in the two counties were afraid to declare them- 
selves in favour of ' that way ' for fear they should lose their farms. The 
justices of assize, though they made ' a good face of relligion in gevinge 
of the charge,' in all their talks and acts showed themselves not favour- 
able towards any man or cause of religion, which the people marked 
and talked much of. The bishop enclosed the names of all the justices 
of the peace of the two shires within his diocese, with notes of religion, 
learning and wisdom, both according to his own knowledge, and from 
what he could learn by conference with trustworthy men ; also the 
names of such as in religion were sincere and favourable to the settle- 
ment, ' most fytt men to be appoynted in place of some of the other.' 
The value of the bishop's opinions on the religious sympathies of the 
chief laymen of his diocese at this early period of Elizabethan uni- 
formity cannot be exaggerated in point of interest. Of the justices of 
the peace already in office he reported as follows : ' My Lord Dacre, 
butt especially my lady his wyfe, are to be reformed in relligion : Sir 
Thomas Dacre of Lannercost, knight, Gustos Rotulorum within the countie 
of Cumberland, to be admoneshed in relligion, and verie unfytt for that 
office ; Henrye Curwen of Workington, armiger, William Pennington 
of Muncaster, armiger, John Lampleugh of Lampleugh, armiger, 
Thomas Myddleton of Skyrwith, armiger, in relligion good and meat to 
contynue, and the said Myddleton lerned somethinge in the lawes; John 
Aglionby of Carlill, armiger, Richard Blannerhasset, deade, armiger, not 
staid in relligion, but to be admoneshedd, and within the lyberties of 
the Cetie of Carlill none other able but poore men ; Richard Salkeld of 
Corby or Rosgill, armiger, not good in relligion ; William Myddleton, 
gentleman, William Pyckringe, gentleman, in relligion evell and not 
meatt.' The bishop recommended the following to be appointed : 
' Henry lord Scroope, lord warden, Mr. George Scroope his brother ; 
George Lampleughe of Cockermouth, armiger, Henry Towsone of 
Brydekyrk, armiger, Thomas Layton of Dalemayne, armiger, Mr. 
Anthony Twhattes of Unerigg, clerk, 1 men of wysedome and good relli- 
gion, experyent and learned but not in the lawes ; Thomas Carleton of 
Carleton, gentleman, Andrewe Huddlestone, gentleman, in relligion good 
and wyttye men.' In the bishop of Chester's return for the parcel of 

1 Anthony Thwaites, S.T.P., was the only clerical justice recommended. He was an early sup- 
porter of the reforming policy of Bishop Beft, and was present at Rose Castle on 29 September 1561, 
when that bishop held his first ordination in the diocese. He was appointed to the vicarage of 
Aspatria in December 1565, a benefice in the bishop's patronage (Carl. Epis. Reg., Best, ff. 3, 20). 



Cumberland within his diocese he stated that William Pennington of 
Muncaster was favourable and Henry Curwen of Workington and John 
Lamplugh of Lamplugh were unfavourable to the established religion, 
but that so far as he knew there were no other persons in that district 
fit to be made justices. 1 It cannot be denied that the reformed doctrine 
had met with some acceptance among the educated laity of the north- 
western counties ; and though there is evidence of a strong opposition, 
active resistance was destined to decline as the new ideas made progress 
among the clergy, and men became more assured that the settlement of 
religion was permanent and irreversible. 

The uncertainty which prevailed about the permanence of the 
settlement had a serious effect on the supply of a good class of clergy in 
the northern diocese. Throughout the years of Bishop Best's episco- 
pate, when the strain of the Reformation was greatest, few men were 
admitted to holy orders by him for work in his own diocese. Two 
deacons and one priest make up the sum of his ordinations for the first 
eight years of his episcopate, 1561-8. The educational equipment of 
candidates for ordination during the episcopates of his successors, Bishops 
Barnes and May, appears deplorable in the extreme. The mention of 
a graduate in long lists of deacons and priests is of very rare occurrence. 
As a rule the clergy had little education except what they received at 
the village school. It was no uncommon thing for a candidate to be 
admitted to the diaconate on one day and to be instituted to a benefice 
on the day following. Early in the struggle for uniformity, when the 
want of clergy was most acute, the bishops constituted a new order of 
' Reader ' to tide over the dearth of the right sort of men. These 
readers were placed in parishes destitute of incumbents, and were obliged 
to live according to certain rules laid down by the bishops. The new 
order was not allowed to preach or interpret, but only to read what had 
been appointed by authority. The ministration of the sacraments and 
other public rites was forbidden, except the burial of the dead and the 
churching of women. To the constitution of this new departure in 
ecclesiastical order Bishop Best gave his adhesion. 2 The influence of 
such a staff of parochial clergy for the Christian edification of the mass 
of the people can be well imagined. From the pen of Bishop Henry 
Robinson, a native of the parish of St. Mary, Carlisle, successively 
Fellow and Provost of Queen's College, Oxford, we get an authoritative 
account of the moral condition of the diocese the year after his conse- 
cration to its oversight. Writing from Rose Castle on 26 December 

1 These letters are now at Hatfield in the possession of the Marquess of Salisbury, and have been 
calendared by the Hist. MSS. Com. (Hatfield House MSS., i. 306-312) as ' A Collection of Original Letters 
from the several Bishops, etc., to the Privy Council, with Returns of the Justices of the Peace and others, 
within their respective Dioceses,' 1564. Miss Mary Bateson has printed those letters in full for the Cam- 
den Society in the Camden Miscellany, vol. ix. 

" This is a very interesting document of date not earlier than 1561. It is called ' Injunctions to 
be confessed and subscribed by them that shalbe admytted Readers,' and bears the signatures of the two 
archbishops and nine bishops, including Bishop Grindal of London and Bishop Best of Carlisle (Add. MS. 
19,398, f. 59). Strype says that its provisions were enjoined in 1559 and confirmed by the Convocation 
of 1562 (Annals of the Reformation, ed. 1709, i. 306-7). 



1 599, the bishop told Cecil that the most part of the gentlemen of the 
country gave good tokens of soundness in religion, and the poorer sort 
were generally willing to hear, but withal they were pitifully ignorant 
of the foundations of Christianity, of the corrupt state of man, of the 
justice of God against sin, the grace of Christ and the resurrection of 
the dead. As they were without knowledge, so many of them were 
without all fear of God, adulterers, thieves, murderers. The chief 
spring of all this wofulness came principally of the weakness and care- 
lessness of the ministry. In divers places of the Borders, the bishop 
continued, the churches had walls without covering, and they had none 
to celebrate divine service, save only certain beggarly runners, who came 
out of Scotland, neither could men of worth be induced to live there, 
because their maintenance was withholden and their lives were in con- 
tinual danger. In the more peaceable parts of the diocese there were 
some clergymen of very commendable parts both for knowledge and 
conscience, but their number was very small. Others there were that 
might do much good if they had half that delight in discharging their 
function which they had in idleness, vain pleasures and worldly cares. 
The far greatest number is utterly unlearned, unable to read English 
truly and distinctly. One great occasion thereof was the great facility 
of his predecessor in committing the charge of souls to such as were 
presented by those who cared not how silly the clerk was, so long as 
they themselves enjoyed the fat of the living. But that was not all, for 
there were divers churches appropriated and served only with stipendiary 
curates, divers chapels of ease served at the charges of poor people, be- 
cause the parish churches were too far from them. These places must 
be wholly unserved, and so let the people grow from ignorance to 
brutishness, or else such must be tolerated as will be entertained for five 
marks or four pounds ; the greatest annual stipend that any of the clergy 
had was twenty nobles towards all charges. It was a heavy but too 
true description of these poor churches, for redress whereof the bishop 
submitted himself and his service to Cecil's direction. 1 This was not 
the peevish complaint of a partizan like Bishop Best when he called 
the Marian clergy of his diocese ' wicked imps of Antichrist,' but the 
sober judgment of an earnest prelate taking a dispassionate survey of his 
charge, and estimating the results of what forty years of the new 
church policy had wrought upon the manners and sentiments of the 

A new force was about to be introduced which was destined to 
upset the calculations of those who were working steadily for uni- 
formity throughout the church. The political action of the papacy in 
denouncing O^ueen Elizabeth marked a turning point in the history of 
conformity to the established doctrine and worship. A body of foreign 
theologians, sitting at Trent, declared unanimously that it was a grievous 
sin for Englishmen to attend the prayers and sermons of the English 
church, and the pope, acting on the decision, published his well-known 

S.P. Dom. Eliz. cclxxiii. 56. 
7 6 


bull excommunicating and deposing the Queen. On 15 May 1570 a 
copy of this document was found on the gates of the house of the 
Bishop of London, placed there by a man named Felton. It was the 
casting of the die. The pace of the reforming movement was quick- 
ened and developed into a struggle between England and Rome. We 
shall not stop to notice the precautions taken on the English side to 
protect the Queen and to safeguard the future of the established religion. 
But one cannot help expressing compassion for the men who were not 
altogether dissatisfied with the national policy, and yet unable to disso- 
ciate themselves from the fascination of the old worship. A new situa- 
tion was created. Civil allegiance was now declared to be incompatible 
with papal sympathies. Though Felton's act was known and discussed 
in Cumberland very soon after the excommunication was set up, and 
was producing disastrous results in places so near as Lancashire, Bishop 
Barnes of Carlisle could write on 27 October 1 570 that he was most 
hopeful of his work in his new diocese. Of a truth, he told Cecil, he 
never came to a place in the land where more attentive ear was given 
to the Word than in Carlisle, and that if he could receive the aid of 
the civil power, he could promise ' as faythfull, paynefull (and if God 
will) effectuall travell as ever poore Bisshoppe did performe within his 
cure.' For ten years he had acted as bishop in those north parts, and knew 
the disposition of the people right well, as he persuaded himself. To 
tell the truth he had found the commonalty of Cumberland and West- 
morland far more conformable and tractable in all matters of religion 
than ever he found in the better sort in Yorkshire. All will most 
quietly and reverently hear, ' none will reclayme nor feare by deede,' 
except the lowland men and certain gentlemen, but attentively and 
gladly seem to hear and yield to the truth. The bishop was sanguine 
of great and good success in this ' so rude a countrie,' and yet not by 
far so rude as the people of many places in the south, nor so far from 
God's religion as they had been thought. But the publication of the 
papal bull, though it had not the effect its authors expected, was a real 
danger, and unless precautions were taken in time, a papal reaction 
might set in which would prove disastrous to the commonwealth. As 
a preliminary, he enclosed ' a brefe note ' of the gentlemen of his dio- 
cese as they showed themselves, and as he found them, in order that 
the authorities might know how to act in the case of emergency. 1 

1 The bishop's ' brefe note ' is as follows : ' Comb'. Simon Musgrave, miles, licet evangelium 
profiteatur circa religionem tamen negligens, vanus, atheist,' etc. Henricus Curwen, miles, vir multum 
jurans, nee timens Deum nee religionem ullam curans : domi nescio quid monstri alit. Christoferus 
Dacre, armiger, pauperum insignis oppressor, ceterum in partes evangelii inclinare potius videtur quam 
papismi. Cuthbertus Musgrave de Crokedake, armiger, vanus, inconstans, supersticiosus, ac sanguin- 
arius papista. Johannes Dalston, armiger, vir vafri ingenii, tempori serviens, etqui maxime extinctum 
cuperet evangelium. . . . Lee, armiger, licet fautor avitas religionis, corrigibilis tamen ac mansuetus 
papista, ingenuzque naturae, virtutis ac justiciz amans. Anthonius Barwis, armiger, jurisperitus, 
evangelio inimicus capitalis in quo signa ir<e Dei apparent. Thomas Salkyld, armiger, jurisperitus, 
maximus hostis evangelii. Richardus Salkyld, armiger, (et) Thomas Hutton, armiger, veritati resist- 
unt, quamque qui maxime. Thomas Dcnton de Warnehill, armiger, papista, Lovaniensium fautor 
maximus. Johannes Briskoe, generosus, cordis obdurati veritatem odit. Cane pejus et ang. . . . 
Henricus Denton de Cardcwe, generosus, vir timens Deum ac fautor veritatis. Richardus Blaner- 


The publication of the bull deposing the Queen appears to have 
made little difference to the progress of conformity in the diocese of 
Carlisle, except that it was the means of redoubling the vigilance of the 
local authorities and urging them on to a more stringent application of 
the existing law. Bishop Barnes, on a closer acquaintance with the 
people of the two counties, took an optimistic view of the prospects of 
religion within his charge. Writing to Burghley on 19 October, 1571 
he thankfully recognized that God had reared up the church of his 
Christ, and mightily prospered His Gospel and the bishop's simple 
ministry ' in this angle and utmoste corner amongest these salvage 
people,' and he doubted not that in a short time his labours would 
yield great and good fruit to God and the Queen's Majesty. At this 
juncture the Bishop's opinions on the state of external conformity in his 
diocese are of considerable interest. He dared boldly to assure Burghley 
that at that day there was not one known gentleman or other within his 
little diocese that openly repined against religion, refused to communicate 
or come to church to hear divine service, or shunned sermons or openly 
spoke against the established religion or the ministers thereof. There 
was the insignificant exception of the Lowlands, consisting of the four 
parishes of Arthuret, Kirklinton, Bewcastle and Stapleton, amongst the 
people of which there was neither fear, faith, virtue nor knowledge of 
God, nor regard of any religion at all. Some indeed were not in all 
things satisfied or reclaimed, but they were in a good way and coming 
well forward. 1 

hassett, armiger, Maior Carleolensis, vir mitis, justiciae pacisque studens, licet papista. Johannes 
Eaglionbye, armiger, justiciarius Carleolensis, vanus, blasphemusque papista, nullum Dei habens tim- 
orem, raptor, pestis, perniciesque reipublicae. Johannes Blanerhassett, armiger, insignis adversarius 
veritati. Johannes Lamplewghe, armiger, insignis fautor evangelii, veritatis . . . professor pius. 
Georgius Lamplewghe, armiger, verus Israelita in quo non est fraus. Henricus Towson, generosus, 
amicus veritatis. Thomas Carleton, generosus, vir timens Deum, evangelic favens. Thomas Laiton, 
generosus, virpius, zelotes. WestnT : Richardus Lowther, armiger, veritatis adversarius insignis, azilum 
et propugnator pessimorum quorumcunque. Henricus Crakenthorpe, armiger, Blinkensoppe, armiger, 
Wyber, armiger, Lancastre, armiger, papists. Richardus Dudley, armiger, alter Jehu. Thomas War- 
coppe, armiger, aulicae religionis nee inimicus. Clibburne, gtnerosus, spirans minas maliciamque ad- 
versus veritatem. Humfridus Musgrave, armiger, amicum veritatis palam se profitetur. Lancelotus 
Pickringe, armiger, evangelic favet. Gilpyn, generosus, ex animo evangelium profitetur. Qui juxta 
regulam evangelii incedunt, pax super illos et misericordia et super Israelem Dei etc. Hisvero qui con- 
tentiosi sunt veritatem resistunt, ventura est gravi Dei indignacio etc.' (S.P. Dom. Eliz. Ixxiv. 22, i.) 

1 S.P. Dom. Eliz. Add. xx. 84. The savage state of society and the want of adequate religious 
instruction on both sides of the Border attracted the attention of the commissioners who met at Carlisle 
in 1596 to discuss the lamentable effects which the lawless and disobedient disposition of the most part 
of the inhabitants had wrought between the Marches. The first article agreed upon was ' that the 
princes be most humbly and earnestly entreated to cause God's ministers of the Word to be planted at 
every border church, to inform the lawless people of their duty, and to watch over their manners, and 
that the principal inhabitants of each parish shall put in surety to their prince for due reverence to be 
used towards their pastors in their offices, and the safety of their persons ; and that to this effect, order 
may be timely taken for reparation of the decayed churches within the bounds ' (Nicolson, Leges Alar- 
chiarum, 151). A presentation was made by a jury of Cumberland gentlemen at Carlisle on 30 April, 
1597, ' that the churche of Bewcastle, the churche of Stapleton, the church of Arthred, being within this 
Marche, have bene decayed by the space of threscore yeares and more, but we certanely knowe not the 
patrons of the sayd churches, neyther who ought to buyld the same. And the churche of Lanerdcost 
ys nowe also in decaye and haith so bene by the space of two or thre yeares last past, but by whome the 
same ought to be repaired we knowe not. And the churche of Kirklinton is also in decaye, and so haithe 
contynewed the space of twentie yeare, and that William Musgrave esquier, and Edward Musgrave his 
sonne, are patrons of the same ' (Border Papers [Scot. Rec. Pub.], ii. 311-2). 



Bishop Barnes was not backward in bringing gentle pressure upon 
those who were halting in their allegiance between England and Rome 
in order that the national movement might be accelerated in his diocese. 
With the High Commission at his back he was armed with coercive 
power sufficient to meet all his requirements. Archbishop Grindal's 
visitation of the northern province marked a new era in the history of 
conformity. His injunctions, drastic in substance and detail, 1 were 
fraught with consequences of great ecclesiastical interest. The bishop 
of Carlisle adapted them to the needs of his own diocese. The visitation 
of 1571 appears to have worked a change of considerable magnitude in 
the ritual of divine service. At the conclusion of his visitation Bishop 
Barnes issued a mandate to the eighteen men and churchwardens of 
Crosthwaite, with the authority of the Queen's Commission in the 
province of York, that the old accessories of the church service, with 
which the people had been familiar, but which Archbishop Grindal had 
stigmatized as ' relics and monuments of superstition and idolatry,' 
should be utterly defaced, broken and destroyed. The mandate was 
given at Rose Castle under the Bishop's seal on 31 October 1571, and 
ran in the names Richard, bishop of Carlisle, Henry, lord Scrope of 
Bolton, lord warden of the Western Marches, Symon Musgrave, knight, 
Richard Dudley, esq., Gregory Scott and Thomas Tookye, prebendaries 
of Carlisle, members of the High Commission. As portions of the 
document are of considerable interest in describing the ritual changes at 
this period, we do not hesitate to appropriate them. 

-' We command and decree,' so the mandate recites, ' that the said eighteen men 
and churchwardens doe buy and provide for the said church of Crosthwait and use 
of the parishioners before Christmas next two fayre large Communion Cups of silver 
with covers, one fyne diaper napkin for the Communion and Sacramental Bread, and 
two fayre potts or flaggons of tynne for the wyne, which they shall buy with such 
moneye as they shall receyve for the chalices, pixes, paxes, crosses, candlesticks, and 
other church goods which they have to sell, yf the some taken for the same will suffice 
to pay for the said cuppes, table napkin, pewter potts or flagons ; yf not, a levye or 
taxe to be cesste through the said parish for the provideing and buying of the premisses. 
And we furthermore enjoyne that the eighteen men and churchwardens do forthwith 
sell, alienate and put away to the most and greatest commoditye of the said church all 
and everye such popish reliques and monuments of superstition and idolatrye as pre- 
sently remaine in the said parish, of the church or parish goodes, converting the prices 
thereof receyved to the parish use wholly ; and, namely, two pixes of silver, one silver 
paxe, one cross of cloth of gold which was on a vestment, one copper crosse, two chalices 
of silver, two corporase cases, three hand-bells, the scon whereon the Paschall stood, 
one pair of censures, one shippe, one head of a paire of censures, xxix brasen or latyne 
candlesticks of six quarters longe, one holy waiter tankard of brasse, the canopies which 

i These injunctions will be found in full in the Remains of Abp. Grindal, Parker Soc., pp. 121-144, 
and in summary in Strype's Life of Ab-p. Grindal, edition 1710, pp. 167-170. There can be no doubt, 
as Strype says, that the Archbishop showed a great zeal for the discipline and good government of the 
church, but it is questionable whether all the ritual practices which he condemned could be described 
as ' old popish customs.' There is a strong presumption that both Grindal and Parker, the two arch- 
bishops, exceeded their powers as metropolitans in the wholesale destruction of church furniture made 
in the visitations of 1571. The same remark would apply to the visitation of Bishop Barnes, except in so 
far as he sheltered himself under the autocratic power of the High Commission. The correspondence 
between the archbishops on this subject may be read in Remains of Grindal, pp. 326-8, or in Strype's 
Grindal, pp. 165-6. 



hanged and that which was carryed over the Sacrament, two brasen or latyne chris- 
matories, the vaile cloth, the sepulcher clothes, the painted clothes with pictures of 
Peter and Paul and the Trinity ; and all other monuments of poperye, superstition, 
and idolatrye remaininge within the said parishe ; and this to be done effectuallye 
before the first daye of December next, and a perfect accompt of the parcels sold and 
moneye receyved for the same, to be delivered up unto the ordinarye under the subscrip- 
tion of the vicar of Crosthwait, three of the eighteen men, and the three churchwardens 
before the sixt daye of December next. We also enjoyne that the fower vestments, 
three tunicles, fyve chestables, and all other vestments belonging to the said parish 
church and to the chappells within the said parishe be presently defaced, cut in peces, 
and of them (yf they will serve thereunto) a covering for the pulpitt and quissions for 
the church made and provided : and likewise the albes and amysies sold, and faire 
lynnen clothes for the Communion Table, a covering of buckram frynged for the same, 
to be bought and provided before Christmas next ; and that for the chappels in the 
parish, decent Communion Cupps of silver or of tynne to be provided before Christmas 
next. We doe also decree and firmlye enjoyne that all and singular the parishioners of 
this parish of Crosthwait, being of years of discretion and sufficientlye instructed in 
the grounds and principles of the Christian faith (the examination and approbation 
whereof we leave and referre to the vicar) shall openlie communicate at least thrise in 
their parish church yearly, whereof Easter to be one tyme, and at such general Com- 
munions the deacons and ministers of chappels of the parish shall come and help and 
assist the vicar and curate at the ministration of the same. We also decree, ordain 
and straitlye enjoyne the said eighteen men and churchwardens that this year be, that 
they before Christmas next prepare, make, erect, and set up a decent perclose of wood 
wherein the morninge and eveninge prayer shall be read, to be placed without the Quear 
doore, the length whereof to be twelve foot and the breadth twelve, the height five 
foot, with seats and desks within the same, the paterne whereof we send you here withal ; 
and that they also see the said church furnished with all books convenient for the same 
before Christmas next, that is to say, with a Bible of the largest volume, one or two 
Communion books, fower Psalter books, the two tomes of Homilies, the Injunctions, the 
Defence of the Apology, the Paraphrasies in Englishe, or instead thereof Marlorate upon 
the Evangelists and Beacon's Postill and also four Psalter books in metree. We decree 
also, enjoyne and straitly charge and command that from hencefurth there be no divine 
service publiquely said in this parish church nor any of the chappels thereunto belonginge, 
nor any bells runge on any abrogate holidayes, nor any concourse of idle people to the 
church or chappel on such forbidden days, that is to wette, on the feasts or dayes of 
Allsowles or the evenning and night before, on St. Katharine, St. Nicholas, Thomas 
Becket, St. George, the Wednesdayes in Easter and Whitson weekes, the Conception, 
Assumption, and Nativity of our Ladye, St. Lawrence, Mary Magdalen, St. Anne or 
such like, which are forbidden to be kept holidaye by the lawes of this realme. And we 
straitly command that none hereafter use to pray upon anye beads, knots, portasses, 
papistical and superstitious Latyne Prymers or other like forbidden or ungodly bookes 
either publiquely or openlye, commandinge the vicar, curate and churchwardens 
diligently and circumspectly to inquire hereof from tyme to tyme and duely to present 
without favour all offenders against this injunction from tyme to tyme. We command 
also that from hencefourth there be no Communion celebrated at the burial of the dead 
nor for any dead nor any monethes mynds, anniversaryes, or such superstitions used. 

These injunctions were ' for ever to be observed within the parish of 
Crosthwait and chapels thereof under, the heaviest fines and penalties. 1 

1 Before issuing the above orders the commissioners had settled divers disputes in the parish of 
Crosthwaite and made certain awards about the mode of electing and admitting the eighteen men and 
churchwardens, the parish clerks' wages, and the school stock. The whole mandate was issued in dupli- 
cate, one copy to be kept in the parish chest of Crosthwaite and the other to be deposited among the 
records of the Commission. The original of the parish copy was brought to Bishop Nicolson by Mr. 
Clarke, curate of Crosthwaite, from the vicar, eighteen men and churchwardens, and was transcribed by 
him on 19 July, 1704. The bishop's transcript is now preserved in the Nicolson MSS. ii. 189-199, in 
the custody of the dean and chapter of Carlisle. 



After this visitation the sacred instruments of divine service were sold 
and put to profane uses. 1 

But the work of visitation was not given up wholly to destruction. 
At his cathedral church, which he visited on 26 October 1571, he took 
steps to institute a course of preaching throughout the year which in his 
opinion would contribute to the augmentation of Christian knowledge 
in that city. The visitation was held in the upper chamber (in solaria 
eminentlorf) of the chapter house between the hours of nine and eleven 
in the forenoon, where all the ministers of the church were preconized 
and appeared, with the exception of Sir Thomas Smith, the dean, who 
answered by proxy. After the delivery of the charge the Bishop pro- 
ceeded to unfold his scheme for the greater increase of the church of 
Christ under his pastoral care. Additional sermons were to be under- 
taken by the Bishop himself, the dean, archdeacon and prebendaries on 
stated* Sundays and holy days at different times of the year. 3 The 
adults and children of the city were to receive systematic instruction in 
the church catechism in the parochial churches of St. Mary and St. 
Cuthbert on days set apart for that purpose. The lecturer of the cathe- 
dral (sacre theologie pre lector) , who had his duties defined as catechist in 
the choir, was required to supply the place of any of the preachers who 
might be unavoidably absent when his turn came. All the ministers of 
the church, including the dean, greater canons, lesser canons, school- 
masters, choristers and bedesmen were counselled to receive the holy 
Eucharist (sacram sanctamque synaxini) at least eight times a year, viz., 
on the first Sunday of Advent, Christmas Day, the first Sunday of Lent, 
Easter Day, Pentecost, and on the fifth, twelfth, and nineteenth Sundays 
after Trinity. The Bishop enjoined the minor canons, who had been 
suspected of papism (suspe ctos papismo) , to repeat the Articles of Religion 
with an audible voice in St. Mary's church at the time of divine service 
after the Apostles' Creed, as well as in the presence of the congregations 
of the churches of which they were incumbents. That there might be 
no shirking of the duty, appointed days were declared for the purpose. 

As yet no trace of nonconformity has been found in the diocese of 
Carlisle. Within the womb of the church there was a struggle of 
extreme elements, but their time of birth had not yet arrived. The 
incumbents of Dacre, Melmerby and Crosby Ravensworth were deprived 
in 1572 for refusing subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, 

1 William Fleming of Rydal wrote to his cousin William Lowther of ' Sewborwens,' on 4 June 
1576, asking for the loan of plate, as he was expecting a great number of worshipful friends and strangers. 
A ' chalice ' was enumerated in the memorandum of receipt, and Fleming was so pleased with it that he 
asked for the ' patrone ' which belonged to it, in order to make a trencher (Hist. MSB. Com. [Rydal MSS.], 
Rep. xii. App. vii. n). It is little wonder that so few examples of medieval Communion vessels have 
survived to the present day. 

' The visitation took place in the presence of Barnard Aglionby, notary public and principal regis- 
trar of the diocese, who made a notarial record of the proceedings, a copy of which will be found in the 
Nicolson MSS. iii. 49-56, in the custody of the dean and chapter of Carlisle. 

3 Henry VIII. did not lay a heavy burden on the dean and canons in the matter of sermons. Each 
canon was obliged by statute to preach personally or by deputy every year four sermons at least to the 
people in the cathedral in the English tongue on certain specified Lord's days ; and the dean only three 
sermons a year (Stat. of the Cathedral Church of Carl., ed. J. E. Prescott, pp. 41-2). 

ii 81 ii 


and in the same year Percival Kirkbride was ejected from Asby probably 
for the same cause. There were two or three other cases of deprivation 
in 1575, but the record gives no clue of the influences that brought them 
about. 1 No attempts seem to have been made at this period to organize 
congregations or to carry on surreptitious ministrations from place to 
place either in the puritan or papal interest. The two priests who 
refused the oath of supremacy in 1561 and those others who were unable 
to accept the Articles of Religion dropped altogether out of view after 
deprivation. But taking the diocese as a whole, we do not find evidence 
of external nonconformity, or recusancy as it was then called, till the 
foreign-bred emissaries from Douay and other seminaries started their 
secret mission in the northern diocese. None of the old priests had any- 
thing to do with the movement. It was a new and alien institution, half 
religious and half political, glowing with enthusiasm and tainted with 
treason, bringing disastrous consequences to those who came under its 
spell. The conspicuous figure in the new crusade was John Bost, son of 
a Westmorland landowner, a man of undoubted ability and undaunted 
courage, a dexterous controversialist and a devoted papist. Born of an 
old family for many centuries settled at Penrith and Dufton, younger son 
of Nicholas Bost of Wellyng in the latter parish, educated at Queen's 
College, Oxford, of which society he was elected a Fellow in 1 572, he 
passed over to Douay in August 1580," and was ordained according to 
the Roman ritual and sent on the English mission in the following year. 
It was this remarkable man who first laid the foundation of noncon- 
formity in the diocese of Carlisle, and who may in truth be regarded 
as the father or originator of the Roman Catholic body in Cumberland 
and Westmorland. If it were possible to stir up a desire for the Roman 
obedience in the breasts of the people of the two counties or to fan into 
flame the dying embers of their papal sympathies, no more brilliant 
agent could have been selected, for his intellectual gifts and family con- 
nexions and knowledge of the district invested him with a prestige 
which the whole hierarchy of Carlisle was powerless to rival or put 

In 1581, the year in which the chief penal act against papism was 
passed, the real troubles of those who had papal sympathies may be said 
to have begun. By this statute (23 Elizabeth, c. i) it was made high 
treason to be reconciled to the Roman church, and seminarists saying, 

1 Carl. Epis. Reg. Barnes, MS. ff. 41-3. 

2 Douay Diaries, ed. T. F. Knox, i. 10, 28, 168, 173. Nicholas Boste, gentleman, of Wellyng in 
Dufton, made his will on 3 December, 1569, which was proved at Brougham [Browholme] on 13 February 
1560-70. He bequeathed his ' sowle to God Almyghte, trystyng in the mercye of Chryste and throwgh 
his Passyone yt yt shall be partyner wt. the holye company of Hevyne ' and his body to be buried in 
the parish church of Dufton. Bequests were made to Janet Boste his wife, Lancelot his son and heir, 
Elizabeth his daughter, Thomas Warcoppe his godson, Edward, Hugh, and Michael Boste his cousins, 
Oliver Middleton his right worshipful kinsman, and others of the Hutton and Threlkeld families. 
To the future seminarist, at that time an undergraduate at Oxford ; ' I wyll that my sone, John Boste, 
shall have fower merks of mony in the yere for thre yeres nyxt to come and yt to be payd by my executors 
owt of my guds and lands and he to clame no more of my guds for his barne part or other waye.' The 
testator was possessed of lands and houses, goods and chattels, both at Penrith and Dufton. The will 
is now lodged in the Probate Registry of Carlisle. 



and persons hearing mass were subjected to fine and imprisonment. 
Further penalties were laid upon those who neglected to attend the 
church service. The necessity for this oppressive legislation was ascribed 
to the efforts that were being made at that time to withdraw English 
subjects from their natural allegiance to the Queen. From this date the 
conflict between England and Rome became acute. The local authori- 
ties were on the alert for the presence of strangers ; domiciliary visits 
were made to the houses of persons suspected of harbouring seminarists ; 
the boundaries of the diocese of Carlisle were watched and notes taken 
of the personal appearance of suspicious characters who passed in or out ; 
the clergy and justices of the peace were obliged to inform the bishop 1 
or the lord warden of what was taking place in the country ; the eyes 
of Walsingham's spies looked into every corner of the two counties. 
Lord Scrope could report in February 1583-4, that privy search had 
been made in all suspected places for writings and letters touching 'the 
present state of religion.' Andrew Hilton, ' a wicked piller of papistrie,' 
was in the sheriffs close ward ; so was Lancelot Bost, brother of the 
notorious seminarist ; and Richard Kirkbride of Ellerton was also safe 
under good bond. A few days later, in answer to letters from the privy 
council, Lord Scrope and the Bishop of Carlisle stated that they had 
failed to apprehend Richard Cliburne and ' one Mouneforde a seminarie 
Scottes preist,' though diligent search had been made throughout the 
two counties by Humfrey Musgrave, Thomas Hamonde, chancellor of 
the diocese of Carlisle, Richard Dudley and Henry Leighe. Damning 
evidence against Hilton as the associate of Bost and a retailer of news 
from Scotland to foreign intriguers was transmitted ; Richard Kirkbride 
of Ellerton, brother-in-law of Cliburne, had been apprehended, but they 
had admitted him to bail as he was an honest conformable man, and 
although he was a brother of Percival Kirkbride, 'a verie notable papiste,' 
yet the said Richard was one of the jury that indicted his said brother 
for not coming to church. Lancelot Bost had also been taken into 
custody at his mother's house, and by the letters found there it appeared 
that he was the associate of his brother, the seminarist, who had recently 
paid him a visit, and of other seminarists like William Hart lately 
executed at York for high treason. 3 So far nonconformity had made but 
little progress in the diocese of Carlisle, its chief stronghold being in 
Westmorland among the kinsfolk of John Bost. 

From the letters and papers taken on the persons of Hilton and 
Lancelot Bost some knowledge is obtained of the tactics of the seminarists 
in their attempts to promote discontent against the established religion. 
Bost the priest was very shy of appearing often in his native district, but 
he had intermediaries through whom his books and writings were dis- 
tributed among the faithful. The chief scene of his labours was in 
Yorkshire, where he ' ridd with a cloth bag behinde him, apparelled in a 
cloake of rattes color, a white frise jerkin laide with blewe lace, and in a 
paire of buffe lether hose.' 3 For the thirteen years of his mission he 

1 S.P. Dom. Eliz. cclxxviii. 7. " S.P. Dom. Eliz. Add. xxviii. 57, 58. Ibid, xxviii. 58 (i). 



had never been out of England, except for five years in Scotland, when 
he sojourned at Edinburgh, Lord Seton's, Fernihurst, and other places, 
but the greater part of his life, since he first arrived at Hartlepool from 
abroad, was spent in the northern counties. 1 It must be acknowledged 
that the seminarists as a rule took high ground in their assaults on the 
church of England. Bost arrayed the whole force of his dialectic in 
proving that the established religion had none of the marks of a true 
church, inasmuch as it wanted antiquity, universality, and consent. His 
writings on the claims of the church of Rome to the sympathies of his 
brethren were full of earnest piety and eloquence. But the political 
position which he sought to defend was very curious in view of the 
papal bull which deposed the Queen as a heretic and usurper. He 
maintained that he loved the Queen and would take her part if the pope 
himself should send an army against her majesty, but if the pope by his 
Catholic authority deposed her as a heretic, then he could not err, nor 
could the church, and all Catholics were bound to obey the church. It 
was little wonder that Topcliffe told lord keeper Puckering that the 
seminarist was ' full of treason as ever wretche was.' a It may be men- 
tioned, however, that the burden of the arguments contained in the 
seized letters and papers belonging to the priests and their Cumbrian 
sympathizers was chiefly taken up with denunciations of the church of 
England and with praise of the church of Rome. The main thesis of 
the controversy was, as Andrew Hilton from his prison in Carlisle urged 
on his friend Lancelot Bost, that the Roman communion was the ark of 
God, outside of which there was no salvation. The propaganda went 
on and the local authorities bent their energies to catch the agents. In 
time of danger the fugitives were hidden in caves in the ground or 
secret places where it was impossible to find them. In the opinion of 
one of Cecil's spies, 3 expressed in October 1593, many were 'converted 
unto popery ' within the past two years, but especially among tenants in 
Westmorland. He was able to report the names of twenty-one ' preistes 
yt ar now in ye North ' and there were many more that he could not 
name. 4 But the North was getting too hot for the papal sympathizers, 
and many of them began to withdraw to the Low Countries and else- 

By proclamation in 1580 certain places in each diocese were 
specially appointed for the restraint of the principal recusants, as the 
ordinary prisons to which they were accustomed to be committed only 
rendered them more obstinate in their recusancy. 5 This new policy was 
no doubt recommended with the view of showing more leniency to those 

Lansd. MS. 75, f. 22. 

* S.P. Dom. Eliz. Add. xxviii.58. (viii.); S.P. Dom. Eliz. ccxlv. 124. 

3 Ibid, ccxlv. 131. 

4 The examination of Lancelot Bost, Andrew Hilton, and James Harrington, together with the 
documents found in their houses, may be seen in S.P. Dom. Eliz. Add. xxviii. 58, i. ii. iii. vi. vii. viii. 
59, i. ii. iii. The State Papers of 1583-4 contain much interesting matter about recusancy in the 
diocese of Carlisle. 

6 Peck, Desiderata Curiosa, iii. 11-12, 39-40; Egerton Papers, Camden Soc., pp. 83-6. 



who had conscientious scruples about conformity. At first the castle or 
citadel of Carlisle was utilized by the sheriff for this purpose, though as 
a matter of fact few were committed to his custody. After the attainder 
and condemnation of Philip Howard, earl of Arundel, in 1589, when 
his estates escheated to the Crown, 1 the castle of Greystoke was used for 
some years as the special place where the local recusants were lodged, and 
within the limits of the ample park of which they were confined. 
Francis Mountain was the keeper of the recusants of Greystoke, 2 at least 
from 1592 to 1594, the ordinary diet of the Fleet prison being allowed 
for their maintenance. But the arrangement did not last long, for the 
Lady Arundel regained possession of Greystoke in 1601, and afterwards 
became an occasional resident at the castle. 

It is worthy of notice that Lord Scrope, warden of the western 
marches, showed a greater zeal for bringing recusants to conformity than 
the bishop of Carlisle, his colleague in these matters. In a letter to 
Walsingham 3 on 8 February 1583-4, he pleaded for the issue of a com- 
mission to himself and Bishop May to call before them Francis Dacre 
and his wife and Thomas Denton of Warnell and his wife, who were 
' of late mytche drawne and persuaded from relegyon,' to examine them 
when they received the Communion during the past six months, and 
also to make a general call to all suspected persons and their wives 
within the diocese for a public Communion, in order that a good under- 
standing might be obtained how they stood affected to the church. But 
some time elapsed before his wishes were gratified. In January 1596-7, 
the bishop of Carlisle took action through his chancellor to find out 
from the churchwardens the names of the recusants in the various 
parishes of the diocese and the dates when they were last presented for 
recusancy. The return of Chancellor Dethick, endorsed ' recusants in 
Cumberland and Westmerland in the diocess of Carlisle, dated Januarie 
1596, but received May 1597,' is a document of the greatest interest in 
showing the extent of nonconformity at this period. It is as follows : 

'Jan. 1597. Presentment of recusants in the diocese of Carlisle. The present- 
ment by the churchwardens of the recusants within the dioces of Carlisle in Januarye 
1596. Cumberland, Crostwhait : Mr. Frauncis Radcliffe of Darwaine water, esquier, 
and Issabell his wife, with his tenn children and his servauntes, George Blenkinsopp, 
Francis Hetherington, Robert White and one Albanye, servingmen, Issabell Hutchinson, 
Grace Fetherston and one Myrable, with the base begotten daughter of S r George 
Radcliffe, knight, the Ladie Katherine Radcliffe (mother to ye said Mr. Frauncis Rad- 
cliffe), a verie old woman : xiii moneths. Seburham : Mrs. Anne Denton the wife of 
Thomas Denton esquier recusant : ii moneths. Wetherall : George Skelton gentle- 
man and Anne his wife, recusants : viii moneths. Warwick : Helene Warwick the 
wife of Thomas Warwick of Holme yate gentleman, recusant by her own confession : 
iiii years. Westmerland, Petterdale, a chappell of Barton : , Mrs. Fraunces Lancaster 
the wife of Mr. Lancelott Lancaster, gentleman, recusant : vi moneths. Aslcham : 
Mrs. Martha Sanfoorde the wife of Thomas Sanfoord esquier, and Fraunceis Teasdale 

The Lives of Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel, and Ann Dacres bis wife, ed. Duke of Norfolk, E.M., 
1857, pp. 89-95. 

' In the parish register there is a record of the baptism of the children ' of Mr. Francis 
Mountaine then being at that present Keeper of the recusants at Graistoke castle.' 

a S.P. Dom. Eliz. Add. xxviii. 59. 



sometimes his servant, recusant : vi moneths. Warcopp : Andrew Hilton, esquier, 

endyted long synce, Alice his wife, Wenefrede his daughter, and Mary ye wife of John 

his sonne, recusants : vi moneths. Dufton : Mrs. Frauncis Boaste the wife of Mr. 

Lancelot Boaste, recusant, vi moneths. St. Michael's in Appelbie : Margaret Machell 

the wife of Hugh Machell, gentleman, recusant : xii moneths. Crosby Ravenswoorth : 

Mr. Thomas Pickering, gentleman, relapsed, and Ann his wife daughter to ye Lady 

Radcliff, and John Warriner her servaunt, recusants ; iii moneths. Morlande : Jone 

Sawkell the wife of Oswold Sawkell, a very poore woman, recusant : vi moneths. Burgh 

under Stanemoore : the wife of Mr. Henry Blenkinsopp of Helbeck esquier, Joane her 

maide, and William Colling, servauntes, which are said to be gone, Mrs. Margerie 

Blenkinsopp his mother, an old woman, and her two daughters Maudlin and Joane, 

Frauncis Blenkinsopp her sonne and Charles Blenkinsop her coosin, recusants every 

one : vi moneths. The forenamed parties have bene yerelye presented for ye space of 

these five yeres at the least unto ye graunde juryes at the assises. Henry Dethick 

chancelor to the Lord B(ishop) of Calisle.' l 

It need scarcely be pointed out that only in four parishes in Cumberland 
and in eight parishes in Westmorland had the papal agents made any 
permanent impression. And yet the bishop of Carlisle, Dr. Henry 
Robinson, on his first acquaintance with the diocese, was not altogether 
satisfied with its condition in the matter of conformity. On 26 
December 1599 he stated that he found in his new charge more popish 
recusants than he anticipated, yet the number which belonged to that 
faction within his diocese was far less than within the barony of Kendal 
and the deanery of Coupland, both of which places were within the 
jurisdiction or Chester. Of those that had been long faulty in that way, 
eight or nine had within the past two months reformed themselves. Of 
the rest who persisted in their separation, the chief people by little and 
little went out of the country as the Lady Katherine Ratcliffe, Francis 
her son, Anne Denton the wife of Thomas Denton of Warnell, Henry 
Blenkinsopp of Helbeck, his mother, wife and children, Thomas Sand- 
ford of Askham, a non-communicant, and Martha his wife, a recusant, 
with all the rest of the recusants of their several families/ 

In this great effort to produce a reaction in favour of the papacy, 
the diocese of Carlisle contributed two heroic souls who sought and 
found martyrdom in the interests of the Roman church. We cannot 
withhold a word of admiration for the long and splendid services which 
John Bost rendered to the papal cause. For many years his fame rang 
through the northern counties as the most dangerous seminary priest in 
the country. Vain were the efforts of the lord president of the north to 
arrest him ; a whole army of spies was on his track, as the fugitive 
wandered in disguise from place to place, seldom stopping more than 
two or three nights in one house. When the time came for him to 
yield up his life in testimony to the strength of his religious convictions, 
it was by the treachery of friends that he was delivered into the hands 
of the civil authorities. Ewbanke had conference once with Bost, said 
Tobie Matthew, Dean of Durham, writing to Burghley, and was in some 
hope to have brought him into the lord president's hands, for in their 
youth they had been chamber-fellows in Queen's College, Oxford, and 

1 S.P. Dom. Eliz. cclxii. 22. > Ibid, cclxiiii. 56. 



were countrymen, and had been schoolfellows before in Westmorland. 
But as Bost grew jealous of his safety, they never met again till the priest 
was captured. When Bost was taken, Ewbanke was present by the 
Dean's special direction and behaved himself so considerately that with- 
out him and his man the fugitive could not have been secured at that 
time. 1 In his examination at Durham on 11 September 1593, by the 
lord president, the dean of Durham, and others of the Council of the 
North, Bost acknowledged that he was above fifty years of age ; born 
at Dufton in Westmorland ; left Oxford ' aboute thirteen yeres synce ' 
to go to the parts beyond the seas ; within a year and a half was made 
priest at Rheims by the Bishops of Laon and Soissons and returned 
again to England with twenty-eight other priests, including Ballard. 
After describing his wanderings he further confessed that for the past 
year he never left Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland, and during 
the past five years he was often in Yorkshire for a month at a time, and 
that it was very much against his will, when he was unable to say mass 
once every day. 2 During his imprisonment in the Tower he is said to 
have been ' often most cruelly racked insomuch that he was afterwards 
forced to go crooked upon a staff.' Of his trial and execution in July 
1594, on a charge of treason to his country, we have a graphic descrip- 
tion, if genuine, by an eye-witness, Christopher Robinson, a fellow- 
countryman and seminary priest of the same mission. The execution 
was carried out according to the barbaric methods of the sixteenth 
century, when the victim behaved with the greatest fortitude and 
devotion. In 1 597 Robinson himself, a native of Woodside near Wigton 
in Cumberland, who had been ordained in 1591 at Douay while the 
college sojourned at Rheims and sent to England in the following year, 
was executed at Carlisle on the same charge. The bishop of Carlisle is 
said to have held frequent conferences with him and to have showed him 
great kindness and consideration while he was in custody, but was unable 
to shake his papal convictions. 3 Few causes doomed to failure can 

1 S.P. Dom. Eliz. xxxij. 89 (latter part). For the academic career of Henry Ewbanke the reader 
may consult Clarke's Register, Oxford Hist. Soc., ii. 56, iii. 81, or Foster's Alumni Oxonienses. He is 
described on the matriculation register of Queen's College as a Londoner by birth, but as Dr. Magrath, 
the present provost of Queen's, has privately pointed out, ' it is probably a bedel's blunder, as he would 
not in that case have got a tabardship or a fellowship.' It will be seen from the dean of Durham's state- 
ment that Ewbanke was at school in Westmorland with John Bost, probably at Appleby Grammar School. 
He was afterwards a canon of Durham and had his pedigree and arms enrolled at St. George's visitation 
in 1615. 

* A certified copy of his confession will be found in Lansd. MS. 75, f. 22. The vera copia is signed 
by John Bost, and witnessed by ' H. Huntyngdon,' the lord president. The document is endorsed 
' 1593. The examination of John Boste, II Septembris, 1593.' 

3 Challoner, Memoirs of Missionary Priests (1878), i. 207-9, 2 39~4> " 3 II- 5 > Douay Diaries, \. 
15, 31, ii. 223, 232, 239. Bishop May, writing to Sir Robert Cecil on II July, 1597, said that ' Thomas 
Lancaster is the only man that I have trusted or can trust to discover such Jesuits and seminaries as do 
lurk within my diocese, to the corruption of many of her Majesty's subjects. He was the only man that 
gave me sure intelligence when and where I might apprehend, as I did, Christopher Robinson, our late 
condemned seminary, whose execution hath terrified a great sort of our obstinate recusants ; where, 
nevertheless, there be still harboured three or four more notable seminaries or Jesuits, who pass and 
repass within my diocese without controlment, such is the careless or partial dealing of some of our jus- 
tices. Among the said seminaries or Jesuits there is one Richard Dudley, termed by the aforesaid Robin- 
son and other his associates the angel of that profession. He is. the only heir of Edmund Dudley, esquire, 



number two such disciples. But the enthusiasm for Rome which flamed 
up brilliantly for a time in the diocese of Carlisle never laid hold of a 
considerable section of the community and was soon spent. 

The episcopate of Bishop Robinson was so remarkable for its success 
in bringing about conformity to the national religion that the words 
inscribed on the pastoral staff which forms a feature of his memorial 
brass in Carlisle cathedral Corrigenda, Sustentando, Vigilando, Dirigendo 
may be taken as descriptive of his ministry and not as a mere monu- 
mental euphemism. Immediately after his appointment to Carlisle, he 
petitioned for a special commission ' for the repressing of recusants,' but 
the archbishop of Canterbury thought the time inopportune until the 
renewal of the general commission for the province of York. In 1 600 
he petitioned again on the ground that some of the most disordered of 
his churches were superstitiously popish and others were impiously 
licentious, one husband having several wives then living and one wife 
several husbands. People of that sort took little notice of ecclesiastical 
censures, but he pleaded that if the principals felt the smart of civil 
justice, they would be humbled, at least it would prevent the canker 
spreading as it was then doing to the subversion of many.' At the same 
time he felt that the church of which he was bishop needed the most 
strenuous exertions in order to raise the clergy and people to a higher 
moral standard, the want of earnestness in the former and of Christian 
knowledge in the latter being a real trouble to him. a No pains were 
spared during the eighteen years of his episcopate to bring about the 
desired result. 

It was the tendency of the penal laws to produce outward con- 
formity only, without reference to the religious convictions of the 
individual. Papists were not agreed at this time on the expediency of 
attending the church services. Prominent men like Lord William 
Howard of Naworth, according to Panzani, were in favour of the oath 
of allegiance and occasional conformity.* It was his moderation perhaps 
which saved Lord William from the troubles of the general persecution. 
The agents of the government in the north were not slow to bring 
railing accusations against him on account of his papism, but James I. 
steadily refused to disturb him. 4 Soon after the King's accession com- 
plaints were made that Howard was maintaining one Skelton of 
Wetheral in his service, the said Skelton being a 'church papist' who 
came to church only at Easter and was said to have been a harbourer of 

whose grandfather, old Richard Dudley, being a good Protestant, did in his lifetime so detest his grand- 
child's obstinacy that he disinherited him of all his lands and conveyed them to his second brother. It 
is known to many of our gentlemen that the said angelical Jesuit or seminary is harboured in those parts, 
yet none of them will, though they see him, lay hands on him. Unless Lancaster can be induced by his 
persuasion and authorized to apprehend Dudley and his associates, now lurking in this country, they will 
never be taken ' (Cal. of Salisbury MSS. vii. 298). 

S.P. Dom. Eliz. cclxxv. 66. Ibid, cclxxiii. 56. 

Engl. Hist. Rev. xviii. 118. 

4 John Dudley, writing to his brother from London on 12 November, 1616, stated that the infor- 
mation Mr. Salkeld had exhibited against Lord William Howard for recusancy was withdrawn by the 
King's command (Hist. MSS. Com. Ref. [Rydal MSS.] xii. App. vii. 15). 



seminary priests and a traitor who fled into Tyrone's camp during the 
rebellion in Ireland. He was further accused of keeping a priest in his 
house and trying to revive recusancy throughout the district. 1 But no 
attention was paid to these reports by those in authority, and Lord 
William Howard continued to the end of his days a trusted servant of 
the government in the civilization of the Border counties. As a matter 
of fact the battle of national religion had been fought and won during 
the late Queen's reign. Recusancy had become so insignificant that it 
was no longer regarded as a danger to the State. 

When King James visited Carlisle in August 1617, Bishop Snowden 
presented an address on his own behalf in which he laid before his 
Sovereign some notice of the civil and ecclesiastical condition of the 
diocese as he had found it after a study ' for the space of well nere two 
moneths by my presence in visitations, sessions, and commissions, and 
by petitions, conference and suggestions.' The state ecclesiastic was 
hugely weakened, not only by the impropriations served by poor vicars 
and a multitude of base hirelings, but by compositions contracted in the 
troublous times and now proscribed, yet there was some show of grave 
and learned pastors. And albeit many of the clergy in their habits and 
external ' inconformities ' seemed to be puritans, yet none of them were 
found of repugnant opinion to the bishop's monitions or the ecclesias- 
tical law. Though the diocese was not infested with recusants so 
dangerously as the bishoprics of Durham and Chester, yet in his late 
visitations about eighty persons had been detected and presented, and 
most of these were confined to a few families, whose conversion or 
reformation he should strive to effect by gentle persuasion and all other 
good means to the utmost of his power." The condition of the 
diocese was such as we might have expected from its previous history. 
The succession of bishops of ultra-protestant proclivities, who were 
more interested in the suppression of papism than in the building up of 
the clergy and people in the principles of the national religion, had done 
its work. The standard of clerical education and efficiency had been 
lowered and the church had fostered within itself those puritan ' habits 
and external inconformities' which were so soon to break out to the 
subversion of Church and State. 

The true tendency of the old ecclesiastical policy began to be 
realized when King James addressed a letter to Archbishop Abbot in 
1622 on the abuses and extravagances of preachers in the pulpit, and 
sent him directions to be observed in the composition of sermons. The 
King's interposition produced much discontent among the clergy, who 

i S.P. Dom. James I. vols. xl. n, Ixxxvi. 34 ; Lord William Howard's Household Books, Surtees Soc. 
pp. 423-4, etc. 

" Bishop Snowden's address to his ' most blessed Soveraigne my great and most gratious Lord and 
Master ' was dated at ' Rose Castle, August 2, 1617,' by ' your Maties meanest but most obliged and most 
dutifull subject and servant, Robt. Carlisle.' The document was found about twenty years ago by Mr. 
Walter Money, F.S.A., among papers collected by John Packer, secretary to George Villiers, first Duke 
of Buckingham, and printed in the Carlisle newspapers. Chancellor Ferguson has made it more acces- 
sible by reproducing it in full in his Dioc, Hist, of Carl. (S.P.C.K.), pp. 131-3. 

II 89 12 


viewed the directions as an unwarranted reflection on their discretion. 
To smooth matters over and to explain the royal message a supple- 
mentary mandate was issued by authority, a summary of which was 
sent to every bishop and through him to every parsonage in the king- 
dom. 1 In a letter to Bishop Milburne of Carlisle 2 for the reform of 
the pulpit, dated 9 January 1622-3, Archbishop Matthew stated that 
his majesty was grieved to hear almost daily of defection ' from our 
religion ' both to popery and anabaptism, or other points of separation 
in some parts of the kingdom, and that he was inclined to ascribe the 
growing leakage to the failure of the preachers. The clergy were en- 
joined to devote themselves to a simple exposition of the positive 
teaching of such formularies as the catechism, homilies and articles of 
religion, giving special attention to the examination of children in the 
catechism, ' which was the most ancient and laudable custom of teach- 
ing in the church of England.' Above all preachers were counselled 
to leave off bitter invectives against papists and puritans, and to give 
more attention to the explanation of the doctrine and discipline of their 
own church. 

The diocese of Carlisle was unfortunately situated at this period 
for carrying out reforms owing to the interruptions in a settled policy 
caused by frequent changes in the episcopate. During a period of about 
thirty years, 161646, no fewer than six bishops had ruled the see. 
With one exception there was little opportunity for any of these bishops 
to make a permanent impression on the diocese. For the whole of the 
period, though a great effort was made by Bishop Potter to alter the 
tack, the old ship was steadily drifting towards the rocks. The supply 
of educated clergy was the problem then, as it had been in the time of 
Elizabeth. It was the complaint of Bishop White's secretary that ' at 
our first visitation there was never a doctor of divinitie nor advocate, 
but eleven or twelve licensed preachers, three or four bachelors of 
Divinity and eight double beneficed men.' 3 Notwithstanding the 
academic prestige of Bishop Potter as provost of Queen's College, 
Oxford, he was unable to attract educated men to seek holy orders at 
his hands. Though there was general conformity in his diocese, he 
reported to Archbishop Neile that the wretched stipends of the bene- 
fices forced him to admit mean scholars to the diaconate rather than to 
allow the people to be utterly without divine service. The tendency 
of the time may be gauged by the further statement that the church- 
wardens were slow to present absentees from church, and the magistrates 
were equally reluctant to punish them.* The articles of inquiry which 
the bishop sent to the churchwardens and sworn men at his first visita- 

i Collier has printed these three documents on the reform of preaching (Eccl. Hist., vii. 428-34, ed. 

3 Carl. Epis. Reg. Milburne, ff. 252-4. 

3 The little paper rental-book of Bishop White, from which this information is taken, con- 
tains many notes of interest about the diocese from 1626 to 1629 in the matter of the epis- 
copal revenues, leases, subsidies, fees, synodals, patronage and procurations. 

Ferguson, Dioc, Hist, of Carl. (S.P.C.K.), p. 133. 



tion in 1629 are of the comprehensive character that prevailed at that 
period. They were formulated chiefly, as one might expect, to enforce 
the canons of 1603. The instruments of divine service which the laity 
were bound to provide in every parish church and chapel were the 
Book of Common Prayer with the new calendar, the English Bible of 
the new translation in the largest volume, two Psalters, two books of 
Homilies, a decent font, a table of the Ten Commandments, a convenient 
seat for the minister to sit in, a comely and decent pulpit, with cloth 
and cushion for the same ; a comely communion table, with a fair linen 
cloth to lay on the same, and some covering of silk, buckram, or other 
suchlike for the clean keeping thereof ; a fair and comely communion 
cup of silver with a silver cover, for the ministration of the Holy Com- 
munion ; a chest or box for the poor, and the book of constitutions and 
canons. The only vestment for the minister supplied at the charge of 
the parish was a decent large surplice with sleeves, but the church- 
wardens were required to state whether the minister usually wore the 
surplice when he was saying public prayers and ministering sacraments, 
and, if he were a graduate, did he also upon his surplice wear such 
hood as was agreeable to his degree, and such decent apparel as was 
appointed by the late constitutions. 1 When Potter was nominated to 
the see of Carlisle by the influence of Archbishop Laud, people were 
astonished at the selection, as the new bishop was suspected of puritan 
inclinations. Fuller says he was known at Court as the penitential 
preacher ; he afterwards came to be called the puritanical bishop. 3 But 
there is no trace of puritanism in his articles of inquiry. One reads 
them over with the reeling that he was steadfastly loyal to the church 
as then understood, and wished to see the doctrine and worship as em- 
bodied in her constitutional documents accepted and observed by the 

When it was said of Bishop Potter that organs would blow him 
out of the church, the satire may have been occasioned in allusion to 
the revival of more stately and reverent methods of conducting Divine 
worship with which the name of Archbishop Laud will be for ever 
associated. But there was less fear in this isolated corner of the king- 
dom than in any other diocese of a recrudescence of the ancient 
solemnity in the church service. If the parish churches of the diocese 
of Carlisle were no further advanced in point of ritual and reverence 
than the cathedral, it cannot be said that the new ideas which at that 
time began to fill men's minds had ever reached the northern counties. 
There is a curious description of Carlisle cathedral in the autumn of 
1634, in which three officers of the military establishment in Norwich, 
whilst on a tour of pleasure from thence into the north, have left us 
their impressions of its service. The cathedral was nothing so fair and 
stately as those they had seen, but more like a great wild country 
church ; and as it appeared outwardly so it was inwardly, neither 

1 Second Rep. of the Commissioners on Rubrics, Orders, etc. (Blue Book), pp. 506-8. 
a Worthies of England, ed. 1684, p. 841. 



beautified nor adorned one whit. The organs and voices did well agree, 
the one being a shrill bagpipe, the other like the Scottish tone. The 
sermon in the like accent was such as they could hardly bring away, 
though it was delivered by a neat young scholar, one of the bishop's 
chaplains. The communion also was administered and received in a 
wild and irreverent manner. 1 

Though it cannot be said that church feeling was remarkably 
strong in the diocese, there was a leaven of devoted loyalty among the 
clergy to King Charles as the political clouds began to gather around 
his throne. When events became more threatening the clergy were 
destitute of the immediate supervision and personal guidance of their 
bishop. It is true that James Usher, the saintly primate of Ireland, had 
received the see in commendam from the King in 1 642, about a month 
after the death of Bishop Potter. But it is doubtful whether that 
illustrious prelate ever set foot within the diocese. When Sir Timothy 
Fetherstonhaugh laid the King's request for a subsidy in his distress 
before the assembled clergy in the chapter house at Carlisle on 1 3 April 
1643, the attitude of those that were present, though far from sym- 
pathetic, cannot be described as disloyal. They acknowledged with 
thankfulness that ' the honourable bench ' had recognized their ' ancient 
and due libertys ' in representing the subsidy as a voluntary contribution, 
and they were quite willing to admit that a tenth part of the sum of 
the counties, as far as the diocese extended, was a full proportion if they 
had enjoyed their entire dues as set out unto them by the law of God. 
But notwithstanding the fact that every one of them had suffered great 
diminution in their rights by impropriations and prescriptions, yet they 
were willing to raise themselves to the proportions suggested, and were 
of opinion that the same might be expected of their absent brethren. 
It was not their intention that lay impropriators should be allowed to 
escape, for they were required to join with the vicars to advance the 
tenth, or wholly to undertake it where there was no vicar, ' since they 
are, so farr as concerning the tithes they recieve, ecclesiastical persons.' 
For once the clergy of Carlisle spoke out in defence of their ancient 
rights, inasmuch as they stipulated ' that this our acte may be acknow- 
ledged as voluntary and not to be drawn into example and so worded by 
the clerke of the sessions.'* Before the year 1643, in which these 
manly words were spoken, was brought to a close, the diocese of 
Carlisle, as an administrative unit of the English church, had ceased to 

1 ' A Relation of a short Survey of 26 counties, &c., observ'd in a seven weekes journey begun at the 
City of Norwich and from thence into the North on Monday, August nth, 1634, and ending at the 
same place. By a Captaine, a Lieutannant and an Ancient. All three of the Military Company in Nor- 
wich' (Lansd. MS. 213). 

1 This document, the earliest in the register of Bishop Usher, is headed ' the humble answere of 
the clergy within the diocez of Carleill present in the chapter house, April 1 3th, 1643, to the request 
brought from the ho le bench by Sir Tymothy Fetherstonhaugh K te ,' and is subscribed by ' Isaac Singleton, 
archdeacon, Frederick Tonstall, Hen. Sibson, Leonard Milburn, Tho. Head, William Fairfax, Christofer 
Peale, Charles Usher, Will Gregson (?), Parcivall Head, Tymothy Tully, William Head, Richard Sibson, 
Richard Sharpies ' (Carl. Epis. Reg. Usher, MS. f. 313). 



exist. The last entry in the diocesan register of Bishop Usher is dated 
3 November 1643.' 

There was no serious disturbance of the clergy in their benefices 
till the city of Carlisle received a Scottish garrison on 28 June 1645, a f ter 
a protracted siege, during which the inhabitants made a gallant stand, 
and suffered many privations for church and king. Taken as a whole 
the clergy and gentry of Cumberland were royalists, and managed to 
hold their ground till the capital was forced to surrender. The county, 
says the youthful historian of the siege, was generally free from the 
seeds of schism and untainted with the present rebellion. 2 Before the 
city was given up to General Lesley it was stipulated that a livelihood 
out of the church revenues should be allowed to every member of the 
cathedral body then resident, until the parliament had determined other- 
wise, and that no church should be defaced. But the terms of surrender 
were not observed. In a moment of fanatical fury, the cloisters, part of 
the deanery, the chapter house and prebendal buildings were pulled 
down, and the materials were sacrilegiously used to build a main guard 
and repair the fortifications of the city. The west portion of the 
cathedral was also demolished, leaving only three bays of the venerable 
Norman structure standing, and the parliamentary officers were so 
moved with zeal and something else against magnificent churches that 
they had intended to pull down the whole cathedral, and to have no 
church but St. Cuthbert's. 3 Fortunately the intention was not carried 
out. Though Cumberland was far removed from the headquarters of 
the destructive party, it had its full share of sufferings in other ways. 
The Scots had not forgotten their old methods of harrying the country. 
Hugh Todd told Walker in after years that the clergy suffered more 
from the Scots than from other people. 4 So great was the destruction 
about the cathedral that the charters of the capitular body were sold to 
make a tailor's measures. 5 From the Border church of Rocliffe the 
parish register and other church requisites were taken away by the 
Scottish army in 1648." For several years little else but anarchy pre- 
vailed in the county, as the fortunes of the opposing forces fluctuated in 
favour of the King or the parliament. In the sequestrations which 

1 The acts of Bishop Usher were made by commission consisting of the archdeacon and one of the 
canons, though they ran in his own name ; ' James, by divine pity, archbishop of Armagh and primate 
and metropolitan of all Ireland, also commendatory bishop of the diocese of Carlisle ' (Carl. Epis. Reg. 
Usher, ff. 314-7). Very few of his acts are on record, and only those between 15 April and 3 November 

2 Narrative of the Siege of Carlisle in 1644 and 1645, ed. S. Jefferson, pp. 1-48. 

3 The articles of surrender have been preserved by Hugh Todd (Account of the City and Diocese of 
Carlisle (Cumbld. and Westmorld. Arch. Soc.), pp. 23-6). Todd's account of what took place during 
the Civil War may be accepted as satisfactory, inasmuch as he lived so near the times which he described. 
He was a Cumberland man, and must have been acquainted with many of the actors in these great events. 

* Sufferings of the Clergy, i. 51. 

6 Nicolson, English Hist. Library, second ed. p. 127. 

8 On the fly-leaf of the register of that parish we find the following memorandum in a neat bold hand : 
' Cumberland, Roecliffe, at Easter, 1679. John Litle and Jeff. Urwin being ch[urch]wardens. This 
register book was bought at ye instigation of Mr. Tho. Stalker, Mr. A. Coll. Reg. Oxon., curate yn of 
this ch. of Roecliffe, lect'. of St. Cuthberts, Carlile, and minor canon of ye cathed". ch. in yt citty. 
There was not one yr before for many yeares, being taken away, with other utensills of ye church, by 
Scotts armyes, and last of all by Ld. Duke Hamilton's in ye year 1648.' 



followed the military triumph of puritanism, the leading clergy of the 
diocese, as well as the dean and chapter, were ejected from their livings. 
If there was any tendency on the part of those with royalist proclivities 
to hold on, the committee of ' tryers' accepted the most flimsy charges 
wherewith to oust them from their parishes. 

There can be no doubt that many of the clergy, specially those in 
the poorer and more secluded parishes, bent their necks to the puritan 
yoke and stood their ground. It is difficult to estimate the motives of 
those who accepted the directory and swore to maintain the covenant, 
but there is evidence that if some did so from conviction, others acted 
from policy. 1 Against these may be placed the example of Timothy 
Tullie, rector of Cliburn, who became ' the bright, particular star ' of 
presbyterianism while the Commonwealth lasted, but who altered his 
orbit without dimming his lustre by becoming a canon of York 2 on the 
restoration of the church and crown. The committee of ' tryers,' not- 
withstanding the supposed leniency with which they exercised their 
unpleasant vocation, were quite unable to find substitutes of their own 
way of thinking for the vacant benefices. For fourteen years the pre- 
cincts of the cathedral lay in ruins, and the floor of the cathedral itself 
was common ground at the disposal of all the sects. The principal 
churches of the diocese were supplied either by resident or itinerant 
ministers of the presbyterian, independent or baptist persuasion, but the 
presbyterians predominated in number and influence. If pluralism could 
be alleged with truth as a defect of the old order of church government, 
it was repeated in an aggravated form, though perhaps from necessity, 
when the sequestrators had finished their work, for it was no uncommon 
thing for one minister under the new regime to be the peripatetic pastor 
of three parishes. Some of the churches were shut up, and most of the 
preachers admitted by the commissioners were not ministers at all, 3 not 
even according to the religious conceptions of the period. 

For some time after the fall of episcopacy there was no ecclesias- 
tical or religious organization among the ministers and no cohesion 
among the parishes. The vacant churches had been allotted to members 
of various sects as each sect in turn had gained the mastery of the local 
committees. In any group of parishes it was possible to find the minis- 
ters in charge belonging to opposing denominations. The presbyterians 
endeavoured to form some sort of church discipline, but every attempt 
at combination created jealousy among the rest and led to controversy 
and strife. The first effort to form an alliance between the presbyterians 
and independents was begun in 1653, 'but it took not' among the 
brethren of ' congregational judgment.' It is a singular coincidence 

1 Thomas Denton, writing in 1 687-8, stated that ' the Common Prayer was read in the church 
of Sebergham in all ye late times of trouble, and we never had a phanatick in the parish, neither then 
nor since ' (Perambulation of Cumb. in 1687-8, MS. f. 85). 

2 Hardy, Le Neve, iii. 190. Timothy Tullie was collated to Cliburn by Bishop Potter on 19 June 
1639 (Carl. Epis. Reg. Potter, MS. f. 301). 

o Burton, Life of Sir Philip Musgrave (Carlisle Tracts), p. 34 ; Walker, Sufferings of the Clergy, 
i. 97 ; George Fox's journal, Leeds edition, i. 223. 



that it was in this year that George Fox commenced his mission in the 
county. There was a cloud upon the horizon, at this time no bigger 
than a man's hand, which soon grew to such stupendous proportions 
that the two principal denominations were forced to combine in order 
to preserve themselves from extinction. Fox made a progress from 
parish to parish through the western portion of the county. At Brigham 
he converted John Wilkinson, ' who was preacher of that parish and of 
two other parishes in Cumberland,' in which neighbourhood ' many 
hundreds were convinced.' ' Consternation is scarcely the word to de- 
scribe the state of feeling which filled the hearts of the religious leaders 
in that portion of the county at the missionary success of Fox. In the 
records of the independents of Cockermouth for the year 1654 we are 
told that 'the i6th day of the 4th month the churches met at Bride- 
kirk, where they solemnly made confession of their Faith, and renewed 
their covenant with God, begging of the Lord His grace and strength, 
that they might stand against that deluge of errors that had overflown 
the country, and had shattered to pieces the other congregations about 
Broughton ; only some few friends of the people had since come to 
land and kept together in communion.' 3 The religious instincts of the 
people, so far as they were represented by the preachers who had sup- 
planted the old order of clergy, began to gravitate towards Fox, who, 
in a few years, was almost universally accepted as the sovereign pontiff 
of Cumberland. The puritan teachers were so utterly forsaken that the 
churches in some parishes stood empty. 3 

It can be readily imagined that the external pressure of Fox's 
preaching contributed in no small measure to ' the agreement of the 
associated ministers and churches of the counties of Cumberland and 
Westmorland,' which was brought to a successful issue in 1656. Those 
who take the trouble to read the Articles of Association and reflect on 
the application of the rules of discipline and government will see 
nothing extravagant in the epigram of Milton, that ' new Presbyter is 
but old Priest writ large.' Even ' the power of the keys,' which was 
claimed to be latent in presbyterianism, was accepted in a modified 
form by the independents. The formulary of excommunication obtained 
a wider range and descended to more minute detail than was ever known 
in the strictest days of the English church. For the better carrying out 
of the agreement, the county was divided into three districts or associa- 
tions, Carlisle, Penrith, and Cockermouth, which should meet monthly, 
more or less, as occasion required, or as the greater part of the association 
thought fit. The ministers of Westmorland gave their consent to the 
Agreement so far as the general propositions were concerned, but made 
their own arrangements about places of meeting. An eirenicon was 

George Fox's Journal, Leeds edition, i. 220-6. 

1 Lewis Hist, of the Congregational Church of Cockermouth, pp. 17-8. 

8 George Fox's journal, i. 226-30, 441. This statement by Fox cannot be regarded as an exagger- 
ation : it is fully borne out by the records of Congregationalism at Cockermouth (Hist, of the Congre- 
gational Church, pp. 14-25). The weapon of excommunication, which the ministers used against the 
seceders, had no effect on the general apostasy. 


addressed * to all that profess the Name of the Lord Jesus in the counties 
of Cumberland and Westmerland, both magistrates and people ' in 
explanation of the Articles and with an exhortation to obedience. All 
scandalous persons, such as episcopalians, papists and quakers, were 
rigidly excluded from the Association till they had publicly recanted 
their errors. 1 

The moving spirit of this great effort for unity among the sects was 
Richard Gilpin, pastor of Greystoke, a minister of refined and scholarly 
attainments, who exercised a well-deserved influence over the presby- 
terian section of the community. His soul had been vexed at the 
profaneness which he saw thriving around him for want of discipline 
in the churches, and at the divisions and jealousies fomented among 
brethren of the same household of faith. In order to help in rebuild- 
ing the spiritual Sion, he laboured day and night to bring about recon- 
ciliation. On 19 May 1658 he preached his famous 'acceptable 
sermon ' on the ' Temple Rebuilt,' at Keswick, before a general meeting 
of the associated ministers of the county, which was printed at the 
unanimous request of those who heard it. Notwithstanding Gilpin's 
eloquent pleading for peace, it is to be feared that his labours for unity 
were only partially successful. There can be little doubt that the 
presbyterian body looked up to him as their counsellor and guide, but 
it is questionable whether the leaders of independency were in full 
sympathy with the Association movement. At least we find the discipline 
of the congregational connexion exercised independently of the Associa- 
tion at Bridekirk in 1656, the delinquent being the incumbent of 
Plumbland. However much the fusion of the sects fell short of Gilpin's 
ideal, one cannot help admiring the zeal of the ministers in guarding 
the ordinances of religion from profanation and their self-denying 
courage in making a stand for godliness at a time when faith and hope 
and love had almost deserted the mass of the Cumbrian population. 

When the church and monarchy were restored in 1660 the diocese 
of Carlisle was in a pitiable condition of desolation. The west end of 
the cathedral lay in ruins ; the deanery and prebendal houses were 
uninhabitable ; Rose Castle, the historic seat of the bishops, had been 
mutilated during the Civil War and patched up for the residence of a 
Cromwellian general. Several of the benefices were vacant or held in 
plurality. All the old members of the capitular body had died before 
the Restoration with the exception of Lewis West, canon of the third 
stall. When Richard Sterne, who had acted as chaplain to Archbishop 
Laud on the scaffold, was consecrated on 2 December 1660, his task in 
the reorganization of the diocese was by no means easy or agreeable. 
The dean and chapter had to be constituted ; questions of disputed 
patronage made the appointment of incumbents to vacant parishes irk- 

The quarto pamphlet, from which this account is taken, is entitled, ' The Agreement of the 
Associated Ministers and Churches of the Counties of Cumberland and Westmerland, with something 
for Explication and Exhortation annexed.' It was printed in London in 1656 and sold 'by Richard 
Scott, bookseller in Carlisle.' 



some and difficult. Though the new bishop met with many obstacles, 
something was done during his short episcopate to bring order out of 
chaos and to equip his diocese with the necessary agencies. Much of 
his attention at the outset was engrossed with the arrangement of the 
revenues and temporal concerns of the see ; but it cannot be said that 
the spiritual wants of the people were overlooked. The bulk of the 
incumbents returned to their episcopal allegiance, but those who had 
been made ministers according to the rites which obtained during the 
Commonwealth were objects of sympathy and concern. Few of these 
ministers awaited the passing of the Bartholomew Act in 1662 to 
be driven from their parishes. The tide of adversity had set in, and 
nobly bowing to the inevitable they retired without compulsion. 
Dr. Gilpin quietly relinquished the cure of Greystoke to William 
Morland, the former rector, who had been ejected in 1650. Some 
of the leaders among the presbyterians and independents followed his 
example. When Bishop Sterne put the Act of Uniformity into 
force he found a general inclination to accept it. As the organization 
and visitation of the diocese proceeded the bishop introduced a moderate 
system of ecclesiastical discipline ; he pressed the obligation of the 
festivals and fasts of the church on the observance of the faithful l ; and 
he took steps ' to afford the rite and benefit of Confirmation by prayer 
and imposition of hands upon all such people as shall come duely prepared 
for the receiving of the same.' It may be said that while Bishop Sterne 
ruled the diocese of Carlisle, he gave no indications of possessing those 
untoward qualities of popery, sourness, and ill-temper with which 
Burnet * has loaded his memory. 

The attention of Bishop Rainbow, during the early years of his 
episcopate, was directed to the supply of spiritual ministrations and the 
lawful performance of divine service in the parish churches. The 
diocese had not yet recovered from the devastation of the Cromwellian 
period. In many parishes little provision was made for the due celebra- 
tion of the sacraments. To remedy these defects he bent all his energies. 
Visiting the dean and chapter on 6 September 1666, he found the 
cathedral staff to consist of thirty-six persons a dean, four prebendaries, 
six minor canons, a master of choristers, six choristers, six lay singing 
men, a verger (virgtfer), a subsacrist, six almsmen, a gate-keeper, a 
butler, a cook (who seems to have been considered a person of some 
consequence in the community), and an assistant cook. It then trans- 
pired that the necessary instruments for the performance of divine 
service had been provided with the exception of ornaments such as copes, 
etc., which were promised in a short time. The chapter also reported 
to the bishop that ' some of the church utensils were imbezilled in the 
late times of usurpation, as the brazen eagle upon which ye chapters 
were read.' 3 For the purpose of meeting the wants of the parish 

Carl. Epis. Reg. Sterne, ff. 199, 257-8. 

Hist, of His Own Time, Oxford, 1823, ii. 427. 

Carl. Epis. Reg. Rainbow, ff. 410-1 ; Chapter Minute Books, MS. viii. 468. 

n 97 13 


churches, commissions were issued in the four deaneries of Carlisle, 
Cumberland, ' Alndale,' and Westmorland, to make inquiries. The 
commission for the deanery of Carlisle was delivered on 7 December 
1668; those for the other deaneries on 14 September 1669. Bishop 
Rainbow stated that as it belonged to his pastoral office to see the 
service of God duly performed, His churches repaired and beautified, 
and all things therein done in decency and order, it was his duty to take 
notice of what had happened during the long discontinuance of church 
government in these late times of war and rebellion. 'The churches of 
this our diocese of Carlisle are become very ruinous, the Communion 
plate and linnen plundered and stollen away, and many disorders com- 
mitted to ye great dishonour of Almighty God, the scandall and offence 
of all good Christian people and the breach of the ancient lawes of this 
land.' The commissioners in the respective deaneries were empowered 
to call before them churchwardens and parishioners, and to inform them- 
selves ' of all the decayes, defects, ruines and incroachments w ch are in 
any of the roofs, leads, windowes, walls, steeples, floores, pavements, 
pulpitts, reading desks, seats and stalls in any of the said churches, 
chappells or in any of their churchyards, houses, edifices, buildings and 
grounds.' It was the duty of the commissioners also ' to see that the 
said churches be provided of plate, pewter, linnen, and other things 
necessary for the Communion Table, as likewise of bookes, cushions 
and other things required for the pulpit and reading desk and other 
uses.' In addition, inquiry was made about the temporal concerns 
of the benefice, glebe lands, mansions, buildings, church stocks, 
augmentations, legacies and other charitable uses. 1 To these episcopal 
acts in 1668-9 must De ascribed the supply of the ornaments in 
many parish churches and the recovery of much church property 
lost or embezzled during the Commonwealth. 

While Bishop Rainbow was making strenuous efforts to build 
up the church in his diocese, he was not unmindful of those who 
had rejected him as chief pastor. It is well known that he was a 
conciliatory prelate who did everything in his power to soften the 
asperities of the penal code. But it was beyond his power to save 
nonconformists from the consequences of resistance to the law ; it 
was the civil magistrate who dealt with those who dissented from the 
national religion. For this reason it is to the court of Quarter Sessions, 
and not to the ecclesiastical courts, that we turn for a record of the 
troubles of the various religious denominations at this period. The 
followers of George Fox were the first to feel the rigour of the law. 
The quakers were the only people who ostentatiously defied the new 
enactments. In their ill-regulated enthusiasm they entered the parish 
churches and denounced the lives and doctrines of the parish clergy in 
the presence of their congregations. It was no rare thing for church- 
wardens to have half a dozen quakers before the justices at Quarter 

Carl. Epis. Reg. Rainbow, ff. 460-1. 
9 8 


Sessions ' for disturbing the minister in tyme of preaching.' At the 
Summer Sessions in 1670 Sir Philip Musgrave paid into court the sum 
of j as the king's moiety ' due upon a conviction of several seditious 
persons,' which sum was paid over to the sheriff. Sir Philip Musgrave 
was a notorious opponent of all sectaries. His spies were sent in all 
directions with strict orders to watch the ' bad people,' as he roughly 
called them, and many meetings were captured by these agents. John 
Lamplugh did not hesitate to levy a fine of 10 on the overseers of the 
poor of the parish of Dean, ' for negligence in their office in not making 
information to the next justice of the peace of a conventicle at Pardsay 
Cragg.' Moreover, the quakers carried on a stout resistance to the 
payment of tithes, ' steeplehouse rates and clerk's wages,' which added 
not a little to their other troubles. When Charles II. granted his 
temporary indulgence in 1672, very few of the quakers took advantage 
of it. Almost all the licences for preaching houses in Cumberland were 
taken out by persons of the presbyterian or congregational persuasion. 1 
Several of those who were licensed to preach are well known in the 
annals of Cumberland nonconformity. 

It is a matter of general history that the King was forced by the 
Cavalier party to revoke his declaration of indulgence, and that the law 
known as the Test Act of 1673 was passed to which he reluctantly 
gave his consent. There is a long entry in the records of Quarter 
Sessions explanatory of the new Act. It is singular that though the 
Act affected all kinds of dissenters, it is designated in the preamble 
as ' an Act for preventing danger which may happen from Popish 
Recusants.' The justices seemed very impartial in carrying out these 
penal enactments, as they affected both protestant and papist. At 
the Easter Sessions, 1674, above a hundred persons were summoned 
' for not repayreing to church within 6 months after ye 6th of July last.' 
Neither degree nor sex was considered. No part of the county was over- 
looked. The non-churchgoers were indicted from places so wide apart as 
Alston and St. Bees, Kirklinton and Bootle. Knights and squires as well 
as yeomen and rustics, were fined the Sunday 'shilling. Members of four- 
teen different families were fined out of the parish of Kirklinton. There 
was a goodly contingent from Wetheral, and among them Francis 
Howard of Corby and Anne his wife. The yeomen of Leath Ward 
were conspicuous. We may name also Sir Francis Salkeld of White- 
hall ; Henry Curwen, with five of the same name from Camerton ; 
Katherine Curwen of Workington Hall ; Skeltons of Branthwaite, and 
Porters of Bolton. We hear no more of church neglect till the October 
Sessions, 1680, when Sir George Fletcher was high sheriff. The 
majority of the offenders this time were evidently papists, and of the 
squirearchy ; whereas the lists of 1 674 were principally quakers and 
of the yeomen and humbler classes. 

1 Dioc. Hist, of Carl. (S.P.C.K.), pp. 152-3. The list of Northumberland licences has been printed 
in Arch. JEliana, xiii. 63. Both lists will be found in ' Domestic Entry Books of Charles II.' at the 
Record Office. 



The Toleration Act of 1689 was welcomed by the dissenting 
communities of the county. Whatever they suffered in past years 
was now happily at an end. Though the provisions of the Act were 
meagre enough, they were sufficient to ease dissenters of harassing dis- 
abilities, and give them scope for the free exercise of their religion. 
The Act required them only to take out licences for their meeting 
houses, and the justices had no alternative but to grant them. 1 
Some of the dissenting ministers, however, disregarded the obliga- 
tions of the Toleration Act and refused to take out licences. Daniel 
Jackson was not content with ministering to his Stanwix congregation, 
but intruded into the parish of Burgh, where he held conventicles at 
night in wilful defiance of the law. With eight of the principal 
inhabitants of that place he was brought before the Christmas Sessions, 
1692, 'ffbr an unlawfull assemblie under pretence of religious worshipp.' 
It is stated in the indictment that to the number of forty persons they 
had assembled in the night at the house of Jannet Hodgeson of Westend, 
widow, for that purpose. Nicholson of Kirkoswald was charged at 
Michaelmas, 1694, for a conventicle, probably at Penrith, as the others 
with whom he was indicted belonged to the immediate neighbourhood. 
At the same sessions Anthony Sleigh of Penruddock, clerk ; George 
Nicholson of Kirkoswald, clerk ; and Thomas Dawes, of the same 
place, clerk, were similarly indicted with sundry of their co-religionists. 
It is a matter of no surprise that the law should be put in force against 
these dissenting ministers who were foolish enough to disregard it. 

Towards the close of the seventeenth century public attention was 
directed to the alarming increase of coarseness and immorality through- 
out the kingdom. It soon became the subject of a royal proclamation, 
which was ultimately embodied in an Act of Parliament. But the 
friends of the ' Society for the Reformation of Manners ' were destined 
to meet with considerable opposition in Cumberland. The dissenting 
element went cautiously to work in order to entrap the leaders of the 
church party into blessing the enterprise. One great mistake the 
originators seem to have made, when they called the movement a 
covenant, a league, or association. There was something in a name to 
the churchmen of this period, and it is manifest they did not relish a 
novelty on English ground which came to them wearing a presbyterian 
aspect and dressed in the Genevan garb. The bishop of Carlisle was 
surprised into giving his patronage, and matters looked like peace. But 
that hope was doomed to sudden disappointment. Few outside those 
versed in church matters can well understand the position of Archdeacon 
Nicolson in his attitude to the movement. His action was not 
prompted by expediency or bigotry, but by conscience and duty. 
Though he admitted the evil needed the efforts of all Christian people, 
he yet maintained that the ' Established Church ' was the responsible 

1 The licences issued by the justices in Quarter Sessions to the nonconforraing communities of the 
county are very numerous and extend over a long period. Many of them will be noticed in the parish 



agent which should of itself provide the remedy. He took his stand 
on the canons, which, he alleged, were binding on his conscience, and 
denounced those clergy who ignored them by joining in ' conventicles ' 
with dissenting ministers, under cover of furthering the interests of 
morals, while in reality they were causing schism and breaking the law. 
The clergy, as a whole, were willing enough to follow their archdeacon's 
advice, till Chancellor Tullie ranged himself on the other side, and went 
in strongly for the amalgamation of church and dissent. Under his 
sgis Cockburn, the vicar, aided by a few of the neighbouring clergy, 
set up the covenant at Brampton, which soon brought down the arch- 
deacon's thunders on his honest head. Archdeacon and chancellor were 
summoned to Rose Castle to answer to their aged diocesan for the strife 
they were causing in his diocese. Little came of it. The bishop was 
too old and too infirm to curb the zeal of his subordinates. An appeal 
was made to the archbishop of York, but he shelved the question ; the 
bishop of Chester was inclined to side with the chancellor, so Nicolson 
was forced to struggle on alone. 1 

The episcopates of Bishops Rainbow and Smith, which covered 
the period between 1664 and 1702, were devoted chiefly to the dis- 
charge of their functions within the diocese. It was their endeavour to 
set a good example to their clergy and to urge them to follow it. An 
attractive picture of the private life of Bishop Rainbow has been drawn 
by the hand of one who knew him. * Four times a day was God 
publickly called upon by prayers in that family : twice in the chappel, 
which part his lordship's chaplains performed : and twice in the dining 
room, the latter of these at six in the morning and nine at night was 
the usual task of our right reverend worthy prelate himself, if not dis- 
abled by sickness.' ' His enforcement of discipline among some of the 
clergy ' who had been sufficiently criminal and neglectful in the dis- 
charge of their function ' was attended with unpleasantness and often 
provoked opposition. But his personal example in devotion to duty 
acted as a stimulus to the diocese, and cleared him of all suspicion of 
favouritism or private grudge. The life of Bishop Smith, who had been 
dean of Carlisle before his consecration, was fashioned on the same 
model. The policy of both prelates was to raise the tone of the clergy, 
and increase the reverence and regularity of their public ministrations. 
The dangers of the episcopate, to which the bishops of Carlisle after the 
Reformation had succumbed, were happily avoided by their successors 
after the Restoration. It has been pointed out that the Elizabethan 
bishops were mainly concerned with the suppression of heresy and the 
enforcement of conformity, a policy negative in its aims as it was dis- 
astrous in its results. The bishops of Carlisle, who came immediately 
after 1660, set themselves the task of rebuilding the church as a spiritual 
edifice, and meddled as little as possible with the demolishing of the 
religious shelters which the mistaken policy of their predecessors had 

1 Letters of Wm. Nicolson, pp. 109, 145-58, 161-72, etc. 
1 Life of Bishop Rainbow (London, 1688), pp. 68-9. 


forced earnest men to erect for themselves. When they came in contact 
with nonconformity, their attitude was that of conciliation ; but they 
spared no pains, as Jonathan Banks said of Bishop Rainbow, to urge 
the clergy 'in the diligent preaching of God's word : in the due adminis- 
tration of the Holy Sacraments, in catechising of youth, and in 
admonishing and reclaiming the more loose from their immoralities.' J 
It is to this policy of positive teaching that one must ascribe whatever 
measure of success the churchmen of that period attained in rebuilding 
' the city of their fathers' sepulchres.' The munificence of Bishop 
Smith in the distribution of his private fortune is still bearing fruit in 
some of the schools, churches and parsonages of the diocese. 

The pastoral care exercised by the bishops, and the condition of 
the parish churches at this time, may be gathered from the articles of 
inquiry and the replies sent in by the churchwardens at visitation. 
The earnestness of the bishops cannot be doubted, but if we judge the 
clergy and people according to modern standards, the verdict cannot be 
given that they were filled with sentiments of decency and order in the 
care of the churches and the performance of divine service. From a 
study of the parish churches it is pleasant to turn to the mother church 
of the diocese, of which we get a contemporary account from the pen 
of one who had little sympathy with ecclesiastical observance. Thomas 
Story states that about 1687 he went diligently to the public worship, 
especially to the cathedral at Carlisle, where in time of public prayer 
they used all, male and female, so soon as that creed called the Apostles' 
Creed began to be said, to turn their faces towards the east ; and when 
the word JESUS was mentioned, they all as one bowed and kneeled to- 
wards the altar-table, as it was called, where stood a couple of Common 
Prayer Books in folios, one at each side of the table, and over them 
painted upon the wall I.H.S., signifying 'Jesus Hominum Sa/vafor* 

William Nicolson, archdeacon of Carlisle, an ecclesiastic of a 
different type to his immediate predecessors, succeeded to the see on the 
death of Bishop Smith in 1702. This prelate was a scholar of con- 
siderable repute, a strong politician, a laborious and tireless worker, 
whose fame was not confined to the district in which he lived. In 
his letters, diaries, controversies and visitations, apart from his solid con- 
tribution to the scholarship of his day, there is embodied a local litera- 
ture of which we have no parallel in the history of the diocese. 3 In 
his primary visitation in 17034 he has left an account of the condition 
of the churches and the character of the clergy under his spiritual rule, 
invaluable indeed as a record of many things which have long since 
passed away, but so highly coloured that it is difficult to accept it as a 
faithful delineation of the ecclesiastical life of the period. His views 
of men and things not up to his own standard appear, like those of all 

1 Life of Bishop Rainbow (London, 1688), pp. 63-4. 
Journal of the Life of Thomas Story (ed. 1747), pp. 3-4. 

8 Letters of William Nicolson (ed. J. Nicols, London, 1809) ; Diaries of Bishop Nicolson (ed. Bishop 
of Barrow-in-Furness) in the Cumb. and Westmor. Arch. Soc. 'Irani, new series, vols. i. ii. iii. iv. ; 
Miscel. Accounts of the Diocese of Carlisle, 1877. 


'T v -> 

' ' i 


- - 


.' I niii / ////.'// i7dt. 

i ' ' / 

. -- 7 

.' A/,///.. - 


earnest reformers, to err on the side of pessimism. It is very painful 
to read that the Bibles were torn or wanted binding, or were of the old 
translation ; the altars were rotten or crazy, or placed irregularly ; the 
seats were mean, or too high, or scurvily low ; the fonts were ill-placed, 
broken, or shallow and lumpish ; the parsons were bad managers, lazy, 
non-resident, melancholic, a little loose, pluralists, irregular, or read too 
fast. Such are some of the musings of a supercilious young prelate who 
had been a canon of the cathedral at the age of twenty-six, archdeacon 
of Carlisle at twenty-seven, and bishop of the diocese at forty-seven. 
If the church was in the deplorable condition described in the journal 
of his visitation tour, it must have been in some measure due to his 
own negligence during the twenty years of his archidiaconate. On the 
other hand, when we think of the conditions under which parish priests 
exercised their vocation, it is little wonder that the internal fittings and 
arrangement of the parish churches and mountain chapels were not up 
to the canonical standard. In very many places the church was the 
parish school, and the incumbent or curate was the schoolmaster. 
These clergymen, so severely handled by their young diocesan, were the 
pioneers of modern education, and if for no other reason we may look 
with sympathy rather than condemnation on the methods they were 
forced to employ. What was lost in the sacrifice of external ceremonial 
and orderly service was gained in the systematic religious instruction of 
the young. Perhaps it was only in the diocese of Carlisle where 
Wordsworth l could find in a parish register the memorable entry ' that 
a youth who had quitted the valley (of Borrowdale), and died in one of 
the towns on the coast of Cumberland, had requested that his body 
should be brought and interred at the foot of the pillar by which he 
had been accustomed to sit while a schoolboy.' The bishop has given 
it as his own experience, while rector of Great Salkeld, that it was not 
till he had built a school and removed the children thereto that anything 
like the decencies of public worship could be maintained in that church. 
But the condition of the church in Cumberland should not be 
estimated solely from the hasty judgments formed by Bishop Nicolson 
on his first perambulation of the diocese. We have from his own pen 
a more trustworthy test by which a more accurate opinion can be formed 
of the church's supremacy over the agricultural population. The order 
of confirmation is a distinctive rite which differentiates the doctrinal 
observance of the church from every class of protestant nonconformity. 
Neglect of this rite is a sure sign of leakage or paralysis. What do we 
find ? When the bishop ' ended ye work of Confirmation ' on his first 
circuit of visitation in 1702, he had conferred the gift on 5,537 persons, 
a number which throws into the shade, when population and area are 
considered, the best efforts of any of his successors in our own day. On 
28 August at Kirkbystephen he ' confirmed 799 without a pause and 
singly,' the throng being so great that one of the candidates was ' almost 
killed,' and at Penrith on 30 August, ' 889 in ye forenoon and 102 in 

1 Description of the Scenery of the Lakes (London, 1823), p. 54. 



afternoon, in all 991, whereof about 300 were parishioners of Penrith," 
feats of human endurance characteristic of this extraordinary prelate, as 
well as incontestable evidence of the influence and zeal of the parochial 

The political troubles which preceded the Hanoverian accession 
were a source of much embarrassment to a small section of the com- 
munity which was suspected of disaffection to the government. As 
early as 1706 parliament had acquainted the Queen 'with several cir- 
cumstances of the very great boldness and presumption of the Romish 
priests and papists in this Kingdom,' and the privy council notified to 
the bishops ' that a distinct and particular account should be taken of 
all papists and reputed papists with their respective qualities, estates and 
places of abode.' 2 The Acts of 1708 were put in force without delay 
in Cumberland. At the Midsummer Sessions of that year eighteen 
reputed papists were summoned to appear and conform to the law. In 
the following August Bishop Nicolson informed the primate that ' popery 
has advanced by very long strides of late years in this country and too 
many of our magistrates love to have it so. At the very time that the 
French were on our coasts and our people daily expected the news of 
their being landed, the wealthier of our papists, instead of being 
seized, were cringed to with all possible tenders of honour and respect, 
and those very gentlemen, who were entrusted with the taking of 
them into custody, seemed rather inclined to list themselves in their 
services.' 3 The rigour of the law was sorely felt by the papists during the 
period of the abortive insurrection of 1715. While the panic lasted 
stringent measures were adopted for the security of the county. The 
bishop issued a circular letter to his clergy on 1 5 October, in which he 
stated that ' there being now a most unnatural and dangerous rebellion 
raised in the neighbourhood of this diocese by several papists and other 
wicked enemies to our happy establishment in church and state, I cannot 
but think it a necessary duty on this pressing occasion to exhort you and 
the rest of my brethren to animate and encourage your respective 
parishioners in defence of their religion, laws and liberties against all 
such traitorous attempts towards the destruction of his majesty's royal 
person and the subversion of his most gracious government.' 4 The 
civil authorities had not been backward in preparing for emergencies. 
At the Hilary Sessions, 17145, the high constables handed in lists of 
papists or persons so reputed in their respective wards who had been 
summoned to appear. As the vigilance of the justices increased, a 
greater number of papists was discovered. At the Sessions of January, 
1715 6, no fewer than fifty persons, esquires and yeomen, rich and 
poor, were summoned to take the oath of allegiance, ' being persons by us 
suspected to be dangerous or disafected to his majesty or his government.' 

1 Trans. Cumb. and Westmor. Arch, Soc. new series, ii. 177-9, ! 8i ; Miscellany Accounts of Dio. 
of Carl. pp. 133, 147- 

Letters of Wm. Nicolson, pp. 330-2. 8 Add MS, 6116. 

Letters of Wm. Nicolson, p. 432, 



When the scare of the Pretender's invasion had faded away, the Roman 
Catholic body in Cumberland suffered little inconvenience from the penal 
laws except during' the rebellion of 1745, when they were disarmed and 
the sleeping laws were revived and put in force till the danger was passed. 
Roman Catholicism never took deep root in Cumberland. Except 
in a few families of distinction like the Howards, Curwens and Rad- 
clifFes, with their tenants and servants, this form of religious belief had 
almost died out before the Irish immigration at the beginning of the 
nineteenth century. Bishop Leyburne, who visited the northern 
counties in 1687, when papists were much favoured in high quarters, 
reported that he had confirmed 22 persons at Greystoke, 127 at Corby, 
and 426 at Brampton. But from the statistics sent to the Propaganda 
by Bishop Petre on 8 September 1773, it may be gathered that 'few 
Catholics ' were found. In Bishop Smith's account of his vicariate on 
14 October 1830, there were only four stations or meeting places 
for Roman Catholics in the county. The number of stations was 
increased to six in 1839 during the vicariate of Bishop Briggs. 1 

An unfortunate broil among the members of the capitular body 
about the administration of their domestic affairs disturbed the peace 
of the diocese for some time during Bishop Nicolson's episcopate. 
The appointment of Dr. Francis Atterbury to the deanery of Carlisle 
in 1704 was warmly resented by the bishop, 2 and it was soon evident 
that the old jealousies which existed between them as scholars and 
antiquaries would be imported into their public concerns. It is not 
necessary to follow step by step the unseemly wrangles between bishop 
and dean. Another member of the chapter, Hugh Todd, also an 
antiquary, had old scores to wipe out, and he lost no time in taking sides 
against his diocesan. Occasions soon arose to fan the smouldering 
embers into flame. A small matter of discipline among the minor 
canons, who had behaved themselves indecorously in the vestry of the 
cathedral, and the nomination of an incumbent to one of the benefices 
in the patronage of the chapter were the pretexts on which Atterbury 
and Todd set the city of Carlisle in an uproar and involved the heads of 
the diocese in an altercation, the sounds of which had reached to every 
corner of the kingdom. The quarrel was mainly concerned with the 
position of the dean in the capitular body, about which there was 
some doubt owing to an apparent discrepancy between the authority 
of the statutes and the endowment charter. Denying the validity of 
the statutes as not having received the sanction of the Crown and 
parliament, Dean Atterbury claimed it as his sole right ' to take cogni- 
sance of and punish offences and disorders ' in the church, and as the 
majority of the chapter ignored his claims, he went further and formally 
objected to everything that was done by the other members, in which 
resistance he was supported by Dr. Todd. The dean withheld the key 
of the box in which the chapter seal was kept and refused his consent 

1 Brady, Engl. Catholic Hierarchy, pp. 143-4, 2 ^3> 2 7^~7> 
* Tram. Cumb. and WestmoT. Arch. Soc. new series, ii. 197. 

II 105 14 


to chapter acts. As the position had become intolerable, Bishop Nicol- 
son interposed and urged the members of the church to compose their 
differences, but as the admonition was without effect he determined to 
visit and enforce obedience. The scene in the chapter house between 
the bishop and Dr. Todd, the dean's proxy, was not edifying. Formal 
objection was taken to the visitation on the ground that the Queen alone 
was the legal visitor. Compromise was now impossible. The bishop 
excommunicated Dr. Todd. A war of pamphlets ensued. The quarrel 
was carried to the civil courts and to the House of Commons. At 
length an Act of Parliament (6 Anne, c. 21) was passed confirming the 
validity of the statutes x ; the doctor was released from the ban of excom- 
munication, and the trouble was at an end. 2 

The preaching of John Wesley in Cumberland was not attended 
with the enthusiasm and wholesale conversions which marked the pro- 
gress of George Fox a century before. The mass of the population, 
though they listened with respect, remained unmoved ; the gentry as a 
rule stood aloof. When the great preacher visited the county, he 
was not recognized by the bishop of the diocese, and had neither 
sympathy nor support from the clergy. In a private house or at 
the market cross or in some public building like a town hall, Wesley 
exercised the gifts of his vocation as he journeyed from place to 
place. On 11 April 1753 he found that the love of many of the 
society in Whitehaven had ' waxed cold,' though ' a considerable number 
appeared to be growing in grace.' On the following Sunday ' he 
preached in the afternoon at Cockermouth to well nigh all the inhabi- 
tants of the town.' At Branthwaite in 1757 ' many of the congregation 
came from far ' to hear him ; * the word had free course ' at Cocker- 
mouth, ' even the gentry seemed desirous ' of accepting his doctrine. 
On his return to Cumberland in 1761 it can scarcely be said that he 
was otherwise than disappointed with the fruits of his previous labours. 
The whole congregation at Workington behaved well, but he could not 
perceive that the greater part understood anything of the matter. 
Wesley's experience of the people of Wigton had a depressing effect 
upon him. ' The congregation when I began,' he says, 'consisted of 
one woman, two boys, and three or four little girls, but in a quarter of 
an hour we had most of the town. I was a good deal moved at the 
exquisite self-sufficiency, which was visible in the countenance, air, and 
whole deportment of a considerable part of them.' When he reached 
Carlisle in 1770 he found that ' it was here a day of small things, the 
society consisting but of fifteen members.' On a further visit to the 

1 A full account of this squabble may be gathered from the numerous documents collected by Nichols 
and printed in his Letters of Wm. Nicolson, and the bishop's private sentiments may be seen in Bishop 
Nicotian's Diaries, now in course of publication by the Bishop of Barrow-in-Furness in the new series of 
the Cumb. and Westmor. Arch, Soc. Trans. The legal aspect of the case has been treated exhaustively 
by Burn, Eccl. Law (ed. Phillimore, 1842), ii. 94-104, and by Phillimore, Eccl. Law (ed. 1873),!. 173-84. 

2 Another dispute arose in 1752 on the interpretation of the statutes in relation to the dean's nega- 
tive power in the conferring of benefices. Compare Phillimore, Eccles. Law, i. 192-4, with Carl. Epis. 
Reg. Osbaldiston, ff. 175-7, 235-7. The peace of the capitular body was again disturbed in 1858 by 
the interference of Dean Close with the duties of the precentor. 

1 06 


city in 1772 little progress seems to have been made ; he was received 
by ' a small company of plain loving people.' It is evident that Carlisle 
did not at first take to methodism. Wesley had but a poor opinion 
of his prospects in the cathedral city. When he preached at the town 
hall there in 1780, it was to the poor only, as the rich could not rise 
in time to hear him. From the number and seriousness of his hearers 
at a later meeting, he ' conceived a little hope that even here some good 
will be done.' 1 The same opinion was expressed in 1797 by a church- 
man who described the people of Carlisle as ' very ignorant in religion : 
they wander as sheep without a shepherd. They seem, however, open 
to conviction, they have conscience. There are here some methodist 
and dissenting interests, but feeble and of little weight, nor is there 
a dissenter here of any popularity, or as it should seem of any 
religious zeal.' " Of all the scenes of Wesley's personal ministrations 
in Cumberland, his hopes of Whitehaven, where he often preached, 
were the brightest. Of this town he wrote in 1784 that there was a 
fairer prospect than there had been for many years. The society was 
united in love, not conformed to the world, but labouring to experience 
the full image of God, wherein they were created. His meetings had 
been attended by all the church ministers and most of the gentry of the 
town, but they behaved with as much decency as if they had been 

There can be little doubt that methodism made slight impression 
on the people of Cumberland before the secession of 1791-1836. It 
was only after it had become an integral portion of nonconformity that 
its influence began to be felt in towns or country villages. The process 
of separation went on gradually for almost fifty years, and it is only now 
and again that we get glimpses of it as an organized religious community. 
As soon as its members determined to create charitable trusts and to 
accept gifts of real property for the support of their distinctive tenets, 
it may be said that its independent existence was assured. One of the 
earliest establishments in the county was made at Brampton in 1789 
during the lifetime of Wesley. No other charitable trust had been 
registered on behalf of the methodists during the eighteenth century. 
But very soon after, the endowment of the society went on apace. In 
1802 and 1817 gifts of real property were registered for their use at 
Carlisle, in 1806 at Maryport, in 1811 at Alston, in 1814 at Keswick, 
in 1826 at Workington, in 1827 at Whitehaven, and in 1828 at 
Wigton.* In all these places there was no rapid cleavage between the 
church and methodism. It is quite true that chapels sprang up and 
congregations to some extent came together, but among those early 
methodists there was a lingering love for the sacramental ministrations 
of the parish clergy. Attendance on the services of the church was not 
wholly relinquished. The parish priest was often called in to baptize 

i Journal of John Wesley (London, 1829), pp. 359, 412, 490, 640, 666, 720, 766-7. 
' Life of Dean Milner, p. 130. Journal of John Wesley, p. 808. 

Trans. Cumb. and Westmor. Arch. Soc. new series, ii. 348-79. 



infants ' and to bury the dead, while not a few availed themselves of the 
Holy Eucharist at Easter and on other great festivals. Traces of this 
respect for the ordinances of the church are still visible in many country 
villages. It is only in our own day that the general body of methodists 
has drifted completely into separation. 

The pecuniary assistance given to the chapelries and poor benefices 
by Queen Anne's Bounty had a considerable effect in raising the tone 
and increasing the efficiency of the clergy of the diocese. In Cum- 
berland there was much need of it. To meet the requirements of 
the large and scattered parishes in the mountainous districts, chapels 
of ease arose with stipendiary curates dependent for their salaries on 
parochial incumbents, the impropriators, or the free will offerings of 
the inhabitants. Several of these chapelries were served by a reader 
and schoolmaster not in holy orders. By statute i Geo. I. st. 2, c. 10, 
a new ecclesiastical status was created, and protection was afforded 
to those curacies which had received an augmentation of revenue 
from the Bounty. It was this Act that practically abolished the lay 
reader in the Cumberland dales. From this date the chapelries 
which received augmentation became perpetual cures and benefices. 
In returning a schedule of the forty-eight perpetual curacies in the 
diocese on 26 January 1739, Bishop Fleming declared that all the 
chapelries he had named were entirely distinct from their respective 
mother churches, and the parishes were so very large,and many of them 
situated in such inconvenient parts, that there was the greatest occasion 
to have distinct curates settled in them all, as there were in most of 
them constantly, except Newlands, Thornthwaite, Wythburn, Borrow- 
dale and Nicholforest, though their situation was such that none could 
require it more if the salaries had been sufficient for their mainten- 
ance. The rectors or vicars of the mother churches had no advantage 
from these chapelries except the right of nomination to some of them, 
the nomination to many being with the inhabitants. 8 

No trustworthy evidence has been, produced to show that the 
church in Cumberland had lapsed into a state of lethargy in the 
eighteenth century. The facts are all on the other side. The bishops 
of Carlisle were prelates of distinguished ability who devoted their time 
and energy to episcopal work, and not a few of them were men of saintly 
life. The names of Nicolson, Lyttelton, Law and Douglas shed a lustre 
on the episcopate of the eighteenth century for learning and literary 
culture. Bishop Fleming, the head of a great house in Westmorland, 
has left a name behind him for the possession of Christian virtues 3 which 

1 The practice of keeping a register of births and baptisms is a sure sign of final separation from the 
church. For the Wesleyan Methodists these registers begin in 1814 for Fisher Street, Carlisle; 
in 1824 for George Street, Wigton ; in 1806 for Michael Street, Whitehaven (chapel formed in 
1747); in 1814 for Sandgate Chapel, Penrith; in 1810 for Alston; in 1811 for Garrigill ; and 
in 1827 for Nenthead. Primitive Methodism was established in Alston in 1823, their registers 
commencing in 1825 (Com. Rep. on Nonconformist Registers [1838], pp. 89, 119). 

2 Carl. Epis. Reg., Fleming, ff. 67-73. 

3 In the obituary notice of this prelate which appeared in the Gentleman's Magazine (xvii. 3 2 4~6) 
of 1747, it is stated that he punctually joined with his family ' four times a day in the publick devotions 

1 08 



reminds us of the character of Bishop Rainbow. The parochial activity 
of the century is written in the ecclesiastical architecture of the diocese. 
It was a time for the rebuilding and enlargement of churches. The 
Georgian or ' churchwarden ' type of church is too well known : a large 
rectangular building with sash-windows, overhanging galleries, and 
' three-decker ' pulpits, providing accommodation for the increasing 
population, may still be seen in many parishes. The episcopal registers 
contain many licences for restorations and rededications, as well as the 
consecrations of new edifices to meet the wants of the growing industries 
on the western coast. The inhabitants of Cumberland were a church- 
going people, and traditions are still handed down to tell us of the vast 
numbers that came from far and near in extensive parishes for the Sun- 
day service and the Easter sacrament. In the churchwardens' accounts 
of many parishes we read of the amount of wine used at the Easter or 
one of the quarterly sacraments with as much astonishment as we view 
the uncomfortable, high-backed pews. The parish church may have 
been more of ' a preaching house ' than ' a place of worship,' but nobody 
can deny that the Cumbrian looked upon it as his spiritual home. There 
were few organs in the churches of the eighteenth century. Instru- 
mental accompaniments to divine service were of a different character : 
surpliced choirs were unknown except in the cathedral. The musical 
portion of the service in the larger churches was rendered by a medley 
of men, women and school children perched in a gallery at the west 
end, with the assistance of the pitch-pipe or ' loud bassoon.' The 
parish clerk was precentor, and the pitch-pipe was the badge of his 
office. In most of the country parishes of Cumberland this instrument 
of music is preserved to remind us of an extinct custom in divine service. 
Men still live who were acquainted with no other church music in 
their earlier years. 1 

The first symptom of the evangelical revival reached the diocese 
through the agency of Dr. Isaac Milner, a distinguished mathematician, 
the senior wrangler incomparabllu of his year, who became dean of 
Carlisle in 1792. The sermons of the new dean took the people of 
Carlisle by storm. ' When the dean of Carlisle preaches,' wrote Dr. 
Paley, ' you may walk on the heads of the people. All the meetings 
attend to hear him. He is indeed a powerful preacher.' a The orator 
was untrammelled by considerations of formulary or creed : the noncon- 
formist was captivated by his eloquence as well as the churchman. 
During Milner's decanate (1792-1820) a transformation of ecclesiastical 
feeling was made in Carlisle and the immediate neighbourhood. The 
spirit of church party, soon to result in divided counsels, had been intro- 

of the church,' and that by his death society had lost one of its most valuable members, and the Church 
of England one of its chiefest ornaments. 

1 In answer to Bishop Goodwin's articles of inquiry in 1872 ' whether any and what instrument is 
used in each church,' the churchwardens made replies which the bishop tabulated thus : ' organ in 93 
churches ; harmonium in 171 ; barrel organ in 3 ; and no instrument in 15 ' (Primary Visitation Charge, 
p. 16). 

' E. Paley, Life of Dr. Paley, p. clxxxvi. ; M. Milner, Life of Dean Milner, pp. 1 16, 272. 



duced. The diocese as a whole had been devoted to the support of the 
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, as representing the work of 
the church at home, and to the Society for the Propagation of the 
Gospel, which embodied the corporate action of the church in the 
mission field. It was customary for churchwardens to make a house to 
house collection every year in their several parishes for these societies. 
As the dean was a great favourite with nonconformists, the agents of 
the British and Foreign Bible Society prevailed upon him to establish an 
auxiliary branch in the cathedral city. This was done in 1813 to the 
delight of ' all the meetings,' and Lord Morpeth was appointed the first 
president. 1 The introduction of the Church Missionary Society was a 
task of greater delicacy. Bishop Goodenough remained aloof ; in the 
capitular body the dean stood alone ; few persons of rank or station 
among the laity enrolled themselves among the supporters of the scheme. 
But Dean Milner was not to be thwarted, for he accepted the presidency 
of the Carlisle association in February 1818. Nor did he confine his 
sympathies to missionary agencies within the church : he was a warm 
advocate of Moravian and Methodist missions and a liberal subscriber to 
their funds.* Nowhere can the bent of his mind be better gauged than 
by his action with regard to the management of the central or diocesan 
school which the bishop had founded in Carlisle in 1812. The dean 
was for the admission of the children of dissenters with certain privileges 
by way of ' a conscience clause.' The bishop's firmness may be gathered 
from his rejoinder to these proposals : * I have no idea of refusing the 
benefit of education upon account of his or her parents' religious prin- 
ciples. Any child will be allowed to enter, provided he will conform 
to the rules of the school. The principal of those rules will be that 
they learn the Catechism of the Church of England, be instructed in 
our Liturgy, and give their regular attendance on the Sundays at our 
church. These are indispensable conditions, if I have anything to do 
with the conduct of the school.' 3 But the seed sown by this eminent 
man took root downward and bore fruit upward. The principles of 
which Dean Milner was the champion are stamped broad and visible 
on the ecclesiastical life of the nineteenth century in the diocese of 

The spread of nonconformity in country villages was largely due to 
the system of pluralities which prevailed to such an alarming extent 
during the period immediately before the accession of Queen Victoria. 
When the heads of the church like bishops, deans, and prebendaries held 
more than one dignity, it was impossible to deny the parish priests a 
participation in the same system. In 1835 about one-half of the bene- 
fices of the diocese were filled in plurality.* To one of these the 
incumbent as a rule gave his attention, but the other was delivered over 

1 Life of Dean Milner, pp. 565, 577-8. 

Ibid. pp. 608, 610, 672. ' Ibid. pp. 486-9, etc., 574. 

* Rep. of the Commissioners on Eccl. Revenues (1835), pp. 214-22. Of the bishops of Carlisle, Dr. 
Percy was the last pluralist. At this date he held the chancellorship of Salisbury Cathedral and a prebend 
in St. Paul's (ibid. p. 3). 


to a stipendiary curate, often ill-paid and poorly equipped for the cure 
of souls. This custom was not observed only in small parishes with little 
endowment, where there might have been a difficulty in obtaining the 
services of an incumbent. Fortunate clergymen, commanding private or 
ecclesiastical patronage, were in possession of most of the valuable bene- 
fices. The total amount expended on the employment of assistant 
curates in the ancient diocese was 3,684, nearly the whole of which 
was found by the pluralists for the provision of substitutes in the parishes 
which they held but could not serve. 1 When extensive tracts of country 
were deprived of the religious ministrations and pastoral oversight of 
resident incumbents, it cannot be wondered at that in a period of 
political ferment and constitutional change there should be a shrinkage 
of the church's influence and that the sects should occupy the lost 
ground. To Cumberland people, imbued with the idea that priests work 
at their trade for wages like other men, 2 the disinterested services of the 
methodists appealed with such irresistible force that chapels of this 
religious persuasion were established in every considerable village of the 
county before 1840. 

But reform was in the air : a new era was at hand. The commis- 
sioners appointed to consider the state of ' the established church ' with 
reference to ecclesiastical duties and revenues made their third report in 
1836 in which it was recommended 'that the sees of Carlisle and Sodor 
and Man be united, and that the diocese consist of the present diocese of 
Carlisle, of those parts of Cumberland and Westmorland which are now 
in the diocese of Chester, of the deanery of Fumes and Cartmel in the 
county of Lancaster, of the parish of Aldeston now in the diocese of 
Durham, and of the Isle of Man.' 3 By subsequent legislation (6 and 7 
Will. IV. c. 77, and I Viet. c. 30) the diocese was extended to its 
present limits : the ecclesiastical annexation of the diocese of Sodor and 
Man did not take place, and the parish of Alston, though in Cumberland, 
was allowed to remain as aforetime in the diocese of Durham. Under 
the authority of these Acts, the deanery of Coupland in Cumberland and 
the deaneries of Furness and Cartmel, which included the whole of 
Lancashire north of the Sands together with the portions of the 
deaneries of Kirkby Lonsdale and Kendal within the county of West- 
morland, that is, the old barony of Kendal, were severed from the 
diocese of Chester and archdeaconry of Richmond and annexed to thfc 
diocese of Carlisle, the whole addition having been formed into a new 

1 To the non-residence of the incumbent must be ascribed the decay of so many parsonage houses 
in the diocese at this time. The commissioners returned fourteen parsonages as unfit for habitation, 
and thirty-one benefices in which there was no parsonage at all. 

This feature of the Cumberland character struck John Wesley as he passed through Bowness on 
Solway in 1753, and caused him to make a note of it. ' Our landlord, as he was guiding us over the Frith, 
very innocently asked, " How much a year we got by preaching thus ? " This gave me an opportunity 
of explaining that kind of gain which he seemed utterly a stranger to. He appeared to be quite amazed 
and spake not one word, good or bad, till he took his leave ' (Journal, pp. 359-60). 

3 Third Re-fort of the Church Com. (1836), pp. 9, 1 1, 23. On the map of the proposed diocese at- 
tached to the report, the archdeaconry of Carlisle is divided into only three deaneries, viz. Carlisle, 
Alderbie or Allerdale or Alnedale, and Westmorland. 



archdeaconry, which, for lack of a better territorial name, was called 
the archdeaconry of Westmorland. This final arrangement was made 
by Order in Council, dated 10 August 1847, but did not come into 
force till the death of Bishop Percy in 1856. After a history of 723 
years the diocese of Carlisle entered on a new epoch. Its enlargement 
marks the turn over of a fresh page. The period of organization and 
activity had come. The railway was discovered to be a useful agency 
in diocesan work, and bishops of Carlisle were not slow in taking advan- 
tage of it. 

The whole of the nineteenth century, and specially the latter portion 
of it, is distinguished for the ceaselessness of its manifold activities and the 
variety of its diocesan and parochial organizations. It is true that at all 
times the diocese of Carlisle was administered on plans suited to its geogra- 
phical situation and spiritual necessities, but when we reach the Victorian 
period the church became more plastic and adaptable to the require- 
ments of increasing population and advancing education. The history 
of the episcopate is embodied in ' the daily round and common task ' of 
diocesan movement. Under the new conditions the bishop became the 
most indefatigable worker in his diocese. Bishop Villiers lost no time in 
carrying out the legislation of 1836 for the enlargement of his charge. 
One of his first acts after consecration was the nomination of an archdeacon 
of Westmorland on 9 May 1856, and so bent was he on diocesan organi- 
zation that the long obsolete machinery of ruridecanal action was revived 
on i January 1858 by the subdivision of the diocese into eighteen rural 
deaneries and the appointment of a beneficed clergyman in each district 
with a nominal oversight. 1 Very soon the actual condition of things 
began to dawn on the chief pastor of the flock. The rural deans brought 
back a report of the nakedness of the land. Populous and extensive 
parishes needed subdivision : new churches, new parsonages, increased 
incomes this was the mournful tale. Bishop Waldegrave lamented in 
1 86 1 that of the 267 incumbencies in the diocese, 58 had no glebe 
houses at all, and to these should be added nine places in which the 
residences were unfit for habitation. In six parishes the income did not 
attain to 50 a year ; in eight it did not exceed 70 ; in three it barely 
reached 80 ; while but few exceeded I2o. 2 While this undesirable 
state of things was being remedied by the action of the Church Exten- 
sion Society, founded by himself in 1862, the supply of the right sort of 
clergy became the pressing problem of his episcopate. It troubled 
Bishop Waldegrave as it had troubled many of his predecessors. Appre- 
hension was expressed that the bishop was lowering the status of the 
clergy by admitting men of inferior educational equipment to holy 
orders. The charge brought a spirited defence at the diocesan visitation 
of 1864. Of the sixty candidates ordained during the four years of his 
episcopate, twenty-two were of academic rank, twenty-six had been 
trained in theological colleges, and only twelve were literates, men 

i Carl. Epis. Reg. Villiers, ff. 81, 145-50. 

3 Charge at his Primary Visitation (1861), p. 16. 



qualified by service as nonconformist ministers, Scripture readers or lay 
assistants. ' If these figures,' he said, ' be compared with those of the 
four years immediately preceding the enlargement of the diocese in 
1856, it will be found that, while the number of candidates ordained 
have been multiplied rather more than threefold since that date, that of 
University men has been exactly doubled.' He further stated that a 
comparison of his own episcopate with that of Bishop Villiers would 
show to a slight extent a more favourable result. Bishop Waldegrave 
was fully alive to the gravity of the problem, and was making earnest 
efforts to grapple with it. ' Forty-seven churchless villages still cry out 
for sanctuaries ; fifty-one pastors still have no home to call their own ; 
ninety-six benefices still fall short of 100 per annum ; sixty-four of 
them exceed that sum, but do not; attain to 150.' The supply of a 
good class of clergy depended on adequate provision for their mainten- 
ance. While life lasted, he would devote himself to this work. Be it 
said to the credit of this amiable prelate that he kept his word. 1 

At no previous period in the nineteenth century had the church 
in Cumberland made such rapid progress in its various spiritual and 
philanthropic aspects than during the long and remarkable episcopate 
of Bishop Harvey Goodwin, 1869-91. His fame as a mathematician 
and man of science, his power as a preacher, his methodical habits and 
almost exhaustless capacity for work, all combined to stamp the iron 
energy of his will and character upon the diocese of which he was the 
revered and honoured chief for over twenty years. The history of his 
episcopate has been written by the bishop himself, and no description 
by another pen can approach in completeness the narrative which he 
has left behind him in his annual pastoral letters and triennial charges. 
His efforts to improve the material condition of the clergy, to pro- 
vide new districts with churches, to attract men of ability into his 
diocese, and to raise the tone and stimulate the zeal of those already 
at work, were but a small portion of his policy. The character and 
frequency of parochial ministrations were never lost sight of. It was 
his endeavour by counsel and encouragement to raise the religious 
organization of every parish to a high standard. In 1872 the Holy 
Eucharist was celebrated at least monthly in 158 churches ; in 1887 
the number of churches had increased to 255, and in 1890 to 271. His 
aim was to promote a celebration of the divine office in every parish 
church on Sundays and holy days. In the same manner the observance 
of Ascension Day, which had become almost obsolete in Cumberland, 
the frequent advocacy of missionary enterprise in foreign lands, the 
preparation of young people for confirmation and systematic teaching 
in the parish schools were constantly urged upon the clergy. 

Cumberland has been singularly free from scandals among the 
clergy either in their private lives or public ministrations. No instance 
of ritual aberration has disturbed the ecclesiastical harmony of the 

1 Bishop Waldegrave, Charge at bis Second Episcopal Visitation (1864), pp. 23, 25-9. 
II H3 15 


county. When Bishop Goodwin had occasion to refer to methods of 
church ministration, ritual defects rather than ritual excesses were the 
subject of his allocution. Sounds of conflict in the ecclesiastical courts 
over the colour of vestments or the posture of priests in divine service 
have not been heard. The full tide of the Oxford Movement was 
spent before it reached our shores. Clergymen of forty or fifty years' 
standing speak in admiration of the change which has passed over the 
county during their ministerial life in the matter of restored churches, 
bright and orderly services, and reverent behaviour. Here and there an 
incumbent vests his choir- men and boys in cassock and surplice, takes 
' the eastward position,' lights two candles, and perhaps puts on a 
special vestment for the celebration of the weekly sacrament. But 
in most of the churches there is no attempt at outward ceremony ; 
a plain brass cross with two vases for flowers is the only ornament 
of the altar, and the cassock, surplice, stole and academic hood are 
the only vestments of the priest. The Public Worship Regulation 
Act has been a dead letter in Cumberland. 1 During the writer's 
experience the only rag of ritualism he has ever seen in the county 
was the black or academic gown for use in the pulpit. In 1872 
this strange vestment was reckoned among the ' ornaments 'of 1 1 8 
churches. 2 The black gown now takes its place with the pitch-pipe 
and the barrel organ as the relic of an extinct ritual. 

Not a little uneasiness in ecclesiastical circles was caused by the 
extreme line taken up by Dean Close on the ritual controversies of his 
time, 1856-81. He was a masterful figure in the religious life of Carlisle, 
and belonged to the straitest sect of militant protestantism. For his earnest 
eloquence as a preacher and his unwearying advocacy of church extension, 
temperance, foreign missions and other philanthropic agencies, he deserves 
a grateful recognition. But he was an uncompromising opponent of Trac- 
tarianism, which he regarded as ecclesiastical reaction. The vehemence of 
his denunciation served to propagate the principles he condemned. In 
1873 proposals to establish a religious community in Caldewgate, a poor 
and populous district of the cathedral city beneath the windows of the 
deanery, were carried to completion. It was indiscreetly called ' an 
oratory,' and had the patronage of a notorious ritualist of a southern 
diocese. At the same time the incumbent of a neighbouring parish 
made some alterations in his method of conducting service after the 
restoration and beautifying of his church, which were interpreted as an 
advance to Romish practices. In addition to this, the bishop made a state- 
ment in the cathedral pulpit of what he ' conceived to be sober Church 

1 Under the eighth section of this Act, only one representation was made in the diocese of Carlisle 
between 1874 and 1898, and the bishop refused to allow proceedings to be taken. It was the case of the 
vicar of St. George's, Barrow-in-Furness, in 1878 (Public Worship Regulation and Church Discipline, 
parl. paper, pp. 36-40). The ritual practices complained of were harmless enough, and most of them 
are now common in the diocese and excite no suspicion. In 1899 Bishop Bardsley testified ' that there is 
not one instance of a confessional box put up in a church in the diocese of Carlisle ' (Church of England 
Confessional Boxes, parl. paper, pp. 8-9). 

a Bp. Goodwin, Primary Charge, p. 23. 


of England views on the subject ' ot sacramental confession. The in- 
dignation of the dean of Carlisle found vent in a series of comminations 
which are read with astonishment at the present day. It was a passing 
excitement and soon cooled down. When a pastoral staff was presented 
to Bishop Goodwin in 1884, on the occasion of the visit of the Church 
Congress to Carlisle, ' in grateful recognition of his faithful and unwearied 
efforts during the past fourteen years in tending the flock of God com- 
mitted to his charge,' the memories of past controversies had been 
forgotten, and the unanimity among clergy and laity in selecting this 
form of gift marked the arrival of a new and better state of things. 





AS the diocese of Carlisle was founded nearly half a century before the counties of Cum- 
berland and Westmorland took their present shape, the boundaries of these civil divisions 
had no effect in determining its extent. The district or land of Carlisle from which 
Dolfin was expelled by William Rufus was a strip of territory between the rivers Esk and 
Derwent, extending eastward from the Solway to the Reycross on Stanemore on the borders 
of Yorkshire, and cut off from Northumberland and Durham by the Pennine range of hills. 
It embraced the whole of Cumberland as it now is, with the exception of the south-western 
angle between the Derwent and the Duddon, known as the county or barony of Coupland, 
and the eastern portion of Westmorland, known as the county or barony of Appleby. The 
present county of Westmorland was thus divided into two parts, the barony of Appleby, which 
was included in the land of Carlisle, and the barony of Kendal, which at the date of the cre- 
ation of the bishopric was a part of the great county of York. Some time after the conquest 
in 1092, the new district was placed under the rule of Ranulf Meschin as the vassal of the 
English crown, and its ecclesiastical supervision passed at once to the jurisdiction of the arch- 
bishop of York. In order to set at rest the rival claims of the bishops of Glasgow and Durham, 
who from certain historical associations were contending for its oversight, and to assist more 
directly its ecclesiastical development, Henry I. created the new province into a bishopric 
with the seat of the bishop in the priory church which he had founded in Carlisle. Except 
in the cases of three parishes on the northern and eastern bounds of modern Cumberland 
with very peculiar histories, the extent of the diocese of Carlisle had undergone no alteration 
from the date of its formation in 1133 till its enlargement in 1856. 

The parish of Alston on the eastern border has the peculiar distinction of being in the 
county of Cumberland and diocese of Durham. It is quite certain that this district formed 
no part of Ranulf Meschin's fief, and that the church there was never within the jurisdiction 
of the bishop of Carlisle. The parish, cut off from the land of Carlisle by the natural barriers 
of hills and wastes, was part of the liberty of Hexham or Tyndal, and lay without the county 
of Cumberland after its formation as a fiscal area about 1174.' On the other hand, the small 
parish of Over Denton in the same neighbourhood, consisting only of a thousand acres, though 
in the county of Cumberland, remained in the diocese of Durham till the beginning of the 
eighteenth century. 2 Both of these churches were in the deanery of Corbridge and arch- 
deaconry of Northumberland, and were valued as such in the taxation of Pope Nicholas IV. 
on 20 December 1291 ; though Over Denton is not noticed in the valuation of Henry VIII. 
in 1535, it is included, with the parish of Alston, in the deanery of Corbridge on the appended 
map of the diocese of Durham. 3 How this singular arrangement came about will be more 
conveniently explained when the history of individual parishes and advowsons of churches 

1 The early history of the advowson of Alston is stated on the pleadings in Quo Warranto (Rec. Com.), 
p. 120. Its subsequent history may be seen in Raine, Priory of Hexham (Surtees Soc.), ii. pp. ix. 119, and 
the references there given. In the Nonas Rolls of Northumberland for 1340 the commissioner reported 
that he did not answer for Alston ' quia est infra libertatem de Hextildesham ubi nullum breve regis 
currit ' (Hodgson, Hist, of Northumberland, iii. pt. iii. p. xxxvii.) 

a The advowson of Over Denton was given to the priory of Lanercost by Buethbarn in the twelfth 
century (Reg. of Lanercost, MS. iii. I, 2, xii. 26, i. 4, 5). It is stated in the Nonas Rolls that Denton 
in Gyldesland formed part of the deanery of Corbridge, but was not in the county of Northumberland 
(Hodgson, Hist. iii. pt. iii. p. xxxvii.) For the final transference of the church of Denton from the 
diocese of Durham to that of Carlisle in 1703, and for its history as far as it could be gathered at that 
date from the episcopal registers of Durham, see Bishop Nicolson, Miscellany Accounts (Cumbld. and 
Westmorld. Archseol. Soc.), p. 4. 

Compare Taxatio Eccl. (Rec. Com.), p. 316, with Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v. 328. The distinc- 
tion between Nether Denton and Over Denton in both valuations is clearly discernible. 



comes under review. The present parish of Kirkandrews-on-Esk was formed out of the 
Debatable Land on the Scottish frontier by letters patent of Charles I. in I63I. 1 There can 
be no doubt that there was a church of Kirkandrews near the present site in the early part of 
the twelfth century, 2 when the land of Carlisle extended into Scotland further than the inter- 
national boundary finally agreed upon by the commissioners of Edward VI. But so far as the 
history of the diocese is concerned, the parish of Kirkandrews had no separate ecclesiastical 
existence till the date named. 

The enlargement of the diocese in 1856, so as to include the whole of Cumberland with the 
exception of the parish of Alston, the whole of Westmorland, and Lancashire north of the 
Sands, has been already noticed. It consists of 297 ecclesiastical parishes, of which 169 are in 



THERE is little doubt that the archdeaconry of Carlisle was not only conterminous with 
the diocese, but was also coeval with its formation in 1133. At a very early period the 
benefices of the diocese were taxed to maintain the dignity of the archdeacon as well as 
that of the bishop. When Adelulf, the first bishop, confirmed the appropriation of certain 
churches to the priory of Wetheral, he imposed on the monks the obligation of paying the 
synodals and archidiaconals due from these churches. In subsequent confirmations to this 
house, the reservation of archidiaconal dues was made a feature of the bishop's sanction. 3 
Previous to the extension of the diocese in 1856, there was but one archdeaconry, the arch- 
deaconry of Carlisle. 

During the long vacancy of the see which followed the death of the first bishop, the 
archdeacon was the local head of the diocese, having an official of his own in the diocesan 
court, 4 and employing chaplains in quasi-episcopal fashion for the maintenance of his dignity. 5 
Sometimes the archdeacon was entrusted with the custody of the bishopric, 8 and sometimes 
with the duties of official. One of them administered the affairs of the diocese throughout 
the greater portion of the reign of Henry II., and another held Carlisle for a short time with 
the archdeaconry of Durham. During the prolonged vacancy of the bishopric, appoint- 
ments to the archdeaconry were made by the Crown. 7 

It is not certainly known what provision was made for the maintenance of the office 
during the twelfth century. The archdeacon probably had a share of the endowments of 
the church of Carlisle, out of which the bishopric and priory were supported in common. 8 
In the thirteenth century, when the succession of bishops became regular, two benefices appear 
to have been burdened one after the other for the maintenance of the archdeacon. When 

Carl. Epis. Reg. Smith, MS. ff. 325-6. 

' National MSS. of Scotland (Rec. Com.), i. No. 38. 

Reg. of Wetkerbal (Cumbld. and Westmorld. Archaeol. Soc.), pp. 44, 54, 58, 211, 213, 216. 

4 Archdeacon Geoffrey de Lascy had an official in the time of Bishop Bernard (Reg. of Wetherhal, 
p. 72). Thomas de Morland was archdeacon's official in the time of Bishop Walter (Reg. of Fountains, 
f. 324b). Thomas de Foveis filled a like post in 1264 (Whitby Chartul. i. 230, 285). The official of the 
archdeacon of Carlisle was recognized by the diocesan synod in the fourteenth century (Carl. Epis. Reg. 
Welton, ff. 134-5). 

Reg. of Lanercost, MS. viii. 2 ; Reg. of Wetherhal, p. 101. 

* Each of the archdeacons in turn was custos of the see during the long vacancy in the twelfth cen- 
tury. Archdeacon Robert was probably custos, for he had power of institution to benefices (Whitby 
Chartul. i. 42). Peter de Ross was certainly custos as well as archdeacon (Reg. of Wetherhal, pp. 216, 
219) ; so also was Americ Thebert (Reg. of Lanercost, MS. viii. 2). 

* Hoveden, Chron. (Rolls Series), iv. 14 ; Rot. Lift. Pat. (Rec. Com.), i. 35b. 

8 This appears from Bishop Adelulf's address to Elyas, the archdeacon, and the chapter of St. Mary, 
as if he were a member of that body (Whitby Chartul. i. 38). While there was no bishop, if the arch- 
deacon performed the administrative work of the diocese, he would claim a rightful share of the emolu- 



Americ Thebert, rector of Dalston, was promoted to the archdeaconry in 1 196, the revenues 
of that church became contributory to the support of the office. By ordination of Bishop 
Irton in 1285, a third portion of the fruits of Dalston was annexed to the archdeaconry propter 
evidentem ipsius exilitatem,the amount in 1292 being as much as 15.' For some years the 
pension continued to be paid, but it appears to have ceased after the church was appropriated 
to the bishop's table in I3O7- 2 It is not known at what time the rectory of Great Salkeld, 
granted to Bishop Walter on 27 September, i2T,j, 3 became annexed to the archdeaconry, 
but there is no doubt that it had been enjoyed by the archdeacons of Carlisle from the close 
of the thirteenth century till 1855, when a canonry in the cathedral was substituted by Order 
in Council. 4 

Another source of revenue arose from the procurations paid by parish churches to meet 
the expenses of the archdeacon's visitation. These parochial dues were of prescriptive obliga- 
tion. The payment was a natural sequence of archidiaconal visitation. When the church of 
Newton Arlosh was founded in 1 304, Bishop Halton made it clear in the deed of consecration 
that the incumbent should pay the archdeacon forty pence by way of procuration. 8 The arch- 
deacon of Carlisle was invested with a nominal or inquisitorial jurisdiction as ' the eye of the 
bishop ' for the purpose of visiting churches and clergy and reporting to his diocesan what he 
had seen and heard. His visitations came under the administrative surveillance of the dio- 
cesan synod, which, as occasion required, laid down rules for his guidance. By a constitution 
of the Carlisle synod in the fourteenth century, it was declared that procurations were due to 
the archdeacon on the principle that ' the labourer was worthy of his hire,' but the clergy in- 
sisted on the application of another maxim when that officer did not visit, namely, that no 
procurations should be paid, ' for if a man did not work, he should not eat.' This synod 
enacted that procurations in all cases should be moderate for man and beast, and that the arch- 
deacon's retinue should not exceed what was allowed by the constitutions of the church. 6 
The necessity for synodical supervision is evident from the proceedings of Archdeacon Richard 
called ' de Lyth,' who was punished in 1291 for exacting immoderate procurations from the 
rectors of the diocese, inasmuch as the number of persons who attended him consumed more 
victuals than the amount of the legal dues. 7 

The collection of procurations was a constant source of trouble to the archdeacons of 
Carlisle. Again and again did the bishop instruct his rural deans to exhort the clergy to 
an immediate discharge of their obligations. 8 In some cases when they were too backward, 
the archdeacon was authorized to proceed against them by the weapons of ecclesiastical censure, 
suspension, excommunication, and interdict in the diocesan court. 8 But it should not be for- 
gotten that all these things took place by the exercise of the bishop's authority alone. It was 
the bishop who sent out his rural deans to warn the clergy of the archdeacon's visitation, 
and it was he who dealt with them for the non-payment of their archidiaconal obligations. 
Bishop Halton complained in 1318 that the archdeacon's procurations could not be recovered 
because the churches were burnt and travelling was so perilous that no visitations could be 
undertaken. 10 But a time came when there was an archdeacon who could visit, and who caused 
a commotion in the diocese by claiming co-ordinate jurisdiction with the bishop. In many 
respects the vagaries of Archdeacon William de Kendale are most interesting in diocesan 
history. Provoked by the execution of a papal writ in negocio provisario without authority, 
Bishop Kirkby wisely grappled with the situation by issuing a commission to review the ecclesi- 
astical status of his subordinate, including his title to hold the church of Great Salkeld and to 

Reg. Abp. Romanus of York, MS. f. 131 ; Taxatio Eccl. (Rec. Com.), p. 318. 

a Archdeacon Appleby, in a return of the emoluments of his benefice in 1 366, reported to the bishop 
that ' the portion of the archdeacon in the church of Dalston was taxed at 15, of which he had never 
received anything, nor any of his predecessors, for forty years as he had heard ' (Carl. Epis. Reg. Appleby, 
MS. f. 152). 

3 Chart. R. 21 Hen. III. No. 31, m. 2. In 1262 the patronage was in dispute between the bishop 
of Carlisle and the King of Scotland (Close, 46 Hen. III. m. izd ; Rymer, Fcedera (ed. 1816), i. 417). 
The bishop maintained his right to the patronage in 1292, when Richard de Whitby was persona im- 
personata of Salkeld and archdeacon of Carlisle (Quo Warranto [Rec. Com.], p. 116). From 
the latter date at least the rectory was annexed to the archdeaconry. 

* Carl. Epis. Reg. Villiers, MS. ff. 64-6. 

e Harl. MSS. (Reg. of Holmcultram), 3911, ff. 7-8, 3891, ff. 20-1. 

o Carl. Epis. Reg. Wei ton, ff. 135-6. 

' Cat. of Papal Letters, i. 538. Carl. Epis. Reg. Welton, f. 18. 

Ibid. ff. 25, 35. 10 Ibid. Halton, ff. 209-10. 



receive ' the third penny ' as the perquisites of chapters and synods. 1 The gravamen of the 
indictment was not so much that he held two benefices with cures of souls, but, as the bishop 
told the Archbishop of York, that he wished to find out by what right the archdeacon usurped 
and meddled with his episcopal jurisdiction contrary to universal custom. 2 The suit lasted 
over three years and ended disastrously for the archdeacon, for he was deprived in 1340 for 
persistent contumacy in the bishop's court and diocesan synod. 3 The right of the archdeacon 
to the church of Salkeld could not have been seriously questioned, but his claim to exercise 
a concurrent jurisdiction within the archdeaconry, which was conterminous with the 
diocese, provoked the bishop to action. 

When the ecclesiastical atmosphere had cleared after the storm raised by the contentions 
of William de Kendale, the bishop adopted a more conciliatory attitude towards his arch- 
deacon and drew up an agreement which marked a new era in the history of the office. By 
this scheme the tenure of the archdeaconry was made more agreeable to its occupant, and all 
occasion of friction was for ever done away. As the terms of the deed, which is dated z May 
1360, while William de Rothbury was archdeacon, are in many respects remarkable, its chief 
provisions may be noticed. In the first place the bishop conceded to his subordinate the right 
to have a proctor in the chapters, celebrated by the official, to help him in making corrections, 
and to keep a counter-roll of the corrections so made ; also to summon by his letters the clergy 
to his visitation and to proceed by ecclesiastical censure against those who did not appear. 
Moreover power was given him to distrain for his procurations. And, lastly, it was allowed 
that when the rural deans rendered their accounts, the archdeacon was to receive the third 
penny of all corrections and synodals, or he may proceed against the said deans to recover his 
dues. 4 It should be borne in mind that no concessions were made of a judicial or coercive 
jurisdiction, and no power was delegated in contravention of the bishop's ordinary right of 
visitation. The archdeacon resided at his country rectory situated almost in the centre of the 
diocese, from which he made periodical circuits of diocesan inspection. As the procurations 
were understood to be a reward for his exertions they were not paid when the visitation was 
omitted. The third penny continued to be advanced by the rural deans out of the capitular 
fees. In the bishops' accounts, which are still extant for several years between 1402 and 1509, 
it is invariably noted by the deans in the schedule of receipts that the tercia -pars of corrections 
and synodals, always of course a varying sum, belonged of right and had been paid to the 
archdeacon. 6 

The history of the archdeaconry from the Reformation to the extension of the diocese in 
1856 possesses few incidents of ecclesiastical interest. The archdeacons had fallen to the level 
of country parsons, and exercised no special functions except the induction of clergymen to 
benefices after they had been instituted by the bishop, the presentation of candidates for 
ordination, which they were bound to do by the rubric of the Ordinal, and the personal visita- 
tion of churches which they frequently omitted. During the religious unsettlement of the 
Tudor period, the office came to be looked upon as a sinecure. The archdeacon of 
Carlisle was usually non-resident. If not employed elsewhere, the cure of the parish of Great 
Salkeld claimed his attention. The importance of the office of diocesan chancellor, which is 
but a modified form of the offices of official principal and vicar general, rose out of the ashes 
of the archidiaconate. Owing to the lethargy of archdeacons, the chancellors pushed them on 

i Carl. Epis. Reg. Kirkby, ff. 358-9. Kendale claimed the third penny of synods and chapters 
by right of his institution to the archdeaconry as his predecessors had received it before him by ancient 
custom (ibid. f. 362). 

Ibid. f. 367. " Ibid. MS. ff. 407-8. 

* Ibid. Welton, ff. 67, 74. 

* For the history of archidiaconal jurisdiction and the archidiaconal court see the excellent account 
by Bishop Stubbs in Eccl. Courts Com. Rep. (1883), i. pp. xviii. xix. 21-51. In the diocese of Carlisle 
the archdeacon's court seems to have been suppressed about 1270, except for the adjudication of trifling 
causes, and his vested interests in the issues were compounded. By this composition the tercius denarius 
was allowed out of all fines and impositions levied in the diocesan courts. When Bishop Halton collated 
Peter de Insula in 1302, he made it clear that the new archdeacon should not meddle with matters 
requiring judicial investigation contrary to the custom observed in that diocese for thirty years or more 
(Carl. Epis. Reg. Halton, f. 62). By a constitution of the diocesan synod, the archdeacon or his official 
was forbidden to exercise coercive power (ibid. Welton, ff. 129-40). From the date of the composition, 
above referred to, the archdeacon of Carlisle lost all title to a disciplinary jurisdiction, and as long as 
the office was reckoned a constitutional department of diocesan administration, the bishops never relin- 
quished control of the courts to which their clergy owed allegiance. 



one side and gradually usurped all their prescriptive rights in the visitation of the clergy. But 
in the diocese of Carlisle the archdeacons had a poor chance in the competition. The chan- 
cellors, as the delegated officers of the bishops, held correctional courts in various centres for 
the transaction of the legal business of the diocese. These courts were held not only when 
the bishop visited, but when they did not visit. For two centuries after the Reformation, 
the clergy were not much troubled with episcopal visitation. Matters were worse in the case 
of the archdeacons. We have not noticed a single record of archidiaconal visitation from the 
Submission of the Clergy in 1534 until the new departure of recent years. Throughout the 
long period of three hundred and fifty years, the visitorial power of the archidiaconate had 
been suspended. 

After the Restoration in 1660, when the bishops began to hold their triennial visitations 
with more frequency, their chancellors followed their example in holding chapters for the 
hearing of causes. As time rolled on, the chapters held by the chancellors came to be regarded 
in the nature of a visitation. In due course they utilized those occasions,in the years when 
the bishops did not visit, for the delivery of homilies to the clergy and churchwardens. Dr. 
Paley, who had been appointed archdeacon in 1782 and chancellor in 1785, at once detected 
the incongruity of visitorial charges as delivered by the bishop's legal adviser. In speaking of 
' the discourses ' usually delivered at a chancellor's visitation, he remarked, ' I embrace the 
only opportunity afforded me of submitting to you that species of counsel and exhortation, 
which, with more propriety perhaps, you would have received from me in the character of 
your archdeacon, if the functions of that office had remained entire.' l Still the custom went 
on. When a new archdeaconry was added to the diocese in 1856, the chancellor, relying on 
his letters patent, undertook its oversight. Bishop Goodwin, however, on the death of Chan- 
cellor Burton, made a new arrangement whereby he appointed a layman to the chancellorship 
and invested his archdeacons with as much authority in visitation as the law of the land and 
the custom of the diocese allowed them. Dr. Prescott now unites in his own person the 
offices of archdeacon of Carlisle a and chancellor of the diocese. When the diocese was 
extended, the new portion, consisting of the barony of Coupland or Egremont in Cumberland, 
the barony of Kendal in Westmorland, and Lancashire north of the Sands, was constituted 
into the archdeaconry of Westmorland by Order in Council, dated to August 1847, which 
order was to come into force with consent of Bishop Percy or on the next avoidance of the 
see. As the bishop withheld his consent, the new archdeaconry did not come into being till 
after his death in 1856, when his successor, Bishop Villiers, appointed the first archdeacon of 
Westmorland in that year. 3 

The formation of the archdeaconry of Furness in 1884 occasioned some difference of 
opinion. Bishop Goodwin explained his action in these words : ' Great changes have taken 
place in this diocese in the course of the last thirty years in consequence of the development 
of industries connected with our rich possessions of iron ore. Large towns have sprung up 
where small villages alone existed, or perhaps not even villages ; and the whole of the western 
side of the diocese has a new and immensely multiplied population.' This consideration, 
however, did not cause the bishop to apply to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for the pur- 
pose of creating a new archdeaconry till the Duke of Devonshire and the Duke of Buccleuch. 
offered to provide 200 a year for its endowment. 4 The archdeaconry of Furness was con- 
stituted to consist of the rural deaneries of Gosforth in Cumberland, and of Cartmel, Dalton, 
and Ulverston in Lancashire, by Order in Council dated 19 May 1884, and the first arch- 
deacon was appointed on 29 May following. 5 

In order to carry out the new scheme no regard was paid to historic boundaries, and the 
ancient landmarks were obliterated. Twelve parishes in the south-east of Cumberland were 
dissevered from the archdeaconry of Carlisle and added to that of Westmorland ; the ancient 
deanery of Coupland was split in two and divided between Westmorland and Furness. After 
an unbroken continuity of seven and a half centuries the archdeaconry of Carlisle was muti- 

Works of William Paley (ed. E. Paley, 1830), vi. 61. 

2 The first ' charge, delivered to the clergy and churchwardens of the archdeaconry of Carlisle ' by 
Archdeacon Prescott, took place ' at his ordinary visitation in May, 1888,' the subject being ' Visitations 
in the ancient diocese of Carlisle.' The charge, which has been printed, contains a scholarly survey of 
past visitations. It is the first of its kind on record. 

> Carl. Epis. Reg. Villiers, f. 81. 

4 Bishop Goodwin, Charge (1884), pp. 22-3. 

6 Carl. Epis. Reg. Goodwin, ff. 391-2. 


lated, and its boundaries, which lay at the very roots of northern history and were in existence 
before the formation of the counties of Cumberland and Westmorland, were uprooted and 
changed. The name of the deanery of Coupland, which had a separate history dating at least 
from the early years of the fourteenth century * as an outlying portion of the great and famous 
archdeaconry of Richmond, was expunged from local nomenclature. The three archdeacon- 
ries, into which the present diocese of Carlisle is divided, have neither ecclesiastical associ- 
ations nor historical significance. 

Each of the archdeacons of the diocese holds what he calls ' a general chapter and ordinary 
visitation ' in various centres of his archdeaconry in the years when the bishop does not visit, 
to which he summons ' all rectors, vicars, and curates as also churchwardens and chapelwardens, 
both old and new, the old to make true presentments of all defaults and offences of ecclesiastical 
cognizance, with the names and places of abode of the several delinquents, and those newly 
elected or re-elected, to be admitted to their office.' 



THE division of the diocese of Carlisle into four districts a had undergone no modification 
while rural deaneries remained an effective part of church organization, the deaneries of 
the twelfth being of the same extent as those of the sixteenth century. When we find 
the deans describing themselves in early documents, say from 1160 to 1190, their decanal areas 
were set out in the four divisions of Carlisle, Cumberland, Allerdale, and Westmorland, 3 the 
identical divisions which were in use till the office became extinct. It is true that deans some- 
times changed their territorial titles, but it is certain that the decanal divisions underwent 
no alteration to justify the practice. On comparing the parishes comprised within each of 
the four divisions in 1292, the date of the valuation of Pope Nicholas IV., with the divisions 
recognized at various periods up to 1560, when the office was in a state of decay, we find no 
shifting of decanal boundaries. In the meantime, of course, new parishes had been formed 
and old parishes had been absorbed into other parishes, but the territorial extent of each of 
the four deaneries had remained stationary. As the deanery of Westmorland lay without 
the limits of Cumberland as we now know it, we are not concerned with its place in the dio- 
cesan scheme. The remaining portion of the county, not included in the old diocese, was 
constituted into the deanery of Coupland, a partition of the archdeaconry of Richmond and 
diocese of York. It was conterminous with the barony of Egremont, the great fief granted 
by Henry I. to William Meschin, and often went by that name. This deanery was included 
in the diocese of Chester, created in 1541, and remained under the jurisdiction of the bishop 
of that see till 1856, when the diocese of Carlisle was enlarged to its present dimensions. The 
historic division of the county into four deaneries may be thus tabulated : (i) Deanery of 
Carlisle, comprising thirty-five parishes, namely, St. Cuthbert's and St. Mary's, Carlisle, 
Bowness, Aikton, Cumwhitton, Irthington, Wetheral, Warwick, Farlam, Burgh by Sands, 
Stanwix, Crosby on Eden, Beaumont, Kirkandrews on Eden, Dalston, Carlaton, Thursby, 
Brampton, Stapilton, Eston, Cambok, Athuret, Kirklinton, Bewcastle, Castle Carrock, Orton, 
Kirkbampton, Rocliffe, Cumrew, Hayton, Scaleby, Grinsdale, Nether Denton, Walton, and 
Sebergham. (2) Deanery of Allerdale, eighteen parishes : Aspatria, Wigton, Kirkbride, 
Bromfield, Bolton, Ireby, Uldale, Crosthwaite, Caldbeck, Isell, Bassenthwaite (Beghokirk), 
Torpenhow, Plumbland, Gilcrux, Bridekirk, Crosscanonby, Dearham and Camerton. (3) 
Deanery of Cumberland, seventeen parishes : Greystoke, Castlesowerby, Skelton, Dacre, 
Hutton, Penrith, Edenhall, Great Salkeld, Lazonby, Kirkland, Ousby, Melmerby, Kirkoswald, 

Gale, Reg. Honor, de Richmond, App. pp. 63-4, 76. 

1 For the antiquity of rural deaneries in England and their formation on the basis of the civil divi- 
sions, see the arguments and the authorities quoted by Gibson, Codex luris Eccl. Ang. (ed. 1713), ii. 1010- 
2; Kennett, Parochial Antiquities (ed. 1818), ii. 337-45; Dansey, Hone Decan. Rurales (ed. 1844), 
ii. 22-1 10. 

3 It is stated by Bartholomew de Cotton that the bishopric of Carlisle had four deaneries : ' I. Cum- 
berland, 2. Westmerland, 3. Karlesle, 4. .Airedale ' (Hist. Anglicana [Rolls Ser.], p. 417). 

II 121 16 


Ainstable, Renwick, Addingham and Croglin. 1 (4) Deanery of Coupland. The boundaries 
of Coupland are so well defined by nature that there is no need to name the parishes of which 
it was composed. In 1292 it included the whole of the south-west angle of Cumberland between 
the Derwent and the Duddon, together with Lancashire north of the Sands. At some date 
before the valuation of 1535 the Lancashire portion was dissevered from it and constituted 
into the deanery of Furness and Cartmel. 2 

While the institution remained a factor in diocesan administration, it does not appear to 
have been of much consequence in the constitutional history of the church. In whatever 
way the office was at first filled, whether by election of the clergy of the deanery or by appoint- 
ment of the bishop or archdeacon, it may be taken that in its later history the bishop of 
Carlisle nominated his rural deans. As so little is known of the method of appointment, we 
may reasonably infer that it was not a patent office with delegated powers like that of the 
official or vicar-general, nor yet a benefice with a territorial jurisdiction like that of the arch- 
deacon. In the fourteenth century, while we have a very full record of the acts of five suc- 
cessive bishops, no evidence has been preserved of the form of commission entrusted by them 
to the rural deans of the diocese. The appointments of these officers were not considered 
suitable for or worthy of record. But there is one entry 3 in the register of Bishop Welton, 
perhaps unique in the registers of the English episcopate, which shows conclusively that the 
method of appointment was by oral declaration or nomination without any writ or designation 
in writing. It is a memorandum to the effect that on 10 October 1355, Bishop Welton gave 
authority to John, vicar of Penrith, to be his dean of Cumberland. It is satisfactory to have 
this solitary nomination, for it is sufficient to prove, so far as the diocese of Carlisle is con- 
cerned, that rural deans, like chaplains, apparitors and bailiffs, were the personal officers of the 
bishop, who engaged or dismissed them at his pleasure, and that their duties were regulated 
by local custom and the will of their employers. It has been thought that it was the delivery 
of the decanal seal 4 which constituted the office, but as the canons of the church are very 
explicit on the use of the seal by rural deans, no claim to jurisdiction can be constructed on this 
basis. The absence of record shows the precarious nature of the tenure by which the office 
was held. 

If we turn to the recorded acts of rural deans and inquire into the use the bishops made 
of them, as it suited their convenience, we shall not be left in doubt of the nature of the office. 
We find no trace of the exercise of jurisdiction over the benefices within the deanery. The 
deans invariably acted under mandate from the bishop. It was ' by the tenor of these pre- 
sents ' that ' power was conceded ' to them to transact his business. In these circumstances 
it may be expected that their duties were multifarious. They carried the bishop's summons 
to every parsonage warning the clergy of his visitation. When a subsidy was granted in synod, 
the deans were instructed to collect it. From several of the benefices pensions were due to 
the bishop, and the deans annually accounted for their collection. When parsons were 
amerced for non-appearance at synod, it was the duty of the deans to recover the fines. We 
might enumerate a long list of decanal duties, but all of them have the same complexion. The 
rural deans were the messengers, summoners, process servers, and tax gatherers of the diocese. 

From what has been stated it may be easily inferred that the decanal office was closely 
associated with the diocesan registry. Year by year the deans presented their accounts to 
the registrar. Several of these accounts are still extant at various dates between 1402 and 
1509. They are all of the same character, each consisting of a schedule of moneys received 
and paid on the bishop's behalf, the balance going to the registrar, who in turn rendered account 

1 The order of parishes in these deaneries has been taken from the schedules in Carl. Epis. Reg. 
Halton, ff. 501-2, and Ibid. Appleby, MS. f. 340. Though the benefices were the same in 1292, the 
order was different (Taxatio Eccl. [Rec. Com.], pp. 318-20). The same rule holds for the valuation 
of 1535 (Valor Eccl. [Rec. Com.], v. 278-92). 

Compare Taxatio Eccl. p. 328 with Valor Eccl. v. 265-7, ar >d t ' le ma P ^ t ' ie diocese of Chester 
attached thereto. 

3 ' Prefeccio vicarii de Penreth in decanum Cumbrie. Memorandum quod decimo die Octobria 
anno domini millesimo ccc mo lv' venerabilis pater, G(ilbertus), dei gracia Karliolensis episcopus, 
prefecit dominum Johannem vicarium de Penreth in decanum suum Cumbrie ' (Carl. Epis. Reg. 
Welton, f. 22). Lyndwood says that rural deans were yearly elected and sworn in the diocesan synod 
(Provincials [Oxford, 1679], p. 85). 

4 No impression of a decanal seal has come down to us in this diocese. But we know that the deans 
used a ' seal of office ' for certifying the receipt and delivery of mandates, inquisitions de jure fatronatus 
and such matters (Carl. Epis. Reg. Appleby, ff. 166-7, l8 4~5) 



to the bishop. One feature of these schedules is always present, that is, the salary of the dean. 
The bishop employed him to collect the spiritualities arising within his deanery from synodals, 
corrections and testamentary causes, and awarded him his annual allowance for the service 

There are two questions, not without interest at the present day, about the ancient 
position of rural deans in the scheme of diocesan administration, that deserve a passing notice, 
namely, their relation to the archdeacon and to the rural chapter. It does not appear that the 
archdeacon had any power over them at the date when the diocesan registers begin to give 
us guidance. They were the officers of the bishop alone. When the archdeacon ' disposed 
himself ' to make his visitation in 1356, it was the bishop who sent out instructions to the rural 
deans for the citation of abbots, priors, rectors, vicars and others to appear on the days and at 
the places appointed. It was not the duty of the deans to drudge for the archdeacon. When 
the clergy were slack in their payment of archidiaconal dues, some of the bishops used the deans 
to urge the clergy into an early discharge of their liability. Bishop Welton had an arrange- 
ment with his archdeacon whereby the rural deans collected them for him. 1 In the rural 
chapters we might have expected the deans to have had pre-eminence, but that was not the 
case. The holding of chapters in the diocese of Carlisle was regulated by a constitution of 
the diocesan synod. By this enactment it was the archdeacon or the official who was required 
to celebrate rural chapters at places most convenient to the clergy, and not oftener than once 
a month. 3 When arduous business was brought before this consultative body, the official 
or the dean was commissioned to summon the clergy by mandate of the bishop. The presi- 
dency of rural chapters was not vested in the dean. It was coram officiali that the business 
was transacted. 

During the progress of the Reformation the usefulness of rural deans declined in this 
diocese. Bishop Best found the old order in existence when he succeeded to the charge in 
1561. The diocese, as he reported to the privy council in 1563, was divided into five ' regi- 
ments,' one deanery of the cathedral church, and the four rural deaneries of Carlisle, Allerdale, 
Cumberland, and Westmorland. He also supplied the names of the deans, the parishes within 
each deanery, and the number of households within each parish. 3 This is the last mention of 
rural deans that has been met with in the diocese. Though they ceased apparently to be 
nominated, the ecclesiastical divisions were continued for various purposes up to the close 
of the eighteenth century. In 1618 the diocese was assessed according to the above-named 
deaneries ' for horse and armour ' by Bishop Snowden, 4 on the strength of ' letters from the 
lords of his Majesty's most honourable privy council to him directed.' It was by the same 
divisions that Bishop Rainbow made inquiries in 1668-9 about the condition of church plate 
and church furniture after ' the long discontinuance of church government in those late times 
of war and rebellion.' 5 The same bishop held his visitation in 1682 at the four principal 
towns in these deaneries, at the cathedral for the deanery of Carlisle, at Wigton for Allerdale, 
at Penrith for Cumberland, and at Appleby for Westmorland. 6 In 1752 Bishop Osbaldiston 
collected his procurations and synodals by the same ecclesiastical divisions. 7 In later years 
these rural deaneries came to be known by the names of their four principal towns, Carlisle, 
Wigton, Penrith, and Appleby. 8 The tradition of the former existence of rural deaneries had 
died out in the diocese in the time of Bishop Percy. That prelate was unable to trace them 
in his diocesan registers ; writing on 28 September 1843 he said definitely that ' there are no 
rural deans in the diocese of Carlisle ' ' It may be taken that for almost three centuries the 
office was extinct in the northern diocese. 

It is to the credit of Bishop Villiers that it was he who revived the institution in our own 
time. On i January 1858, by the stroke of his pen, he subdivided the diocese into eighteen 
rural districts and nominated a beneficed clergyman in each district to be his dean. The 

i Carl. Epis. Reg. Welton, ff. 25, 28, 67. 
Ibid. Appleby, f. 136 
> Harl. MS. 594, f. 9. 
4 Carl. Epis. Reg. Snowden, f. 249. 
8 Ibid. Rainbow, ff. 460-1. 

Browne Willis gives the names of the deaneries as Allerdale, Carlisle, Penrith, and Westmorland 
(A Survey of Cathedrals, i. 284). 

7 Manuscript schedule in Diocesan Registry. 

8 Nicolson and Burn, Hist, of Cumberland, ii. 6. 
Dansey, Harts Decan. Rurales, ii. 371. 



same bishop re-arranged the deaneries and re-appointed the deans on I January 1862.* Again, 
on 27 January 1870 Bishop Goodwin altered the boundaries and increased the number of 
deaneries, making twenty for the whole diocese. 2 Another shuffle was announced in the 
London Gazette, which contained an Order in Council, dated 10 March 1882, ratifying the 
new scheme of deaneries prepared by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and sanctioned by 
Bishop Goodwin. 3 At the present time (1904) the archdeaconry of Carlisle contains eight 
rural deaneries and 146 benefices ; the archdeaconry of Westmorland, 6 deaneries and 91 
benefices ; the archdeaconry of Furness, 4 deaneries and 60 benefices. These divisions now 
follow no recognized boundaries and have no historical significance. The decanal areas were 
fortuitously chosen as convenience dictated ; they vary in extent from 12 to 22 benefices. 
In announcing the rearrangement of 1882 Bishop Goodwin very truly remarked : ' I can 
scarcely believe that even after all the trouble that has been taken the scheme will give abso- 
lutely universal satisfaction in every one of its details.' But there was the assurance that 
further change would be made, if thought desirable. 4 

When Bishop Villiers revived the office, he appears to have been satisfied with the nomi- 
nation of the deans. The entry in his register simply records the fact that he had divided his 
diocese into deaneries and appointed deans. In later years the institution has been elevated 
into a patent office with a commission in scriptis. Bishop Goodwin commissioned his deans 
(i) ' to inquire into and duly report to us all such things within the said deanery, as it is meet 
for the honour of God and for the welfare of the flock of which we are overseers that we should 
know,' (2) ' to co-operate with the archdeacon of your archdeaconry in making inquiry into 
the state and condition of the churches, chancels, and churchyards, and all things thereunto 
belonging, and also into the state and condition of the glebe houses and glebe lands and all 
things thereunto belonging, within your said deanery rural,' and (3) to inspect ' the schools 
existent within your deanery, if the trustees and managers thereof shall permit you so to do.' 
This form of commission has varied little or nothing since 1865, according to a book of forms 
preserved in the diocesan registry. In making a record of appointments, the present registrar 
follows the style of his predecessors. On every avoidance of the see, the office of dean 
lapses, but it is customary for the new bishop to reappoint all the old deans who are willing 
to serve. 



I./^\MN1BUS sancte Matris ecclesie filiis presentem cartam inspecturis, B. humilis 
\^/ Prior Karliolensis et ejusdem loci Conventus, salutem in Domino. Ad universitatis 
vestre noticiam volumus pervenire, quod cum a domino G. tituli Sancti Martini 
presbitero Cardinali quondam legato in Anglia, secundum mandatum apostolicum prout in 
literis apostolicis sibi destinatis continetur, ordinacio facta fuisset ecclesie Karliolensis, et 
secundum formam ejusdem mandati per eundem legatum distribucio fieri debuisset, inter 
venerabilem patrem Hugonem Episcopum nostrum et nos, omnium bonorum, possessionum, 
ac reddituum ejusdem ecclesie, equali porcione ipsi et nobis assignanda, ut perpetuo nos 
medietatem optineremus omnium ad eandem ecclesiam pertinencium mobilium et inmobi- 
lium, que tune temporis eadem ecclesia nostra possederat vel possidere debuerat ; et similiter 
idem dominus Episcopus et successores ejus reliquam medietatem. Tandem, cum propter 
repentinum recessum ejusdem legati ab Anglia, predicta perfici non potuissent ; de iterate 
mandato apostolico dominus P. Norwycensis electus domini pape Camerarius, post ipsum 
apostolice sedis in Anglia legatus, que minus in eadem ordinacione vel distribucione facta 
fuerant sicut receperat in mandatis apostolicis perviros venerabiles Abbatem de Holomo et 

i Carl. Epis. Reg. Villiers, ff. 145-50, 274-9. Ibid. Goodwin, ff. 646-53. 

> These deaneries are set out in full detail for each of the three archdeaconries in the Carlisle Dio- 
cesan Calendars from 1885 to 1904. When the archdeaconry of Furness was created by Order in Council, 
dated 19 May 1884, the rural deaneries in each archdeaconry were again named and sanctioned. For 
the modern statutes affecting rural deaneries and rural deans, see Phillimore, Ecdes. Law, i. 258. 

4 Pastoral Letter (1882), p. 19. Taken from Charter Roll 18 Edw. I. No. 26. 



Priorem de Exsthildesh[am] fecit compleri. Ita tamen, quod cum quedam inter ipsum Epis- 
copum et nos remansissent pro indiviso ; pro eo quod tune nequibant prefati viri plenius hiis 
vacare. Postmodum placuit eidem Episcopo et nobis ut compromitteremus in quosdam 
bonos viros, qui juramento prestito reliqua, que remanserant indivisa, fideliter dividerent, 
et in omnibus medietate partibus assignata omnia terminarent. Omnibus igitur per eos 
rite peractis ; in pleno sinodo Karliolensi tarn prima quam secunda distribucio a predicto 
Episcopo sunt approbate, et ab ipso et nobis recepte et acceptate, sicut in originali inde con- 
fecto in eodem sinodo recitato et quamplurium Abbatum et aliorum magnorum virorum 
sigillis munito, plenius continetur. Sane cum idem dominus Episcopus et nos, per literas 
apostolicas prefato domino P. legato delegatas, Magistrum Michaelem Belet super medietate 
ecclesie de Corbrigg, et S. de Heind' super ecclesia deWerkewrth coram eodem legato traxis- 
semus in causam, quas ecclesias dicebamus ad nos et ad ecclesiam nostram pertinere de jure, 
et in proprios usus possidere debere. Post litem super hiis legittime contestatam, cum jam 
fere perventum fuisset ad extremum examen, tandem predicti viri Magistri M. Belet et 
S. de Heind' in presencia ejusdem domini legati, jus ecclesie Karliolensis super eisdem 
ecclesiis sponte per se recognoscentes, eas in manu domini H. Episcopi nostri resignarent. 
Unde predictus dominus legatus Priori de Tinemue et Priori Augustald' dedit in mandatis, 
ut predictas ecclesias cum omnibus ad eas pertinentibus domino Episcopo et nobis 
assignarent, et in earundem inducerent corporalem possessionem, et a quibuslibet 
contradictoribus auctoritate legacionis sue seu delegacionis tuerentur inductos. Post traditam 
vero ecclesiarum possessionem, cum sepedictus Episcopus posuisset in opcione nostra, ut 
eligerimus, quod de duobus nobis magis placeret, videlicet, ut eidem Episcopo et successoribus 
ejus nos septuaginta marcas assignaremus in annuis redditibus in partibus Karliolensibus, et 
totaliter ecclesiam de Werkewrth cum omnibus pertinenciis perpetuo possideremus, aut ipse 
sexaginta marcas assignaret nobis in eisdem partibus, et eandem ecclesiam ipse et successores 
sui perpetuo totaliter possiderent, et omnia sustinerent onera ad eandem ecclesiam pertinencia, 
videlicet, de vicario instituendo, de solvenda porcione quadraginta marcarum domino Dunol- 
mensi, secundum quod contingere deberet ecclesiam de Werkewrth de ipsis quadraginta 
marcis, quas pro omnibus ecclesiis, quas ecclesia Karliolensis habet in Northumbria, idem 
Episcopus Dunolmensis percipere debet sicut continetur in carta Hugonis Episcopi Dunol- 
mensis, archidiaconalia nichilominus exhibendo, et si qua alia contigerint emergenda. Nos 
de communi consensu, libera et spontanea voluntate, previa deliberacione elegimus, quod 
dominus Episcopus in partibus Karliolensibus, secundum quod dictum est, assignaret nobis 
redditum sexaginta marcarum in recompensacione medietatis ejusdem ecclesie deWerkewrth, 
et nos eandem ecclesiam cum omnibus pertinenciis suis quietam clamaremus, et perpetuo 
possidendam concederemus, nee aliquando ei vel successoribus suis super hiis questionem 
moveremus. Ipse autem Episcopus, acceptans electionem nostram et concessionem, ad con- 
sideracionem trium bonorum virorum ex parte ipsius, et trium ex parte nostra, de ipsis sexa- 
ginta marcis plenius satisfecit. Ipsi vero in quos compromisimus, prestito juramento, quod 
in neutram declinarent partem, set bona fide cuncta perfectius ordinarent, universa plenius 
perfecerunt, et ea que subscripta sunt de redditibus Episcopi nobis assignaverunt, videlicet, 
medietatem alteragii ecclesie sancte Marie, que erat in manu ejus pro viginti marcis, quinque 
skeppis farine et siliginis, de Haiton in Gilleland pro sexdecim solidis, viij denariis. De 
terra Rogeri fratris Prioris, xl. denarios. De rusticis et firmariis de Karleton propter servicium 
quod Johannes de Crofton debet, xxxj. solidos. De Nicholao de Askerton et Waltero de Bruns- 
kayt et Maria de Staynton et Johanne Musee de Seal', xvj. solidos. De terra Marthepet' j. 
skeppam de farina pro xl. denariis. De pensione de Kirkeland, x. solidos. De Uckemanby, ij. 
solidos, vj. denarios. De Camberton, ij. marcas. De Ulnesby, dimidiam marcam. De terra 
de Ireby, ij. solidos, vj. denarios. De Timpaur' et Neubigging, xxiij. solidos. De minutis 
redditibus infra Karliolum et circa, prout continetur in magno rotulo de prima distribucione, 
C. et iiij. solidos. De vastis infra Karliolum et circa, xv. solidos, viij. denarios. De porcione 
Episcopi de pensione de Ireby, xx. solidos. De Blencarn', iij. solidos. De Buthecaster, xl. 
denarios. De Hoton in foresta, xij. denarios. De Radulpho de Caldecot, xij. denarios. 
Totam decimam de Birkscagh preter scalam Hospitalis sancti Sepulcri pro xliiij. solidis. De- 
cimam de Hubbricteby pro iiij. libris xvj. denariis. Decimam de Neuby pro xl. denariis. 
Decimam de Morton pro vj. solidis. Decimam de Kunelholm pro xl. denariis. Totam 
partem Episcopi de Neubigging preter communam foreste et pasture, que sunt xij. bovate 
terre, duabus acris minus. Totam partem Episcopi de Birkscagh, preter unam carucatam 
terre, quam tenet Odardus clericus de eo et successoribus ejus. De Adam de Milneburn, 



vj. denarios. De Talkan in Gilleland, xij. denarios. De Bramton in Westmorlanda, vj. 
denarios. De Caber, vj. denarios. DeLouth, ij. marcas. DeCamboc, ij. solidos. De Cnochubcrt, 
ij. solidos. De vico Bochardi, xl. solidos. Faciunt autem omnes hii redditus summam Ix. 
marcarum, exceptis ij. solidis, quos remisimus domino Episcopo pro expensis suis, quas fecit 
circa adquisicionem ecclesie de Werkwrth. Sciendum autem, quod dominus Episcopus et suc- 
cessores ejus retinent in manu sua jus patronatus omnium predictarum ecclesiarum ; nee 
recipimus pensiones ex eis nomine pensionis set in recompensacione summe Ix. mar- 
carum suprascriptarum. Utvero omnia supramemorata eidem domino Episcopo et suc- 
cessoribus ejus firma sint imperpetuum et inconcussa, presentem cartam nostram eis con- 
tulimus sigillo nostro munitam. Hiis testibus Magistro A. tune Officiali Karliolensi, A. 
de Espatric tune decano Karliolensi, Magistro Th[oma] de Denton, Odardo clerico, L. 
monacho de Holmo, W. monacho Belli Loci tune capellano domini Episcopi, Fratre G. 
et fratre W. conversis Episcopi, Johanne de Crofton cive Karlioli, et multis aliis. 

II. Universis Christi fidelibus ad quos presens scriptum pervenerit, Johannes Francus, 
Canonicus Lichefeldensis, Magister W. de Glovernia, Canonicus Cicestrensis, et Magister 
P. Legat, Officialis domini Karliolensis, salutem in Domino. Noveritis, quod cum contencio 
esset inter venerabilem patrem nostrum, S., Dei gracia Karliolensem Episcopum, ex parte 
una, et R. Priorem et Conventum Karliolensem, ex altera, super medietate ecclesie de 
Corbrigg, ecclesia et terra de Ireby, et quibusdam aliis ecclesiis et possessionibus, quas Prior et 
Conventus Karliolensis possident contra distribucionem factam inter predecessores predicti 
Episcopi, Prioris et conventus, et super ecclesia de Penred et molendinis de Hornecaster et 
quibusdam aliis possessionibus et rebus quas idem Episcopus possidet contra distribucionem 
predictam, et super libertatibus Priori et Conventui per felicis recordacionis W. 
quondam Karliolensem Episcopum concessis, et super obedienciariis in Prioratu Karliolensi 
instituendis ac destituendis et rebus aliis. Tandem iidem Episcopus, Prior et Conventus 
ordinacioni nostre super omnibus premissis totaliter se supposuerunt sicut plenius liquet per 
literas utriusque partis patentes. Nos autem tenore distribucionis predicte plenius inspecto 
et intellecto, et utriusque partis jure considerato, paci et tranquillitati eorundem providere 
volentes et Deum pre oculis habentes, unanimi assensu or dinavimus quod ecclesia de Penred 
et molendina de Hornecastre, ecclesia de Meleburn cum capella de Chelardeston, et manerium 
de Barwe, advocacio ecclesie de Rowbirie, advocacio ecclesie Novi Castri, advocacio ecclesie 
de Caldebeck, salvo jure predictorum Prioris et Conventus in decem et octo marcis annuis 
in quibus vendicant se jus habere in eadem ecclesia post decessum vel cessionem Rectoris, qui 
nunc preest eidem, imperpetuum remaneant predicto Episcopo et successoribus suis quieta 
et soluta a predictis Priore et Conventu et successoribus eorundem. Et medietas ecclesie de 
Corbrigg et ecclesia de Ireby cum terra, et ecclesia de Camberton, et ecclesia de Cumrew, et 
eciam de Hayton, et Prioratus Hib[ernensis], advocaciones ecclesiarum de Hoton et de Camboc 
et de Edenhal, et medietatis ecclesie de Wytingham, et terra de Soureby quieta de multura, et 
decime de dicta terra provenientes, imperpetuum remaneant predictis Priori et Conventui 
et eorum successoribus quieta et soluta de predicto Episcopo et successoribus suis, salvo jure 
ordinario. Et sciendum, quod idem dominus Episcopus confirmabit predictis Priori et Con- 
ventui libertates per predecessorem suum 1 eisdem concessas. Et quocienscunque Supprior vel 
Celerarius in Prioratu Karliolensi fuerit preficiendus, predicti Prior et Conventus eligent 
duos vel tres ad ilia officia idoneores, quos presentabunt domino Episcopo si fuerit in diocesi, 
sin autem, infra mensem postquam eorum electio ad ejus pervenerit noticiam committet 
alicui vices suas in hac parte, ita quod ilia officia per ejus defectum non vacent ultra tempus 
predictum, et erit in opcione ejusdem domini Episcopi quem voluerit de illis tribus Electis 
admittere et eidem assensum suum prebere. Preterea ordinamus, quod omnia in utraque 
distribucione contenta, de quibus in hac ordinacione nulla fit mencio, in suo robore permaneant 
imperpetuum secundum tenorem utriusque distribucionis. Ita tamen, quod idem dominus 
Episcopus alias donaciones factas eisdem Priori et Canonicis, de quibus hie nulla fit mencio, 
confirmabit eisdem. Et ut omnia premissa perpetuum robur firmitatis optineant, predictus 
Episcopus uni parti hujus scripti, et predicti Prior et Conventus alteri parti una cum sigillis 
nostris, sigilla sua apposuerunt. Acta in ecclesia sancti Laurencii de Appleby in crastino 
sancti Egidii anno gracie M.CC. quadragesimo nono. 

1 This concession of liberties by Bishop Walter to. the Prior and Convent of Carlisle is recited 
by inspeximus in Chart. R. 6 Edw. III. pt. i. No. 30. 




Showing ancient Rural Deaneries and the Religious Houses. 

Scale . 



William Stanford & Company, Ltd. i. 



CALDER fl/ocS op 

PART OF '-. 


O' 1 *. DIOCESE OF ; 



1 . Carlisle Priory. 

2. Lanercost Priory. 

Holmcultram Abbey. 

4. Calder Abbey. 


5. StBees Priory. 

6. Wetheral Priory. 


7. Armathwaite Priory. 

8. Seton Priory. 


9. Carlisle.Dotninicans. 
i o . Carli sle . Franciscans . 
i i . Penrith, Austin. 


i 2. Carlisle, St. Nicholas. 

13. Carlisle, St. Sepulchre. 

14. Wigton, St.Leonard. 

15. Bewcastle. 

16. Caldbeck. 

17. St. John in the Vale. 


18. Grey stoke. 

19. Kirkoswald. 



The religious houses of Cumberland, though not individually of 
great fame and importance, played no inconspicuous part in the moral 
well-being of a district unfortunately situated for the cultivation of the 
arts of peace and civilization. Within a comparatively small area six 
monastic foundations carried on their work with varying success for 
almost four centuries. Four of these houses were close to the border, 
and suffered much during the long period of hostility between the two 
kingdoms. The priories of Carlisle and Lanercost, separated only by 10 
or 1 1 miles, were of the Augustinian order ; the abbeys of Holmcultram 
and Calder, between which there seems to have been little communication, 
were of the Cistercian ; and the priories of Wetheral and St. Bees were 
cells of the great Benedictine abbey of St. Mary, York. The houses of 
Calder and St. Bees were in the archdeaconry of Richmond and diocese 
of York, but the rest were in the old diocese of Carlisle. With the 
exception of Holmcultram, which owed its origin to the Scottish occu- 
pation, the foundation of all the Cumbrian houses may be ascribed to 
Norman influence. We are indebted to the great period of religious 
revival under Henry I. for the foundation of Carlisle, Wetheral, St. Bees 
and Calder. Four of the houses were undoubtedly founded by subjects. 
Carlisle was of royal foundation. It is difficult to tell whether Holm- 
cultram, which was an offspring of Melrose, was founded by Alan son of 
Waldeve, in whose fee the lordship was situated, or by Henry son of 
King David, who at the time ruled Cumberland. 

The priory of Carlisle stood apart from the rest of the religious 
houses by reason of its peculiar association with the ecclesiastical life 
of the district. At the creation of the diocese in 1133 the church of 
the priory became the cathedral of the bishop, and the canons were 
constituted his chapter. In the fourteenth century the capitular body 
consisted of a prior and twelve canons, which number may be taken as 
the normal strength of the chapter. At the same period only four 
canons and a prior were reckoned on the foundation of Lanercost, and 
though Wetheral was founded as a community of twelve monks its num- 
bers had dropped at the date in question to a prior and three monks. 
Holmcultram was the largest and most important house in the county, 



and its abbot was for a time a lord of parliament/ The number of 
monks varied according to the political state of the country. In 1379 
the abbot and fourteen monks contributed to the royal subsidy, but at 
the time of the dissolution the surrender of the abbey was signed by the 
abbot and twenty-four brethren. All the houses on the border were 
subject to vicissitude. In times of special distress, when the Scots were 
successful in frequent raids, the revenues were found incapable of support- 
ing the inmates, and orders had to be issued to houses in more peaceable 
parts of the kingdom to admit brethren of the northern monasteries to 
hospitality till the pressure was relaxed. 

It is a peculiar feature of monastic history on the border that the 
heads of religious houses were not exempt from the international custom 
of trial by battle which prevailed in the twelfth and thirteenth cen- 
turies. In spite of condemnation by the highest authorities, 1 the duel 
was observed among clerics as well as laymen. In 1216 Pope Inno- 
cent III. issued his famous bull contra duellum religiosi to all the faith- 
ful throughout the province of York and realm of Scotland, describing 
' the pestiferous custom ' then in fashion between the two kingdoms as 
quite contrary to the law and honesty of the church. ' Even to this day 
its observance is so far abused,' he said, ' that if a bishop, abbot or any 
cleric happened to be prosecuted for an offence for which the duel was 
wont to be fought between laymen, the religious man was compelled to 
undergo the duel in person.' 8 Some years later, in 1237, the clergy of 
England presented a list of grievances which they wished Henry III. to 
redress. In one of the articles it is declared that by the command of the 
kings of England and Scotland not simply clerics but also abbots and 
priors in the diocese of Carlisle were forced to fight with lances and 
swords the duel which was called Acra on the marches of the realms. 
An abbot or prior, whatever his dignity or order, was obliged to 
sustain the combat in person or to provide a champion. If the cham- 
pion succumbed, he was slain, and the abbot or prior, who was a prisoner 
on the scene of battle, was likewise beheaded. 4 Though the clergy 
petitioned that so detestable an abuse should be no longer allowed with 
respect to ecclesiastical persons, churchmen remained subject to the duel 
in the border laws promulgated in 1249.' As late as 1279 we have an 
instance of preparation for a duel at Appleby before the justices itinerant 
between the champions of the abbot of Furness 8 and Roger son of Ralf 

1 Par/. Writs (Rec. Com.), i. I, 25, 72 ; ii. 37 ; Lords' Report on the Dignity of a Peer (Index 

" The ordeal by hot or cold water or hot iron was condemned by the Lateran Council of 1215 
(Landon, Manual of Councils, i. 331). Henry III. instructed the justices itinerant in Cumberland and 
Westmorland in 1219 to discontinue the custom 'cum prohibitum sit per ecclesiam Romanam judicium 
Ignis et Aquae ' (Pat. 3 Hen. III. m. 5). 

3 Reg. Epis. Glasguensis (Bannatyne Club), i. 94. In 1176 a letter was obtained from Henry II. 
in which he declared ' that no cleric should be forced to fight the duel' (Ralph de Diceto, Of era [Rolls 
Ser.], i. 410). 

* Ann. Mon. (Rolls Ser.), i. 256-7. 

6 Nicolson, Leges Marchiarum, 8. 

6 For some churchmen's champions see Neilson's Trial by Combat, 503, which is considered the 
standard authority on this subject. 



de Hestholm in a plea of common pasture at Meles in Kirksanton in 
Cumberland. Roger had disputed the right of the abbot to the common, 
and as an agreement could not be arrived at, one of the parties appealed 
the other in wager of battle that God might defend the right. The 
justices sat in area duelll attended by members of the county court, and 
as the combat proceeded the affair was abruptly ended in the abbot's 
favour by Roger renouncing his claim to the property and withdrawing 
his champion. 1 

It will be readily admitted that a county on the Scottish frontier 
was ill adapted to the multiplication of nunneries. In fact, one marvels 
that a religious society of women could exist during the periods of bar- 
baric strife which broke out from time to time between the two king- 
doms in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The few nuns at 
Armathwaite in the valley of the Eden, nine miles to the south of 
Carlisle, were often plundered and impoverished, but managed to hold 
together till the dissolution. The nunnery of Seton, though far removed 
from the scene of frequent forays, did not increase in wealth or influence. 
The glimpses we get of it betoken its miserable condition of poverty. 
Both institutions were entitled in the name of Our Lady and constituted 
under the Benedictine rule. 

All the monastic bodies in the portion of Cumberland within the 
ancient diocese of Carlisle were subject to episcopal visitation and cor- 
rection except the Cistercian abbey of Holmcultram. The value of the 
bishop's periodic inspection was proved on several occasions of dispute or 
mismanagement. Monks, canons and nuns were alike amenable to his 
pastoral advice. In the early centuries of diocesan history the Bishop of 
Carlisle was not a popular figure with the regular clergy. Whether the 
hostility took its rise from his differences with the priory of Carlisle about 
the distribution of the property of his church, or on account of his zeal in 
keeping cloistered life up to the requisite standard, there can be no doubt 
that the monasteries smarted under his supervision. In cases of dispute 
between neighbouring houses the bishop was the natural referee for the 
readjustment of friendly relations. From some instances on record we 
see that he did not spare the litigating parties ; his award was often 
drawn up in language of sternness, not to say of asperity. But as time 
went on more amicable relations prevailed. The monks found the 
bishop a useful ally in promoting their interests, and they were too 
worldly wise not to grapple with the situation by making him their 
friend. Holmcultram was a papal peculiar over which the bishop of 

I Beck, Ann. Furnesienses, 2245. The deed of quitclaim which followed was witnessed by 
William son of Thomas de Craystok, Roger de Loncastria, Thomas de Muletona, Roger de Lasceles, 
Ranulf de Daker, Thomas de Musegrave, Alan de Orretona, and Robert de Mulcastre. On the back 
of the deed there is the following endorsement : ' Die et anno contentis in hoc scripto Inrotulata fuit 
tota sententia script! istius cum divisis eo contentis in rotulis Justiciariorum hoc scripto nominatorum. 
Ipsis Justiciariis sedentibus in area duelli in parte percussi, et retractis utrimque campionibus pacificati 
ad instanciam Rogeri de Estholme ibidem presentis et tarn Inrotulamentum predictum quam presentis 
script! tenorem gratis concedentis et approbantis.' A somewhat similar diel was fought in Yorkshire 
in 1239, when an abbot was intimidated by armed force to withdraw his champion and renounce his 
right (Cal. of Papal Letters, i. 179-80). 

II 129 17 


the diocese had no visitorial jurisdiction. Like the priories of Carlisle 
and Lanercost, the monks had the right of electing their own superior, 
but that election would be void unless it took place under the presidency 
of the abbot of Melrose. In this respect the abbot of the mother house 
stood in much the same relation to Holmcultram as the bishop did to 
Carlisle and Lanercost, for in these houses the bishop's licence was 
the necessary prelude to every election as his confirmation was indis- 
pensable for its completion. By virtue of a series of papal bulls Holm- 
cultram was freed from episcopal control. An unwarrantable exercise 
of papal privilege brought the monks into conflict with the secular 
clergy in 1401, when proctors were employed in the deaneries of 
Carlisle and Allerdale, where the influence of Holmcultram was pre- 
dominant, 'to labour pro clero against the Cistercians' in the matter per- 
haps of the refusal of that house to contribute to a subsidy due to the 
Bishop of Carlisle. 1 It is worthy of note that it was only in this house 
that undoubted evidence of anarchy and disorder was discovered during 
the great agitation which preceded the final overthrow of the monas- 
teries in the county. 

The coming of the friars to Carlisle at so early a date as 1233 
seems to have been due to the ecclesiastical sympathies of Bishop 
Walter. At all events in that year the Dominicans or Black Friars 
and the Franciscans or Grey Friars were introduced into that city. 
Soon after the Augustinians gained a footing in Penrith. The Carmelites 
or White Friars settled at Appleby, and, though not in Cumberland, they 
were reckoned among the four mendicant orders which exercised their 
vocation in the diocese of Carlisle. All the friars were under episcopal 
control. The houses in Carlisle and Penrith were furnished with churches 
and churchyards. 

It is claimed that hospitals should rank as religious houses among 
eleemosynary institutions. Little is known of the nature or origin of 
those which at one time must have been numerous in Cumberland. 
No other hospital in the county, of which record has been discovered, 
attained to the importance of St. Nicholas, Carlisle. It was of royal 
foundation and originally a house for lepers only, but in process of 
time, as it increased in wealth, it became an asylum for the sick and 

The foundation of colleges seems to have been attended with con- 
siderable difficulty in Cumberland. The first attempt, undertaken at 
Melmerby in 1342, utterly failed, and it was only after prolonged 
negotiation that the project for converting the parish church of Grey- 
stoke into a college was carried to a successful issue. The college of 
Kirkoswald was founded a few years before the dissolution. 

1 In the accounts (compoti) of the deans of Allerdale and Carlisle for the financial year 1401-* 
certain sums were allowed to the accountants for ' procuratoribus laborantibus pro clero contra ordinem 
Cisterciensem.' These entries can only be explained in their relation to the monks of Holmcultram. 
Compare statute 2 Hen. IV. cap. 4 and Chron. man. de Melsa (Rolls. Ser.), iii. 271-2, 279. 













(13 CENTURY). 



We naturally look to Carlisle for the earliest 
evidence of ecclesiastical life and movement 
in the new province which had been added to 
the English kingdom in 1092. It has been 
pointed out that very early in his reign, most 
probably in 1102, Henry I. granted a site 
within the city for the purpose of founding a 
religious establishment. 1 For various reasons 
already stated, little else seems to have been 
done till after the political changes of 1 120-2, 
when Ranulf Meschin, the civil ruler, left 
the district and the king took it into his 
own hand. From this date onward a vigor- 
ous policy was carried on for its ecclesiastical 
development. How much progress had been 
made with the building of the church or the 
religious organization of the city during 
Ranulf's consulate we cannot tell. The 
happy turn of its fortunes may be ascribed to 
the pious instincts of Walter the priest, who, 
on taking the religious habit and becoming an 
inmate of the house, endowed the institution 
with all his churches and lands. 2 The king, 
at whose instigation the step was taken, 
granted the reversion of four churches in 
Northumberland which he had previously 
given for life to Richard D'Orival (de Aure'a 
Valle), 3 his chaplain, and added to the gift two 
other churches in the same county. But the 
landowners of the neighbourhood were slow to 
emulate these great examples. It is true that 
Waldeve son of Gospatric, who had succeeded 
to the barony of Allerdale, was one of the 
first patrons of the royal foundation ; the 
churches of Aspatria and Crosscanonby ; the 
chapel of St. Nicholas, Flimby ; and a house 
near the church of St. Cuthbert, Carlisle, 
were of his gift.* In the earlier stages of its 
history the priory does not appear to have 
created much enthusiasm. Its possessions 
consisted chiefly of spiritualities, with the 
notable exception of the manors of Linstock 
and Carleton bestowed by Walter the priest. 
But the king was pursuing a steady policy. 
In 1130 the canons were busy in completing 
their church. 5 The time was ripe for a fresh 

The foundation of the bishopric in 1133, 
with the seat of the bishop in the new priory 
church of St. Mary," gave unity and force to 

1 Assize Roll (Cumberland), No. 132, m. 32; 
Scotichronicm, i. 289, ed. Goodall. 
1 Charter R. 35 Edw. I. No. 100. 

Dugdale, Mm. vi. (i), 144. Ibid. 

Cal. of Doc. Scot. (Scot. Rec. Pub.), i. 26. 

the ecclesiastical life of the district, and was 
chiefly instrumental in bringing in endow- 
ments to support the organizations which 
followed. Little is known of the constitution 
of the priory before it was raised to the 
dignity of a cathedral chapter. It was prob- 
ably a house of secular canons. But it seems 
satisfactorily proved, if we trust the evidence 
of the chronicles, that it was Adelulf the first 
bishop, soon after his consecration in 1133, 
who changed the constitution of the priory 
by the introduction of regular canons of St. 
Augustine. 7 To this circumstance, there can 
be little doubt, we owe the unique position 
which the priory of Carlisle held as the 
only cathedral chapter of regular canons in 
England. Adelulf had been prior of the 
Augustinian house of Nostell near Pontefract, 
and was a well known patron of his order 
before he was raised to the episcopal dignity. 8 
When we take into consideration the late 
creation of the bishopric and the antecedents 
of the first bishop, the singularity of the con- 
stitution of the cathedral church appears to 
need no further explanation. The bishop 
was not only master of his church, but he 
also enjoyed a participation in its endow- 
ments. The church of Carlisle was one 
ecclesiastical corporation with the bishop at 
its head. It is a curious fact in illustration 
of the bishop's predominance in his cathedral 
that the monastic order, to which the canons 
of his chapter belonged, could not make sta- 
tutes or ordinances for the enlargement or 
modification of the rule under which they 
lived without his sanction. In 1302, many 
years after the endowments of the priory and 
bishopric had been separated, when the heads 
of Augustinian houses were assembled at 
Drax in Yorkshire, Bishop Halton sent a 
mandate forbidding them to enact anything to 
the prejudice of his church of Carlisle without 
his pontifical consent and authority, inasmuch 
as his chapter was composed of regular canons 
of their order, and those, making new ordi- 
nances and statutes, should be guided by 
moderation that the bond of love between 
subjects and rulers (inter subditos et parentes} 
might be strengthened. This mandate was 
carried to the conclave at Drax by Brother 
William, a canon of the house, nominated 
for that purpose by the prior and chapter. 9 

Sym. ofDur. (Rolls Ser.), ii. 285. 
' Matth. Paris, Cbron. Mag. (Rolls Ser.), ii. 158 ; 
Dugdale, Mon. vi. (i), 91. Ibid 

Carl. Epis. Reg., Halton, f. 64. 


The bishop's supremacy over his cathedral 
church cannot be questioned. It has been 
already pointed out that the bishop and his 
chapter formed one ecclesiastical corporation 
and held the lands and spiritual possessions of 
the church of Carlisle in common. When a 
division of the property was made and the see 
became an institution in some measure separ- 
ate from the priory, care was taken to define 
the relationship of the head of the diocese to 
the corporate body occupying the church 
which represented the unity of his diocese 
and contained the seat of his jurisdiction. 
There is little doubt that at the outset the 
appointment of the prior was in the patronage 
of the bishop, and perhaps of the king when 
the bishopric was void. When the terms of 
the arrangement for the separate endowment 
of the see were complete, this privilege seems 
to have been relinquished to the chapter in 
compensation for the redistribution of emolu- 
ments. At all events it was not until 1248 
that the canons had the liberty of electing 
their own superior. On 25 November in 
that year, Pope Innocent IV. granted pro- 
tection and confirmation of possessions to the 
prior and convent, and especially the chapelry 
of the church of Carlisle, with all offerings, 
tithes, and parish rights belonging to the said 
church, except the offering at Whitsuntide, 
all the land formerly belonging to Walter the 
priest, which King Henry gave and confirmed 
by his charter, and other possessions. The 
pope also granted to the canons the right of 
electing the prior and prohibited the bishop 
from disposing of their emoluments without 
their consent. 1 

The bishop however did not give up alto- 
gether his control of the internal affairs of 
the priory when the property was divided. It 
was part of the bargain that he should have 
a voice in the selection of the sub-prior and 
cellarer, the two principal officers of the house. 
By virtue of an ordination made on 2 Sep- 
tember 1249, between Bishop Silvester on 
the one part, and R(obert), the prior, and 
convent on the other, it was stipulated that 
as often as the office of sub-prior or cellarer 
fell vacant, the prior and convent should 
nominate two or three fit persons and present 
them to the bishop that he might select one 
for the vacant post ; if the bishop was absent 
from the diocese at the time, he was required 
to issue a commission within a month after 
the presentation had been brought to his 
notice, that the offices might not remain va- 
cant beyond the aforesaid period ; and that 
it should be at the option of the bishop when 

Cal. of Papal Letters, i. 250. 

present, or of his commissioned deputy when 
absent, to select one of those candidates nomi- 
nated by the priory and to admit him to the 
office. 2 This ordination remained in force 
throughout the history of the priory, and 
sometimes the canons were not backward in 
keeping the bishops up to the letter of the 
original agreement. 

A vacancy occurring in the office of cellarer 
in 1331, while Bishop Ross was residing at 
his church of Melbourne in Derbyshire, the 
canons nominated two of their number, 
Brothers Geoffrey de Goverton and Ralf Gray, 
and requested the bishop by special messenger 
to select one of them for the post or issue a 
commission for that purpose. The letter of 
nomination was dated 25 July, and the latest 
time allowed to the bishop for signifying his 
choice was 8 September. 'Although we are 
not compelled by law,' so the letter runs, ' to 
write to you while you are out of the diocese 
(in remotis), yet for the sake of peace and 
under protest, lest it be quoted hereafter as a 
precedent against us, we are directing these 
presents for this turn.' It is evident that the 
canons were trying to impress their bishop 
with a sense of their magnanimity by pre- 
tending to confer a favour upon him, whereas 
in reality it was no favour at all, as they were 
obliged by law to do what was done. In 
response the bishop appointed the prior of 
Lanercost and the official of the diocese to 

1 An abstract of this ordination, recited 
by inspeximus in Charter Roll, 18 Edw. I. (83), 
No. 26, may be given to illustrate this important 
point : ' Universis Christi fidelibus ad quos presens 
scriptum pervenerit, Johannes Francus, canonicus 
Lichefeldensis, magister W. de Glovernia, canonicus 
Cicestrensis, et magister P(eter) Legat, officialis 
domini Karliolensis, salutem in Domino. Noveritis 
quod cum contencio esset inter venerabilem patrem 
nostrum S(ilvestrem), Dei gracia, Karliolensem 
Episcopum, ex parte una, et R(obertum) Priorem 
et Conventum Karliolensem, ex altera, super . . . 
Et quocienscunque Supprior vel Celerarius in 
Prioratu Karliolensi fuerit preficiendus, predict! 
Prior et Conventus eligent duos vel tres ad ilia 
officia idoniores, quos presentabunt domino episcopo 
si fuerit in diocesi, sin autem, infra mensem post- 
quam eorum electio ad ejus pervenerit noticiam, 
committet alicui vices suas in hac parte, ita quod 
ilia officia per ejus defectum non vacent ultra tern- 
pus predictum, et erit in opcione ejusdem domini 
Episcopi, quem voluerit de illis tribus Electis 
admittere et eidem assensum suum prebere. Pre- 
terea ordinamus . . . Et ut omnia premissa per- 
petuum robur firmitatis optineant, predictus Epis- 
copus uni parti hujus scripti, et predict! Prior et 
Conventus alteri parti, una cum sigillis nostris, 
sigilla sua apposuerunt. Acta in ecclesia sancti 
Laurencii de Appleby in crastino sancti Egidii 
anno gracie MCC quadragesimo nono.' 



choose the ablest and fittest of the candidates 
and induct him to the office. 1 A similar 
custom was observed in 1338-9, when Bishop 
John de Kirkby was residing at Horncastle, 
with respect to the vacant office of sub-prior. 
The official of the diocese was commissioned 
to select the fitter of two canons, R. Paule 
and T. de Stanlaw, submitted to him for the 
post. 3 In 1379 the tenure of the office of 
cellarer came before Bishop Appleby for his 
decision. For some reasons not stated, Prior 
John de Penreth removed Robert de Clifton 
from his office without the consent of the 
majority of the chapter, which caused dis- 
sension and discord in the house. Both 
parties submitted the dispute to the bishop, 
who ordered the restoration of the cellarer to 
his office as he had been irregularly deposed. 3 

In no instance have we met with the de- 
privation of a prior of Carlisle, 4 though Bishop 
Halton was obliged to deliver stern injunctions 
to Prior Adam de Warthwyk, and Bishops 
Ross and Appleby were reduced to the ex- 
tremity of excommunicating Priors John de 
Kirkby and William de Dalston respectively. 
Many examples of resignation are on record. 
Pensions were allowed to the retiring priors 
and suitable provision was made in accord- 
ance with their exalted station for the rest of 
their lives. These pensions were voted by 
the canons as a charge upon their revenues 
and approved by the bishop. In cases, of 
course, where the voidance arose from pre- 
ferment, no pension was assigned. 

The bishops of Carlisle possessed an undis- 
puted power of visitation of the convent, which 
they exercised as occasion called. Individual 
bishops as a rule took an early opportunity 
after their appointment to make a general 
visitation of the diocese, in which not un- 
frequently the priory of Carlisle was included. 
At other times they visited when a cause of 
dispute or some irregularity in the house was 
brought to their notice. The results of some 
of these visitations are not devoid of interest. 
In 1301, after Bishop Halton had visited by 
his ordinary authority the convent as well in 
head as in members at the request of Adam de 
Warthwyk the prior, and inspected the state 
of the institution within and without, he de- 
livered a series of injunctions to the prior 

1 Carl. Epis. Reg., Ross, f. 265. 

' Ibid. Kirkby, f. 390. 

3 Ibid. Appleby, ff. 319-20. 

* Bishop Nicolson stated in his ' Case of the 
Bishop of Carlisle ' that his predecessors had ' cor- 
rected and sometimes deprived the priors for mis- 
application of the common revenues ' (Letters of 
Bp. Nicolson, pp. 341-2), but we have been un- 
able to verify the statement. 

which show us how indispensable was the 
episcopal oversight to the internal discipline 
of the capitular body. By the depositions of 
certain canons of the said monastery examined 
according to custom, a copy of which was 
sent to Prior Warthwyk, the following charges 
were preferred against him : negligence and 
remissness in the discipline of his house con- 
trary to the statutes of the order ; his house- 
hold was much too expensive in those days 
(familia vestra est nimis honerosa bits dtebui) ; 
in preferring and removing obedientiaries and 
in other matters affecting the house, he con- 
sulted only with Brothers Robert Karlile, 
William de Hautwysil, and William de Mel- 
burne, the advice of the rest of the chapter 
having been wholly omitted and despised con- 
trary to the decrees of the holy fathers ; in- 
competency to rule the priory, inasmuch as, 
owing to his failings, order was not preserved 
among the brethren, the business of the house 
was not transacted, and its goods were wasted 
beyond measure by his expensive entourage ; 
by appropriating the perquisites of his court he 
had received the gressoms and profits of the 
green seal (gersummas et appruyamenta viridis 
cere], had held in his own hand for three years 
and more the grange of Newbiggin, whereof 
he received the issues and spent it at his own 
free will without consulting the majority of 
the convent, had returned no account con- 
trary to the statute of the Legate ' de rat- 
iociniis reddendis,' and worst of all he had 
converted the proceeds to his own private 
uses contrary to the vow of his profession ; 
misappropriation of the profits of the trade in 
wine and other merchandise which Brother 
W. de Melburne carried on with his conniv- 
ance without rendering any account ; holding 
back money due from the tenants of the 
monastery and converting it to his own use, 
till the treasurer and barons of the Exchequer 
made a levy on the common goods of the 
house to its great damage and loss ; the em- 
ployment for a long time of W. the clerk, as 
a sower of discord between the brethren in his 
own interest ; improvident concession of a 
corrody to Stephen, rector of Castle Carrock, 
for 4 without converting the money to the 
use of the house ; letting to farm the houses 
and courts of his manors of Corbridge and 
Wyden without the knowledge or consent of 
the convent to its great detriment ; failure 
to account for 100 marks paid to him by 
Master W. de Lowther in the name of the 
monastery, and 200 of old money and 40 
marks of new money left in the treasury by 
Robert the late prior ; appropriation to his 
own use of the profits of a ship made at the 
costs of the house ; by reason of his negli- 



gence and the bumptiousness (elacionem) of 
Robert de Warthwyk his steward, the house 
had an evil reputation in the neighbourhood ; 
want of sympathy with his sick brethren ; 
and making known the proceedings of the 
daily chapter when the secrets of the order 
were discussed, and scoffing at them in his 
own chamber in the presence of the laity. 
Unless these charges were forthwith remedied 
and a reformation made without delay, the 
bishop informed the prior that he should be 
obliged to proceed against him according to 
the insistance of the canons and to decree 
against him what was just. 1 

A scandal of great magnitude convulsed 
the diocese in 1385 when the patience of 
Bishop Appleby was exhausted by the refusal 
of Prior William de Dalston to accept his 
judicial decision in some matters of debate 
between the canons or to give him canonical 
obedience. At last the bishop brought matters 
to a crisis by excommunicating the prior and 
ordering the parish priests of St. Mary's and St. 
Cuthbert's to publish the sentence at the cele- 
bration of mass. The city of Carlisle was 
in an uproar. Many of its leading citizens 
and clergy, espousing the cause of the prior, 
entered the cathedral as well as the parish 
churches at the head of an armed mob, and 
snatching the bishop's letters from the hands 
of the officiating priests carried them forcibly 
away. The bishop threatened to put the 
whole of the city under an interdict with the 
exception of the castle and its chapel. 
Charges of adultery against the prior were 
raised in the controversy. The majority 
of the canons implored the bishop to visit the 
house ; the archbishop cited the prior and his 
abettors for their disobedience ; the king 
wrote deploring the scandal and asking for 
particulars. The upshot of the unpleasant 
business was that Prior Dalston was induced 
to give obedience to the bishop's judgment 
and to resign his office. 1 Perhaps no period 
of equal length in the whole history of the 
priory of Carlisle witnessed more exciting 
scenes than the months of August and Sep- 
tember 1385, while Bishop Appleby stood up 
so resolutely for the maintenance of disci- 
pline and order in his cathedral chapter in 
spite of the threats and opposition of the 
rulers and the mob of his cathedral city. 3 

i Carl. Epis. Reg., Halton, f. 43. 

Ibid. Appleby, ff. 34 8 -54> 357- 

* The declaration of obedience made by Prior 
Dalston a fortnight before his resignation was as 
follows : ' In Dei nomine amen. Ego, frater 
Willelmus de Dalston, prior prioratus Karlioli, 
ordinis sancti Augustini, ero fidelis et obedient 
vobis, venerabili in Christo patri et domino meo, 

Though we have notice of the resignation 
of several of the priors of Carlisle, only in 
one instance have we found particulars of a 
pension allotted to any of them out of the 
revenues of the church. The exception occurs 
i n the case of Adam de Warthwyk, who showed 
such incompetence in administering the affairs 
of the house. In 1304, three years after the 
bishop's onslaught on his mismanagement, 
the prior resigned of his own free will. The 
reasons he alleged for taking this step do him 
credit. He confessed that, broken with old 
age and weakened in bodily senses, he was 
quite unable to rule the priory any longer. 
Bishop Halton, on his part, in assigning him 
a pension, was not backward in complimen- 
tary appreciation of the prior's long service to 
the church. For forty years he had lived as 
a canon regular under the rule (doctrina) of 
St. Augustine in the venerable assembly of 
the convent of his cathedral church, and for 
twenty-one years and more he filled the 
laborious office of prior in times of war and 
troubles, and now, as he had stated, he was so 
burdened with cares and stricken with age 
that he was no longer able to remain. In 
these circumstances the bishop determined, 
with the unanimous vote of the chapter, to 
make suitable provision for his comfort as 
long as he lived. Among the particulars of 
his pension may be mentioned the new 
chamber which the prior had built for himself 
and those who ministered to him daily ; 
rations equal to three times those of an ordin- 
ary canon according to the custom of the 
priory ; the tithe sheaves of Langwathby 
towards the expenses of his household, for as 
he was the scion of a noble family in the 
diocese, a provision in proportion to his 
station and the hospitalities expected of him 
should be made ; an allowance of twenty 
marks yearly for his clothing ; one servant 
and a boy to wait upon him ; and when he 
went outside the precincts of the monastery 
for a change of air (ob arts intemperiem), or for 
recreation, or to visit the granges or manors 
of the priory, or any of his friends within the 
diocese, or for any lawful reason, the prior 
and convent for the time being, under their 
debt of obedience, were obliged to provide him 
and his household with suitable means of 

The traditional relationship of the cathe- 
dral as the chief temple of the diocese to the 

domino Thome, Dei gracia, Karliolensi episcopo, 
et successoribus vestris canonice intrantibus, offici- 
alibus et ministris, in canonicis et licitis mandatis. 
Sic Deus me adiuvet et hec sancta Evangelia ' 
(ibid. f. 353). 

Carl. Epis. Reg., Halton, f. 80. 



parish churches was preserved and perpetuated 
by an annual homage made by the parish 
priests during the week after Pentecost. 
Though the practice was not confined to the 
church of Carlisle, it is interesting to notice 
how jealously the bishops of that see insisted 
on its observance. In 1372 Bishop Appleby, 
on the complaint of the prior and sacrist that 
some of the rectors and vicars failed to put 
in an appearance, issued a mandate to the 
official of the diocese to proceed against the 
truants. The clergy were bound, the man- 
date continued, to visit the cathedral church 
once a year and to join in the procession in 
their surplices with the cross carried before 
them (pracessiona liter in superpelliciis crucem ante 
se deferri facientes), and to do other things 
requisite to show the reverence due from them 
to the bishop's seat. This custom which had 
been observed ab antiquo should on no account 
be allowed to fall into disuse. It was one of 
the most beautiful and instructive phases of 
medieval ritual in its assertion of the corporate 
life and work of the church. From a sub- 
sequent mandate in 1386 we learn that the 
procession wended its way up to the high 
altar when the clergy made their oblations due 
to God as a sign of their subjection to the 
cathedral church. 1 In this way annually, on 
some appointed day in Whitsun week, the 
clergy paid the cathedraticum due from every 
benefice in token of subjection to the bishop's 
jurisdiction and of allegiance to the church 
which represented the unity of the diocese. 

Processions of various descriptions were not 
of unfrequent occurrence at the cathedral, 
inasmuch as it usually led the way in all 
matters affecting the welfare of the district. 
It was to the prior and official of Carlisle that 
the bishop addressed himself in 1365, when 
he instituted special processions with the sol- 
emn chanting of the seven penitential psalms, 
the litany and other suitable prayers to be 
undertaken in the cathedral and all churches 
collegiate and non-collegiate throughout the 
diocese, for good weather. The autumn of 
that year was remarkable for violent storms 
of wind and rain and the crops were much 
injured by the rains and floods. 3 Much the 
same procedure took place when processions 
were ordered as propitiatory ceremonies for 
the averting of a threatened pestilence or for 
success of the English arms against the Scots. 3 
Another great day in the Christian year at 
Carlisle was Ash Wednesday, when penitents 
flocked from places far and near to receive 

i Carl. Epis. Reg., Appleby, ff. 250, 361. 
a Ibid. ff. 144, 203. 
Ibid. Kirkby, f. 371. 

the sacrament of reconciliation in the mother 
church of the diocese. It was the privilege 
of the bishop to attend personally on these 
occasions, but in his absence the duty was 
assigned to the prior. It was by the bishop's 
licence or commission that the prior was able 
to introduce penitents into the cathedral and 
reconcile them to the church ut est moris.* 

A peculiar privilege was enjoyed by the 
prior and convent on very high authority. 
Pope Alexander IV. granted them an indult 
in 1258 to wear birettas or caps in the choir 
on account of the cold, provided they were 
removed at the Gospel and the elevation in 
time of mass. 5 At a subsequent period, when 
the utilitarian convenience of the privilege 
was forgotten, the canons of Carlisle were 
collated to their prebends by the delivery of a 
biretta (per byretti nostri traditionem) from the 
bishop, perhaps, like the verge or rod in civil 
life, as a symbol of seisin. This custom was 
in force at Carlisle throughout the reign of 

From an early period the enclosure of the 
priory or monastic precinct at Carlisle has 
been called ' The Abbey,' though the church 
had never an abbot distinct from the bishop. 
Freeman 7 has pointed out that the same 
peculiarity existed at Bath and Durham. 8 

Ibid. Welton, ff. 1 6, 25. 
Cal. of Papal Letters (Rolls Ser.), i. 361. 
" Carl. Epis. Reg., Barnes, ff. 35, 61, 84, 93, 
etc. ; Letters of Bp. Nicolson (ed. J. Nichols), 335-6. 

7 William Rufus, i. 139. 

8 As the antiquity of the usage at Carlisle has 
been called in question, it may be convenient to 
trace it back far enough to show that it is not of 
modern introduction. At the time of the eccle- 
siastical survey in 1535, via abbathie was the name 
of the street whith connected the north-west gate 
of the precincts with the Caldew gate of the city 
(Valor Ecd. [Rec. Com.], v. 277). In 1488 the 
bishop was said to be in abbatbia (Diocesan MS. 
3 and 4 Hen. VII.). In 1388 the priory is de- 
scribed as St. Mary's Abbey (Cal. of Doc. Scot. iv. 
75) ; and in 1299 it is again referred to as the 
abbey (ibid. ii. 285). Hemingburgh, describing 
the destruction of Carlisle by fire in 1292, particu- 
larly noted that the city cum tola abbatia was burnt 
and consumed (Chron. [Engl. Hist. Soc.], ii. 40). 
It is generally supposed that the name had origin- 
ated from the peculiar position which the bishop 
is alleged to have occupied as the abbot of his 
cathedral. The bishop's seat on the south side of 
the choir, as distinct from his throne, is pointed 
out as an evidence of the immemorial usage. But 
no good authority in support of the statement has 
been found. Local custom gives the bishop the 
seat of dignity on the south side as the head of the 
church, and to the dean, as successor of the prior, 
the corresponding seat on the north side as head 
of the chapter. By charter of William the Con- 



It was customary for the bishops at their 
first visitation to demand an inspection of the 
title deeds of all holders of ecclesiastical pre- 
ferment or spiritual endowments within the 
diocese. When these were produced, letters 
of dimission were issued confirming the 
holders in possession. Numerous deeds of 
this nature are on record with respect to the 
spiritualities of religious houses to which 
churches within the bishop's jurisdiction were 
appropriated. From one of these records of 
dimission we may take a schedule of the 
spiritual possessions of the priory of Carlisle in 
1355, in which the ecclesiastical status of 
each of the churches is declared as they ex- 
isted at that date : the parish churches of the 
blessed Mary and St. Cuthbert, Carlisle, with 
the chapel of Sebergham, the churches of 
Hayton with its chapels, Cumrew and Cum- 
whitton (Comquityngton), the churches of 
Crosscanonby (Crossebye in Allerdale), Cam- 
erton, Ireby, Bassenthwaite (Beghokirk), 
Castle Sowerby (Soureby), Rocliffe (Routhe- 
cliff), Edenhall with the chapel of Lang- 
wathby, and Addingham with the chapel of 
Little Salkeld (Salkeld), all of which were held 
in preprint usus. In the churches of St. Mary 
and St. Cuthbert, Carlisle, Hayton, Rocliffe, 
Ireby, Crosscanonby, Camerton and Bassen- 
thwaite vicars were never instituted, nor were 
the vicarages ever taxed or ' ordained,' but all 
of them were served by stipendiary chaplains 
(per capellanos conducticios). The prior and 
convent also possessed the following pensions 
from churches, viz. 26s. 8d. from Lowther, 
261. from Kirkland, 6s. Sd. from Ousby 
(Ulnesby), 2s. from Hutton in the Forest 
(Hoton), 2s. from Castle Carrock, 2s. from 
Cambok, 6s. Sd. from Bewcastle (Bothecastre), 
2s. 6d. from Allhallows (Ukmanby), and 6 
from the abbot and convent of Holmcul- 
tram. 1 If this schedule be compared with the 
ecclesiastical surveys of 1535 and I54O, 2 it 
will be seen that the only addition of conse- 
quence which was made in the spiritualities of 
the priory, during the intervening period, was 
the rectory and patronage of the parish 
church of St. Andrew, Thursby, which Sir 
Robert Ogle, lord of Ogle and Thursby, and 
Isabel his wife gave to the prior and canons 

queror in 1084, which was confirmed by King 
John in 1204, the priors of Durham obtained all 
the liberties, customs, dignities and honours of an 
abbot and had the seat of the abbot in ebon sinistro 
and all the privileges of the deans of York (Cart. 
Antiq. B. No. 4 ; Rot. Chart. [Rec. Com.], i. 1 1 8 ; 
Rymer, fcedera [new ed.], i. [i.], 3). 

1 Carl. Epis. Reg., Welton, f. 19. 

Yahr Red. (Rec. Com.), v. 274 ; Dugdale, 
Monasticon, vi. 145. 

in 1468, with permission to appropriate the 
said church and serve it by a canon of their 
cathedral or any other suitable chaplain, with- 
out endowment of a vicarage in the church or 
compulsion to distribute a yearly sum of money 
to the poor of the parish. 3 The churches be- 
longing to the priory in the diocese of Durham 
were not included in Bishop Welton's dimis- 
sion as they were not within his jurisdiction. 
The cathedral served as the parish church 
of St. Mary, Carlisle, from the date of its 
foundation, as the priory church of Laner- 
cost had done for that parish. It can scarcely 
be denied that the churches with which 
Walter the priest endowed the priory, when 
he took the religious habit on becoming an 
inmate thereof, were those of St. Mary and 
St. Cuthbert, Carlisle, and Stanwix. The 
rectory of the latter church was equally 
divided between the bishop and the convent 
in the great award of the papal legates, but 
the rectories of the two Carlisle churches 
were wholly appropriated to the canons. The 
church of St. Cuthbert may be numbered 
among the earliest ecclesiastical institutions in 
the diocese of Carlisle, of which authentic 
record has come down to us. A house near 
it was given to the priory by Waldeve son of 
Gospatric, one of its first benefactors. We 
have found no trace of a church of St. Mary 
apart from the cathedral and no vicarial juris- 
diction over the parish of that name, except 
what was exercised by the prior as the im- 
propriator of the revenues. An attempt was 
made in 1342 to raise it from its position as 
a chapelry to the dignity of a vicarage, and 
the provincial court of York was moved by 
the parishioners for that purpose. In the ap- 
peal to the metropolitan it was stated that the 
church of the Blessed Mary from its founda- 
tion had been and was at that time a parish 
church with an independent cure (per se 
curata), having people separate from the 
parishioners of other churches and a wide and 
extensive parish with limits and bounds of its 
own, insomuch that its own parish church 
had abounded in times past and did then 
abound with powers, issues, fruits and revenues 
sufficient to maintain a perpetual vicar of its 
own and to support all ecclesiastical claims 
upon it. Furthermore the parishioners com- 
plained that the sacrist of the priory, to whom 
the issues of the parish were committed, had 
neglected the cure of souls and that insufficient 
ministrations were supplied to the people. 
Notwithstanding the espousal of the cause of 
the appellants by the provincial court, the 
Bishop of Carlisle gave judgment in favour of 

3 Pat. 8 Edw. IV. pt. i. m. 23. 



the priory, because we have found, he said, 
after due examination of the evidences, that 
the prior and chapter are well able to serve 
the church through their own chaplains 
under the care and direction of the prior for 
the time being, no other vicar having been 
ever instituted in the same. 1 The parish of 
St. Mary was not unfrequently called the 
parish of Carlisle cathedral, 2 and the church- 
yard or burial ground around the church was 
known as the churchyard of St. Mary's or the 
churchyard of the canons of St. Mary's, Car- 
lisle. 3 The parish church remained within 
the cathedral, probably in the nave, ab antique 
as it was within living memory, till 1869, 
when the present church of St. Mary was 
built within the abbey. 

The ownership of the tithes arising from 
assart lands in the forest of Inglewood was a 
constant source of irritation and dispute be- 
tween the bishop and the priory. It has been 
already mentioned that these tithes were 
granted by Henry I. to the church of Carlisle 
and confirmed by Henry II. In the division 
of the church property by the papal legates, 
the ownership of the tithes of lands to be 
assarted in the future was not clearly laid 
down. Edward I. however acknowledged in 
1280 the claim of the priory to the tithe of 
venison in the forest. 4 The whole matter 
was reviewed in the king's court in 1290, 
when claims were separately set up by the 
bishop, prior and parson of Thursby for the 
tithes of two places, Linthwaite and Kirk- 
thwaite, newly assarted in Inglewood, the 
king intervening as owner of the forest. 
Bishop Ralf stated that the places in question 
were within the limits of his church of 

1 Carl. Epis. Reg., Kirkby, ff. 448-9, 452, 
454-5. The conflict between the diocesan and 
provincial courts is very interesting. Bishop Kirkby 
showed the people at York that he was master 
of his own diocese. He not only rejected the 
vicar that the provincial court sought to obtrude 
into the parish, but added a sentence to his 
judgment which is worthy of attention : 'prefatos 
priorem et capitulum ab impeticione dictorum 
parochianorum et officii nostri in hac parte absol- 
vimus, et per decretum absolutes dimittimus in 
hiis scriptis' (ibid. f. 452), thus summarily dis- 
missing the appeal without hope of a future revival 
and ignoring altogether the intervention of the 
metropolitan court. 

3 In 1506 Henry, Earl of Cumberland, ac- 
counted to the king for the enclosures made by 
him in the parish of Carlisle cathedral witHin the 
bounds of the forest of Inglewood (Inq. p.m. 21 
Hen. VII. Nos. 19-39). 

* Testamenta Karleoleasia (Cumb. and Westmld. 
Arch. Soc.), ii, 114-5, 1 1 8. 

Close, 8 Edw. I. m. 2. 

Aspatria : Henry de Burton claimed that they 
were situated in his parish of Thursby ; the 
prior of Carlisle produced a certain horn of 
ivory (quoddam cornu eburneum), by means of 
which, he said, Henry the old king enfeoffed 
the canons of Carlisle with the said tithes. 5 
Ultimately judgment was given in favour of 
the king's claim, but in 1293 that claim 
was relinquished and the tithes were re- 
granted to the canons. 8 From time to 
time the right of the canons was after- 
wards disputed by the king's foresters or by 
the bishop's, but the position of the canons on 
inquiry remained unshaken. It was found, 
after inquisition in 1330, that the prior and 
his predecessors were seised of the tenth 
penny arising from all extra-parochial agist- 
ments within the forest of Inglewood in the 
times of all keepers of that forest by the 
hands of the receiver of the issues thereof, 
from the time of the foundation of the priory 
by grant of Henry son of the empress (im- 
peratoris), until Henry le Scrop, the late 
keeper, detained the said tenth penny. The 
king confirmed them in their possession. 7 It 
was at this date that a long dispute raged 
between Bishop Ross and Prior John de 
Kirkby about the tithes, resulting in the 
excommunication of the prior and the death 
of the bishop. 8 The revival of litigation 
was the means of procuring a confirma- 
tion from the Crown, in the shape of a 
notification of the record of a cause between 
Edward I. and Adam, then prior, tried at 
Carlisle before the justices itinerant, on the 
morrow of All Souls, 1285, on a writ of quo 
warranto touching the following liberties in 
Inglewood Forest : common of pasture in 
right of their church for themselves and their 
tenants within the metes of the forest : tithes 
of venison and of hay, pannage, after-pan- 
nage, agistment of foals, calves, lambs, swine, 
goats and other animals, also of fish taken 
in the lake of Tarnwadling, called ' layke- 
brait,' the hides of all beasts found dead by 
the foresters, the right to hunt the hare and 
fox with their hounds without the covert, and 
that their hounds be quit of expeditation ; the 
right to a charcoal burner to make charcoal 
from all dead wood in the grass and to such 

6 Rot. Par/. (Rec. Com.), i. 37-8 ; ii. 44-5 ; 
Ryley, Plac. Par!, (ed. 1661), 49-51. 

8 Pat. 22 Edw. I. m. 27. 

" Close, 4 Edw. III. m. 31. There is a 
curious confusion of Henry I. and Henry II. in 
this roll, arising no doubt from the fact, as pre- 
viously stated, that Henry II. inspected and con- 
firmed the charter of the forest given by Henry I. 
to the church of Carlisle. 

Carl. Epis. Reg., Ross, ff. 263, 266. 





oaks thrown down by the wind as they and 
their servants can, before others, mark with an 
axe stroke to the core : all which the canons 
claimed by immemorial usage, producing a 
horn which they said was given with the 
liberties by Henry I. the founder of their 
house. Edward III. also confirmed a writ, 
dated 7 February 1286, whereby these 
liberties were permitted to the canons with 
the exception of trees blown down by the 
wind. 1 It is probable that the horn of ivory 
above mentioned was seen by Xonge 2 in his 
heraldic visitation of the northern counties in 
1530, when he described it as a 'great home 
of venery, havyng certeyn bondes of sylver 
and gold and the versus folowyng graven upon, 
" Henricus primus nuster foundator opimus ac 
dedit in teste carte pro jure foreste." : The 
dean and chapter of Carlisle still possess certain 
objects catalogued in the inventories of the 
cathedral furniture as ' one horn of the altar in 
two parts ' or ' two horns of the altar,' which 
have given rise to much antiquarian discussion. 3 
The property of the priory, scattered in 
small parcels over the border and central 
districts of the county, was frequently wasted 
and destroyed by the inroads of the Scots. 
Again and again the canons petitioned for 
redress or alms on account of their poverty 
and sufferings. The documentary evidences 
of the fourteenth century are burdened with 
appeals and complaints from Carlisle and the 
other religious houses describing the woes and 
wrongs perpetrated by the hereditary enemy.* 
It would serve no useful purpose to recount 
the numerous licences and gifts made in 
response to such appeals. The strong walls of 
Carlisle were insufficient to protect their 
church and cloisters from fire and damage. 
In 1316, when the Scots were particularly 
aggressive, the canons petitioned for a grant 
of timber to renovate their burnt cathedral, 8 

Pat. 5 Edw. III. pt. i. m. 8. 

1 Visitation of 'the Northern Counties, i53o(Surtees 
Soc.), 1 02. 

3 Arch. iii. 223, v. 340-5, where the horns 
so called are figured ; Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. 
Arch. Soc. ii. 3 3 7-47 ; Cat. of the Arch. Mus. 
firmed at Carlisle in 1859, p. 16. 

1 It was little wonder that the name of Robert 
Bruce, the cause of many of their misfortunes, 
was held in detestation on the English side of the 
Border. When Cardinal Peter of Spain, the 
papal legate, came to Carlisle, he preached in the 
cathedral and ' revested himselfe and the other 
bishops which were present, and then with candels 
light and causing the bels to be roong, they accursed 
in terrible wise Robert Bruce the usurper of the 
crowne of Scotland with all his partakers, aiders 
and mainteiners" (Holinshed, ii. 523). 

Anct. Petitions, No. 4897. 

and complained against the conduct of Sir 
Andrew de Harcla, sheriff of the county, who 
made a ' fosse ' through the prior's ground 
under the wall of the city and set fire to all 
the priory houses outside the walls, which 
could not be replaced for 100. As the 
damage had been done for the safety of the 
priory as well as the town, owing to the 
rigorous necessities of the siege, the brethren 
were requested to wait for peace and the 
king would not forget their interests. 6 So 
heavily lay the destroying hand on the priory 
at this period, that Edward II. sent writs to 
the abbots of Leicester and Thornton on 
Humber, and to the priors of Thurgarton, 
Bridlington, Worksop and Kirkham, each 
to receive into their houses one of the canons 
of Carlisle to be nominated by the prior's 
letters patent and to maintain him as one 
of their own canons until the priory of 
Carlisle was relieved from its present state, as 
its goods were so robbed and wasted by the 
Scottish rebels that they were insufficient for 
the maintenance of the canons of the house. 7 
It was a privilege of the Crown to exact a 
corrody from all the religious houses of royal 
foundation, and in times of prosperity the 
king was accustomed to demand it from the 
priory of Carlisle. In 1331 Richard Cham- 
pion, in consideration of his good service to 
Edward I. and Edward II., was sent to the 
convent to receive such maintenance as Peter 
de Kirkosvvald, deceased, had in that house 
at the request of the former king. 8 But the 
time came when the kings were obliged to re- 
linquish the privilege. In 1386 Richard II., 
in consideration of the great losses and 
destruction by the Scots, remitted to the prior 
and convent and their successors for ever the 
right of corrody or maintenance, which his 
progenitors were accustomed to give therein 
and which the king in his time had given to 
John Hobcrone.* At that time their losses 
were exceptionally severe. As late as the 
reign of Queen Mary it could be said that 
the Scots ' are verey cruell at present.' 10 

The kings must have stayed several times 
at the priory on their various visits to Carlisle. 
Edward I. was certainly a guest there in 
August 1 306, for on the tenth of that month 
he requested James de Dalilegh, his agent in 
Cumberland, to put the houses of the priory 
in readiness for his reception as he intended 

Cal. of Doc. Scot. (Scot. Rec. Pub.) iii. 100-1. 
i Close, 10 Edw. II. m. 2gd. 
" Ibid. 5 Edw. III. pt. i. m. ;d. 
Pat. 10 Ric. II. pt. i. m. 18, 35. 
10 Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xii. App. vii. 9 (Rydal 
Hall MSS.) 


to occupy them immediately. 1 The cloisters 
were sometimes utilized as a storehouse for 
the provisions of the army. It was one of 
the complaints against Sir Andrew de Harcla 
in 1319 that his brother John broke through 
the wall of the ' lunge celer ' in the priory 
and the doors of others, and took out twenty 
tuns of the ' lite ' of the king's wine. 2 

The statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary 
was a conspicuous figure among the ' orna- 
ments ' of the cathedral, as we should expect 
in a church entitled in her name. If we con- 
sider the ecclesiastical relation of the cathedral 
to the diocese we can in a measure under- 
stand the meaning of Bishop Welton's phrase 
when he spoke of the people under his juris- 
diction as ' the subjects of God and the glori- 
ous Virgin Mary, His mother, in whose 
honour the said church was erected.' 3 The 
cult of the Virgin was a devotional instinct 
of considerable power in the religious life of 
the city and diocese of Carlisle. In 1363 
Bishop Appleby obtained from the pope 
indulgences extending over ten years for 
penitents who visited the cathedral (which 
had been burned) on the five feasts of the 
Blessed Virgin, or who lent a helping hand 
to the fabric. 4 When the Scots were 
assaulting Carlisle in the time of Richard II., 
a woman appeared to them and announced 
the near approach of the king's army, but 
that woman, said Henry of Knighton, 6 was 
believed to be the glorious Virgin Mary, 
the patroness of Carlisle, who had often 
appeared to the inhabitants of that city. In 
1380 Joan, wife of John de Dundrawe, be- 
queathed a girdle wrought in silver for the 
image of the Blessed Mary in the cathedral. 6 
The prior and convent, inflamed with the 
energy of pious devotion, made application to 
Bishop Close and Archbishop Kempe in 1451 
for an indulgence to aid them in procuring 
a richly decorated statue of the Virgin for the 
cathedral of Carlisle. Nothing would satisfy 
them short of an image or statue covered with 
plates of silver and overlaid with gold, gems, 
precious stones, and many other costly orna- 
ments, for the praise of God, the increase of 
the veneration and honour of the most glori- 
ous Virgin and for provoking the devotion of 
Christ's faithful people daily flocking there on 
pilgrimage. 7 In 1469 John Knoblow, parson 

Cal. of Doe. Scot. (Scot. Rec. Pub.), ii. 488. 
Ibid. iii. 127. 

Carl. Epis. Reg., Welton, f. 109. 
Cal. of Papal Petitions, i. 437. 
Twysden, Decent Scriptures, col. 2675. 
Carl. Epis. Reg., Appleby, f. 327. 
7 The Priory of Hexham (Surtees Soc.), i. pp. 

of Lamplugh, gave a legacy to the prior and 
convent that five candles might be lighted in 
honour of the five joys of the Blessed Virgin 
in front of her image in the conventual church 
every night after compline when the antiphon, 
Salve Regina, was sung. 8 This fervid devo- 
tion to sumptuous imagery was general 
throughout the diocese in the fourteenth and 
fifteenth centuries. 9 

Though it was a special veneration for the 
Blessed Virgin which was the chief cause of 
making Carlisle a place of pilgrimage, its 
possession of some relics of the saints contri- 
buted not a little to its fame. According to 
a statement of J. Denton, 10 Waldeve son of 
Earl Gospatric brought from Jerusalem and 
Constantinople a bone of St. Paul, and another 
of St. John the Baptist, two stones of Christ's 
sepulchre, and part of the Holy Cross, which 
he gave to the priory. There can be no 
doubt that Alan son of the said Waldeve gave 
the Holy Rood which was in their possession 
as late as the fourteenth century. But it is 
not stated whether or not it was part of the 
real cross of our Lord. 11 Waldeve and Alan 
were great benefactors of the church of Car- 
lisle in various other ways. As Hugh de 
Morvill, one of the assassins of Archbishop 
Becket, had a family connection with the 
diocese, it is not to be wondered at that some 
relics of the martyr should find their way to 
Carlisle. In the early years of the thirteenth 
century, when John de Courcy founded an 
establishment of regular canons at Toberglorie 
in the suburb of Downpatrick (Dun) in 
Ulster, and made it a cell of Carlisle, the new 
institution was entitled in the honour of St. 
Thomas the martyr out of respect to the 
canons of the mother house. 13 At that date 

8 Richmondshire Wills (Surtees Soc.), 7. 

9 When Bishop Bell rebuilt the chapel at Rose 
Castle in 1489 he purchased three images at York 
for its decoration (Compotus W. Skelton, MS.). 
In 1359 Jhn Lowry made a bequest in his will 
for painting the image of the Holy Rood in the 
church of Arthuret, and in 1362 Robert de Why- 
terigg expressed a wish to be buried in the choir 
of Caldbeck before the image of St. Mary Mag- 
dalene (Carl. Epis. Reg., Welton, ff. 60, 103). 
Richard de Aslacby, vicar of St. Michael's, 
Appleby, desired his body to be buried coram Cruce 
in his own church, and Nicholas de Motherby 
bequeathed the modest sum of izd. in 1362 for 
the use of the Holy Rood in the church of 
Soureby (ibid. ff. 102, 178). 

10 Cumberland, 99. 

11 Dugdale, Man. iii. 584-5 ; Cal. of Doc. Scot. 
(Scot. Rec. Pub.), ii. 16. 

12 Pat. 12 Edw. II. pt. i. m. 19 ; Dugdale, Man. 
vi. 145. Edward II. confirmed to the canons of 
Carlisle all those donations ' quas Johannes de 



it is evident that St. Thomas must have been 
held in high esteem in the church of Carlisle. 
At a later period we learn the cause. It was 
in the cathedral in presence of Bishop Halton 
that Robert Bruce in 1297 swore on the holy 
mysteries and on the sword of St. Thomas to 
be faithful and vigilant in the cause of King 
Edward. 1 It must have been the possession 
of this relic that made so great an impression 
on that king, for on several of his visits to the 
city he paid special veneration to the memory 
of the saint. In 1300 the king made 
his oblations at the altar in the church ot 
the priory in honour of St. Thomas the 
martyr. 2 At a later visit in 1307, a few 
weeks before his death, the old warrior en- 
dowed the canons with the advowson of the 
church of Castle Sowerby for the devotion he 
bore to the glorious Virgin Mary and the 
relics of the blessed Thomas the martyr and 
other saints which they had. 3 In 1536, 
before the dissolution of the religious houses, 
the royal commissioners reported that the 
priory had a portion of the Holy Cross, the 
sword with which Thomas of Canterbury 
was martyred, 4 and the girdle of St. Bridget 
the virgin. 

The only relics of the ancient ritual of the 
priory which have survived to our day are two 
copes, one of which has been ascribed to the 

Curceio fecit Deo et canonicis regularibus ecclesie 
predicte de loco quern fundavit in honore St. 
Thome martyris ad honorem ipsorum canonicorum 
juxta fontem que vocatur Toberglorie in suburbio 
de Dun, inter duas vias, quarum una tendit ad 
Crems, alia ad grangiam de Saballo.' No vestige 
of the site now remains. Robert son of Troite 
forfeited his land in Cumberland because he went 
into Ireland with John de Courcy, but he regained 
possession in 1207 (Pipe R. 9 John). There 
is at least one church in the diocese of Carlisle, 
that of Farlam in Gillesland, which is entitled in 
the name of St. Thomas of Canterbury. At an 
early period Walter de Wyndesoure granted some 
land to the church of St. Thomas the martyr in 
Farlam, et sanctis ibidem adoratis, a gift which was 
afterwards confirmed by Ranulf de Vaux, lord of 
the fee (Reg. of Lanercost, MS. i. 20). 

1 Hemingburgh, Chron. (Engl. Hist. Soc.), ii. 

* Liber Quot. Contrar. Gardenb<t (Soc. Antiq.), 


3 Pat. 35 Edw. I. m. 17. 

4 L. and P. Hen. Vlll. x. 364. Denton, who 
died in 1617, said that ' the sword that killed 
St. Thomas was at Ishall in my father's time and 
since remaineth with the house of Arundel ' 
{Cumberland, 68). It was probably brought from 
the priory at the time of the dissolution to Isell by 
Dr. Legh, the royal commissioner for the view- 
ing of religious houses, who was a cousin of John 
Legh of that place (ibid. v. 1447, vi. 1346). 

fifteenth century and the other to the six- 
teenth. The older vestment has richly em- 
broidered orfrays with representations of the 
saints, and the other is of cloth of gold. In a 
seventeenth century inventory of ' things to 
be provided, corrected, ordered and done in 
the cathedral church of Carlisle and about its 
revenues,' it was directed ' that the two copes 
be mended and worn by the Epistler and 
Gospeller.' The date of the inventory 
appears to be 1685-6. How long after they 
continued to be worn at Carlisle is not 
known. 8 

The revenues of the priory varied greatly 
from time to time according to the peaceful 
or disturbed state of the border. The value 
of the temporalities in 1291, which may be 
taken as a normal period, was assessed by the 
commissioners of Pope Nicholas IV. at 96 
19*. ; whereas in 1319, after the devasta- 
tions of the Scottish wars, the value had fallen 
to ^2O. 6 The spiritualities, consisting chiefly 
of tithes and pensions, would fluctuate in a 
corresponding proportion. The prior con- 
tributed 4. to the subsidy granted by the 
clergy of Carlisle to Richard II. in 1379, the 
value of his benefice having been assessed at 
jT20O ; each of the eleven canons contributed 
35. 4</. 7 In the valuation of 1535 the gross 
value of the spiritualities was set down at ^332 
5*. iod., and the temporalities at 150 2s. 3^., 
which make a total of 482 8s. id. The neces- 
sary outgoings in Crown and manorial rents, 
pensions, ecclesiastical payments, alms, and 
fees to civil officials, amounted to 64 4*. 8^., 
leaving a net revenue of 4 1 8 3*. \d? The 
alms exacted of the canons by ordination or 
foundation are of the greatest interest. The 
schedule enumerates 9 stated sums by ordination 

6 These copes were described in detail by Chan- 
cellor Ferguson in 1885 (Trans. Cumb. andWestmld. 
Arch. Soc. viii. 233-6). The manuscript book 
belonging to the dean and chapter of Carlisle, in 
which the inventory is recorded, is entitled, ' A 
perfect Rental of all Rents due and payable to the 
dean and chapter of Carlisle, A.D. 16856.' 
Henry Lord Scrope and Bishop Barnes were com- 
missioned in 1572 to search the diocese of Carlisle 
for vestments, copes, etc., which had been con- 
cealed (S.P. Dam. Elizabeth, Add. xxi. 65). The 
copes shown at Durham Cathedral were regularly 
worn during the communion service by preben- 
daries and minor canons until the time of War- 
burton (Raine, North Durham, 94 ; Stuart. Rev. 
xxxii. 273). Accounts agree that the copes 
ceased to be used at Durham about 1780. 

6 Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 3zob, 333b. 

Exch. Cler. Sub. Dioc. of Carl. bdle. 60, No. I. 

8 Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v. 275-6. 

Bishop Walter's gift of Old Salkeld in 1230 
is omitted from this enumeration. For the health 



of Henry I., the founder of the priory, and 
Maud his queen, for the souls of themselves 
and their successors : by ordination of William 
Strickland, Bishop of Carlisle, for the celebra- 
tion of a solemn obit for himself annually and 
for priests celebrating for his soul : by ordi- 
nation of Bishop Marmaduke Lumley, for a 
wax candle to be continually burning before 
the most venerable sacrament of the Eucharist 
in their church for ever : by ordination of 
Bishop Gilbert Welton for a solemn obit 
celebrated for him and for priests celebrating 
annually : by ordination of Edward IV. given 
to three bedells annually : by ordination of 
the same king to priests celebrating for the 
souls of himself, Elizabeth his consort, and 
all his successors 1 : and by ordination of Sir 
Gilbert Ogle, lord of Ogle, 3 for an annual 
obit. Of the monastic houses in the county, 
the priory of Carlisle ranked after the abbey 
of Holmcultram in point of revenues. These 
two houses, having incomes of more than 
200 a year, were reckoned among the greater 
monasteries, and thus escaped the first dissolu- 

After the canons had obtained the privilege 
of electing their own superiors, they usually 
made choice of one of their body to fill the 
office. Almost all the priors of Carlisle were 
north-country men ; several of them, like 
Adam de Warthwyk, William de Dalston, 
Thomas de Hoton, Simon Senhouse, and 
Lancelot Salkeld, are known to have belonged 
to families of distinction in Cumberland. As 
the election of the bishop was vested in the 
chapter, the way was open for a canon of 
Carlisle to obtain the highest ecclesiastical 
position. Perhaps it is to this consideration 
that we owe the social status of the families 
from which the priors of Carlisle were re- 

of the soul of King John and W., father of the 
bishop, he gave to the priory all his holding in 
' Old Salkhil,' in free alms, for the support of two 
regular canons, one to celebrate mass for the soul 
of Henry III. and the other to do likewise for the 
said bishop and his successors (Chart. R. 14 Hen. 
III. pt. ii. m. 7). 

1 The revenues of the hospital of St. Nicholas 
by Carlisle were granted to the priory and convent 
in 1477 by Edward IV., on the condition that 
they should find a canon priest, to be called the 
king's chaplain, to celebrate masses and other 
divine services in the monastery for the good 
estate of the king, and his consort Elizabeth, and 
their children, and for their souls after death (Pat. 
17 Edw. IV. pt. i. m. 1 6). 

' Sir Robert Ogle and Isabel his wife gave land 
in Thursby with the advowson and patronage of 
the church to the prior and canons regular of 
Carlisle in 1468 (Pat. 8 Edw. IV. pt. i. m. 23). 

cruited. In the neighbouring priory of Laner- 
cost, a house of the same religious order, no 
such family distinction is observable. It is 
scarcely necessary to suggest that some of the 
bishops, like Halton, Kirkby and Appleby, 
had been previously members of the cathedral 
chapter. Had the choice of the canons been 
always unfettered and had their elections been 
uncontrolled by the political necessities of the 
Crown or the growing arrogance of the papacy, 
the number of bishops of Carlisle trained in 
their own house would have been much 
greater. It amounted almost to a scandal 
that Prior John de Horncastle, who had been 
elected bishop by the chapter in 1352 and 
confirmed by the king, should have been 
ousted from the bishopric by a papal intrigue 
before his consecration. In other ways also 
preferment was open to the canons. In 
1273 Geoffrey de Stok, canon of Carlisle, was 
appointed abbot of St. Patrick's, Saul, on the 
nomination of the Bishop of Down, with the 
counsel and consent of the king's lieutenant 
in Ireland. 8 

The priors of Carlisle were frequently em- 
ployed in secular affairs as the occasions of 
state demanded. In the great controversy 
about the hereditary claims of the royal line 
of Scotland over the northern counties, the 
prior was appointed one of the king's assessors 
in 1242, for the purpose of assigning 60 
librates of land in Cumberland to King Alex- 
ander towards a settlement, with instructions 
to return the ' extent ' in writing under his 
seal that the king might know of what the 
allotments consisted.* It is not necessary to 
pass in review the various posts of trust they 
were called upon to fulfil from time to time 
in the civil administration of the district. 
The prior of Carlisle was found a convenient 
coadjutor or substitute for the sheriff, either 
as paymaster or overseer of the various re- 
pairs and alterations required in maintaining 
the fortifications of an important frontier 
town. 5 In 1524 a commission was issued 
to Thomas Lord Dacre, the prior of Carlisle, 
Sir Christopher Moresby and Richard Salkeld 
to settle disputes which had arisen between the 
subjects of the two kingdoms relative to the 
fishgarths of the river Esk. 8 Up to the very 
last the priors of Carlisle were found useful 
agents in forwarding the civil and philanthropic 
interests of the community. 

Pat. i Edw. I. m. 4. 

Ibid. 26 Hen. III. m. 7d. 

* Close, 10 Edw. II. m. 25 ; 7 Edw. III. 
pt. i. m. II ; 12 Edw. III. pt. ii. m. 19 ; Pat. 
2 Ric. II. pt. ii. m. 8 ; 4 Ric. II. pt. i. m. 26. 

B.M. Cott. MS. Caligula, B. v. 69. 



Adelulf is reputed by a venerable tradi- 
tion to have been prior of Carlisle when the 
bishopric was founded in 1133. The state- 
ment was accepted as early as the fourteenth 
century. On 17 September 1343 a return 
was made by the prior and chapter of Carlisle 
of the succession of the bishops of the see, as 
far as it could be ascertained from the chron- 
icles and ancient books in their possession, at 
the request of the prior and convent of Conis- 
head, with the view of settling some dispute 
about the church of Orton in Westmorland 
which had been appropriated to the latter 
house. In that return it was stated on the 
evidence then at their disposal that Adelulf, 
prior of Carlisle, was consecrated Bishop of 
Carlisle in the year 1133.* If that be the 
case, he is the first prior on record, but we 
have not discovered his name in any con- 
temporary document. 

Walter, prior of Carlisle, was a prominent 
figure in some notable functions of great in- 
terest in the ecclesiastical history of the dis- 
trict. With Bishop Adelulf he witnessed 
the foundation charter of the abbey of Holm- 
cultram on I January 1150, and was also 
present at the courts of David I. and Mal- 
colm IV. when the said charter was con- 
firmed. 8 When Robert de Vaux founded 
the priory of Lanercost about the year 1169, 
Prior Walter of Carlisle witnessed the char- 
ter. 3 These two events are of considerable 
importance in fixing the exact period in 

1 Duchy of Lane. Chart. Box A, No. 416. The 
deed which has been printed in the Reg. of Wether- 
M(Cumb. and Westmld. Arch. Soc.), pp. 417-8, 
goes on to state that to Bishop Adelulf succeeded 
immediately afterwards (foitea immediate) Bernard 
and then Hugh, who died in 1233, in whose 
time Bartholomew, prior of Carlisle, with the con- 
sent of his chapter, confirmed the church of 
' Overton in Westmeria ' to the prior and convent 
of ' Coningeshevid.' The errors and misstatements 
in this portion of the return are manifest, for 
Bishop Bernard did not succeed immediately after 
Bishop Adelulf, inasmuch as the see was vacant 
for nearly fifty years between the two episcopates, 
and Bishop Hugh died in 1223, not in 1233. 
The appropriation of the church of Orton to the 
priory of Conishead by licence of Bishop Hugh is 
still on record. The witnesses of the deed were 
Bartholomew), prior of Carlisle ; Thomas son of 
John, then sheriff of Cumberland ; Hugh de 
Plessiz, constable of Carlisle ; William de Yrebi ; 
Master A(dam) de Kirkebi, official of Carlisle ; 
Adam de Aspatric, dean of Carlisle ; and Alan de 
Caldebec, dean of Allerdale (Duchy of Lane. 
Chart. Box A. No. 412). 

a Reg. of Holmcultram, MS. ff, 221-3 ; Dug- 
dale, Mm. v. 594 ; Chron. ofMelrose, in ann. 1150; 
Hoveden, Chron. i. 2 1 1 (Rolls Ser.) 

3 Reg. of Lanercost, MS. i. I. 

which this prior lived. Walter witnessed two 
charters of Alan son of Waldeve, by which he 
granted land in ' Scadebuas ' and ' Goseford ' 
to the monks of St. Bees. 4 He must have 
lived for some time after 1169, for he wit- 
nessed several subsequent charters to the 
priory of Lanercost granted by Robert de 
Vaux and others of that neighbourhood. 5 
His name is also found in connection with 
several deeds in the monastic registers of 
Wetheral and Whitby. 6 It is usually main- 
tained that Prior Walter is the same person as 
Walter the priest who endowed the priory of 
Carlisle with all his possessions before he took 
the religious habit in that house, but no such 
supposition can be entertained without vio- 
lence to chronology. 

Gilbert, prior of Carlisle, made a composi- 
tion with Robert de Vaux in the presence 
of Robert, Archdeacon of Carlisle, renouncing 
the right which his convent claimed in the 
churches of Irthington and Brampton. He 
also witnessed a charter of David son of 
Terry and Robert son of Asketill to the 
priory of Lanercost on the church of Denton 
and the hermitage which Leising held. 7 

John appears to have been prior of Carlisle 
for a considerable period, as his name is often 
found in local evidences of the reigns of 
Richard I. and John. In the monastic regis- 
ters of Holmcultram, Lanercost and Wetheral 
there are recorded several deeds to which he 
is mentioned either as a party or a witness. 8 
John was prior when the convent of Carlisle 
leased ' Waytecroft ' to Thomas son of Gospa- 
tric, and quit-claimed the tithes of Scotby to 
the priory of Wetheral. With a number of 
Cumberland men, he was present at Winches- 
ter in 1194 when King Richard granted Old 
Salkeld to Adam, cook of Queen Eleanor, for 
his good services. 9 In 1196 Prior John had 
come to an agreement with Henry de Wich- 
enton about the third part of the church of 
Lowther, and a similar agreement was arrived 
at between him and Ralf de Bray in 1204 
with respect to the church of RoclifFe. 10 

Reg. of St. Bees, MS. ff. 3lb, 132 (Harl. MS. 


Reg. of Lanercost, MS. i. 9, 14 ; u. 18 ; 

v. 3 ; viii. 5. 

6 Reg. ofWetherbal (Cumb. and Westmld. Arch. 
Soc.), 63, 80, 86, loo-i, no ; Whitby Chartul. 
(Surtees Soc.), i. 38. 

' Reg. of Lanercost, MS. viii. 5 ; iii. 1 3. 

" Reg. of Holmcultram, MS. f. 35 ; Reg. of 
Lanercost, MS. ii. 1 2 ; v. 4 ; viii. 2-4 ; Reg. of 
Wetherhal (Cumb. and Westmld. Arch. Soc.), 69, 

176, 212, 2l8. 

Cart. Antiq. F. 14 ; Rymer, Faedera, i. 63. 
10 Pedes Finium (Pipe R. Soc.), 7 & 8 Ric. I. No. 
128 ; ibid. (Rec. Com.), Cumberland, pp. 7-8. 



The priory was vacant on 6 May 1214, when 
the king bestowed the latter church on Odo de 
Ledreda his clerk. 1 

In the summer of 1214 four canons of 
Carlisle were deputed to carry the record of 
the election of a new prior for the confirma- 
tion of King John. 2 On 25 August in that 
year the king informed the archdeacon of 
Carlisle by letters close that Brother Henry, 
canon of Merton, was canonically and with 
his assent elected to the priory of Carlisle and 
had done homage : he was to be admitted 
without delay to the office. 3 The Chronicle 
of Lanercost, which gives his name as Henry 
de Mareis, adds that the appointment re- 
ceived papal confirmation in November 1214.* 
After the death of Bishop Bernard, Prior 
Henry confirmed the appropriation of the 
church of Crosby Ravensworth made by that 
bishop to the abbey of Whitby, 5 and did a 
similar service to the priory of Lanercost 
in respect of certain of their churches. 8 

Bartholomew was prior during some por- 
tions of the episcopate of Bishops Hugh and 
Walter. He was not only a witness to the 
charter whereby the former bishop confirmed 
the spiritual possessions of the priory of Laner- 
cost, but also granted a charter to the same 
effect on behalf of the convent of Carlisle. 7 
This prior did a similar service to the abbey 
of Whitby 8 in respect of the church of 
Crosby Ravensworth in Westmorland. He 
witnessed a charter which Bishop Hugh 
granted to the priory of Wetheral, confirm- 
ing to the monks the churches of St. Michael 
and St. Laurence, Appleby ; 9 and in com- 
pany with Bishop Walter and Archdeacon 

1 Rot. Chart. (Rec. Com.), i. zo6b. There can be 
little doubt that the year of the vacancy was 1214. 

2 Rot. Lift. Claus. (Rec. Com.), 16 John, i. p. 

3 Ibid. 211, 2 lib. 

* Chron. de Lanercost, 14. It is probable that 
Prior Henry was a brother or relative of Richard 
de Mareis, the notorious chancellor of King 
John, afterwards Bishop of Durham. Richard 
had been Archdeacon of Richmond and North- 
umberland in 1213, when the king conferred on 
him a canonry of York (Rot. Lift. Pat. John [Rec. 
Com.] 105). The same person is also found act- 
ing as official of Carlisle in Bishop Bernard's time 
(Reg. of Lanercost, MS. viii. 3, 4). Merton was 
an Augustinian priory in Surrey. 

8 Hist. MSS. Com., Rep. xii. App. vii. 322 
(Rydal Hall MSS.) ; Chart. of Whitby (Surtees Soc.), 
i. 43. In the latter reference Canon Atkinson has 
called him Prior Hugh in error. 

6 Reg. of Lanercost, MS. viii. 4. 

* Ibid. viii. 7, 8. 

8 Whitby Chart. (Surtees Soc.), i. 45-6, 262. 

* Reg. ofWetherhal, 53-5, 67-8, 118, etc. 

Gervase he was a witness to the charter of 
Ivo de Vipont, granting lands in Alston to 
the priory of Hexham. 10 He also confirmed 
a charter of Bishop Hugh to the abbey of 
Newminster, 11 and witnessed the licence given 
by the same bishop to the priory of Conis- 
head to appropriate the church of Orton in 
Westmorland. 12 Prior Bartholomew died in 

I23I. 1J 

Ralf Barri, nephew of Bishop Walter, suc- 
ceeded Bartholomew in 1231 and ruled the 
priory till his death on 9 February 1247." 
When Bishop Walter confirmed the church 
of Burgh-by-Sands to the abbey of Holm- 
cultram on 12 April 1234 Prior Ralf and 
Archdeacon Gervase were witnesses to the 
charter. The same prior afterwards issued a 
charter to the same effect on behalf of the 
convent of Carlisle. 18 With Bishop Walter 
and William, prior of Wetheral, he wit- 
nessed the charter whereby Roland de Vaux 
granted certain land of his fee in Treverman 
to the canons of Lanercost for the soul of 
Robert de Vaux his brother. 18 In 1235-6 
Ralf de Duffeld and Emma his wife brought a 
suit in the king's court against Bishop Walter 
and Prior Ralf for an unjust ejectment from 
their free tenement in Sebergham, which 
had been previously bestowed on Prior Ralf 
by William Wasthose, father of the said 
Emma. 17 About the same period the dispute 
between this prior and the abbey of Holm- 
cultram about the tithe of fish caught in the 
river Eden was submitted to the adjudication 
of Walter, Bishop of Carlisle. 18 Prior Ralf 
was a party to several deeds and leases belong- 
ing to the priory of Wetheral. 18 

When Robert succeeded in 1247 tne cus " 
tody of the lands of John de Vipont was 
delivered to him on the same condition 
as Ralf his predecessor had held it, the 
lands having been taken into the king's hand 
by reason of the death of the said Ralf, 
prior of Carlisle. 20 On 22 October 1248 

10 Priory of Hexham (Surtees Soc.), ii. 120-1. 

11 Newminster Cartul. (Surtees Soc.), 2167. 
11 Duchy of Lane. Chart. Box A, No. 412. 
" Chron. de Lanercost (Maitland Club), 41. 
Ibid. 41, 53. 

Reg. of Holmcultram, MS. ff. 17, 1 8. 
16 Reg. of Lanercost, MS. ii. 21 ; v. 2 ; vii. 1 8. 
Bracton't Note Book (ed. F. W. Maitland), 
No. 1153; Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 125. 

18 Reg. of Holmcultram, MS. ff. 20-1 ; Harl. 
MS. 3891, f. 29b. 

19 Reg. ofWetherhal, 182, 200, 205-6, etc. 

20 Rot. Orig. (Rec. Com.), i. 10. This prior is 
called Robert de Morvill by some writers, but no 
contemporary authority for the surname has been 



Bishop Silvester of Carlisle and Robert, prior 
of the same, gave a bond to the prior and 
convent of Durham that they should be held 
free of cost and expense if they would con- 
firm the appropriation of the churches of 
Newcastle, Newburn, Warkworth, Cor- 
bridge and a moiety of Whittingham, which 
Bishop Nicholas of Durham had made to the 
church of Carlisle on the ordination of Masters 
William de Kilkenny, Archdeacon of Coven- 
try ; Thomas de Wymundeham, precentor of 
Lichfield ; Odo de Kilkenny and Walter de 
Merton, clerks. 1 Robert was prior on 2 Sep- 
tember 1249, when the ordination already re- 
ferred to was made between Bishop Silvester 
and the priory about the final redistribution 
of the property of the church of Carlisle. 

Robert had ceased to be prior about 1258. 
On 17 December 1258 Pope Alexander IV. 
issued a mandate to the priors of Hexham, 
Lanercost and Wetheral, on the petition of 
the prior and convent of Carlisle, to inquire 
about the conduct of Robert, a canon, then 
prior, who, submitting to the bishop's visita- 
tion, and thinking that on account of his 
excesses he was about to be removed, re- 
signed ; on which the bishop ordered him to 
reside in the church of Corbridge in North- 
umberland with one canon at least, and to 
pay from its proceeds 40 marks a year to the 
prior and chapter, keeping the rest, which 
was estimated to amount to 90 marks, for 
their sustentation. The Bishop of Durham 
admitted Robert to the said church by order 
of the Bishop of Carlisle on the petition of 
the convent whose church it was. But the 
new vicar of Corbridge broke out into disso- 
lute living, and was likely to perish, placed as 
he was outside all discipline. The pope 
ordered the priors, if the facts were found as 
stated, to cause Robert to return to his clois- 
ter and to remain there under his prior's 
obedience. 1 

The names of Adam de Felton and Alan 
are usually introduced after Robert de Morville 
in lists of the priors of Carlisle, but no reasons 

1 By the kindness of Canon Greenwell this deed, 
now in possession of the dean and chapter of Dur- 
ham, has been perused by the writer. The seals of 
the bishop and priory are in a fair state of preserva- 
tion. The legend on the bishop's seal : + SILVES- 

counterseal : +TE ROGO VIRGO REGI sis VIGIL ERGO 
GREGI. The legend on the seal of the priory is 
very much mutilated : + . . . LESIE SANCTE 
MARI . . . EOLI. The deed is endorsed : ' Obli- 
gacio Episcopi et Prioris Karln' de indempnitate 
confirmacionis ecclesiarum eorundem in proprios 

* Cal. of Papal Letters, i. 361-2. 

have been given for their adoption. As 
Nicolson and Burn 3 have apparently followed 
the list of Hugh Todd, 4 these priors should 
be received with the greatest suspicion till 
some evidence is put forward to establish 
their titles. 

John, prior, and the convent of Carlisle, 
confirmed, on 15 May 1263, an ordination 
made by Bishop Robert de Chause between 
Isabel, prioress of Marrick, and Ralf de 
Kirkandres, chaplain, with respect to the 
church of Kirkandrews on Eden. 5 

Robert was prior of Carlisle on 27 Decem- 
ber 1278, when the convent elected Ralf, 
prior of Gisburne, to be Bishop of Carlisle. 8 
On 16 July 1282 Bishop Ralf de Ireton con- 
firmed the appropriation of the church of 
Addingham with its chapel of Salkeld to him 
and the convent, the advowson of which had 
been granted by Christiane, widow of Robert 
de Brus. The prior and canons had peti- 
tioned for the licence on the ground of the 
extraordinary burdens the cathedral church 
had to bear by reason of its geographical posi- 
tion and the frequent concourse of clergy and 
people in confinio duarum regionum? On 
24 April 1283 Prior Robert confirmed a pen- 
sion to Adam de Coupland, clerk, by grant 
of the same bishop. At a subsequent period 
it was stated that Robert had vacated the 
priory by resignation at a time when the 
house was in a good financial condition. 8 

The next prior was named Adam, against 
whom Edward I. in 1285 issued a writ of quo 
warranto touching certain liberties which the 
priory claimed in Inglewood Forest. 9 The 
full name of the prior afterwards appears as 
Adam de Warthwyk. In 1287 this prior 
confirmed the taxation of Walton vicarage 
ordained by Bishop Ralf de Ireton for the 

Hist. ofCumb. ii. 301. 

Nofiiia Eccl. Cathed. Carl. (ed. R. S. Fer- 
guson), 4. 

6 Coll. Topog. et Gen. v. 235-6, where four most 
interesting deeds are set out at length. In Todd's 
list the names of John de Halton, afterwards 
Bishop of Carlisle, and John de Kendal are men- 
tioned among the priors about this date (Notitia 
Eccl. Cathed. Carl. 4) ; but Todd's list is intoler- 

8 Chan. Eccl. Pet. for Elections, 24 June 1278, 
file 6 ; Dep. Keeper's Rep. vi. App. p. 94. 

i Carl. Epis. Reg., Halton, ff. 181-2 ; Letters 
from the Northern Reg. (Rolls Ser.), 251-2. 

s Carl. Epis. Reg., Halton, ff. 14, 43. With 
Nicholas de Lewelin, Archdeacon of Carlisle, he 
witnessed a grant of Maud de Vaux in her 
widowhood to the priory of Lanercost (Reg. of 
Lanercost, MS. x. 7). 

Cal. of Pat. 1330-4, pp. 1 1 1-2. 


priory of Lanercost, 1 and in 1303 did a simi- 
lar service to the abbey of St. Mary, York, 
by confirming the appropriation of the church 
of Bromfield to that monastery. 2 His name 
is inscribed on the famous Ragman Roll 3 of 
1 296 as Adam ' prior de Cardoyl del counte 
de Are,' a county in which the priory prob- 
ably had some property. At the bishop's 
visitation in 1300 he heard some grievous 
complaints against the prior's negligent ad- 
ministration of the house, and delivered a 
code of drastic injunctions* for a speedy re- 
formation. These injunctions have been al- 
ready referred to. Adam de Warthwyk re- 
signed the priory of his own free will and 
accord on 18 September 1304, when a very 
liberal pension and ample privileges were 
conceded to him, because he was a cadet of 
a noble family in the diocese (quta a magnati- 
bus et personis nobilibus nostre diocesis procreatus 
et oriundus). He had been forty years a 
canon and twenty years and more prior of 
the house. The pension was decreed by 
Bishop Halton with the unanimous consent 
of the chapter. 5 

William de Hautewysil was prior for only 
four years, as he resigned on 28 September 
1308. On the same day licence was obtained 
by Robert the sub-prior for the canons to 
elect a successor. 8 

On the cession of the last prior, Robert de 
Helpeston was canonically elected, and the 
Bishop of Carlisle, having examined the re- 
cord of the election and found that it had 
been conducted according to the decrees of 
the holy fathers, confirmed him in the priory 
on I October 13087 On the same day a 
mandate was sent to the official of the diocese 
to induct and install him. In 1320 Prior 
Robert demised to Robert de la Ferte a mes- 
suage, 13 acres of land and 2 acres of meadow 
in Salkeld, lands which were afterwards for- 
feited by the adherence of Robert de la 
Ferte to the Scots and delivered back to the 
priory. 8 

Simon de Hautwysell succeeded, but died 
after a short incumbency. On 13 July 1325, 
Roger, the sub-prior, and the chapter of Car- 
lisle petitioned the bishop for his licence to 
elect a successor, William de Hurworth, a 

1 Reg. of Lanercost, MS. xi. 3. 

8 Add. Chart. 17155, 17156. 

Cal. of Doc. Scot. (Scot. Rec. Pub.), ii. 208. 

Carl. Epis. Reg., Halton, f. 43. In the same 
year he confirmed a pension of 40 granted by 
Bishop Halton to John de Drokensford, king's 
clerk, from the issues of the manor of Horncastle 
(ibid. f. 49). 

Ibid. f. 80. Ibid. 113. 7 Ibid. f. 114. 

Cal. of Close, i33-3> P- 357- 

canon of the house, being the bearer of the 
petition. As Bishop Ross had just been con- 
secrated, the canons had previously sent him 
a laudatory letter informing him that the re- 
ceipt of the papal bulls announcing his ap- 
pointment to the see of Carlisle had filled 
their breasts with ineffable joy. 9 

It is said that William de Hurworth was 
the next prior, but we have not succeeded in 
finding any good authority for the statement. 
In fact the evidences are against it, inasmuch 
as his name is found as a canon of the house 
for many years during subsequent priorates. 10 
On 8 February 1329 Thomas Peytefyn, 
chaplain, was presented to the vicarage of 
Edenhall, which was in the king's gift by 
reason of the priory of Carlisle being in his 
hand. 11 We know for certain that John de 
Kirkby was prior in 1330, and that Bishop 
Ross issued an excommunication against him 
on 3 January 1330-1 for failing to pay the 
papal tenth granted to John XXII. by the 
clergy of Carlisle. 13 About this time there 
was a long and bitter dispute between the 
bishop and the priory as to the tithe of assart 
lands in the forest of Inglewood which was 
ultimately referred to the secular courts. 13 
The controversy was brought to a sudden 
termination by the death of Bishop Ross and 
the elevation of Prior Kirkby to fill his 
place. When William de Hurworth and 

9 Carl. Epis. Reg. Ross, ff. 268-9. 

10 Hugh Todd appears to have been the first to sug- 
gest that William de Hurworth was prior (Notitia 
Eccl. Cathed. Carl. p. 5). The lists of priors of Carlisle 
given by Browne Willis and Dugdale were founded 
on that of Todd. As the Episcopal Registers have 
been quoted as the authority, it is evident that Todd 
had not read carefully the record of the petition 
to elect a prior in the room of Simon de Haut- 
wysell, deceased, which William de Hurworth was 
directed to convey to the bishop, ' dilectum nobis 
in Christo fratrem Willelmum de Hurword, can- 
onicum nostrum, latorem presencium, vobis dirigi- 
mus, vestre paternitati reverende humiliter suppli- 
cantes quatinus ad eiusdem ecclesie prioratus 
regimen nobis licenciam priorem elegendi ut est 
magis liberaliter concedatis ' (Carl. Epis. Reg., 
Ross, ff. 268-9). h ' s c l ear ly stated in the 
record that he was the proctor of the convent 
seeking for power to elect and not its nominee to 
the priorate. William de Hurworth, canon of 
Carlisle, was employed in various capacities, as 
bishop's proctor, diocesan penitentiary and such 
like during the episcopate of Bishop Kirkby. He 
was commissioned to transact diocesan business as 
late as 1342 (ibid. Kirkby, ff. 300, 307-8, 363, 


" Pat. 3 Edw. III. pt. i. m. 36. 
Carl. Epis. Reg., Ross, f. 263. 
Ibid. f. 262 ; Close, 5 Edw. III. pt. i. m. l6d. 




Richard de Whytrigg, canons of Carlisle, 
brought the news of the bishop's death to the 
king, letters patent were sent to the convent 
authorizing the election of a bishop to the 
vacant pastorate who should faithfully serve 
his church, king and country. 1 On 8 May 
1332 the king signified to the Archbishop 
of York his assent to the election of John 
de Kirkby, prior of Carlisle, to be Bishop of 
Carlisle. 2 By a similar writ the temporalities 
of the bishopric were restored to him in the 
following July. 3 By an order in 1334 the 
prior of Carlisle was respited for rendering 
his account to the king for the time when 
the late prior (John de Kirkby), his prede- 
cessor, was receiver of the money for the 
victuals of the king and his father, sold in 
Cumberland.* From this it would appear 
in the absence of direct proof that John de 
Kirkby was the prior that succeeded Simon 
de Hautwysell, or at least that he was prior 
for some time during the reign of Edward II. 

Geoffrey was the next prior, for on 8 March 
1333-4, Bishop John de Kirkby acknow- 
ledged that he owed him 400, which was 
to be levied, in default of payment, on his 
lands and chattels in Cumberland." 

It is said that John de Horncastle was prior 
in 1352 when he was elected to fill the see 
of Carlisle. As the elect and confirmed but 
not the consecrated Bishop of Carlisle, he 
performed certain diocesan acts which are on 
record. 6 In 1363 a plenary remission at the 
hour of death was granted by the pope to 
'John de Horncastell,' prior of Carlisle. 7 
Bishop Appleby cited the prior and convent 
to undergo his visitation in 1366, to which 
citation the prior expressed his readiness, and 
conveyed to the bishop the names of the 
capitular body. It is interesting to note their 
names : John de Horncastell, prior ; John de 
St. Neots, sub-prior ; Thomas de Warthole ; 
Thomas de Colby ; Richard Bully ; William 
de Dalston ; Thomas de Penreth ; Adam del 
Gille ; John de Overton ; Thomas Orfeor ; 
William Colt ; Robert del Parke and Robert 
de Edenhale, that is, a prior and twelve 
canons. It was intimated that Thomas de 
Penreth was absent for purposes of study, 
which was held to be a valid excuse. John 
de Horncastle signified his intention to the 

i Carl. Epis. Reg., Ross, ff. 249-50. 

Pat. 6 Edw. III. pt. ii. m. 33. 

a Ibid. 6 Edw. III. pt. ii. m. 25 ; Carl. Epis. 
Reg., Kirkby, ff. 251-2. 

4 Cal. of Close, 1333-7, P- 36. 

<> Close, 8 Edw. III. m. 33d. 

' Rfgittrum Domini Johannis de Horncastro, elect't 
tt confirmati de anno domini mccclij. 

i Cal, of Papal Petitions (Rolls Ser.), i. 437. 

bishop in November, 1376, of retiring from 
the priorate on account of old age and bad 
health, and the Archdeacon of Carlisle was 
commissioned to receive his resignation and to 
absolve him from his duties. 8 

In obedience to the bishop's licence to elect 
a successor, the choice of the canons fell on 
John de Penreth. This prior had a dispute 
with Robert de Clifton, the cellarer, in 1379, 
with the result that the cellarer was removed 
from his office. The whole case was ulti- 
mately submitted to the arbitration of the 
bishop. 9 Prior John de Penreth was associ- 
ated with Robert de Rawebankes, abbot of 
Holmcultram, and Lambert de Morland, 
abbot of Shap, in 1379, as collectors of a 
subsidy granted by the clergy of the diocese 
of Carlisle to Richard II. in the second year 
of his reign. 10 In the return of the collectors 
the benefice of the prior of Carlisle was as- 
sessed at 200, the amount of his contribu- 
tion being equal to that of the bishop, viz. 
4. The following canons were named in 
the assessment at the rate of 3*. 4^. each : 
Thomas de Warthehole, Thomas de Colby, 
John Cole, Robert Bury, Robert de Clyfton, 
John de Overton, Richard Herwyk, Richard 
Bellerby, Richard Brumley, Thomas Dalston 
and Hugh Thoresby, 11 a prior and eleven 
canons. For certain lawful causes the priory 
was resigned by John de Penreth on 9 August 
I38i. 12 

The Bishop of Carlisle, having learnt by 
proclamation that there was no opposition to 
the election of William de Dalston, a canon 
of the house, decreed that he should be in- 
stalled in the vacant priorate. That was in 
August 1381. The choice of the canons 
was the source of a great scandal in the dio- 
cese of Carlisle. The prior had refused to 
make the declaration of canonical obedience 
to the bishop which led to his excommunica- 
tion. He was ultimately persuaded to resign 
on 28 September 1385, after he had made 
the requisite declaration. 13 This prior had 
been employed under the Crown in January, 
13845, as surveyor of the works for the re- 
pair of the castle of Carlisle. 14 

After the cession of Prior Dalston, 16 great 

Carl. Epis. Reg., Appleby, ff. 165, 289. 

Ibid. ff. 319-20. 

Ibid. ff. 314-5. 

' Exch. Cler. Sub. Dioc. of Carl. bdle. 60, No. i. 

" Carl. Epis. Reg., Appleby, f. 387. 

" Ibid. ff. 337-8, 348-52. 

" Cal. of Doc. Scot. (Scot. Rec. Pub.), iv. 73. 

16 It would appear that Dalston, on his return 
to a subordinate position in the priory, became a 
troublesome inmate of the house. In 1390 he 
was cited with two other canons, Robert Clifton 



circumspection was exercised by the bishop 
before he admitted a successor. The official 
of the diocese was commissioned to see that 
the election was conducted according to law, 
and to certify the formalities to the bishop. 
Having satisfied himself that Robert de Eden- 
hall was the choice of the canons, and that 
there was no opposition, he directed his letters 
to the Archdeacon of Carlisle on 10 October 
1385, to give the said Robert corporal pos- 
session of the prior's stall in the choir and 
his place in the chapter house. 1 

It is difficult to distinguish the priors 
during the fifteenth century, inasmuch as 
all those that have been met with bear 
the same Christian name. In the old lists 
no fewer than five priors of the name of 
Thomas have been mentioned. John Denton 
has given the order of succession as Thomas 
Hoton, Thomas Barnby, Thomas Huthwaite 
and Thomas Gudybour. 8 In their revised 
list, Nicolson and Burn have placed between 
Hoton and Barnby the name of ' Thomas 
Elye who built the grange of New Lathes 
near the city (of Carlisle) on the walls of 
which his name is legible.' From the latter 
source we learn that ' Thomas de Haythwaite 
erected the bishop's throne in the quire on 
the back part whereof his name was inscribed.' 3 
Neither of these inscriptions is now to be 

A few dates may help to ascertain the 
chronological order with more certainty. 
By letters patent, dated 4 January 1413-4, 
William, Bishop of Carlisle, appointed Thomas 
de Hoton, prior of the cathedral church of 
Carlisle, to collect the subsidy granted to the 
Crown by the convocation of York on 27 
July 1413.* It was certified by Thomas, 
prior, and the convent of Carlisle, on 20 Sep- 
tember 1423, that Joan, wife of John de 
Gaytford in the county of Nottingham, for- 
merly wife of Elias de Thoresby, deceased, 
and daughter of Master John de Welton, was 
legitimate and born of the said Master John 
and Alice his wife in holy wedlock. 5 Thomas 

and Richard Everwyk, for disobedience. On their 
deliverance from custody, they gathered some sol- 
diers of the town and castle and took forcible pos- 
session of the priory, denying an entry to the 
bishop and the prior (Pat. 13 Ric. II. pt. ii. 
m. zd). 

' Carl. Epis. Reg., Appleby, ff. 353-4. 

3 Cumberland (ed. R. S. Ferguson), 98. 

3 Hiit. ofCumb. ii. 303. 

4 Exch. Cler. Sub. Dioc. of Carl. bdle. 60, 
No. 8a. 

B.M. Add. Chart. No. 15770. The seal 
of the priory attached to this deed is very much 
broken and the legend indistinct. 

Barnby, prior of Carlisle, was returned in a 
list of gentry of the county of Cumberland 
by certain local commissioners, one of whom 
was Marmaduke Lumley, Bishop of Carlisle, 
in the twelfth year of the reign of Henry VI. 
1433-4." In the muniment room of Lowther 
Castle there is an original lease of a tenement 
in Cardew, dated at Rose on 1 1 August 1457, 
and given by William, Bishop of Carlisle. 
The lease was confirmed by Thomas de 
' Huthuayte,' prior of Carlisle, on behalf of 
the convent. Damaged impressions of the 
seals of the bishop and prior still remain. 

During an inquisition for proving the age 
of Hugh, son and heir of Hugh Lowther, 
late of Lowther, taken on 8 November, 
1482, it was deposed that he was born at 
Lowther on the Feast of the Assumption 
in 1461 and baptized in the church of that 
vill, the godfathers being Richard Wherton, 
rector of the said church, and Thomas, prior 
of Carlisle, and the godmother, Elizabeth 
Moresby. 7 

In the statute of 13 Edward IV., 1473, it 
was provided 

that this Acte of Resumption, or any other made 
or to be made in this present Parlement, ex- 
tend not nor in any wise be prejudiciall, dis- 
avauntage, derogation or hurt to Edward Bishop 
of Carlill, nor to his predecessours nor suc- 
cessours, nor to Thomas Priour of Carlill, and 
Covent of the Monestery or Priorie of Carlill, nor 
to their predecessours nor successours, nor to any 
of theym, nor to any yefte or yeftes, graunte or 
grauntes, licence or licences, ratifications, releases, 
assignations or confirmations to theym, or to their 
predecessours, or to any of theym, made, graunted 
or had, by what name or names the Bishop or 
Priour and Covent of the seid Monestere or 
Priorie, or their predecessours be or were named 
or called in the same. 8 

It is not known precisely at what date the 
priorate of Thomas Gudybour began or ended. 
It is certain that he was prior of Carlisle in 
1476, for in the early part of that year he 
was present at Hexham when William Bywell 
was elected head of that house. 9 It is prob- 
able that he was in office for a considerable 
period. During his time the cathedral church 
had been renovated, 10 the legends of the saints 

8 Fuller, Worthies of England (ed. J. Nichols), 
i. 240-1. 

? Inq. p.m. 22 Edw. IV. No. 58. 

s Rot. Par/. (Rec. Com.), vi. 76. 

* Priory of Hexham, i. App. No. xc. Thomas 
Godebowre was parson of the parish church of 
Dacre in the diocese of Carlisle on 23 February 
1462 (Pat. i Edw. IV. pt. iv. m. 9). 

10 The renovation of the cathedral while Thomas 
Gudybour was prior is well authenticated. 



stencilled on the back of the choir stalls, and 
the tithe-barn near St. Cuthbert's church 
built. His initials in monogram, T(homas) 
G(udybour) P(rior), have been found in vari- 
ous parts of the cathedral and monastic build- 
ings, and it was stated in an inscription on 
the door of an old cupboard in the sacristy 
that the house flourished under his rule (domus 
hec floruit Gudebowr sub tegmine Thome]. In 
1484 King Richard III. granted to Thomas, 
the prior, and the canons of the cathedral 
church, a great part of the possessions of 
which had been destroyed by the Scots, two 
tuns of red wine of Gascony yearly in the 
port of Kingston on Hull for use in their 
church, that they might pray for the good 
estate of the king and his consort Anne, 
Queen of England, and for their souls after 
death and the souls of the king's progenitors. 1 
Among the muniments of the city of Car- 
lisle there is an ' indenture made at Karlell ' 
on i March 14845 'betwixt the right 
worshipfull ffather in God, Thomas Gudybour, 
priour, and his brethre the convent of the 
cathedrall kirke of Karlell,' on the one part, 
and the mayor and citizens of Carlisle on the 
other, about ' the teynde multure of the 
mylnes belongyng to the said Citee.' To 
this deed the seal of the priory is attached, to- 
gether with a counter-seal of singular design. 2 
Simon Senus, Senose, or Senhouse, is said 
to have been chosen prior of Carlisle in 1507, 
but there must be an error of some years in 
the date. On 10 December 1505 Thomas, 
Lord Dacre, and Sir Edward Musgrave en- 
tered into a recognizance of 1,000 marks 
for the finding of four sureties before Simon, 
prior of Carlisle, and Cuthbert Conyers, 
clerk, for the payment of 540 marks due 
to the king. The money was paid and 
the debt cancelled on 12 July iSog. 3 By a 

Richard III. sent the following letter ' to o r wel- 
beloved servant John Crakenthorp, receyvor of our 
landes within our countie of Cumberland. We 
woll and charge you y' of such money as is now 
in yo handes or next and furst shall come unto 
y same by vertue of yo r office, ye contente and 
pay (among other disbursements) unto o r trusty and 
welbeloved in God y priour of oure monastery 
of Carlile the some of v" which we have geven 
towardes ye making of a glasse windowe within 
y* same o r monastery. And thise o r lettres shalbe 
yo' warraunt and discharge in y behalve. Yvien 
etc. at Gaynesburgh the xth day of Octobre the 
first yere of o r reigne ' (Harl. MS. 433, f. 1203). 

1 Pat. I Ric. III. pt. ii. m. 20. 

* Trans. Cumb. and Westmld, Arch. Sof. vii. 
330-4; Cat. of the Arch. Mus. firmed at CarRsle 
in 1859, p. 24; Nicolson and Burn, Hist, of 
Cumb. ii. 303. 

3 L. and P. Hen. mi. i. 296. 


deed ' geven att Karlisle the xiii. day of June 
the viiith yere of the reign of our most 
naturall Soverayn lord king Henry the VIHth ' 
(1516), Simon Senhouse, prior of Carlisle, joined 
Thomas Lord Dacre, the lord warden of the 
Marches, Sir Christopher Dacre, Robert Col- 
dale, ' maire of the citie of Karlell,' and other 
gentlemen, aldermen and bailiffs of the city 
in an appeal for funds for ' the reedifyeng and 
bulding of a new brige of xxi jowelles adion- 
yng the wallis of the forsaid Citie standing 
over the river of Eden now beyng decayed, 
and a perte of the same fallen down.' * On 
15 July 1518 a grant in frankalmoin was 
made by the Crown to Simon, prior, and the 
canons of Carlisle, of the fishery of Carlisle 
at the annual rent of one mark, and of one 
tun of red wine annually at the port of New- 
castle for sacrament. 8 While Senhouse was 
prior, his chamber or residence was rebuilt or 
renovated, for in a room, now the drawing- 
room, of the deanery, there remains a curi- 
ously decorated ceiling with quaint couplets 
inscribed on the crossbeams. A drawing of 
one of these verses by Miss Close, daughter 
of the Dean of Carlisle, was exhibited at the 
meeting of the Archaeological Institute held 
at Carlisle in 1859," the record of which is as 
follows : 

Symon Senus Prior sette yis roofe and scalope here, 
To the intent wythin thys place they shall have 

prayers every daye in the yere. 
Lofe God and thy prynce and you nedis not dreid 

thy enimys. 

Among the painted ornaments on the ceiling 
are roses, birds, the escallop shell, the ragged 
staff, and escutcheons of arms. Other verses 
have been recorded by Hutchinson, 7 but they 
have no particular interest. The whole of 
the ornamentation of the chamber is now 
very faint. The altar-tomb in the north 
transept of the cathedral, in front of the con- 
sistorial court, is reputed to commemorate this 
prior, but the inlaid brass plates, now to be 
found there, are no parts of the original 

Christopher Slee must have been prior for 
some time before 1528, for in that year the 
north-western gate of the precincts of the 
abbey was built. Around the elliptical arch 
on the inside, facing ' the Fratry,' there is an 
inscription now very much worn by the 

* Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xii. App. vii. 6 (Rydal 
Hall MSS.) 

* Pat. 10 Hen. VIII. pt. ii. m. 6 ; L. and P. 
Hen. nil. ii. 4323. 

6 Cat. of the Arch. Mus. formed at Carlisle in 
1859, p. 26. 

Hist, of Cumb. ii. 602. 


weather, but still legible : ' Orate pro anima 
Christoferi Slee prioris qui primus hoc opus 
fieri incepit A.D. 1528.' Christopher, prior 
of Carlisle, was joined in a commission on 
22 September 1529, with Sir William Pen- 
nington, Sir John Ratclyf and Richard Irton 
to survey the castle of Carlisle, and to deliver 
the ordnance found in it to Sir Thomas 
Clifford and the castle to William Lord 
Dacre. 1 In 1534 ' Christofer prior of the 
cathedrall churche of Karliol ' was one of the 
signatories of the inventory taken on 9 May, 
26 Henry VIII., of the 'moveables ' of Lord 
Dacre remaining at his house of Naworth by 
the Earls of Westmorland and Cumberland. 2 
He was returned in the ecclesiastical valuation 
f J 535 as P" 01 " f Carlisle and vicar of 
Castle Sowerby, a church appropriated to the 
priory. 3 In the discredited report of the 
royal commissioners on the condition of the 
religious houses, ascribed to the year 1536, 
Prior ' Slye ' was charged with incontinency. 4 
Soon after this date Prior Slee was deposed, 
but for what reason we have not ascertained. 
In an undated letter addressed ' to the ryght 
worshupffull Master cecretorie to y e kynges 
grace be this letter delyvered,' Robert Cokett 
thus informed Cromwell of the event : 

Right worshupffull S r . I (thowgh unable) have 
me recomendyt unto yo r discreitnes, besechynge 
you of yo r grett goodnes to have me excusyd of 
my rude and symple letter. Pleasyth it yow to 
know that y e Prior of Carelell is deposed and put 
downe, wherapone yf it pleas yow of yowr goodnes 
to be so good unto one kynsmane of myne called 
S r Will Florens, chanon of y e foresaid howsse, as 
make hyme Prior yerof, for of a trewth he is most 
able reportynge me unto y e kynges grace vicitours, 
and both he and I shalbe bownd unto yow to pay 
unto y e kynges grace all suche thynges as it shall 
pleas yow to require, and yow to have for yowr 
payn takynge an hundreth markes. Besekynge 
yow of yowr answere by y berer hereof. Yo r bed- 
man, Robert Cokett. 6 

Lancelot Salkeld, a canon defamed in the 
report of the royal visitation, was made prior 
of the house for the purpose of its surrender. 
From an entry in Cromwell's accounts * under 
date 17 February 1538-9, ' prior of Carlyle 
by Dr. Bellysys, 40 marks,' we may gather 
that he had not been long appointed, 7 as the 

1 L. and P. Hen. nil. iv. 5952. 

2 Ibid. vii. 676. 

3 Vahr Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v. 274-88. 

4 L. and P. Hen. PHI. x. 364. 

6 Ibid. vii. 1632. This letter has been calen- 
dared under the year 1 5 34, but it must be ascribed 
to a later date, perhaps 1536. 

Ibid. xiv. pt. ii. 782, p. 325. 

7 He must have been appointed before I August 
1537, for on that date he issued a lease of the tithes 

receipt suggests the amount for which the 
post was purchased. Sir Thomas Wharton 
was not a welcome visitor to the priory when 
he took up his abode there in December 1539, 
in anticipation of the coming of the commis- 
sioners for the suppression. He complained to 
Cromwell that he was ' straitly lodged,' and, 
while pleading for better accommodation, he 
urged his preferential claim to what was sold 
or let for the king's use. 8 The priory was 
surrendered with all its possessions by Lance- 
lot Salkeld, prior, and the convent on 9 
January 1540, and acknowledged the same 
day before Richard Layton, one of the clerks 
of Chancery. 9 Pensions were assigned on 
the day following to those canons who had 
retired, viz. a pension of 6 i y. ^d. to John 
Birkebek, and 5 6s. 8d. each to Richard 
Throp and William Lowther. 10 By letters 
patent, dated 2 May 1541, the king recon- 
structed the late monastery of St. Mary, 
Carlisle, as a cathedral of one dean and four 
prebendaries to be the see of Robert Aldridge, 
Bishop of Carlisle, and his successors, the 
new establishment to consist of Lancelot 
Salkelde, dean, William Florence, first pre- 
bendary ; Edward Loshe, second ; Barnaby 
Kyrkbryd, third ; and Richard Brandeling, 
fourth. 11 A few days later, on 6 May, by 
royal charter, the new institution, henceforth 
to be known as the Dean and Chapter of the 
Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided 
Trinity of Carlisle, was endowed with the re- 
venues of the dissolved priory of St. Mary, 
and with most of the revenues of the dissolved 
priory of Wetheral. 12 Lancelot Salkeld, the last 
prior of the old institution, became the first dean 
of the new, thus perpetuating the succession. 
The canons of the priory submitted to the 
new state of things with a bad grace. The 
name of the institution had changed but that 
was all : the old leaven was still there. It 
took time to reconcile the canons to the 
liturgical changes in the public service of the 
cathedral. Master ' Hew ' Sewell, M.A., one 
of the most notorious of the local clergy of 
the Tudor period, lodged an information with 
the civil authorities against their non-com- 
pliance with recent ecclesiastical legislation. 

of St. Nicholas, Newcastle, as appears by a copy on 
record in the Dean and Chapter Registers (ii. 37). 

L. and P. Hen. VIII. xiv. pt. ii. 734. 

Close, 31 Hen. VIII. pt. iv. No. 17 ; Rymer, 
Faedera (old ed.), xiv. 668. 

10 L. and P. Hen. nil. xv. 44. 

Pat. 33 Hen. VIII. pt. ix. m. 28. The 
charter was enrolled and issued to the new body 
on 8 May 1541. 

" Ibid. 33 Hen. VIII. pt. 9, m. 11-5; 
L. and P. Hen. Vlll. xvi. 878. 



He brought to the justices of the peace ' one 
book called a legend ' which, he said, was 
daily ' occupied ' in the church of the late 
monastery of Carlisle, and in which, contrary 
to the Acts of Parliament, the service of 
Thomas Becket and the usurped name ' papa ' 
of the Bishop of Rome were unerased. 
Lancelot Salkeld, late prior, and at that time 
(i May 1540) guardian of the monastery, 
demanded the return of the book, and offered 
sureties for it ; but the justices, John Lowther, 
Edward Aglionby, Thomas Dalston and 
Lancelot Salkeld, thinking the matter too high 
for their determination, sent it to the king to- 
gether with the depositions of the sub-chanter 
and another brother. The effect of the depo- 
sitions was that Lancelot Robynson, one of 
the deponents, would have rased out the service 
of Thomas Becket, but William Florence, 
chief chanter of the monastery, took the book 
from him, gave it to the clerk of the choir, 
and bade him keep it secret, for he would 
correct it. Before they rose in the morning 
of 2 May, Florence had disappeared. Salkeld, 
the guardian, informed the constable of the 
castle that the absent canon would return 
by noon on that Sunday 'or else he to be 
hanged.' Sewell added that John Austane, a 
brother of the monastery, exclaimed when 
the book was taken, 'Tush, it is but for a 
book, it will be despatched well enough for 
money.' 1 But matters soon settled down. 
William Florence remained a canon of the 
new capitular body till his death in 1547, when 
he was succeeded by Sewell. 2 Austane was 
one of the eight minor canons of the founda- 
tion. Salkeld died Dean of Carlisle on 3 
September 1560,' leaving behind him a name 
for piety, rectitude and consistency second to 
none in the history of the diocese. 

Adelulf, 4 ? circa 1133 

1 L. and P. Hen. VIII. xv. 619, 633 
Rymer, Faedera (old ed.), xv. 1 90. 

3 Exch. Cert, of Bishop's Inst. Carlisle, No. I. 

4 Adelulf is said to have been prior when the 
bishopric of Carlisle was founded in 1133 (Duchy 
of Lane. Chart, box A, No. 416) ; there is no 
contemporary evidence on the point however, and 
the statement is somewhat doubtful, since he is 
said by Matthew of Paris to have been prior of 
Nostell near Pontefract (Chnm. Maj. [Rolls Ser.], 
ii. 158). On the other hand Adelulf held the priory 
of Nostell with the bishopric, for in 1140 he was 
prior of that house when Augustinian canons were 
brought to the priory of St. Andrew from St. 
Oswald's through his instrumentality ' ecclesiam 
Sancti Oswaldi cui ipse episcopus jure prioris 
praeerat ' (Skene, Chron.of Picts and Scots, 191-2). 

Walter, 6 occurs 1150 and 1169 

Gilbert 6 

John, 7 occurs 1194 and 1204 

Henry de Mareis, 8 elected 1214 

Bartholomew, 9 occurs circa 1224, died in 

Ralf Barri, 10 elected 1231, died 9 February 

Robert 11 de Morville (?), elected 1247, re " 

signed circa 1258 
Adam de Felton la (?) 
Alan 13 (?) 

John, 13 occurs 1263 
Robert, 14 occurs 1278 and 1283, resigned 

circa 1284 
Adam de Warthwyk, 15 elected circa 1284, 

resigned 18 September 1304 
William de Hautewysil, 16 elected 1304, 

resigned 28 September 1308 
Robert de Helpeston, 17 elected 1308, oc- 

curs 1320 
Simon de Hautwysell, 18 died before 13 July 

John de Kirkby, 18 occurs 1330, elected 

Bishop of Carlisle 1332 
Geoffrey 20 occurs 8 March 1333-4 
John de Horncastle, 21 occurs 1352, 1363, 

resigned 1376 

5 Reg. of Holmcultram, MS. ff. 221-3 ; Dug- 
dale, Man. v. 594 ; Cbron. ofMelrose in anno 1150; 
Roger Hovedon (Rolls Ser.), i. 2 u ; Reg. of 
Lanercost, MS. i. i, 9, 14 ; ii. 18 ; v. 3 ; viii. 5. 

8 Ibid. viii. 5 ; iii. 13. 

7 Cart. Antiq. F. 14 ; Rymer, Faedera, i. 63 ; 
Pedes Finium (Pipe R. Soc.), 7 and 8 Ric. I. No. 
128 ; ibid. (Rec. Com.), Cumberland, pp. 7-8. 

8 Rot. Lift. Claus. (Rec. Com.), 16 John,i. zo7b; 
Chron. de Lanercost, 14. 

9 He was contemporary with Bishops Hugh 
and Walter Mauclerc (Reg. of Lanercost, MS. 
viii. 7, 8). Reg. of Wetherhal, 53-5, 67-8, 118, 
etc. ; Chron. de Lanercost (Maitland Club), 41. 

10 Chron. de Lanercost (Maitland Club), 41, 53. 
" Rot. Orig. (Rec. Com.), i. 10 ; Cal. of Papal 

Letters, i. 361-2. 

12 The names of these priors are given by Nicol- 
son and Burn in Hist, of Cumb. ii. 301, but 
no evidence is given to establish their claim, 
and the statement should be received with sus- 

Coll. Topog. et Gen. v. 235-6. 

" Chan. Eccl. Pet. for Elections, 24 June 1278, 
file 6 ; Dep. Keeper's Rep. vi. App. p. 94 ; Carl. 
Epis. Reg., Halton,fF. 14, 43. 

is Cal. of Pat. 1330-4, pp. 1 1 1-2 ; Carl. Epis. 
Reg., Halton, f. 43. 

i 8 Carl. Epis. Reg., Halton, f. 113. 

Ibid. f. 114; Cal. of Close, 1330-3, p. 357. 

is Carl. Epis. Reg., Ross, ff. 268-9. 

Ibid. f. 263 ; Pat. 6 Edw. III. pt. 2, m. 33. 

Close, 8 Edw. III. m. 33d. 

21 He was said to be prior of Carlisle when he 



John de Penreth, 1 elected 1376, resigned 
9 August 1381 

William de Dalston, 2 elected 1381, re- 
signed 28 September 1385 

Robert de Edenhall, 3 elected 1385 

Thomas de Hoton,* occurs 1413 and 


Thomas Elye. 8 

Thomas Barnby, 8 occurs 1433-4 
Thomas Huthwaite, 7 occurs 1457 
Thomas Gudybour, 8 occurs 1476 and 

Simon Senus or Senhouse, 8 occurs 1505 

and 1518 
Christopher Slee, 10 occurs 1528 and 1535, 

deposed circa 1536 
Lancelot Salkeld, 11 appointed before i 

August 1537, surrendered 9 January 


Lancelot Salkeld, last prior and first dean, 

1541 ; resigned in 1548 
Sir Thomas Smith, knight, LL.D., 1548 ; 

resigned quasi sponte in 15 54 
Lancelot Salkeld, restored in 1554; died 

in 1560 
Sir Thomas Smith, re-appointed in 1560 ; 

died in 1577 

Sir John Wolley, knight, M.A., 1577-96 
Sir Christopher Perkins, knight,i 596-1 622 
Francis White, S.T.P., 1622-6 
William Peterson, S.T.P., 1626-9 
Thomas Comber, S.T.P., 1629-42 
Guy Carleton, S.T.P., 1660-71 
Thomas Smith, D.D., 1671-84 
Thomas Musgrave, D.D., 1684-6 
William Grahme, D.D., 1686-1704 

was elected to the see in 1352. Cat. of Papal 
Petitions, i. 437 ; Carl. Epis. Reg., Appleby, ff. 
Carl. Epis. Reg., Appleby, ff. 319-20, 387. 

> Ibid. 337-8, 348-52- 
s Ibid. ff. 353-4. 

Exch. Cler. Subs., Dioc. of Carl., bdle. 60, 
No. 8a ; B.M. Add. Chart. No. 15770. 

> Nicolson and Burn, Hist, of Cumb. ii. 303. 

Fuller, Worthies of England (ed. J. Nichols), i. 

* He confirmed a lease, dated II August 1457, 
of a tenement in Cardew (original in muniment 
room of Lowther Castle). 

Priory ofHexham, i. App. No. xc. 

' L. and P. Hen. VIII. i. 296 ; Pat. 10 Hen. 
VIII. pt. 2, m. 6. 

10 From an inscription on the arch of the 
north-western gate of the precincts of the abbey. 
Valor Ecd. (Rec. Com.), v. 274-88 ; L. and P. 
Hen. VIII. \\\. 1632. 

Carl. D. and C. Reg. ii. 37 ; Close, 31 Hen. 
VIII. pt. 4, No. 17 ; Rymer, fcedera (old ed.), 
xiv. 668. 

Francis Atterbury, D.D., 1704-11 
George Smalridge, D.D., 1711-3 
Thomas Gibbon, D.D., 1713-6 
Thomas Tullie, LL.D., 1716-27 
George Fleming, LL.D., 1727-35 
Robert Bolton, LL.D., 1735-63 
Charles Tarrant, D.D., 1764 
Thomas Wilson, D.D., 1764-78 
Thomas Percy, D.D., 1778-82 
Geoffrey Ekins, D.D., 1782-92 
Isaac Milner, D.D., F.R.S., 1792-1820 
Robert Hodgson, D.D., F.R.S., 1820-44 
John Anthony Cramer, D.D., 1844-8 
Samuel Hinds, D.D., 1848-9 
Archibald Campbell Tait, D.C.L., 1849- 


Francis Close, D.D., 1856-81 

John Oakley, D.D., 1881-3 

William George Henderson, D.C.L., D.D., 

The seal of the priory of Carlisle 1 * is 
round, representing the half length figures of 
the Virgin and Child upon a bridge, between 
two angels with outstretched wings censing. 
A Gothic building stands on each side of 
the bridge, which has two trefoiled arches, 
within which, on the left, is an ecclesiastic, 
probably a canon, and on the right a bishop 
with mitre and crosier. Between the arches 
is, in a small countersunk oval panel, a cross. 
At the base is an embattled wall. The legend 
is : SIGIL' . . . CCLESIE SANCTE MAR . . . 
EOLI. Two impressions of this seal ia are at 
the British Museum attached to deeds about 
the appropriation of the church of Bromfield 
in 1303. 

A counter seal, 14 perhaps that of Adam de 
Warthwyk, the prior, is the impression of an 
antique gem representing a winged Fortune 
or Minerva with inscription in field : DIVS F . . 
... In the metal setting at the points be- 
tween the gem and the legend are two shields 
of arms : top three bars base fretty. 

The seal of the dean and chapter" is a 
pointed oval showing the Virgin kneeling be- 
fore an altar on which is an open book. Be- 
hind is a classical niche with a round headed 
arch, and below is the shield of arms of the 
chapter. The legend runs : SIGIL DECANI 

CARLIOL ' l66o. 

12 The seal reproduced here is from a deed in 
the possession of the dean and chapter of Dur- 
ham, but see also B.M. Seals, 2412-7. 

13 Add. Chart. 17155, 17156. 
" B.M. Seals, 2412. 

" See Mrs. Henry Ware's article ' On the 
Seals of the Bishops of Carlisle, and other Seals 
belonging to that Diocese,' in Transactions oj Cumb. 
end Wcstmld. Arch. Sac. xii. 226. 



On the banks of the Irthing close to the 
Roman wall, in the country which we now 
associate with the genius of Sir Walter Scott, 
Robert de Vaux son of Hubert de Vaux, 
lord of Gillesland, founded the priory of 
Lanercost for regular canons of the Order of 
St. Augustine. Tradition places the founda- 
tion in 1169, which agrees with the evidence 
of the earliest charter of the house. 1 The 
church was entitled in the name of St. 
Mary Magdalene, a dedication of singular 
rarity in Cumberland and Westmorland. 
Early in the seventeenth century John Denton 
mentioned, but seems to have rejected, the 
legend which ascribed the foundation to the 
remorse felt by the noble founder for having 
slain Gille son of Boet who owned the fief 
before it was given to Hubert his father. 
The story, however, has found its way into 
some of the editions of Camden, and been 
often repeated on his authority. Denton 
rightly appealed to Robert's charter of founda- 
tion, which states that the benefaction was made 
for the sake of Henry II., who had enfeoffed 
his father with the barony and confirmed it to 
himself, and for the health of the souls of 
his father Hubert and his mother Grace. 

Before Robert de Vaux granted the charter, 
the scheme must have reached almost to 
the verge of completion, so full and com- 
prehensive are its terms and references and 
differing so conspicuously from the successive 
charters which marked the various stages. in 
the foundation of Wetheral and St. Bees. The 
grantor assigned to God and St. Mary Mag- 
dalene of Lanercost and to the regular canons 
there the lawn (landa) of Lanercost between 
the ancient wall and the Irthing and between 
Burth and Poltros, the vill of Walton by 
stated bounds, the church of that vill with 
the chapel of 'Treverman,' the churches of 
Irthington, Brampton, Carlaton and Farlam, 
certain lawns by bounds as ' Gille son of 
Bueth ' held them, besides numerous immun- 
ities and privileges throughout the whole 
barony. The tenor of the charter a betokens 

1 Reg. of Lanercost, MS. i. I. In 1761 George 
Story, vicar of Lanercost, erected a stone tablet in 
the church to the memory of Robert de Vaux, 
founder of the priory, and of his wife Ada Engaine, 
on which he inscribed 1 1 1 6 as the year of foun- 
dation. The vicar evidently took his date from 
a note in the register of the priory on the foun- 
dations of the religious houses in the diocese of 
Carlisle (ibid. f. 267). Story's error has been 
often repeated. 

' Reg. of Lanercost, MS. i. I. It is scarcely 

a generous disposition and a liberal hand in 
the multiplication of gifts for the start of the 
new institution, and the concourse of wit- 
nesses, who assembled to subscribe their names 
to the deed of endowment, is a striking 
evidence that the occasion was regarded as 
one of unusual dignity and importance. In 
addition to many tenants and clergy of Gilles- 
land, the foundation charter was witnessed by 
Christian, Bishop of Whithern in Galloway, 
suffragan to York during the vacancy at 
Carlisle, Walter prior of Carlisle, and Robert 
archdeacon of the same place, as representative 
of the ecclesiastical authority at that date. The 
marginal note in the register of the house 
which states that the church was dedicated by 
Bernard, Bishop of Carlisle, in 1169, the 
sixteenth year of Henry II. and the twelfth 
of his pontificate, is not worthy of credit, for 
though the year of foundation must be ap- 
proximately correct, it is not true that 
Bernard was Bishop of Carlisle in 1169. 
The note belongs to a class of legends 
about Bishop Bernard that arose at an early 

The liberality of the founder was not con- 
fined to the endowments granted in the first 
charter. The register of the priory contains 
many other deeds of gift and confirmation 
extending over his long tenure of the barony. 
In several of these charters, when he had 
occasion to refer to his territorial title, he 
reverted to the old phrase 3 employed by 
Henry II. in the original enfeoffment of his 
family and repeated by himself in his founda- 
tion charter, ' infra baronian quam dominus 
rex Henricus Anglic dedit patri meo et mihi 
in terra que fuit Gille filii Bueth.' Few of 
the religious houses founded by subjects in the 
northern counties can point to a patron more 
distinguished in personal qualities than Laner- 
cost, for Robert de Vaux, immortalized by 
Jordan Fantosme,* his contemporary, was 
a valiant soldier, a great judge, a prudent 
statesman, and a munificent benefactor of 
his church and country. The example 

necessary to call attention to the distinction be- 
tween the Register or Chartulary of Lanercost and 
the Chronicon de Lanercost or Chronicle of Laner- 
cost. The Register is a collection of deeds of the 
usual character belonging to a religious house and 
still remains in manuscript, a copy of which is in 
the custody of the dean and chapter of Carlisle. 
The Chronicon belongs to the class of medieval 
chronicles and has been printed by the Maitland 
and Bannatyne Clubs. 

s Ibid. i. 13, viii. 17. 

4 Chron. of the War between the English and 
the Scots in 1173 and 1 174 (Surtees Soc. No. 1 1), 
1370-1460, etc. 



he set was infectious, for his family, kin- 
dred and descendants rank foremost among 
those who contributed to the prosperity and 
welfare of the priory. It would carry us 
beyond the limits of this notice to refer to all 
the benefactors who assisted in its endowment, 
members of the families of Morville, 
Engayne, Windsor, Denton, Castelcayroc, 
Neuton, le Sor, Tilliol, de la Ferte, Ireby 
and others. In common with the other 
religious houses of the county, the small pro- 
prietors were as forward in making bequests 
according to their station as the great 

The priory was rich in the possession of 
churches, for over and above the five churches 
probably all that were at that time in the barony 
granted by the founder, the church of Grines- 
dale was given by Richard de Neuton and 
Robert le Sor, that of Lazonby was brought 
into relations with the priory by Ada Engayne 
and afterwards bestowed by her son Hugh de 
Morvill, and that of Denton by Buethbarn, 
the lord of the place. Ada Engayne granted 
an annuity of three marks out of the reve- 
nues of the churches of Burgh-by-Sands and 
Lazonby for the souls of William Engayne her 
father and Eustachia her mother, and for the 
soul of Simon de Morvill her late husband, to 
which Christian, Bishop of Whithern, and 
Robert, Archdeacon of Carlisle, were parties. 1 
This pension was afterwards the occasion of 
scandal to the canons of Lanercost, involving 
them in a contest with the monks of Holm- 
cultram about the church of Burgh, 2 as the 
pension out of Lazonby led to an estrange- 
ment with the abbey of Kelso. 3 The policy 
of appropriation was pursued with as much 
vigour at Lanercost as elsewhere. The 
Bishop of Whithern confirmed to the canons 

1 Reg. of Lanercost, MS. v. 4-6 ; ii. 1 5-6 ; 
iii. 1-2 ; xii. 26. 

a Reg. of Holmcultram, MS. ff. 12-3. It is 
rarely that we meet with a bishop using such em- 
phatic language as Bishop Hugh of Carlisle 
employed on that occasion. He stated that danger 
was likely to accrue to his diocese by reason of the 
collusion between the brethren of the two houses. 
In gross and reckless ignorance of the canons 
of the church they had made compositions 
and meddled with matters with which they 
had no concern and over which they had no 
power. The bishop pronounced the whole trans- 
action unlawful, and forced John, prior of Laner- 
cost, to renounce on behalf of his house the claim 
to an annual pension from the church of Burgh. 
Having heard all the arguments and seen all the 
evidences, he also awarded the patronage to the 
abbey of Holmcultram. 

3 Reg. of Lanercost, MS. xiii. 25-6; Liber de 
Cakhou (Bannatyne Club), ii. 351. 

the churches Robert de Vaux gave them at 
the foundation of the priory. Americ, 
Archdeacon of Carlisle, issued a licence at a 
later period for their appropriation, including 
those of later donation on the death or resig- 
nation of the incumbents in possession, the 
canons undertaking to discharge all diocesan 
obligations. The bishops, when the succession 
was restored, carried on the tradition. Bishop 
Hugh was the first Bishop of Carlisle who 
espoused the interest of the parishioners in 
the matter of appropriations and made it a 
principle of diocesan administration, a policy 
which brought him into disrepute with the 
religious corporations. He made it the usual 
condition of his assent that fit vicars should 
be presented to the bishop for the service of 
the churches and that a competent portion 
should be set aside out of the revenues for 
their maintenance. Subsequent prelates 
imitated his example, and as the power of 
the episcopate began to strengthen after the 
prolonged vacancy, the vicarages of appro- 
priated churches were taxed, that is, the sources 
of the incumbent's income were set out with 
legal exactness in the deed of episcopal con- 
firmation. The canons of Lanercost obtained 
ecclesiastical recognition in customary form 
for the appropriation of all their churches. 

In this recognition of course there was 
included the papal sanction, an opportunity 
rarely neglected for advancing the papal 
influence. The confirmation of Alexander 
III. in 1 1 8 1 is an interesting document. 
With alacrity the pope took the church of 
Lanercost under the protection of the blessed 
Peter and decreed that the rule of St. Augus- 
tine should be observed inviolate therein for 
ever. After reciting and confirming the 
grants to the priory, licence was given to 
receive clerks and laymen flying from the 
world and to retain them in the religious life. 
No brother after profession was allowed to 
depart without leave of the prior. For their 
appropriated churches the canons were author- 
ized to select suitable priests and present them 
to the bishop of the diocese for institution to 
the cure of souls, the priests answering to the 
bishop in spiritual matters and to the canons 
in temporal. In times of general interdict, 
it should be lawful to celebrate divine offices 
in the priory with low voice and closed doors 
and without the ringing of bells. The right 
of burial to all those who desired it was 
granted to the church, 4 except for those under 

* Robert de Vaux son of Ralf de Vaux be- 
queathed his body to the canons of Lanercost, 
' ubicunque et quandocumque ex hac vita migra- 
verim ' (Register of Lanercost, MS. ii. 4). 





excommunication or interdict, with due respect 
to the rights of other churches. The liberty 
of free election of the prior, conceded by the 
founder, was also recognized and confirmed. 
Later popes laid down strict rules for the 
regulation of the priory in its relations to the 
diocese. It was stipulated by Honorius III. 
in 1224 that the chrism, holy oils and ordin- 
ation of clerks should be procured from the 
diocesan bishop if he be a catholic and in com- 
munion with the holy Roman See, and no 
one should be allowed to erect a new chapel 
or oratory within the bounds of any of their 
churches without the bishop's licence, saving 
only the privilege of the Roman pontiffs. 1 

Notwithstanding the privileges of the 
Holy See, the priory of Lanercost was an 
integral portion of the diocese of Carlisle, and 
the bishop's ordinary power of visitation was 
effective and unimpaired. Again and again 
was it exercised by successive bishops for the 
correction of abuses and the maintenance of 
discipline. The author of the Chronicle of 
Lanercost describes the first visitation of 
Bishop Ralf Ireton on 22 March 1281, the 
year after his consecration. The canons 
vested in their copes met the new prelate at 
the gates of the priory, as they had met King 
Edward and Queen Eleanor a few months 
before. Having given his benediction, the 
bishop received them to the kiss of peace, 
kissing first their hands and then their lips. 
In the chapter house he preached from the 
text, ' Lo, I myself will require' ; the preaching 
being ended, the bishop proceeded with his 
visitation, 'during which,' says the chronicler, 
' we were compelled to accept new constitu- 
tions.' 2 

There are several monitions on record in 
the episcopal archives by which intimations 
were given of visitations by various bishops. 
Bishop Kirkby gave notice on i February 
1344-5 that he intended to visit the priory, 
in head and members, in their chapter house 

1 The whole of these ecclesiastical confirmations 
will be found in the eighth part of the Register of 
the priory of Lanercost, where they form an 
interesting series. 

a 'Finita przdicatione, visitationem suam prose- 
cutus est in qua coacti sumus novellas constitutiones 
recipere ' (Chron. de Lanercost [Maitland Club], 
p. 1 06). This passage is fatal to Stevenson's con- 
tention that the Ckronicon de Lanercost was written 
by a Minorite of Carlisle and not by an inmate of 
Lanercost. The visitation referred to was clearly 
that of the priory and not of the diocese. He has 
mistaken the meaning of the passage altogether. 
The new constitutions were issued ' finita praedica- 
tione,' when his sermon, not his visitation, was 
ended (Cbron. pp. vii. viii.). 


on a stated day. 3 The like was done by 
Bishop Welton in 1356 and 1358,* and by 
Bishop Appleby in 1368 and I373. 8 

In many ways the bishop of the diocese 
exercised a pastoral oversight of the house 
other than by the function of visitation. It 
was his office to confirm the election of the 
canons when the priory was vacant, to insti- 
tute the new prior and to lay down rules, if 
need be, for his future guidance. According 
to custom he required the nominee of the 
canons to be in priest's orders, of canonical 
age and legitimate birth. Having been 
satisfied in these matters, the bishop admin- 
istered the oath of canonical obedience and 
then issued his letters to the Archdeacon of 
Carlisle or some diocesan official like a rural 
dean to induct the new prior into the temporal 
possessions and to assign him his stall in the 
choir and his place in the chapter. The 
form of the oath of obedience to the diocesan 
is of some interest : ' In the name of God, 
Amen. I, Brother Thomas of Hexham, 
prior of the priory of Lanercost of the Order 
of St. Augustine, of the diocese of Carlisle, 
will be faithful and obedient to you my 
venerable father in Christ and lord, the Lord 
Gilbert, by the grace of God, Bishop of 
Carlisle, and to your successors canonically 
appointed, your officials and ministers, in 
canonical and lawful demands. So help me 
God and these holy Gospels of God, and 
this I subscribe with my own hand.' 6 Some- 
times the bishop dismissed the new prior with 
the injunction to promote amity among the 
brethren and exercise mildness, as his station 
required, in the internal administration of the 

According to the idiosyncracies of the 
bishop or the necessities of the occasion, more 
stringent obligations had to be undertaken by 
a new prior before his institution. Bishop 
Welton exacted a formidable list of promises 
in 1354 from Prior Thomas of Hexham 

3 Carl. Epis. Reg., Kirkeby, f. 477. 

Ibid. Welton, ff. 26, 44. 

B Ibid. Appleby, ff. 197, 254. 

6 Ibid. Welton, f. 12. The form of obedience 
subscribed by Prior Richard de Ridale in 1355 is 
as follows : ' In Dei nomine amen. Ego frater 
Ricardus de Ridale, ordinis sancti Augustini, in 
Priorem Prioratus de Lanercost, Karliolensis dio- 
ceseos, postulatus, et in eiusdem loci Priorem canon- 
ice confirmatus, ero fidelis et obediens vobis vener- 
abili in Christo patri et domino meo, domino 
Gilberto, Dei gracia, Karliolensi episcopo, vestris- 
que successoribus canonice intrantibus, officialibus 
et ministris, in canonicis et licitis mandatis. Sic 
Deus me adiuvet, et hec sancta Dei evangelia, et 
hoc propria manu mea subscribe ' (ibid. f. 20). 


(Hextildesham) in addition to the cherishing of 
goodwill among the brethren and the practice 
of gentleness in his government of the house. 
Some of these conditions may be mentioned : 
that he should not by any means transact 
important business without the consent of the 
convent : that the common seal should be 
faithfully kept in the custody of three canons 
or two at the least : that he should keep only 
a few dogs (canes nisi paucos) : that he should 
not frequent or mix himself up with common 
sports (communibus venationibus) : that no relig- 
ious or secular man of the priory should keep 
dogs of any sort : and that, as a pension had 
been allotted to his predecessor, he should 
abide by the award the bishop had made. 1 
The peculiar provisions in restraint of the 
sporting proclivities of the canons can be 
easily understood in a country which abounded 
in game. The priory was not always at 
peace with the lords of Gillesland about the 
rights of hunting in the barony. In 1256 
a final concord was accepted by Thomas son 
of Thomas de Multon before the justices 
itinerant at Lancaster whereby the litigating 
parties came to an understanding about the 
hunting of their respective demesnes. 8 By 
this agreement, which contains many inter- 
esting features of forest law, the convent was 
entitled to enclose with a ditch and low 
hedge their part of Warth-colman and to 
maintain a deer-leap (saltorium) therein for 
the purpose of enabling the big game to 
enter the enclosure and of preventing them 
coming out again : and besides to keep a 
pack of hounds consisting of four harriers 
cleporarios) and four swift brachs (brachettos 
(urrentes ) to take, as often as they wished, 
foxes, hares and all other animals known as 
' clobest.' It was natural that the canons, as 
large landowners, should regard with jealousy 
any encroachments on the sporting rights of 
their estates, game being an important article 
of food, but there was just a possibility that 
the ways of the world might invade the 
quiet seclusion of the cloister. Bishop Welton 
was apparently of opinion that things were 
going too far at Lanercost, for on his coming 
to the see in 1353 he took the first opportunity 
that presented itself to curb the sporting pro- 
pensities of the brethren and to keep the 
ruling passion within the line of moderation. 

It is pleasing to note that at Lanercost as 
well as at Carlisle the head of the house, 
when feeble in health or broken down with 
age, was able to retire from the cares of office 

1 Carl. Epis. Reg., Welton, f. 12. 
3 Pedes Finium (Cumberland), case 35, file 2, 
No. 68 ; Reg. of Lanercost, MS. ix. 4. 

and to pass the evening of his life in comfort 
within the precincts of the priory. The 
procedure on the resignation of a prior was 
no doubt regulated by the rule of the Augus- 
tinian Order. It was customary at Lanercost 
for the convent to name the pension and 
submit it to the Bishop of Carlisle for his 
approval, or at least the matter was arranged 
between the bishop and the canons. In 
1283 Prior John retired on a pension con- 
firmed by Bishop Ralf Ireton. 3 The nature 
of the retiring allowance which John de 
(Bothecastre) Bewcastle received in 1354 
throws a much needed light on the simple 
habits of cloistered life in the fourteenth 
century. It was ordained by Bishop Welton 
that Brother John, broken with old age and 
burdened with weakness of body, should have 
for the term of his life a fit place to dwell 
within the confines (septa) of the priory : two 
canonical allowances (libratas') daily of meal 
and drink, two pairs of new boots and two 
pairs of new socks at such times of the year 
when these articles of apparel were usually 
delivered, a sufficient supply of fire and light, 
and 46;. 8d. in lieu of clothing and other 
necessaries payable at three terms of the year, 
viz. at Christmas, 131. 4^. ; at Pentecost, 20*. ; 
and at Michaelmas, 13;. 4</. The bishop 
also, out of respect to his former station, 
required the convent to make him an allow- 
ance for a valet (minister) with a suitable 
livery (roba) or half a mark in lieu thereof. 4 

When a vacancy occurred by the death or 
resignation of the prior, jurisdiction over the 
house at once passed to the sub-prior till the 
office was filled by the free election of the 
canons. At times the bishops did not fail to 
impress this on all concerned. When Prior 
Thomas of Hexham died in 1355, Bishop 
Welton sent the vicars of Irthington and 
Brampton to inform the canons that the care 
of the convent was entrusted to the sub-prior 
' as well of right and custom as by our 
authority it is known to belong.' If disputes 
arose over an election, the bishop was the sole 
referee, by whose kindly mediation an amicable 
arrangement was made. When Richard de 
Ridale, a canon of Carlisle, and John de 
Nonyngton, a canon of Lanercost, were pos- 
tulated to the priory in 1355 by two parties in 
the house, the bishop cited them to Rose 
Castle, where he gave judgment in favour of 
the former candidate and confirmed him in 
the office. 5 

Soon after the foundation of the house, 

3 Chron. de Lanercost, 113. 

Carl. Epis. Reg., Welton, f. 13. 

Ibid. S. 20-1. 



Robert de Vaux, the founder, granted to 
the canons the right of free election, so that 
when the lord prior died the person on whom 
the choice of the canons or the greater part of 
them fell should be elected in his place. To 
this concession Robert, archdeacon of Carlisle, 
Walter, prior (of Carlisle), and others were wit- 
nesses. 1 It was not always that the patron of 
the house acted with such consideration to the 
canons. At later periods the lords of Gilles- 
land betrayed an interest in the internal 
affairs of the priory which was, to say the 
least, not a little embarrassing to the inmates. 
In 1261 the Bishop of Carlisle was obliged to 
invoke the power of the Crown to eject Sir 
Thomas de Multon, who had held the priory 
for a year or more by lay force to the exclu- 
sion of the bishop and his officers and to the 
detriment of the discipline of the house. It 
is curious to find at this period the phrase 
laicalis insolentia used to denominate lay inter- 
ference in ecclesiastical affairs. 8 The same 
practical interest in the affairs of the priory 
was again manifest in 1524, when, at a time 
of great monastic activity, Lord Dacre repri- 
manded the prior for occupying himself so 
much in building and outward works that he 

1 Reg. of Lanercost, MS. i. 14. This privilege 
was afterwards confirmed by Pope Alexander III. 
in 1 1 8 1 (ibid. viii. 1 7) and by Robert de Vaux, 
son of Ranulf (ibid. i. 22). 

* As the letter of Bishop Robert de Chause has 
many points of interest and seems to be little 
known locally, it may be useful to give the full 
text : ' Serenissimo principi et domino reverendo 
H(enrico). Dei gratia, regi Anglorum illustri, 
devotus suus R(obertus), permissione divina Karleo- 
lensis ecclesias minister humilis, salutem et promp- 
tum ad obsequia famulatum, cum omni reverentia 
pariter et honore. Cum dominus Thomas de 
Multon prioratum de Lanercost jam per annum et 
amplius per vim laicalem tenuerit occupatum, ita 
quod nee nobis aut officialibus nostris ad ea exer- 
cendum qua: officio nostro incumbunt, nee priori 
ejusdem, quern ibidem praefecimus, ad corrigendum 
canonicorum suorum excessus, seu ad disponendum 
de utilitatibus ejusdem prioratus aliquo modo 
patere potest ingressus, vestras majestati regiae omni 
qua possumus devotione humiliter supplicamus, 
quatenus vicecomiti Cumberlandias vestris velitis 
dare literis in mandatis, ut vim laicalem a prioratu 
predicto auctoritate regia studeat amovere : ne 
locus ille divino cultui dedicatus per laicalem in- 
solentiam ulterius profanetur. Valeat et vigeat 
excellentia vestra regia per tempora longiora. 
Datum apud Bellum Locum, sexto idus Martii, 
anno Domini millesimo ducentesimo sexagesimo 
primo et pontificatus nostri anno quinto. Domino 
regi Anglia: illustri ' (Royal and Hist. Letters, Hen. 
III. (Rolls Ser.), ii. 167). Sir Francis Palgrave 
gave an abstract of this letter in 1843 (Def. 
Keeper's Rep. iv. 142). 

was apt to neglect the more serious duties of 
his vocation. The following ' copie of a 
lettre to the prior of Lanrecost ' throws a 
welcome light on monastic institutions at this 
date : 

Maistar Prior of Lanrecost and convent of the 
same, I recOmende me to youe, and at my being 
last w' youe I shulde have spokin w' youe and 
shewed youe my mynde and opynyofi in diverse 
mattiers most proufitable and beneficiall to youe 
and yo r monastery, whiche for lak as well of leaser, 
the bushop being ther, as also for the mattiers of 
importaunce concernyng the Kinge busines in 
hand to be fulfilled, that I couthe not have tyme 
and space so to doo. Albeit a parte of my mynde 
is that forasmiche as youe, Maister Prior, being soo 
often occupied aswell in outward warkes and busi- 
nesses as buylding, oversight of warkmen, quarri- 
ours, maisons, wrightes, wallers as others nedefull 
to be sene to for the cOmon weale of youe all, yo r 
monastery, servante and store, cannot have tymes 
convenient and space to see to the inwarde parte 
of yo r chirche as to take hede and see the service of 
God contynuallymaignteyned,the order of Religion 
w' the Cerymoneys of the same w'in the Chirche, 
Closter, Dorto r and frater observed and kept so 
weale as nedefull it were. Therfore expedient it 
is that ye have eas and help of a parte of yo r said 
charge to be taken of youe, bereason that two 
persounes may the better take hede to the execu- 
tion of many businesses than one person. And in 
as muche as I am yo r Foundo' and bounde in con- 
sciens to see for yo r weales and geve unto youe my 
most fruytfull counseill, woll therfore and hertely 
prey youe that w' convenient diligence after the 
recept herof, ye woll assemble youe to gidders in 
yo r chapito* Hous and ther lovingly condescend 
aggre youe and elect oon of yo r selfe to be yo r sup- 
prior, siche as ye in yo r consciences most assuredly 
truste may and shalbe most beneficiall aswell to the 
maynten a nce of Godde service w'in yo r monastery, 
conversacion in his owne person, as prouffitable to 
yo r said monastery yerely and frome tyme to tyme 
herafter. So as the same person so chosen may 
have the charge of the service of the churche and 
ordo r of his brethern undre youe, maister Prior, 
trusting therby that persounes now highe mynded, 
wolfull and obstacle there, may and woll fro thens- 
furthe knaw their selfe the better, And use the 
vowe of obedience according to profession. And 
youe, maister Prior, to reasorte to the charge of 
the churche, chapito' Hous, and frater at all tymes 
that ye conveniently may. And not w'standing 
the obstinacie som tyme used by Sr Richard 
Halton aftre his profession cont'ry thordo r of 
Religion, whiche he all utterly has refused, and be 
the help of the holy goost is vertuously reduced of 
his owne good mynde to my singular pleaser, corn- 
forth, and consolacion above any temperall man, 
seing the good qualities in hym and his inward 
goodness and mynde to yo r House and me knowen, 
faithfully professed in his hert to God, Mary Mag- 
dalen, and that Hous. In Myn opynyon, upon 
my feith and conscience, I think unfeynedly that 



the said S' Richard Halton is most dyscrete, suffi- 
cient, and able to be yo r supprior. And for my 
parte, as far as in me is, being yo r foundo r , I assent 
to his election, trusting ye woll all or the most 
parte of youe assent to the same, yo r most prouffet 
and weales perfitely remembred, notw'standing he 
having a vicary, whiche makes him more able to 
occupie the same Rowme. And upon a parte of 
yo more towardly, humbly, and obedient demean- 
ors to be used hereafter then has bene of late, may 
and shall have me to be yo r better good lord and 
com to promotion upon yo r good demerette, w'out 
whose help I see not as y' shall cum therunto. 
Wherefore I counseill youe all thus to be contented 
and elect hym w'out any obstinacie or grudge as 
ye intende to pleas me. At Morpath the penult 
day of February Anno xv H. VIII. 1 

From these evidences it will appear that the 
advowson of the priory, which passed from one 
lord of Gillesland to another as a piece of real 
property,* existed in reality as well as in name, 
and was a potential force in the regulation of 
the house. 

From its geographical position the priory 
was exposed to constant dangers from the 
attacks of Scottish marauders. Its unprotected 
condition so close to the frontier served as an 
invitation to the Border clans to harass it in 
retaliation for the depredations of their English 
enemies. After the outbreak of the War of 
Independence its real troubles began. In 1296, 
the year of the rupture with Balliol, the 
Scottish army encamped at Lanercost after 
burning the priory of Hexham and the nun- 
nery of Lambley, and laying waste the valley 
of the Tyne. 3 By a timely alarm, no doubt 
created by the artifice of the canons, the 
Scots retreated through Nicolforest with their 
plunder, having burnt only certain houses of 
the monastery but not the church. 4 No 
words were too strong on the lips of English 
writers to describe the cruelties and impieties 
practised by the enemy on that occasion. The 
poet historian of Bridlington 5 narrates that 

i B.M. Add. MS. 24,965, f. 218. 

a The advowsons of religious houses founded by 
subjects descended to their heirs, unless alienated 
or forfeited, as the houses of royal foundation re- 
mained with the Crown. For instance, the advow- 
son of Lanercost was reckoned in the 'extent' of the 
Dacre possessions in 1340 and 1485 (Inq. p.m. 
13 Edw. III. ist Nos. 35 ; Cat. of Inq. p.m. Hen. 
VII. i. 157). Similarly the advowsons of St. 
Bees and Calder descended among the lords of 
Egremont (Inq. p.m. 15 Edw. II. No. 45 ; 39 
Edw. III. ist. Nos. 17). These examples might 
be easily multiplied. 

Chron. de Melsa (Rolls Ser.), ii. 261. 

* Heminburgh, Chron. (Engl.Hist. Soc.), ii. 102. 

e Quoted by J. Raine as the lines of Peter 
Langtoft in The Priory of Hexham (Surtees Soc.), 
i. p. Ixxxii. 


Corbrigge is a toun, the brent it whan thei cam : 
Tuo hous of religioun, Leynercoste and Hexham, 
Thei chaced the chanons out, ther godes bare away, 
And robbed alle about : the bestis tok to pray. 

The devastation, added the chronicler of 
Lanercost, cannot be imputed to the bravery 
of warriors, but to the cowardice of robbers, 
who invaded a thinly-populated country 
where they were sure to find no resistance. 6 
The bold initiative taken by the Scots in this 
and in the following year under Wallace 
caused a sensation throughout the northern 
counties. Their savage deeds provoked loud 
calls for reprisals on the part of the English. 
One writer declared that as the house of 
Lanercost had suffered innumerable evils, 
inexorable vengeance should be enacted in 
return. Fordun, the Scottish historian, re- 
garding the whole thing with complacency, 
remarked that Wallace returned safe and 
sound to his own country after a successful 
expedition. 7 

Several visits of Edward I. to the priory in 
the latter part of his reign are on record. A 
few days were spent there with Queen Eleanor 
in the autumn of 1280 on his way to New- 
castle, when the convent met him at the gate 
in their copes and the king graciously made a 
votive offering of silk cloth to the church. It 
was reported that during his short stay he 
took 200 stags and hinds while hunting in his 
own domain of Inglewood. Again, soon 
after midsummer 1300, as he passed through 
Carlisle with the nobles and magnates of his 
kingdom on his way to the siege of Carlave- 
rock, he turned aside and made a short stay 
at Lanercost. On his last fateful visit to the 
north in 1306, he came to the priory with 
Queen Margaret at Michaelmas and continued 
there till the following Easter, the journey 
having been completed by easy stages in a 
horse litter owing to age and infirmity. It 
was while he sojourned at Lanercost that the 
brothers of Robert de Brus and other Scottish 
captives were sent to Carlisle for execution, 
the stern old warrior having with his own 
mouth sentenced Thomas de Brus to be 
dragged at the tails of horses from Lanercost 
to Carlisle before the dread sentence of hang- 
ing and beheading was carried out. The 
heads were suspended on the three gates of 
Carlisle, except the head of Thomas de Brus, 
which was reserved to decorate the keep of 
the castle. 8 

Chron. de Lanercost, 174, 193. 

7 Scotichronicon (ed. W. Goodall), ii. 172. 

8 Chron. de Lanercost, 105, 194, 2056. On 
the last day of June 1300, Edward I. sent an 
oblation by the hand of Henry de Burgo, canon 


If the king was too unmindful of the trouble 
and expense his prolonged stay had caused the 
priory, the canons were not slow in refreshing 
his memory. They begged him, having re- 
gard to the reduced state of their house and 
the damages they suffered by him and his at- 
tendants, which a great sum would not suffice 
to restore, that by way of recompense he would 
grant them the church of ' Hautwyselle,' 
worth about 100 marks a year, but as the 
abbot of Aberbrothok, to whom the church 
belonged, indignantly refused to accept an 
allowance in exchange, the proposal fell 
through. 1 Before his departure however 
the king granted his licence for the appropria- 
tion of the churches of Mitford in Northum- 
berland and Carlatton in Cumberland, for the 
relief of their necessities. In his letter to the 
pope the king alleged, as reasons for his 
liberality, the special devotion he felt to St. 
Mary Magdalene in whose honour the con- 
vent was founded, the long stay he was forced 
to make on account of illness, the burning of 
their houses and the robbery of their goods by 
the Scots, insomuch that the priory was much 
impoverished and depressed. 2 The same 
motives were repeated in his letters patent. 3 
In confirming the appropriations, the bishops 
of Durham and Carlisle told the same mourn- 
ful tale of the distressed condition of Laner- 
cost.* It seemed as if, at that time, burnt 
houses and an exhausted treasury were the 
distinguishing characteristics of this once 
flourishing foundation. 

The fate of Lanercost henceforward de- 
pended on the political relations of the two 
kingdoms. In times of truce the house was 
at rest and employed the breathing space for 
the repair of its waste places ; when hostili- 
ties broke out, it was the objective of raid and 
robbery. In August, 1311, Robert Bruce, 
King of Scotland, came to the monastery with 
a great army and made it his headquarters for 

of the priory, to be offered on the great altar of 
the church of Lanercost (Liber Quot. Gardenbte 
[Soc. of Antiq.], p. 40). 

1 Cat. of Doc. Scot. ii. 503. 

a Rymer, FaeJera (new ed.), i. 1012. 

a Pat. 35 Edw. I. m. 25. 

Carl. Epis. Reg., Halton, f. 140. This ap- 
propriation involved the canons of Lanercost in 
a dispute with the priory of Durham on the issue 
whether the church of Meldon was a chapel depen- 
dent on Mitford or a parish church separate from 
it. In 1 3 10 an amicable arrangement was made 
at Lanercost whereby Prior Henry on behalf of his 
house acknowledged the independence of Meldon. 
The deeds of this acknowledgment still exist at 
Durham, and have been printed by Hodgson, 
History of Northumberland, ii. pt. iii. 54-6. 

three days, imprisoning several (plurei) of 
the canons and committing infinite evils. 
At length however he set the canons at 
liberty. 5 In fulfilment of the treaty be- 
tween the same king and Edward III. in 
1328, a mutual interchange of good offices 
was effected between the priory of Lanercost 
and the abbey of Kelso in respect of their 
common revenues out of the church of 
Lazonby. 6 One of the worst trials experi- 
enced by the house occurred in 1346, when 
David II. ransacked the conventual buildings 
and desecrated the church. Fresh from the 
overthrow of the fortalice of Liddel and the 
unchivalrous slaughter of Walter of Selby, its 
gallant defender, the Scots, with theatrical 
manifestations of joy, David cum diabolo being 
their leader, marched to the priory of Laner- 
cost, where the canons, men venerable and 
devoted to the Lord, dwelt. They entered 
the holy place with haughtiness, threw out 
the vessels of the temple, stole the treasures, 
broke the doors, took the jewels, and destroyed 
everything they could lay hands on. 7 One 
of the priors was taken prisoner by the Scots 
in 1386, and set at ransom at a fixed sum of 
money and four score quarters of corn of 
divers kinds. There was a difficulty in con- 
veying the corn to Scotland, which added 
somewhat to the prior's misery and the pro- 
longation of his imprisonment. 8 

An effort was made in 1409 to retrieve 
the fallen fortunes of the house by an appeal 
to the Archbishop of York for letters of 
quest ' throughout the northern province. 

6 Chron. de Lanercost, 218. 

Close, 2 Edw. III. m. 16 ; Cal. of Doc. Scot. 
(Scot. Rec. Pub.), iii. 173-4. 

7 Chron. de Lanercost, 345-6. This reference 
to Lanercost has been omitted from Stevenson's 
argument on the authorship of the Chronicle. 
It is certainly the description of an eye-witness. 

8 Rot. Scotitf (Rec. Com.), ii. 86. 

9 Abstracts of many of these letters of quest, re- 
ferring to institutions at home and abroad, have 
been recorded in the fourteenth century registers 
of the Bishops of Carlisle. One of these, taken at 
random, may be given here as an illustration : 
' Memorandum quod septimo die Novembris, 
anno M'CCC'LIX", apud manerium de Rosa, 
renovate fuerint littere pro questoribus fabrice 
ecclesie collegiate beati Johannis Beverlacensis sub 
sigillo domini Karliolensis episcopi, durature per 
unum annum extunc immediate sequentem, ad 
prosecucionem Thome de Coketon, procuratorem 
dicte ecclesie Beverlacensis ' (Carl. Epis. Reg., Wei- 
ton, f. 60). As the practice often led to great 
abuses, it needed the constant vigilance of the 
bishops. In 1342 Bishop Kirkby issued a warning 
to the clergy of his diocese to beware of false and 
fraudulent questors (Carl. Epis. Reg., Kirkby, f. 446). 
A noble was the usual fee to the diocesan registrar 



In response Archbishop Bowet sent a moni- 
tion to his suffragans, inviting them to give 
facilities to the proctors of the priory for 
making the requisite collection ; the bishops 
were also enjoined to see that the object of 
the alms should be properly explained by the 
parish priests in the churches, and that the 
money collected should be delivered without 
diminution to the questors. The causes 
which reduced the canons to such straits 
were recounted to the archbishop in doleful 
tones by the prior ; the monastery with its 
principal buildings were threatening ruin ; 
their possessions were in a state of dilapidation 
or consumed with fire by the frequent in- 
cursions of the Scots ; their lands, especially 
those near the confines of Scotland, were 
lying uncultivated and practically useless. 
With these and other burdens and expenses, 
the canons had sunk to such a condition of 
poverty and want that they were unable to 
live and serve God according to the profession 
of their order without the help of other 
Christians. An indulgence of forty days was 
granted to all persons who contributed of 
their goods to the repair of the monastery or 
to the maintenance of the poor canons. 1 

The priory was in comparatively affluent 
circumstances before the outbreak of the war 
between the two kingdoms in 1296. The 
annual revenue of the house was returned at 
74 I2s.(>d. in the valuation of Pope Nicho- 
las IV. in 1291, whereas at the time of the 
new taxation in 1318 the valuation of the 
temporalities had fallen to nothing, like that 
of several parish churches on the frontier, 
inasmuch as their goods were utterly wasted 
and destroyed by Scottish incursions. 2 It 
has been already stated that the prior's bene- 
fice was assessed at 20 for the royal subsidy 
in 1379-80. The gross revenues of the 
house in 1535 amounted for spiritualities and 
temporalities to 79 igs., which, after de- 
ducting such necessary outgoings as synodals, 
fees and salaries, left a net annual revenue of 

for the bishop's licence or its renewal to make the 
collection. For instance, Master Robert Whelpe- 
dale, Bishop Bell's registrar, returned the following 
sum in his diocesan accounts in 1480: 'Fines 
Questorum. Set respondet de xxxiiu. iiijV. re- 
ceptis de finibus questorum sanctorum Thome 
Rome, vis. viiid. Antonii vis. viiid., sancti Roberti 
iuxta Knaresburgh, vis. viiid., et sancti Johannis 
Beverlaci, vis. viiid., et sancti Lazari, vis. viii</., 
pro licencia questandi per unum annum integrum, 
etc. Summa, xxxiiis. \\\\J. ' (Accounts of Bp. Bell, 

1 The Priory of Hexham (Surtees Soc.), i. p. 

3 Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 320. 

77 us. lid. 3 It is quite evident that the 
value of the priory fluctuated from time to 
time according to the peaceful or disturbed 
state of the Borders. 

From the records of the great Scrope and 
Grosvenor controversy, which lasted from 
1385 to 1390, we get a curious glimpse into 
the conventual buildings under the guidance 
of the prior. Among the superiors of the 
religious houses in the north of England, who 
gave evidence relative to the antiquity of the 
arms of Scrope from windows, seals, monu- 
ments and embroidered vestments, William, 
prior of Lanercost, was called. His deposi- 
tions are of great local interest. William, 
prior of the house, stated that he was thirty- 
four years of age, and that on a window in 
the west end of his church were the arms of 
Scrope within a bordure or, and the same 
arms were placed in the refectory between 
those of Vaux and Multon, their founders ; 
and that in the refectory and west window of 
their church were the old arms of the King of 
England, the arms of France, the arms of 
Scotland, and the arms of Scrope, azure a 
bend or, the which arms had been in the said 
window since the building of their church 
in the time of Henry II., and by common 
report throughout the country they were the 
arms of Scrope ; that there remained banners 
used at the funerals of great lords and em- 
broidered with their arms, amongst which 
were those of Scrope. He also deposed that 
the arms of Scrope were entire in an old 
chapel at Kirkoswald, and that they had at 
Lanercost the said arms embroidered on the 
morse of a cope with a white label for differ- 
ence, and that the same had been in the 
priory from beyond the time of memory. 
Being asked how he knew that the said arms 
belonged to Sir Richard Scrope, the prior said 
that such had always been the tradition in 
their house, and that he had heard his pre- 
decessor, who was an old man, say that he 
had heard from ancient lords, knights and 
esquires that the Scropes were come of a 
noble race and high blood from the time of 
the Conqueror, as appeared by evidences, and 
the prior who preceded him also said that 
they were cousins to one Gant who came 
over with the Conqueror, and that their arms 
were descended in right line to Sir Richard 
Scrope, as was known by common report in 
all parts of the north. As to Sir Robert 
Grosvenor, the prior deposed on oath that he 
had never heard of him or his ancestors until 
the day of his examination. The suit, which 
commenced at Newcastle on 20 August 1385, 

8 fa/or Ecc. (Rec. Com.), v. 277. 



was finally closed in 1390 when the ' coat ' 
was awarded to Scrope by the king in person 
in his palace of Westminster. 1 

Amid the sorrows and confusion attending 
the fall of the religious houses, John Robin- 
son, the last prior of Lanercost, managed to 
keep his name unsullied from the asper- 
sions of the royal visitors which blackened 
the characters of so many of his contemporaries 
and to steer a clear course through the politi- 
cal troubles which followed the dissolution. 
In 1534 Prior John was deputed with other 
gentlemen of the county to make an inven- 
tory of the ' moveables ' of Sir Christopher 
Dacre when he was in disgrace.* As ' Leon- 
ardecoste ' was one of the northern houses 
suspected of complicity in the insurrection of 
1537 it is to be feared that hard fate awaited 
some of the canons. The king writing to 
the Duke of Norfolk in that year said 

Forasmoche as all thise troubles have ensued by 
the solicitation and traitorous conspiracyes of the 
monkes and chanons of those parties, we desire and 
pray you, at your repaire to Salleye, Hexam, 
Newminster, Leonerdecoste, Saincte Agathe, and 
all suche other places as have made any maner of 
resistence, or in any wise conspired, or kept their 
houses with any force, sithens th' appointement at 
Dancastre, you shall, without pitie or circumstance, 
now that our baner is displayed, cause all the 
monkes and chanons, that be in anywise faultie, to 
be tyed uppe, without further delaye or ceremony, 
to the terrible exemple of others, wherin we 
thinke you shall doo unto us highe service. 8 

There was no charge made against the prior 
in this wrathful missive. When the priory 
of Lanercost was brought to an end, John 
Robinson its last head was awarded in 1539 
a retiring allowance of 8 a year.* 

Some difficulty was experienced by the 
authorities in the gift of the possessions of the 
dissolved priory. At first they were demised 
or leased to Sir William Penison, a court 

1 The depositions of William, prior of Laner- 
cost, were considered of sufficient interest to 
entitle them to special mention by the able writer 
who reviewed Sir Harris Nicholas' edition of ' The 
Controversy between Sir Richard Scrope and Sir 
Robert Grosvenor in the Court of Chivalry, A.D. 
MCCCLXXXV-MCCCXC, folio, London, 1832,' 
in the S^uar. Rev. (April, 1836), Ivi. 24-5. 

8 L. and P. Hen. nil. vii. 646. The only 
charge made in the Black Book against the inmates 
of Lanercost was one of personal uncleanness 
against Edward Ulwalde and Thomas Rideley, 
two of the canons. The girdle of St. Mary 
Magdalene was stated to be amongst the relics 
of the house. 

3 Ibid. xii. (i.) 479 ; Prior 1 ) ofHexham (Surtees 
Soc.), App. No. ci. 

4 L. and P. Hen. VIII. xiv. (i.) 596. 

favourite, a proceeding which was hotly re- 
sented by the Dacres, who considered that 
their family claims were pre-eminent. 6 A 
lively correspondence ensued. Sir William 
complained that 

my lorde Dacre, contrarie to my will and pleasure 
or ony promise to him therof made, dothe usurpe 
the ferme of Lanercoste demaynes and benefice 
therto appropriat, taking all thinges as his owne, 
puttyng out and in tennantes and prestes, so that 
by his maintenances the hole convent do confeder 
and flok to gither there in their chanons cotes very 

Lord William Dacre, replying to the charges 
made against him 

by the relacion of maister Penison being the Kinges 
maiesties fermour of Lanercoste, 

assured Cromwell that he had not exceeded 
the commands of the king's commissioners 

and as unto the flocking of any chanons ther or 
empeching to be made to his deputies by me or 
any oder for me in the receipte of the revenues 
or any oder prouffettes ther, I did never nor no one 
for me medled therwithal." 

The priory was subsequently granted to 
Thomas Dacre of Lanercost, the king's ser- 
vant, by letters patent dated 22 November 
1542. It was a grant in tail male of the 
house and site of the dissolved priory of 
Lanercost with the water mill there, the 
' tannehowse,' gardens, closes, messuages and 
all the demesne lands of the said late priory, 
all which lie in Lanercost parish and belonged 
to the said priory ; except the church and 
churchyard of Lanercost and the mansion 
called the Utter Yate House there for the 
dwelling of the curate or vicar, to be held 
of the king by the service of one twentieth 
of a knight's fee rendering for the same 9$. 
yearly. 7 


i HIUHD wr j.j/M>r. i\ 

Symon, circa 11814 8 
John, 1 220* 

1 60 

Ibid. xiii. (i.) 588 ; xiv. (i.) 604. 

e Ibid. xiii. (i.) 304, 522. 

* Pat. 34 Hen. VIII. iii. m. 23 ; L. and P. 
Hen. 7III. xvii. 1154 (76). 

8 Reg. of Lanercost, viii. 9, 14, 17, 18. Symon 
was probably the first prior, for it was to him 
that Bishop Christian of Whithern confirmed the 
churches given by Robert de Vaux at the founda- 
tion of the house. 

Reg. of Holmcultram, MS. ff. 14-6. The 
award of Bishop Hugh of Carlisle between John, 
prior of Lanercost, and the monks of Holmcultram 
is dated in 1230 by a clerical error in the copy of 
the register with the dean and chapter of Carlisle. 
The correct date of 1220 is given in the Harleian 
copy (3891). 


Walter, I256 1 

John of Galloway (de Galwythia), circa 

1271, resigned with a pension in 

1283, died in 1289 2 
Symon de Driffeld, elected 16 August 

I28 3 3 

Henry (de Burgo), circa 1310, died 9 
December 1315* 

Robert de Meburne, elected in Decem- 
ber 1315 5 

William de Suthayk, died in 1337 

John de Bowethby, elected in 1337, 
died in 1338 8 

John de Bewcastle (Bothecastre), elected 
in 1338, resigned with a pension 
in 1354' 

Thomas de Hexham (Hextildesham), 
elected 2 December 1354, died in 

July 1355" 

Richard de Ridale, elected in 1355, 
custody of the priory delivered to 
Martin de Brampton, canon of the 
house, in 1360, during Prior Rich- 
ard's absence 9 

1 Reg. of Lanercost, vii. 21, ix. 4. 

1 Ibid. ix. 14, xii. 13, xiii. 9 ; Cbron. de 
Lanercost, 113, 133. 

s Symon appears to have ruled the house for a 
long period, as a prior of that name exemplified a 
papal dispensation in 1306 to a canon of Laner- 
cost (Carl. Epis. Reg., Halton, f. 101). 

* Chron. de Lanercost, 232. There is good 
reason to believe that this prior was the same per- 
son as Brother Henry de Burgo, or Brother H. as 
he was oftener called in the Chronicle of Laner- 
cost, who was the poet of the house for some 
time before his election to the priorate, and 
whose muse supplies a perpetual source of diver- 
sion to the readers of the Chronicle. The verses 
between 1280 and 1290 may be regarded as his 
best, notably his ironical effusion on the subsidy 
exacted by Bishop Ireton from the clergy in 1280 
and the accounts he wrote of his detention in 
prison for three days at Durham in 1282. The 
versification introduced after 1290 was anonymous, 
and contributions of this sort ceased altogether 
after 1315, the year of Prior Henry's death. 

Carl. Epis. Reg., Halton, f. 1 80. 

Ibid. Kirkby, ff. 356-7. 

7 Ibid. ff. 379-80 ; Pat. 32 Edw. I. m. 10. 

e Ibid. Welton, ff. 12, 20, 21. 

9 Ibid. ff. 20, 21, 73. Bishop Welton stated 
in his commission that Prior Richard had forsaken 
his post and withdrawn himself to some remote and 

Peter Froste, circa I379 10 

John, 1380" 

William, circa 1385-90 

Alexander Walton, 1434" 

John Werke, installed in 1465 13 

Richard Cokke, received benediction in 

John Robinson, circa 1534-9 

The seal of Lanercost 1 * is of the usual 
monastic pattern, pointed oval with the figure 
of Mary Magdalene on a platform holding a 
palm branch in her right hand and a covered 
unquent pot in her left. In the field on each 
side a wavy branch of flowers and foliage, 
above which is on the left a crescent and on 
the right a star. The legend is S : CAPIT'LI : 


distant place, and as the bishop wished to provide 
for the house during his absence, he committed the 
priory to Brother Martin with the injunction that 
he should give the bishop, while the prior was 
absent, or to the prior when he was present, a 
faithful account of his administration. 

10 Exch. Cler. Subs. bdle. 60, No. i, dioc. of 
Carl. The value of the prior's benefice was set 
down at 20, the amount of his assessment being 
lo/. The canons of the house were Thomas 
Prest, Richard Felton, John Forth and Robert 
Estwake, who paid I zd. each to the subsidy. 

11 Ibid. No. 23. Prior John of Lanercost and 
Abbot Robert of Shap were commissioned by 
Bishop Appleby to collect the sixteenth granted 
by the clergy of Carlisle to Richard II. in the third 
year of his reign. 

12 Jefferson, Leatk Ward, 495. 

13 In the compotus of William Raa, registrar of 
the diocese, from the morrow of Michaelmas, 4 
Edw. IV. to the vigil of Easter, 5 Edw. IV., that 
is for a year and a half, we find this entry : ' Et 
de xl/. receptis de Johanne Werke (Clerk cancelled) 
canonico pro installacione sua in prioratum de 
Lanercoste, etc.' In a similar compotus of Robert 
Fisher, registrar, from 6 March, 7 Henry VII. to 
1 1 March, 8 Henry VII., there is recorded this 
item of episcopal revenue : ' Benedictiones abba- 
tum et priorum. Et de xLr. receptis pro bene- 
dictionibus Ricardi Cokke, prioris de Lanercost 
hoc anno.' 

i* Attached to deeds dated 1310 respecting an 
arrangement made between the canons of Laner- 
cost and the priory of Durham, which are now in 
the possession of the Dean and Chapter of Dur- 
ham. See also B.M. Seals 3395. Hodgson in his 
History of Northumberland, ii. pt. iii. 546, has re- 
produced a poor impression of this seal. 







The abbey of Holmcultram, situated in 
the low-lying district between Carlisle and 
the Solway, was founded as an affiliation of 
the great Cistercian house of Melrose by 
Prince Henry, son of David, King of Scot- 
land, in the year II5O, 2 while he was ruler 
of the province ceded to Scotland by King 
Stephen and afterwards known as the county 
of Cumberland. In this great work he was 
assisted by Alan son of Waldeve, the lord of 
Allerdale, who relinquished to the new 
foundation the tract of territory which Henry 
had given him for a sporting domain. The 
act of the prince of Scotland and his vassal 
was confirmed by King David. It is difficult 
to account for the statements of the chronicles 
which mention the name of the founder. 
Scottish writers, in exuberant admiration of 
his benevolence, have ascribed the foundation 
to David himself. 3 Of these perhaps Fordun 
is the most positive, for he states that Earl 

1 By indulgence of the Cumberland and West- 
morland Antiquarian Society access has been had 
to its fine transcript of the Register or Chartulary 
of Holmcultram, which has been collated with all 
the copies known to be extant. These are (a) the 
Register in the custody of the dean and chapter of 
Carlisle, of date about 1250-1300 with later addi- 
tions, which came into their possession in 1777 
by will of Joseph Nicolson of Hawkesdale ; (b) 
Harleian MS. 3911, date about 1300 with later 
additions ; (c) Harleian MS. 3891, date about 
1350 with some later additions; (J) Harleian 
MS. 1 88 1, an untrustworthy copy as stated in 
the Catalogue of the Harleian MSS., said to have been 
made at the expense of Hugh Todd, canon of 
Carlisle, a contains a number of entries not 
found in b or c, but on the other hand b and c 
contain many entries not found in a. b has some 
entries which are not in c, while c has many en- 
tries which are not in b. When the Register of 
Holmcultram is quoted a is the copy referred to 
unless where otherwise stated. In Bishop Nicol- 
son's opinion the copy in the possession of the 
dean and chapter ' is not the same Reg' book 
which was in my Lord William Howard's cus- 
tody.' It may be mentioned that the Harleian 
MS. 294, ff. 2030-6, contains extracts made by 
Roger Dodsworth in 1638 from a Register of 
Holmcultram then in the possession of Lord 
William Howard of Naworth. That MS. is re- 
ferred to in Dugdale's Monasticon. 

3 Chron. of Melrose, in ann. 1150 ; Roger de 
Hoveden, Cbron. (Rolls Ser.), i. 2 1 1 ; Scotichnnicon, 
i. 296 (ed. Goodall), ii. 539. 

3 Wyntoun, Orygynale Cronykil, ii. 181 ; (ed. 
Laing) iii. 333. 

Henry, on the suggestion of Waltheve, aboot 
of Melrose, enriched with ample possessions 
the illustrious abbey of Holmcultram which 
his father had founded, and brought the work 
to a successful issue by applying to the Scot- 
tish house for its first superior. 4 Leland on 
the English side, with the foundation charter 
before him, recognized Alan son of Waldeve 
as the originator of the scheme, and credited 
Earl Henry only with its completion. 6 In 
after years when the district was recovered 
from Scotland, and Henry II. had taken the 
abbey under his protection and confirmed it 
in his possessions, the King of England was 
reputed as its legal founder. 6 

There is much to be said in favour of the 
theory that Alan son of Waldeve was the 
real originator of the institution. In the 
charter of foundation which gave the scheme 
practical shape Earl Henry declared that he 
had given in perpetual alms to the abbot and 
monks the two parts of Holmcultram (Holme 
Coltria), which he had caused to be marked 
with bounds at the time he had granted the 
third part to Alan as a hunting ground. 
' But besides I have confirmed,' the charter 
proceeds, ' the donation of the said Alan, son 
of Waldeve, and of Waldeve his son, that is, 
the third part of Holmcultram which I had 
given Alan for his hunting and which he in 
the presence of my father, myself, and my 
barons gave and confirmed by his charter at 
Carlisle to the abbot and monks of the said 
place.' It is clear that Alan son of Waldeve 
was a participator in the foundation, though 
Earl Henry, his superior lord, has properly 

* Scotiekronicon, i. 347. 

5 Collectanea (ed. Hearne, 1774),!. 33. Hearne 
quotes Camden (p. 773, ed. Holland), who ascribed 
the foundation to David, for ' hoc tempore Scotus 
prsfuit Cumbris.' Camden referred to the place 
as ' the abbey de Ulmo or Holme Cultraine.' 

8 In official documents the foundation is in- 
variably ascribed to 'our royal progenitors,' the 
confirmation of Henry II. having been viewed as 
the source of the title of the monastery to its lands. 
In 1278-9 the jurors at the Carlisle Assize stated 
that the Isle of Holmcultram was the demesne of 
King Henry the elder (although this is the 
usual style of Henry I., Henry II. of course is 
meant, and the jurors may have been making a 
comparison between Henry II. and Henry III.), 
who founded that abbey. The abbot proffered 
the king's charter to that effect. He had also 
confirmations from Richard I., John and Henry III. 
(Cal. of Doc. Scot. [Scot. Rec. Pub.] ii. 146, p-36). 
The acts of the Scottish rulers in Cumberland 
were not recognized in English law. 

I6 2 


got all the credit, inasmuch as it was he who 
granted the foundation charter, by which the 
whole of the lordship was assigned to the 
monks. In addition, the founder granted 
materials from his forest of Inglewood (Engles- 
woda) for the purpose of constructing the 
buildings of the new monastery, and within 
the bounds of Holmcultram he established all 
the liberties and privileges which his father 
had conferred on the abbeys of Melrose and 
Newbottle. The deed was witnessed by 
' Adulf,' Bishop of Carlisle, and Walter, prior 
of the same, together with several Scottish 
and Cumbrian dignitaries. 1 

Of the numerous royal confirmations of 
its possessions which the house obtained it is 
not necessary to notice more than those of 
the early kings to whom allegiance was due. 
David I. confirmed his son's donation of 
Holmcultram 'and also that third part of 
Holm(cultram) which Alan son of Waldeve 
had given to the monks for the health of his 
soul.' The charter of Malcolm IV. dealt 
more at length with the separate gifts, and 
confirmed them ' as the charter of my father 
and the charter of Alan himself testify.' 
Malcolm also sanctioned ' the confirmation 
of David, King of Scotland, my predecessor.' 
Both of these confirmations are short and 
have the same witnesses, Adelulf, Bishop of 
Carlisle, and Walter, prior of the same, who 
had been parties a few years before to the 
foundation charter of Prince Henry. The 
English king, Henry II., ignoring all previous 
charters, took into his custody and protection 
the abbey and all its belongings, and gave 
and confirmed to the monks the island of 
Holmcultram with its appurtenances, Raby 
with its boundaries, the right to take wood in 
his forest for the building of their houses, 
pasture for their swine without pannage and 
the bark of fallen trees. By the charters of 
succeeding kings, notably those of Richard I. 
and John, the house was endowed with many 
valuable privileges and immunities. 2 

1 Reg. of Holmcultram, MS. ff. 211-2 ; Dug- 
dale, Man. v. 594 ; Reg. of Wetherhal, 421-2. 
The part that Alan son of Waldeve took in the 
foundation was considered by his successors of 
sufficient moment whereon to build a claim to the 
advowson of the abbey. In 1219 the abbot and 
convent complained to the king and council that 
although their house was founded by his ancestors, 
Kings of England, and they had, among others, a 
charter of King John of a certain hermitage and stud 
(haraciuni) in the forest of Inglewood, the Earl of 
Albemarle, claiming the advowson of the abbey, 
vexed them unjustly (Close, 3 Hen. III. pt. ii.m. l). 

2 Reg. of Holmcultram, MS. ff. 157-63,221-3; 
Dugdale, Man. v. 594-5, 602-6. 


This great abbey, which overshadowed in 
riches and influence the rest of the religious 
houses in Cumberland and Westmorland, had 
many friends and benefactors on both sides of 
the Border before the rupture with Scotland in 
1296. Endowments were freely lavished 
upon it by landowners, large and small, in 
various parts of the two counties. It would 
not be easy to single out a family of distinc- 
tion within its sphere of influence which had 
not sooner or later some dealings with its 
monks. Though districts of the county like 
Penrith and Coupland may be regarded as 
the special preserves of the priories of Carlisle 
and St. Bees and the abbey of Calder, it was 
not unknown that the monks of Holme tres- 
passed on their brethren and secured firm 
footholds in these places. Into the barony of 
Gillesland, specially devoted to the interests 
of the priory of L/anercost, they do not seem 
to have penetrated ; but in the great lordship 
of Allerdale, the fief of Alan son of Waldeve, 
they obtained many possessions outside their 
own extensive franchise of Holmcultram. 
The house kept up friendly relations, as long 
as it was politically prudent, with the kings 
and magnates of Scotland, and procured from 
them lands and liberties of considerable value 
to the community. The Scottish possessions 
were chiefly in Annandale, the fief of the 
Brus or Bruce family, and in Galloway, the 
principality of Fergus. Free trade with 
Scotland was conceded by William the Lion 
and free passage through the Vale of Annan 
by Robert de Brus. The kings of Man 
allowed the ships of the monks to visit the ports 
of the island and to buy and sell free of toll. 3 
Some idea of the rapid rise to wealth of this 
house, in comparison with other houses in the 
county, may be gathered from the fact that 
before 1175, or about thirty years from its 
foundation, the monks had established no fewer 
than seven granges within their lordship, viz. 
the old grange and the granges of ' Ternis,' 
Mayburgh, Skinburness (Schineburgh), ' Seve- 
hille,' Raby and Newton Arlosh (Arlosk), 
possessions which Pope Lucius thought of 
sufficient importance to be placed in the fore- 
front of his charter of confirmation. 4 

It cannot be said that Holmcultram was 
ever wealthy in spiritual endowments. The 

3 Reg. of Holmcultram, MS. ff. 77, 99-101, 
113, 2346 and passim. 

* Harl. MS. 3911, f. 138 ; 3891, ff. 110-2. 
In Dugdale's edition of this charter the granges of 
Mayburgh and Skinburness have been omitted 
(Man. v. 598). The granges in 1535 were at Sil- 
loth (Selaythe), Calvo (Calfehou), ' Sanderhous ' 
and Raby (Valor Eccl. v. 282). 


neighbouring church of Burgh-by-Sands was 
bestowed by Hugh de Morvill for the purpose 
of finding lights, wine and all things neces- 
sary for the adornment of the abbey church, 
the ministers of the altar and the sacraments 
of Christ. In sanctioning the appropriation 
Bishop Hugh provided that the monks should 
appoint a fit vicar to have the cure of souls 
and pay episcopal dues, and assign him a 
competent maintenance. 1 Burgh-by-Sands 
was the only church in England that the 
monks possessed till 1332, when the Lady 
Margaret de Wigton gave them the church 
of Wigton in consideration of their great 
losses by the perpetual forays of the Scots. 
For this grant the house was under obligation 
to find four monks of the Order to celebrate 
divine offices daily in the abbey church and 
to found a chantry of two secular chaplains 
to do the same at Wigton. 2 The relations 
of the abbey with the Scottish church of 
Kirkwynny were often disturbed by political 
or ecclesiastical contingencies. In a roll 
dated 17 June 1391, presented to the 
anti-pope Clement VII., it was stated 
that this church, which used to be served by 
one of the monks of Holme, had been for 
some time neglected and committed to lay- 
men ; it was therefore petitioned that the 
monastery of Glenluce might serve it. 3 
This church was committed to Holm- 
cultram free of synodals and all episcopal 
burdens by Joceline and other Bishops of 
Glasgow. 1 

Though the papal bulls are lengthy and 
numerous, there is little of special or local 
interest in the privileges which the monks 
of this house enjoyed. By these bulls 8 
the bishop in whose parochia the abbey 
was founded was prohibited to call the abbot 
or monks to synods or outside conferences ; 
nor should he presume to visit the monastery 
for the purpose of celebrating orders, trying 
causes, or calling public assemblies ; nor 
should he meddle with the election, institu- 
tion, or removal of an abbot contrary to the 
statutes of the Order. But the bishop should 
be requested with becoming respect to give 
benediction to new abbots, and on these 
occasions the abbots were instructed not to 
go beyond the form of profession allowed by 
the Cistercian institutes. In the matter of 

1 Reg. of Holmcultram, MS. ff. 13-7. 

2 Pat. 6 Edw. III. pt. i, m. 12 ; Carl. Epis. 
Reg., Kirkby, ff. 245-9, 280-1 ; Dugdale, Man. 
v. 599. 

3 Cal. of Papal Petitions, i. 576. 

4 Reg. of Holmcultram, MS. ff. 108-10. 

6 Ibid. ff. 239 et seq. ; Dugdale, Monasticon, v. 

the consecration of altars, churches and holy 
oil, the ordination of monks, or of any other 
ecclesiastical sacrament, the diocesan bishop 
would bestow all these things upon them. 
In 1357 Hugh Pelegrini, the papal nuncio, 
requested Bishop Welton to search his regis- 
ters carefully and make a report on the num- 
ber of churches, monasteries and other places 
in his diocese exempt from episcopal jurisdic- 
tion and immediately subject to the Holy 
See. The bishop replied that there were no 
such places in his diocese except the monas- 
tery of Holmcultram of the Cistercian Order 
and the monastery of Shap of the Premon- 
stratensian Order. 6 Notwithstanding this im- 
munity it was usual for the abbot to attend 
at Carlisle soon after his election and make 
his profession of canonical obedience. 7 In the 
ordination lists of the diocese of Carlisle the 
monks of this house are found in compara- 
tively large numbers. 

The abbey of Melrose was brought into 
intimate relations with Holmcultram, and 
often exercised an effective jurisdiction over 
the affairs of the monastery. Its influence in 
the choice of an abbot must have been con- 
siderable, inasmuch as no election could be 
canonically conducted without the presence 
of the abbot of the mother house. When 
Abbot Robert died in 1318 the convent peti- 
tioned the king for a safe conduct for the 
abbot of Melrose to attend the election of his 
successor, as the abbey, being domus fihalh 
domfis de M euros in Scocia, could not other- 
wise fill the vacant post. 8 In various ways 
we see the subjection of Holmcultram to the 
Scottish house. In 1326-7 the abbot ob- 
tained licence from Edward III. to visit Scot- 
land during the truce on the ground that he 
wished to survey his grange in Galloway and 

6 Carl. Epis. Reg., Welton, f. 33. The house of 
Shap belonged to the Order of White Canons, 
who lived after the reformed rule of St. Austin 
and wore a white habit. The Order took its 
territorial name from Premonstre in the diocese of 
Laon in Picardy, where the rule was first used. 

7 As the abbey of Holmcultram was a papal 
peculiar, the form of canonical profession to the 
Bishop of Carlisle is interesting : ' Obediencia 
abbatis de Holmo facta xxiiij die Augusti, anno 
etc. (mccc) lxv. Ego, frater Robertus Raw- 
bankes, abbas de Holmcultram, Cisterciensis 
ordinis, subiectionem, reverenciam, et obedienciam 
a sanctis patribus constitutam secundum regulam 
Sancti Benedicti tibi, pater Episcope, tuisque 
successoribus canonice substituendis, et ecclesie 
tue Karliolensi, ac sacrosancte sedi apostolice, salvo 
ordine meo, perpetuo me exhibiturum promitto' 
(Carl. Epis. Reg., Appleby, f. 144). 

8 Pat. 12 Edw. II. pt. i, m. 28; Rymer, 
Fcedera (new ed.), ii. 370. 



treat with the abbot of Melrose, his superior, 
about the rule of his house. 1 During a 
vacancy at Holmcultram Abbot Richard of 
Melrose, when visiting the house by virtue of 
his ordinary jurisdiction and presiding at the 
election of a new pastor by virtue of the same 
jurisdiction, delivered to the monks a code of 
injunctions, which he caused to be read in 
the chapter house of the monastery in pre- 
sence of them all on the last day of Novem- 
ber 1472. The injunctions were concerned 
with the internal rule of the house in the 
regulation of the services of the church and 
the discipline of the monks. It was ordered 
that the daily and nightly offices of the Blessed 
Virgin and the Canonical Hours should be 
skilfully and devoutly celebrated, and that the 
form delivered to them by their father 
Bernard should be observed in the reading, 
intoning, chanting and other ceremonies. 
The priests of the monastery were expected 
to receive the Eucharist four times a week 
(quater septimana) unless hindered by some 
sufficient impediment, and those who were 
not priests twice at least within the space of 
fifteen days (bis saltern infra quindenam). As 
the cloister would be a tomb without learn- 
ing 'quia claustrum sine literatura vivi 
hominis est sepultura ' the study of the 
Holy Scriptures should be indefatigably pur- 
sued, for in them they had, as Bernard 
taught, the surest refuge in all their troubles. 
The abbot was recommended to observe the 
greatest circumspection that no monk should 
visit persons or places beyond the monastic 
bounds, unless he was attended by a com- 
panion of honest conversation, and that no 
woman should be allowed to pass through or 
make a stay within the precincts lest the 
good name of the house should be blackened 
to the detriment of religion. In addition to 
strict rules for the regulation of diet, fasting and 
discipline, the abbot was ordered to procure a 
man learned in grammar for the instruction 
of the younger brethren in the Holy Scrip- 
tures, to rebuild the infirmary (cellam pro fra- 
tribus egrotantibus) as quickly as possible and 
to refit it with the necessary utensils, and also 
to supply the inner doors of the monastery 
with locks to keep out unwelcome visitors. 
Furthermore, as monks by the traditions of 
the sacred canons and the monastic rule were 
dead to the world and forbidden to mix them- 
selves up with secular affairs, no one professed 
within that monastery should be allowed to 
exercise the office of bailiff or forester, which 
savoured of irregularity ; and as complaints 
were made about the occupations of Brother 

1 Pat. i Edw. III. pt. i, m. 29. 

John Ribtoun, the abbot was desired to with- 
draw him from secular business till the next 
visitation, unless some other order was signi- 
fied to him in the meantime. 3 

The fame of the abbey as a religious in- 
stitution may be gathered in some measure 
from the frequency with which men of posi- 
tion and influence bequeathed their bodies to 
be buried within its precincts. Of the not- 
able personages who were buried there, we 
may give the most distinguished place to 
Christian, Bishop of Candida Casa or Whithern, 
and to the father of Robert Bruce, King of 
Scotland. The bishop was held in such high 
esteem by the monks that the charter, in 
which he declared that he had given his 
allegiance to the Cistercian Order and become 
an inmate of that house, where he willed his 
body to be buried, was rubricated as the ' con- 
firmation of St. Christian the bishop.' His 
interest in the affairs of the abbey may be 
judged by the vigorous language of excom- 
munication with which he invoked eterni in- 
cendii penas on all who presumed to damage 
the monks or their possessions. 3 The his- 
torian of Lanercost was shocked at the 
impiety of Bruce, because in his devastating 
expedition of 1322 he spoiled the monastery 
though the body of his father had been buried 
there.* It might be expected that Hugh de 
Morvill, the lord of Burgh, who had been in 
such close association with the house, should 

1 Liber S. Marie de Melroi (Bannatyne Club), 
ii. 596-9. With reference to the educational 
equipment of the monks, it may be mentioned 
that the abbot of Holmcultram and the prior of 
Carlisle alone of all the religious houses in the 
county were required to search their chronicles and 
archives for historical matter relating to King Ed- 
ward's dispute with Scotland, and to transmit the 
same by the best informed member of each monas- 
tery to the Parliament at Lincoln on zo January 
1301 (Rymer, Fcedera, i. 923 ; Part. Writs [Rec. 
Com.], i. 92). The valuable report from Carlisle 
has been printed in Psdgnvc's Documents and Records 
(Rec. Com.), 68-76, and is known as the Cronica 
de Karleolo, and also in the Calendar of Documents 
relating to Scotland (Scot. Rec. Pub.), ii. \ 1 5-7). 
Some of the books and MSS. which belonged to 
Holmcultram have found their way to the British 
Museum. A ' bestiary ' inscribed with the words, 
' liber sancte Marie de Holmcultram,' will be 
found among the Cotton MSS. Nero A. v. 1-3. 
An early manuscript, written in a hand of the 
twelfth century, containing an account of the 
miracles of St. John of Beverley, which once be- 
longed to Holmcultram, is catalogued in the same 
collection as Faustina B. iv. 8, and has been 
printed by Raine (Historians of the Church of York 
[Rolls Ser.], i. 261). 

3 Reg. of Holmcultram, MS. ff. 112-3. 

4 Chron. de Lanercost (Maitland Club), 246. 



select it as his burial place. The monks cannot 
have been averse to a custom which gave them 
a claim upon the benevolence of the deceased 
man's descendants. Thomas son of Andrew 
de Kirkconnell, at the request of Robert, 
abbot of Holmcultram, where the body of 
his father was entombed, made a grant to the 
abbey for his father's soul. 1 In all such cases 
the rights of parish churches were invariably 
recognized by the payment of parochial dues. 
When Adam de Bastenthwayt, whose will 
was proved at Rose in January, 1358-9? 
bequeathed his body to be buried in the 
cloister of the monastery near to his father 
and mother, if the consent of the convent 
could be obtained, he stipulated that the 
mortuary due to the parish church of St. 
Bees, ' Bastenthwayt,' should be delivered. 2 
These examples will be considered sufficient 
to illustrate the custom. 

This abbey was one of the Cumbrian 
houses at which Edward I. stayed from time 
to time, while on his expeditions against Scot- 
land. It was to Holmcultram that Robert 
Wisheart, Bishop of Glasgow, came of his 
own free will to meet the king in October 
1300, and to renew his broken vow of 
allegiance. For the fourth time the bishop 
took the oath upon the consecrated Host, 
upon the Gospels, upon the Cross of St. Neot, 
and upon the Black Rood of Scotland, in the 
presence of Bishop Halton of Carlisle, the 
abbot of Holmcultram, and many of the 
great lords of England and the envoys of 
France. 3 It is not easy to account for the 
king's presence at Burgh-by-Sands, where he 
died on 7 July 1307, as it was impossible that 
he should propose to lead his army into Scot- 
land by that route. It is probable that as the 
host was encamped at Carlisle, the king was 
on his way thither from Holmcultram * when 
he was seized with the fatal sickness. 

The position of the abbey on the southern 
shore of the Solway jeopardized its safety at 
every outbreak of hostilities between the two 
kingdoms. The story of its losses and suffer- 
ings would necessitate a detailed narrative of 
Border feuds. The fact that the house was 
of Scottish foundation did not save it from 
attack or in any way mitigate its hardships. 
As early as 1216 the Scots, in revenge for 

i Reg. of Holmcultram, MS. ff. 21, 121-2. 

" Carl. Epis. Reg., Welton, f. 30. 

s Rymer, fcedera, i. 924 ; Palgrave, Doc. and 
Rec. (Rec. Com.), clxxviii. 344. 

4 This supposition is consistent with the official 
memorandum of the king's death (Rymer, fcedera, 
i. 1018). Letters patent were issued from Holm- 
cultram on the day before and the day after the 
fatal event (Cal. of Pat. 1301-7, pp. 535-6). 

King John's invasion, broke into Cumberland 
by way of the Solway and pillaged the abbey 
of Holmcultram in spite of the orders of 
Alexander II. who had extended his peace to 
religious houses. The chronicles of Melrose 
and Lanercost describe the mischief done in 
almost the same words. It was a wholesale 
spoliation. The Scots took everything they 
could lay hands on, the holy books, vestments, 
chalices, horses and cattle, utensils and gar- 
ments, going to the extremity of stripping a 
monk who was lying at his last gasp in the 
infirmary. But their impiety did not pass 
unpunished. On their return homewards 
with the spoils, nearly two thousand Scots 
were drowned in the tide as they forded the 
river Eden. 6 At a later date the sufferingsof the 
monks were more protracted owing to contin- 
uous warfare. 6 In addition to the forfeiture of 
their Scottish possessions, the house was im- 
poverished by losses at home. In 1315-6 
they petitioned the king for the advowson of 
the church of Kirkby Thore in Westmorland, 
as the abbey was plundered, their houses 
burned, their lands wasted, and their cattle, 
horses and oxen were driven away. 7 The 
strain was so great at this period that the 
resources of the house were unable to support 
the community as aforetime. In 1319 some 
of the monks were dispersed in different 
abbeys of their own order until Holmcultram 
was relieved of its oppressions. 8 On one 
occasion, in 1385, the monks paid ^2OO to 
the Earl of Douglas as an indemnity for the 
ransom of their church and lands from de- 
struction. 9 In fact, up to the very time of 
the dissolution, the abbey was in danger of 
spoliation. As late as 1527 the monks petitioned 
parliament that they might be discharged 
from the office of collectors of tenths, aids, 
loans and other exactions, and from the pay- 
ment of taxes and tallages, as their house 
was situated on the frontier and often in great 
danger from the Scots. 10 

It must not be taken that the abbey was in 
a perpetual state of siege and never enjoyed 

* Chron. of Melrose, in ann. 1216; Chron. de 
Lanercost, 18. 

6 Even in times of peace the abbey was situated 
in a dangerous locality. In 1235 the king, having 
heard that the monks had suffered great damage 
from malefactors in the places where their granges 
were, granted them liberty to have, outside the 
forest, their servants armed with bows and arrows 
to protect their goods (Pat. 19 Hen. III. m. 5). 

' Parl. Petitions, No. 3946. 

s Close, 13 Edw. II. m. i8d. 

Parl. Petitions, No. 4165 ; Pat. 9 Ric. II. pt. 
i. m. 5 ; Cal. of Doc. Scot. (Scot. Rec. Pub.), iv. 78. 

10 L. and P. Hen. nil. iv. 3053 (iv.) 



periods of repose. Like the rest of the 
country on the immediate frontier, its pros- 
perity depended on international relations. At 
one time the ships of the convent traversed 
the Irish Sea and carried on a brisk trade with 
Ireland and the Isle of Man. In 1224 leave 
was given that the abbot might send his ship 
where he pleased with a cargo of wool. 1 On 
the patent rolls of the thirteenth and four- 
teenth centuries numerous licences are on 
record to permit the buying of victuals in 
Ireland, Gascony and elsewhere. The monks 
had a good port at Skinburness within their 
own franchise, which was used as a naval base 
for the supply of provisions and stores during 
the wars with Scotland, 2 and so great was its 
use on these occasions that Edward I. gave 
the monks the liberty to have a free borough 
and a fair and market there in 1300, with an 
allowance for wool seized to the king's use. 3 
The monks like other practical men looked 
after the affairs of their house and were not 
afraid to assert their rights when occasion 
demanded. In 1263 the abbot impleaded the 
Archbishop of York for hindering the free 
passage of his carts and carriages beyond the 
bridge of Hexham which his predecessors had 
always obtained when needful. 4 Before the 
justices itinerant in 1292 the convent success- 
fully maintained its title to all the lands and 
privileges which were claimed as belonging to 
the house. 5 There was no fear that a power- 
ful personage like the abbot of Holmcultram 
should tamely submit to unjust treatment 
from the secular magnates of the land. In 
1300 a commission of oyer and terminer was 
appointed to try a cause on his complaint 
that William de Mulecastre, lately while he 
was sheriff, and others at divers times, took 
some of the abbot's carts, laden with victuals 
and other goods, on the high road in the 
middle of the city of Carlisle and town of 
Torpenhow, with the oxen drawing them, 
and refused to let them be replevied, so that 
a great number died, sold a palfrey the abbot 
had lent him, broke his grange at Ellenborough 
(Alneburgh) and carried away his oats, took 
away a boat with its gear at Skinburness, led 
away some of his beasts and sheep at Holm- 

1 Pat. 8 Hen. III. m. 5. 

2 Cal.ofPat. 1292-1301, pp. 389, 488, 554, 

3 Harl. MS. 3891, ff. 21-3, 108. 

4 Cal. of Doc. Scot. (Scot. Rec. Pub.), i. 462. 
The house had a charter of quittance from toll 
pontage, passage, and all custom in England or 
Ireland from King Richard (Fine R. 2 John [Rec. 
Com.], 117-8 ; Chancellor's R. 3 John [Rec. Com.], 

B Plac. de >uo Warrants (Rec. Com.), I 30. 

cultram, distrained his men and tenants of 
Ellenborough by their carts and draught cattle 
and detained them till they extorted ransom. 8 

The disturbed state of the Border did not 
divert attention from the need of monastic 
discipline. We read of John de Foriton for- 
saking his habit in 1352 and William de 
Levyngton escaping from the monastery by 
night in 1354, but these refractory monks 
were not permitted to return until they had 
received a papal dispensation to be reconciled. 
When John de Monte took it into his head 
to visit the Roman Court without the leave 
of his superior, the abbot of Holmcultram 
was instructed to carry out the ordinances 
against apostates as the monk wished to be 
reconciled to his Order. It is pleasing to find 
that some of the monks like Richard Gray, 
who was made a papal chaplain in 1402, had 
attained to ecclesiastical distinction. 7 

The exercise of the king's right to grant 
corrodies for good service was often a burden 
to the religious houses. An instance of one 
of these may be given to illustrate the custom. 
Edward II. informed the abbot and convent 
in 1309 that he had caused Thomas de 
Ardern, who served the king and his father, 
to be sent to them, and requested them to 
admit him to their house and to find him and 
a yeoman and two grooms serving him, food 
and clothing according to their stations, and 
to provide reasonable sustenance for his two 
horses. Letters patent for his lifetime to this 
effect were to be given him under their 
chapter seal and a speedy report made to the 
king on what they had done therein. 8 A royal 
pensioner of this sort could not have been a 
welcome visitor at Holmcultram in the crippled 
condition of their finances at that period. 

9 Cal. of Pat. 1292-1301, p. 554. 

' Cal. of Papal Letters, m. 470,522, 572-3, iv. 
316. No inmate has attained to the fame of 
Michael Scott, wizard and necromancer, celebrated 
alike by Dante (Inferno, c. xx. 11. 1 1 5-7), Boccaccio 
(Decameron) and Sir Walter Scott (Lay of the Last 
Minstrel), who is said to have passed some time in 
the monastery. Camden was told on his visit to 
Cumberland that in Wolsty Castle near Holmcul- 
tram, built by the monks for a treasury and place 
of safety to lay up their books, charters and evi- 
dences against sudden invasion of the Scots, the 
secret works of Michael the Scot lay in conflict 
with moths, ' which Michael, professing here a re- 
ligious life, was so fully possessed with the study of 
mathematickes and other abstruse arts, about the 
yeere of our Lord 1 290, that beeing taken of the 
common people for a necromancer, there went a 
name of him (such was their credulity) that he 
wrought divers wonders and miracles ' (Brit. [ed. 
Holland] 773). 

s Close, 3 Edw. II. m. z6d. 



Some idea of the hardships that houses so 
near the frontier had endured may be gathered 
from a comparison of the valuations of the 
temporalities of the monastery in 1291, just 
before the outbreak of the Scottish wars, and 
in 1319, the palmy days of Robert Bruce 
after the battle of Bannockburn. At the 
former period the annual revenue was re- 
turned at 206 5*. iod., and at the later 
date it amounted only to ^o. 1 This 
abbey was the wealthiest house in the counties 
of Cumberland and Westmorland, and owing 
to its exposed situation it sustained greater 
losses than any of the others, with the ex- 
ception perhaps of Lanercost. In I535 2 
the gross valuation of the temporalities 
amounted to 370 ijs. od. and the total 
revenues of the house to 53 5 35. jd. After 
the deduction of necessary outgoings, the 
clear net value was taxed at 4.77 19*. %d. 

The abbots of Holmcultram were em- 
ployed in general affairs and went about the 
world more than any of the heads of the 
local religious houses. In the great dispute 
between the bishop and the priory about the 
division of the revenues of the church of 
Carlisle in 1 221-3, the abbot of that date 
was associated with the prior of Hexham as 
papal assessor. 3 When differences arose be- 
tween the Archbishop of York and the Bishop 
of Durham in 132930 touching the question 
of jurisdiction and the cognizance of causes, 
the pope appointed the abbot of Holmcultram, 
the prior of the friar preachers of Carlisle, 
and the archdeacon of the same place to act 
as mediators, but they petitioned to be ex- 
cused as there were no lawyers thereabouts to 
consult, the people were ill-disposed, and 
Carlisle was so far from the diocese of York. 4 
In 1340 and 1341 the king appointed the 
abbots of Holme and Calder and three lay- 
men as collectors of the ninth of lambs, 
fleeces and sheaves in Cumberland. 5 During 
the vacancy of the see in 1352, while John 
de Horncastle was the elect and confirmed 
but not the consecrated Bishop of Carlisle, the 
abbot of Holme acted as vicar-general of the 
diocese and was re-appointed on the accession 
of Bishop Welton. 8 Again and again safe 
conducts were issued to the abbot when he 
wished to attend the chapter general of his 
order at Citeaux, and the keeper of Dover 

1 Pope Nick. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 320, 333. 

' Valor Ecd. (Rec. Com.), v. 282-3. 

3 Cal. of Papal Letters, i. 81, 91 ; ii. 112, 256. 

1 Ibid. ii. 320 ; Letters from the Northern Reg- 
isters (Rolls Sen), p. 359. 

Pat. 14 Edw. III. pt. ii. m. 45 ; 15 Edw. 
III. pt. i. m. 31. 

Carl. Epis. Reg., Welton, MS. f. i. 

1 68 

was instructed to allow him to embark at that 
port. 7 The daughter house of Grey Abbey 
and a small property in Ireland brought the 
abbot from time to time to that country, 8 and 
the fealty he owed to Melrose as well as his 
oversight of the grange in Galloway 9 necessi- 
tated occasional visits to Scotland in time of 
truce. Though the house is not reckoned 
among the mitred abbeys of the kingdom, the 
abbot was summoned to parliament and to the 
great Councils of State between 1294 and 
131 2. 10 In days of national mourning the 
house was selected among the greater monas- 
teries to celebrate the obsequies of the deceased. 
The abbot was requested to pray for the soul 
of Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, in 1296, for 
Joan, Queen of France, in 1305, and for 
Philip the Fair in 1314." From these cir- 
cumstances we may conclude that Holmcul- 
tram occupied a pre-eminent position among 
the religious institutions of the county. 

Some of the superiors of this monastery 
attained individual distinction or notoriety 
from various causes. Everard, the first abbot, 
ruled the house for the long period of forty- 
two years from the date of its foundation in 
1150 till his death in 1192. His name is 
often found in the records of that time. It 
was probably at Holmcultram that Huctred 
son of Fergus executed the deed whereby he 
gave a carucate of land in Crevequer to the 
hospital of St. Peter, York, several of the 
witnesses being local men, such as Everard 
the abbot, Robert the prior, and William the 
cellarer of Holmcultram, Robert archdeacon 
of Carlisle, Ralf clerk of the same place, 
Robert son of Trute sheriff of the same, 
Richard his brother, Hubert de Vaux, Peter 
del Teillos, Christian, Bishop of Whithern, 
who often visited the house, besides others 
from Galloway near to the English border. 12 

7 Rymer, Tcedera, ii. 78 ; Close, 15 Edw. II. 
m. 3od, and passim. 

8 Pat. 5 Edw. II. pt. i. m. 24 ; Reg. of Holm- 
cultram, MS. ff. 241, 245. 

9 Pat. I Edw. III. pt. i. m. 29. 

10 Par/. Writs (Rec. Com.), i. 26, and passim. 

11 Rymer, Fcedera (new ed.), i. 842, 922, 971 ; 
ii. 258. 

12 Cal. of Doc. Scot. ii. 422. The date of 
Everard's promotion to Holmcultram has been 
doubted. Bishop Stubbs dated his tenure from 
1175 to 1192, but his error apparently arose 
from identifying the abbacia de Holme, one of the 
twelve vacant houses in 1175, with Holme in 
Cumberland (Benedict Abbas, i. 92, ii. 80). It is 
clear from the deed of Uctred son of Fergus that 
it was passed before 1164, the year in which 
Hubert de Vaux, one of the witnesses, died. 
The Chronicle of Melrose mentions Everard in 
connection with the foundation in 1150. 


Robert de Brus and Eufemia his wife (mu/ier) 
gave a fishery in TordurF to Everard and the 
brothers of Holme which was afterwards con- 
firmed by Robert their son. 1 Abbot Everard 
perambulated the boundaries of his land of 
Kirkwinny in company with Christian, Bishop 
of Whithern, and Huctred son of Fergus, 2 
and was present at Peebles when William ' 
the Lion granted the great charter to the 
abbey of Jedburgh. 3 The greatest function 
in which he ever took part was the corona- 
tion of King Richard, 4 which he attended on 
3 September 1189. It was to Abbot Everard 
in 1185 that Pope Lucius confirmed all the 
possessions of the house. 5 Fordun has left us 
a beautiful picture of his saintly life from 
childhood to old age, 6 and tradition has sup- 
plemented it by ascribing to him many 
scholarly accomplishments. It is said that 
he wrote the life of St. Adamnan, of St. 
Cumen, and of St. Waltheve, the latter being 
his old superior at Melrose, but the manu- 
script of none of these biographies is known 
to be extant. 7 In 1192 he entered into 
rest in a good old age, full of days and vir- 
tues. 8 

Adam de Kendal has been made famous in 
a Scottish chronicle as the unfortunate abbot 
of Holmcultram. The new abbot, who suc- 
ceeded about 1215, seeing the Bishop of Car- 
lisle crippled with age and infirmity and at the 
gates of death, conceived the lofty ambition 
of gaining the episcopate at an early period. 
By secret intrigue and public bribery he 
squandered the revenues of the monastery in 
order to make friends of those who might be 

1 Reg. of Holmcultram, MS. ff. 66-7. 
3 Harl. MS. 3891, f. 8;b. 

3 National MSS. of Scotland, I, 38; Monastic 
Annals ofTcviotdale, 579. 

4 Bened. of Peterborough, Gesta Hen. II. et 
Ric. I. (Rolls Ser.), ii. 80. 

8 Harl. MS. 3911, ff. I37b-i4ib; Dugdale, 
Man. v. 598. 

8 Scotichronicon (ed. Goodall), i. 347. 

7 Descriptive Cat. of Materials (Rolls Ser.), ii. 
2256. The editor of Camden had views of his 
own (ed. Gibson, ii. 1059). John Denton, who 
wrote about 1610, must have seen some manu- 
script ascribed to Abbot Everard, for he said that 
' Everardus some time abbot of Holm Cultram, 
who lived in the days of Henry II., hath registered 
to posterity that the Danes had a house or temple 
of sacrifice or a publick place at Thursby where 
the pagans offered up the blood of captives to a 
God whom in that sort they honoured ' (Hist, of 
Cumb. 93). 

8 Cbron. of Melrose, in ann. 1192. On two 
occasions we find him witnessing charters of Richard 
de Morevill, constable of the King of Scotland 
(Liber S. Marie de Melrose, i. 82, 98). 

able to influence the election. Intelligence 
of his methods in due time reached the ears 
of the superior-general of the Cistercian order, 
who caused inquiries to be made which ended 
in the deposition of the abbot. Throwing 
himself on the mercy of the chapter, he was 
permitted to take up his abode at Hildekirk 
in the forest of Inglewood, a hermitage be- 
longing to the abbey. When the Bishop of 
Carlisle died and the day for the election of 
his successor arrived, the deposed abbot sent 
a secret messenger to learn the result. But 
the name of Adam de Kendal was not men- 
tioned. The disappointment so preyed on his 
spirits that he became insane and died in great 
misery at Holmcultram as a terrible warning 
to the ambitious. 9 The Chronicle of Melrose 
is silent on Adam's faults, mentioning only 
his resignation (suo cessit officio) in 1223. 
While he was abbot he made a grant of ten 
measures of salt annually at Martinmas to 
the priory of Lanercost. 10 

Another abbot of Holmcultram, deserving 
a special notice, was Robert Chamber, who 
flourished during the religious revival which 
preceded the dissolution of the monasteries. 
He was a local man of the family of Chamber 
of Raby Cote in that lordship and is comme- 
morated by many fragmentary memorials 
scattered in various parts of that neighbour- 
hood, either built into farm houses or still 
existing about the abbey church. Over the 
arch of the present porch of the church there 
is inscribed ' Robertas Chamber fecit fieri 
hoc opus A D nl M.D.VII.' Upon the 
pedestal of a statue of the Virgin may be seen 
the ' chained-bear,' the well-known rebus of 
his name with the legend beneath, 'Lady 
deyr save Robert Chamber.' The inscription 
' orate pro anima Roberti Chamber abbatis,' 
which Bishop Nicolson observed in the church 
at his visit in 1703, has disappeared. 11 In 
almost every considerable house of the parish 
some remnant of Abbot Chamber's work may 
be seen, bearing his name, initials, or some 
enigmatical conceit about him. In the bitter 
disputes which followed the suppression of the 
monastery, the great days of Abbot Chamber 
were often referred to by witnesses and their 
recollections recorded on the depositions. 
But inferences about the dates of his tenure 
of office are very conflicting, and no reliance 
can be placed on such evidences. On 12 
March 1512 he was joined in a commission 
with the Bishop of Carlisle and William 
Bewlay to inquire into the possessions of 


8 Fordun, Scotichronicon (ed. Goodall), ii. 1 2-6. 
Harl. MS. 3891, f. 33 b. 
11 Miscellany Accounts, 245. 
169 22 


George Kyrkebryde, deceased. 1 He estab- 
lished an alms in the abbey church for priests 
singing yearly masses at the altar of our 
Holy Saviour Jesus for the souls of Henry II. 
and Henry VIII. and for his own soul. z 
Robert Chamber is said to have ' rygned ' as 
abbot of Holmcultram for thirty years. 

As soon as the destruction of the religious 
houses became a subject of agitation in the 
country, it was almost impossible to preserve 
discipline in large communities. In Holm- 
cultram a discreditable state of anarchy was 
disclosed. During the seven years before the 
surrender no fewer than four abbots ruled 
the monastery. Dan Matthew Dyves or 
Deveys, a monk of the house, became abbot 
in 1531 through the instrumentality of Robert 
Cokett of Bolton Percy in Yorkshire, an 
honour which cost the new abbot ^100 in 
fine to the Crown. His death took place in 
the following year under suspicious circum- 
stances. Sir John Lamplugh, in a letter 
bearing date 16 September 1532, told Crom- 
well that Gawyn Borradale, one of the 
brethren, was suspected of being implicated 
in the death of the abbot of Holme. The 
monk was arrested and imprisoned in the 
abbey ofFurness, where he remained for about 
half a year. The depositions of the religious 
and temporal men connected with the abbey 
of Holmcultram have been preserved, from 
which it may be gathered that Borradale was 
suspected of poisoning Abbot Deveys in a fit 
of jealousy or disappointment after the elec- 
tion. Borradale had powerful friends and 
eventually attained the object of his desires. 
It was he who afterwards surrendered the 
house to the king's commissioners. 3 

The surname of the next abbot of Holm- 
cultram was variously written as Yerbye, 
Jerbye and Irebye, but he probably belonged 
to the Cumberland family of Ireby or origin- 
ated from the parish of that name. Thomas 

1 Pat. 3 Hen. VIII. pt. ii. m. I4d ; L. and P. 
Hen. 7111. i. 3075. 

* Valor Ecc. (Rec. Com.), v. 282. 

a L. and P. Hen. 7111. v. 277, 657, 1317. 
The following documents have been copied 
by the writer from the originals at the Record 
Office and printed by the Carlisle Scientific and 
Literary Society : Dr. Legh's defence of the ac- 
cused monk (ibid. vi. 985); petition from Fur- 
ness protesting his innocence and claiming a fair 
trial (ibid. vi. 986) ; John, abbot of Byland's letter 
of intercession to Cromwell on behalf of the monk 
(ibid. vi. 987) ; depositions of monks and others 
before Abbot Ireby concerning the death of the 
late abbot (ibid. vi. 988) ; letter of Roger, abbot 
of Furness, on the character of Borradale and his 
abettors (ibid. vi. 1557). 

Ireby succeeded soon after the death of Abbot 
Deveys and gave promise of ruling the house 
'according to right and conscience,' as John 
Lord Husey expressed it to Cromwell on 
19 November 1532. The new abbot had 
restitution of the temporalities on 1 1 March 
1533, for which he paid a fine of ^50. The 
discipline of the monks was a great concern 
to him, and something was done during his 
term of office to restore confidence and pro- 
mote charity after the disaster to his predeces- 
sor. Thomas Graham, a refractory brother, 
who held a proctorship in the church of 
Wigton, was called to account for neglect of 
his duty and his seal was revoked. Some of 
his letters are preserved at the Record Office, 
and his signature may still be read with that 
of Christopher Slee, prior of Carlisle, in attes- 
tation of an inventory of the ' moveables ' of 
Lord William Dacre, seized in 1534 by the 
Earls of Westmorland and Cumberland and 
Sir Thomas Clifford, the king's commissioners. 
It ' pleased Gode almyghtt to call unto his 
mercy Thomas Irebye, our discreitt father 
and laitt abbot of our monasterye, whiche 
dyde depart from this present lyffe the x' day 
of August (1536), whosse sowlle Gode par- 
don, leivyng ' the monks of Holmcultram a 
' powre floke without heide or governore.' * 

On ii August 1536, the day following 
the death of Abbot Ireby, the whole monas- 
tery consisting of the sub-prior and twenty- 
one monks signed a petition to Cromwell ' to 
suffer us to have our free and liberall election 
accordyng to the statutes and rewlles of our 
holly religion to elect one of the brethern of 
owre monastery to be heide and governore of 
the same," alleging as an excuse for haste 
their nearness to the Scottish border and the 
fear ' leist the ravyschyng wolffe doo enter 
into the floke ' in the event of any delay in 
the appointment of their head. 8 Intrigues 
were on foot. Sir Thomas Wharton recom- 
mended Graham, the monk already referred 
to, who offered to give 400 marks to the 
king's highness for the office besides his first 
fruits, but other arrangements were made. 
Thomas Carter, who was apparently not a 
member of the chapter of Holmcultram, was 
placed over the house. 6 His name appears 
loaded with infamy, a few months after his 
appointment, in that ' cleane ' but unreliable 
' booke of compertes ' which the royal visitors 
presented to Parliament. In the insurrections 
of 1537 Abbot Carter was a prominent figure, 
urging his tenants to join the commons, 

Ibid. v. 1556 ; vi. 228 (i.), 781, 988, 1205 ; 
vii. 676 ; xi. 276. 

Ibid. xi. 276. a Ibid. xi. 319. 



organizing processions in his church as a sup- 
plication for their success, and going in person 
as an envoy on their behalf to demand the 
surrender of Carlisle. 1 Thomas Graham, the 
monk who was foiled in his ambition to be- 
come the head of the monastery at the last 
vacancy, was employed by the civil power as 
a spy on the doings of the new abbot. 2 Out 
of the many charges made against the abbot, 
Graham's depositions only may be selected: 

At the furst Insurreccon agan the Abbott. 

Item, y' the abbot sent to W. Alanbe y' he 
schuld scend to James Hounter to warn all abowt 
hym to be at Waytlynghow upon payn of hayng- 
ynge too meet y" comanes there. 

Item, the abbot was mayde comyssyon r to Car- 
lell ffrom y e comanes and rode towert Carlell as 
nere as he durst and send to them y' was w th in 
ye cetee and askytt delyver of ye town to ye 

Item, the abbot rod to Pereth to ye comanes 
y' rod to Yorke, and ther the said abbatt gayve 
them ample to ther expensys. 

Item, the said abbot spake with one Hew 
Will'mson at the last Insurreccon, the day afor the 
comanes lade siege to Carlell, and askytt hym 
' qwhat newys ' and the said Hew answer 11 & said 
to hym agayn, ' ther was never sayke agatheryng 
to ye brodfeld as ther was y' day afore ' : and the 
abbot answerytt & sayde, 'All myghty god prossper 
them, for yffe they sped not this abbe ys lost : ' 
and upon the sayng he sent for ys subprior and 
comandyt hym to cawse the brether to goo daly 
w' processcon to speed ye comones jorney. 

The Articles of brakyng of y e Kynges graces 
Iniunccons as her after folloys : 

Item, y' the abbot hays broght dyvers woman 
in the inwart partes of o r monistry to dyn and 
suppe agans o r Iniunccons. 

Item, y' the said abbott hays sold, w'houte ony 
lycens of y e kynges grace or of his vicittores, as 
myche platt as com to houndreth poundes & more. 

Item, the said Abbat hays gyflyng o r covent 
seyll agayns iij or iiij of y e bred rs myndes agayns 
o' monist y profett, 

Item, the said abbatt gayfFe too y c abbott of By- 
land, ffor helpyng hym too ys promocon, a salt of 
gold & sylver to valoo of xx" markes & more. 

Item, y 1 the abbot haithe sold o r joelles of o r 

Item, the said abbot hays lattyng o' demaynes 
agans y e kynges grace Iniunccon. 

Item, the abbot, sens the kynges graces pardon 
was gyftyng, cawsytt hys tennands a gayns ther 
wyll to must' afor hym in the kyrke, & therby 
wold hayve them to ryddyng to ye brodfell to the 
comanes, & ye denyett hym & said they wold not 
go, excepe he went w th them hys selffe : and befor 
them all the said abbot comandytt Cudbert Mus- 
grave, of ye comones nayme, to take the tennandes 

1 L. and P. Hen. Vlll. xii. pt. i. 687. 
a Ibid. xii. pt. i. 1259; Cott. MS. Caligula 
B, iii. 286. 

& go to the brod fell, & so bothe Cudbert & all 
tenands denyett y e abbot comandment & wold not 
go : & y is aforsaid I will refere me to tennandes 
qwether it was so or nay : & this comandment & 
mettyng was the day befor the comanes laid sieges 
to Carlell. 

Item, all the sterryng of ye tennandes w'hin the 
Holme lordscheppe was euer be y e commandment 
of y" abbot, bothe at the furst insurreccon & also 
at ye last, qwhen he caws' them to com to y 

At y e last Insurreccon qwhen he comandytt 
them to ryde too ye brod feld w" 1 Cudbert Mus- 

per Tho. Graym, monicum. 

(Endorsed?) The Abbot of Holm to incite 
his Tenants to come w th the 
Rebells at the broadfeild. 3 

It is probable that the life of Abbot Carter 
was forfeited by his complicity in the insur- 
rection, for before the year 1537 was ended 
another abbot reigned in his stead. 

Gawen Borudale or Borradale, the monk 
previously suspected of poisoning Abbot 
Deveys, was appointed a few months before 
the dissolution of the monastery. In a letter 
to Cromwell, dated 23 January 1538, Sir 
Thomas Wharton stated he had seen in the 
abbot of Holme ' ryght honest procedynges 
and a good borderer in ye kynges graces 
affayres.' On 6 March following, the house 
was surrendered to Thomas Leigh, LL.D., 
in the presence of John Leigh, William 
Blithman, James Rookesby, William Leigh, 
Thomas Dalston and others. The deed of 
surrender was signed by the abbot and 
twenty-four monks and sealed with the 
seal of the convent. Within a fortnight 
after the surrender, 18 March, the com- 
munity was turned adrift, or in the words 
of Dr. Leigh, the monastery was 'withe 
moche quyetnes and contentacion of the 
cuntry dissolvyd and the monckis in secular 
apparell, having honest rewardis in ther 
purses, be disparsyd abrode.' The late abbot 
continued in spiritual charge of the lordship 
of Holmcultram and had ' for his logyng,' 
with which he was ' ryght well contentyd, 
the chambre that he was in before he was 
abbot, then called the selleras chambre, and 
the chambre at the stayr hed adjoynyng to 
the same.' The brethren received pensions 
in varying sums from 40*. to j6 and returned 
to secular life.* On the earnest supplication 
of the inhabitants of Holme the abbey church 
was not destroyed. It was not only to them 
their parish church, they pleaded, ' and little 

* Cott. MS. Caligula B, iii. 285. 
L. and P. Hen. Fill. vol. xiii. (i.) 128, 434, 
436, 547, and passim. 



ynoughe to receyve all us your poore orators, 
but also a grete ayde, socor, and defence for 
us ayenst our neighbors the Scotts, withe out 
the whiche few or none of your lordshipps 
supplyants are able to do the king is saide 
hieghnes our bounden duetye and service.' l 
Since that date the church has been shorn of 
many of its glories and suffered many mis- 


Everard, 1150-92 2 
Gregory, uga 3 

William de Curcy, translated to Melrose 
in 1215,* thence to Rievaulx in 1216 
Adam de Kendal, I2I5-23 6 
Ralf, 1223 * 

William, resigned in I233 7 
Gilbert, 1233-7" 
John, 1237-55 

1 Cott. MS. Caligula E, iv. 243 ; Ellis, Original 
Letters, ser. i, ii. 90. 

2 The authorities for these dates may be seen 
ante, p. 168 etseq. 

s Chron. of Melrose, in anno 1192. During his 
time Affreca, daughter of Godred, King of Man, 
wife of John de Curcy, founded the house of 
Grey Abbey (Jugum Dei) in Ulster, which was 
colonized from Holmcultram and became affiliated 
thereto (Chron. Mannitf, in anno 1 204). When 
the floors of the Irish house were cleared of 
rubbish about 1 840, a leaden seal of Bishop Ralf 
de Ireton of Carlisle was found. It bore the fol- 

LENSIS EPISCHOP (ReCVCS, Atttlq. of DotCH, 92). 

* Chron. of Melrose, in anno 1215. Fordun is 
very enigmatical on this abbot's tenure of Holm- 
cultram (Scotichronicon [ed. Goodall], ii. 12). Abbot 
William is often found in association with Bishop 
Bernard of Carlisle (Guisbn' Chart. [Surtees Soc.], 
ii. 319 ; Duchy of Lane. Chart. Box B, No. 164 ; 
Reg. of Holmcultram, MS. ff. 1 8, 19). He also 
witnessed a charter of Melrose in company with 
Ralf, Bishop of Down, and Warin, abbot of Rie- 
vaulx (Liber S. Marie de Melrose [Bannatyne Club], 

' 53, 54). 

B See ante, p. 169. 

6 Chron. of Melrose, in anno 1223; Reg. of 
Holmcultram, MS. ff. 23, 24. He had been for- 
merly abbot of Grey Abbey in Ireland. 

7 Chron. of Melrose, in anno 1233. 

8 Ibid, in annis 1233, I2 37 ; Harl. MS. 3891, 
f. I9b ; Feet of F. (Cumb.), 19 Hen. III. 
No. 22. He had been previously master of the 
' converts ' in Holmcultram and died at Canterbury 
on his way home from the general chapter of his 

9 Chron. of Melrose, in annis 1237, 1255. This 
abbot made an agreement with the prior of St. 
Bees 'pro mina nostra super terram suam apud 
Whithofthaven reponenda ' (Reg. of St. Bees, MS. 
x. 7). See also Cal. of Doc. Scot. (Scot. Rec. Pub.), 
i. 509. 

Henry, I255, 10 1262," 1267" 

Gervase, 1274," 1279 u 

Robert de Keldesik, 1 289," 1 292," 

1296," 131 8 18 

Thomas de Talkane, I33i, 19 1336 20 
Robert de Sitthayk or Sothayk, 1351," 


10 Cbron. of Melrose, in anno 1255. He had 
been a monk of the house. 

11 Several of his transactions about property in 
Carlisle and Newcastle are on record about this 
date (Reg. of Holmcultram, MS. ff. 70, 151-2 ; 
Harl. MS. 3891 ff. 78-9, 81-2). 

12 The Chron. of Melrose, in anno 1 267, states 
that Abbot Henry was deposed from Holmcul- 
tram by Adam de Maxstun, abbot of Melrose, 
but was restored to his former seat by the Cistercian 

13 Netominster Chartul. (Surtees Soc.), 238. 

14 Reg. of Holmcultram, MS. ff. 40-1, 212. 
" Ibid. ff. 216-7. 

18 Harl. MS. 391 1, f. 63!). In reply to a letter 
from the king's chancellor, requesting him to send 
a horse in 1291 to carry the rolls of chancery, 
Abbot Robert pleaded for delay, ' as God knows ' 
he was at that time unprovided with one fit for the 
work (Royal Letters, No. 1140 ; Cal. of Doc. Scot. 
[Scot. Rec. Pub.], ii. 138). See also Reg. of Holm- 
cultram, MS. A, 201-2 ; Harl. MS. 3891, f. 76b. 

17 His name appears on the famous Ragman 
Roll for the reason no doubt that his house held 
lands in Scotland (Stevenson, Documents, ii. 68-9 ; 
Cal. of Doc. Scot. [Scot. Rec. Pub.], ii. 196). In 
1297 he recovered a rent in Blencreyk against 
William de Bretteby (Orig. R. [Rec. Com.], i. 102). 

16 He must have died in that year, for on 12 
August 1318, a letter of safe conduct was issued 
to the abbot of Melrose that he might come to 
Holmcultram to preside at the election of a suc- 
cessor (Rymer, Facdera,u. 370). In 13 19 William, 
prior of the house, was sent into Scotland to treat 
for the liberation of the men of the Bishop of Ely 
lately captured in the battle of Miton near York 
(Rot. Scotia?, i. 204, 205). 

11 Harl. MS. 3891, f. I42b. He cannot have 
been abbot for many years before, for in 1327 he 
was described as a monk of Holmcultram (Close 
Roll, i Edw. III. pt. i. m. 18). He carried out 
the negotiations with Lady Margaret de Wigton 
for the transfer and appropriation of the church 
of Wigton to his house in 1331-2 (Carl. Epis. 
Reg., Kirkby, ff. 245-9, 280-1). 

20 In this year he made presentation to the 
church of Dronnok, diocese of Glasgow, the ad- 
vowson of which had been given to Holmcultram 
by Edward, King of Scotland (Glasg. Epis. Reg. 
[Bannatyne Club], i. 249-5 1), and to the church of 
Wigton, diocese of Carlisle (Carl. Epis. Reg., 
Kirkby, ff. 333-4). 

<" Cal. of Papal Petitions, i. 215 ; Cal. of Papal 
Letters,m. 453, 461 ; Chron. Man. de Melsa, iii. 108. 

22 Carl. Epis. Reg., Welton, ff. 57, 103. In 
1362 he had a dispute with William, perpetual vicar 
of Wigton, about the will of William de Bromfeld. 



Robert de Rawbankcs 

I3 6 5, I379 1 

(?) Gregory, 2 temp. Richard II. 

(?) Robert Pym, ascribed to the fifteenth 
century 3 

William Reddekar, circa 1434* 

Thomas York, circa 1458-65." Va- 
cancy in 1472 e ; again in 1480 7 

Robert Chamber, 1507, 15 I2, 8 1518 

John Nicolson 10 

i Carl. Epis. Reg., Appleby, ff. 144, 314; 
Exch. Gler. Subs. bdle. 61, No. I, diocese of 
Carl. See also Cal. of Doc. Scot. (Scot. Rec. Pub.), 
iv. 47. In the porch of the abbey church there 
still exists a fragment of his tomb with the letter- 
ing ' . . . DE RAWBANKYS ABBAS . . .' 

> Reference to Abbot Gregory is made in a case 
for the opinion of counsel about 1720, that in the 
time of Richard II. he demanded tithe from the 
copyholders of Holmcultram. 

3 In the British Museum a cast of a signet bears 
the legend : ' ROB'TI PYM ABB'TIS DE HOLME' (Cat. 
of Seals, i. 586). These two abbots are received 
into the list with much hesitation. 

* Fuller, Worthies of England, (ed. Nichols), 
i. 2401. The gravestone of this abbot, dug up 
in 1867, shows beneath a rich canopy a pastoral 
crook with a shield on either side bearing a cross 

or Rabankes, Matthew Dyves or Deveys, 1531 " 

Thomas Ireby, Yerbye, or Jerbye, 1533, 


Thomas Carter, 15 37 

Gawen Borudale (Borrodale), last abbot, 


The seal of the convent attached to the 
deed of surrender 18 bears a full length figure 
of the Blessed Virgin with the Child on her 
left arm and the inscription slightly mutilated : 


In the British Museum there is the cast of 
a seal, injured in places by pressure, and 
ascribed to the thirteenth century, 13 which may 
have belonged to Abbot Gervase (1274, 1279), 
or to either of his predecessors, Gregory or 
Gilbert. It is a pointed oval. The Virgin 
with a crown holds the Child on the left arm 
and stands on a shield of the arms of England 
under a trefoiled canopy supported on slender 
shafts. At the base of the shield are two 
busts with hands supporting it. On each side 
is a small niche containing on the left a saint 
with crown and sceptre, on the right a bishop 
or abbot. In the base is a lion dormant. 
The legend has been mutilated : s. c . . . . 

moline and lion rampant, the arms of the monas- BATIS ET CONVENTVS DE HOLMCOL- 

tery. Around the edge runs the inscription : 



6 Arch. &Iiana (old ser.), ii. 399. He was 
selected in 1458 to act as one of the English 
commissioners for the preservation of truces with 
the Scots (Rot. Scotia:, ii. 387-8). One of the 
bells of Holmcultram is inscribed with the legend 
in black letter : ' + IHS : THOMAS : YORK : ABBAS : 
DE : HOLM : cu : DOMINIO : ANNO : DNI : MILL" : 
cccc : LXV.' There is also a fragment at one of 
the farm houses in the parish which carries a shield 
with his initials supported by monks. 

6 Liber S. Marie de Metros (Bannatyne Club), 
i. 596-9. 

7 In the accounts of the diocesan registrar of 
Carlisle for 20 Edw. IV. the following payment 
is on record : ' Et soluti iiij clericis Karlioli exis- 
tentibus apud Rosam ad benedictionem abbatis de 
Holme, i]s.' 

B For the date of this abbot see ante, pp. 1 69-70. 

8 In this year, 10 Hen. VIII., he appointed 
Thomas Lord Dacre and William his son as 
stewards of all the abbey lands (Nicolson MS. iii. 

10 The only notice of Abbot John Nekalson or 
Nicolson that has been found is in a memoran- 
dum among the family papers of Chambers of 
Raby, dated in 1591, now in the parish chest of 
Holmcultram, and submitted to the writer for 
inspection by Mr. F. Grainger. It is as follows : 
' Lord Robt. Chambers rygned the abbet of Holem 
lordshep 30 yeares, and after him rygned John 


A counter-seal of the thirteenth century 14 
bore a right hand vested, holding a pastoral 
staff, embowered with foliage, with the words : 


There is in the British Museum the cast of 
a seal ascribed to Abbot Thomas, 16 of date 
about 1350. The abbot is standing under a 
canopy supported on slender shafts with a 
pastoral staff in his right hand and a book in 
his left. In the base is a lion's face and out- 
side the shafts on each side is a wavy sprig of 
foliage. This legend is imperfect : SIGILLUM 


Nekalson 5 yeares, and after him rygned Thomas 
Jerbie fower yeares and moor, and after him rygned 
on(e) Gaven Borradell tow yeares and moor w ch 
waes the last of all the lords (abbits cancelled in 
the MS.). Abbet Chambers died threscore year 
andtowell (twelve) yeares senc, 1591.' He is also 
mentioned in another list of abbots who succeeded 
Chamber (Nicolson MS. iii. 100). 

11 For this abbot and his successors, see ante, 
p. 170. 

Aug. Off. Deed of Surrender. 

" B. M. Seals 3288. 

" Ibid. 3289. 

" Cal. of Doc. Scot. ii. 542. 

16 B. M. Seals 3290. There is also the signet of 
Abbot Robert Pym used as a counterseal. It 
shows a pastoral staff (ibid. 3291). 




The abbey of Calder is situated in a wooded 
recess nearly a mile from the village of Cal- 
derbridge, on the high road midway between 
Egremont and Gosforth, in the south-west of 
the county, not far from the priory of St. 
Bees. It was an affiliation of the neighbour- 
ing monastery of Furness and at first of the 
order of Savigny which in 1148 was united 
to the Cistercian Order. 1 As no chartulary 
of the house is known to exist, we are de- 
pendent for its history on incidental notices 
gathered from various sources. 

From a trustworthy narrative of the found- 
ing of the abbey of Byland in Yorkshire 2 by 
Philip the third abbot of that monastery, we 
derive almost all we know of the early his- 
tory of Calder with great fulness of detail. As 
Abbot Philip obtained his information from 
Roger his predecessor, one of the original 
monks of Calder, and as his story fits in well 
with the local events of the period and con- 
tradicts no ascertained historical facts, it may 
be taken that his narrative is worthy of credit. 
Other evidences of undoubted authority seem 
to support his statements. 

This abbey is the third house in the county 
which owes its origin to the great and famous 
family of Ranulf Meschin, the first Norman 
lord of Cumberland. The priory of Wetheral 
was founded by him in the early years of the 
reign of Henry I., and the priory of St. Bees 
was founded by his brother, William Meschin, 
soon after 1 1 20, both as cells of the Benedic- 
tine abbey of St. Mary, York. It may be 
admitted that Ranulf, the son of William, 
took an interest in St. Bees, which lies within 
the fee of Coupland, and was a great bene- 
factor of his father's foundation. The time 
came, perhaps after his father's death, when 
this Ranulf founded another house at Calder 3 

1 Though the abbey of Calder, like all Cister- 
cian churches, was entitled in the name of the 
Blessed Virgin, we have on record an indulgence, 
granted by Thomas, Bishop of Whithern, and 
dated at Furness on 26 July 1314, for the soul of 
Richard Carpenter, who formerly lived in the vill 
of ' Goderthwayt ' and was buried in the church- 
yard of St. Andrew within the monastery of Calder 
(Duchy of Lane. Chart. Box A, No. 121). 

2 Dugdale, Man. v. 349-53. 

3 Pope Eugenius III. (l 145-53) said in a letter 
that William son of Duncan gave Calder to the 
monks of Furness, but further on he qualified the 
statement by saying that ' Ranulf Mustin ' was the 
real founder (Dugdale, Man. v. 249-50). At the 
time of the suppression, the tradition was that the 
abbey ' was founded by Lord Raynalld Meschynne, 
lord of Copland, in 1134' (Harl. MS. 604, 
f. 122). 

a few miles from his baronial seat at Egre- 
mont. The abbey was founded on 10 Janu- 
ary 1134, when Ranulf gave the land of 
Calder (Kaldra) with its appurtenances for 
that purpose. It was at a later date probably 
that he added ' Bemertone ' and ' Holegate,' a 
burgage in Egremont, two saltpans at White- 
haven, fisheries in the Derwent and Egre, pas- 
ture for the cattle of the monks in his forest, 
and materials for building their houses. A 
colony of twelve monks with Gerold as their 
abbot went out from Furness and occupied 
the new foundation. Abbot Philip of Byland 
has left their names on record, viz. Robert 
de Insula, Tocka de Loncastre, John de 
Kynstan, Theodoric de Dalton, Orm de 
Dalton, Roger the sub-cellarer, Alan de 
Wrcewyk, Guy de Bolton, William de Bol- 
ton, Peter de Pictaviis, Ulf de Ricomonte 
and Bertram de London. These monks re- 
mained in community at Calder for four 
years, living in great hardship and privation 
under the constitutions of the order of Savigny 
in Normandy, to which at that time the abbey 
of Furness belonged. 

The political troubles which followed the 
death of Henry I. were disastrous to the 
new institution at Calder. David, King 
of Scots, while he was laying siege to the 
castle of Norham, sent William son of Dun- 
can, his nephew, into Yorkshire, who wasted 
the province of Craven and obtained pos- 
session of Furness. The atrocities com- 
mitted during that expedition by the Picts 
and Galwegians of the Scottish army are 
well known. 4 Philip of Bywell tells us that 
the abbey of Calder was one of the victims 
of the raid. Thirsting for the blood of the 
English, 'the barbarian Scots' came unex- 
pectedly with great fury on the newly founded 
(nuper inceptam) abbey and took away all they 
could lay hold of, entirely spoiling the house. 
The desolate monks sought refuge at the gate 
of Furness, but they were refused admittance. 
It was said in excuse for the cruelty of the 
convent that as Abbot Gerold was unwilling 
to resign his office and absolve his monks from 
their profession to him, it would have been 
inconvenient to have had two abbots with 

The Priory of Hexham, i. 82. Canon Raine 
has pointed out the singularity of King David's 
injunction to his nephew William son of Duncan 
that he should devastate the district of which he 
was feudal chief. The only explanation seems to 
be that an effort was made in 1138 to keep Wil- 
liam out of his inheritance. John of Hexham 
tells us that the seignory of Skipton was restored 
to him in 1151 by King David. It is almost 
certain that Ranulf Meschin was dead at the time 
of the raid. 



their communities dwelling in the same abbey. 
Others have assigned a more sordid motive to 
the monks of Furness. We need not follow 
the wanderings of the monks of Calder till, 
under the protection of Archbishop Thurstin 
and by his mediation, they were established 
at Byland. One cart drawn by a team of 
eight oxen was sufficient to convey all their 
books and household stuff as they set out from 
Calder never to return. As soon as Abbot 
Gerold had found a resting place and begun 
to increase in this world's goods, fearing lest 
the abbot of Furness would exercise a patronal 
jurisdiction over him, he set out to Normandy 
and laid the whole truth of his departure 
from Calder before Serle, abbot of Savigny. 
On the feast of St. John the Baptist, 1142, 
a chapter general of the Order was held and 
he was released from his allegiance to Furness. 
Returning to England in haste, he repaired 
to York, where he died on 24 February 
following. Roger, who had come from Fur- 
ness with him and was sub-cellarer at Calder, 
was chosen abbot in his place. When the 
news of these proceedings was noised abroad, 
the abbot and convent of Furness, perceiving 
that they had been outwitted by the deceased 
Gerold, and that the monks who were driven 
from their gates had submitted themselves and 
their successors to the church of Savigny and 
were settled elsewhere with no intention of 
returning, ordained Hardred, one of their 
monks, and sent him out, in or about 1143, 
at the head of another community to occupy 
the deserted house of Calder. Thus was the 
succession resumed and the original founda- 
tion revived. 

The confusion arising from disputed juris- 
diction did not end with Gerold's renunciation 
of Furness. Abbot Hardred of Calder set up 
a claim to jurisdiction over Byland on the 
ground of affiliation, as the monks had de- 
parted from his house and the church of 
Savigny had unjustly obtained their allegiance. 
Roger, then abbot of Byland, answered with 
becoming dignity that no such claim could be 
entertained, and reminded Hardred of their 
rebuff from the gates of Furness. Ultimately 
a friendly arrangement was made and the 
claims of Calder were abandoned. On the 
other hand the convent of Furness challenged 
jurisdiction over Byland by similar arguments, 
but at a general chapter in the presence of 
many abbots and priors of the northern 
counties, with the famous JElred of Rievaulx 
as referee, the claims of Furness were dis- 

It is needless to say that the successors 
of Ranulf Meschin in the barony of Coup- 
land, including William son of Duncan, his 

brother-in-law, who had previously ravaged 
the district, continued to befriend the abbey 
and augment its possessions. Cecily, Countess 
of Albemarle and lady of Coupland, con- 
firmed the monks in all their lands, for the 
souls of her father and mother and of King 
Henry, to which Master Robert the constable, 
Isaac de Scheftling, Simon de Scheftling, 
William Chirtelig, William de Scheftling and 
Thomas, chaplain of the countess, were wit- 
nesses. The example of the founder's suc- 
cessors was followed by the landowners in the 
vicinity. William de Esseby and Hectred 
his wife, benefactors of St. Bees, gave Becker- 
met and the mill of that place in memory of 
William, Earl of Albemarle, and Cecily the 
countess, and of Ingelram the earl's brother, 
as the donor had received it from the earl. 
The witnesses of this deed were Richard, 
prior of St. Bees, Robert priest (presblter) of 
Ponsonby, Roger priest of Egremont, Jurdan 
parson of Goseford, Richard son of Osbert of 
St. Brigid, Richard vicar of the same church, 
and Ketel son of Ulf. Beatrice de Molle be- 
stowed on the monks 5 oxgangs of land in 
Little Gilcrux (Gillecruch) and the fourth 
part of the mill in Great Gilcrux. The land 
had been previously confirmed to Beatrice by 
Adam son of Uhtred, her uncle, as the gift 
of William, his nephew, as the charter of the 
said William son of Liolf de Molle testified. 
Richard de Boisville gave 10 acres of land in 
his part of Culdreton with common of pasture 
pertaining thereto. 

The lords of Millom. were also benefactors 
of Calder. By a charter given at ' Milnam ' 
in the month of April, 1287, John de Hud- 
leston bestowed on the abbey pasture for six 
cows, four horses and forty sheep with their 
following on the common of Millom, saving 
to the monks the other privileges granted by 
his ancestors. At a later date in 1291, John 
son of John de ' Hideleston ' gave William 
son of Richard de Loftscales his ' native ' and 
all his belongings, quit of all villenage as far 
as the donor was concerned. 1 The abbot 
paid a fine in 1300 for the alienation in 
mortmain to his convent by John de Hudles- 
ton of 8 acres of land, i acre of meadow 

1 The six charters, of which a summary is given 
above, were copied by the Rev. John Hodgson in 
1830 'from the originals in possession of W. J. 
Charlton of Hesleyside, Esq., which came into his 
family in 1680 by the marriage of his great-great- 
grandfather with Mary, daughter of Francis Sal- 
keld of Whitehall, in the parish of All-hallows, 
Cumberland,' and were printed in full by him in 
Arch. &Iiana, ii. 387-90. S. Jefferson has given 
a good account of these charters in Allerdale Ward, 



in Bootle, and a place in Millom called 
' Barkerhals ' containing gj acres of land and 
i J acres of meadow. 1 

The abbey had also been endowed by John 
son of Adam and Matthew his brother with 
the whole land of ' Stavenerge ' ; by Robert 
Bonekill, with a carucate in Little Gilcrux 
(Gillecruz) which Ralf the clerk of Carlisle 
occupied, 1 2 acres and i perch in Little Gilcrux, 
I acre of meadow between these two places 
and pasture for twenty oxen, twelve cows and 
six horses with their following of one year ; 
by Roger son of William with land in ' Ike- 
linton ' and ' Brachamton ' and part of the 
mill in the latter place ; by Richard de Lucy, 
with a moiety of the mill in Ikelinton a ; by 
Thomas son of Gospatric, with a toft in 
Workington, an annual gift of twenty salmon, 
and a net in the Derwent between the bridge 
and the sea ; and by Thomas de Multon, 
with a moiety of the vill of ' Dereham in 
Airedale ' with the advowson of the church 
of the same vill. These donations were con- 
firmed to the monks in 1231 by charter 3 of 
Henry III. 

The convent was called upon from time to 
time to defend its title to its possessions. 
Adam son of Gilbert de Comwyntyn im- 
pleaded the abbot in 1279 ' n res P ect f a 
messuage in Cockermouth as the right of 
Emma his wife.* Certain manorial privileges 
of the abbey lands were questioned by the 
Crown in 1292, when it was stated that the 
monks had enjoyed them since the reign of 
Richard I. From this suit at law we gather 
that the house possessed 3 carucates of land 
in Gilcrux, a carucate in Dearham, an 
oxgang in Millom, 10 acres in Irton and 2 
oxgangs in Bootle. 8 

The abbey was not rich in appropriated 
churches. At the time of the dissolution, 
the monks only possessed the rectories of 
Cleator, Gilcrux, and of St. John and St. 

1 Pat. 28 Edw. I. m. 13 ; Inq. p.m. 20 Edw. 
I. No. 172. 

2 Roger de Lucy held 1 5 librates of land in 
Ickleton (Ikelington) in the hundred of Whittles- 
ford, Cambridgeshire, late of the Honor of Bou- 
logne, and Richard de Lucy held a knight's fee 
there in 1212 (The Red Book of the Exch. [Rolls 
Ser.], ii. 529, 582 ; Testa de Nevill [Rec. Com.], 
274b). In 1302-3 the abbot of Calder was 
assessed at lot. to the royal aid for the fourth part 
of a knight's fee held of Thomas de Multon as of 
the Honour of Boulogne (Feud. Aids, i. 144, 161, 
175, 180). 

a Chart. R. 1 5 Hen. III. m. 9 ; Dugdale, 
Mm. v. 340-1. 

4 Three Early Assize R. of Northumb. (Surtees 
Soc.), p. 297. 

o Plac. de >uo. Wan. (Rec. Com.), 1 16-7. 

Bridgid, Beckermet. 6 An attempt was made 
by Thomas de Multon to transfer the advow- 
son of Dearham from the priory of Gisburn, 
to which Alice de Romelly had given it, but 
the attempt failed, and the church con- 
tinued in the appropriation of the Yorkshire 
house to the last. 7 In 1262 the Archdeacon 
of Richmond prevailed on the abbey to bestow 
upon him the church of Arlecdon (Arloke- 
dene), as he had no convenient retreat in 
Coupland wherein he could lodge for the 
exercise of the duties of his vocation. 8 That 
powerful official had only a poor opinion of 
the natural features or the climate of Cum- 
berland. It needed the attraction of the 
church of Arlecdon to induce him to cross 
the sands of Duddon and to brave the swollen 
rivers and uncertain weather of that outlying 
portion of his spiritual charge. 8 An arrange- 
ment was made apparently to the advantage 
of the abbot as well as the archdeacon. The 
church of Arlecdon had been a trouble to the 
abbey, inasmuch as the abbot had paid a fine 
of 40*. in 1255 for having an assize of last 
presentation against Richard son of John le 
Fleming. 10 The church of St. John lay near 
to Calder and to the parish church of St. 
Bridgid which already belonged to the monks. 
By judgment of the Archbishop of York, St. 
John's was appropriated to the abbey in 
consideration for the abbot's consent to the 
appropriation of Arlecdon to the archdeaconry 
of Richmond. It is stated by J. Denton u 
that John le Fleming had given the patronage 
of the rectory of Arlecdon to Jollan, abbot of 
Calder, in 1242. The abbot and convent 
proved their title to the church of Gilcrux in 
1357 before Bishop Welton of Carlisle. 1 * 

Little on record has been found about the 
history of the abbey church or precincts. J. 

Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v. 264. 

7 Dugdale, Man. v. 340-1, No. i. ; vi. 271, 
No. xv. 

9 Ibid. v. 341, Nos. ii. and iii. 

8 By all accounts the climate of Cumberland 
was considered a distressing experience by outsiders. 
In this year, 1262, a justice itinerant prayed to be 
excused going on circuit, ' in partes Cumber- 
landiae . . . turn propter loci distantiam, turn 
propter distemperantiam asris meae complexioni 
valde discordantem ' (Royal and Hist. Letters, [ed. 
Shirley], ii. 222). 

10 Fine R. 39 Hen. III. m. 10 (Excerfta E. 
Rot. Fin. [Rec. Com.], ii. 203). 

11 Cumberland, 27. Denton must have had in 
mind the plea between the parties in 1241 when 
the right of Calder was confirmed and the benefits 
of the prayers of the monastery were granted to 
John le Fleming (Feet of F. Cumberland, case 35, 
file 3, No. 263). 

12 Carl. Epis. Reg., Welton, 51. 

I 7 6 


Denton was of opinion that the abbey ' was 
not perfected till Thomas de Multon finished 
the works and established a greater convent 
of monks there.' In 1361 Bishop Welton 
issued a licence with indulgence to a monk of 
that house to collect alms in his diocese for 
the fabric of the monastery. 1 

It cannot be said that Calder was ever a 
rich house. In 1292 its temporalities were 
valued at 32 a year, 2 and in 1535 the gross 
revenues of the abbey amounted only to 
64 35. gd.y which, after deducting certain 
outgoings, was reduced to the clear annual 
income of 50 9*. 3<-/. 3 

The abbots of Calder do not often appear 
in the public life of the country. They occa- 
sionally come into notice when applying for 
royal protection to go beyond the sea on the 
business of their house or to attend the general 
chapters of the Cistercian Order. 4 In the 
fourteenth century they were sometimes em- 
ployed in the collection of ecclesiastical sub- 
sidies. 8 

The abbey was visited by the king's com- 
missioners 8 in 1535 and an unfavourable report 
was made in the Black Book. Five monks, 
Robert Maneste, William Car, John Gis- 
burne, Matthew Ponsonby, and Richard 
Preston were accused of uncleanness ; Wil- 
liam Thornton and Richard Preston of incon- 
tinency ; and John Gisburne and Richard 
Preston were said to desire freedom from their 
conventual vows. The only relic of super- 
stition found in the monastery was a girdle 
of the Blessed Virgin supposed to be effica- 
cious to women in child-bed. 7 

The monastery seems to have been sur- 
rendered to the commissioners and dissolved 
on 4 February 1536, Richard Ponsonby, the 
abbot, receiving a pension of 12 a year 
which was to date from the Feast of the 
Annunciation following. William Blithman 
was the actual agent in its overthrow. The 
rectories of St. Bridgid, St. John, St. Leonard, 
and Gilcrux were leased to William Leigh, 
but the house and site of the abbey and the 
adjoining lands were granted to Thomas 

Carl. Epis. Reg., Welton, f. 8 1. 

> Pope Nich, Tax. (Rec. Com.), 329^ 

3 Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v. 264. 

4 Pat. 1 6 Edw. I. m. 6 ; 20 Edw. I. m. 7. 

& Ibid. 14 Edw. III. pt. ii. m. 45 ; 15 Edw. 
III. pt. i. m. 32 ; Close, 6 Edw. III. m. l6d. 

Harl. MS. 604, f. 122. 

' The Compendium Compertorium or 'Cleane 
Booke of Compertes,' as arranged by John ap Rice, 
otherwise called the ' Black Book,' is well known. 
Fragments of it will be found in L. and P. Hen. 
Vlll. x. 364 ; Cott. MS. Cleop., E, iv. 147 ; 
Lansd. MS. 988, f. I. 

Leigh, LL.D., the notorious commissioner for 
the northern suppression. To Dr. Leigh 
were also given a right of common on Coup- 
land Fells and the fishery called Monkegarth 
on the sea sands near Ravenglass. 8 The clear 
annual value of the doctor's grant was 
ji3 IOJ. 4^., and the rent of 2Js. id. due to 
the Crown continued to be paid by the owners 
of Calder Abbey till its late owner redeemed it. 


Gerold, 1134, afterwards abbot of By- 
land, Yorks 

Hardred (Hardreus), circa 1143' 

Adam, towards the close of the twelfth 
century 10 

David, circa 1200 n 

John, circa 1211 12 

G., circa 1218 13 

Ralf 14 

Jollan, 1241-6" 

John, 1246" 

Nicholas, circa 1250" 

Walter, circa I256 18 

William, circa 1262 19 

Warin, circa 1286 20 

L. and P. Hen. Vlll. vol. xii. (i.), 1025 ; vol. 
xiii. (i.), 577, 588. The grant to Dr. Leigh has 
been enrolled on Pat. 30 Hen. VIII. pt. vi. m. 20, 
of which an abstract has been made in the L. 
and P. Hen. Vlll. vol. xiii. (i.), 1519 (71). 

Duchy of Lane. Chart. Box B, No. 262. 

10 He was contemporary with Prior Robert of 
St. Bees and witnessed Richard de Lucy's charter 
of incorporation to the borough of Egremont 
(Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Arch. Sac. i. 282-4). 

11 Duchy of Lane. Chart. Box B, No. 80, printed 
in Farrer's Lane. Pipe R. and Early Chart. 362. 
He was a witness to this charter. 

12 An unnamed abbot of Calder received bene- 
diction from Ralf, Bishop of Down, in 1 2 1 1 
(Chron. of Me/rose, in anno ; Chrtm. de Lanercost, 
2), and about the same time John, abbot of Calder, 
witnessed several charters (Duchy of Lane. Chart. 
Box B, Nos. 164, 260 ; Reg. of Fountains abbey 
[Cott. MS. Tib. C, xii.], ff. 104-11). 

13 With Augustin, prior of Conishead, he wit- 
nessed a deed in the Reg. of St. Bees (Harl. MS. 
434). vij. 5. 

14 Dugdale, Mm. v. 340. Professed obedience 
to Archbishop Walter Gray (1216-55). 

16 Between these dates he was engaged in suits 
at la w with John le Fleming, Al exander de Ponsonby, 
and John, prior of Conishead, about the property 
of the abbey (Feet of F. Cumberland, case 35, 
file 3, Nos. 263, 34, 54b). 

18 J. Denton, Cumberland, 23. 

17 Duchy of Lane. Chart. Box B, No. 187. 

18 Reg. of St. Bees, MS. xii. i ; Denton, Cum- 
berland, 23. 

19 Dugdale, Man. v. 341. 

Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Arch. Sac. ix. 232. 





Richard, I322, 2 1334 3 

Nicholas de Bretteby (Birkby), 1367* 

Richard, circa 1432 6 

Robert de Wilughby 8 

John, 1462 r 

John Whalley, 1464 

John Bethom, 1501 

Lawrence Marre, 150313 

John Parke, 1516 

John Clapeham, 1521 

Richard Ponsonby, 1525-36 
Only one impression of the seal of this 
house is known. 8 It is a pointed oval,showing 
an abbot in vestments. The legend is much 
mutilated : + . . . TIS DE CALDRA. 



The Benedictine priory of St. Bees occu- 
pies a favourable position on the western coast 
at the opening of a valley sheltered by a great 
berg or hill, which projects into the sea like a 
vast irregular bastion, and is known as St. 
Bees Head. It is said that the valley which 
connects the promontory with the mainland 
was once traversed by the tide. But there is 
no warrant for assuming that any appreciable 
change has taken place in the physical con- 
figuration of the neighbourhood within the 
historic period. As the site of the priory 
marks the level of the valley beneath the 
south-eastern spur of the headland, the sea 
must have receded long before its foundation. 

The priory took its name from a previous 
religious establishment, of which nothing 
seems to have survived till the twelfth century 
except the tradition of its former existence. 
From the legendary life of Bees or Bega, 
written in all probability by a monk of the 
priory at a late date, 10 we learn that she was 

1 Dugdale, Man. v. 340. 3 Ibid. 

3 Close, 7 Edw. III. pt. ii. m. 4d. 

4 Dugdale, Man. v. 340 ; Dur. Obit. R. (Surtees 
Soc.), p. 58. 

6 Testamenta Eboracensia (Surtees Soc.), iii. 327. 
Quotation from Register of the Archdeacon of 
Richmond in Harl. MS. 6978, f. 25b. 

' A monumental inscription still preserved 
among the ruins of the abbey, records the name 
of this abbot whose place in the list is not known, 
but entered here as being its probable position. 
The inscription may be thus read : me IACET 


7 For this and the subsequent abbots see Dug- 
dale, Mm. v. 340 : Torre MS. (York) f. 1408, 
compiled from the archiepiscopal registers. 

8 Anct. D., L 478. 

9 The source from which the materials for this 
account of St. Bees has been taken, is, unless when 
otherwise stated, the chartulary of the priory, 
Harleian MS. 434. 

10 The story of the life and miracles of St. Bega 
is written on a small folio of vellum among the 
Cotton MSS. Faustina B. iv. ff. 12231. It was 
printed at Carlisle in 1842 by Samuel Jefferson, 

the daughter of an Irish king, who reigned as 
a Christian monarch in the seventh century. 
For good reasons she fled from her father's 
court, and taking ship, landed after a pros- 
perous voyage ' in a certain province of 
England called Coupland.' Bega found the 
place covered with a thick forest, and admirably 
adapted for a solitary life. Wishing to dedi- 
cate her life to God, she built for herself a 
virgin cell in a grove near the seashore, where 
she remained for many years in strict seclusion 
and devout contemplation. In the course of 
time the district began to be frequented by 
pirates. The good saint however dreaded not 
death, nor mutilation, nor the loss of temporal 
goods, of which she was destitute except her 
bracelet (armilla\ but she feared the loss of her 
virginity, the most precious treasure with 
which heaven can endow her sex. By divine 
command Bega hastened her departure from 
the place, but she was induced to leave her 
bracelet behind her, that miracles in ages to 
come might be performed in that neighbour- 
hood in testimony of her holy life. 

At this time Oswald was the king of 
Northumbria, and the holy Aidan was the 
chief bishop of Lindisfarne. To the bishop, 
Bega directed her steps and disclosed the secret 
of her heart. The man of God, struck by 
her story, admitted her to sacred vows, putting 
upon her head a veil for a royal diadem and 
a black garment for a purple robe, for before 
that date, as Bede testified, the kingdom of 
Northumbria was without nuns. By the 

with a translation, introduction and notes by G. 
C. Tomlinson. The author's name is unknown. 
All historical notice of the saint appears to have 
been lost from the time of her death, except the 
incidental allusion to her connection with St. 
Hilda by the venerable Bede (Historia Eccles. iv. 
23), but the writer of her life determined to collect 
all that had survived by tradition. Sir Thomas 
Hardy ascribed the compilation to the end 
of the twelfth century (Descriptive Catalogue of 
Materials, Rolls Ser. i. 224-5). From the internal 
evidence in the account of the saint's miracles 
the writer is inclined to put the date at a much 
later period. 

I 7 8 


influence of St. Aidan she prevailed on King 
Oswald to grant her a place fit for religious 
uses, by name ' Hereteseia,' which by inter- 
pretation is called Hartlepool. Here she built 
a beautiful monastery to which many maidens 
flocked for the service of religion. Thus the 
pious Bega was the first to establish a nunnery 
in Northumbria. 

Several centuries have elapsed since the 
historian gathered up the traditions of the 
priory, and wove them into a connected 
story. We have little to say about the life or 
miracles of the saint except as they bear on 
the district with which her name is connected. 
Leland mentions that ' Bega at first built a 
humble little monastery in Coupland not far 
from Carlisle in the extreme limits of England 
where there are now so many monks of St. 
Mary's, York, commonly called Sainct 
Beges,' 1 but the venerable Bede is silent on 
the saint's residence in Cumberland. The 
legendary life gives no support to the belief 
that a nunnery was continued at St. Bees 
after Bega had taken her departure. If such 
were the case, all trace of it must have been lost 
during those dark centuries in northern history 
which preceded the Norman Conquest. 

There can be little doubt that the influence 
of Bega was a power in the south-western 
portion of the county in the early years of the 
twelfth century. The district had borne her 
name, and a parish church was entitled in her 
honour before the Norman lord of that place 
determined to found a religious house within 
a few miles of his baronial seat at Egremont. 
The date of the foundation of the priory by 
William Meschin, the first Norman owner of 
Coupland, can only be approximately given. 
His first charter was, as one might say, 
only declaratory of his intention to proceed 
with the undertaking. It was also an invita- 
tion to his own knights and to the proprietors 
of neighbouring fiefs to aid him in the work. 
The new institution was to be founded as a 
cell or subordinate house of the great abbey of 
St. Mary near the walls of York, to which 
his family apparently owed some obligation. 
In the first instance he made it known that he 
had given to God, St. Mary and the holy 
virgin Bega, six carucates of land in Kirkby 
(Cherchebi), as well as the manor which 
William the Bowman (hailstorms) had in 
addition, and moreover that he would confirm 
similar gifts for the same purpose by any of 
his knights from their own lands. Most of 
those who witnessed this deed, Wal- 
deve, Reiner, Godard, Ketel, William the 
chaplain, Coremac and Gillebecoc, were 

Collectanea (ed. Hearne, 1774), v. 39. 

afterwards the foremost in forwarding the 
scheme. When the project had taken prac- 
tical form, Thurstin, Archbishop of York, in 
whose diocese the barony of Coupland was 
included, was called in to advise on the 
character of the institution about to be esta- 
blished. It is evident that the great arch- 
bishop was the moving spirit of the whole 
scheme. The large landowners of the neigh- 
bourhood associated themselves with the 
founder, and contributed their share to its 
first endowment. Waldeve, lord of Allerdale 
below Derwent, who had received his barony 
from Henry I., granted the manor of Stain- 
burn ; Ketel gave Preston ; Reiner, two 
oxgangs of land in Rottington with the native 
who dwelt there. As a supplement to his 
former gift, William Meschin added the church 
of Kirkby and its parish, the bounds of which 
were defined by trustworthy men as from 
Whitehaven to the river Keekle (Chechel), 
and as the Keekle falls into the Egre, and as 
the Egre flows to the sea. He also gave the 
chapel of Egremont within the said bounds 
and the tithes of his domain and of all his 
men, as well as the tithes of his fisheries and 
the skins of his venison. One of the most 
interesting grants in the early endowment of the 
priory was that of Godard, lord of Millom, who 
gave the churches of Whicham (Witingam) 
and Bootje (Bothle), with two manses (man- 
mr<s\ and their whole parishes and tithes. 
The gift was made by the advice and assent 
of William the founder, his liege lord, in the 
presence of Archbishop Thurstin on the day 
of the dedication of the church of St. Bees for 
the special purpose of finding lights for divine 
service. These churches and estates were 
demised to the Benedictine abbey of St. Mary, 
York, with the view of founding a monastic 
establishment in the church of St. Bees con- 
sisting of a prior and six monks of their 
obedience. The pious work was done for the 
health of King Henry and Archbishop 
Thurstin, for the souls of Queen Maud and 
William the Atheling, and for the relief (pro 
remedio) of his ancestors and successors. From 
these deeds it may be inferred that the founda- 
tion of the priory could not have taken place 
before 1120.* 

William Meschin the founder paid a grace- 
ful tribute to the co-operation of his wife 

2 The good Queen Maud died in 1 1 1 8 and 
was buried at Westminster (Hoveden, Cbron. [Rolls 
Ser.] i. 172). Thurstin was not consecrated Arch- 
bishop of York till 19 October, 1119 (Symeon of 
Durham, Opera et Coll. [Surtees Soc.], p. no). 
William the son of Henry I. was lost at sea in 
the wreck of the White Ship in 1 1 20. 



Cecily and his son Ranulf in his efforts to 
establish the institution. His children and 
descendants in after years were foremost among 
its benefactors. To the memory of his father 
and by the advice of Fulk, his uncle, Ranulf 
gave the monks the manor of Ennerdale 
(Avenderdale), and endowed them with many 
liberties in his woods and forests. Alice de 
Romilly, when she became owner of the 
barony on the death of Ranulf her brother, 
was a munificent patron of her father's founda- 
tion. There can be no truth in the story 
that Ranulf Meschin was jealous of the 
possessions of the priory, and sought to 
diminish the boundaries of their franchise. It 
is said that men, envious of the monastic life, 
had instilled into that nobleman's ear that the 
monks had encroached upon his lands. In the 
suits at law which ensued the cause was 
defended, and ample evidences were produced 
on behalf of the priory, but no agreement 
could be arrived at. On the day appointed 
for measuring the landmarks and setting the 
bounds, the dispute was settled by divine inter- 
vention, for the whole of the surface of the 
adjacent country was covered with a deep 
snow, but within the bounds that the monks 
had attached to the church of St. Bees not 
the vestige of a single flake appeared. 

It would be tedious to enumerate the gifts 
of lands, churches and rents made to the 
monks at various periods. Numerous deeds 
of endowment have been preserved in the fine 
chartulary of the priory. Landowners, great 
and small, distinguished and obscure, had 
contributed a share to its possessions. But 
there is one noticeable feature of the endow- 
ments worthy of special mention. It is very 
remarkable how the traditions of a family 
were carried on in connection with a single 
religious house. It is not only true that 
the descendants of William Meschin in the 
barony of Coupland were generous to his 
foundation, but the descendants of Waldeve, 
Ketel, Godard and Reiner, who were associ- 
ated with him in its first establishment, were 
liberal in their benefactions. In fact it might 
be said that the priory owed whatever measure 
of prosperity it possessed to the munificence 
of these families, the Romillys, Albemarles, 
Lucys, Multons, Curwens, Milloms, Hudle- 
stons, Rotingtons and others. 

Though most of the property of the priory 
was confined to that portion of the county 
bordering on St. Bees, where the magnates in 
question lived, the monks kept up a frequent 
communication with the Isle of Man, where 
they enjoyed some manors. It is said that the 
prior of St. Bees had a seat in the little parlia- 
ment of that kingdom. It is very probable. 

Guthred, King of the Isles, gave the priory the 
land called 'Eschedale' and ' Asmundertofts ' 
quit of all service, tarn de pecunia quam de aco- 
neux, in exchange for the church of St. Olave 
and the little vill of ' Evastad.' King Ragdnald 
bequeathed the land of Ormeshau ' which lay 
towards the sea at the port of ' Corna,' while 
King Olave granted licence to buy and sell in 
the island. The abbot and convent of 
Rushen were consenting parties to some of 
these charters. In later years, when Thomas 
Ranulf, earl of Moray, and Anthony Bee, 
Bishop of Durham, ruled the island, the grants 
of the former kings were recognized and con- 
firmed. The priory also owned some property 
in the south-west of Scotland, chiefly of the 
gift of the families of Curwen and Brus. 

In comparison with the other monastic 
houses in the county St. Bees was wealthy, 
ranking in the matter of revenues after Holm- 
cultram and Carlisle. In 1291 the cell was 
valued at 66 13$. 4^., and in 1535 the gross 
annual income was assessed for taxation at 
149 19*. 6d. or 143 i6s. 2d. after the 
deduction of reprises. 1 In 1545 a sum of 
280 2J. was returned to the Augmentation 
Office as the total issues of the late priory 
with arrearages. 2 

In 1178 the church of Neddrum, now 
called Island Magee in Strangford Lough, was 
remodelled into a monastic establishment by 
Sir John de Courcy, the conqueror of Ulster, 
and affiliated to St. Bees, as a cell of St. Mary 
of York. The island was a portion of the 
ancient possessions of the see of Down, but 
as Malachi, the bishop, was a prisoner in the 
hands of Sir John, his consent to the alienation 
was easily obtained. In the bishop's confir- 
mation of the grant it is stated that, when he 
gave and confirmed to the monks of St. Bees 
the church and two-thirds of all the lands and 
benefices belonging to it, he was acting of his 
own free will out of devotion to God, and not 
under any compulsion. Courcy's gift was 
also confirmed by Thomas and Eugene, arch- 
bishops of Armagh. The monks of St. Bees 
do not seem to have taken kindly to their Irish 
relation, for no memorandum of the transaction 
was made in the register of their house. The 
only connection that we have noticed between 
the two institutions is that one of the early 
priors of St. Bees was transferred to the priory of 
Neddrum. Its conventual existence seems to 
have been of short duration, for at the date of 
the taxation of Pope Nicholas it is mentioned 
simply as the church of Neddrum, and was 

1 Pope Nick. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 308 ; Valor 
Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v. 1 1 . 
3 Dugdale, Man. iii. 580. 



valued at the small sum of seven marks. 1 
The chief relic to which the monks of 
St. Bees paid veneration was the bracelet 
above mentioned, which St. Bega left behind 
her on her flight from Cumberland. In the 
legendary life of the saint several stories are 
told of the power of this talisman. It had 
been the means of convincing Walter Espec, 
the great Yorkshire baron, that he was claim- 
ing wrongfully some possessions of the abbey 
of St. Mary, York ; and it brought destruc- 
tion on Adam, son of Ailsi, who had forsworn 
himself in favour of the lord of Coupland on 
the subject of the Noutgeld to the detri- 
ment of the people of that district. On one 
occasion, when the holy bracelet was exhi- 
bited in public on account of its great sanc- 
tity, a certain perverse creature sacrilegiously 
stole the precious cloth in which it had been 
wrapped and hid it in his boot. By the ven- 
geance of St. Bega the leg of the thief became 
paralysed, and thus was his sin discovered. 
Having been carried to the priory church, he 
confessed his guilt, and his leg was restored to 
its original soundness by the goodness of the 
most merciful Virgin, who is wont to pity 
those who are truly penitent. There can be 
no doubt that the bracelet of St. Bega was a 
powerful institution in Coupland. The monks 
used it to give special sanction to their agree- 
ments. Obligations were rendered pre-emin- 
ently binding and sacred when they were 
made on the bracelet. For instance, John 
de Hale, for the greater security of faithfully 
observing his obligation, bound himself and 
his heirs on his corporal oath by touching the 
holy relics et super armillam sancte Bege. The 
touching of the relics was the usual mode of 
taking an oath, but in matters of high im- 
portance the bargain was made upon the 
bracelet as the means of giving it the greatest 

The priory appears to have had little deal- 
ings with the ecclesiastical world in its papal 
or diocesan aspect. There are few papal 
documents in the register. Far removed 
from the centre of the great diocese of York, 
it pursued the even tenor of its way in soli- 
tude. It is true there are some deeds of the 
mother house of St. Mary and some com- 
missions from the archbishop with the men- 
tion here and there of an archdeacon of Rich- 
mond, but they are comparatively few in 

1 Nine deeds connected with this transaction 
have been printed in a summary by Dugdale 
(Dugdale, Man. iii. 575-6) from the Cotton MS., 
but they have been given more at length by 
Reeves (Eccl. Antiq. of Down, 187-97). The Cotton 
Roll is much mutilated, but Dr. Reeves has 
deciphered the material parts of the charters. 

number. Unlike the religious houses or the 
county within the bounds of the see of 
Carlisle, episcopal authority was seldom in- 
voked for the purpose of discipline or for the 
confirmation of the acts of the convent. At 
some date between 1154 and 1181 Arch- 
bishop Roger of Pont 1'Eveque confirmed to 
the priory all their churches, chapels and 
tithes in Coupland, with the lands belonging 
to them, viz. the churches of Workington, 
Gosforth, Corney, Bootle, Whitbeck and 
Whicham ; the chapels of Harrington, Clif- 
ton, Loweswater, and the chapel and tithes 
of Weddicar. He also freed the church of 
St. Bees for ever from attendance on synods, 
and from all aids to archbishop or archdeacon, 
at the same time granting the priory dis- 
ciplinary powers to deal with the clergy of 
their appropriate churches. Except for the 
short period during the reign of Stephen, 
when David, King of Scots, exercised 
sovereignty over Cumberland as far south as 
the river Duddon, the kings claimed no royal 
prerogative in confirming the charters of this 

The priors of St. Bees did not take a pro- 
minent part in the public affairs of church or 
state. Some of them, like Alan de Nesse, 
Roger Kirkeby and Edmund Thornton, rose 
to high dignity on becoming abbots of York ; 
but few of the others were known outside 
their immediate surroundings. In 1219 Pope 
Honorius III. appointed the priors of St. Bees, 
Lancaster and Cartmel to determine a dis- 
pute between the abbot of Furness and the 
vicars of Dalton and Urswick about the right 
of burial in the chapelry of Hawkshead ; they 
delivered judgment in favour of the monas- 
tery, and ordered the chapel yard to be con- 
secrated for sepulture. At a later date 
Gregory IX. delegated plenary authority to 
the priors of the same houses as a sort of 
ecclesiastical syndicate to dissolve sentences 
of excommunication and interdict against the 
Cistercian monasteries of the province of 
York. 3 It will be seen from the list of 
priors that we have been able to collect how 
few of them had attained to anything like 
distinction in the general history of the 
county. Perhaps the geographical isolation 
of the district had a depressing effect on the 
chances to promotion of its leading eccle- 
siastical magnates. 

John Matthew, who was prior while the 
clouds were beginning to gather around the 
monastic houses, was not a favourite with 
his superior, William, abbot of York. In a 
letter ascribed to the year 1533, the abbot 


Beck, Ann. Furnes'unses, 43, 181, 185. 


told Cromwell that ' this man, in whos favor 
ye writ to me of, hayth beyn prior at Lincoln 
and at seynt Martin's, parcell of our monas- 
terie, who alwey hayth beyn of such ordre, 
condicions and liberalte that he thereby 
brought our house to great dettes and other 
cherges and vexacions.' On representations 
from Cromwell, Matthew was transferred to 
the priory of St. Martin near Richmond. 
Sir George Lawson, in support of the abbot's 
action, told the secretary that the prior was 
' a verey yll husband as hath bene well 
proved at Lincoln, Saynt Martyn's and Seynt 
Bees where he hathe bene prior. And now 
of late gret complayntes cumyng of extorcion 
and other gret urgent wronges done at Saynt 
Bees to the tenauntes and inhabitantes ther. 
Wherapon on Saynt Calixt daye last, at the 
generall chapiter yerely holden at Saynt Mary 
abbey, as the usuall custume is, when all the 
priors of the celles and other hede officers of 
the said Monasterie dothe assemble to see and 
aview the state and accomptes of the same, 
knowing the demeanor and yll husbandrye 
of the said Dan John, exchanged and re- 
voked hym from Saynt Bees. And yete when 
he shuld have bene a conventuall, for your 
sake and favour of your former letter, named 
hym to be prior of Saynt Martynes, a propir 
Celle nye unto Richemond and a reasonable 
good liffing, whiche he cold never obtayne 
but in your favour. And now it is reported 
unto you that he shuld be otherwise entreated, 
whiche of a suretie is not so, but my lord 
abbott dothe and woll do at your complenta- 
cion all that reasonably is to be done. And 
yete his brethren and covent is sore sett 
against the said dan John Mathew for his 
mysdemeanour many wayes.' Sir George 
urged Cromwell ' to give no credens to any 
person that shall make suite or labour agaynst 
my said lord abbott, for it hath not bene sene 
that any perpetuite hath bene graunted undir 
covent scale to such like person ' as ' Dan 
John Mathew, late prior of Saynt Bees, with- 
out a special and urgent cause and a man 
proved of good demeanour and husbandrye 
for the well of his house.' Robert Cokett, 
a kinsman of the deposed prior, denied all the 
charges made against him, and appealed ' to 
ye gentyllmen and yomen in ye cowntre with 
all ye honest men yerin ' in proof of John 
Matthew's honesty and good behaviour. 1 At 

the dissolution of the religious houses John 
Matthew was a cloister monk of St. Mary's, 
York, and received a pension of 6 13*. $d. 2 
It is evident that Prior Matthew was per- 
manently deposed, for John Poule was in- 
cumbent of St. Bees in 1535 when the 
ecclesiastical survey was made. 3 

The clouds had burst over the religious 
houses and the end was drawing near. Priors 
were made or unmade as it suited the royal 
will. The last prior of St. Bees was Robert 
Paddy, who caused a memorandum to be 
entered on the flyleaf of the chartulary of his 
house that he had agreed with Christopher 
Lyster for all manner of labour, debts, pay- 
ments, wages and covenants from the begin- 
ning of the world till Michaelmas Day 1538, 
and that the said Christopher had undertaken 
to pay at the following Martinmas his yearly 
rent with all fines due to the said Prior 
Robert from his entry or coming to the priory. 
The prior of St. Bees was suspected of com- 
plicity with the ' Pilgrimage of Grace.' Wil- 
liam, Abbot of York, wrote to Cromwell early 
in 1537 that he had sent Dan Robert Paddy 
' to his room,' but was afraid of what might 
befall him on the journey. 'I sent him thither,' 
he said, ' and as it is surmised he should be 
lettyd by ye commons in these parts in his rid- 
ing thither un knowledge or writing of me.' * 

The king's agents in 1536 were unable to 
find cause of complaint against the prior, and 
though efforts were made to connect him with 
the northern rebellion, nothing seems to have 
come of it. The only evil report made by 
the commissioners was that two of the monks, 
John Clyffton and John Fullscroft, were 
accused of personal depravity. When the 
priory was surrendered Robert Paddy, the 
last prior, received an annual pension 6 of 
40, the warrant being dated 3 June, 1538. 
In his survey of the monastery at the time 
of the dissolution James Rokeby, auditor of 
the Court of Augmentations, thus described 8 
the priory precincts : ' The scite of the late 
house, with a towre koveryd w* lead called 
the Yatehouse, and other edificez with garth- 
ings lienge within the utter walls, contenyng 
one acre and di. (a half) and is worth by the 
yere over and above the reparacons, w' one 
dufe cote w*in the same scite, v 8 .' 

On 21 November, 1541, Thomas Leighe 
was granted a lease 7 for twenty-one years of 

1 These three letters from the L. and P. Hen. 
Vlll. vi. 746, 1359, vii. 295, have been printed 
as an appendix to a lecture given by the writer 
before the Carlisle Literary and Scientific Society 
in March, 1898, and will be found in the Society's 


2 Dugdale, Man. iii. 569. 

3 Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v. 1 1. 

* L. and P. Hen. Vlll. xii. (i.) 132, 133, 640. 
s Ibid. xiv. (i.) 60 1. 
6 Dugdale, Man. iii. 578-9. 
L. and P. Hen. Vlll. xvi. 728. 


' St. Bege monastery, with the rectory of 
Kyrkeby Beycoke and chapels of Lowse- 
water, Ennerdale, Eshedale and Wasedale.' 


Robert l 

Deodatus, 2 late twelfth century 
Richard 3 

Waleran, 4 circa 1197 
Robert, 5 1202 
John, 8 circa 1207 
Daniel, 7 circa 1210 
Ralf, circa I22O 
Guy, 8 circa 1235 
John de Lestingham, circa 1254 
William de Rothewel, circa 1256 
Nicholas de Langeton, 9 circa 1258-82 
Benedict, circa 12826 
Absalon, 10 circa 1287 
William de Dereby, circa 1288-94 
Hugh de Cumpton, circa 1301 
Alan de Nesse, 11 1313, transferred to 
St. Mary's, York 

1 Leland, Collectanea, i. 25. 

J He was prior when Abbot C[lement] of York 
conferred the chapel of Clifton on Waltheof son 
of Thomas, clerk of Dene. Among his co-wit- 
nesses was William, prior of Wetheral. 

3 He was the first witness to the grant of 
Beckermet by William de Esseby and Hectreda 
his wife to the abbey of Calder. The gift was 
made for the souls of William, Earl of Albemarle, 
and of his wife Cecily and of Ingelram, the earl's 
brother (Arch. JEllana [old ser.], ii. 388). 

4 He was afterwards prior of Neddrum in 
Strangford Lough, an affiliation of St. Bees, while 
Thomas O'Conor and Eugene MacGillivider filled 
the primacy of Ireland, that is, for the latter part 
of the period between 1185 and 1216 (Dugdale, 
Man. iii. 574 ; Reeves, Antiq. of Down, 192-3). 

5 He was prior when Richard de Lucy founded 
the borough of Egremont. The charter has been 
printed in facsimile in the Cumb. and Westmld. 
Arch. Sue. Trans, i. 281-5 (see ante, i. 329). He 
was also engaged in a plea with Richard, son of 
Peter, in 1202, about land in Whitehaven (Feet of 
F.,Cumb. 1195-1214 [Rec. Com.] 5). His name 
occurs often in the chartulary about this date. 

6 Walter of Coventry (Rolls Ser.), ii. 199, with 

7 Compare Itin. of K. John (Rec. Com.) with 

8 He was a contemporary with Ralf, prior of 
Carlisle, and William Rundel, prior of Wetheral 
(Reg. of Wetheral [Cumb. and Westmld. Arch. Soc.], 


8 Many of his acts have been registered in the 

chartulary of the priory at various dates between 
1258 and 1282. 
10 Anct. D., L. 282. 

William de Seynesbury, 13 1360 

Thomas de Brignol, circa 1370 

Thomas de Cotingham, 13 circa 1379 

Nicholas de Warthill, circa 1387 

Roger Kirkeby, 14 1434-6 

Dr. Stanlaw, 16 circa 1465 

John Warde, circa 1474 

Roger Armyn, circa 1485 

Edmund Smyth or Thornton, 18 circa 1496 

Edmund (Whalley ?), 17 circa 1516 

Robert Alanby, 18 circa 1523 

John Matthew, 1533 

John Poule, 1535 

Robert Paddy, 1536-8 

There is an indistinct cast of a seal 19 at the 
British Museum, showing what appears to be 
an ornamented cross, the legend of which is 

An impression of the seal of Prior Absalon, 
circa 1287, exists. 30 It is a pointed oval, and 
shows the Lamb of God. The legend is 

11 Dugdale, Man. iii. 538 ; Pat. 7 Edw. II. pt. i, 
mm. 20, 15. 

11 Cal. of Papal Petitions, i. 315-6, 357-8. 

13 The name of this prior is found often in 
leases of that date. His grave-cover is still in 
existence, though in a sadly mutilated condition. 
It is a fine example of an incised stone bearing the 
figure of a monk. Around the edge of the slab 
runs the legend : me JACET [BONE MEMO] RIE 




14 Jefferson, Leath Ward, p. 495 ; Dugdale, 
Man. iii. 539. 

15 Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. x. App. pt. iv. 227 
(Lord Muncaster's MSS.) 

18 In 1496 William Senhouse, Bishop of Carlisle, 
was called in to settle a dispute between the prior 
of the cell of St. Bees and Christopher Sandes 
about falcons on St. Bees Head (fro falconibus in 
lez berghe). The priory was vacant or the prior 
was absent in 1498, for in that year William son 
of Christopher Sandes entered into an agreement 
with Thomas Barwyke, custos of the cell of St. 
Bees, about the bounds of the land of Rottington. 

17 L. and P. Hen. VIII. iv. 2216 ; Dugdale, 
Man. iii. 539. As Edmund Whalley succeeded 
Edmund Thornton as abbot of St. Mary's,York,in 
1521, it is probable that both of them had been 
previously priors of St. Bees. 

18 He was late prior of Wetheral and St. Mary's, 
York. During his priorate, in 1523, there was a 
threatened invasion by the Duke of Albany, and 
there are interesting letters between the prior and 
Lord Dacre, Warden of the Marches, in Add. 
MS. 24,965, ff. 96, 99. 

19 B.M. Seals, 3953. 20 Anct. D.,L. 2 82. 

I8 3 


The priory of Wetheral, of the Benedic- 
tine order, was founded in the beautiful val- 
ley of the Eden a few miles above Carlisle 
by Ranulf Meschin, the first Norman lord 
of Cumberland, at a date not later than 
1 1 12 and perhaps in 1106. Ranulf conveyed 
the manor of ' Wetherhala ' and all the land 
belonging thereto, which no doubt included 
the churches of Wetheral and Warwick, to 
Stephen, abbot of St. Mary's, York, in per- 
petual alms, and when the priory was brought 
into being as a cell of that great Benedic- 
tine house, he supplemented his former gift 
by the concession of a salmon weir and a 
water mill in the Eden close to the site of 
the new institution. The munificent founder 
soon afterwards gave to the priory the two 
churches of St. Michael and St. Lawrence in 
his castellum or fortified town of Appleby, and 
two parts of the tithe of his domain on both 
sides of the Eden, and two parts of the tithe 
of Meaburn and Salkeld. From these charters * 
we are not able to gather the size of the 
institution Ranulf founded, but we afterwards 
learn that the priory was constituted with 
twelve monks 3 at the outset, though that 
number was not maintained at a subsequent 
date. In the formalities attending the founda- 
tion of this house some of the leading men of 
the district appear for the first time. In one 
or other of the four charters granted by the 
founder, such well-known persons as Waldeve 
son of Earl Gospatric, Forn son of Sigulf, 
Ketel son of Eldred, Odard, Hildred the 
knight, Wescubrict, and Godard, are men- 
tioned at this early period. We know little 
of other local magnates associated with the 
scheme, such as Richer, sheriff of Carlisle, to 
whom Ranulf addressed the foundation 
charter, (unless indeed he be identified with 

1 The authority for the statements in this article 
will be found in the Register of Wetberhal, edited 
for the Cumb. and Westmld. Arch. Soc. by J. E. 
Prescott, D.D., Archdeacon of Carlisle. Reference 
has been made to the deeds and charters according 
to their numbers in the printed book, and also to 
the illustrative documents when taken from original 
sources. The inferences or historical conclusions, 
drawn from the documents in notes and appendices, 
have not always been followed. It should be 
mentioned that the Repster of Wetberhal has been 
printed from late seventeenth century copies of the 
original, and in consequence there are some mani- 
fest corruptions in the text of the charters. A 
more authoritative text, ascribed to the fourteenth 
century, has recently been recovered and lodged 
in the custody of the dean and chapter of Carlisle. 

2 Reg. of Wetherhal, Nos. 1-4. 

3 Ibid., Illust. Doc. No. Hi. 

Richard the knight of subsequent fame,) Her- 
vey son of Morin and Eliphe de Penrith. Of 
his own relations William Meschin and 
Richard, his brothers, as well as his wife Lucy, 
took part in the foundation as witnesses to his 
charters. The priory was entitled in the 
name of St. Constantine, but the dedication 
was afterwards changed to the Holy Trinity 
and St. Constantine, perhaps an amalgamation 
of the original dedication with that of the 
parish church of Wetheral. 

The priory had many influential patrons, 
not only amongst the kings but among the 
great landowners of the district. Henry I. 
was of course the first royal patron 4 who con- 
firmed the acts of his subordinate and added 
to his foundation grants of all the pasture 
between the Eden and the highway called 
the ' Hee-strette ' running parallel to the 
river and leading from Carlisle to Appleby, 
and also the privilege of feeding swine in the 
king's forest, free of pannage. Other privileges 
were bestowed by succeeding kings with the 
exception of Stephen, who had yielded up the 
land of Carlisle to David, King of Scots, as a 
preliminary to his attainment of the Crown. 
The lords of Corby on the opposite side of the 
Eden were good and generous neighbours to 
the monks, though at times the fishing rights 
in the river were the occasion of disputes, 
but to the credit of both parties be it said 
that they soon made up their differences and 
settled their disputes. Some of the greatest 
families of the district as well as some of the 
humblest are numbered among the benefactors 
of the house. 

In its ecclesiastical aspect the priory of 
Wetheral differed very widely from that of St. 
Bees, though both were cells of the same 
abbey, arising no doubt from their geographical 
situation, the one being in the diocese of Car- 
lisle and in close proximity to the cathedral 
city, and the other being in the vast diocese 
of York far removed from the centre of 
diocesan life. The bishops of Carlisle exer- 
cised an immediate supervision over the affairs 
of Wetheral, but no evidence has been traced 
whereby it may be assumed that a similar 
oversight was extended to St. Bees either 
by the archbishops of York or by the arch- 

4 It is worthy of note that it was Henry I. and 
not any earlier king who survived in tradition as 
the royal associate of Ranulf Meschin, while he 
held Carlisle. Pope Lucius, writing in 1185 to 
Everard, abbot of Holmcultram, in confirmation 
of the possessions of that house, spoke of the 
island of Holmcultram ' Sicut fuit foresta (sive 
forestata) tempore Henrici Regis senioris et Ra- 
dulphi comitis Cestrie ' (Reg. of Holmcultram, 
M.S. fF. 1370-141^ Harl. MS. 3911). 



deacons of Richmond. At one time the 
bishops of Carlisle claimed the custody of the 
priory of Wetheral during a vacancy, as well 
as the right of institution and deprivation of 
the priors. These episcopal privileges were 
contested in 1256 while Robert de Chause 
was bishop of Carlisle. The dispute was 
settled in a manner agreeable to the litigants. 
The bishop consented to relinquish his right 
to the custody, and to institute the nominee of 
the abbey of York in consideration of the grant 
of ai marks which the monks were accustomed 
to receive out of the church of Nether Denton 
since the episcopate of Bishop Walter. 1 The 
bishops of Carlisle exercised their ordinary 
power of visitation when they thought fit, and 
never gave up the right of benediction and 
institution of the priors to the very last. 

The bishops also kept a firm hand on the 
churches and spiritual revenues in the diocese 
which belonged to the priory. Adelulf, the 
first bishop of the see, confirmed to the monks 
of St. Mary's, York, the churches they were 
known to possess in his diocese, viz. the cell 
of Wetheral with the parish of Warwick, all 
the tithes of Scotby, the churches of St. 
Michael and St. Lawrence in Appleby, the 
churches of Kirkby Stephen, Ormside, Mor- 
land, Clibburn, Bromfield, Croglin, and the 
hermitage of St. Andrew in the parish of 
Kirkland, with the only condition that the 
monks should make decent provision for the 
maintenance of a priest in each of these 
churches, and pay their episcopal dues which 
included of course synodals and archidiaconals.* 
As a rule the monks thought it desirable to 
obtain similar confirmation from successive 
bishops, thereby differing materially from the 
priory of St. Bees, in whose register very few 
of these confirmations from the archbishops 
have been recorded. It must not be assumed 
that all these churches continued in the 
patronage of the priory. As all the religious 
houses in Cumberland had been founded and 
for the most part endowed before the diocese 
of Carlisle enjoyed a regular succession of 
bishops, many of the churches in the county 
were in some way connected with these in- 
stitutions. In after years the bishops were 
not reluctant to obtain possession of some of 
these churches where it was possible. It was 
ever the policy of the see to gain a supremacy 
within its own jurisdiction. Nor were the 
heads of houses loth to conciliate the bishops 

1 Reg. of Wetherhal, No. 34. A record of this 
convention has been made in Bishop Sterne's Reg- 
ister (Carl. Epis. Reg., Sterne, ff. 251-2), 'Ex 
Registro Prioratus de Wederhal, fF. 20, 21. 

2 Reg. of Wetberkal, Nos. 15, 1 6. 

by an occasional indulgence of this kind, for 
in many ways the good offices of the bishops 
of Carlisle were of the greatest moment to 
the monks. 

In 1248 Bishop Silvester obtained from 
the abbey of York the right of patronage of 
the churches of Ormside, Musgrave and Clib- 
burn, and also of the churches of Burgh- 
under-Stanemore and St. Michael in Appleby, 3 
all of which remain to the present day in 
the hand of the Bishop of Carlisle, except 
the church of Clibburn, which passed into 
lay patronage in 1874.* The laity were not 
backward in protecting the interest of parish- 
ioners in case the appropriate churches of the 
monks were insufficiently served. In 1366 
Sir John de Warthewyk complained in forcible 
terms to the Archbishop of York that the 
priory had been dealing unjustly with the 
churches of Wetheral and Warwick in not 
supplying proper ministrations. 5 

Papal interference with the affairs of this 
priory was not always successful. In 1165, 
when the see of Carlisle was void. Alexander 
III. granted an indult to the abbey of St. 
Mary, York, which applied to Wetheral, 
permitting chaplains to serve in the churches 
where there were no vicars. 6 Gregory IX., 
relying on the confirmation of previous 
bishops, allowed the priory to enter on the 
appropriation of St. Michael's, Appleby, not- 
withstanding the opposition of Bishop Walter. 7 
But the papal court had not always its own 
way. In 1309 Clement V. provided a prior 
for the house in the person of Robert de 
Gisburne, though the convent of St. Mary's, 
York, the lawful patrons, had a prior of its 
own presentation already in possession. The 
Crown intervened and prohibited the induc- 
tion of the papal nominee until the letters of 
collation were examined in regard to any en- 
croachment on the royal prerogative. 8 It is 
known that at this time Bishop Halton was a 
prelate of pronounced anti-papal proclivities. 9 
By a natural process the controversy with 
Bishop Kirkby in 1338 about the advowsons 
of Wetheral and Warwick was referred to 
Rome, when the English ecclesiastical courts 

3 This deed was extracted in 1664 ' ex Registro 
Prioratus de Wederhal, fo. 21,' and put on record 
in Bishop Sterne's Register (Carl. Epis. Reg., 
Sterne, f. 253. See also ibid. Halton, f. 67). 

4 By an Order in Council dated 20 October 
1874, Bishop Harvey Goodwin exchanged the 
rectory of Clibburn with the Earl of Lonsdale for 
the churches of Embleton and Lorton. 

6 Carl. Epis. Reg., Appleby, f. 148. 

6 Reg. of Wetherbal, No. 33. 

7 Ibid. No. 25. 

s Pat. 3 Edw. II. m. 34. 

Rot. Par/. (Rec Com.), i. 178-9. 




failed to grant redress to one or other of the 
contending parties. 

One of the most interesting features in the 
history of Wetheral is the right of sanctuary 
or freedom from arrest which it afforded to 
criminals for offences committed outside its 
bounds. This privilege was conferred on the 
priory by Henry I. when he endowed it with 
all the customs and liberties enjoyed by the 
churches of St. Peter in York and St. John 
in Beverley. 1 It was also confirmed by later 
kings. The bounds of the sanctuary were 
not conterminous with those of the manor, 
but were marked by six crosses, viz. the cross 
on the bank of the Eden opposite Corby, the 
cross near St. Oswald's chapel, the cross by 
the lodge (juxta le loge) on the bank of the 
river, the cross by the hedge at Warwick on 
the boundary of the manor, called the 
Wetheral 'gryth crosse,' the cross between 
the vill of Scotby and the prior's grange there, 
and the cross on the bank of the burn at 
Cumwhinton. 2 It is a curious fact that no 
refuge was allowed to those whose offence 
was committed within the liberty. When 
the felon reached the desired asylum, he was 
obliged to toll a bell in the church and swear 
before the bailiff of the manor that he would 
henceforth behave himself as a law-abiding 

The right of sanctuary was a conspicuous 
privilege involving such far-reaching conse- 
quences to the community to which it apper- 
tained, that claims to the exercise of this 
liberty were regarded by the law with a 
jealous eye. It may be taken, we suppose, 
that the church which enjoyed this privilege 
was called upon at some time or another to 
prove its title. There are few places of sanc- 
tuary that have not figured in the law courts. 
The sanctuary of Wetheral was not singular 
in this respect. Three cases of considerable 
interest came before the justices itinerant at 
Alston in 1292, whereby the title of the 
priory to the liberty was established. Andrew, 
son of Thomas of Warwick, having slain a 
man by a blow on the head with a stick, fled 
to Wetheral and obtained ' the peace ' accord- 
ing to ancient custom. As it was not known 
by what warrant the priory exercised such a 
privilege, the abbot of St. Mary's, York, was 
summoned to prove the title. It was main- 
tained that from time immemorial the liberty 
of receiving felons within its jurisdiction 
(infra banlucam) was possessed by the priory 
of Wetheral, an oath having been first taken 
by such felons that they should conduct them- 

Reg. of Wetherbal, No. 5. 
s Ibid, lllust. Doc. No. xxx. 

selves well and not depart beyond the bounds. 
The verdict of the jurors was given in fav- 
our of the right of sanctuary. In two other 
cases of manslaughter at the same assize, the 
felons sought refuge at Wetheral, and the 
jurors found to the same effect. 3 From the 
fact that Edward III. offered pardon in 1342 
to all the ' grithmen ' or criminals who had 
obtained the ' grith ' or peace at Wetheral, 
Beverley, Ripon and Tynemouth, on the 
condition that they should go out and fight 
in Scotland, it may be inferred that the 
liberty of sanctuary was largely used in the 
northern counties at that date.* 

During the wars of Scottish independence 
the resources of the religious houses 6 on the 
Border were put to a severe strain by the 
entertainment of royalties and magnates on 
their way to Scotland. The English side was 
of course the basis of military operations. 
The depredations of the Scots or the expenses 
incurred by hospitality were the principal 
excuses alleged for the appropriation of 
churches to meet the increased outlay. 
Edward I. had stayed at the priories of Car- 
lisle and Lanercost and the abbey of Holm- 
cultram, as well as with the bishop of the 
diocese at Rose Castle. It is not surprising 
therefore that the Prince of Wales should 
have sojourned at Wetheral about the same 
period. He was there, presumably, as the 
guest of the monks, on 20 October, 1301, 
and again early in the year 1307, a few 
months before he came to the throne. It 
was on the latter occasion that Dungall Mac- 
dowill, a Galwegiari captain, brought to the 
prince's court at Wetheral Sir Thomas de 
Brus and Alexander his brother, brothers of 
Robert de Brus, King of Scots, and Reynold 
de Crauford, whom he had wounded and 
taken in battle, together with the heads of 
certain Irish and Cantire men decapitated by 
him and his army during the war. The 
Chronicle of Lanercost gives a grim account 
of the subsequent execution of the prisoners at 
Carlisle, the head of Thomas de Brus having 
been placed on the keep of the castle. 8 

Several of the priors of Wetheral were 
advanced to the distinction of being abbots 
of the mother church of St. Mary, York, 
and one of them was appointed to the great 

' Reg. of WetherM, lllust. Doc. No. xxix. 

* Ibid. No. xxviii. 

B At this time garrisons were sometimes kept in 
religious houses when their walls were strong 
enough for fortification. In 1300 Edward I. 
placed garrisons in divers abbeys of Scotland 
(Liber S>uot. Contrar. Garderobtf, 180). 

6 Reg. of Wetberbal, lllust. Doc. No. viii. 



priory of Durham. William Rundel rose to 
be abbot of York in 1239, John de Gilling 
in 1303, William de Brudford in 1382, 
Thomas Pigott in 1399, Thomas Bothe in 
1464, and William Thornton in 1530, the 
latter being the last abbot of St. Mary's. 1 
William de Tanfeld was ' provided ' to the 
priory of Durham by Clement V. in 1308, and 
the monks of Wetheral were not sorry at his 
promotion. It is said that he paid for the 
appointment 3,000 marks to the pope and 
1,000 marks to the cardinals, the enormous 
sum having been extorted from the priory of 
Wetheral to the impoverishment of the 
house. Robert de Graystanes, an official of 
Durham at the time and one of its historians, 
described the new prior as tall in stature, 
handsome in countenance, pleasing in man- 
ners, and liberal in spending money, but 
ignorant of the way to get it, inasmuch as 
he increased rather than diminished the debts 
of the house. 2 

In 1536 the royal commissioners made 
their report on this house, when, strange 
to say, they had only an accusation of personal 
depravity to make against two of the monks, 
Nicolas Barneston and Robert Goodon. At 
that time the priory was reputed to have 
possessed as relics a portion of the Holy Cross 
and some of the Blessed Virgin's milk. 3 It is 
probable that Ralf Hartley, the last prior, was 
put in by Cromwell's influence for the pur- 
pose of the dissolution. The deed of sur- 
render was executed on 20 October 1538, and 
authenticated, not with the official seal of the 
house, but with a seal bearing the prior's 
initials. The document has only two signa- 
tures : ' per me Radulphum Hartley priorem 
Monasterij sive prioratus de Wederhall: per me 
Johannem Clyfton monachum ibidem.' * The 
surrender was enrolled on 28 January following 
before Thomas Legh, one of the clerks of the 
Chancery. 8 By a warrant dated 20 Novem- 
ber 1539, a pension of ,20 was allotted to 
the late prior, and smaller sums to Thomas 
Hartley, John Wytfeld alias Batson, John 
Clyfton, and John Gale, brethren of the 
house. On 31 January 153940, Ralf Hart- 
ley's pension was revised and fixed at 12 
with the addition of his interest in the rectory 
of Wetheral and Warwick and the annexed 
chapels of St. Anthony and St. Severin. 8 In 

1 Dugdale, Man. iii. 538-9. 

2 Hist. Dunelm. Scriptures Tres. (Surtees Soc.), 
85-9; Anglla Sacra, i. 753. 

a L. and P. Hen. VIII. x. 364. 

* Ibid. xiii. (ii.) 657 ; Dep. Keeper's Rep. viii. 
App. ii. 48. 

* Close, 30 Hen. VIII. pt. ii. m. 62. 

6 L. and P. Hen. VIII. xiv. (i.) 599, 602, 609. 

1 5 5 5 only two of the pensioners of Wetheral 
were alive, viz. Ralf Hartley, who was still 
drawing his pension of 12, and one Edward 
Walks who was enjoying his annuity of 4O*. 7 

The demesne lands and churches of this 
house were granted to the dean and chapter 
of Carlisle by their charter of endowment, 
with the exception of the churches of Wetheral 
and Warwick, which were afterwards be- 
stowed by letters patent, dated 15 January 
1547, on the petition of that body. 8 

The work of dismantling the priory was 
soon commenced. Account was rendered by 
Sir Thomas Wharton and James Rokebie, the 
commissioners of surrender, on 31 December 
1538, of the sale of divers church utensils, 
tables of alabaster, brass candlesticks, various 
wooden images, choir stalls, vestments, censers, 
altar linen, and a lectern, not to mention the 
domestic furniture and farming stock, imple- 
ments and produce belonging to the monks, 
the more costly articles like chalices, vases and 
jewels having been delivered to William 
Grene, the king's receiver. 9 In 1555 Lance- 
lot Salkeld, dean of Carlisle, reported 'that 
one bell of the thre bells perteyning to the 
layte sell of Wetherell came to Carlysle, 
whiche bell was hanged uppon the walle called 
Springall Tower in Carlyle to call the work- 
men to worke at the making of the new 
cytydall in Carlyle and mending of the castell 
ther.' The other two bells, he said, re- 
mained in a house at Wetheral unbroken 
awaiting removal. 10 The priory buildings soon 
went to decay and were never repaired. 
Thomas Denton, writing in 1687, stated that 
only the gatehouse remained entire and in 
good repair in his time. Its survival may 
probably be accounted for by the fact that 
it then 'served the minister for a vicarage- 
house.' n As for the dormitories and cloisters, 
tarn seges ubi Troja fuit. 

7 Trans. Cumb. and WestmU. Arch. Sac. xiii. 
382. Edward Walles was the bailiff of Wetheral 
and had a vested interest in the priory (Valor Eccl. 
[Rec. Com.], v. 10). 

8 Reg. of Wetherhal, Illust. Doc. xl. xli. 
Ibid. No. xiii. 

10 Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Arch. Soc. ix. 264. 

11 Peramb. of Cumb. f. 96. The story imposed 
upon Hutchinson (Hist, of Cumb. i. 156) that ' what 
was left of this edifice by the zealots of Henry VIII.'s 
days was demolished, except the gateway or lodge, 
with a fine elliptic arch (which is now converted into 
a hayloft), by the dean and chapter of Carlisle, who 
built a prebendal house, etc., in Carlisle with the 
materials ' is evidently a fabrication. It is also 
false that 'when this was in agitation Mr. Howard, 
the late beautifier of Corby, offered a sufficient 
compensation if they would suffer the building to 
stand, but his proposition was rejected.' The state- 

I8 7 



Richard de Reme, early twelfth century 1 

Ralf, circa 1 130 

William, late twelfth century 2 

Thomas, circa 1203-1 4 3 

Suffred, circa 1218-23 4 

William Rundel, circa 1 225-39 5 

Thomas, circa 1241 

Richard de Rouen, circa 1251 

Henry de Tutbury (Tutesbiri), circa 

Thomas de Wymundham, circa 1270-90 

William de Tanfield, 1292," prior of 
Durham in 1308 

John de Gilling, resigned on becoming 
abbot of York in 1303 ' 

John de Thorp, appointed on 16 Novem- 
ber, 1 303 s 

Robert de Gisburn, circa 1309, 'excom- 
municated in I3J3 10 

Gilbert de Botill, instituted in 1313," 
prior of St. Mary, York, in 1313-9 

ment of Thomas Denton, who wrote more than a 
century before Hutchinson, is conclusive. The 
dean and chapter made an effort in 1703 'to 
build a good house for our curate ' at Wetheral, 
but the curate at that time had other ideas (Carl. 
Epis. Reg., Nicolson, f. 56). 

1 Leland, Collectanea, i. 25. Todd, evidently 
copying Leland, added that Richard presided over 
the priory in the time of William Rufus (Notitia 
Eccl. Cathed. Carl. 34). Both statements lack con- 

2 William was prior when Clement was abbot of 
York, and Deodatus was prior of St. Bees (Reg. of 
St. Bees, MS. ff. 54b, 55 ; Harl. MS. 434). 

3 He was a contemporary of Bernard, Bishop of 
Carlisle (Reg. of Holmcultram, MS. f. 14). 

4 Contemporary with Bishop Hugh of Carlisle 
(Reg. of Lanercost, MS. viii. 7, 8 ; Whltby Chart. 
[Surtees Soc.], i. 45). 

6 It must have been this prior who received 
twenty-four oaks in the forest of Carlisle ad fabric am 
ecclesie sue de Wetherhal of the gift of Henry III. 
in 1229 (Close, 14 Hen. III. m. 19). 

8 The sequence of priors about this date is very 
confused owing to papal interference and conflicting 
evidence. Compare Cal. of Papal Letters (Rolls 
Ser.), ii. 40, Palgrave, Parl. Writs, i. 1 86, and Rot. 
Parl. i. 191 with Carl. Epis. Reg., Halton, f. 76. 

7 Pat. 31 Edw. I. m. 17. 

8 Vacancy caused by his predecessor's election to 
York ' per creationem nostram in abbatem dicti 
monasterii ' (Carl. Epis. Reg., Halton, f. 73). 
Papal attempt to supersede him in 1 309, but re- 
sisted by the Crown (Pat. 2 Edw. II. pt. i. m. 
8, and 3 Edw. II. m. 34 ; Carl. Epis. Reg., 
Halton, ff. 125, 131). 

9 Called prior in a papal licence of that year 
(Cal. of Papal Letters, ii. 53, 94). 

10 Carl. Epis. Reg., Halton, ff. 168, 214. 

Adam de Dalton, I3I9, 12 1330," 1341 14 
William de Tanfield, 1341," 1366 16 
William de Brudford, admitted in 1373," 

abbot of York in 1382 18 
Robert Grace, circa 1379 19 
Richard de Appilton, circa I382 20 
Thomas Pigott, admitted in I386, 21 

abbot of York in 1399 
John de Stutton, 1399 22 
Thomas Stanley, 1434 23 
Robert Hertford, 1444, 1446" 
Thomas Bothe, 1456, abbot of York in 

i 4 6 4 25 
Robert Esyngwalde, 1490 

12 Ibid. f. 214. 

13 Reg. of St. Bees, MS. ff. 96, 96b. Two 
deeds of this date were given ' apud Wedirhale in 
presencia fratris Ad. de Dalton tune prioris eiusdem 

14 In this year he was in trouble with the 
chapter of York for which he was probably obliged 
to retire. The record of the dispute occupies three 
folio pages (Carl. Epis. Reg., Kirkby, ff. 4202). 

16 Ibid. f. 428, but see ibid. Welton, f. 6. 

16 Archbishop Thoresby described him in 1366 
as modernus prior, and Sir John Warwick had 
already spoken of him to the archbishop as a busy- 
body (satageus) in local matters (Carl. Epis. Reg., 
Appleby, f. 148). 

17 Ibid. f. 258. 

18 Pat. 6 Ric. II. pt. i. m. 27. In the royal 
assent to his election, he is described as a monk of 
St. Mary's and a doctor of theology. 

i Exch. Cler. Subs. dioc. of Carl. bdle. 60, 
No. I . Contributed to the malum subsldlum granted 
to Richard II. by the Parliament of his second 
year. The writ to Bishop Appleby, ordering 
the collection, is dated 8 July 1379 (Carl. Epis. 
Reg., Appleby, f. 314). Three monks of the 
house, Simon West, William Faxton and John 
Estone, also contributed. 

20 Carl. Epis. Reg., Appleby, f. 342. The 
record of admission is undated, but it appears 
among entries of that year. 

21 Engaged at York in 1392 as proctor of the 
abbey of St. Mary in a great dispute about liability 
to repair the chancel of Bromfield church (ibid. ff. 

362, 365-7)- 

22 One of the collectors of a tenth granted on 
1 2 May 1 399 to the king by the clergy of Carlisle, 
deputed for that purpose by letters patent of W., 
Bishop of Carlisle, as appears by a memorandum 
of 4 Henry IV. inter Recorda in the Michaelmas 
term. By a similar memorandum of the sixth year, 
we learn that John Soureby acted as proctor for the 
collectors (Exch. Cler. Subs. dioc. of Carl. bdle. 60, 
No. 2b). 

23 Fuller, Worthies of England, ed. J. Nichols, i. 

24 Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Arch. Soc. viii. 424. 

25 In the royal assent to his election, he is de- 
scribed as a monk of St. Mary's, York (Pat. 4 
Edw. IV. pt. i. m. ii). He resigned the abbey 
in 1485 (ibid. 2 Ric. III. pt. iii. m. 2). 



Robert Alanby, 1497, afterwards prior 
of St. Mary's, York, 1 and St. Bees 

William Thornton, made abbot of York 
in 1530" 

Richard Wederhall, 1535* 

Ralf Hartley, last prior, 1539 

The only known seal referring to this 
monastery is that attached to the deed of 
surrender, 8 which is Prior Ralf Hartley's sig- 
net. It is shield-shaped and bears his initials 
united by a knot looped and tasselled. 



The nunnery of Armathwaite was situated 
in a lovely glen near the junction of the river 
Croglin with the Eden in the southern angle 
of the parish of Ainstable, a few miles from 
the vill of Armathwaite on the other side of 
the river Eden in the forest of Inglewood. 
At an early period it was known as the nun- 
nery of Ainstable from the name of the parish. 
It was said to have been founded by William 
Rufus on 6 January 1089 for black nuns of 
the Order of St. Benedict in the honour of 
Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary, 
but no one at the present time credits the ex- 
traordinary charter upon which the allegation 
was made. Freeman stated that the charter 
was ' spurious on the face of it,' 4 and the 
editors of the Calendars of Patent Rolls have 
pronounced it ' a forgery.' 6 The genuine- 
ness of the document was accepted without 
question by the older writers, no doubt for 
the reason that it was confirmed in 1480 
by Letters Patent of Edward IV. It is 
very difficult to conceive how a document 
so full of anachronisms could have imposed 
on anybody. By this so-called charter 
William Rufus, King of the English and 
Duke of the Normans, was supposed to give 
the nuns the 2 acres of land upon which 
the house was built, and in addition the 3 
carucates of land and 10 acres of meadow 
lying next the nunnery, 216 acres in the 
forest of Inglewood on the north of a certain 
water called Tarnwadelyn, common of pas- 
ture throughout the same forest for themselves 
and their tenants, sufficient wood for their 

B.M. Add. MS. 24,965, f. 99. 

3 Dugdale, Man. iii. 539. Over the south chancel 
window of Wetheral church is the inscription : 
' Orate pro anima Willelmi Thornton abbatis.' 

3 Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v. 10. Over the 
chancel door of Wetheral church is the inscription : 
' Orate pro anima Richardi Wedderhall.' From 
these inscriptions it would appear that the chancel 
was rebuilt about the time of the surrender of the 

William Rufus, ii. 506. 

5 Cal. of Pat. 1476-85, p. 208. 

buildings by delivery of his foresters, an an- 
nual rent of 401. from the king's tenements 
in Carlisle to be paid by the keeper of the 
city at the feasts of Pentecost and St. Martin, 
and freedom from toll throughout the whole 
of England. Besides it was claimed in this 
charter that Rufus had granted to the nuns, 
within their house and their lands adjoining, 
all the liberties which he had conceded to the 
monastery of Westminster without molesta- 
tion of any of the king's sheriffs, escheators, 
bailiffs or lieges. All these privileges were to 
be had and enjoyed from the king and his 
heirs in pure alms of his free will and con- 
cession 'as hert may it thynk or ygh may it 
se.' 7 It cannot be said that the nuns were too 
modest in their desire for special privileges. 

Aug. Off. Deeds of Surrender and B.M. Seals 
4325. Hutchinson has given an illustration of 
Prior William de Tanfield's seal (Hut. of Cumb. i. 


7 The charter has been printed in full by Dug- 
dale (Man. iii. 271) from the Inspeximus in Pat. 20 
Edw. IV. pt. i. m. 4. The confirmation is dated 
at Westminster, 20 June, 1480, when the nuns 
paid half a mark in the hanaper. The adroit allu- 
sion by the nuns to the alleged charters of King 
Athelstan to St. John of Beverley ' Swa mikel 
fredom give I ye, Swa hert may think or eghe see ' 
(Man. ii. 129-30) and to St. Wilfrid of Ripon 
' I will at thai alkyn freedom have : and in al 
thinges be als free as hert may thynke or eygh may 
se' (Thorpe, Diflom. Angl. 182) need not be 
pointed out. The phrase in the Armathwaite 
charter must have been considered of great con- 
sequence at this period, for it is quoted in Letters 
Patent of Henry V. as the conspicuous privilege of 
Beverley and Ripon (Man. vi. 131 2). This allusion 
alone is enough to condemn the document as a 
forgery without the more visible evidence that 
Cumberland did not belong to the King of England 
in 1089, and that Rufus never used the title of 
' Duke of the Normans.' In the paper survey of 
the nunnery at the time of the dissolution it is 
stated that the ' yerely rent going out of the lands 
of o' Sov'ane lord the king in Karlell, to be paid 
by the hands of the keeper of the towne of Karl- 
isle, by the yere xlV was ' ex concessione Willelmi 
Regis Conquestoris ' (Man. iii. 273), a blunder 
worthy of comparison with the statements of the 
Rufus charter. 



On the strength of the forged charter a 
claim to the liberty of sanctuary was put for- 
ward, for we are probably justified in ascrib- 
ing to this date the erection of the square 
pillar about 3 yards high, inscribed with a 
cross and the words ' Sanctuarium 1088,' 
which was placed on rising ground above the 
nunnery, and by which the nuns bolstered up 
their claim to exercise the rights in this re- 
spect enjoyed by the abbey of Westminster. 
This sanctuary stone 1 has been the delight 
and puzzle of antiquaries for many genera- 

Very few authentic references to this house 
which may be said to possess the element of 
interest have been found. 2 The earliest no- 
tice of its existence that has been met with 
may be dated about 1200. It occurs in a 
charter of Roger de Beauchamp to the priory 
of St. Bees, wherein it is stated that the land 
he gave to that monastery was near the land 
of the nuns of ' Ainstapillith ' in ' Leseschalis' 
or Seascale on the western coast. 3 Like the 
rest of the religious houses the nuns of 
' Ermithwait ' suffered heavy losses during 
the Scottish wars. Edward II. compassion- 
ating the state of the poor nuns of ' Ermyn- 
thwait ' who had been totally ruined by the 
Scots, granted them pasture for their cattle in 

1 A drawing of the ' sanctuary stone or pillar at 
Nunnery,' as the place is now called, will be found 
in B.M. Add. MS. 9642, ff. 91, 170. A disserta- 
tion with a picture of the stone was written by 
Mr. S. Pegge in the Gentleman's Magazine of 1755, 
pp. 440, 451. The same author writing in 1785 
on the ' History of the Asylum or Sanctuary ' 
stated that the sanctuary stone built into the pillar 
must have been the Jridstoll. This however was 
very wonderful, as the stone, if it were ihefridito//, 
ought in all reason to have been within the nun- 
nery. It could not well be taken thence and in- 
cluded within the pillar since the Reformation, 
because, to judge from the form of the letters in 
the inscription, the pillar appeared to be as old as 
the foundation of the nunnery. The matter de- 
served to be further inquired into ; this however 
might be determined in the meantime that the 
privilege of sanctuary at this place extended to 
that pillar (Arch. viii. 28). The nuns made 
it clear in their charter that they wanted the 
liberty to extend to the lands adjacent to the 
house and not to the house alone. For this reason 
they were consistent in placing the 'sanctuary 
stone ' on the boundary. 

1 Fordun mentions as a report current in his 
time that David I. founded a monastery of nuns 
of St. Bartholomew near Carlisle, but no institu- 
tion of this name has been found (Scoticbronicon 
[ed. Goodall], i. 301). 

3 Similar references, though of somewhat later 
date, will be found in the Reg. of Wetherhal, 267, 
269, 272, 276. 

Inglewood Forest during pleasure. 4 In 1331 
they were excused the payment of jf 10 due 
to the Crown for victuals bought by them in 
the previous reign, for the reason that their 
lands and rents were greatly destroyed by the 
wars with Scotland. 6 

It is fortunate that we have at least one 
undoubted record which throws a good light 
on the internal constitution of the nunnery 
and its relation to the diocese of Carlisle. 
From this we learn that the nuns had the 
liberty of free election of a prioress, and that 
with the bishop, to whom she made obedience, 
rested the confirmation and institution of the 
person elected. There is little doubt that the 
bishop exercised a jurisdiction in the visitation 
of the house. 6 In their petition to Bishop 
Wei ton in 1362 the nuns stated, through 
Cecily Dryng the sub-prioress, that the con- 
vent, wishing to provide a prioress in the 
room of Dame Isabel deceased, assembled in 
the chapter house on the Thursday next after 
the Feast of St. Bartholomew for the purpose 
of consultation, and unanimously elected 
Dame Katherine de Lancaster, their fellow- 
nun, to the vacant post. A record of the 
election was sent to the bishop under the 
seal of the house, whereupon he confirmed 
it and committed to Dame Katherine the cure 
and administration in spiritualities and tem- 
poralities of the said priory, due profession of 
obedience having been first made. On 2 
September the bishop issued his mandate to 

4 Pat. ii Edw. II. pt. i. m. 25. 

5 Pat. 5 Edw. III. pt. ii. m. 5 ; Dugdale, Man. 
iii. 271. The petition of the ' poures Nonaynes, 
la Prioresse et le Covent de Ermythwait en Com- 
berland, que sount si nettement destruitz par 
les enemys descoce qeles nount unquore dount 
viure ' is still on record. The victuals had been 
purchased from Sir John Lowther and his com- 
panions in the late reign. They prayed the king 
for the soul of his father and of his ancestors, and 
in the name of charity to pardon the debt 'a. 
les dites dames' (Anc. Petitions, No. 2230). 
Bishop Nicolson refers to ' Ermithwaite ' as the 
ancient spelling of Armathwaite in his etymology 
of the place-name : ' In this neighbourhood there 
is also the site of a nunnery founded (or re- 
established) by William Rufus : one of the terri- 
tories whereof is still called Armethwait (antiently 
Ermit-thwait) and another Nunclose,' thus de- 
riving it from ' Eremit ' or ' hermitage,' the place 
of a recluse, a solitary recess (Letters [ed. J. 
Nichols], 404-6). 

6 The bishop's right of visitation is clear from 
the fact that the nunnery paid -js. 6d. triennially 
in lieu of procurations at his visitation (Vahr Eccl. 
[Rec. Com.], v. 292). In a later survey it is 
stated that a yearly pension of zs. 6d. was due to 
the bishop out of the church of ' Aneslaplith ' 
(Dugdale, Man. iii. 273). 



the Archdeacon of Carlisle to assign to the 
said prioress her stall in the choir and place 
in the chapter. 1 

When we come to the period when the 
foundation charter was forged we get some 
hint to account for its fabrication, and to ex- 
plain why it was that the nuns were able to 
impose on the authorities. From letters 
patent of Edward IV., dated 9 April 1473, 
we learn that it was represented to the king 
by the prioress and convent of the house 
or priory of ' Armythwayte,' situated near 
the marches of Scotland, which was of the 
foundation of his progenitors and of his 
patronage, that the houses, enclosures and 
other buildings of the said priory had been 
destroyed by the Scots, and that the house 
had been despoiled of its goods, relics, orna- 
ments, books and jewels, and the charters 
and other muniments burnt or carried off, 
and in these circumstances the king confirmed 
the nuns' estate in the priory and all its pos- 
sessions, and especially in an ancient close 
called 'the Noune close,' 2 that they might 
pray for his good estate and the good estate 
of Elizabeth his consort and of Edward his 
son, and for their souls after death. 3 Seven 
years after this date, that is on 20 June 1480, 
Isabel the prioress and nuns, bereft of char- 
ters and title-deeds, presented their compila- 
tion, which they ascribed to William Rufus, 
and had it inspected and confirmed as already 

From the fourteenth century wills on re- 
cord in the diocesan registers, we learn that 
this nunnery had some friends and received 
bequests as well as the other religious institu- 
tions in the county. In 1356 Dame Agnes, 
the consort of Sir Richard de Denton, be- 
queathed 10s. and in 1358 John de Salkeld 
40*. to the prioress and her sisters of 
' Hermythwayt.' Richard de Ulnesby, rec- 
tor of Ousby or Ulnesby, was good enough 
in 1362 to bequeath them a cow which he 
had in that parish, while a citizen of Carlisle, 
William de London, in 1376, and a country 
gentleman, Roger de Salkeld, in 1379, made 
them bequests of money.* 

i Carl. Epis. Reg., Welton, ff. 98-9. 

1 It is very odd that in 1348 Edward III. 
should have granted to Thomas le Eawer and 
Robert de Meurose for their good service a certain 
close near Ternwatheland called ' la Nouneclose ' 
within the king's forest of Inglewode (Rot. Orig. 
[Rec. Com.], ii. 193). From the name of the 
place it must have had some previous connection 
with the nunnery. 

3 Pat. 13 Edw. IV. pt. i. m. 13 ; Dugdale, 
Mm. iii. 2712. 

Dioc. Reg. of Carl. MS. ii. ff. 29, 49, 86, 292, 

In the valuation of 1291 the temporalities 
of the prioress of ' Ermithwayt ' were assessed 
at 10, but in 1318 they were not taxed as 
they were totally destroyed 5 by the Scots. 
The value of the priory in 1535* amounted 
to the sum of 19 2s. id., which included 
6 from the rectory of the church of ' Ayn- 
stablie,' of which the prioress was patron. 
The annual outgoings, amounting to I IOJ. 2d. y 
were composed of a pension of I2d. to the 
priory of Wetheral, 2s. 6d. for procurations 
to the bishop, and io6s. 8d. for the stipend 
of the chaplain of the nunnery. There is no 
evidence to show by whom or at what date 
the rectory of Ainstable was appropriated to 
the nunnery, and, strange to say, there is no 
record of any institution to the benefice in 
the medizval registers of the see of Carlisle. 
The real property of the house at the time of 
the dissolution was scattered in small parcels 
so far apart as Ainstable, Kirkoswald, Cum- 
whitton, Blencarn, Kirkland, Glassonby, 
Crofton and Carlisle. The most extensive 
estate they possessed in one place was ' the 
Nouneclose,' consisting of 216 acres, and 
split up into several tenements. The 40;. 
rent in Carlisle said to have been ' given 
by William the Conqueror' was worth 
nothing. 7 

The house seems to have been dis- 
solved soon after 31 July 1537, when the in- 
ventory of its possessions was made. It 
consisted of a prioress and three nuns, against 
none of whom did the commissioners bring an 
accusation in their notorious Black Book. 
Anne Derwentwater received a pension of 
53*. ifd. a. year, and was still in receipt 
thereof in 1555. 8 The priory and rec- 
tory of Ainstable were leased to Leonard 
Barowe of Armathwaite on 2O July 1538," 
but the manor was afterwards sold by 
Edward VI. 

In the neighbourhood of this house many re- 
miniscences of the nuns still survive to tell of 
their former occupation. The site of the priory 
has been called Nunnery from the dissolution 
to the present time, and the name of Nunclose 
in the forest of Inglewood near Armathwaite 
has not changed. When Mr. Samuel Jeffer- 
son wrote in 1840, part of the wall of the 

Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 32ob, 333b. 
<> Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v. 291-2. 

1 Dugdale, Man. iii. 2724. 

8 Q. R. Misc. Bks. xxxii. 71. The list of the 
pensioners in Cumberland and Westmorland, with 
the amount of their pensions, has been extracted 
by the present writer from this record and printed 
in the Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Arch. Sac. xiii. 


L. and P. Hen. 7111. xiv. (i.) 606. 



monastic buildings was standing on the west 
side of the dwelling house. 1 The field in 
which the sanctuary pillar was erected is still 
called ' Cross Close ' to the north-east of the 
site. At a short distance was the burial 
ground, a small square of land surrounded by 
lofty trees. At this place was found a monk's 
head with a cowl very rudely cut in stone. 
When the old nunnery was taken down, as it 
is said, in 1715, a small painting on copper 
of a Benedictine nun, with a rosary, cross, a 
book in her hand and a veil on her head, was 
found in a niche in the wall. In the north- 
west end of the present house a stone from 
the old buildings was inserted bearing the 
following couplet : 

Though veiled Benedictines are remov'd hence, 
Think of their poverty, chastity, faith, obedience. 

Near the site of the old house there is a 
spring still called the Chapel Well. Nicolson 
and Burn, 2 writing in 1777, printed a fac- 
simile of an old inscription on a bed-head at 
Nunnery, then called the nun's bed, which 
may be read, ' Mark the end and yow shal 
naver doow amis.' Hutchinson, 3 a few years 
later, could not trace the inscription or find 
anybody who had ever seen it. 


Isabel, 4 died 1362 

Katherine de Lancaster, 5 elected 1362 
Isabel, 6 occurs 1480 
Isabel Otteley, 7 died 1507 
Agnes or Annis Elvyngton, 8 died 1507 
Agnes or Anne Derwentwater, 9 occurs 
1535, 1537 


The nunnery of Seton occupied a pictur- 
esque position on the northern boundary of 
the parish of Bootle beneath the rising grounds 
of Corney. It was originally called the nun- 
nery of Lekeley from the name of the land in 
the vill of Seton on which it was built. No 
fewer than four religious houses owned land 
in this vill. The abbey of Holmcultram 
had the whole of Lekeley with the exception 

1 Leath Ward, 239-41. 

2 Hist. ofCumb. ii. 431. 

3 Hist, of Cumb. i. 192. 

Carl. Epis. Reg., Welton, ff. 98, 99. 

Cal. of Pat. 1476-85, p. 208. 
? Dugdale, Mm. iii. 272-4. She is perhaps the 
same person as the previous Isabel. 
" Ibid. 270. Ibid. 272. 

of the land granted to the nunnery, 10 and the 
priory of St. Bees had a grant of land in Seton 
from Henry son of Thomas, which Thomas 
was at one time parson of Bootle. 11 Before 
1 190 the abbey of Cockersand was in posses- 
sion of 6 acres in Seton in Coupland with a 
share of the pasture of the vill. 12 

The nunnery was founded at Lekeley by 
Henry son of Arthur son of Godard, lord of 
Millom, towards the close of the twelfth 
century. Though the foundation charter is 
not forthcoming, we have authentic evidence 
of the grant. When Henry son of Arthur, 
with the consent of Godit, his wife, gave 
Lekeley in free marriage to Henry son of 
William with his daughter Gunnild, he 
excepted the land there which he had already 
bestowed on the nuns (excepta terra in Lekeleya 
quam dedi sanctimonialibus servientibus Deo et 
sancte Marie in Lekeleya). 13 As Henry Kirkby 
was reputed to have been the founder at the 
time of the dissolution, 14 it must have been 
Henry son of Arthur, lord of that district, to 
whom reference was made. The nunnery 
was entitled in the name of the Blessed 
Virgin and its inmates observed the Bene- 
dictine rule. 15 

Religious associations of women did not 
flourish in Cumberland. The rough life and 
continual warfare of a border county did not 
tend to promote institutions more adapted to 
settled and peaceful districts. Though the 

10 Reg. of Holmcultram, MS. ff. 60-2. 

11 Reg. of St. Bees, MS. xiii. 8-9. 

2 Cockersand Chart. (Chetham Soc.), i. 4. 

13 Reg. of Holmcultram, MS. f. 60. Henry son 
of Arthur appears to have succeeded to the lordship 
of Millom in 1185 {Pipe R. 30 and 31 Hen. 
II.). The grant to the nuns was made before his 
daughter's marriage. As Dugdale printed an 
irrelevant charter under the title of this house 
from the Register of Holmcultram in the Harleian 
collection, the usual accounts of the priory of 
Seton are misleading. J. Denton, who had seen 
the copy of the register now in the custody of 
the Dean and Chapter of Carlisle, has not been 
misinformed (Cumberland, pp. 134)- It was 
Henry son of Arthur who gave a portion of 
Lekeley to the nuns. The rest of Lekeley, after- 
wards bestowed on his daughter Gunnild in 
marriage, was granted in her widowhood to the 
monks of Holmcultram and confirmed by other 
members of her family. 

14 L. and P. Hen. nil. x. 364. 

15 ' Monasterium Beate Marie de Ceton in Cop- 
landia, Ordinis sancti Benedicti Dioc. Ebor' 
(Durham Obit. R. [Surtees Soc.], 19, 54). Tanner 
was in error when he said that the nunnery was 
' dedicated to St. Leonard,' thus confusing the 
real dedication with that of the hospital of 
Lancaster which belonged to the nuns (Notitia 
Monastica, 77). 



nunnery of Lekeley was far removed from the 
Scottish frontier, in a secluded position on the 
south-western seaboard, it was always in a 
crippled state of finances. On 13 November, 
1227, Archbishop Walter Gray granted, with 
the assent of William, archdeacon of Rich- 
mond, the appropriation of the church of St. 
Michael of Irton to the prioress and con- 
vent of Lekeley in consideration of their 
poverty. 1 At a later date the condition 
of the institution was even more deplorable. 
On i April, 1357, Henry, Duke of Lancaster, 
in the sixth year of his palatinate, learning on 
undoubted authority that the priory of Seton 
was so poor (ita exilii) that there was not a 
sufficiency to support the prioress and nuns, 
granted the appropriation of the hospital of 
St. Leonard, Lancaster, which was at that 
time vacant and of his patronage, with all its 
lands and possessions, as a help to the 
sustentation of the house. The duke also 
gave to the prioress and nuns the advowson of 
the chantry of one chaplain in the hospital, and 
enjoined the burgesses of Lancaster to assent 
to the gift and to bestow the alms and duties 
on the said hospital which were incumbent on 
them from time immemorial. 2 The abbey of 
Holmcultram seems to have been considerate 
to the poor nuns of Seton. On 18 October, 
1459, Thomas York, abbot of that house, 
leased all the lands the abbey possessed between 
Esk and Duddon, called Lekeley, to Elizabeth 
Croft, prioress, for twelve years at an annual 
rent of twenty shillings. 3 

A fragment of what appears to have been 
the monumental slab of a prioress is built into 
the wall of a barn at High Hyton not far 
from the nunnery towards the sea. It has 
occupied this position from a time beyond 
memory. One end of the slab has been 
broken off and lost. The inscription cut on 
either side of a pastoral crook reads : + me 
IACET . . . DENTONA AN ... The fragment 
measures 34 inches in length and 22 inches in 
width. From the charges made in 1536 by 
Layton and Legh in their infamous ' book of 
compertes ' we learn that Joan Copland was 
the prioress at that date and that Susanna 
Rybton was an inmate of the house. In the 
previous year, when the ecclesiastical survey 

1 Reg. ofAbp. Walter Gray (Surtees Soc.), 18. 

* Dugdale printed this deed from an imperfect 
autograph in the Office of Arms (Mm. iv. 227). 
Sir Thomas Hardy has supplied the date and wit- 
nesses from the Rolls of the Chancery of the County 
Palatine of Lancaster, Class xxv. A. 3*7, No. 19 
(Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxii. App. i. 335). 

3 A copy of the original indenture has been 
printed by J. Hodgson in Arch. Mllana (old ser.), 

was made, Joan Seton is named as the 
prioress, but she was probably the same person 
under another surname. 

The total revenue of the nunnery in 1535 
was returned at 13 171. 4^., and after 
deducting reprises, ^12 I2J. 4 This sum was 
made up of the following items : value of the 
site of the priory, 305. ; rents and farms in 
' Whitebyke ' and tenements in ' Furdes ' and 
' Bolle,' 141. $d. ; rents in the vill of Lancaster, 
6 os. $d. ; spiritualities of the church of 
Irton, 5 I2J. 8^. By the valuation of 
James Rokebyon 24 June, 1536, the demesne 
lands in the occupation of the priory were 
worth .3 6s. 8d., and the gross issues of the 
rectory of Irton were 13 6s. 8d. The 
value of the demesne lands when granted to 
Hugh Ascue of the king's household in 1542 
was set down at 4 in. $d. In the follow- 
ing year the rectory of Irton was leased to the 
same person for twenty-one years. 5 

A tradition about the manner of granting 
Seton Priory, which survived till late in the 
seventeenth century, is of curious interest. 
Edmund Sandford, writing about the year 
1675, has left us this version of it. 'The 
religious house was gott,' he said, ' by one Sir 
Hugo Askew, yeoman of the seller unto 
Queen Catherin, in Henry the Eights time, 
and borne in this contry. And when that 
Queen was deforced from her husband, this 
yeoman was destitute, and he aplied himself 
for help to Lo(rd) Chamberlain for some place 
or other in the king's service. The Lord 
Steward knew him well because he had helpt 
him to a cup wine the best, but told him he 
had no place for him, but a charcole carrier. 
Well, quoth this Mons in Askew, help me with 
one foot and let me gett in the other as I can. 
And upon a great holiday, the king looking 
out at some sports, Askew got a cortier, a 
frinde of his, to stand before the king, and 
then he got on his vellet cassock and his 
gold chine and baskett of chercols on his 
back, and marched in the king's sight with it. 
O, saith the king, now I like yonder fellow 
well that disdains not to doe his dirty office in 
his dainty clothes what is he ? Says his 
frinde that stood by on purpose, It is Mr. 
Askew that was yeoman o'th celler to the late 
Queen's Ma tic and now glad of this poore place 
to keep him in y r Ma" IS service, which he 
will not forsake for all the world. The kinge 
says, I had the best wine when he was i'th 

4 Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v. 265 ; Man. iv. 

6 Pat. 33 Hen. VIII. pt. i. m. 41 ; L. and 
P. Hen. 7111., xiii. (i.), 585, xvii. 220 (56), xviii. 
(i.), 549. The priory seems to have been granted 
to Ascue on lease in the first instance. 





celler ; he is a gallant wine taster, let him 
have his place againe and afterwards knighted 
him.' l 

After Askew got his lease of the priory 
lands in 1537, he was not allowed to have 
peaceable possession, for an attempt was made, 
when the commonalty of the northern counties 
rose in rebellion, to oust him and restore the 
nuns to their old home. By a petition in 
1540 'to the Righte Worshipfull Sor 
Richarde Riche, Knighte, Chauncellor of the 
Kynge's Courte of Augmentacons in (of) the 
Revenues of his Crowne, moste humblye 
sheweth, and complaynethe unto your good 
maystershippe, your dailye oratour, Hughe 
Ascue, officer in the kynges graces sellar, that 
where your seide oratour hathe of the kinges 
grace's dymyse by indenture undre his grace's 
grete scale of his Courte of Augmentacons of 
the revenues of his Crowne, the house and 
scite of the late pryorye or house of nunes of 
Seyton in the countie of Cumberland w' all 
and singuler the appurtenances, by auctorytie 
of parlyamente suppresside and dissolvyde, into 
whiche saide house or pryorye by vertue of his 
seide lease yo r saide oratour dyd entre and was 
therof peassablye possesside and the same did 
furnyshe w' suche goodes and catalls as he 
then hadd. So y 1 is that one Thomas 
Skelton beynge accompanyde w' diveres other 
rebellyous and mysdemenyde persons at the 
tyme of the commocon in the Northe, 
ryoutouslye entryde into the seyde late 

pryorye then beinge in your oratour's hande, 
as ys aforesaide, and there put in the late 
pryores of the same late pryorye, whoe re- 
manede ther afterwarde by the space of a 
quarter of a yere and more w' here hole 
retinue at the onlye coste and charge of your 
oratour, and the goodes and catalls of your 
seid oratour dyd waste, dystroye, and carye 
awaye to the value of xxiii/. Wherfore it 
maye please your good maistershipe the 
premises tenderlye consideryde to graunte the 
kynges graces lettres of pryvye scale to be 
directide unto the saide Thomas Skelton, 
commaundynge him by the same, other to 
restore unto your said oratour his saide goodes 
and catalls so by him so dystraynede and 
caryede awaye, or agrewithe your seide oratour 
that he be and personallye appere before your 
maistershippe in the Kinges Courte of 
Augmentacons of the revenues of his crdwne 
at a certayne daye and undre a certeyne payne 
by your good maistershippe to be lymittede, 
then and ther to aunswere to the premisses and 
further to abyde suche ordre and dyrectyon in 
the premisses as shall seme to your good 
maistershippe to stonde w' equite and good 
consceyence, and your seide oratour shall 
daylye praye to God, etc.' 3 

Elizabeth Croft, 4 occurs 1459 
Joan Seaton, 6 occurs 1535 
Joan Copland, 6 occurs 1536 








The four orders of mendicant friars had 
obtained settlements in the diocese of Carlisle 
before the close of the thirteenth century. 
The same year witnessed the coming of the 
friars preachers, black friars or Dominicans, 
and the friars minors, minorites, grey friars, 
or Franciscans, to Carlisle while Walter was 
bishop of the diocese. In 1233, says the 
Chronicle of Lanercost," the order of friars 

1 A Cursory Relation of all the Antiquities and 
Familyes in Cumberland (Cumb. and Westmld. Arch. 
Soc. 1890), p. 6. 

* Chron. de Lanercost (Maitland Club), 42. 

minors came to the city of Carlisle about the 
Feast of the Assumption, 1 5 August, and re- 
ceived a house (mannoneni} within the walls of 
the city ; and the order of friars preachers 
about the feast of St. Michael, 29 September, 
without the walls. It is said that the friars 
of St. Mary of Mount Carmel, Carmelites, or 
white friars, were established in Appleby by 
the Lords Vesey, Percy and Clifford in 1281,' 
and it is known as a certainty that the friars 
eremites of the order of St. Augustine, Au- 
gustinians, or Austin friars, were carrying on 
their mission in Penrith before I3OO. 8 These 
religious communities occupied a prominent 
ecclesiastical position in the district, and 

3 Dugdale, Mon. iv. 2289. 

* Arch. ^S/iana (old ser.), ii. 399. 

Valor. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v. 265. 

o L. and P. Hen. nil., x. 364. 

7 Dugdale, Man. vi. 1581. 

8 Liber >uot. Contrar. Gardenbte (Soc. Anticj.), 
4. 43- 



though the black friars and grey friars exer- 
cised the greater influence, they were all 
usually associated in the minds of the people 
as the four orders of friars. 

The friars minors, having obtained a settle- 
ment on the south-east side of the city of 
Carlisle, were not long in starting to erect 
their chapel and buildings. In July 1235 
Thomas de Multon, keeper of the forest of 
Carlisle, was instructed to supply them with 
twenty oaks as the king's gift for the con- 
struction of their church, and in the following 
November the king made them another pre- 
sent of twenty pieces of timber (fuste) for the 
building of their houses. 1 

The friars preachers met with greater ob- 
stacles to a final settlement when they chose 
an habitation without the walls. There can 
be no doubt that the statement of the Chronicle 
of Lanercost is correct upon this point. Soon 
after their arrival, viz. on 12 March 1233-4, 
it was stated that the friars preachers of Car- 
lisle had petitioned the king for a place (placid) 
in the public highway (strata publica) which 
lay between their chapel on the one side and 
their land on the other, and as the king had 
learned by inquisition that it would be no in- 
jury to the city or loss of any one if he should 
grant their request, the sheriff of Cumberland 
was ordered to give them seisin of the said 
' place ' for the enlargement of their houses 
and buildings. 2 But in June 1237 they were 
obliged to remove the house they had erected 
in the public highway without the city (extra 
civitatem) on the ground that it was a nuis- 
ance. 3 At this time they must have gained a 
footing within the walls, for in 1237, both 
before and after the injunction to pull down 
the house outside, they obtained leave to per- 
forate the city wall, 4 or make an excavation 
beneath it for the purpose of carrying the 
water conduit of their chambers extra civi- 
tatem* Their church was not completed 

1 Close, 19 Hen. III. pt. i. m. 7 ; 20 Hen. 
III. m. 24. 

* Ibid. 1 8 Hen. III. m. 28. 

Ibid. 21 Hen. III. m. 9. 

4 Ibid. 22 Hen. III. m. 14 ; 22 Hen. III. m. 2. 

B Some rectification of the city boundaries or 
alteration of the walls must have taken place at 
this period to cause the displacement of the friars 
preachers. In 1232 the citizens had obtained 
from the Crown a licence to levy tolls on mer- 
chandize for two years to help them to inclose 
the city (ad villam suam daudendam) for its security 
and defence (Pat. 1 6 Hen. III. m. 4 ; Rymer, 
FceJera, i. 205). Their position within the city 
was not changed after 1237. In 1315, when 
Bruce besieged Carlisle, their buildings are men- 
tioned with those of the Austin canons as being 

for several years after this date, for in 1239 
and 1244 tne y na ^ gifts of timber in Ingle- 
wood Forest for the purpose of its construc- 
tion. 6 

After the establishment of the houses we 
have only occasional notices of their exist- 
ence for a long time, except as the recipients 
of alms from public sources or of gifts of land 
for the enlargement of their premises. In 
1278 the king, hearing that Bishop Robert 
de Chause before his death left a deposit in 
the custody of the friars minors within the 
city of Carlisle, ordered Thomas de Norman- 
ville, his steward, to repair thither in person, 
and take it to the king's use in satisfaction of 
the late bishop's debts to him. Two years 
afterwards King Edward gave to the same 
friars six oaks fit for timber out of his forest. 7 
The Augustinians of Penrith were active in 
enlarging their borders early in the fourteenth 
century. In 1318 John de Penrith granted 
them a piece of land for the extension of 
their habitation, 8 and in 1331 and 1333 John 
de Crumbewell made them gifts of tenements 
and land for a similar purpose. 9 In like 
manner it was found by inquisition taken at 
Carlisle on 4 February 1333-4 that Thomas 
le Spencer, chaplain, might alienate to the 
friars preachers there a piece of land 240 feet 
in length and 7 feet in breadth to form a road 
straight from the street to their dwelling- 
place. The land was held in chief by house- 
gavel, and was worth 40^. a year in all is- 
sues. 10 No licence for the transfer has been 
recorded on the patent rolls. 

The houses of friars in Carlisle had a share 
in all the vicissitudes which go to make up 
the chequered history of that city. From 
their situation close to the walls, the preachers 
on the west and the minorites on the south- 
east, their buildings occupied dangerous posi- 
tions in times of siege and assault. In the 
great fire of 1292, when the whole city in- 
cluding the abbey and the houses of the friars 
minors were reduced to ashes, the preachers 
alone, says the historian, were saved with the 

near the walls on the west side, as the friars minors 
were located on the east (Ckron. tie Lanercost, 231). 
Leland found 'withyn the walles ii howses offreres, 
blake and gray ' (Itinerary [ed. Hearne, 1711], 
vii. 48). 

6 Close, 24 Hen. III. m. 19 ; Liberate R. 28 
Hen. III. m. 5 ; Pipe R. (Cumb.), 29 Hen. III. 

7 Ibid. 6 Edw. I. m. 3 ; ibid. 8 Edw. I. m. 2. 

8 Inq. a.q.d. 12 Edw. II. No. 57; Pat. 12 
Edw. II. pt. i. m. 19. 

Inq. p.m. 5 Edw. III. pt. ii No. 109 ; 7 Edw. 
III. pt. ii. No. 36 ; Pat. 7 Edw. III. pt. ii. m. 
20 ; Dugdale, Man. vi. 1591. 
10 Inq. a.q.d. 7 Edw. III. No. 1 2. 



greatest difficulty. 1 Another chronicler, la- 
menting in verse over the unspeakable calamity, 
has told us that amid all the ruins of ' the re- 
nowned vill ' only the Jacobins, the French 
name for the friars preachers, survived the 
catastrophe. 2 During the panic occasioned 
by the fire two thieves escaped out of prison, 
one of whom took sanctuary in the cathedral 
church and the other in the church of the 
friars minors. In consequence the citizens 
were amerced in a fine of 16 to the Ex- 
chequer, but the king pardoned them on con- 
dition that they should recognize that they 
were bound to the safe custody of felons fly- 
ing for sanctuary to churches within their 
city. 3 

During the progresses of the king or mem- 
bers of the royal family through the country, 
the religious houses on the route, at which 
they called or stayed, were the recipients of 
royal bounties in consideration of the outlay 
made by the religious men on their behalf, or 
as gifts in alms to meet their immediate wants. 
When the kings were in the north on their 
various military expeditions against Scotland, 
the local houses were often called upon to 
provide accommodation for them in person or 
for members of the court. In 1 300 Edward I. 
stayed occasionally with the friars preachers 
and friars minors in Carlisle, and made com- 
plimentary gifts to them by way of acknow- 
ledgment of their hospitality. Sometimes he 
gave them alms for their food, or for the 
performance of some religious act like the 
celebration of mass for the soul of the Count 
of Holland or the Earl of Cornwall. Similar 
oblations were offered to the friars of St. 
Augustine of Penrith and the friars of Mount 
Carmel of Appleby, with the former of whom 
he stopped two days and with the latter one 
day on his journey south. The wardrobe 
accounts of the first three Edwards contain 
many items of gifts and offerings made to the 
four houses of friars in the diocese of Carlisle 
by these kings or by members of their house- 
holds on their journeys through the district. 1 
In other ways also the kings were benevolent 
in dealing with these institutions. In 1334 
the friars minors of Carlisle purchased victuals 
to the value of 8 from Robert de Barton, 
the king's receiver, for their maintenance, but 
the king ordered the debt to be discharged 

1 Chron. W. de Hemingburgh (Engl. Hist. Soc.), 
ii. 40. 

2 Chron. de Lanercost (Maitland Club), 147. 

3 Lysons, Brit. Cumb. Mag., 73, quoting Close 
Roll, 21 Edw. I. 

* Liber )uot. Contrar. Garderobce (Soc. Antiq.), 
4.2-3, etc. ; Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Arch. 
Soc. vi. 140-2. 

and the brethren acquitted in the following 
year as an act of grace. 5 Edward III. must 
have had pleasant memories of the happy 
Christmas he spent with the minorites of 
Carlisle in 1332, when the commonalty of 
the city and neighbourhood displayed in a 
marked degree evidences of loyalty and affec- 
tion. 6 

Few things betoken the popularity of the 
friars among the laity of every grade more 
than their success with 'the dead hand' in 
the matter of testamentary bequests. There 
was no attempt to gain possession of real 
property in lands or houses, like the monks 
and nuns, beyond what was necessary for 
their habitations and chapels or immediate 
convenience, their vows of poverty forbidding 
them to hold such possessions. But gifts of 
money or in kind kept flowing in at their 
solicitation. It is a striking feature of me- 
dieval wills that the four orders of friars as a 
class or one of the orders in particular usually 
figured as a beneficiary in testamentary dis- 
positions. It would be difficult to decide 
whether the Dominicans or Franciscans were 
most popular with the dying man. The 
churchyards in Carlisle seem to have been 
often used as places of burial by people in the 
neighbourhood. When it is remembered that 
the secular priest of the parish in which the 
testator lived invariably claimed the mortuary 
due to him wherever the body of his parish- 
ioner was laid, it will be seen that burial in 
the churchyards of the mendicant orders 
involved a double burden to the deceased 
man's estate. But financial considerations 
did not prove a barrier to the persuasion of 
the friars. In 1356 Matthew de Redman, 
dating his will at Carlisle, bequeathed his 
body to be buried in the churchyard of the 
friars preachers of Carlisle with his best beast 
as a mortuary to his parish church ; to the 
friars preachers he left 20*. ; and a like sum to 
the friars minors ; also 6s. $d. to Brother 
Robert Deyncourt. A great local dignitary 
like Sir Robert Tilliol of Scaleby desired his 
body to be laid among the friars preachers of 
Carlisle in 1367, as Robert del Shelde, a 
humble citizen, had done ten years before 
among the friars minors. Secular priests often 
came under the same spell. In the same 
year, 1362, two incumbents in distant parts of 
the diocese disposed of their bodies in this 
fashion : Johnde Seburgham, vicar of Walton, 
desiring to be buried in the church of the 
friars minors, and Richard de Ulnesby, rector 
of Ulnesby or Ousby, in the church of the 


Close, 8 Edw. III. m. 4d ; 9 Edw. III. m. 33. 
Chron. de Lanercost, 271. 


friars preachers ; John de Dundrawe of Carlisle, 
in bequeathing his body to be laid among the 
friars minors in 1380, made arrangements for 
the payment of 1 5 marks to two chaplains 
for one year, or to one chaplain for two years, 
to celebrate for his soul at Our Lady's altar in 
their church, adding a jug and a mazer bowl 
as a personal gift. 1 These benefactions were 
not confined to testators in the immediate 
vicinity of Carlisle. The friars had a wider 
field of missionary enterprise which knew no 
frontier of county or diocese. Sir Brian de 
Stapilton was not forgetful of the friars of 
Carlisle in 1394, and Sir Richard le Scrop, 
lord of Bolton, bequeathed 205. in 1400 to 
every house of friars in Carlisle, Penrith and 
Appleby, a whereas John Knublow, rector of 
Lamplugh, in the archdeaconry of Richmond, 
singled out the friars preachers and friars 
minors of Carlisle as the objects of his gener- 
osity when he was making his will in 1469.* 
The friars were not backward in looking after 
their own interests, in cases where executors 
neglected to pay the amounts left to them by 
will. A curious case arose in the diocesan 
court of Carlisle in 1340, in which the 
Dominican prior was complainant and Agnes 
widow of William Hare of Derham was the 
defendant. After much litigation the bishop 
decided that the friars were entitled to the 
benefaction of five marks sterling bequeathed 
by the deceased, and ordered Agnes the exe- 
cutrix to pay that sum within six days together 
with 20s. id. as costs. 4 

The relationship of the friars to the cor- 
porate life of the church should not be mis- 
understood. It was the bishop who conferred 
holy orders on the inmates of their houses, 
and it was under his licence that they exer- 
cised their vocation in his diocese. In the 
ordination lists on record in the diocesan 
registers, the names of friars admitted to 
successive degrees will be found. To 
William de Eyncourt, a friar preacher, Bishop 
Ross committed in 1330 the faculty to preach 
throughout his whole diocese, to hear the 
confessions of all who were willing to confess 
to him, to give absolution, and to enjoin salu- 
tary penance except in cases reserved by the 
canons to the bishop himself. 5 The same 

1 Testamenta Karleolensia (ed. R. S. Ferguson), 
10, 1 6, 40, 82, 135-7. William de Laton of 
Newbiggin bequeathed his body in 1369 to be 
buried in the church of the Augustinian friars of 
Penrith (ibid. 90). 

2 Testamenta Eboracensia (Surtees Soc.), i. 198, 

3 Rickmondshire Wills (Surtees Soc.), 8. 
Carl. Epis. Reg., Kirkby, f. 414. 

' Ibid. Ross, f. 261. Bishop Kirkby, having 

licence was given to Brother Thomas de 
Skirwyth in 1356 on the recommendation of 
Robert de Deyncourt, a friar preacher of 
Carlisle. 6 On 24 February 1354-5, Brother 
William de Croft of the order of the Blessed 
Mary of Mount Carmel in Appleby, having 
been presented by the prior provincial iuxta 
capitulum super catkedram, was admitted by 
Bishop Welton to the office of preaching and 
the hearing of confessions in the place of 
John de Haytefeld of the same order. 7 In the 
licences, the cases reserved to the bishop were 
often set out by name. When William de 
Dacre, lector of the convent of friars minors in 
Carlisle, in whose integrity of conscience the 
bishop of the diocese was fully confident, was 
admitted to exercise his office in fora penitencie, 8 
cases of the violators of nuns, perjurers in 
assizes or indictments, matrimonial causes, 
divorces and crimes involving the loss of life 
or limb were specially excepted. In the 
faculty which Thomas de Thornton of the 
Augustinian Order in Penrith received in 1365 
for one year, Bishop Appleby added to the 
reservations the practice of usury and breaking 
and entering his parks of Rose or Beaulieu to 
take anything away. 8 It is evident that the 
Bishops of Carlisle exercised an effective 
jurisdiction over the acts of the mendicant 
orders within the diocese. 

It is not to be expected that the friars, estab- 
lished in the three different centres of the diocese, 
would be popular with the parochial clergy if we 
have regard to the nature of their vocation and 
method of life. At every turn they were 
apt to intrude on the office and tread on the 
toes of the secular priest. They had a roving 
commission to enter parishes, to preach, hear 
confessions, solicit alms, and to perform various 
ecclesiastical functions which in many instances 
must have brought them into conflict with 
the country clergy. As a matter of fact, 
much unpleasantness had arisen and complaints 
were numerous about the intrusion of the 
friars. The privileges of the parochial clergy 
were violated to such an extent that they 

formerly granted to Symon, prior of the Carmelites 
of Appleby, licence ' penitenciarie nostre curam 
gerere,' recalled the licence and revoked the prior's 
commission in 1341. The same bishop made J. 
de Levyngton, a minorite, the penitentiary of 
Cumberland in 1346 (ibid. Kirkby, ff. 442, 488). 
In 1355 Brothers Richard de Swynesheved, warden 
(gardianus) of the convent of friars minors of Carl- 
isle, William de Kirkby and Adam de Waldyngfeld 
of the same convent were admitted to preach in 
place of Robert de Shirewode, Thomas Faunell and 
John de Dalton removed (ibid. Welton, f. 1 1 7). 

Ibid. f. 1 1 8. i Ibid. f. 115. 

8 Ibid. f. 118. Ibid. Appleby, f. 146. 



appealed to the pope for redress in 1300. 
The bull of Boniface VIII. contra Fratres is 
on record. 1 It was not by any means entirely 
in favour of the secular clergy, though regu- 
lations were laid down to restrain the friars in 
their aggressions on the parochial office. The 
pope prescribed the cases in which they might 
preach and hear confessions, and at the same 
time recommended the parish priests to receive 
them kindly for the sake of the apostolic see. 
In 1352 the clergy of Carlisle moved Bishop 
Welton for relief. It was represented to 
him that the mendicant orders, not content 
with their own bounds, were in the habit of 
betaking themselves frequently to divers 
churches and chapels, not for the sake of 
preaching the word of God, but in the same 
churches and chapels on Sundays and Festivals 
during the solemnity of mass, when a great 
multitude of people were present, to the im- 
pediment of divine culture and the stirring up 
of tumult, with vain and heedless displays of 
excessive indulgences and plenary remission, 
sought quest of money and not gain of souls 
with open books in their hands like questors, 
contrary to canonical sanctions and the rules 
of their orders and the customs anciently 
observed, for which reason uproars among the 
people and injurious reports were almost of 
daily occurrence. The bishop, wishing to 
remedy these abuses, sent his mandate to all 
deans, rectors, vicars and parish chaplains, for- 
bidding them under pain of the greater 
excommunication to permit any friar of the 
mendicant orders, even when licensed by him 
in the form of the constitution, to exercise a 
quest of any sort in their churches or chapels, 
and specially in time of divine service, unless 
on production of special letters. 2 

The Augustinians of Penrith had recourse 
to various devices for the maintenance of the 
house. It appears that the voluntary alms of 
the people of that district were not sufficient. 
Bishop Welton assisted them in some meas- 
ure by appointing the prior in 1360 during 
pleasure to the church of Newton Reigny, 
which had been vacant for some time, and 
allowing him to discharge the cure of souls 
by some fit brother of the community. 3 The 
same consideration was shown by Bishop 
Appleby in 1365, when R. the sacrist of the 
house was appointed to the same charge for 

1 Carl. Epis. Reg., Halton, ff. 44-5 ; Hist. 
MSS. Com. Rep. ix. (i.), 180. 

2 Ibid. Welton, f. 43. 

3 Ibid. f. 69. The church cannot have been 
vacant very long, for in June 1357 John de Bram- 
wra was appointed on the resignation of Gilbert 
Raket (ibid. ff. 33-4). 


four years.* The brothers contrived a new 
expedient in 1360, from which they expected 
a substantial addition to their encumbered 
finances. In that year they started and in- 
tended to continue a light at mass in the con- 
ventual church at Penrith in honour of the 
Nativity of the Saviour and the blessed Mary, 
so that when the divine office was sung the 
light should burn on the feast of the Nativity 
every year. But they were unable to con- 
tinue this without the alms of the faithful. 
In order to promote such a praiseworthy 
devotion, the bishop issued a firm indulgence 
for forty days to all in his diocese who went 
to the conventual church in a contrite and 
penitent spirit for the purpose of hearing mass 
on that day or who contributed of their goods 
for the keeping up of the said light. 8 

It may be regarded as a testimony of the 
estimation in which the prior of the friars 
preachers was held that he was sometimes 
employed in important and delicate negotia- 
tions or he was present at great functions. 
The prior of the Carlisle preachers was a 
witness to the award made in 1289 for the 
settlement of a dispute between the Augustin- 
ian priory of Pontefract and the Cluniac house 
of Monk Bretton. 8 In 1329 he was appointed 
in a commission with the abbot of Holrncul- 
tram and the archdeacon of Carlisle by Pope 
John XXII. to hear a cause between the 
Bishop of Durham and the Archbishop of 
York, but they refused to undertake the task 
owing to the scarcity of lawyers in the district 
and their distance from York. 7 Dr. Saunder- 
son was one of the last wardens of the grey 
friars in Carlisle, having been in possession of 
that dignity in I523. 8 When the end of the 
religious houses was drawing nigh, the king 
made what use he could of the preaching 
capacities of the friars in upholding the 
authority of a general council 9 and belittling 
the power of the pope, but no allegiance to 
the national policy could avert their fall. In 
1534 was begun the royal visitation with a 
view to their extinction. George Browne, 
prior of the Augustinian hermits in London, 
was appointed by the Crown to the office of 
provincial prior to the whole order of friars 
hermits in England, and John Hilsey received 

1 Ibid. Appleby, f. 146. 
e Ibid. Welton, 73. 

8 Dugdale, Mm. v. 123-4. * n vol. vi. 1485, 
the date is given as 1269 by an oversight. 

7 Letters from the Northern Registers (Rolls Ser.), 

8 B.M. Add. MS. 24, 965, ff. 115-6. 

9 B.M. Cott. MS. Cleopatra E, vi. f. 312 ; L. 
and P. Hen. nil. vi. 1487. 


a similar commission over the whole order of 
friars preachers for the purpose of visiting the 
houses of all friars of whatever order through- 
out the kingdom, viz. the friars minors of 
the order of St. Francis, the friars preachers 
of the order of St. Dominic, the friars her- 
mits of the order of St. Augustine, the 
Carmelite friars of the order of St. Mary, 
and the crossed friars, and making inquiry 
concerning their lives, morals and fealty to 
the king. If needful, they were authorized 
to instruct them how to conduct themselves 
with safety, to reduce them to uniformity, 
calling in the aid of the secular arm as occasion 
required. 1 This visitation was the precursor 
of their destruction. 

In the spring of 1539, the task of sup- 
pressing the northern houses of friars was en- 
trusted to the capable hands of Richard, Bishop 
of Dover. Writing from Lincoln on the first 
Sunday in Lent, he conveyed to Cromwell 
the sentence of their impending doom in these 
words : ' I trosteyd to a made an ende of the 
vesytacyon : but I am certefyyd that yet ther 
be stondeyng in the north parte above xx 
placeys of freyrs, as in Grantham, in Newarke, 
in Grymsseby, in Hull, in Beverley, in Schar- 
borow, in Carlehyll, in Lancaster, and in 
dyverse placeys more, for the which howseys 
I well serge so that I trost to leve but fewe 
in Ynglond before Ester, and I thyngke yt 
woll be ner Ester or that I can make an ende, 
besecheyng yower lordschyp to be good lorde 

for the pore ffreyrs capacytes : they be very 
pore and can have lytyll serves withowtt ther 
capacytes. The byschoyppys and curettes be 
very hard to them, withowtt they have ther 
capacytes.' 3 Pursuing his way northward 
and finding nothing but ' povertye and lytyll 
lefte scarce to pay the dettes, so that in these 
houses the king's Grace shall have butt the 
lede,' he arrived at Grimsby, from which he 
intimated to the Lord Privy Seal on 'thys 
xxix day off February ' (i March) that he was 
riding ' to Hull, and so to Beverlaye and to 
Skarborrowe and Karlehyll, and to Lancaster, 
and other houses as I shall here off by the 
waye.' 4 Before the close of 1539, the four 
houses of friars were swept away and their sites 
leased or sold, with the exception of the buildings 
of the black friars in Carlisle, which were re- 
tained in the king's hand, enclosed with a paling, 
and converted into a council chamber, maga- 
zine and storehouse for the convenience of 
the garrison. Nothing now remains but the 
name to tell of their former occupation. 
Blackfriars Street on the west walls preserves 
the name and indicates the site of the friars 
preachers, as Friars Court behind Devonshire 
Street marks the locality of the minorites or 
grey friars in Carlisle. In Penrith the 
Augustinians are commemorated in a house 
called the Friary and a street known as Friars 
Gate. The name and the site of the Car- 
melites in Appleby have altogether dis- 



The vicissitudes of the hospital of St. 
Nicholas, Carlisle, the best known house in 
the county, display many features of great 
interest in the history of eleemosynary institu- 
tions. It was of royal foundation at some 
period before the reign of King John, but the 
name of the founder or the date of the foun- 
dation has not been preserved. Hugh Todd, 
a former canon of Carlisle, ascribed the foun- 
dation to William Rufus, 8 the most unlikely 
of all the kings. As its records and muni- 
ments perished after the outbreak of the wars 
of Edward I. with Scotland, when the hos- 
pital was plundered and burnt, its early history 
must remain in comparative obscurity. Only 
two deeds of endowment, which are of any 

1 Pat. 25 Hen. VIII. pt. ii. m. 6d ; L. and 
P. Hen. nil. vii. 587 (18). 

2 Notitia Eccl. Cath. Carl. (Cumb. and Westmld. 
Arch. Soc.), 35. 


value, are known to exist, and these are on 
record in the register of Bishop Kirkby. 

The first reference to the hospital that has 
as yet come to light is a letter of protec- 
tion from King John sent in 1201 to the 
lepers of Carlisle. 8 About the same date we 
have a charter from Hugh de Morvill endow- 
ing the hospital of St. Nicholas outside the 
city of Carlisle with a ploughland of his de- 
mesne in the village of Hoff near Appleby, 
the land and goods of Richard the smith of 
Burgh, his villein, 40*. of land in Thurston- 
feld, and other lands and rents elsewhere on 
the condition of finding one chaplain to 
celebrate divine offices for the souls of the 
faithful, and maintaining, with the consent of 
the master and brethren, three infirm brothers 

B.M. Cott. MS. Cleopatra E, iv. f. 212 ; 
Wright, Suppression of the Monasteries (Camden 
Soc.), 191-3. 

' L. and P. Hen. 7111. xiv. (i.), 413; Ellis, 
Original Letters, ser. 3, iii. 179-81. 

6 Rot. Chart. 2 John (Rec. Com.), loib. 


(tres fratres infirmos) on his presentation 
and on that of his heirs for ever. 1 At a later 
period perhaps, while Bernard was bishop and 
Geoffrey his archdeacon, Adam son of Robert, 
the true patron of a moiety of the church of 
Bampton near Carlisle, gave to the hospital 
and the sick people (infirmis) there serving 
God a moiety of the tithe sheaves of Little 
Bampton, with the proviso that two sick 
persons should be maintained on the nomina- 
tion of himself and his successors. If these 
nominations were not made, five skeps of 
meal should be distributed to the poor on the 
Feast of St. Nicholas. In any other eventu- 
ality, the bishops of Carlisle were authorized 
to dispose of the tithe as they thought best 
for the good of the donor's soul. 2 It is evi- 
dent from the tenor of these charters that 
the advantages of the institution were not 
exclusively confined to lepers at the opening 
of the thirteenth century, for though it had 
been originally founded as a leper-house, the 
qualifications for admittance must have been 
modified to some extent by the conditions 
attached to successive endowments. That 
such was the case we shall presently see. 

The early history of the hospital was the 
subject of an inquest before a royal commis- 
sion in 1341, when all the available evidences 
were brought under review and a verdict was 
returned on the oath of the jurors. 3 It was 
ascertained by this commission that the insti- 
tution was founded by some king of England, 
long before the time of memory, for the sus- 
tenance of thirteen lepers, men and women, a 
master in Holy Orders who should be resi- 
dent and sing mass at his will, and a chaplain 
who should sing mass daily for the benefactors 
of the hospital. This king, whose name the 
jurors knew not, endowed the institution 
with great possessions of lands for the per- 
petual support of the master and lepers as 
well as the brethren and sisters, appointed 
for them a chapter and a common seal which 
should remain in the custody of the master 
and of two or three or four of the lepers, 
and ordained that the lepers should always be 
clad in clothes of russet and live under the 
rules of the hospital for ever. It was also 
appointed at the foundation that the master 
as well as the brethren and sisters should have 
commons together within the precincts, saving 
this, that the master might appoint a tem- 

Carl. Epis. Reg., Kirkby, f. 303. 

2 Ibid. f. 482. J. Denton says that Gilbert son 
of Gilbert de Dundraw gave the hospital a portion 
of Crofton called Gillmartinridden (Cumberland, 

Pat. 15 Edw. III. pt. i. m. 49, 48. 

porary substitute if he had to attend to the 
business of the hospital elsewhere. 

The original constitutions of the hospital 
were observed until by lapse of time the 
greater part of the lepers died, 4 when by com- 
mon consent of the master, brethren and sis- 
ters, their places were filled by poor, weak 
and impotent folk (pauperes, debiles et impo- 
tentei), which led to a modification of the 
existing rules. We have already noticed how 
the bequests of Hugh de Morvill and Adam 
son of Robert contributed to this change. 
Other donations followed with similar con- 
ditions. The commonalty of the city of 
Carlisle granted to the hospital on every Sun- 
day for ever a pottle (potellum) of ale from 
each brewhouse of the city, and a loaf of 
bread from each baker exposing bread for sale 
on Saturday, in return for which the master 
should receive into the hospital, on the pre- 
sentation of the mayor and commonalty, all 
the lepers in the city. By virtue of these 
grants, the donors and their successors pos- 
sessed the right to present lepers and other poor 
persons for maintenance in the institution. 

In 1292 a dispute arose about the patron- 
age of the hospital. 6 The Bishop of Carlisle 
claimed the right of instituting the master on 
the presentation of the brethren who made 
choice of a fit person for that purpose. The 
Crown denied the right of the inmates to 
elect a master from their own body, and 
challenged the jurisdiction of the bishop over 
the hospital for any purpose whatever. When 
the matter was referred to the judges of assize, 
the jury found that the patronage was in the 
king's hand, for though Bishop Ireton made 
the last appointment, the king's ancestors 
always conferred it till the time of Henry III. 
Besides, the brethren were never in the habit 
of electing any one. The gross value of the 
hospital was returned at that time at 35 
131. 4^., out of which twelve sick persons 
(languid!) were maintained with a master and 
a chaplain to celebrate divine offices, which 
chaplain had the assistance of a clerk. 

The disease of leprosy was not extinct in 
Cumberland in the fourteenth century. In 1357 
the Bishop of Carlisle had learned with sorrow 
that Adam, rector of ' Castelkayrok,' was be- 
sprinkled with the spot of leprosy (lepre macula est 
respenus), insomuch that by reason of the horror 
and loathsomeness of the disease (morbi deformitatem 
et hoirorem) he was unable to minister the sacra- 
ments and sacramentals to his parishioners. The 
rector was cited to appear personally in the 
bishop's presence at Rose and show cause why a 
coadjutor should not be appointed to assist him 
(Carl. Epis. Reg., Welton, f. 43). 

Plac. de >uo. Warr. (Rec. Com.), 122. 



The verdict of the jury, by which the 
Crown recovered the patronage, had a mo- 
mentous effect on the internal observances of 
the hospital. The master nominated by the 
bishop resigned or was dispossessed. Hugh 
de Cressingham, a justice in eyre and ' an in- 
satiable pluralist,' according to Prynne, before 
whom the case was decided, was appointed in 
his place. The new master drew up a code 
of rules, formed no doubt on the old model, 
for the government of the house. 1 These 
constitutions are of considerable interest and 
may be summarized as follows : All the 
brethren and sisters on their first entry should 
take an oath of obedience and fealty to the 
master and to live chastely and honestly 
within the cloister and without when sent on 
business of the hospital ; that they should rise 
in the morning at the ringing of the bell and 
come in person to the church or chapel to 
pray for the faithful departed, all the bene- 
factors of the hospital, and specially for the 
royal family ; that they should have a cloister, 
the gates of which should be closed with iron 
bars both day and night, and specially by 
night ; that a general porter should be 
specially appointed and sworn to guard the 
gates according to rule, whose business also 
it would be to keep the well (fontem) and the 
court within and without the cloister clean 
from all defilement ; that the brethren should 
sleep in one house and likewise the sisters in 
another by themselves ; that none of the 
brethren or sisters should go out of the cloister 
wandering about the country or city without 
special leave of the master ; that the brethren 
should work as long as they could for the 
common benefit of the hospital ; that no 
brother or sister should go out of the cloister 
under penalty by night by the walls or the 
gate, or by day from the ringing of the bell 
in the hall until the ringing of the bell in the 
church ; that the brethren and sisters should 
be obedient to the precepts of the master or 
his deputy in all things lawful and honest, 
and any brother or sister found refractory or 
disobedient, for the first offence should lose 
his or her livery and be admonished, for the 
second should lose the two next liveries and 
be admonished to amend, otherwise on the 
third offence he or she should be expelled 
from the cloister and be entirely deprived of 
his or her corrody without hope of return ; 
that the master should not permit any married 
man or woman staying within the cloister to 
pass the night with wife or husband, brother 
or sister, within the cloister, to commit forni- 
cation or other offence on pain of expulsion ; 

that a brother or sister making a quarrel or 
charge unjustly, whereby public or private 
scandal should arise, should suffer similar pen- 
alties ; and that none should usurp any office 
or power within the hospital without the 
assent of the master and the more discreet 
part of the chapter. 

When the war broke out in 1296 between 
the two kingdoms, the hospital from its posi- 
tion without the walls of Carlisle was open to 
attack and soon became impoverished and 
almost ruined. It was found next to impos- 
sible to observe the rules laid down a few 
years before. Whereupon Richard Oriell, 
the custos during the absence of Hugh de 
Cressingham the master, managed as best he 
could in the altered state of political affairs. 
It was arranged by him that each of the 
brethren and sisters should receive yearly from 
the hospital by the hands of the master for 
sustenance two skeps of barley, two skeps of 
oats, two skeps of flour, three strikes of wheat, 
if there was wheat enough from the wainage of 
the hospital, two cart and two wagon loads of 
wood, a portion of the bread and ale received 
from the commonalty of Carlisle, and 4*. out 
of the rents of the hospital for clothing and 
other necessaries till the house was relieved. 2 

The procedure introduced by Oriell and 
followed by some of his successors was a great 
benefit to the house, whereby it was much 
enriched, and many poor persons other than 
foundationers were participators in its alms. 
When Edward II. bestowed the custody on 
Thomas de Wederhale, the good governance 
of the hospital began to decline. The new 
master was not a chaplain and did not observe 
the rules of the foundation or the constitu- 
tions made by his predecessors. He wasted 
the goods in many ways and kept the common 
seal in his own possession, and charged the 
hospital with corrodies to divers people with- 
out the assent of the brethren and sisters. 
The chapter of the hospital soon ceased to 
exist under his methods. When an inmate 
of the hospital died, no other was admitted to 
residence according to the rules of the founda- 
tion, those being non-resident who were ad- 
mitted on the presentation of benefactors like 
the heirs of Hugh de Morvill and the com- 
monalty of Carlisle. During the mastership 
of Wederhale the number of lepers and other 
poor persons was curtailed, and divine worship 
and works of piety were wholly withdrawn, 
except that he retained a chaplain to sing 
mass daily and eight poor persons who dwelt 
elsewhere and lived on the goods of the 
hospital. The affairs of the house went from 


1 Pat. 15 Edw. III. pt. i. m. 49. 





bad to worse. Each succeeding master was 
no better than the last. The hospital became 
the perquisite of the master and was farmed 
for his own profit. 1 Nor did that official cease 
to forward his own interests. In 1336 the 
royal tax gatherers were forbidden to assess the 
goods of the hospital, as it had been founded 
by the king's progenitors, and was so slenderly 
endowed that there was scarcely a sufficiency 
for the maintenance of the master and brethren 
and other poor persons who resorted there. 8 

The condition of the hospital became a 
public scandal, and reports on its dilapidation 
and mismanagement were laid before the 
Bishop of Carlisle and the Crown. The 
king prohibited the bishop from visitation, no 
doubt on the representation of Thomas de 
Goldyngton, the master, as irregular and in- 
convenient in institutions of royal founda- 
tion or patronage. 3 Commissions of inquiry 
into the misrule of the hospital became the 
order of the day. In 1335 an inquisition 
ad quod damnum found that the rules had not 
been observed as they ought to have been 
for thirty-six years and more, because the 
said place was burned and totally destroyed, 
first by the Earl of Buchan's war and after- 
wards several times by the Scots, so that the 
constitution had not been and as yet could 
not be observed. 4 Matters dragged on till 
the summer of 1340, when a visitation of 
the hospital was made by a commission con- 
sisting of the bishop and prior of Carlisle, 
Robert Parvyng, and Robert de Eglesfeld, 
parson of Burgh under Stainmore. The 
whole history and management of the institu- 
tion was probed to the bottom and a sweeping 
report on its condition, as already detailed, 
was made. The master was ordered to appear 
before the king in his chancery at West- 
minster, the common seal was taken from 
him, and the corrody holders were delivered 
to the custody of the prior of Carlisle. 8 

The internal condition of the hospital was 

1 Pat. 1 5 Edw. III. pt. i. m. 49. 

2 Close, 10 Edw. III. m. 14. 

3 Carl. Epis. Reg., Kirkby, f. 329. 

Inq. a.q.d. 9 Edw. III. No. 6; Pat. 9 Edw. III. 
pt. ii. m. I4d. The hospital was burnt in 1337 
by the Scots (Chron. de Lanercost, 292). 

" Pat. 15 Edw. III. pt. i. mm. 49, 48. 
To the researches made in 1340 and to the ex- 
emplification of the results of the inquiry on this 
patent roll we are indebted for much of what we 
know of the history of this hospital. The roll has 
been printed in full by Dr. Henry Barnes of Car- 
lisle (Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Arch. Sue. x. 114- 
23), and an excellent summary has been given in 
the Calendar prepared by Mr. R. F. Isaacson of 
the Public Record Office. To this inquiry, no 

again an anxiety to the authorities in 1380. 
It was the duty of Simon, Archbishop of Can- 
terbury, to visit it, but as he was unable 
through urgent business to do so personally, 
he commissioned the prior of Wetheral, Hugh 
de Westbrook, and Adam, parson of Bolton, 
to undertake the inquiry. The terms of 
reference extended to divers defects in respect 
of its houses, books, vestments and other 
ornaments, the diminution of its chaplains, 
the alienation and waste of its lands, and 
quarrels among its ministers. 8 As a new 
master was appointed a few months after- 
wards, it may be taken that a reformation had 
been effected by the visitation. The hospital 
lingered on as an independent institution till 
1477, when Edward IV. transferred it with 
all its lands, tenements, rights, liberties, fran- 
chises, commodities, and emoluments to the 
priory of Carlisle, the grant to take effect on 
the death or cession of the master. For this 
concession the priory was obliged to find a canon 
who was a priest, to be called the king's chaplain, 
to celebrate masses and other divine services 
in the monastery for the good estate of the 
king and his consort Elizabeth, Queen of 
England, and their children, and for their 
souls after death. 7 It should be remembered 
that the change in the constitution of the 
hospital did not impair the right of those who 
had a legal interest in its endowments. The 
Dacres continued to exercise the privilege of 
presentation of poor men to corrodies as the 
lords of Burgh had done since the days of 
Hugh de Morvill. On the death of Hum- 
phrey Lord Dacre in 1484, the nomination 
to a corrody in the hospital of St. Nicholas, 
Carlisle, at that time worth 13*. 4^. a year, 
was reckoned among the Dacre possessions in 
right of the barony of Burgh-by-Sands. 8 

One feature of the endowments of the 
hospital deserves a special mention inasmuch 
as it appears to have been a common appur- 
tenance of leper houses, that is, a thrave of 
corn was due from time immemorial from 
every ploughland in the county of Cumber- 
land. In 1358 a jury reported a long list of 
defaulters in various parishes who had de- 
tained their contributions for the past eight 
years. These dues ought to have been de- 
livered in the autumn of each year to the 
bailiff of the hospital. 9 Bishop Appleby was 
obliged to denounce the practice in 1371. The 

doubt, we owe the record of the two ancient deeds 
in the register of Bishop Kirkby. 

6 Pat. 3 Ric. II. pt. ii. m. 2od. 

7 Ibid. 17 Edw. IV. pt. i. m. 16. 

8 Cal. of Inq. p.m. Henry VII. i. 157. 

8 Inq. p.m. 31 Edw. III. pt. ii. No. 53. 



sheaves were called ' thraves of St. Nicholas,' 
and were due, in the bishop's opinion, by 
grant of the kings of England. 1 

In 1541 the possessions of the hospital 
were included in the endowment charter of 
the dean and chapter of Carlisle, 2 whose 
estates were charged under the letters patent 
to maintain a chaplain to celebrate divine 
offices in the hospital in presence of three 
' bedells' and the lepers therein, with a pension 
for the said poor ' bedells.' There is now no 
trace of the buildings of the hospital in exist- 
ence ; nothing is left of the institution but 
the name of the district of St. Nicholas in 
Botchergate to the south of the city. From 
the parliamentary survey of 1650 we learn 
that the hospital was altogether destroyed 
during the siege of Carlisle in 1645, and that 
the churchyard belonging to it abutted on the 
highway on the south and east. Evidences 
of burial have been found in that district dur- 
ing the last century. The whole site is now 
covered with streets and modern dwellings. 



William, chaplain, circa I2OO 3 
Robert son of Ralf, temp. John * 
William, rector, circa I24O 6 
John, rector, circa 1245 * 
Symon, master, 1270' 
Hugh de Cressingham, 1 293-7 8 
Richard de Oriell, custos, 1300" 

Henry de Craystok, master, appointed in 

1 Carl. Epis. Reg., Appleby, f. 212. It is said 
that King Athelstan endowed in 936 the hospital 
of St. Leonard, York, with a thrave of corn, called 
Petercorne, from every plough in the bishopric of 
York (Dugdale, Man. vi. 608-9). Certainly 
Bishop Appleby issued a monition in 1378 to his 
subjects of Carlisle not to neglect the payment of 
the blada sancti Petri to the same establishment 
(Carl. Epis. Reg., Appleby, f. 306). A similar 
mandate had been issued by Edward III. in 1333 
to the sheriffs of Cumberland and Westmorland to 
aid the proctors and bailiffs of the hospital of St. 
Leonard, York, in levying one thrave of corn for 
every plough in these counties taken by virtue of 
charters granted by former kings (Pat. 7 Edw. III. 
pt. i. m. n). 

2 Ibid. 33 Henry VIII. pt. ix. mm. 11-5 ; L.and 
P. Hen. Vlll. xvi. 878 (i i). 

3 Reg. of tVetherhal (C-amb. and Westmld. Arch. 
Soc.), 1 14. 

* Plac. de S>uo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 122. 
6 Reg. ofWetherhal (Cumb. and Westmld. Arch. 
Soc.), 276. 

6 Ibid. 176-9. ' Ibid. l8o-I. 

8 Pat. 21 Edw. I. m. 13. 

9 Carl. Epis. Reg., Halton, f. 46. 

10 Pat. 31 Edw. I. m. 17. It is stated in the 

John de Crosseby, 1309-27 " 
Thomas de Wederhale, temp. Edw. II. 

confirmed in 1327 12 
Ralf Chevaler, 1328" 
William de Northwell, 1332" 
Thomas de Goldyngton, 1 334" 
John de Appleby, 1369" 
William de Cotyngham, 1380," resigned 

in 1388 
Nicholas de Lodal, warden, 1388," re- 

signed in 1389 

John de Grysedale, warden, 1389 19 
William Hayton, clerk, resigned in 

John Canonby, 1423 20 
John de Thorpe, last independent mas- 
ter, circa 1477 al 


This hospital appears to have been a vigor- 
ous institution in the thirteenth century, 22 but 
very little is known of its later history. At a 
date between 1309 and 1327 John de Crosseby, 
' mestre del Hospital de Seynt Nicolas dehors 
Kardoil,' sent a petition to the king in council 
on behalf of John de la More and John de 
Boulton, brothers of the hospitals of St. 
Nicholas and St. Sepulchre, about certain ar- 
rearages due to the Crown from the demesne 
lands in the suburb of Carlisle leased to them 
by Henry III. 23 

letters patent that the office was vacant through 
the death of Cressingham, an event which took 
place in 1297. 

11 Ibid. 2 Edw. II. pt. i. m. 17. This master 
was instrumental in the rebuilding (refeccione) of 
the chapel of the hospital in 1319 (Close, 13 
Edw. II. m. 21), and caused John de Culgayth, 
rector of a moiety of Bampton, to be arrested in 
1310 for the non-payment of his dues (Carl. 
Epis. Reg., Halton, f. 138). 

12 Pat. i Edw. III. pt. ii. m. 22. 

13 Ibid. 2 Edw. III. pt. ii. m. 4 ; 3 Edw. III. 
pt. i. m. 37. 

4 Ibid. 6 Edw. ii. m. 1 8. 
18 Ibid. 7 Edw. III. pt. ii. m. 3. In 1342 it is 
said that he, described as medicus, passed into Scot- 
land with Johan le Spicer of Carlisle to give medi- 
cal aid to the king's enemies (Pat. 1 6 Edw. III. 
pt. ii. m. 28d). 

16 Dugdale, Man. vi. 757. 

17 Pat. 4 Ric. II. pt. i. m. 26. 

18 Ibid. 1 1 Ric. II. pt. ii. m. 20. 

19 Ibid. 12 Ric. II. pt. ii. m. 4. 
10 Ibid, i Hen. VI. pt. ii. m. 4. 
21 Ibid. 17 Edw. IV. pt. i. m. 16. 

33 Inq. p.m. 3 1 Hen. III. No. 25 ; 34 Hen. III. 
No. 46. 
33 Anct. Petitions, No. 1949. 




This house had property in Waverton at 
an early date, for it is mentioned in a charter 
of Lambert son of Gillestephen of Waverton 
that the land of the hospital was situated on 
the east side of the vill. 2 When the chantries 
were dissolved in 1546, George Lancaster 
was incumbent of the hospital of St. Leonard, 
Wigton. 3 

caster) was unable to pay the assessment as 
the land belonging to it lay uncultivated." 


Gospatric son of Orm gave this hospital 
(hospitalem domum de Caldebech) with the church 
of that place to the priory of Carlisle 8 some 
time before 1170. 


The collectors of the tenth, given by the 
clergy of the diocese of Carlisle in 1294 to 
Edward I. for the Holy Land, refer to this 
house and reported that the hospital of Lennh' 
in Bewcastle (Hospitale de Lennh 1 in Bothe- 


The house of St. John (domus sancti "Johan- 
nis) existed either as a hospital or hermitage 
in the early years of the thirteenth century 7 
and has bequeathed its name to the vale of 
St. John near Keswick. 



The district served by the collegiate church 
of Greystoke ranks third in the list of the ex- 
tensive parishes in Cumberland, the civil 
parishes of St. Bees and Crosthwaite being 
considerably larger. The church occupies a 
picturesque corner of Greystoke Park near to 
the gates of the castle on the eastern side of 
the parish, close to the boundary of the parish 
of Dacre. It contains two ancient chapelries, 
Threlkeld on the west side of the parish and 
Watermillock on the south towards the lake 
of Ulleswater. The area of the whole dis- 
trict is over 48,000 acres. In 1291 the 
church of Greystoke, valued at ^120,* was 
the richest parochial institution in the diocese 
of Carlisle. 

When the fashion of founding collegiate 
churches was introduced into Cumberland, a 
start was not made with the church of Grey- 

1 At one time hospitals such as this and those 
following must have been numerous in Cumber- 
land, for near to many villages the name of Spittal, 
the usual term in the vernacular for hospital, still 
survives to remind us that some such institution 
once occupied that site though all record of it has 
been lost. Nothing has been discovered to show 
the nature of these institutions, but it may be 
taken that in them some provision was made to 
isolate cases of endemic disease or to supply the 
wants of the poor or to afford shelter to the desti- 

" Reg. of Holmcultram, MS. f. 73. 

3 Aug. Off. Chant. Cert. No. 12. 

< Pope Ni(t>. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 3 20. 

stoke. The credit of the first attempt was due 
to Sir Robert Parvyng, the well known chan- 
cellor of Edward III., who owned consider- 
able property in the county. Though his 
foundation at Melmerby was never com- 
pleted, mention may be made of the prelim- 
inary steps taken with that intent, inasmuch 
as they furnish us with some very interesting 
features of collegiate institutions at an early 
period of their history. In 1342 Sir Robert 
entered into negotiations with the ecclesiastical 
authorities for the purpose of transforming the 
parish church of Melmerby into a college of 
eight priests, one of whom, Richard de Cal- 
decote, was designated the custos or master. 
The fragmentary record 8 of the proposed 

Reg. of Holmcultram, MS. f. 278. 

6 Dugdale, Man. vi. 144. 

' Reg. of Fountains Abbey (Cott. MS. Tib. C, 
xii.), f. 78b. 

s Carl. Epis. Reg., Kirkby, MS. f. 459. The 
deed, as recorded in the episcopal register, ends 
abruptly without apparent cause, but it is un- 
doubtedly authentic, for on 4 May 1342 Robert 
Parvyng had licence from the king for the aliena- 
tion in mortmain of the advowson of Melmerby 
to certain chaplains to celebrate divine offices in 
that church and for its appropriation by the chap- 
lains (Pat. 1 6 Edw. III. pt. i. m. 7). It may be 
taken that the scheme was abortive owing to the 
death of Sir Robert in the following year and the 
division of his property among grandchildren 
(Inq. p.m. 1 7 Edw. III. ser. i. No. 48). The 
proposed institution was described as a college or 
chantry, but there is no doubt that the former 
was intended : a chaplaincy in a collegiate church 
was frequently described as a chantry. 



foundation supplies us with the particulars of 
the institution in contemplation. One mes- 
suage and an oxgang of land in Melmerby 
together with the advowsons of the rectories 
of Melmerby and Skelton were assigned for 
the support of the college. In the former 
parish the master was to be responsible for 
the cure of souls, but in the latter a vicar was 
to be appointed. No member of the college 
could be removed by the Bishop of Carlisle 
except for reasonable cause, and all chaplains 
were subject to the master. The founder 
strictly reserved to himself and his heirs the 
rights of patronage. It was arranged that 
the master and chaplains should repair daily 
in the morning (aurora) or at sunrise to the 
church of Melmerby, vested in surplice, amice, 
and black cope, and sing the Canonical Hours 
devoutly and distinctly, viz. matins and prime 
according to the use of Sarum ; which done, 
immediately without pause, the mass of the 
Blessed Virgin should be celebrated cum nota 
by one of the chaplains ; then two chaplains 
by the direction of the master should cele- 
brate two masses at the altar of St. Nicholas, 
one a mass of St. Nicholas, and the other a 
mass of St. Margaret. In this abortive at- 
tempt to found the college, licences were 
sought from the king, the bishop and chapter 
of Carlisle, and Thomas de Blith, rector of 
Melmerby, but there is no evidence to show 
why the foundation was not completed, ex- 
cept that Sir Robert Parvyng died in 1343, 
the year after the proposal was made. 

A similar incident attended the next at- 
tempt to found a collegiate church in Cum- 
berland, though the scheme was ultimately 
successful. In 1358 Lord William de Grey- 
stoke proposed to change the rectory of Grey- 
stoke into a college with a master or custos 
and chaplains, and obtained a licence from 
the Crown to bestow the advowson of the 
church and certain lands and tenements in 
Newbiggin on the new foundation. 1 Bishop 
Welton of Carlisle gave his sanction and 
confirmed the appointment of the rector, 
Richard de Hoton Roof, to be the master, 
and Andrew de Briscoe, Richard de Bramp- 
ton, William de Wanthwaite, Robert de 
Threlkeld and William de Hill, to be the 
chaplains. 2 The scheme, however, was car- 
ried no further at that time owing to the 
death of Lord Greystoke in July 1359, and 
the minority of the heir. 3 

1 Orig. R. 32 Edw. III. m. 25. 

2 Nicolson and Burn, Hist. ofCumb. ii. 362. 

3 Inq. p.m. 33 Edw. III. ser. i. No. 43. That 
the scheme was not completed at the death of 
Lord Greystoke is certain, for Richard de Hoton 
was rector, and not master or custos, in 1361 when 

Soon after Ralf, Lord Greystoke, came of 
age, the scheme for founding the college was 
revived. In 1374 the licence granted to 
Lord William, his father, was renewed to 
him * by Edward III., but many difficulties 
had to be surmounted before the foundation 
was brought to a successful issue. Lord 
Greystoke appealed to Bishop Appleby of 
Carlisle in January 1377-8, alleging that the 
church of which he was patron was wealthy ; 
that in the absence of the rector the church 
was badly served and the sick were not 
properly visited ; and that in consequence 
the parishioners were not as devout as they 
should be. The bishop issued a commission, 
composed almost equally of clerics and lay- 
men, which made a report on the local con- 
ditions. It was found after inquiry that the 
church was valued at 100, or 80 after 
taking away all deductions ; that it was served 
by one parochial chaplain and his parish clerk 
(clericum aquebajulum) in the parish church, 
and by another chaplain and his clerk in the 
chapel of Watermillock (Wethirmelok), three 
miles distant from the mother church, and by 
another chaplain and his clerk in Threlkeld, 
four miles distant ; and that the parish of 
Greystoke, though it was extensive, being 
seven miles long and four miles broad, was 
thus served from time immemorial. 6 The 
report was apparently not satisfactory to the 
bishop, for in April 1379 he issued another 
commission with substantially the same refer- 
ence. After the second inquiry it was re- 
ported that the church was rich, though not 
so rich as of old ; the revenues were on the 
decrease rather than the increase ; that the 
value was 100, though it was once 120 ; 
that the said church used to be ruled by 
three chaplains and three clerks, and that it 
was at that time so served ; and that it could 
not be on account of the size of the parish 
or the fewness of the ministers that the 
parishioners were spiritually neglected, as the 

he had the king's pardon for acquiring lands and 
tenements in Greystoke without licence (Orig. R. 
35 Edw. III. m. 49). His nuncupative will was 
proved on 22 January 13656, by which he be- 
queathed his body to be buried in the churchyard 
of Greystoke, and made certain dispositions by 
way of settlement with his successor for dilapida- 
tions in the choir of the church and houses of the 
rectory (Carl. Epis. Reg., Appleby, f. 145). 

* Orig. R. 48 Edw. III. m. 33. The licence 
was again renewed by Richard II. on 6 December 
1377, in which the two former licences were con- 
firmed. The decease of William, Lord Grey- 
stoke, is stated to have been the cause of delay in 
the first instance as the alienation was incomplete 
when he died (Pat. I Ric. II. pt. ii. m. 10). 

5 Carl. Epis. Reg., Appleby, ff. 306-7. 



parish and the ministry were constituted then 
as of old ; yet it would be to the greater glory 
of God if the number of ministering clergy 
was increased ; and that the revenues were 
able to sustain a provost and five chaplains at 
the parish church as well as the chaplains at 
Watermillock and Threlkeld. 1 Notwith- 
standing all these negotiations, nothing more 
appears to have been done for two or three 

The bishop and the patron were not 
turned from their purpose by the continued 
opposition to the scheme, for the college was 
formally founded in 1382. When all the 
preliminaries were arranged Bishop Appleby 
sent a mandate to the parochial chaplain of 
Greystoke and to the chaplains of Threl- 
keld and Watermillock, calling their atten- 
tion to the great defects in the nave of the 
parish church, its stone walls, wood work, 
fittings, and glass windows, and to the 
ruinous condition of the tower (campanile 
eiusdem totaltter ruit ad terram), and setting 
them a time for their repair. He had heard 
also at his recent visitation that certain of the 
parishioners were frequenting the chapels of 
Threlkeld and Watermillock for divine 
offices, and were refusing to pay their por- 
tions to the maintenance of the mother 
church. It was intimated to them that all 
the inhabitants were obliged to contribute or 
incur the usual penalty. 3 On the petition 
of Ralf, Lord Greystoke, setting forth the 
urgent need of the new foundation, Pope 
Urban issued the necessary faculties in May 
1382 for the erection of a college of seven 
perpetual chaplains, and Archbishop Nevill of 
York, his legate, completed the work. Gil- 
bert Bowet was constituted the first master 
or keeper of the perpetual college of Grey- 
stoke, and to the six chantries other appoint- 
ments were made : John Lake, of the diocese 
of Lichfield, to the chantry of, the altar of St. 
Andrew ; Thomas Chambirleyne, of the 
diocese of Norwich, to the chantry of St. 
Mary the Virgin ; John Alve, of the diocese 
of York, to the chantry of St. John the 
Baptist ; Richard Barwell, of the diocese of 

1 On 12 February 1379-80, the rector, John 
de Claston, had leave to absent himself for two 
years and to farm the cure during that period 
(Carl. Epis. Reg., Appleby, f. 3 2 1 ). It seems that 
William Eston acted as his substitute, for he was 
returned as the rector of Greystoke for the clerical 
subsidy granted to Richard II. in the second year 
of his reign, the value of the benefice having been 
returned at 40 and the tax at 1 (Clerical Sub- 
sidies, $f-, dioc. of Carlisle). 

1 Carl. Epis. Reg., Appleby, f. 342. 

a Ibid. ff. 309-10. 

Lincoln, to the chantry of St. Katharine the 
Virgin ; Robert de Newton, of the diocese of 
Lichfield, to the chantry of St. Thomas the 
Martyr ; and John de Hare, of the diocese of 
York, to the chantry of the Apostles, St. Peter 
and St. Paul. 4 The master and chantry 
priests were bound in canonical obedience to 
the Bishop of Carlisle. Not one of the first 
collegiate staff was drawn from the diocese, 
except Gilbert Bowet, the master, who had 
been chaplain there from 1365 till the 
foundation of the college. 8 The patronage 
of the new establishment in head and 
members was retained in the house of Grey- 
stoke. 6 

The relationship of the college to the 
chapelry of Threlkeld was the subject of an 
ordination or award (laudum) made by 
Bishop Lumley of Carlisle in 1431. As 
discord had arisen between the rector or 
master and chaplains, fellows (consocios) or 
chantry priests (cantaristas) of the collegiate 
or parochial church of Greystoke on the one 
part and Sir Henry Threlkeld and the tenants 
of the vill or lordship of Threlkeld on the 
other, about the appointment of a chaplain 
or chaplains successively in the church or 
chapel of Threlkeld, which is dependent on 
the said church of Greystoke, and about the 
manner of tithing corn and hay and other 
fruits within the vill of Threlkeld, the whole 
dispute was placed in the bishop's hands at 
his personal visitation of the diocese in the 
collegiate church of Greystoke on 26 Sep- 
tember 1431, and both parties undertook to 
abide by his award. It was decided by the 
bishop that Sir Henry Threlkeld and his 
heirs after him, with the consent of their 
tenants, should nominate the chaplain, 
within one month after the time of vacation, 
to the rector or master and chaplains of the 
college, and if they found him fit and able to 
celebrate divine offices and to minister the 
sacraments and sacramentals, they should 
admit him within six days to the chaplaincy ; 
but if they considered him unfit or unable 
they should send him to the bishop or his 
official for fuller examination. If the bishop 
found the nominee unfit, it should be lawful 
for the master, with the consent of the 
chaplains or chantry priests, for this one turn 
to nominate a fit person to the bishop within 
ten days from the rejection of the former can- 
didate ; otherwise the nomination for that 

Ibid. f. 343. 

Ibid. ff. 145-6 ; Clerical Subsidies, f, dioc. of 

Cat. of Inq. p.m. Hen. Vll. i. 109 ; Inq. 
p.m. 9 Hen. VIII. Nos. 32-8. 



turn only should pertain to the bishop, future 
nominations remaining with Sir Henry 
Threlkeld and his heirs. It was also 
ordained that the college of Greystoke should 
receive all the tithes of Threlkeld except 
tithes of corn and hay together with the 
oblations due and accustomed ; that the 
inhabitants should pay to the chaplain 
celebrating in the chapel 3 ijs. in dicem 
denariis at the feast of St. Peter ad vincula 
and Michaelmas in lieu of the tithes of corn 
and hay, whether the land was cultivated or 
not ; and that the college should allow the 
chaplain a yearly stipend of I2s. sterling over 
and above the sum contributed by the 
inhabitants. 1 

When the ecclesiastical survey was taken 
in 1535, the total value of the rectory and 
college was set down as ^82 14*., out of 
which the master was obliged to pay 
4.2 6s. 8d. in pensions, synodals and pro- 
curations to the Bishop of Carlisle, and in 
stipends of the chaplains. Each chantry 
priest received an annual allowance of 
3 6s. 8d. for victuals, and a like sum in 
money for private use, at the hands of the 
master of the college.' 

In pursuance of the Act of Parliament 
(i Edw. VI. cap. 14) for the dissolution of 
chantries, the king issued a commission, dated 
at Westminster on 14 February 1547-8, 
' for thenquyrie, survey and examynacon of 
all colleges, chauntries, frechappelles, frater- 
nyteis, guyldes, stipendaries, priestes, and 
other spirituall promocons' within the county 
of Cumberland ' whiche are geven and oughte 
to come unto his highnes.' From the sur- 
vey we learn that there were 3,000 ' hows- 
linge people ' in the parish of Greystoke, and 
that the ' colledge in the parish churche 
there ' was ' off the foundacon of one Urbane, 
bishoppe of Rome, at the peticon of one 
Rafe, baron of Graystocke, auncestor to the 
lorde Dacre that nowe is.' John Dacre, 
clerk, of the age of forty years, was the mas- 
ter, and had for his annual salary ,40 ' over 
and besides 61 in other places.' 3 It is also 

1 Carl. Epis. Reg., Smith, ff. 364-9. A 
notarial copy of this deed was entered in Bishop 
Smith's register on 27 July 1698, by desire of 
Archdeacon Nicolson, from the original in posses- 
sion of Lord Lonsdale. 

2 Valor Ecd. (Rec. Com.), v. 287. 

3 In July 1526 the churches of Folkton, in 
the diocese of York, and Wemme, in the diocese 
of Coventry and Lichfield, were united during 
the incumbency of John Dacre, LL.B., of noble 
birth (L. and P. Hen. Vlll. iv. 2360). Dacre 
can have been only about nineteen years of age 
at that time. Perhaps this young sprig of no- 

stated that < James Beamont, of th'age of 80 
yeares, George Atkinson of th'age of 56 
yeres, Anthony Garnett and Lancelot Levyns 
of th'age of 40 yeres, Edwarde Elwood of 
th'age of 50 yeres, and John Dawson of 
th'age of 58 yeres, 4 have every of them 
yerely for his salarie, over and besides 26 
w ch James Beamont hath in other places, 
3 6s. 8d. besides their borde w ch is in the 
hole 20.' The lands and tenements be- 
longing to the college were valued at ^84 
igs. 8d., from which 2 ijs. lod. should be 
deducted for reprises, ' and so remayneth 
clere by yere 82 is. iod.' The goods and 
chattels were valued at 16 ijs. 8d. As a 
postscript to the survey the commissioners 
noted that ' the said John Dacre, master 
there, is also parson and hath no vycare in- 
dowed, but serveth the cure hymselfe.' 5 

When the king's agents had seized the 
chantries, the valuation of the college of 
Greystoke was returned at 78 141. From 
the notes added to the new survey we may 
gather that there was some doubt in the 
minds of the commissioners about the legality 
of their proceedings in seizing the property of 
this college. To the schedule of pensions, 
in which the annual sum of 19 was assigned 
to the master, that is, somewhat less than half 
of his stipend, and 5 to each of the chaplains, 
the following memorandum was appended : 
'Forasmuch as the title of this colleage is 
supposed doubtefull, respect the pencions un- 
till it be examyned in the court.' It is odd 
that it was to the college of Greystoke, and 
not as an appendix to the whole survey, that 
the commissioners affixed this observation : 
'In all whych colleges, chauntryes, fre- 
chappelles, guyldes, fraternytyes, stypend- 
aryes, ther ys no precher founde,. grammar 
scole taught, nor pore people relevyd, as yn 
ther severall certyfycates yt doth appere.' It 

bility may be identified with the ' parson Dakers 
of St. Nicholas Hostell,' Cambridge, who ' hurt 
Christopher, Mr. Secretary's servant,' in 1530. 
When the vice-chancellor committed him to ward 
he escaped from the beadle, ' and that night there 
was such a jetting in Cambridge as ye never 
heard of, with such boyng and crying, even 
against our college, that all Cambridge might per- 
ceive it was in despite' of the vice-chancellor. It 
must have been a ' town and gown ' row, for the 
vice-chancellor complained that it was ' made a 
country matter and greatly labored ' (ibid. iv. 

* It may be mentioned that the three chaplains, 
first named in this list, held respectively the 
chantries of St. Katharine, St. Peter and St. Mary 
the Virgin, in 1535 (fabr Eccl. [Rec. Com.}, 
v. 287). 

5 Chant. Cert. No. II, Cumberland. 



was also reported that ' ij chaples are belong- 
ing to this colleage caulled Watermelike and 
Threlkett, thone distant vii myles and 
thother vi myles from the parish churche.' * 
When the legality of seizing the rectory and 
its profits on the king's behalf came to be re- 
viewed in court, it was argued by the incum- 
bent that he was possessed by presentation, 
admission, institution and induction ; that the 
church was indeed made collegiate, but it was 
by the pope's authority only ; that they had 
no common seal, and therefore were not a 
legal corporation. As judgment was given 
against the king, the church continued rec- 
torial and parochial. In reporting the case 
Judge Dyer laid stress upon the want of a 
common seal, but Lord Coke was of opinion 
that the king's title failed owing to the fact 
that the church was made collegiate by the 
pope's authority only without the royal 
assent. 2 The argument of the appellant and 
the remarks of Lord Coke seem strange in 
the light of the letters patent of Edward III. 
and Richard II., by which the proposal to 
found the college of Greystoke received the 
royal sanction. 

Gilbert Bowet, first master, 1382 
Richard Lascy, 1 4 1 2 3 
Adam de Aglionby, 1420* 
Richard Wryght 5 
Thomas Eglisfelde 8 

1 Chant. Cert. No. 12, Cumberland. 

2 Nicolson and Burn, Hist, of Cumb. ii. 363, 
quoting Dyer's Reports, f. 8 1 , and Coke's Reports, iv. 
107. See also Tanner, Notitia (ed. 1744), p. 77. 

3 Named in a commission with John de Burg- 
ham, rector of Melmerby, and Robert de Bampton, 
vicar of Crosby by Eden, to collect a tenth given 
to Henry IV. by the clergy of Carlisle, 20 Jan. 
14112 (Clerical Subsidies, \, dioc. of Carlisle). 

* Sued in that year by William Rebanks and his 
wife for lands in Raughton (Nicolson and Burn, 
Hist, of Cumb. ii. 363). Aglionby had been 
appointed priest of the chantry of St. Mary in 
1386 on the death of Thomas Chamberlayne 
(Carl. Epis. Reg., Appleby, fo. 359). 

6 In 1704 Bishop Nicolson copied the follow- 
ing inscription in a window over the south door 
of the choir : ' Orate pro anima Ricardi Wryht 
quondam magistri Collegii de Graystok ' (Miscellany 
Accounts, ed. Ferguson, pp. 1 29-30). As no date 
has been found, the name is placed here for con- 

6 Commemorated with Walter Readman on a 
sepulchral brass in the choir, the inscription on 
which was copied by the Rev. T. Lees about 
1860: 'Hie jacent corpora magistri Thome 
Eglisfelde et Walteri Readman veritatis professoris 
quondam huius collegii prepositorum. Qui Wal- 
terus obiit iiij die Novembris Anno domini 

Walter Readman, S.T.P. 1507,* died in 


William Husband, 1509, 1518 10 
John Whelpdale, died in 1526" 
John Dacre, last master, I535, 12 I547 13 


The collegiate church of Kirkoswald, 
situated in the Eden valley about fourteen 
miles to the south of Carlisle, was of late 
foundation and only existed for about twenty- 
five years before it was dissolved. It served 

M ccccc" ix. Quorum animabus propicietur 
Deus.' Browne Willis set down the date of 
Eglisfelde's mastership about 1440 (Tanner, 
Notitia, app. of edition, 1744), but from his asso- 
ciation with Readman on the brass the date must 
be considerably later. He seems to have been 
Readman's immediate predecessor. 

7 One of the executors of Roger Leyburn, 
Bishop of Carlisle, under his will, dated 17 July 
1 507 ; appointed by the dean and chapter of 
York to collect the bishop's goods (Test. Ebor. 
Surtees Soc. iv. 2623). 

8 Memorial brass given above. 

9 For the term, Michaelmas 1509-10, the 
registrar of the diocese of Carlisle accounted to the 
bishop for I y. $d. ' de institutione domini Wil- 
helmi Husbande ad ecclesiam collegiatam de 
Graistok ' (MS. in diocesan registry). 

10 Jefferson, Ltath Ward, p. 360. If Jefferson's 
date is correct, this was the master of Greystoke 
sent by Thomas, Lord Dacre, into Scotland on 8 
Aug. 1516, to levy the queen's feoffment (Ellis, 
Orig. Letters, first ser. i. 1 33 ; L. and P. Hen. Vlll. 
ii. 2293). 

Ll On the floor in the south transept there is a 
memorial brass plate containing a half length 
figure of a doctor of laws, clad in gown and fur 
tippet with the arms of Whelpdale three grey- 
hounds current in pale and collared on either 
side of the inscription : ' Orate pro anima Johan- 
nis Whelpdall, legum doctoris, magistri Collegii de 
Graystok et rectoris de Caldebek qui obiit viij 
Julii anno domini 1526.' Around the head of 
the east window of Caldbeck church there runs 
a Latin legend that John Whelpdale ' hoc opus 
fieri fecit.' Care should be taken to discriminate 
between two rectors of Caldbeck of that name. 
The younger succeeded the elder in that church 
in 1488. 

12 Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v. 287. 

13 Chant. Cert. (Cumb.), Nos. ii, 12. In 
the church there is a through-stone bearing 
the inscription : 'J.D.P.G. anno domini 1557.' 
The initials seem to mean ' John Dacre, provost 
of Greystoke,' as if he had resumed his old title in 
Queen Mary's reign. He conformed to all the 
ritual changes during the first years of Queen 
Elizabeth and died in 1567 (Carl. Epis. Reg., 
Best, fo. 22). 



as the parish church for an area of 11,000 
acres. Though the instrument of ordination 
cannot be traced, there is evidence enough to 
show that the institution was founded by 
Thomas, Lord Dacre, who died in 1525. The 
value of the benefice before the church was 
made collegiate was taxed at ^48 is. $d. in 
1291,* and at 5 in 131 8, 2 owing to the 
devastation of the Scottish wars. In i486, 3 
on the death of Lord Dacre, the advowson 
was declared to be appurtenant to the manor 
and to belong to Thomas, his son and heir, 
at that time eighteen years of age. 

In the ecclesiastical survey of 1535 the 
college is called ' the rectory and college of 
Kyrkowswald and Dacre,' and the superior is 
styled ' the master or provost of the collegiate 
church of St. Oswald of Kyrkoswald and 
Dacre.' The college was endowed with the 
advowsons and fruits of the associated churches 
of Kirkoswald and Dacre, both of which 
were in the patronage of the Dacre family. 
The foundation consisted of a master or pro- 
vost and five chaplains, together with two 
perpetual vicars for the pastoral oversight of 
the parishes. 4 The total value was assessed 
at 78 i6s. 6d. y out of which several pay- 
ments were due in rents, stipends and pen- 
sions. The perpetual vicars of Kirkoswald 
and Dacre received individually a stipend of 
j8 a year, and each of the five chaplains 
,6 13*. 4^, After all outgoings were 
deducted, there remained ^27 17$. for the 
stipend of the master, 4 of which was 
in dispute between the college and the Bishop 
of Carlisle. The names of the collegiate 
staff were John Hering, LL.D., master or 
provost ; Thomas Moyses, perpetual vicar ot 
the church of Kirkoswald ; Thomas Langrig, 
perpetual vicar of Dacre, and John Scailes, 
Roland Dawson, John Blencarne, Peter 
Levyns, and William Lowthyan, perpetual 
chaplains of the college. 6 The patronage of 
the college in head and members belonged to 
Lord Dacre. 

The advisers of Edward VI. were a little 
too precipitate in their attempt to dissolve this 
college under the authority of the Act of 37 
Henry VIII. cap. 4. On 19 April 1547 
they despatched letters to Rowland Threlkeld 
(Thirkeld), the provost, intimating the altera- 

1 Pope 'Nub. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 320. 

Ibid. 333. 

Cal. Inq.p.m. Hen. VII. \. 157. 

4 The editors of Dugdale's Monasticon, vi. 1450, 
were misled by Tanner (Notitia,p. 78) and Nicol- 
son and Burn (Hist, of Cumb. ii. 426) in supposing 
that Kirkoswald was a college of twelve secular 
priests founded by Robert Threlkeld. 

6 Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v. 290-1. 

tion of the college to another use and promis- 
ing pensions of reasonable sort to the members. 
On the following day, when the commissioners 
arrived at Kirkoswald and took possession, it 
seems that the provost refused to surrender 
the house and offered resistance. There are 
no signatures to the deed of surrender, 6 and 
as the impression of the seal is broken and 
very much obliterated, it is impossible to 
say whether the official seal of the college, 
if one existed, was used for that purpose. 
Later on, 8 June, it was intimated that the 
privy council had once resolved to have 
punished the disobedience to the king's com- 
missioners and make an example for the 
terror of others, but as the members of the 
college were now grown more manageable 
and were bent on compliance, and seemed 
sorry for their former stubbornness, it was 
thought fit to continue them on the premises 
till further orders should be taken for their 
pensions and for the disposal of the college. 
For the present only an inventory of the 
goods should be taken. 7 In this way a virtue 
was made of a necessity and the commis- 
sioners retired with as much dignity as they 
could under the circumstances. 

Under the Act of i Edward VI. cap. 14 
the privy council was on surer ground. The 
surveyors of chantries and colleges, appointed 
on 14 February 1547-8 by the powers given 
under the above Act, stated that the parish of 
' Kirkeswolde ' contained 500 'howseling 
people,' and that the ' colledge in the parishe 
churche there ' was ' off the foundacon of 
Thomas late lorde Dacres, 8 father of the 
lorde Dacres that nowe is.' The lands and 
tenements belonging to the college were 
valued at 89 IQJ. <)d., and ' Rowlande 
Threlkelde, clerke, provoste there, of th'age 
of 68 yeres, hathe yerely for his salarye, over 
and besides 52 in other places, 20* 

Some of the particulars of the dissolution 
of the college are not devoid of interest. It 
transpired that 'one thowsand howseling 
people,' no doubt including the inhabitants of 
the parish of Dacre, were dependent on the 
college, and that there were ' too vycars in- 
dewyd in the sayd colledge, viz. John Scoles, 
vycar ther, and Rowlande Dawson, serving 
in the churche of Dacre appropriate to the 

6 Dep. Keeper's Rep. viii. App. ii. 25. 

7 Collier, Eccl. Hist. v. 231, ed. Lathbury ; 
Acts ofP.C. 1547-50, p. 504. 

8 In 1536, when Drs. Layton and Legh com- 
piled their celebrated Black Book or Compendium 
Compertorum, they reported that ' Dominus Dakres ' 
was founder of the college and that its revenues 
were worth 71 (L. and P. Hen. VIII. x. 364). 

9 Chant. Cert. (Cumberland), No. 1 1. 



2 7 


same colledge, eyther of theym having ,8 
yerely.' The total revenue of the house was 
set down at ^79 195. 6d., and ' so remayneth 
clere ' "] I 1 9*. 6d., after deducting j8 ' for 
the wages ' of the vicar of Dacre. The net 
stipends ' whych the sayd incumbents yerelye 
recevid for ther lyvynges ' were as follow : 
' Roland Threlkeld, master of the sayd col- 
ledge, for his pencion and fyndynge of the 
howse, 35 1 9*. 6d. ; John Scalles, 7 6s. 8d. ; 
Robert Thomson, John Blenkerne, Robert 
Redshawe, William Lauthean and William 
Hayre, j6 each.' The incumbents of the 
two parishes were allowed to remain in spirit- 
ual charge, but the master and five chaplains 
were ejected, the former receiving an annual 
pension of ^17 10;., and each of the latter 


As the last master of the college was in 
many respects a remarkable man, the account 
of him written in 1677 by Richard Singleton 
may be given here. In describing the church 
of Melmerby, of which Roland Threlkeld 
had been rector, he says : 

The window at the east end of the quire hath 3 
lights, proportionable to the rest of the building, 
wherin formerly hath been store of curious 
painted glasse. In the midlemost of which lights 
towards the top ther is yet to be seen a coat of 
the Threlkelds in its colours, a maunch gules in 
a ffield argent : and in the midst of the uppermost 
part of the maunche there is, I take it, a trefoil. 
In the light between the said midle light and the 
vestry hath been set up or painted in his gown and 
cassoke I conceive (not much unlike to ours at this 
day) one Rol[and] Thrfelkeld] which is yet to be 
seen entire from his midle to his feet, and his 
right arme is yet extant, with this inscription 
underneath at the bottom, in black letters : ' C3tC 

pro attima IRolanbt (under that these 

words) JDuftOtV I suppose this inscription hath 
gon all along the bottom of the three lights and 
sett out all his titles, ffor report tells us, he was 
rector of Dufton and vicar of Lazonby as well as 
rector of Melmorby : he was rector also of Haugh- 
ton in the Spring neer Duresme and prebendary 
of Carlisle and master of Kirkoswald Colledge. 
'Twas he that built a bridge at Force mill for his 

Chant. Cert. (Cumberland), No. 12. 

own convenience to passe between Melmoreby (wher 
he most resided) and Lazonby. He was not 
married, nor did he admitt any womane to manage 
about his house, but kept (as I have heard by 
some) a dozen men, by another, sixteen men to 
wait on him, and for every man he usually kild a 
biefe at Martinmasse time (pluralities sure were 
not scrupled then since a man might have enjoyed 
tot quof). 

From the same narrative 2 we learn that while 
master of Kirkoswald he made considerable 
additions to the church of Melmerby. 

John Hering, LL.D. 1523," 1535 4 
Roland Threlkeld, last master, 1539, I543, 5 

The MS., entitled 'The Present State of the 
Parish and Man' of Melmerby in Cumberland 
from Mr. Singleton, Rector there, and sent to me 
1 9 of June, 1677. T[homas] M[achel],' is bound 
up in vol. vi. of the Machel collection in the 
custody of the dean and chapter of Carlisle. As 
Singleton's information was only traditional, his 
facts should be accepted with great caution. 

3 On 5 December I5Z3, Thomas Lord Dacrc, 
the founder of the college, appointed Thomas 
Moyses, one of the five perpetual chaplains in the 
said college, John Hering being at that time ' pro- 
vost of the church of St. Oswald, Kirkoswald' 
(Add. MS. 24965, f. I23b ; L. and P. Hen. nil. 
iii. 3606). The college cannot have been founded 
long before this date. 

Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v. 290. 

5 Mentioned in the First Fruits Composition 
Books under 1539 and 1543 in connection with 
the college of Kirkoswald ; rector of Halton in 
Lancashire in 1542 (Jackson, Papers and Pedigrees, 
ii. 295). Singleton confounded Halton with 
' Houghton in the Spring near Duresme ' as afore- 
said. At the time of his death in 1565, Threlkeld 
was rector of Melmerby and Dufton (Carl. Epis. 
Reg., Best, f. 21). By his will proved at Carlisle 
on 3 October 1565, he made certain bequests to 
poor people in the parishes of Melmerby, Dufton, 
Halton, Kirkoswald and Lazonby ; his body ' to be 
buryed within the quere of the parish church of 
Melmerby.' In his will the ancient phraseology 
was maintained (Jackson, Papers and Pedigrees, ii. 



county of Cumberland is fairly rich in ancient monumental 
effigies. Forty-one are still to be found in twenty-four churches 
in the county. All are described in detail in this article. It 
will be seen that in some instances there are as many as two or 
more independent figures, while in six churches the effigies of man and 
wife are lying side by side. Images of warriors in mail armour, perhaps 
of the thirteenth century, are to be seen at Calder Abbey, Dacre, Laner- 
cost and Ousby. Fourteenth century effigies exist at Cumrew, Croglin, 
Greystoke, Kirkland, Kirkoswald, Great Salkeld. Of fifteenth century 
date we find specimens at Ainstable, Crosthwaite, Greystoke, Millom 
and Workington. At Camerton we have ' Black Tom ' Curwen, who 
is supposed to have died in 1510. Others of the sixteenth century are 
Sir Richard Salkeld and Dame Jane his wife at Wetheral, and Bishop 
Barrow (possibly) in the cathedral at Carlisle. At Great Salkeld A. 
Hutton and his wife, 1637, lie on altar tombs in the churchyard, and a 
mural tablet to the memory of Thomas and Margaret Bertram (1609) 
adorns the east wall of the church of Kirkoswald. 

The only ecclesiastics are two bishops in the cathedral, and an 
archdeacon at Great Salkeld. Civilians with their wives remain at 
Crosthwaite and Great Salkeld, while knights with their wives are at 
Ainstable, Millom, Wetheral and Workington. Female effigies alone 
are seven in number, viz. at Cumrew, Croglin, Kirkoswald, Milburn, 
Stanwix, Torpenhow and Whitbeck. Only two wooden effigies are in 
existence, viz. at Ousby and Millom. The small figures at Holme 
Cultram and Bowness-on-Solway are clearly fragments of altar tombs. 
Perhaps the most curious is the small figure at Ainstable, which is so 
far a puzzle to antiquaries. 

AINSTABLE is charged with the armorial bearings of the 

I. An effigy of red sandstone of a man in Aglionby family, viz. argent, two bars, and 

plate armour with shirt of mail showing at in chief three martlets sable. A bawdric of 

the neck. Length, 5 feet 6 inches. The head panels of quatrefoils supports a dagger on 

is bare, with a band round the forehead, and the right side. The arm defences consist of 

rests on a tilting helmet with crest-wreath, plain pauldrons, brassards, elbow cops, and 

but without crest. The face has beard and vambraces of several plates. The gauntlets 

moustachios. A tight fitting surcoat with are very large (probably of leather faced with 

escalloped lower edge covers the body. This steel) and perfect, the thumbs and joints of 



the fingers being seen distinctly. The thighs 
are covered with plain plates and the knees 
have knee cops, also small and plain. The 
armour is of early fifteenth century date. 
Built into the wall, close by this effigy, is 
the crest of the Aglionbys (a demi-eagle dis- 
played, gold). 

II. A lady with horned head-dress resting 
on a pillow. The features are well marked 
and strong. The upper bodice is plain ; the 
waist is encircled by a girdle with buckle. 
The under garment is shown at the wrists 
buttoned up the arms as far as seen. The 
hands are placed in an attitude of prayer ; 
the ends of the fingers are gone, but the 
thumbs are visible. The feet are broken off. 
Around the tomb is this inscription : ORATE 


These effigies, representing John Aglionby 
and Katherine Denton his wife, were origin- 
ally in St. Cuthbert's Church, Carlisle, but 
are supposed to have been removed when it 
was rebuilt in 1778. Bishop Nicolson, in 
his Miscellany Accounts (p. lOi), writing of 
St. Cuthbert's Church, Carlisle, says : ' In 
the north isle, over against the middle win- 
dow (in which are the Aglionbys' arms in 
cross), lies a man in armour with his wife by 
his side, and over her, Orate, etc. (as above).' 

III. A small red sandstone effigy 3 feet 
long, now in the chancel of Ainstable Church. 
The figure is clad in a loose robe or surcoat, 
and the feet rest on a dog. The head, which 
has been covered with a mitre or cap, pos- 
sibly a bascinet, is much broken. On the 
breast, suspended by a band round the neck, 
is a heater-shaped shield 1 charged with a fret, 
probably for Salkeld. 


Built into the wall of the rector's stable 
is a red sandstone headless trunk of an ecclesi- 
astic wearing a chasuble and holding a book. 
The portion which remains of the original 
effigy is 2 feet long by i foot 6 inches broad. 

I. The effigy, which is of Purbeck marble, 
is now in an arch in the north aisle on the 
floor. It was placed in this arch in 1856, 
at the time of the restoration of the cathedral, 
and it only goes into it owing to the fact that 
the feet have been broken off. The follow- 

1 Mr. Mill Stephenson, F.S.A., says : ' I think 
the shield shows that this is a warrior in his 
ordinary attire. The shield proves this. With 
regard to the size, my own opinion on these little 
figures is that they are placed over heart burials.' 

ing is a description by Mr. Bloxam, F.S.A. : 
' The effigy of a bishop of the thirteenth cen- 
tury. He is represented bearded, with the mitra 
pretiosa on his head, the amice about his neck, 
and in the alb, tunic, and dalmatic, over 
which is worn the chesible, which is long, 
with the rationale in front of the breast. The 
right hand, now gone, was in the act of 
benediction. The pastoral staff is on the 
left of the body. Above the head is an Early 
English canopy, now much mutilated. This 
is said to be Bishop de Everdon, who died 
in 1254 or 1255. ' 8 

Chancellor Ferguson considered that this 
effigy might be that of Bishop Ireton, 8 who 
died in 1292. There is no evidence that de 
Everdon had a monument in the cathedral. 
The canopy has an angel with clasped hands 
on either side. 

II. In the south aisle is a recumbent effigy 
of a bishop in red sandstone. Mr. Bloxam 
describes this figure thus : ' His face is closely 
shaven ; on his head is worn the mitra pretiosa 
with pendent infulae behind. The amice is 
worn about the neck. On the body appear, 
first the skirts of the alb, then the extremities 
of the stole, then the tunic, over that the 
dalmatic, over all the chesible, with the 
rationale in front of the breast. The maniple 
hangs down from the left arm ; the right 
hand is gone, but was upheld in the act of 
benediction. The pastoral staff, enveloped 
in a veil, appears on the left side, but the 
crook is gone ; the left hand is also gone. 
The shoes or sandals are pointed, and the feet 
rest against a sculptured bracket. The head 
reposes on a square cushion. Above is a 
canopy partly destroyed. The effigy appears 
to be of the middle of the fifteenth century, 
circa 1469.'* This effigy reclines on an 
altar tomb between the south aisle and St. 
Katherine's Chapel. The panels on the south 
side are of original work. Those visible on 
the north side are modern, having been carved 
when the wooden screen separating the aisle 
from the chapel was moved from the north 
to the south side of the monument. In the 
centre of the groining of the canopy is a rose. 
On each side of the mitre are three roses of 
the same pattern as the rationale and the 
designs at the ends of the stole and maniple. 

2 Arch. Jour., xxxix. 449. 

3 It is more probably the monument of Bishop 
Robert de Chause or Chalix (1258-78). Seethe 
account of the fire of 1292 at Lanercost : 'ita ut 
mausoleum improbi exactoris [i.e. Bishop Ireton] 
flamma voraret, sed termini predecessoris sui, 
Robert! de Chalix, ex omni parte intacti perseverent ' 
(Chron. de Lanercost, Maitland Club, 1839, p. 145). 

* Arch. Jour., xxxix. 449. 



The drapery and feet are beautiful. The 
shoes show the toes. The bracket at the 
feet has, to the left, an animal with long ears, 
and on the right a small lion with curly mane. 
Chancellor Ferguson concluded that it was the 
effigy of Bishop Barrow, who died in 1429. 


I. This figure is clothed in a complete suit 
of chain mail. The right hand is broken off; 
it has evidently been holding the large cross- 
hilted sword which is hung in front. The 
head rests on an oblong pillow. The features 
of the face are bold. A sleeveless surcoat of 
linen or cloth is worn over the armour and 
confined at the waist by a cord. On the left 
arm is a heater-shaped shield emblazoned with 
the arms of Layburne, or Layburn, 1 of Cuns- 
wick in Westmorland. There is also a label 
for an eldest son. 

II. Another figure of the same period as 
No. I. In this one the top of the coif of chain 
mail is round, in the last it is flat. The 
hands are joined in prayer. The head rests 
on two cushions, the top one being round, 
the other oblong. The mittens of chain mail 
are perfect, being continued from the sleeves 
of the hauberk and undivided for the fingers. 
This figure carries a heater-shaped shield, sus- 
pended by a guige or strap passing over the 
right shoulder, and emblazoned with the arms 
of the Flemings. 

III. Another man in armour very similar 
to No. I. though slightly larger. The device 
on the shield is obliterated. The right hand 
rests on the hilt of the sword. There is no 
clue as to whom this effigy represents. 

IV. Two arms in chain armour. A large 
slab carved with a very mutilated head in a 
coif of chain mail, with a rich crocketted 
canopy of thirteenth century work above. 
It is very much worn with the weather, yet 
upon it we can trace angels as supporters, and 
very clearly, a five pointed star in one panel 
of the top or back of the canopy, and a moon 
with a crescent on it. 

All the four effigies are of red sandstone. 

1 Dr. Parker of Gosforth wrote to me on 
26 September, 1901, as follows : 'We have been 
excavating the chancel at Calder Abbey, and have 
found what appears to be the missing end of the 
effigy of De Layburne. The bevelled slab and the 
pattern of chain mail correspond with the effigy ; 
the legs have been crossed, the foot is inclosed in 
a stocking of chain mail, and the feet have rested 
on an animal which seems to be a double-headed 
lion, or two lions conjoined. There is also part 
of the life-sized head of an ecclesiastic which was 
found two or three years back, and a right hand 
grasping a staff.' 


THOMAS CURWEN, ' Black Tom of the 
North.' A red sandstone effigy, painted 

The head, bare with long hair, rests on a 
tilting helmet, surmounted by the crest of 
the Curwens, a unicorn's head erased. The 
horn however is broken off. A shirt of 
mail is visible under the tuilles and possibly at 
the neck. On the breastplate is a spear rest. 
The arms are protected by pauldrons (the 
left as usual being larger than the right), 
brassards, scalloped elbow cops and vambraces. 
Gauntlets cover the hands and wrists. To a 
skirt of four taces are suspended, by straps, 
three large invected tuilles. The leg armour 
consists of cuissards or thigh pieces, knee cops, 
and jambes, and on the feet are broad-toed 
sabbatons. The rowel spurs are fastened with 
broad straps. At the feet is a sheep or lamb. 
A gypciere is beside the dagger. The 
long sword with ornamental hilt is perfect, 
and is held in its place by a strong belt with 
large buckle with elaborate pendant. At the 
last restoration in 1890, this effigy was re- 
placed on its original altar tomb in the south 

The writer has received the following com- 
munication from Lord Dillon : ' Mr. Mill 
Stephenson to-day showed me the photograph 
of Black Tom Curwen's effigy in Camerton 
Church. It appears to be a very interesting 
one, especially for some details. The " arm- 
ing points " or laces for attaching portions of 
the armour (in this case the shoulder and 
elbow pieces), are found in some effigies else- 
where, e.g. the Harcourt (see Hollis) and the 
Crosby and Hungerford effigies (see Stothard), 
but the points for fastening the arming shoes 
to the sollerets are uncommon. ... In the 
National Gallery in a picture of St. William, 
and in one of the Archangel Michael, by 
Simone Papa, at Naples, this detail is well 
shown. In actual suits of armour the two 
holes in the sollerets for the points are too 
often ignorantly filled up with false rivets. 
A photo showing this point of the Camerton 
effigy would be very interesting. The single 
central tullle and the pendent sword belt are 
also noteworthy.' On the sides of this altar 
tomb are shields, some bearing various curious 
devices, others coats of arms. 


Effigies of a civilian and lady in limestone. 
The male figure wears the costume of a mer- 
chant of the fifteenth century. A long loose 
tunic reaches from the neck to the feet, with 
wide sleeves which grow tight round the 



wrist. It is secured round the waist by a 
belt from which hangs a gypciere or purse. 
The head is bare and the hair is parted in the 
middle. A collar showing traces of colour 
encircles the neck. A long mantle is secured 
by a cordon crossing from shoulder to shoulder 
and the hands enclose a heart. The feet rest 
on a dog and the head on a cushion with 

The lady is habited in a close fitting 
kirtle with tight sleeves, encircled round the 
waist with a broad girdle and fastened across 
the hips by other bands. Over this is worn 
the sideless cote-hardi. The head is covered 
with a peculiar kind of crown or cap with 
a small rosette at the top and rests on two 
cushions. Beneath the cap a veil falls grace- 
fully on the shoulders. Round the neck is an 
ornamental collar and a necklace from which 
a pendent jewel rests on the bosom, while 
from the girdle hangs a cord whose broken 
ends fall nearly to the feet. A mantle also 
falls from the shoulders and is held by a band 
across the bosom, fastened by brooches. The 
hands hold a heart. 1 

The effigies are on the south side of the 
altar rails. Over them, resting on stout 
pillars, is a heavy slab of marble in which is 
embedded the brass of Sir John Ratcliffe and 
Dame Alice his wife. There is very little 
detail in the dress to help in the identification 
of these effigies, but they are generally be- 
lieved to be those of Sir John de Derwent- 
water and his lady, who lived in the reigns 
of Henry VI. and the three preceding sove- 


Effigy of a lady. A massive sepulchral 
red sandstone monument found under the 
floor of the old church near where the 
chancel arch should have been. It is that of 
a lady whose head reclines on a cushion, be- 
hind which is a small dog with pendulous ears 
and smooth hair, not unlike a dachshund. A 
similar but larger and much broken dog is at 
the feet. The lady wears a wimple ; a 
coverchief is on her head and falls gracefully 
on the shoulders. The hair is concealed. 
The rest of the costume consists of super- 
tunic and kirtle. The former envelopes the 
entire person. It has no waist cincture and 
its sleeves are loose and long hanging. Of 
the kirtle nothing is visible but the tight 
sleeves. The feet are large, in clumsy 
pointed shoes. The hands, showing the 

1 History of Crosthtvaite Church, p. 60, published 
by J. B. Nichols & Sons, London, 1853, where is 
an illustration. 

thumbs, are in the attitude of prayer. This 
effigy is now in the vestry. 


The much mutilated effigy of a lady, very 
similar in size, about 6 feet, and in almost 
exactly the same dress as the effigy at Cum- 
rew. The lady's feet are visible and rest on 
an animal. The face and head-dress are 
destroyed. It rests in the churchyard on the 
south side of the church and is nearly over- 
grown with grass. The lady is said to be a 
member of the Wharton family. 

Cumrew and Croglin are adjoining parishes, 
and the same sculptor probably worked both 
effigies from the same model. 


A red sandstone effigy of a man in banded 
mail armour. The belts for shield and sword 
are ornamented with crosses. The mail 
mittens hang from the wrists ; as far as can 
be seen, the left leg is crossed over the right. 
This effigy is now on the floor of the north 
side of the chancel. It is said to be the 
monument of one of the Dacre family of the 
time of Henry III. 


Jefferson in his History of Leatb Ward, 
p. 364, says : ' On the north side of the choir 
is a fine alabaster altar tomb on which recline 
two knights. . . . The front is enriched with 
angels in compartments, bearing shields em- 
blazoned with the arms of Greystoke in pro- 
per colours. On the end towards the nave 
are two shields with the arms of Greystoke 
(ancient) and Grymethorpe.' The front of 
one tomb is still in the church. As the 
knights are of quite different sizes, it is cer- 
tain they were not originally on the same 
tomb. Now they lie side by side on the 
pavement in the west end of the south aisle. 

I. The larger figure, broken off at the 
knees, is clad in the plate armour of the early 
part of the fifteenth century. The head is 
bare, and rests on a huge tilting helmet. The 
pauldrons are massive and fluted, the left one 
being larger than the right. The elbow cops 
are ornamented as well as the knee cops. 
He wears a collar of SS. Attached to the 
skirt of taces are tuilles. The straps and 
buckles of the armour generally are well 
preserved. The large bawdric has a pattern 
of quatrefoils. Another band is passed over 
the right hip, but the sword which it supported 
has disappeared. Traces of colour are still 
visible. Mrs. Hudleston says : ' This figure 
represents a Baron of Greystoke of about 



1440, the date ot a very similar effigy of Sir 
Robert Grashill in Haversham Church, Notts. 
It is perhaps John, the i6th Baron Grey- 
stoke, who married Elizabeth, daughter and 
heiress of Robert, Baron Ferrers of Wemme. 
By his will dated 10 July, 1436, he ordered 
his body to be buried in the collegiate church 
of Greystoke and bequeathed to that church 
his best horse as a mortuary, and all his habi- 
liments of war, consisting of coat armour, 
pennon, gyron, etc.' 

II. The smaller figure, Mrs. Hudleston 
suggests, is that of the founder of the 
college, or collegiate church of Greystoke, 
William le Bon Baron, who died 1359. He 
lies below a canopy which bears many 
shields, formerly charged with painted armorial 
devices, now too defaced to be made out. 
Portions of angels are discernible. He wears 
a plain, acutely pointed steel bascinet to which 
the camail or tippet of mail is laced. The 
hands, in gauntlets, are in attitude of prayer. 
The surcoat with fringe border covers the 
body. The arms and legs are protected with 
the usual plate armour. The feet rest on a 
lion with a long tail reaching almost to the 
surcoat. A dagger hangs from the baw- 
dric. The head, supported by two draped 
angels, rests on a cushion. On each side of 
the ankles is a shield without device. 1 


The figure of an abbot is on the front of 
a dismembered altar tomb, now in the porch. 
The abbot is seated on a throne. His head 
is mitred : he wears a chasuble with rationale 
on his breast. The alb with apparel is seen 
distinctly under the chasuble. The feet pro- 
ject from below the robes. He holds his 
staff over his left shoulder. Three monks 
pray on each side of him. There are two 
other portions of the same tomb in the porch. 
The whole is clearly the monument of 
Robert Chambers, for at one end is a shield 
with the chained bear and R.C. so familiar to 
every local antiquary and so common in the 
Abbey holme. He was Abbot from 1507-1518. 


I. The effigy of a lady in red sandstone. 
The mutilated head, from which flows a veil, 
showing a curl on either side, rests on a 

1 Mr. Mill Stephenson says : 'This is interest- 
ing as an early example of the bascinet and camail. 
The high pointed bascinet is significant. There 
is an effigy of Sir John de Herteshull at Ashton, 
Northamptonshire, who died 1365 (circa"), very 
like it.' 

cushion. Her dress, without girdle, is plain 
and reaches to the feet, which are large for 
the size of the figure. On each of the 
shoulders is a small decorated band something 
like an epaulette, not visible in the sketch. 
The simplicity of the gown, and the tresses 
of hair on each side of the face, lead to the 
belief that the effigy is of the fourteenth 
century. It lies on the north side of the 

II. An alabaster monument put up to the 
memory of Margaret Bertram, who died in 
the year 1609, by Thomas Bertram, her 
husband. The picture speaks for itself. 
Thomas Bertram and Margaret his wife are 
kneeling on opposite sides of a prayer desk, 
the two sons kneel behind the father and a 
daughter is seen behind the mother. The 
tablet containing the inscription has suspended 
at one end of it a censer and at the other a 
book. The hour-glass and skull remind the 
reader of death. The dresses are those of 
the late sixteenth or seventeenth century. 
Bishop Nicolson gives the inscription, which 
he calls tedious and blundering. Margaret 
Bertram was one of the sisters and co-heirs 
of Thomas Brougham of Brougham, and wife 
of Thomas Bertram. 


An effigy of white chalk stone, of the 
middle of the fourteenth century. The 
figure is clad in a surcoat of remarkable 
length, and has a large sword hanging in 
front. There is no trace of mail armour 
now, although the head seems as if it had a 
close-fitting helmet, from the sides of which 
tufts of hair project. The hands hold a 
heart. This is said to be the effigy of a 
Fleming. It now rests on the floor on the 
north side of the chancel. 


I. Two fragments of an armed figure in red 
sandstone of the latter part of the fourteenth 
century. The body is clothed in hauberk of 
chain mail with surcoat embroidered with the 
armorial bearings of Vaux of Triermain. 
The thigh has a cuissard of plate. The 
bawdric is very richly ornamented. The 
other fragment gives the left foot in a sol- 
leret of plate, resting on a recumbent lion, 
from whose mouth depends a scroll. 

II. A recumbent effigy of a layman 6 feet 
3 inches long by i foot 7 inches. The figure 
is clothed in a tunic without belt, reaching a 
little below the knee. The legs appear to be 
covered with tight-fitting hose. The feet 
without shoes rest on a dog. The hands are 



palm to palm on the breast. The head rests 
on a cushion, and on it there appear to have 
been three angels, one at the crown of the 
head, the other two at the sides of the face. 
The hair is long and curly. The date is late 
fourteenth or early fifteenth century. This 
effigy now rests on a Dacre altar tomb, and 
is said to have been brought from the church- 
yard. A modern inscription in cursive letters 
has been cut across the lower part of the 
figure, as follows : John Crow of Longlands 
died March 23rd, 1708, aged 25 years. 

Tradition says he was a workman at the 
building of the abbey, who fell from the 
clerestory and broke his neck, but Pennant 
says he broke his neck by a fall he had in 
climbing round the ruins of the church on 
23 March, 1708. 

III. The headless bust of a figure, assumed 
to be that of a deacon, is in an aumbry of 
the transept. 


Resting against the south wall of the 
church on the outside is the recumbent effigy 
of a lady in white stone, very much worn 
from exposure. She is clad in a robe with 
girdle. The head, hands and feet are all 
missing. Length of the fragment 4 feet. 


I. On a very handsome altar tomb of ala- 
baster are the effigies of a gentleman and his 
lady, undoubtedly of the Hudleston family ; 
but there is nothing to show which members 
they are. The man is on the sinister side of 
the slab, and is bareheaded with long flow- 
ing hair. The head rests on a tilting helmet 
of which the crest is gone, but the mantling 
on the sinister side remains. The crest in 
most cases is found on the dexter side of the 
head. Chain mail is seen at the neck. The 
pauldrons are large and plain. A skirt of 
invected taces with dependent tuilles covers 
the lower part of the body. A collar of roses 
and stars hangs from the neck. The date is 
the middle or end of the fifteenth century. 

The lady's costume is of a similar date to 
that of her husband. Her head-dress appears 
to be knitted, she wears an elaborate collar 
with a sexfoil ornament the pendants of 
both hers and her husband's are defaced. A 
sideless cote-hard i conceals part of the belt 
which encircles the plain kirtle. A long 
mantle is seen hanging at the side of the 
dress, but the cord on the breast and the 
folded hands have been entirely destroyed. 

The tomb on which the effigies rest is in 
the south-east corner of the aisle, one side and 
end being against the walls. The other side 

and end contain seven cusped pinnacled and 
crocketted niches, each containing a figure of 
an angel bearing a plain shield. Six of these 
are attended by one small kneeling figure and 
the other by two. A date is given to the 
whole monument because these small figures 
are those of females, wearing the butterfly 
head-dress which was in fashion between 
the reign of Edward IV., 1461, and the 
early years of Henry VII., 1485. 

II. A grotesque looking fragment of the 
effigy of a man in oak. The figure is very 
much worn, but plate armour is seen at the 
knees. The feet rest on a lion. It is of 
late fourteenth or early fifteenth century date. 


An effigy (7 feet long) in oak of a man in 
chain mail of the thirteenth century, very 
similar to the stone ones of the same period 
previously described. Figure in chain mail 
with plate knee cops, camail, and long 
sleeveless surcoat, cut up the middle. 
Under it a hawberk of mail over a 
haqueton. Apparently banded mail on legs 
and ringed elsewhere. The spur straps are 
left, but spurs gone. Narrow guige over 
right shoulder, but shield and part of left side 
of effigy gone. Narrow waist belt but broader 
sword belt with long ends hanging down. 
The hilt and blade of sword gone. Legs 
crossed at knee. Feet on a dog. 

Bishop Nicolson has stated that ' the tradi- 
tion is that he was an outlaw who lived at 
Cruegarth in this parish, and that he was 
killed, as he was hunting, at a certain place on 
the neighbouring mountain, which (from that 
accident) keeps the name of Baron-Syde to 
this day. For all great men were anciently 
call'd Barons in this country.' l The figure 
is now in the chancel ; formerly it was in a 
recess on the south side of the nave. 


Two fragments of male effigies. The 
older one (thirteenth century) has traces of 
surcoat, hood, waistbelt, and shield tolerably 
perfect, having the armorial bearings of 
the Ireby family (a shield fretty). 

The second figure is also that of a knight, 
but of the fourteenth century, probably about 
1370. Slight traces of the pauldrons, camail, 
surcoat, bawdric, etc. 2 

1 Miscellany Accounts, p. 66. 

2 Gough states on the authority of Nicolson 
and Burn's History that there is a wooden effigy at 
St. Bees, but Lysons could not find it, and it cer- 
tainly is not there now. It is said to be that of 
Anthony Lord Lucy, 41 Edw. III. 




BURDETT his wife. The effigies and the 
slab on which they lie have been carved out 
of one block of stone. Mr. Watson says it 
is tufa, a rock formed by springs depositing 
magnesian limestone. The slab is now split 
down between the effigies into two pieces. 
' The effigy to the dexter side, that of a man, 
wears a legal costume, a gown with long 
hanging sleeves, richly laced over the upper 
part of the arm, the " crackling " as it would 
be called at Cambridge. His right arm is ex- 
tended along his side and the hand grasps his 
long hanging sleeve near its end. His left 
arm is doubled on the chest, and the hand 
holds a folded paper. The gown reaches to 
the ground and has a deep round falling col- 
lar, probably of lawn : the sleeves close-fitting 
from elbow to wrists, with plain cuffs of lawn 
or linen. The lady's attitude is similar to 
that of her husband, except that her left arm 
is extended at her side and her right doubled 
upon her chest. She has a ruff" round her 
neck, a flowing veil over her head, and full 
sleeves : her gown is gathered in at the waist 
by a knot of ribbons.' * 

Anthony Hutton died at Penrith in 1637, 
and was buried in the quire of St. Andrew's 
Church. His wife, Elizabeth Burdett, who 
survived him for thirty-six years, placed these 
effigies in Penrith parish church. 

It is a difficult matter to explain how these 
monuments ever came to be brought to Great 
Salkeld. It is supposed that at the pulling 
down of the old Penrith parish church in 
1720 they were removed for safety to Hutton 
Hall, in Penrith, until perhaps a place might 
be found for them in the new building. In 
the course of time Mr. Watson says they 
were claimed by ' Mr. William Richardson, 
doctor of physic, of Town Head, Penrith, 
and afterwards of Nunwick Hall,' then called 
Low House, in Great Salkeld parish. He 
had married a daughter of Mr. Richard Hut- 
ton of Gale, a manor in Melmerby, and of 
Penrith, on the strength of which connection 
with the Huttons Mr. Watson thinks that he 
'assumed the Hutton arms, cast the Hutton 
crest upon the leaden heading of his water 
spouts, and carried off the Hutton effigies.' 

Bishop Nicolson gives a long account of 
this monument and the inscription on it. 2 

Mrs. Elizabeth Hutton did not die till 
1673, so that she must have lived thirty-six 
years after her own monument was erected, 

1 Trans, of Cumb. and Westm. Antiq. Soc., xii. 


Miscellany Accounts, pp. 151, 152. 

and all those years have worshipped beside 
her own recumbent effigy in her parish 

of Carlisle, died 1320. The archdeacon 
is clad in amice, alb, chasuble and maniple. 
His head (on which is the tonsure) rests on 
a pillow, while at the feet is the figure of a 
small lion. His hands are clasped in the 
attitude of prayer. The following inscription 
in Lombardic capitals runs along the cham- 
fered margin of the slab under the figure 


A much worn effigy of a female in red 
sandstone lies in the churchyard south of the 
church, buried in the grass. There is little 
to give any clue to the date except the shape 
of the head, which seems to be without cap, 
but with a curl on each side. This leads us 
to believe the effigy to be of the fifteenth 
century. The arms are very straight and 
are partly covered with large sleeves, which 
are seen below the elbows. The feet rest 
on a greyhound. The effigy is 5 feet 5^ 
inches long. The Rev. J. R. Wood, the 
present vicar, says that sixty years ago the 
figure had the letters G.H.S. cut legibly on 
the breast, no doubt a modern usurpation, 
like that of John Crow at Lanercost. This 
he learnt from a caretaker, who remembered, 
as a child, often playing upon the monument. 


A very much worn recumbent figure of a 
lady now standing vertically in the church- 
yard near the gate. 


his wife, only child and heir of Roland Vaux 
of Triermain, about 1500. 

Two figures of alabaster, showing traces 
of colour, gold and vermilion especially. Sir 
Richard is in plate armour with shirt of mail 
appearing at the throat and below the taces. 
The head bare, with hair cut short in front 
and left long behind, rests on a tilting helmet, 
much broken, but the crest wreath remains. 
At the back of the helmet is a shield with 
the arms of Salkeld (vert a fret silver). On 
the shoulders are pauldrons, and, as usual in 
the fifteenth century, the right one is of 
lighter construction than the left in order 
to give more freedom to the sword arm. 
Around his neck is a collar of roses and SS. 
The arms are broken off", but the hands are 
seen to have been clasped in prayer on the 





breast. A paunce covers the lower part 
of the breastplate and is scalloped at the 
edges, running to a point and buckling to the 
breastplate below the chin. There are three 
taces with dependent fluted tuilles covering 
the thighs. The legs are covered with cuissards, 
knee cops and greaves. Part of one leg is 
gone, but the other is fairly perfect. The foot, 
showing the strap of the spur, rests on a lion, 
whose head is gone, but whose long tail is 
clearly seen. The sword has disappeared, 
but traces of the hilt are visible. The sword- 
belt is narrow and transverse, covered with 
small quatrefoils. The outline of the dagger 
is discernible on the right side of the slab. 

The armour is of a slightly earlier 
date than 1500, but the monument may 
easily have been executed before Sir Richard's 
death, and then placed in its position under 
the inscription, which was clearly drawn up 
by Dame Jane, as there is no mention of her 

Dame Jane's head rests on two cushions. 
At the back of these is a shield with arms of 
Salkeld impaling those of Vaux of Triermain 
(a red and gold chequered band across a silver 
shield). On her head she wears a cap some- 
thing like a biretta, as at Crosthwaite, with 
a button in the centre of the top. Under it 
is a coverchief, and under that her long hair 
hanging down. She wears a collar of SS 
and roses, with a jewel pendant, like her 
husband. The lady's kirtle is seen at the 
waist, where it is held in its place by a narrow 
belt, tied at the right side with a long end 
hanging down. A rosary is tucked through 
the belt ; above the kirtle is the sideless 
cfite-hardi. Over all is a mantle, open, but 
fastened by a strap across the breast. The 
feet are hidden by the skirt. 

In the heraldic collection of monumental 
records in the Lansdowne MSS. of the British 
Museum is a description of the tomb and 
copy of the epitaph made in the reign of 
Queen Elizabeth, when no doubt the tomb 
and inscription would be perfect. 

Here lyes Sir Richard Salkeld, rgt Knyth 

Who sometyme in this land was mekill of myth 

The Captain and kep of Carlisle was he, 

And also the lord of Korbe. 

And now lyes under this stayne. 

And his lady and wiff dayme Jayne, 

In ye year of our Lord God a Thousand 

And Five Hundreth, as I understand 

The aighteen of Feweryere 

That gentill Knyth was berit here 

I pray you all that this doys see 

Pra for ther saulys for charitc 

For as yay yr so mon we be. 

Bishop Nicolson, in 1703, says the in- 
scription was 'over the arch betwixt the Quire 
and ye North Isle, and under it an old 
monument whereon are laid two alabaster 
bodies (male and female).' * After this the 
effigies were moved within the altar rails, 
where they remained until the restoration in 
1882. They were then moved into the 
Howard mausoleum, but Sir Henry Howard 
(Mr. Philip Howard's second brother), our 
ambassador at The Hague, objected because he 
considered they spoiled the Nollekens statue 
and endangered the vault beneath. The 
tomb was then placed in its present position, 
and the rector thinks it is the original one, 
as the Corby pew formerly stood here. 


Effigy of a lady in red sandstone, which 
has been sometime painted. Local tradition 
calls her the Lady of Annaside. The head 
rests on a pillow. A wimple is drawn over 
her chin, and a veil covers her head and falls 
on her shoulders. A large mantle covers her 
dress and is tucked up under her left arm. 
Her feet rest on a dog. The date of the 
effigy is about 1300. Possibly the lady may 
be one of the Hudlestons of Anneys. The 
effigy used to be in the churchyard, where it 
was much worn by heedless feet ; now it is 
carefully preserved in the church. 


effigies of grey limestone on an altar tomb, 
7 feet 4 inches long, having on the west side 
five niches with cinquefoil heads, each bear- 
ing a shield. The arms at the head of the 
dexter side are those of Curwen impaling 
lozengy for Croft, being the arms of Chris- 
topher's father and mother ; the next are 
those of Curwen and Hudleston, his own 
and those of his wife ; the third coat Curwen 
only ; the fourth Curwen impaling six annu- 
lets gold, for Lowther, their son's arms and 
those of his wife ; and the last Curwen im- 
paling the eldest son of a Pennington who 
predeceased his father ; which last were the 
arms of Christopher, the grandson of the 
entombed pair, and those of his wife. 

The head of the effigy of the knight has 
round its brow an embroidered band or cap, 
and rests on a cushion with a tilting helmet 
behind, bearing the crest of the Curwen 
family, a unicorn's head erased silver, armed 
gold. A large collar of plate protects the upper 

Miscellany Accounts, pp. 49-50. 



chest and neck. On it rests a collar of SS ornament. A strong belt holds her kirtle, 

with trefoil brooch and pendent star. The while over all is a large mantle fastened across 

plate armour is plain, the vambraces seem to the chest with bands held together by a clasp, 

be of leather and buttoned. The hands of The ends of the cords fall down and end in 

both knight and lady hold hearts. The tassels. Two small dogs with collars of bells 

bawdric is very ornamental. The long sword rest at the foot of the tomb, and look towards 

is perfect with a pierced hand and arm for the lady's face one is biting the end of her 

hilt. The feet in pointed-toed sollerets rest mantle. 

on a dog. The monument was formerly under the 

The lady's head has a peculiar head-dress, tower, but is now in the north-east corner 

somewhat similar to the one at Hawkshead, of the north aisle. This inscription runs 

and rests on two cushions, one above the round the top edge of the tomb : 'Orate pro 

other ; an angel on either side looks on her. animabz Xtoferi Curwen militis et Elizabethe 

Around her neck is a collar with pendent uxoris ejus.' 




geographical position of the modern county of Cumberland 
has had an important influence in determining its formation as 
a political unit of the English commonwealth. On every side, 
with insignificant exceptions, the boundaries are well marked 
by river, mountain or sea. The district is wedged in between the 
Pennine range and the Solway Firth, and is almost cut off from Scotland 
by a long arm of the sea which runs inland for such a distance that 
only a few miles of outlet are left towards the north. The approach 
from the south is blocked by great mountain masses, through which 
there are few passes except towards Yorkshire through the valley of the 
Eden. The whole district occupies such a peculiar position that its de- 
limitation as a political area must have been determined to some extent 
by its natural boundaries. The Roman general who chose the Solway 
as the termination of the Great Wall would seem almost instinctively to 
have traced a frontier on the western side which was to be the boundary 
between contending tribes and nations. The wall as a whole was the 
real limit of the effective power of Rome, beyond which she never per- 
manently established her authority. Occasionally indeed her dominion 
extended as far as the more northern barrier between the Clyde and the 
Forth, but in that region it had scarcely passed the stage of military 
occupation and was held only by an intermittent and precarious tenure. 
The wall of Hadrian remained the true frontier. Nowhere therefore 
more than on its western side, owing to the isolation of the district 
from the rest of the country, was the momentous change felt which took 
place when the emperor Honorius sent letters to the cities of Britain, 
announcing the withdrawal of the legionaries and bidding them to pro- 
vide in future for their own safety. Thus at the opening of the fifth 
century was terminated that Roman occupation which had endured for 
more than three hundred years, and which must have in many ways in- 
fluenced the fortunes and affected the characters of the inhabitants. 

For a long period after the withdrawal of the Roman forces the 
district south of the Solway has little or no history. There is nothing 
but darkness, unrelieved by a single gleam of light, during the centuries 
which elapsed between the departure of the Roman and the coming of 
the Teuton. Of documentary record there is none. It is true that we 
read much in the pages of Gildas and Bede of what the Britons suffered 
from internal dissensions and the constant inroads of hostile races like the 
Picts, Scots and Angles, but we cannot justify the exclusive application 



of the narratives to the political conditions of any special locality. The 
memories of their struggles for independence have been handed down in 
the legendary poetry of the race. At an early date the immortal name 
of Arthur was known and his exploits were celebrated in this district. 
It is needless to inquire whether or not he was a local personage. The 
pertinacity of the tradition which has covered the modern county with 
Arthurian sites 1 may not be set aside as altogether valueless. It is pos- 
sible that we have in Arthur the eponymous hero who represents in 
himself the vicissitudes of the British race, the ideal and never-to- 
be-forgotten champion in whose deeds the struggles of the nation 
for liberty and independence have been personified, an early type of all 
that was high and noble which was to stir men's hearts for ages yet 
to come. From another class of legend with more claim to be con- 
sidered historical we derive a circumstantial laccount of the political 
triumph of the Christian faith and the establishment of a British king- 
dom of which our district formed a part. If the general features of the 
narrative be genuine, the victory of Rederech over the forces of paganism 
in the great battle of Ardderyd in 573 forms an important landmark in 
local history. On one side were the Britons, who had remained steadfast 
to the faith of their Christian teachers, and on the other were those who 
had apostatized and wished to adhere to the old religion of their race. 
The struggle ' to break the heathen and uphold the Christ ' was event- 
ually successful. After the battle, the site of which has been identified 
with Arthuret, a parish about eight miles to the north of Carlisle, it is 
said that Rederech, the Christian leader, became king of the Britons 
and consolidated the mixed tribes of the western coast into a kingdom 
which stretched from the Clyde to the Mersey. The capital was fixed 
at Alcluyd or Dumbarton, and the kingdom was called Strathclyde. 2 

Whatever value may be ascribed to these traditions it is quite cer- 
tain that the kingdom of Strathclyde did not survive in its entirety for 
many years, for we know that in the seventh century the district south 
of the Solway was an integral portion of the English kingdom of North- 
umbria. The district at that time had no distinctive name and perhaps 
no separate political existence. All we know is that it was subject to 
English 3 rule. But there is one circumstance from which, in the ab- 

1 The legend of King Arthur has been a fruitful subject of controversy which cannot be noticed 
here. The Arthurian sites in Cumberland have been discussed by writers of ability like Dr. Skene (Celtic 
Scotland, i. 1528). See also his Four Ancient Books, and his ' Notice of the site of the Battle of Arderyth ' 
in Proceeding of the Soc. of Antiq. of Scotland (1867), vi. 95. Mr. Stuart Glennie has gone minutely into 
the Cumberland section of Arthurian Scotland (Arthurian Localities, pp. 68-76). Apart from the 
statements of writers like Gildas and Nennius, the earliest reference that we have found of Arthur's 
connection with the district is contained in the confirmation charter of Henry II., dated about 1175, in 
which some land in Carlisle is described as being ' circa Burum Arthuri in Kaerlelol iuxta mansionem 
Canonicorum ' (Trans, of Cumb. and West. Arcbtetl. Soc. iii. 248, new ser.). Welsh traditions were very 
prevalent among the antiquaries of Cumberland in the twelfth century. What is meant by the ' burum 
Arthuri' may be considered a subject of debate. 

a The battle of Ardderyd, the centre of a group of Welsh traditions, has been fully described by 
Dr. Skene in Celtic Scotland, \. 157-9, where he has collected the most valuable of the authorities. 

3 On the use of the word 'English' to designate the inhabitants of Britain before the Norman 
Conquest as distinguished from ' Saxon ' or ' Anglo-Saxon,' the interesting and learned note of Mr. 
Freeman should be consulted (Norman Conquest, i. 528-41). 



sence of direct evidence, certain deductions may be drawn. The Roman 
city of Luguvallum, or Luguvallium as it is called on the itinerary of 
Antonine, now known as Carlisle, 1 never lost its identity amid all the 
changes and chances of tribal wars. One of the political legacies that 
Rome left behind in Britain was the organization of cities as the centres 
of local authority for the surrounding territory. There is every reason 
to believe that Luguvallum, which was close to Hadrian's wall in a situa- 
tion with great natural advantages for defence and or easy access from 
the Romanized district to the south, formed the centre of a territorial 
rule which was not obliterated by the departure of the legions, but which 
was carried on by the native population and may have had something to 
do indirectly with the ultimate evolution of the modern county. Of 
all the Roman sites in this corner of the empire, Luguvallum is the 
only political organism of importance that has survived. The district 
in the neighbourhood had no distinctive designation except what it re- 
ceived from its territorial association with the city. The Roman name 
continued, though the language of the inhabitants had changed. When 
the light of genuine history falls on the district, the city of Lugubalia is 
revealed as a place of strength and a centre of settled government. It 
is not known at what date or by what king the English conquest was 
pushed to the western sea, but at some time in the seventh century, 
earlier or later, the western districts from the Solway to the Mersey had 
passed under English dominion. The Northumbrian supremacy was a 
very real thing at that period. Lands in Lancashire between the Ribble 
and the Cocker 2 were bestowed on Wilfrid about 666-9, an d the see of 
Lindisfarne was endowed by King Ecgfrith in 685 3 with the city of 
Lugubalia, then called Luel, and a circuit of fifteen miles around it. 
Bede gave no name to the land in which the city was situated, but he 
speaks as if it were the centre of a flourishing English community in 
which the ecclesiastical organizations had reached a high standard under 
the patronage of Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, and the royal family 
of Northumbria. From Bede's pen we have a pleasant picture of Lu- 
gubalia and its neighbourhood. From the city Cuthbert went forth on 
his episcopal errands to ordain ministers or to dedicate a church, and 

1 Carlisle appears in the list of British cities given by Nennius (cap. 67) under the name of Caer- 
Luadiit, Caer-Ligualid, or Cair-Lualid, which has been identified by Usher as Lugubalia (Man. Hist. 
Brit. p. 77). Henry of Huntingdon, probably with the list of Nennius before him, mentions ' Kair-Lion 
quam vocamusCarleuil ' (Historia Anghrum, p. 7), but he is apparently mistaken in that identification, for 
the ' Cair-Legion ' of Nennius has the alternative reading of ' Cair-Legion guar Usic,' that is, Caerleon 
on Usk. The statement of Geoffrey of Monmouth (bk. ii. 9) that Leil son of Brute, a lover of peace 
and justice, succeeded his father and built a city in the north part of Britain and called it Kaerliel after 
his own name, may be accepted as pure romance. 

This grant marks an important event in local history. Eddi (Vita Wilfridi, cap. 1 7) says that 
Gaedyne, perhaps Castle or Little Eden, was given to Wilfrid with Caetlevum and other places. Caet- 
levum is probably the ancient name of Cartmell in Furness. The anonymous author of the Historia de 
S. Cuthbcrto, erroneously ascribed to Symeon of Durham, mentions that ' dedit ei (S. Cuthberto) rex Ecg- 
fridus terram quae vocatur Cartmel, et omnes Britannos cum eo, et villam illam quae vocatur Suthged- 
luit, et quicquid ad earn pertinet' (Symeon of Durham [Surtees Soc.], i. 141 ; [Rolls Ser.] i. 200). The 
date of this tract has been ascribed by Mr. Hodgson Hinde to the tenth century. 

a Symeon, Hist, de S. Cuthbert. (Rolls Ser.), i. 199 ; Haddan and Stubbs, Councils and Eccles. Doc. 
ii. pt. i. 6. 



to the city Herebert came from his lonely retreat in Derwentwater 
twenty-five miles away to consult with his revered diocesan. 1 There 
was a nunnery in the city, graced by a superior of noble birth, and 
there was a school founded by the saint himself. The citizens pointed 
with pride to the ancient walls and conducted St. Cuthbert to see a 
fountain built with marvellous skill by the Romans. 3 Every notice of 
the city at this date bespeaks a long occupation by the Teutonic con- 
queror. In English mouths the Latin name had taken an English form, 
for we are told by Bede that Lugubalia was corrupted by the English 
into Luel. It was the capital of an extensive district, wider than the 
area which Ecgfrith had added to the temporal possessions of Lindis- 
farne. For more than eight centuries after the legions were withdrawn 
from Lugubalia, its Roman name clung to the city as if to proclaim its 
continuous existence. 3 Though successive masters changed or corrupted 
it at pleasure, the city as an institution remained the political centre of 
the district. No other designation has appeared above the surface of 
history to indicate the region south of the Solway as a political state. 
As the district was nameless when it was won by the Norman, the land 
of Carlisle or the county of Carlisle was utilized to describe it for nearly 
a hundred years. 

There is every reason to believe that the district of Carlisle con- 
tinued a portion of the Northumbrian realm till the whole of northern 
England was thrown into confusion and anarchy by the Danish invasion. 
The overthrow of Ecgfrith by the Picts in the disastrous battle of Nech- 
tansmere* in 685 does not appear to have disturbed the political allegiance 
of its inhabitants. It is true that Northumbrian power was weakened 
by Ecgfrith's defeat, and that some of the Britons, presumably those in 
the valley of the Clyde, had regained their independence in consequence, 
but the region south of the Roman wall on the Solway shore remained 
faithful to English dominion. In 854 Bishop Eardulf of Lindisfarne, 
according to Symeon of Durham, 8 claimed that Luel, or Carleol, as the 
city was called in Symeon's day, had belonged to his bishopric since the 
time of King Ecgfrith, and when the same bishop took flight from the 
pagan Danes in 875, and entered on his seven years' pilgrimage with 
the relics of St. Cuthbert, it was through this district, not apparently as 
through a hostile region, that he made his way to the mouth of the 
Derwent for the purpose of embarking to Ireland.' In all probability 
the political relations of the district with Northumbria remained un- 

1 Bede, Hist. Eccles. iv. 29. Bede, Vita S. Cuthberti, cap. 27. 

3 Lugubalia as the ancient name of Carlisle survived in authentic documents till a late period. 
When Pope Honorius III. confirmed Bishop Hugh in the bishopric of Carlisle in 1223, he spoke of it 
as 'the episcopal see in St. Mary's church, Carlisle, called of old "Lugubalia," in which are to be ob- 
served all the customs of other bishoprics in England ' (Cal. of Papal Letters, i. 91, ed. Bliss). It is used 
by Walsingham in relation to the bishop and the bishopric of Carlisle in 1345 and 1400 : Bishop 
Kirkby is described as ' episcopus Lugubalia;,' and the bishopric, to which William Strikeland succeeded, 
as ' pontificatum Lugubaliae' (Hist. Angl. [Rolls Ser.], i. 266-7, " 2 47)- 

* Symeon, Hist. Dunelm. Eccles. (Rolls Ser.), i. 32, ed. Arnold. 

* Ibid. 53 ; Symeon, Hist. Regum, (Rolls Series), ii. 101, ed. Arnold. 

8 Symeon, Hist. Dunelm. Eccles. (Surtees Soc.), i. 146, 163, ed. Hinde ; GeofF. of Monmouth, 
Man. Hist. Brit. i. 68 1. 



changed for the remaining portion of the ninth century. After the 
death of Halfdene, Bishop Eardulf returned to Northumberland, but 
not to his ruined cathedral of Lindisfarne ; and his companion, Abbot 
Eadred, surnamed Lulisc from Luel, the place of his habitation, had re- 
turned to Luercestre or Luelcestre, as Carlisle was then called, from their 
sacred odyssey with the saint's body. 1 It was at the monastery of Carlisle, 
which had apparently escaped destruction during the first outburst of 
heathen invasion, that St. Cuthbert appeared in a vision to Abbot 
Eadred, and from which he sent him to proclaim to the Danes that 
Guthred son of Hardacnute should be their king. 2 Though there is a 
discrepancy in the date when this mission took place, one authority 
fixing it in 883 and another in 890, it is of small consequence. The 
fact of interest to be remembered is that the monastery of Carlisle re- 
mained intact till the death of Halfdene. It is a point of great import- 
ance in the history of the district if additional probability can be given 
to the statements in the tracts ascribed to the authorship of Symeon that 
Abbot Eadred returned to the monastery of Carlisle after his seven years' 
pilgrimage. 3 The total destruction of the city by the Danes rests on the 
sole authority of Florence of Worcester. In describing the conquest of 
William Rufus in 1092 Florence advanced on the account given in the 
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle by stating that the city, like some others in 
these parts, had been destroyed by the pagan Danes two hundred years 
before, and had remained deserted up to that time. This statement was 
accepted by Symeon, and embodied in his history of the kings. 4 But 
the destruction has not been noticed by either of the chroniclers in the 
ordinary sequence of events during the Danish invasion, and no special 
weight can be attached to the authority of Symeon in support of this 
remarkable statement, inasmuch as he was but the faithful copyist of 
Florence for the events of the period. There is much reason to believe 
that the monastery of Dacore or Dacre, about 20 miles to the south of 
Carlisle, at which miraculous cures are said to have been wrought in 728 
by the agency of St. Cuthbert's relics, 5 was untouched by the ravages of 
the Danes. It was at this place, as it would seem, that Athelstan re- 
ceived the homage of the kings in 926." From the latter date, every 

1 Symeon, Hist. Regum, ii. 114, ed. Arnold ; i. 73, ed. Hinde. 

The Historia de S. Cuthberto calls Eadred the abbot of Luercestre, but it must be a scribal error 
for Luelcestre (Symeon of Durham, i. 143, 231, ed. Hinde). Mr. Freeman has suggested a similar con- 
fusion between the letters / and r in Gullkrmus for Guillelmus (Trans, of Cumb. and West. Arcbeeol. Sac. 
vi. 244). 

3 It may be pointed out that Mr. Freeman at first stated that Lugubalia was part of the lands lost 
to Northumbria by the fall of Ecgfrith (William Rufus, ii. 545), but he afterwards revised this opinion, 
as he ' had not given heed enough to the story of Eadred, which clearly fixes the loss of the country, as 
well as the destruction of the city, to the Danish invasion of 875 ' (Trans, of Cumb. and West. Archceol. 
Sac. vi. 258). This paper on 'The Place of Carlisle in English History,' read at the joint meeting of 
the Royal Archaeological Institute and the Cumberland and Westmorland Archaeological Society held 
at Carlisle in 1882, deserves careful study. 

4 Hist. Regum, ii. 220, ed. Arnold. ' Haec enim civitas, ut illis in partibus aliae nonnullae, a 
Danis paganis ante cc annos diruta, et usque ad tempus id mansit deserta.' 

Bede, Hist. Eccl. bk. iv. c. 32. 

6 The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (i. 1 99) states that the submission was made ' on thaere stowe the 
genemned is aet Eamotum,' which Mr. Thorpe understood to be Emmet, but he has not indicated 

II 225 29 


place name within the limits of the modern county disappears from 
history for a century and a half. The city of Carlisle ceased to be so 
far as recorded history is concerned. The memorials of the district 
south of the Solway perished. It is just possible that Florence, full of 
the ruthless ravages of the Danes in the north, and rinding no materials 
for the history of the north-western district, jumped to the conclusion 
that Carlisle shared the fate of many cities in the rest of Northumbria. 
Subsequent events may help to throw doubt on the alleged destruction 
of Carlisle and the desertion of its site. 

After the Danish conquest of Northumbria all is dark or indistinct 
in the region south of the Solway. We lose the guidance of Carlisle in 
our efforts to disentangle the obscure allusions which may possibly refer 
to the district. In the tenth century the chroniclers make incidental 
mention of tribes and peoples inhabiting the western shores, but it is 
very difficult to say with certainty that our district was included. As 
yet the territory between the Solway and the Duddon had no political 
existence as a separate state, and we know not whether it had been dis- 
severed from Northumbria when that kingdom began to decline. There 
is no evidence that Strathclyde extended south of Hadrian's wall at any 
time subsequent to the English conquest. The territorial name is a 
warrant that it comprised only the valley of the Clyde, and can have 
extended little beyond what is now known as Clydesdale. In that case 
allusions to the Straecled-Walas, Streatcledwali, Stratcluttenses, or Welsh 
of Strathclyde, need present no difficulties. But it is different with the 
Cumbri, a race which has given its name to the modern county, and of 
which we have no mention before 875. Ethelwerd is the first of the 
chroniclers who uses the word, 1 but he gives no indication of the terri- 

where that locality is (ii. 85). Florence of Worcester (Man. Hist. Brit. p. 573) almost used the same 
phrase, ' in loco qui dicitur Eamotum,' in which he is followed by Symeon of Durham (Hist. Regum, 
ii. 124). Mr. Arnold, the editor of Symeon, suggests that Etton in the east riding of Yorkshire is 
meant. The importance of ' Dacore ' in Bede's day furnishes a strong probability that the ' Eamotum ' 
of the Chronicle and Florence may be identified with Eamont, formerly Eamot, in Cumberland, which 
is close to Dacre. But we have the positive testimony of William of Malmsbury that the Scots sub- 
mitted to Athelstan, ' ad locum qui Dacor vocatur,' which is sufficient to settle the identity of ' Eamo- 
tum ' (Gesta Regum Anglorum, \. 147, ed. Stubbs). There is a tradition that the conference was held 
in a room of Dacre Castle, still pointed out as 'the kings' chamber.' E. W. Robertson denies the truth 
of the whole story of the submission of the kings to Athelstan, and suggests that the account in the 
Cottonian MS. of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is an interpolation ; he also says that Malmsbury's authority 
for the statement was an old poem (Early Kings, ii. 3978). 

1 It may be taken that ' Cumbri ' and ' Cumbria,' as the designation of the people and their 
territories, did not come into use before the eleventh century, but it is an open question whether 
Ethelwerd was the first to employ the terms. In the tractate on the Life of St. CadnH it is stated that 
King Donald conducted the saint to the city of Leeds, which was the boundary between the northmen 
and the Cumbrians, 'conduxit usque Loidam Civitatem quae est confinium Normannorum atque 
Cumbrorum ' (Skene, Chron. of the Puts and Scots, p. 116). As Cadrog died about 976, and as the 
author of the Life states that he had his information from the saint's disciples, Dr. Skene has dated the 
tract in the eleventh century. Ethelwerd certainly lived and wrote in the same century (Hardy, De- 
scriptive Catalogue, i. 571-4 ; ii. 65). The people of this region were called Britons by Gildas, 
Nennius and Bede, and their kings were spoken of by Adamnan and the Ulster Annals as reigning in 
Petra Cloithe or Alocluaithe, but no mention is made of Cumbri. Strathclyde was introduced by 
later writers as the name of the kingdom over which the kings ruled. In the matter of territorial 
titles Sir Henry Maine's remarks on the history of tribe sovereignty (Ancient Law, pp. 103-9) an d 
Mr. Freeman's notes on early geographical nomenclature are of great value (Norman Conquest, i. 584-6, 



tory they occupied. As a matter of fact he employs the designation as 
if it were synonymous with the people of Strathclyde. When Halfdene 
had subdued the valley of the Tyne in 875, we are told by the Anglo- 
Saxon Chronicle, Asser and Florence, 1 that he often made war on the 
Picts and Strathclyde Welsh, whereas Ethelwerd * in describing the 
same exploit calls the native tribes by the names of Picts and Cumbri. 
In describing later events the chroniclers are still more indefinite. 
Florence relates that in 901 Edward the Elder received the submission 
of the kings of the Scots, Cumbrians, Strathclyde Welsh and all the 
west Britons; 3 and in 921 the same authority states that the king of 
Scots with his whole nation, Reinald king of the Danes, with all the 
Angles and Danes that dwell in Northumbria, and also the king of 
the Strathclyde Welsh, accepted King Edward as their father and 
lord, and made a firm treaty with him. 4 Symeon of Durham and 
Geoffrey Gaimar follow in the same strain. In his description of the 
battle of Brunanburh in 937, Symeon says that Athelstan put to flight 
Onlaf, the Danish king of Northumbria, Constantine, King of Scots, and 
the king of the Cumbri, with their whole host ; but Gaimar differ- 
entiates the people taking part in the battle as Scots, Cumbri, Galwe- 
gians and Picts. 6 Again and again we meet with ' the king of the 
Cumbri,' without any hint of the region over which he ruled. It is 
curious that no English equivalent of the word was admitted into the 
pages of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle till a late date. In the account of 
the famous cession by King Eadmund in 945 we get the first glimpse 
of the tribe in the name of Cumbraland or Cumberland, the territory 
which he had harried and delivered to Malcolm, King of Scots, on con- 
dition that he should be his ally on sea and on land. Florence trans- 
lates the ' Cumbraland ' of the Chronicle into the Latin form of ' the 
land of the Cumbri,' though the Welsh annalists, referring to the in- 
cursion, identify the region as Strat Glut or Ystrat Glut, that is Strath- 
clyde. 6 From these scattered notices of the inhabitants it would be 
hazardous to suggest that the region south of the Solway was a separate 
territorial unit belonging to the Cumbri, or to draw any positive con- 
clusions on its political affinities to the neighbouring states. It is pos- 
sible that the Cymric race, breaking away from Northumbrian rule, 
made common cause with their kinsfolk of Strathclyde, and attained 
some measure of national independence during the declining period of 
the Northumbrian kingdom. The rise of the racial name of Cumbri 7 

i Mm. Hist. Brit. pp. 355, 478, 558. Ibid. p. 515. Ibid. p. 568. 

Ibid. p. 572. 5 Ibid. pp. 686, 808. Ibid. pp. 388, 574, 837, 847. 

7 There does not appear to be any doubt of the origin of the word Cumbri or Cumbria. It is from 
the Welsh Cymru, meaning exclusively the Principality, and pronounced as if spelled Kumry or Kumri 
(Rhys, Celtic Britain, p. 142). Geoffrey of Monmouth had no compunction in deriving the name from 
Kamber, one of the sons of King Brute, as he accounted for the origin of Alban, the name of Celtic 
Scotland, from Albanach, and Lloegr, the Welsh name for England, from Locrinus, members of the 
same family (Hist. Britonum, p. 23, ed. Giles). Jocelyn of Furness, who wrote in the twelfth century, 
has adopted the forms Cambria, Cambrensis and Cambrinus, in connection with the north-western dis- 
trict (Life of St. Kentigern, pp. 54, 58, 87, etc. ; Hist, of Scotland, v.) Cambria and Cumbria were at 
first used indiscriminately for the same region. It is curious that St. Petroc, who was a native of Wales, 
is called a Cumber or a Cimber in one old life (Celtic Britain, p. 141). Cumbria seems the more correct 



as distinctive of the people appears almost to warrant the existence of 
some sort of political autonomy on the western seaboard. But two 
events are clearly discernible amid all the confusion of the tenth cen- 
tury. The submission of the western tribes to Edward the Elder in 
924,* and the grant of the district to Malcolm, King of Scots, by King 
Eadmund in 945," are noteworthy incidents with which the future 
history of the country was intimately concerned. It is with the latter 
event only that we need to trouble ourselves here. 

It is not without significance that the introduction of Cumberland 
as a geographical term synchronized with the so-called cession of the 
district to the Scottish crown. There can be little doubt that at this 
period the name embraced a definite territory which extended north and 
south of the Solway from the Firth of Clyde to the river Duddon. Its 
southern boundary has been described by a fairly respectable Scottish 
authority as the Rerecross on Stainmore, a pillar standing on the con- 
fines of Yorkshire and Westmorland, which still in part remains. 3 The 
canons of Carlisle, however, when they made their report on the history 
of the district to Edward I. in 1291, appear to have had no knowledge 
of this grant to Malcolm and offered no opinion on the territorial extent 
of Cumbria as it existed after the cession of 945.* But if the statement 
of the Scottish Chronicle on the southern boundary be accepted as con- 
clusive, it may be taken that the territory south of Solway had been 
withdrawn from Northumbrian influence and that the previous inde- 
pendence to which it had attained was completely destroyed. In the 
course of its history the land had been British, Roman, English, perhaps 
British again, and now for a time it was to be subject to Scottish rule. 

Considerable diversity of opinion exists on the precise nature of 
the grant made to Malcolm by King Eadmund in 945. Mr. Freeman 
interpreted the records of the transaction as indicating a permanent 

form, as it has been admitted into the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle : Cumberland, Cumbraland, or Cumer- 
land the land of the Cumbras, Cumbri or Kymry. There was a notable personage of the name of 
Cumbra in the south of England in the eighth century. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle calls him ' Aldor- 
man Cumbra,' unjustly slain in 755 by Sigebryht and the West Saxon witan (i. 82, ed. Thorpe). The 
same person is referred to by Ethelwerd as ' Dux Cumbran,' by Florence of Worcester as ' Dux Cum- 
branus,' and by Geoffrey Gaimar as ' Combran,' 'Cumbrat,' or'Enconbrand'(Mo. Hist. Brit. pp. 507-8, 
543. 7 8 ?)- Henry of Huntingdon alludes to him as 'Cumbra consul ejus nobilissimus' (Hist. Anghrum, 
p. 122, ed. Arnold). But there is no evidence that he exercised any sway in the Welsh region of 

1 Florence of Worcester gives the year of submission as 924, but the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle places 
it in 921. 

a Some of the Scottish chronicles insist on a grant of Cumberland to Scotland by King Eadmund 
before 945. In the Chronicles of the Picts and Scots (ed. Skene, p. 204) it is said that the country as far as 
' Reir Croiz de Staynmore ' was given to Donald mac Dunstan, King of Scotland, and in the Life of 
St. Cadroi it is suggested that Donald was king of the Cumbri when the saint visited that people (ibid. 
p. 1 1 6). 

3 Skene, Chnn. of Picts and Scots, p. 204. For the erection of this stone by Marius or Meuric, King 
of the Britons, to celebrate his victory over Roderic, King of the Picts, and for the legends about the 
origin of Westmorland, Westymar, Westmering or Gwysmeuruc, by reason of that monument, see the 
Welsh ' Bruts ' in Skene, Chnn. of Picts and Scots, pp. 1 22, I 56-7. Some antiquaries think that the pillar 
is the fragment of a Roman milestone. 

4 Palgrave, Documents and Records, 68-76. It should be remembered that the extent of Cumbria 
described by the canons of Carlisle can be applied only to 1069 and to no previous date. To make 
the statement retrospective violates the whole purport of the return. 



feudal benefice lasting till the Norman conquest of the district in 1092, 
for which the kings of Scotland or their heirs did homage or military 
service as occasion required. It was probably, he said, the earliest 
instance in Britain of a fief in the strictest sense as opposed to a case of 
commendation. 1 It is difficult to reconcile the events of subsequent 
history with this view. Without attaching too much weight to the 
gradual introduction of feudal ideas by the later chroniclers into the 
earliest account of the grant, 2 it may be pointed out that a permanent 
cession to Scotland was neither maintained nor recognized by those 
who had the closest interest in the original agreement. It appears 
improbable that King Ethelred regarded the grant by his prede- 
cessor as permanent when he plundered Cumberland in iooo, 3 or that 
Symeon of Durham should have stated that the district was under the 
dominion of Malcolm III. in 1070, not possessed by right but subjugated 
by force,* had he been aware of the compact. Scottish writers have put 
forward sundry explanations to account for the non-admission of their 
national claims upon the territory. Fordun 6 ascribed the raid of King 
Ethelred to the refusal of the Prince of Cumbria to contribute to the 
Danegeld, alleging that the Cumbrians owed no other tax than to be 
ready at the king's command to defend their liberties with the sword. 
An earlier Scottish writer better informed than Fordun, unable to close 
his eyes to the facts of history, confessed that the province had not 
remained in the uninterrupted possession of Scotland, for King Ead- 
mund's donation had been often conquered and abandoned for the sake 
of peace between the two kingdoms. 8 In view of this admission it is 

i Norman Conquest, \. 62, 124, 571-3. 

According to the statement of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle under 945, ' Her Eadmund cyning 
oferhergode eal Cumbraland and hit let eal to Malculme Scotta cyninge on thaet gerad thaet he waere 
his midwyrhta aegther ge on sae ge on lande.' The compact is not noticed by Ethelwerd, but Florence 
(Man. Hist. Brit. p. 574) and Symeon of Durham (ii. 126, ed. Arnold) render midwyrhta' as 'fidelis,' 
thus importing into the word the feudal ideas of a later age. Henry of Huntingdon is more literal in 
his translation : ' commendavit earn Malculmo Regi Scotiae hoc pacto, quod in auxilio sibi foret terra et 
mari.' Subsequent chroniclers have transformed the agreement into a permanent feudal transaction. 
On the death of Eadmund in 946, the same compact was renewed with his successor Eadred after he 
had reduced all Northumberland under his power ' and Scottas him athas sealdan thaet hie woldan eal 
thaet he wolde.' But we hear nothing more of the renewal of oaths on a succession to the English 
Crown, nor do we read of the Scottish kings fighting often on the English side, as they were bound to 
do by their oath of fealty, had this cession of Cumberland been a permanent agreement. In E. W. 
Robertson's opinion Cumberland south of the Solway, ' when it was not under the authority of the 
Northumbrian earls in whose province it was included, may be said to have remained in a state of 
anarchy till the conquest' of 1092 (Scotland under Early Kings, i. 72). 

3 Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Rolls Series), i. 249; Man. Hist. Brit. (Florence of Worcester), p. 583. 

* ' Erat enim eo tempore Cumbreland sub regis Malcolmi dominio, non jure possessa sed violenter 
subjugata' (Hist. Regum, ii. 191, ed. Arnold). 

6 Unde rex Etheldredus, regulo Cumbrie supradicto Malcolmo scribens, per nuncium mandavit, 
quod suos Cumbrenses tributa solvere cogeret, sicut ceteri faciunt provinciales. Quod ille protinus con- 
tradicens rescripsit, suos aliud nullatenus debere vectigal, preterquam ad edictum regium, quandocun- 
que sibi placuerit, cum ceteris semper fore paratos ad bellandum. Nam pulchrius esse, dicebat, ac multo 
praestantius, viriliter cum gladio, quam auro defendere libertatem (Chrmica Gentis Scotorum, iv. c. 35 ; 
Historians of Scotland, i.) 

6 Donald Mac Dunstan ij. aunz. Edmound, freir Athelstan, duna a cesti Donald, roy Descoce, 
tout Combirland, pur quo! lez Escoces ount fait clayme, tanque al Reir croiz de Staynmore : mais eel 
doune ad este souent conquys puscedy et relesse en maint peise fesaunt (Skene, Chron. of Picts and Scots, 
p. 204). The date of the chronicle from which the above extract is taken has been ascribed to 1280. 



difficult to defend the old theory of the effective sovereignty of Scot- 
land over the district south of the Solway from the date of King 
Eadmund's grant till the conquest of Carlisle in 1092. It would 
appear that the compact lasted only for the lifetime of the contract- 
ing parties, for Kenneth son of Malcolm soon after his accession in 
971 plundered part of the district of Strathclyde and the whole of 
Northumbria as far as Stainmore. 1 In these circumstances it must be 
concluded that Scottish claims to the sovereignty of Cumberland, 
founded on King Eadmund's grant, must have been put forward at a 
later date. 

Early authorities like the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and Florence of 
Worcester are content with the bare statement of King Ethelred's 
invasion of Cumberland in 1000. Henry of Huntingdon 2 however 
enlarges on the older narratives and supplies a reasonable account of the 
object of the expedition. King Ethelred, he says, assembled a powerful 
host and went into Cumberland, which was at that time a stronghold 
of the Danes, and he conquered the Danes in a great battle and laid 
waste and pillaged nearly the whole of Cumberland. In this state- 
ment we have a more likely pretext for the invasion than that sup- 
plied by Fordun, to which attention has been called, and it possesses 
the additional recommendation that it seems to harmonize with the 
general sequence of events in the northern districts. It is noteworthy 
how much the Danish colonization is mixed up with the political 
vicissitudes of Cumberland, whether that geographical term be taken 
in its limited or enlarged sense, and how often these vicissitudes resulted 
from, or were associated with, the history of Northumbria. It was an 
unjustifiable exercise of Danish power in that kingdom which drew the 
attention of King Eadmund to northern affairs and caused the expulsion 
of the two kings in 944,' and it was probably some insubordination on 
the part of the people of Cumberland, if we can trust Huntingdon's 
description of their character, that led in the following year to the ces- 
sion of this treacherous and lawless race to the dominion of the Scottish 
king. 4 Both acts seem to have been parts of one plan, the annexation 
of Northumbria to his own kingdom ofWessex and the cession of Cum- 
berland to Scotland, as he was himself, owing to its turbulence and 
isolation, unable to keep it under effective control. If it be admitted 
that the evidence is insufficient to predicate a permanent grant of 
Cumberland to Scotland in 945, it cannot be denied that the district 

1 Statim (Cinadius filius Maelcolaim) predavit Britanniam ex parte. Scotti predaverunt Saxoniam 
ad Stanmoir, et ad Cluiam, et ad Stangna Dera'm (Skene, Chron. of Picts and Scots, p. 10). Skene 
interpreted the Britannia of the ' Pictish Chronicle ' as the land of the Strathclyde Britons, and Saxonia 
as ' the northern part of Northumbria as far as Stanmore, Cleveland, and the pools of Deira, that 
is, the part of Northumbria which had been placed as a separate earldom under EadulP (Celtic 
Scotland, i. 369). E. W. Robertson understood Britannia to refer to Cumberland (Early Kings, i. 
72). As Kenneth II. began to reign in 971, the expedition against Strathclyde must have taken 
place soon after (statim) his accession. 

2 Historia Angkrum, p. 1 70, ed. Arnold. There is no mention of Scottish sovereignty in this 
account ; the Danes were in possession of the district called Cumberland at this time. 

3 Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, i. 89-90. Historia Angkrum, p. 162, ed. Arnold. 



had attained some measure of independence or had reverted to the 
dominion of Northumberland, with which it had been politically 
connected before the government of that kingdom had been thrown 
into confusion by the Danish inroads. 

Of the Danish predominance in the district south of the Solway 
there can be no doubt. It has been pointed out by Mr. Freeman ' that 
no proof was needed to show that Cumberland and Westmorland were 
largely Scandinavian to this day, but there was no record how they had 
become so. In Northumberland, he says, we know when the Danes 
settled, and we know something of the dynasties which they founded. 
But the Scandinavian settlement of Cumberland Norwegian no doubt 
rather than Danish we know only by its results. We have no state- 
ment as to its date, and we know