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Title: The Church of Grasmere - A History
Author: Armitt, Mary L.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Church of Grasmere - A History" ***

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Internet Archive)

[Illustration: THE LATE MARY L. ARMITT.






  (Author of _Ambleside Town and Chapel_)


  _Frontispiece from a portrait by Fred Yates_

  Titus Wilson, Publisher





































  Miss Armitt (_frontispiece_), from a portrait by Fred Yates.

  Exterior of St. Oswald's Church, Grasmere, from a photo, by
  Green, by permission of G. P. Abraham, Keswick, to face
  Part I.

  Inscription on the Alms-box, p. 3.

  Date on the Great Bell (Tenor), p. 20.

  Map of Grasmere Parish, to face Part II.

  From the Great Bell: Churchwardens' names (Hird), p. 23.

  From the Great Bell: Churchwardens' names (Wilson. Rigg),
  p. 39.

  Structure of the Interior of St. Oswald's, Grasmere, p. 41.

  From the Great Bell: Churchwardens' names (Mackereth). p. 45.

  From the Great Bell: "Churchwardens," p. 93.

  Font (from Table Book of W. Hone), copied by Miss S. Armitt, p. 95.

  From the Great Bell: "Gloria in Altissimis Deo," p. 99.

  Ancient Window in the South Wall. Outside View, p. 101.

  Profile of Stone Head, p. 104.

  Carved Stone Head, p. 105.

  Date on Old Bench End, p. 108.

  Old Bench End, p. 109.

  Old Pitch Pipe, p. 119.

  Old Altar, now used as a Credence Table, p. 127.

  The le Fleming Arms on the Great and Middle Bells, p. 140.

  Great Bell and Hammer, p. 142.

  Iron Work on the Inner Door of the Porch, p. 146.

  Hinges of the Outer Door of the Porch, p. 147.

  Door Handle within the Porch, p. 147.

  Old Collecting-plate with Handle, p. 150.

  Plan of Grasmere Church, drawn by W. Buckton, to face Part V.

  From the Great Bell: "Deo," p. 161.

  Founder's Mark from the Middle Bell: "E. Seller, Ebor," p. 180.

  From the Middle Bell: "Soli Deo Gloria," p. 188.

  The Treble, or Little Bell, p. 203.

  Recess in the Porch for Holy Water Stoup, p. 209.


  The History of Grasmere contained in this little volume was
  nearly ready for the press when the author, who was working
  on it to the very last, was taken away. For several years she
  had been collecting material, leaving no stone unturned to get
  at facts and records from the earliest times, and at last she
  was arranging for its publication. Her modest estimate of the
  value of her work made her often anxious, but her keen love of
  investigating the antiquities of her neighbourhood and country
  kept her always eager. To a kindred spirit nothing could be more
  interesting than to visit with her some old hall or farm or
  even a site which her historic knowledge could furnish with its
  original buildings, and people with its old-world inhabitants.
  What she most desired was to see for herself what she wished to
  write about, or, if that were impossible, something similar which
  still existed, and she had a genius for reconstructing, which
  made her deductions and suggestions singularly valuable.

  She was at no time strong, and for this reason her work was
  perpetually liable to interruption, still her indomitable courage
  and her endless patience enabled her to do wonders, and, though
  never able to work for long together, bit by bit she got through
  a great deal. How hard she worked and how carefully, no one
  who reads her book, and sees the number of facts she has got
  together, and notes the numerous references to books which she
  had examined, can fail to perceive. Over and over again she
  had to give in for a time, but her bright intelligence quickly
  reasserted itself, and she was ready on most days to discuss the
  subjects which for the time absorbed her. And this she did with
  a delighted eagerness, and always with that humour which is the
  salt of all conversation and companionship. On birds and their
  habits she spoke with authority, and could always contribute much
  valuable information obtained by personal observation. Generally
  the first to hear and see the newly arrived summer migrants, and
  able to distinguish the note of each, she thought no trouble too
  great if it led to the chance of seeing some rare kind nesting in
  the neighbourhood. Equally keenly would she follow up the threads
  of some local history, for she had the true scientific spirit
  and a genuine passion for archæology, so that by constant study
  she had accumulated a surprising mass of information relating to
  old historic Westmorland, and to Ambleside, Rydal and Grasmere
  in particular. Of Ambleside she has already published a little
  pamphlet, called _Ambleside Town and Chapel_. The present volume
  is her completed work on Grasmere; and the History of Rydal, and
  more especially of Rydal Hall, a more considerable work on which
  she had been engaged for many years, has advanced so far that we
  hope soon to see it published. Indeed some chapters of it have
  already appeared in the columns of the _Westmorland Gazette_.

  We had long ago arranged that I should help in seeing her work
  through the press; and with her usual thoroughness and care, she
  had got the present volume so far ready that my task has been but
  a superficial one, accompanied throughout by the "one pure image
  of regret" that she did not live to see, herself, the fruits of
  her long labour.




  Page 6, _for_ Galway _read_ Galloway.

  " 19, _note_ 25 this pavement is not really old.

  " 130, _for_ Lough _read_ Luff.

  " 141, _Copia Pax Sapientia_. No Latin words are on this bell.

  " 182, _note_ 182 _for_ Fox _read_ Cox.

  " 191, _for_ Tremenhere _read_ Tremenheere, _and for_ Philipps _read_

  " 199, _for_ Swathmoor _read_ Swarthmoor.

  " 208, _for_ customery _read_ customary, _and in note_, _for_ Brown
  _read_ Browne.


_Photo. by Green, by permission of G. P. Abraham, Keswick._






[Illustration: Inscription on the Alms Box]


Grasmere draws many pilgrims in these latter days. It has become
the Shrine of Nature and Poetry, for within its graveyard lies
buried nature's austerest and most sincere interpreter. The
natural beauty of the spot, combined with its associations,
has given rise to a copious literature; and its praises have
been rehearsed in poetry and prose of a high order. But by the
historian Grasmere has been neglected. Its geographical position
has tended to its eclipse. In ancient times locked up from the
world in the farthest chamber of the mountains, and still the
remotest parish of Westmorland (itself a neglected county),
it has missed the attention of the careful chronicler, and no
serious attempt has been made to penetrate its past. James Torre
(1649-1699) indeed in his MS. collections for a history of the
Archdeaconry of Richmondshire, compiled a list of five rectors
who had served the parish of Grasmere before the Reformation; but
no searcher has followed up his efforts. Nor has the excellent,
though necessarily limited, information given in the pages of
Nicolson and Burn (1770) been since filled up or supplemented.

The following historical sketch makes no pretensions to
completeness, which would be beyond both the writer's powers and
opportunities. It began as a small thing, a chapter merely in the
yet unfinished "Chronicles of Rydal." But there seemed a need for
the publication of such facts as had been gathered together; and
in response to an expressed desire, the sketch that had been laid
by was overhauled, expanded and prepared for press. It contains
(there is little doubt) some unsuspected errors and oversights,
for which the reader's leniency is asked.

The information has been collected from many sources, public,
private, and traditional. The earliest comes from the Record
Office, where there are treasures still to be explored. For
the seventeenth century--and particularly the period of the
Civil Wars--the MSS. at Rydal Hall have yielded facts of great
interest, especially those culled from the account-sheets of
Mr. Richard Harrison, who was agent and executor of Squire John

From all sources, however, the information obtained is
fragmentary, and facts are disappointingly isolated. Always there
is something beyond, that we want to know and cannot find out;
and so the story of the great Restoration Tithe Dispute has no
ending. The Presentments have been only available for a limited
number of years. The church registers are defective. Even the
church-wardens' accounts, which begin at the Restoration, are not
complete. It is fortunate, however, that the second volume of
these accounts, long missing, and strangely recovered from papers
found at the house of descendants of a former parish clerk, was
copied before it was again lost. There is a gap of seven years
between the third volume and this copy, owing no doubt to the
last leaves of the second volume having been torn off.[1]

  [1] Vol. I. ends in 1735. Vol. II. overlaps four years and begins
  in 1732, but the pages from 1734 to 1739 and from 1743 to 1750
  are missing, and no entries are made for 1778 and 1779. The vol.
  ends in 1883.--ED.

The writer has received more help and kindness than can well be
acknowledged. Thanks are specially due to Mr. Stanley le Fleming and
Sir Gerald Strickland for granting ready access to their muniments;
to Dr. Magrath, author of _The Flemings in Oxford_; to the Revs. W.
Jennings, J. H. Heywood, and M. F. Peterson for permitting the church
documents to be consulted; to Messrs. W. Farrer, J. A. Martindale,
and George Browne for their kind contributions of antiquarian
knowledge; to Mr. W. Buckton I am indebted for the plan of the



All history begins with geography. Grasmere was from early times
the centre of a parish that embraced the twin valleys of Rothay
and Brathay, whose waters drain into the lake of Windermere, while
the lake empties itself into the great bay of Morecambe. Therefore
Grasmere has always belonged politically to the fertile region
round about the bay, and the history of that region--from the time
when the Celt enjoyed it, onward through its conquest by the Angle,
its aggregation with the province of Deira and the kingdom of
Northumbria, still onward through its conversion to Christianity and
its connection with the central church government at York as part
of the Archdeaconry of Richmondshire--is the history of Grasmere
herself: and to understand the origin of her church, it is necessary
to briefly indicate the main events in the kingdom of Northumbria and
the Church of York.

The actual rise of Christianity within the valleys can only be
conjectured. The Celts who dwelt here through the rule of the Roman
may not have embraced the faith, but some whisper of Saint Ninian's
mission must surely have come to them, if not his direct teaching,
as he passed on his way from Rome through Cumberland, to found at
Whithorn in Galway a new religious community, like the one his great
teacher Saint Martin had founded at Tours. The mission of Saint
Patrick too, who in the fifth century returned to finish the work
of conversion and church establishment in Ireland, must have been
noised abroad, for his name is imprinted on many a spot hereabouts;
Patterdale or Patricdale,[2] with its well named after him, being
distant barely ten miles from Grasmere.

  [2] Inquisition post mortem of William de Lancaster, 1246.

The holy Kentigern is known to have made missionary excursions from
Carlisle into the mountains, before 573; and Crosthwaite, where he
planted a cross, is but 13 miles from Grasmere, along the line of
the Roman road from Kendal to Old Carlisle. With this artery of
communication open, it is impossible that tidings of the new faith
should not have reached our valley before the close of the sixth

Soon these tidings were to come from the east as well as the west,
borne by the triumphant arms of the invading Angles. Truly Ethelfrith
who, in winning the battle of Chester, first laid our mountain
fastnesses open to his kingdom of Northumbria, was a heathen; but his
successor Edwin embraced Christianity and brought Paulinus, a member
of Saint Augustine's mission, to preach the gospel (627). At York,
the capital of the kingdom, a Christian church was built, a second
one even being started in stone to replace the wooden structure; and
the new bishop moved about with the king and his court, preaching and
baptizing. The valleys of Northumberland and Yorkshire, which were
the scenes of his labours, are named by Bede, who knew them well; but
it is not known that he crossed into Westmorland.

Edwin's overthrow gave Northumbria to the pagan king of Mercia, but
it was soon regained by Oswald, who identified himself completely
with the new faith. He brought Aidan, who had been educated in the
Celtic Church (now firmly settled in Scotland) to fill the place of
the departed Paulinus. But instead of taking up the bishop's seat
at York, Aidan with the strong predilection shown by his church
for island-sanctuaries, chose Lindisfarne to be the centre of his
missionary efforts in Northumbria. Here Finan succeeded him in 651,
and rebuilt the first rude edifice, constructing it of hewn oak
thatched with reeds.

King Oswald (slain at Maserfeld, 642) was shortly after succeeded
by Oswy, an ardent disciple of the new faith, as was Alchfrith his
son. Alchfrith acted as sub-king in Northumbria under his father.[3]
He endowed a monastery at Ripon, which was presumably within his
dominion, and placed there Eata, abbot of Melrose, with a little
band of Scotic monks. At this time there was a young priest named
Wilfrith, lately returned from a journey to Rome (658), with whom
Alchfrith made fast friends. Convinced by Wilfrith that the practices
of the Anglo-Scotic church, where they differed from those of
Western Europe, were mistaken, he turned out the monks of Ripon,
when they refused to alter their customs, and gave the establishment
over to Wilfrith, to rule as abbot. The kings attempted to settle
the differences of practice between the churches at the synod of
Whitby (664), where the counsels of the Roman party under Wilfrith
prevailed; and this caused the retirement of Colman, bishop of
Northumbria, who refused to conform. It was now necessary to supply
his place, and the kings, father and son, seem without disagreement
to have selected each his own man, presumably for his own province;
thus making two bishops instead of one.[4] While Alchfrith chose
Wilfrith for his bishop, and sent him to Gaul for consecration, Oswy
chose Chad, sending him to Kent to be consecrated as Bishop of York
"for him and his" by the Archbishop. But by the time that Wilfrith
had returned from his foreign journey, things were changed at the
court. Alchfrith was dead, possibly slain in rebellion against his
father; and Wilfrith, deprived of his patron, settled down quietly at
Ripon as abbot, while Chad ruled the whole church of Northumbria from

  [3] Bishop Browne in _Theodore and Wilfrith_, pp. 20 and 36,
  inclines to the opinion that this sub-kingdom embraced the
  western rather than the southern portion of Northumbria, as
  generally supposed, in which case it would include those portions
  of Lancashire and the western coasts northwards, laid open by
  Ethelfrith's conquest at Chester.

  [4] See _Theodore and Wilfrith_. The same.

But when Oswy died (670 or 671) and his son Ecgfrith succeeded, Chad
retired, and Wilfrith was made sole Bishop. Now began a very active
and happy period of his life. Enjoying undivided power, a position
which suited his nature, he moved about his huge diocese, everywhere
creating new foundations and building fresh churches. With skilled
workmen under him, he was the great architect and builder of his
time. First he turned his attention to the head church in York, which
had become, since Oswald's days, ruinous. After building there an
edifice unique in its time, he took his masons to Ripon, and there
he built a basilica of dressed stone with pillars and arches and
porches. He also enriched its altar with vases, and a vestment of
purple and gold, and laid upon it a book of the Gospels, marvellously
illumined, and enclosed in a gold and jewelled case. Wilfrith made
the dedication of this church, which was attended by King Ecgfrith,
and by tributary kings, reeves and abbots, an occasion of great
splendour. Standing before the altar, with his face towards the
concourse of people, he recited the names of the lands with which
Ripon was endowed, as also of certain sanctuaries of the Britons
which were taken over by it.

Now this enumeration of lands, said to be given by princes with the
consent of the bishops, is of great interest.[5] Were these lands
within Alchfrith's former sub-kingdom--the nucleus being his monastic
endowment?--and was it intended to create a bishopric there at Ripon,
separate from the one at York? Certainly the great tracts of country
mentioned were to be ecclesiastically ruled from Ripon, whether by
abbot or bishop.

  [5] For the meaning and scope of these early gifts to the church,
  which not only embraced whole villages, but even hundreds and
  provinces, see Maitland's _Doomsday Book and Beyond_, p. 498.

Moreover, in the confused and certainly corrupt list of names that
has come down to us of Wilfrith's remarkable recitation, several have
been localized within that last conquered portion of Northumbria
lying to the west, which may have been called by the Celts who lost
it, Teyrnllwg.[6]

  [6] See Rhys' _Celtic Britain_ for a suggestion that Edwin's
  conquest and Teyrnllwg may represent a considerable portion of
  our district, also "Rydal" in _Westmorland Gazette_, May 2nd,
  1903. Mr. Farrer, while noticing this point in _Victorian History
  of Lancashire_, vol. ii., considers that better authority could
  be desired. For the list of names of gifts to Ripon that have
  come down to us, see Canon Raine's _Historians of the Church of
  York_. Amounderness, between the Ribble and the Cocker, is one.
  Cartmel is probably another. The region "dunutinga" may possibly
  be referred to the Duddon and beyond, where still are manor and
  fells called Dunnerdale, and the hamlet of Old Dunning Well and
  Dumerholme. Donya is the name of some explored earthworks at
  the junction of Bannisdale beck with the Mint, north of Kendal.
  "Goedyne" suggests "Gadeni" or "Cadeni," a name applied to the
  people of the Borders. See Prof. Veitch's _History and Poetry
  of Scottish Borders_. The lands of William de Dunnington are
  mentioned in the _Furness Abbey Coucher Book_, ccviii.

Whatever had been Alchfrith's intentions about Ripon, Wilfrith's
were clear in thus making it the church centre for a district as
wide as a diocese. In effect, it was a diocese; though only for a
short time was there a recognized Bishop of Ripon. And this was after
Ecgfrith and Wilfrith had unhappily quarrelled, and Wilfrith had
been expelled from Northumbria, when Theodore, the new archbishop,
who had been called north to re-organize the huge diocese, made
finally five bishoprics out of it; and Eadhed (after temporarily
ruling a see at Lindsey) became, according to Bede, the Bishop of
Ripon. But upon the reconciliation of Wilfrith with King Aldfrith,
who succeeded Ecgfrith, Eadhed retired from Ripon, and Wilfrith again
took possession of it, and ruled it--though only as abbot--until his

Wilfrith's inauguration of Ripon, which took place in the period
of his sole prelacy of Northumbria (671 to 678) was then an event
of great importance for the district round the great Bay, and for
Grasmere; indeed it is hardly too much to say that its results lasted
over a thousand years. For in spite of the bishop's loss of power,
his scheme ultimately held good. When the long dark days of Danish
anarchy were passed, the western district which he gathered in to
the fold of Ripon emerged as an ecclesiastical entity, and it kept
its bounds through the administrative changes of the Norman kings,
which carved out of it the barony of Kendal, and made of it parts of
Westmorland, Cumberland, Yorkshire and Lancashire. The archdeaconry
of Richmondshire, which was formally constituted a section of the
diocese of York in 1090, is in fact almost identical with Wilfrid's
province of Ripon. It is true that Ripon ceased to be its centre,
that establishment sinking again into a monastery, which lay indeed
a few miles beyond the boundary of Richmondshire; while a new
centre was created at Richmond, a little town without significance
standing in another Yorkshire vale.[7] This great church province
was ruled over by an archdeacon, who possessed almost the powers of
a bishop,[8] until it was transferred by Henry the Eighth in 1541
from the diocese of York to that of Chester; and it remained intact
until 1847, when it was broken up among what are now the dioceses of
Carlisle, Manchester, and Ripon.[9] Our own part of it became the
archdeaconry of Westmorland, under Carlisle.

  [7] In 1140 Alan, earl of Richmond is stated to have oppressed
  Ripon; and in 1143 he assaulted Archbishop William by the shrine
  of St. Wilfrith within the church. _Mem. of Ripon._ Surtees

  [8] Wills and inventories of the Archdeaconry of Richmondshire.

  [9] This did not take effect, however, until after the death of
  Bishop Percy in 1856. _Victoria History of Cumberland._

After Wilfrith had lost favour at the Northumbrian court, and carried
his grievances to Rome, King Ecgfrith secured the co-operation of
Theodore, archbishop of Canterbury (669) in the organization of
the Northern Church. As has been said, there are indications that
church work went on busily in the district of the great Bay. St.
Cuthbert, who had served his apprenticeship as a monk at Ripon, was
made bishop in 685 and administered his great See from Lindisfarne.
Into his charge Ecgfrith expressly gave Cartmel with its Britons, and
the newly-conquered district round Carlisle. Carlisle became indeed
a thriving church centre, with royal nunnery and monastery, and
with missions spreading round it. Bede has drawn a striking picture
of the bishop's visit to the ruined Roman city, when a vision of
the king's overthrow came upon him; as well as of his last meeting
with St. Herebert, the hermit of Derwentwater, who was wont every
year to seek his counsel. The district of Cartmel he placed in the
charge of the "good Abbot Cineferth," as if it were too distant from
Lindisfarne for his immediate care. But, while his own easiest route
to Carlisle would be by the straight road along the Roman Wall, he
would not be ignorant of that other road striking northwards through
the mountains from the great Bay. He may, indeed, have travelled
this road himself on his missionary journeys, and even have halted
to preach in the vale of Grasmere. It is certain at least that some
of the holy men working for the Anglo-Scottish Church at this period
must have done so. With the defeat and death of Ecgfrith the glory
of the Northumbrian kingdom came to an end indeed; but the church
continued to prosper; and in the two hundred years between that event
and the final relinquishment of Lindisfarne as a See, on through the
ravages of the Danes, it wrought a mighty work, not only in the old
kingdoms of Bernicia and Deira, but in the region westward. Many
of our existing foundations may well date back from that time; and
it is probable that the ruined or entirely vanished chapels of our
district were built in that age of piety.[10] We know from Bede
that there was a monastery at Dacre in Cumberland, which existed at
least until 926.[11] It has been suggested that a certain monastery,
founded by a Northumbrian nobleman in the reign of Osred (slain in
717) was situated at Heversham in Westmorland.[12] Certainly at
Heversham may be seen the fragments of a cross wrought in patterns
such as experts ascribe to the Anglian school of workmanship
introduced by Wilfrith.[13]

  [10] See "Lost Churches in the Carlisle Diocese." _Transactions_
  Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian Society, vol. xv.

  [11] See _Victorian History of Cumberland_.

  [12] See Bates's _History of Northumberland_.

  [13] See _Sculptured Crosses of the Diocese of Carlisle_.
  Calverley & Collingwood.

Then too a thrilling event in hagiological history touched our parts
nearly. When the monks of Lindisfarne fled before the ravaging Danes
with St. Cuthbert's body, they went westward for safety, and their
wanderings brought them into Cumberland and Westmorland.[14] A gap
in their travels which the antiquary has yet failed to trace may
possibly have been filled by a route through Craven--that perpetual
haunt of refugees--and about Morecambe Bay.

  [14] See "Translation of St. Cuthbert." _Transactions_ Cumberland
  and Westmorland Antiquarian Society, part 1, vol. ii.

Certainly a well-used road must have passed not far from our district
in the days of Northumbrian anarchy, when Danish kings and allies
reigned alike at York and at Dublin. Windermere indeed is associated
with the murder (741) of two young princes of the royal house.[15]

  [15] See D. F. Hodgkin's _History of Northumberland_.


To the question so often asked, When was the church of Grasmere
founded? no more than a conjectural answer can be given. The district
formed part--though a remote one--of Northumbria, and doubtless
shared in the conversion of that kingdom. Even before that time it
may have been touched by those successive missionary efforts, which
have been happily classed as the Romano-British of Ninian at the end
of the fourth century, the Irish of Patrick in the fifth century,
and the Kymric of Kentigern in the sixth; and these efforts were
followed up by the steady work of the Anglo-Scottish monks, and the
establishment under the Anglian kings of an organized church.[16]

  [16] See "Lost Churches in Carlisle Diocese," _Transactions_
  Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian Society, vol. XV.

The dedication of the Grasmere church favours the supposition that
its foundation was early. Its name-saint is King Oswald, who planted
a cross as a standard in the battle by which he gained Northumbria,
and who was killed at Maserfeld by the heathen Penda in 642. He
became the idol of the Northumbrian christians, and his relics were
cherished in many a shrine. When danger threatened Lindisfarne, his
head was placed for safety in the coffin of St. Cuthbert;[17] and
with this sacred burden the monks, as stated above, fled westward,
wandering for years in parts adjacent to Westmorland, if they did not
actually cross its borders.

  [17] Where it is still, with the mark of a cut from sword or
  battle-axe plain to see.--ED.

A well in the Grasmere valley shared the dedication with the church,
and indeed may have been antecedent to it, as a place of resort.
It is at the foot of Kelbarrow (formerly Kelbergh,[18] the hill
of the spring); and the Celts were wont to decorate their _kels_
or springs with votive offerings of a heathen kind. The church,
however, always took care to possess herself of such wells, absorbing
any sanctification that was ascribed to them; and the water of St.
Oswald's well continued to be carried to the church for baptisms
until quite recent times.[19]

  [18] Monkbergh by Windermere has become Mountbarrow.

  [19] The spot was pointed out to Mrs. Simpson by the Rev. Edward
  Jefferies, who from 1840 was curate in charge.

Church and well are not, however, close together. The well springs in
the flat meadow between the path to the Wray and Wray Beck, but it
is now covered in. The adjacent bay of the lake is called Well-foot,
and the bridge over the beck has the same name; and when the Wray
property was "boundered" in 1683, the "welfoot bridge" was spoken of.

It is suggestive that the farmstead close by owns the name of
Pavement End, being formerly known as Padmire. Could it be proved
that the name is an ancient one, the idea that the spot was much
resorted to of old would be confirmed, since the causeway went so far
and no farther.[20]

  [20] I find, however, in deeds of the early seventeenth century,
  only _Padman_ hereabouts. Or is this a mistake for Padmar? Padman
  appears in the register.


The present site of the church may not have been the original one. It
is hardly a likely halting-place for a travelling preacher. The Roman
road which traversed the valley could neither have been the present
one, that leads to church and village, nor the straight cut from Town
End that passes the Swan Inn. Both of these cross the flat bottom;
and the Romans from the summit of White Moss (by which they certainly
entered the vale) would never have dropped into the marsh below (even
now water-logged in places), only to climb out again, to that gap
of the Raise that plainly beckoned them to their goal northward.
Instead, they would maintain their level as far as might be, and
keep along the firm slope of the fells at a height of some 300 to
400 feet; then, with only two rapid becks to ford, they would come
easily and gradually to the ascent of the pass. It is interesting to
find that along this presumed route there exists a line of scattered
homesteads; while the modern road below was--until the recent spurt
in building, vacant but for a cottage and the Swan Inn; and this last
stands in reality on an ancient cross "loaning" between the higher
road suggested, and the village. Many of these homesteads have been
turned into houses for the wealthy, and great alterations have taken
place; but a track the whole way may still be made out, though hidden
in places by private drives and occupation roads. From White Moss it
dropped but little at first, passing behind the highest of the modern
houses, according to the belief of old people, who say that this
section of it, though remembered, was stopped up before their time.
It touched How Head, a farmhold now deserted; then the Hollins,
Forest Side, Ben Place and Beck Houses. It crossed Greenhead Gill and
passed behind Knott Houses, Winterseeds and Gillside, continuing by
the present ford over Tongue Gill, whence the pass is soon gained.

Now of these names many represented of old not one house, but a
couple or even a group. Doubtless most of them were planted by the
Norse settlers either upon or below the Roman road, on some spot
conveniently above their meadows and common field; and devious lanes
would in time become trodden between one and another, to the final
discarding of the old straight track. Still this can be traced in
places; and a bit to be seen above Winterseeds is probably the actual
Roman road. A stone celt was recently found in the beck close below
it. A quern was also found not far off.[21] The fact that a smithy
existed until recently at Winterseeds--which is only reached now by
climbing the steep brow from the main road--is strong presumptive
evidence of an old line of traffic passing by it. There the last
of the smiths, John Watson, made the ironwork of the present outer
church-door. When he became old, a smithy was set up on the lower
road, at Tongue Gill.

  [21] See _Transactions_ Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian
  Society, N.S. 3, p. 419.

Now it is a singular fact that a field lying a little below this
road, near the gateway of Forrest Side, bears the name of Kirk How.
And there is a tradition attached to the spot. It is said that the
church of the valley was to have been built here, and that the
materials were even gathered together ready for the start; when lo!
they vanished in the night-time, only to be found upon the present
site, and that a second attempt only produced a like result, the
inference being conveyed, by sly looks and chuckles on the part of
the narrator, that the task had been wrought by some supernatural
Being, not to be lightly mentioned. Whether this was the Hob, or
Hobthrush who played so large a part in the stories of the past,
cannot be said, but the legend, in its humorous fearlessness, and
love of a practical joke, is characteristic of the dalesman,[22]
and coupled with the name of the field it is suggestive. It seems
possible that here, at a spot where a traveller upon the road might
so conveniently halt and set up his cross and portable altar, an
early rude (perhaps timbered) structure may actually have once stood.
A well, too, for baptism was not far off. There is one in the grounds
of the Hollins whose water has remained in repute, and which was
examined by an expert at the time (1843) when an effort was made to
establish a hydropathic cure in Grasmere.[23] The water was then
pronounced finer than that of St. Oswald's Well; but as the owner of
the land would not sell, the establishment was placed at the Wray,
close to St. Oswald's. The enterprise, started by Mr. Phillips,
and conducted by a resident doctor and a German bathman, was not
successful, and was given up in five or six years. If the well at the
Hollins ever had a name, it is now unknown.

  [22] The same legend is attached to three Lancashire churches,
  the foundations of which date back to Saxon times. One is St.
  Oswald's, Winwick, where the saint's well was once a place of
  resort. Tradition has preserved, in the case of St. Chad's,
  Rochdale, some particulars of the elfish rabble who wrought the
  change. See _Memorials of Old Lancashire_, vol. --, p. 91-92.

  [23] From Edward Wilson, parish verger till November, 1906.
  His father, a joiner like himself, did the woodwork for the
  hydropathic establishment.

It is hard not to let conjecture play round this tradition of a
change of site. Might it not actually have been made? Could it be
connected with the turning of Grasmere into a manor, and with the
parcelling out of a demesne in the valley? The barons of Kendal,
of whom Ivo de Talbois was the first, possessed all these parts,
from the time of Henry I. He and his successors governed by feudal
methods, through agents. There was here no intermediary lord between
baron and vassal; and the baron's officers--his bailiffs and his
foresters--would be placed in secure houses or fenced lodges, whence
they would control and govern. A demesne of Grasmere is mentioned on
the death of William de Lindesay, 1233, and a manor and park in a
charter of 1297.[24] The woods sold by Henry the Eighth in 1544 were
the residue of the lord's forest; he being the inheritor of the Fee.

  [24] Inquisition post mortem. _Calendar Patent Rolls_, 25 Edward

Now we may reasonably suppose this demesne to have been planted in
Kirktown, as the present village came to be called, where the meadows
were rich and the soil deep for ploughing, but distant from, and
below the ancient line of road with its scattered homesteads. The
demesne made a village nucleus; for all the accessories of a manor
house would spring up about it. We know the lord's brewery was not
far off, at Kelbergh, where springs--beside the holy one--are still
abundant.[25] In a rental, dated 1375[26] that concerned the part of
Grasmere then held by the Hotham and Pedwardyn families, it is stated
that "Richard Smyth holds the forge and should render 12d and 1d,"
with the addition that he pays 2s 0d per annum for "Kelebergh." From
another document we learn that certain tenants of Grasmere pay an
unspecified sum for the brewery of Keldbergh.

  [25] The modern house built upon the knoll had a well within
  it, and behind the house--where a hidden runner gushes out by a
  rock--there are traces of old pavement.

  [26] Levens Hall MSS.

This manorial centre was united to the high line of road on the other
side of the valley by several ways. One, a footpath, still passes
hard by Kirk How, a now disused smithy being upon it. Two others
approach and meet to cross Raise Beck together by White Bridge, the
name indicative of a stone fabric at a time when timber was commoner.
Here the village pinfold still stands.

What more natural than that the church should be added to this
central group, and at a time perhaps when enlarged space and entire
rebuilding of an existing edifice required to be done? The site by
the river would afford deep soil for burial. To such a change of site
(supposing it were made) there would naturally be opposition from
some quarter; whence the tradition.

This, however, is but conjecture. The fabric of the present church
shows no feature that is of a certainty older than the introduction
of manorial rule into Grasmere; while it may be as late as the
fourteenth century. But before considering the question of its age,
it will be well to point out other evidences of the existence of a
church in the valley before record began, and then pass on to such
scant records as time has left to us.

[Illustration: Date]

[Illustration: The PARISH of GRASMERE its Townships and Churches]







[Illustration: Decoration]


The church of Grasmere is found when record begins, serving as the
centre of a large and regularly constituted parish. The date of
the creation of this parish is not known; but from the fact that
its southern boundary runs by the Stock Beck--thus cutting the now
thriving town of Ambleside into two parts, one of which belonged to
Grasmere and the other to Windermere--there seems a probability of it
having been delineated at an early period, when the _sæter_ of some
Norse settler was but an insignificant clearing in the forest.

Every parish is but a unit in a complex Church organization, which
passes upwards by rural deanery, archdeaconry, to diocese. In
historical evolution, there is a descent from the greater to the
less; while each successive ecclesiastical demarcation followed as
a rule some political line of kingdom or state. The diocese for
instance was conterminous with the Anglo-Saxon kingdom; the parish
represented the township, or the manor.

But in the vast kingdom of Northumbria the superposition of church
boundaries upon state boundaries was not so simple a matter, and
the subdivisions that took place are not easy to trace. Archbishop
Theodore, when called in by King Egfrith (678) to portion his kingdom
for purposes of church rule, made at least three bishoprics out of
the one whose centre--after a removal to Lindisfarne--was fixed at

  [27] Bright's _Early Church History_, p. 291. Bishop Browne's
  _Theodore and Wilfrith_, pp. 132 and 690.

Next, the archdeaconries were marked out under Thomas, Archbishop
of York, some time between 1070 and 1100. The archdeaconry of
Richmondshire, lying in the mountainous region west of the old
Anglian kingdom, was a great and peculiar province, and the
archdeacon ruled over it with almost the powers of a bishop.[28]

  [28] It may possibly represent an old sub-kingdom of Northumbria,
  and is suggestive of Edwin's conquest of a district to the
  north-west called by the Britons Teyrnllwg. See Rhys's _Celtic
  Britain_ (quoted in "Rydal," _Westmorland Gazette_, May 2nd,
  1903). It contained large portions at least of that great church
  province which Wilfrid made over to Ripon Minster, which was for
  a short time the seat of a bishop. The creation of Richmond as a
  centre was a late Norman measure.

The archdeaconry was divided again into rural deaneries, of which
Kendal was one. This deanery embraced ten parishes, Grasmere being
the westermost of them. It appears singular that this group of ten
parishes lay in three different counties,--Yorkshire, Lancashire, and
Westmorland; and from this circumstance it has been argued that here
(as in our own parish) the ecclesiastical division was made prior to
the political one of counties. This probably was so; and it is clear
that the deanery represents in reality another political area, viz.:
that of the barony of Kendal created by William Rufus.[29]

  [29] Whitaker's _History of Richmondshire_. Dr. Wilson
  (_Victorian History of Cumberland_) gives 1120 to 1130 as dates
  between which Henry I. marked out the county divisions as fiscal
  areas. In the latter year the new county of Westmarieland was
  placed under the jurisdiction of a separate sheriff.

Kirkby Kendale, the _caput_ of the barony, became from this period
the official church centre. There the Synods and Archidiaconal Courts
were held, and all dues were paid which the higher church authorities
exacted from the parishes--Grasmere among them.[30] Thither the
rector or his substitute, along with the churchwardens, annually

  [30] For the connection between mother churches and chapelries
  or vicarages under them, see _History of English Church_, edited
  by Dean Stephens, vol. ii., p. 295. ["Walter Gray, Archbishop
  of York in 1233 consolidated 10 chapelries in the two parishes
  of Pocklington and Pickering into five vicarages, two and two.
  Each vicar had two chapels, and was endowed with a sum to support
  chaplains at both, while he also paid a small sum annually to the
  mother church in token of subjection."] From the rural deanery of
  Kendal there were paid the following dues, according to an old
  voucher, c. 1320: at Easter 12s. 0d. for Synodalia; at Michaelmas
  £4 16s 8d for Procurationes; besides £3 for Presumptiones, and £3
  9s 6d in Peter's pence--a goodly tribute this for the Pope from
  our mountains lands! Whitaker's _History of Richmondshire_.

The exact relationship between the central church at Kirkby and the
churches of Grasmere and Windermere in early days is hard to make
out. They were considered in some sort as dependencies, and were
called chapels after they had become parish churches. This uncertain
position recalls the constitution of the early British church. And
it must be remembered that Theodore's _parochia_ was not a parish
but a diocese. Again, the laws of Edgar (959-975) place churches in
three classes: first, the ancient church or monastery of a district;
second, the church with a corpse-ground; and third, the church
without a corpse-ground.[31] Tithes moreover were enjoined to be paid
to the ancient or central church.

  [31] Selden's _History of Tithes_. Easterby's _Law of Tithes_,
  pp. 4, 8, and 13.

Now Grasmere may at first have ranked in the third order, as a
mission church (_capella_). It would in that case pay its tithes,
or a large proportion of them, to Kirkby Kendal, and bury its
christian dead within the consecrated soil of that church. It may not
have acquired the right of burial until the lord created a demesne
there.[32] This view is strengthened by the fact that the church of
Kendale claimed certain dues from Grasmere and Windermere down to
a late date. One was a pension of 13s. 4d. (one mark) paid to the
vicar out of the tithes of the parish. The other was a mortuary fee,
exacted by him as late as the seventeenth century.[33]

  [32] The early practice of burial in distant churches is
  inexplicable to this age. But it should be remembered that in
  early days man was a peripatetic animal, to whom the distance
  between Grasmere and Kendal, or Hawkshead and Dalton, would be
  slight; and that a corpse wrapped in a winding-sheet would be
  much lighter than one coffined.

  [33] Of the first, still paid, there is plenty of evidence. It
  was even allowed during the Commonwealth. In 1645 the Rydal
  Hall account-sheets show that arrears were paid to the Kendal
  parson out of the tithes "upon order for 5 yeares stypd out of
  Gresmire," amounting to £3 6s 8d or five marks. Next year is
  entered "Rent due to mr. M. out of Gresmire tithes" 13s 6d. The
  order came from the Puritan Committee at Kendal.

  A mortuary, or corpse present, was distinct from a burial fee,
  and was supposed to cover any obligation forgotten by the dead
  man to church or priest. The claim anciently was upon his second
  best animal, the best going to his feudal lord; but it came to be
  paid in coin; while a law was passed (21 Henry VIII.) limiting
  the sum to 10s., and that only when the deceased owned goods to
  the value of £40. Dr. Cox, _Parish Registers of England_. The
  following receipt is in existence for a fee paid to Kendal on the
  death of Edward Walker of Rydal, who was buried in his parish
  church of Grasmere:--

  "Jan; the 2nd Anno Domj 1652.

  Rec. p. fr ye Executors of Edward Walker ye Sume of ffive
  shillings in full satisfaction of a Mortuary due to ye Vicar
  of Kendall by me Tho: Willain I say received the day and yeare
  abouesd by me Tho: Willain ye aforesd sume of 5s 0d."


The boundary of the parish of Grasmere followed geographical lines.
Starting from the point where the Rothay and the Brathay unite for
their entrance into Windermere, it ascended the first river for a
short distance until it reached the tributary, Stock beck. This it
ascended until, near the source, it struck upwards to the line of
the watershed. It then followed a devious course along the mountain
tops, as "heven watter deales" (divides), according to the quaint
old boundary phrase. Always clinging to the sky line between waters
flowing north and south, it dropped to Dunmail Raise, to rise to
the tops again. From these lonely heights it made another short
artificial course to reach Little Langdale beck near the source, and
with these waters--named Brathay after emerging from Elterwater--it
continued to the uniting place of the two rivers at Bird-house Mouth.
Thus, with the exception of the right bank of the Brathay, the parish
embraced the whole area of the two valleys of the Rothay and Brathay
and their confluents. Its boundary marched with that of parishes
in Westmorland, Cumberland and Lancashire. Its northern line was
for centuries the boundary between the Anglian rule, and the Celtic
kingdom of Cumbria. Its circuit counted some thirty-five miles by
flat measurement; but much of it lay on summits that reach to a great


This parish--a wild tract of fells, becks, and tarns, was divided
into three component parts.

It has been pointed out[34] that the ancient church of Northumbria
left certain marks upon the districts she administered which
may yet be distinguished. One peculiarity was the great extent
of the parishes, some of which embraced several--occasionally
many--townships. Another was, that each parish was governed secularly
by a body of men known as the Twenty-four. Now Grasmere conformed
nearly, though not exactly, with these rules; for the controlling
body consisted of Eighteen, not Twenty-four, being in this respect
like the Cumbrian parish of Crosthwaite to the north. But other
parishes of the district had their Twenty-four--as Cartmel and Dalton
in Furness.[35] In the next parish of Windermere, the Twenty-four are
still an active body, and collect at the church every Easter Tuesday,
eight coming from each of the three townships, Under-Milbeck,
Applethwaite and Troutbeck.

  [34] Creighton's _Historical Essays_.

  [35] At Cartmel in 1642 measures were taken "for the makinge
  upp of the twentie-fourte ... that there may be four in everye
  churchwardens division as hath formerlie been used." Stockdale's
  _Annales Caermoelensis_.

The parish of Grasmere also embraced three townships. One was
Grasmere proper, situated in the basin-shaped vale that catches
the sources of the Rothay, Langdale; the sister valley formed
the second township, which extended to Elterwater; the third was
Rydal-and-Loughrigg (often called Loughrigg and Beneath-Moss) which
included all the rocky mass between the converging rivers, the
compact village of Rydal with part of Ambleside.

From three sides of the parish then, by mountain path and
"horse-trod," the folk wended their way for worship to Grasmere
Church. Those of the vale of Grasmere proper would gather in units or
little groups from all the scattered farmsteads, from Far Easdale and
Blindtarn Gill, from Town Head, Gill Side, and all the houses that
lay "Aboon Beck" as far as How Head and Town End, till they met at
their lych-gate on the north side of the church.

From Loughrigg and Beneath-Moss they would collect by many a devious
track, starting as far back as Clappersgate and Ambleside. From
Ambleside ancient "trods" passed Nook End, and rose from Scandale
Bridge by easy grade to Nab Lane (where Rydal folk would join them)
and White Moss, and thence descending to cross the church bridge to
enter the garth by the present gate, which was specially their own.

The third stream of worshippers flowed from the farthest sources
west, from the recesses of Little Langdale, from Blea Tarn, and
Fell Foot, from Forge and Hackett and Colwith they came, on through
Elterwater, and across Walthwaite Bottom. Mounting the brow, they
would meet a tributary stream of fellow-townsfolk, that gathered
right from Steel End and Wall End, increasing as it flowed down
Mickle Langdale, till it crossed the ridge of Hunting Stile. Dropping
steeply into the vale, they would at Nichols (where stood an inn)
meet a third contingent (from Loughrigg) which, starting at Skelwith,
mounted by Foul Step to Little Loughrigg, passed by the Fold, the
Oaks and Scroggs, to descend by Red Bank to the level of Grasmere
Lake.[36] From Nichols onward the united groups would travel by the
lake, and past the Holy Well, to enter the church garth by a gate
at the north-west angle, now gone, called the Langdale gate.[37]
Here, at Church Stile, stood an important inn, long owned by the
Harrison family. Shelter and a fire must indeed have been often
needed (as well as something for the inner man) after the long
travel--especially at funeral gatherings, when the corpse had to be
borne through ford and flood, or through the storms and deep snows
of winter time. The Ambleside folk, when in 1674 they petitioned
their bishop for the right of burial in their chapel, stated that
"by reason of the heat in summer and the great snowes and sudden
inundations of water in winter it is very difficult and dangerous to
carry their dead thither [to Grasmere] for burial";[38] yet their
distance from the church was nothing like that of the Langdale
folk. There were not infrequent burials from the right bank of Little
Langdale beck, in the parish of Hawkshead or of "Ulverston."

  [36] There is a tradition that a route from Skelwith Bridge
  dropped sharply from the top of Red Bank to the old ford of the
  Rothay known as Bathwath (Rydal Hall MSS.), and that it had even
  been used for funerals. This seems unlikely, unless the use were
  a repetition of a custom that had prevailed before the present
  Red Bank road was made; and of superstitious adherence to old
  corpse-roads the Rev. J. C. Atkinson (_Forty Years in a Moorland
  Parish_) gives instances. There may indeed have been once a
  well-trodden path there. In former times a fulling-mill stood on
  the left bank of the Rothay, near to the ford, and within the
  freehold property of Bainrigg. The mill was owned by the Benson
  family in the fifteenth century, but Bainrigg had belonged before
  that time to a family of de Bainbrigg, who had at least one
  capital dwelling or mansion-house standing upon it. Now a road to
  this house or houses there must have been. The woodman recently
  found a track leading up from the site of the mill to the rocky
  height, which emerged upon the present Wishing-Gate road. On the
  line of this (which was engineered as a turnpike road only about
  1770-80) the older way doubtless continued towards Grasmere,
  past How Top and through Town End. A huge stone standing on this
  line was known as the How Stone. Levi Hodgson who lived at How
  Top, and who described the route to Mr. W. H. Hills, remembered
  fragments of a cottage in the wood. If the Skelwith Bridge folk
  ever used it as a church path, they would meet their townsmen
  (who had come over White Moss) at How Top. Close by there is
  still a flat-topped boulder used for resting burdens upon.

  [37] This gate is shown in a map of 1846, as well as the stile
  which gave its name to the house then still standing, that was
  immediately opposite. Both disappeared at the widening of the
  lane from Stock Bridge to the church.

  [38] Ambleside Town and Chapel.

Once within the churchyard, the different streams of the townships
mingled as fellow parishioners. The sexes however, divided, the women
seeking entrance (presumably) by the great south porch, and the men
(after business done) herding in by the west door, known as theirs.
Yet once inside, they again fell rigorously into ranks of townships,
as we shall see.

The gathering of the dalesfolk for worship must have been a striking
sight, especially on the great feast days when--four times in the
year--the sacraments were administered. Certainly attendance at
church was obligatory upon every Sabbath Day, and fines were levied
for default. But from the early seventeenth century, if not before,
the dependent chapels in Langdale (at Chapel Stile) and Ambleside
would absorb many of the more distant worshippers. For the four
great celebrations, however, the whole of the adult population of
the valleys, except the sick and infirm, would attend the parish
church.[39] It is of course impossible to compute the number of the
people, especially in early times; but if we accept the statement
made in the Presentment of 1712, that there were then about 200
families in the parish, it may be reckoned that at that time and
for at least a century previously, no fewer than from 500 to 700
communicants would gather for the rite. Besides the master and
mistress of the homestead, there were grown-up sons and daughters,
with farm servants.[40] The garth would be crowded with the concourse
of folk; and when they trooped into the fane, each township to its
own quarter of the building, where men and women again divided to
take their accustomed places upon their separate forms, and the dogs
sneaked in, hoping to escape the dogwhipper's eye as they settled
under their masters' legs, the whole space must have been packed.

  [39] It is not easy to discover what was the early practice of
  the church concerning the administration of the sacrament, or the
  number of times it was received yearly by the laity. As early
  as 750, laymen who failed to communicate at Christmas, Easter,
  and Pentecost, were not esteemed christians; they were expected
  to make offerings four times a year. A later rule, which was
  stringent, seems to have been once a year, though a more frequent
  attendance--specially at Easter and Christmas, was urged. See
  Abbot Gasquet's _Parish Life in Medieval England_, Wall's _Old
  English Parishes_, p. 90, and Wordsworth's _Medieval Services
  in England_. The sacrament was called _housel_, and the bread
  _houselling-bread_. Henry VII's queen, Elizabeth of York, appears
  to have communicated three times a year, at the festivals of
  Easter, All Saints, and Christmas (Canon Simmon's _Notes to the
  Lay Folks' Mass Book_, p. 239). Queen Victoria no doubt clung to
  an old custom when she communicated no oftener than three or four
  times a year. (See _Life_.)

  [40] The population must have been greater when the Kendal trade
  in cloth was at its height. There were 1300 "houseling people"
  reported for the parish of Windermere in 1549 (Commission quoted
  in Mr. Brydson's _Sidelights on Mediæval Windermere_, p. 95),
  and there is no reason to suppose that Grasmere was far behind.
  At the same time the numbers to collect at one celebration would
  be considerably lessened if the Easter communion were spread
  over several occasions, as was the case in the late seventeenth
  century at Clayworth, Notts, where celebrations were held on Palm
  Sunday, Good Friday, as well as Easter Day. All parishioners--to
  judge from the rector's careful record--must at this season have
  communicated; but at the celebrations of Whitweek and Christmas
  (for there was none at Michaelmas) the numbers were much lower.
  (_Rector's Book of Clayworth_).

The old, narrow close-set forms seated far more people than the
modern benches, but even they could not have accommodated the crowds
that attended certain funerals. (See Charities.) At Mrs. Fleming's
funeral, for instance, few short of 2000 persons must have been
present, including dole-getters, neighbours and relatives.


Thus for worship did the folk gather in the church. They came thither
also to bury their dead within consecrated soil--for baptism of their
"barnes" by the priest, and the binding of man and woman in holy
matrimony. But the edifice and the enclosed space about it served in
early times not only for purposes of religion, but of the law. Like
the Roman Forum, it was used for the transaction of public business
and the administration of justice. Bargains were ratified, covenants
were witnessed, and protestations made solemn by an oath taken
upon the Holy Gospel where it lay upon the altar--once a wonderful
script illuminated and jewelled, that is now represented by the
dirty little Testament of the Law Courts. Manor Courts and legal
enquiries or inquests were frequently held within it. Public notices
that concerned the townships--private ones even of auctions and the
like--were proclaimed before the assembled people in the garth or the
porch, if not in the building itself. Punishments for moral offences
were carried out in face of the congregation.[41]

  [41] We have no evidence of this to show for Grasmere Church. But
  in 1622 "Sir" Richard Pearson, curate of Troutbeck, was empowered
  by the rector of Windermere to publicly revoke the sentence of
  excommunication under which one Adam Birkhead lay. An edict was
  issued from the registry of the Archdeaconry of Richmondshire
  as late as 1715, citing a form of penance to be gone through by
  George Birkett, who before the congregation of Troutbeck, and in
  "penitential habit," was to confess his grievous sin of incest
  with his deceased wife's sister. An additional note, however,
  empowered Mr. Barton, rector of Windermere, and Mr. Grisedale,
  curate, to use their discretion as to the manner of confession,
  and to allow the sinner, if properly penitent, to make it "in his
  Ordinary apparell" (Browne MSS.). It may have been the dislike
  of public penance, with its peculiar habit, that caused the
  churchwardens of Grasmere so often, and so incorrectly, to return
  a clean bill of morality in their Presentments.

The priests and the clergy acted as legal agents for the unlettered
folk till comparatively recent times. They were versed in the
intricacies of law, as well as ritual, and skilled in penmanship and
the Latin tongue. The higher of them are found acting as agents and
accountants for the holders of the fees into which the barony became
split, as documents which concern our parish show.

Frequently the chaplain or the village priest drew up indentures,
petitions, and secular agreements for the living, as well as the
testaments of the dying. Wills were proved at the church registry
of the diocese, and were stored there. The wills of the parish
of Grasmere went to the town of Richmond, the centre of the
archdeaconry; and not until 1719 were they proved at the secular
courts of Kendal and Lancaster.[42]

  [42] _Wills and Inventories of the Archdeaconry of Richmondshire_
  (Rev. J. Raine). The privilege of probate was withdrawn finally
  from ecclesiastical courts by Act of 1857 (Dr. Cox's _History of
  Parish Registers_).

Instances of the use of the church fabric for secular purposes in
the neighbourhood may be quoted. A Court Roll of 1443 is headed
"Court of Wynandremere held at the church of Wynandremere 9 July 21
Henry VI."[43] An award concerning a private dispute in 1534 between
George Browne of Troutbeck and Myles Dickson of Applethwaite decrees
that the former pay to the latter "upon the secunde sonday in lente
next comynge O-XLs of able ynglyshe money upon or. layde Alter in
Wyndandermer church betwixe VIII of the clock and XII of the said
sonday."[44] Again, an indenture made 1571 between Mr. John Benson
and his Baisbrowne tenants stipulates that the payment of certain
moneys should be made "in langdaill chappell betweene thoures of
eyght of the clock at aftr. noine" on the 1st of August in the two
ensuing years.[45] In 1601, when Widow Agnes Fleming of Rydal Hall
with her sons sued a Penrith man for debt, the commissioners sat and
examined witnesses in Ambleside Chapel.[46] And within this building
were probably taken down depositions in several other cases.

  [43] Public Record Office Court Roll 207/122.

  [44] Browne MSS.

  [45] Rydal Hall MSS.

  [46] Rydal Hall MSS.

As regards Grasmere itself record is scant. The manorial courts were
occasionally held in the Moot Hall of Kirkby Kendal, as in 1603,[47]
but in early times it would be impossible to summon the holders from
so far; and it is stated in 1436 that two courts were yearly held in
Grasmere.[48] No other building than the church could have contained
this official gathering. The judgment on the 1583 tithe dispute
enjoined that the parishioners were to pay their tithe of lambs in
money every Easter "in the parish church of Gresmier." The church or
chapel was as a rule the schoolroom where the priest taught.

  [47] Public Record Office Court Roll 207/111.

  [48] Church inquisition post mortem, Henry VI., No. 36.

The churchyard, even more than the church itself, had its secular
and popular uses, which came down from ancient time. The fairs, the
markets, the sports and the wrestlings[49] which took place within
its enclosing walls, and of which we obtain faint intimations, were
but the survival of the festivals sanctioned by the early church,
when the wake, or fair of the patron saint was kept. This again,
with its bull-baiting, its rude sports and its temporary stalls,
may be linked on to the earlier rites of heathen times, when beasts
were brought to the Temple for sacrifice, and when the people built
booths about it, in which to hold a three days' feast. The annual
or biennial fair, and even the Sunday market, were quite usual in
the churchyard, before the boroughs obtained a special privilege for
them. And though an express statute in 1285 forbade the practice,
neither this nor the later injunction of the Church were heeded. In
1300 the town of Cockermouth complained that its market was spoilt by
the bartering carried on at Crosthwaite Church, where not only flesh
and fish were sold at festivals (and this distinctly smacks of an
ancient sacrificial practice); but that corn, linen, cloth and other
commodities were conveyed thither every Sunday for barter. In 1380
the town of Appleby was suffering from a like cause. Merchants were
carrying their goods to sell in the churchyards of the surrounding
district on Sundays, to the detriment of the accredited market.[50]
If this was done in other places of the district, it was certainly
done at Grasmere, for the market town of Kendal was sixteen miles
distant on a road often impassable.[51]

  [49] See Coulton's _Chaucer and his England_, where miracle-plays
  and dances are added to the list.

  [50] Calendar Patent Rolls, 4 Richard II., p. 1.

  [51] Browne MSS.

It was not until the seventeenth century that markets were
established in the neighbouring towns of Hawkshead and Ambleside,
after Grasmere had in vain attempted to secure the privilege.[52]

  [52] Rydal Hall MSS.

A good deal of informal business besides was conducted in the
churchyard, such as sales proposed or private bargains struck. Of
proclamations and sale notices made within the church or garth we
have abundant evidence; and for these the clerk received generally a
fee of 2d. No doubt the "citation" we hear of for tithe wool due to
Squire John Fleming (1631) was made at the church. The prohibition
against cutting wood in Bainrigg (1768) which the Rev. J. Wilson
suggested should "be given at our church of sunday" and which was to
deprive the holder of his winter fuel, has been preserved.[53] In
recent times, according to Edward Wilson, the notices were given out
by the clerk in the yard, outside the so-called men's or western door.

  [53] Rydal Hall MSS.

The officers of the townships transacted business at church; and the
notices still hung in church porches are a survival of the custom.
The overseers of the poor worked in fact in close connection with the
wardens; and the latter were responsible for some county rates which
are found entered in their accounts, such as (1708) "To the Jaylor
at Appleby" and "Prisoner Money." The Overseers' books for Rydal and
Loughrigg show that when they failed to board a pauper within their
township, they paid to the clerk 2d. "for advertising her to let."

The constable (and there was one for each township) had a far older
connection with the parish church. He caused meetings for his
division to be proclaimed at the church. Among the miscellaneous
duties which he still performed in late times was payment for the
slaughter of harmful beasts and birds. The heads of these were hung,
we are told, on the church gates as visible proof; and Stockdale,
writing in 1872,[54] says that he has seen them so exposed both
at Cartmel and Hawkshead. The same practice no doubt prevailed at
Grasmere. The constable's books for Rydal and Loughrigg record 4d. as
the price usually given for a raven's head, and 3s. 4d. for that of a
fox. In 1786, 5s. 0d. was paid "for one old Fox and two young ones."
Ravens were frequently entered, and as the payments went to William
Parke, we must suppose them to have been taken on the precipice of
Nab Scar. Five were paid for in 1787, and twelve in 1790. These would
decorate the Rydal and Loughrigg gate. Two foxes were paid for in

  [54] _Annales Caermoelensis._


Not Twenty-four, but Eighteen represented the interests of the
townships in the parish church. This was the case also at Crosthwaite
in Cumberland, where this ancient body of "sworn" men were swept away
by the Charity Commissioners at the time that they took over the
schools. Of the Eighteen in Grasmere six represented--along with two
wardens--each township. While the wardens, who were all landholders,
took office for one year only, and in rotation, like all other
officials of the village communities, such as constable, overseer,
surveyor of roads, and frithman, the Eighteen appear to have been
freely elected, and they kept office for an indefinite period.

The names of those who served the office at the Restoration are given
in the important document concerning the fabric of the church printed
later, and these names were but slowly altered. In the churchwardens'
books of 1723 is written "Then chosen Edward Brockbank to be an
Eighteen man for Little Langdale in the place of John Brockbank his
father, deceased." Again in 1824 comes "Sides-Man Chosen by the
Minister Churchwardens and Sides-men," followed by their names. A
list of these was but infrequently written out, only an erasure
marking a change, as when in 1708 John Green, serving for Grasmere
"being Very Old and infirm, desired to be excused," and Thomas Green
took his place.

The choice of a new member of the body lay apparently with the
Eighteen themselves, the wardens, and the parson. This is still the
case in Windermere, where (I am told) the choice of a new member of
the Twenty-four is discussed in full vestry, the clergyman, however,
finally nominating.[55] Yet the Eighteen were acting representatives
in church affairs of the folk of the townships. All contracts for the
improvement and alteration of the church were made by them. They were
responsible for the share of their township in its upkeep, and laid
a rate on the landholders to cover the yearly expenses. It is almost
certain that the appointment of a clerk and schoolmaster lay with
them and the wardens, though the parson no doubt sat at the conclave.
We have no means of knowing whether their powers extended further.[56]

  [55] From Mr. George Browne, one of the Twenty-four.

  [56] At Holme Cultram, Cumberland, a like body--chosen, however,
  by the people themselves--were responsible for the care of
  the bridges and common wood, besides providing for the upkeep
  of the sea-dyke. See "The Sixteen Men of Holme Cultram,"
  _Transactions_, Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian Society,
  N.S., 3. The Eighteen of Aston, Oxfordshire, were found in 1583
  to have control over the common field and meadow, with the
  yearly allotments made within them. See "Survival of Archaic
  Communities," Prof. F. W. Maitland (_Law Quarterly Review_, vol.
  9). Prof. Maitland regards the existence of this body as an
  exceptional case, and thinks it dangerous to assume it to have
  been a survival of ancient times. Mr. G. G. Coulton in _Chaucer
  and his England_ considers that the Black Death of 1348-9 and the
  consequent diminution of the clergy may have thrown the people
  on their own resources, and caused the lay control over parish
  finances which appears to have dated (he says) from the fifteenth

It should be noted that the old name for them was simply "The
Eighteen." They are called Questmen in a contract of 1687, but this
appears to have been drawn up by a stranger. The term Sidesmen occurs
late, and so does "The Twenty-four" which reckons the six wardens,
two for each township, in the number. Strictly, the wardens (of whom
there were eight in Cartmel) should not be included.

[Illustration: Decorative]

[Illustration: Structure of the Interior of S^t Oswald's








[Illustration: Decoration]


The church constitution of Grasmere was therefore from early times
that of a parish controlled and administered by a body of men
representing the people, who were responsible for the funds that
maintained the building and its services, while the clergy who
officiated were supported by the ancient system of the payment of

The offering of pious folk of the tenth of their yearly yield was at
first intended to cover all expenses, but it soon became diverted
into purely ecclesiastical channels. The tithe-paying parish indeed
early excited the cupidity of the least scrupulous members of Church
and State. Already in 1254 a rector of Grasmere is found to be
drawing the revenues of the parish without troubling to serve it
except by deputy; for the Pope in that year granted a dispensation to
Henry de Galdington, rector of "Grossemer" in the diocese of York, to
hold an additional benefice with cure of souls.[57] This is the first
record of the church discovered so far.

  [57] _Calendar of Papal Registers_, vol. ii., p. 294.

The value of the rectory is stated in the dispensation to be ten
marks (£6 13s. 4d.). Estimates, however, varied widely. About 1291 a
taxation was made out for all ecclesiastical benefices in England,
the cause being Pope Nicholas I.'s promise of the tenths which he
claimed from them, to Edward I. for a term of six years, towards the
expenses of a crusade. This great valuation remained the standard
of taxation until the time of Henry VIII. It is said to have been
completed for the Province of York in 1292; and it sets down the
"church of Gressemere" in the Archdeaconry of Richmondshire as being
worth £16, and that of Wynandermere as £10.[58]

  [58] _Tax. Eccle. P. Nicholai_, iv.

But the high valuation of 1292 did not hold good. Complaints from the
northern clergy that through impoverishment by various causes, but
chiefly the invasions of the Scots, they were by no means able to pay
so high a tax, produced some amelioration. A correction was made in
1318, when Windermere was written down at £2 13s. 4d., and Grasmere
at £3 6s. 8d., or five marks. And at this figure it remained.

It stood indeed at five marks in 1283, when the first mention of the
church occurs in connection with the secular lordship.


     The writing down of the value of the tithes of Grasmere was the
     subject of correspondence between the author and myself, and
     she writes: "The so called taxation of Pope Nicholas IV. was
     acknowledged to be too high for the Northern Counties; but the
     reduction of Grasmere, when the alteration was made in 1318,
     from £16 to five marks (£3 6s. 8d.) is unaccountable to me." It
     had stood at this figure previously but had been raised to £16,
     and, as will be seen in the text, as early as 1301 in the reign
     of Edward I., when the abbot of St. Mary's, York, was allowed
     to appropriate "the chapels of Gresmer and Wynandermere,"
     Gresmer is described as being worth £20. In 1344, at the
     Archbishop's Visitation, it is described as worth 5 marks; only
     to be again raised in 1435. In that year upon the death of
     John, duke of Bedford and earl of Kendal, to whom they had been
     granted by his father, Henry IV., we find among the items of his
     property "the advowsons of Wynandermere and Gressemere each of
     which is worth £20 yearly." After this the tithes again reverted
     to 5 marks and in the reign of Henry VIII. the "pension" paid to
     the abbey is put down as only half of that sum, viz. £1 13s. 4d.
     at which it still remains.

     The terms "pension" and "advowson" may not always mean the same
     thing, thus advowson seems to be used sometimes as synonymous
     with tithe. Hence Miss Armitt writes "The parish churches, such
     as Kendal, Grasmere, etc., were "taxed" from the twelfth century
     onward at a certain figure--ten marks (£6 13s. 4d.) £16 or
     £30. What did this taxation represent? The absolute sum to be
     paid by the rector from the tithes to king, pope, archdeacon,
     court, or feudal lord? or was it a valuation only of the tithes,
     from which was calculated the amounts of the various 'scots'
     or annual payments to ecclesiastical or temporal authorities?"
     It seems not unlikely that the rise from £3 6s. 8d. to £20 in
     the reign of Edward I. may be accounted for by the fact that
     the "Old Valor" which was granted by authority of Innocent the
     fourth to Henry III. in 1253 was superseded in 1291 by the "New
     Valor" granted to Edward I. by Nicholas IV., so that when Henry
     IV. granted the chapels of Grasmere and Windermere to his son
     John they were valued in 1435 at £20 each. They were only being
     put back to the sum named in the "New Valor" of 1291 which had
     been allowed in 1344 to drop to the 5 marks at which they had
     stood in the "Old Valor." The tithe taxation as established by
     the "New Valor" remained in force until Henry VIII. But a "Nova
     Taxatio" which only affected part of the province of York was
     commanded in 11 Edward II. (1317) on account of the invasion of
     the Scots and other troubles. These various taxings will account
     for the variation in payments which were collected for the
     benefit of the king.



William Rufus, upon his conquest of Carlisle, gave over to Ivo de
Tailbois all these parts as a fief. After Ivo a confusion of tenure
and administration prevails, into which it is useless to enter. The
line of patrons of Grasmere may perhaps be begun safely with Gilbert
fitz Reinfred, who married Helwise, daughter and heiress of William
de Lancaster II., because it was he who first held the Barony of
Kendal in chief from Richard I., by charter dated 1190.[59]

  [59] _Lancashire Pipe Rolls_, Mr. W. Farrer.

His son William, called de Lancaster III., died in 1246 without a
direct heir; and the children of his sisters, Helwise and Alice,
shared the fief between them. It is Alice's line that we have to
follow. She married William de Lindesey, and her son Walter took that
portion of the barony which was later known as the Richmond Fee, and
which included the advowson of our church.

Sir William de Lindesey, his son, was the next inheritor. After his
death, in 1283, a jury of true and tried men declared that he had
died possessed of "A certain chapel there (Gresmer) taxed yearly
at 66s 8d."[60] The chapel of Windermere, set down at a like sum,
belonged to the same lordship.

  [60] _Lancashire Inquests_, _etc._, ed. by Mr. Farrer.

Christiana, William's heiress, was then only 16. She was married to
a Frenchman, Ingelram de Gynes, lord of Coucy. There is evidence
that they spent a considerable part of their time in these parts,
their seat being at Mourholm, near Carnforth. Ingelram indeed
fought in the Scottish wars, as did his son William. Christiana
survived her husband some ten years. They had at least four sons,
William, Ingelram, Baldwin, and Robert. It was William who inherited
the chief part of Christiana's property in the barony of Kendal,
which was declared (1334) to include the manor of Wynandermere,
and the advowsons of the chapels of Wynandermere, Marieholm, and

  [61] _Calendar Patent Rolls_, 8 Edw. III. and 14 Edw. III., pt.
  3, mem. 11.

The new tenant at once incurred King Edward III.'s displeasure. His
interests lay apparently in France, where he resided, being styled
lord of Coucy[62]; and without waiting to do homage for his mother's
English lands and receiving them formally from the king's hands (as
was the feudal custom), he passed them over to his young son William.
The king pardoned the offence, and ratified the grant,[63] but he
kept the youth, still a minor in 1339, about his person,[64] and
William's short life seems to have been spent in service under the
English banner.[65]

  [62] _Calendar Patent Rolls_, 8 Edw. III. There was a question of
  a marriage between his daughter Mary and the king's brother.

  [63] _Calendar Patent Rolls_, 8 Edw. III.

  [64] _Calendar Patent Rolls_, 13 Edw. III.

  [65] _Calendar Patent Rolls._

The family of de Gynes had a difficult part to play during the wars
that followed upon Edward's claim to the throne of France. Their
hereditary instincts carried them naturally into the opposite camp,
and they lost their English possessions in consequence. On William's
death in 1343 the king--while he seems to have acknowledged the claim
of his brother Ingelram as his heir,[66] kept the heritage in his own
hands. Moreover, he declared such lands as were held by Robert de
Gynes, a son of Christiana, who was a cleric and Dean of Glasgow, to
be forfeited, because of Robert's adherence to his enemy,[67] and for
the same reason lands at Thornton in Lonsdale held by Ingelram, son
of Ingelram and grandson of Christiana, were likewise forfeited.[68]

  [66] _Calendar Patent Rolls_, 17 Edw. III.

  [67] _Calendar Patent Rolls_, 17 Edw. III.

  [68] _Calendar of Close Rolls._

The king presently used the escheated heritage to reward a knight
who had served him well in the Scottish wars. John de Coupland had
had the courage and address to secure Robert Bruce as prisoner at
the battle of Durham; and Edward in 1347 granted to him and his wife
for their joint lives the Lindesey Fee which was the inheritance of
Ingelram. He excepted, however, from the grant (along with the park
and woodlands about Windermere) the knight's fees and advowsons of
churches belonging to the same.[69]

  [69] _Calendar Patent Rolls_ and _Close Rolls_, 22 Edw. III.

The fortunes of war brought Ingelram, lord of Coucy, and son of
Ingelram, William's brother, as hostage for John, king of France,
to the court of Edward. There he gained by his handsome person and
knightly grace the favour of the king, who granted him the lands of
Westmorland which had belonged to his great-grandmother Christiana,
created him Earl of Bedford, and gave him in 1365 his daughter
Isabella in marriage. Ingelram for some time satisfied his martial
instincts by fighting in the wars of Italy and Alsace; but on the
renewal of the struggle between England and France, followed by the
death of his father-in-law in 1377, his scruples were at an end. He
renounced his allegiance to England, haughtily returned the badge of
the Order of the Garter, and joined the side of Charles II.[70]

  [70] Rymer's _Foedera_, _Dic. of Nat. Biography_. "Proof that
  Ingelram Earl of Bedford was son of Ingelram brother of William,
  who was son of William de Coucy, Christiana's son, is contained
  in _Inq. p.m._, 50 Edw. III. (1) No. 18." Mr. W. Farrer.

The Lindesey Fee was once more forfeited to the Crown. Richard II.
granted it, however, to Phillipa, daughter of Ingelram and Isabella,
and to her husband Robert de Vere, earl of Oxford (1382); and when
the latter was outlawed by Parliament in 1388 it was confirmed to
her.[71] After her death (1411) she was declared to have been seised
of the advowson of the chapel of Grismere, taxed at £10, and that of
Wynandermere, taxed at 100s.[72]

  [71] _Calendar Patent Rolls_, 5 Rich. II., 9 Rich. II., and 2
  Hen. IV., part iv.

  [72] _Inq. p.m._ MS. Rawl., B 438, f. 71.

Phillipa had no children. Henry IV. now granted the Fee to his
son, John, created duke of Bedford and earl of Kendal. He died in
1435. His property in the barony of Kendal included the "advowsons
of Wynandermere and of Gressemere, each of which is worth 20 li

  [73] _Inq. p.m._, 14 Hen. VI., No. 36.

The Duke of Bedford's widow, Jaquetta of Luxemburg, received the
third part of the Fee as her dower, with the advowson "of the church
in Gresmere." She married Richard Woodville, created earl Rivers.
After her death she is said (1473) to have possessed "the advowson or
nomination of the church or chapel of Gressemere," though in 1439 she
had allowed her privilege to lapse.[74]

  [74] _Calendar Patent Rolls_, 1 Edw. IV., pt. 7, mem. 8; and
  _Inq. p.m._, 12 Edw. IV., No. 47.

The Fee was next granted by Henry VI. (who inherited it as heir to
his uncle John) to John Beaufort, duke of Somerset.[75] The duke's
daughter Margaret--afterwards countess of Richmond--came into
possession of it at his death.[76] After a lapse, when Yorkists sat
on the throne, and Sir William Parr of Kendal held it, the Fee (now
including the advowson of Grasmere) returned to Margaret and passed
to her grandson Henry VIII. He sold the advowson and patronage of
Grasmere. Its subsequent history will be given later.

  [75] _Calendar Patent Rolls_, 22 Hen. VI.

  [76] _Inq. p.m._, 22 Hen. VI., No. 19.

Such was the illustrious line of our church's early patrons--some
of them the most striking figures in a chivalrous age. But it is
not to be supposed that they knew much of the little parish hidden
amongst the mountains. When the rectorate fell vacant, they would
grant the post to some suppliant clerk or priest, who would carry
their nomination to the higher ecclesiastical authorities. The right
to nominate often fell into the king's hands, through minority of the
heir, confiscation, or inheritance. For instance, the king appointed
to the rectory of Windermere in 1282, in 1377 and in 1388. Edward
III. nominated Edmund de Ursewyk to "Gressemer" in 1349; and Henry
IV. did the same for Walter Hoton in 1401.


Our church of Grasmere was not left to the control of parson and
manorial lord like other tithe-yielding parishes, it was snapped up
by a big monastery. The abbeys that had sprung up all over England
in post-Norman times were of a very different order from the simple
religious communities of Anglo-Saxon times; and before long it became
a question as to how they were to be maintained on the splendid lines
of their foundation. By the reign of Henry I. they had begun to
appropriate rectories, and in 1212 the parish church of Crosthwaite
was given over to the control of Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire, which
carried off all the profits of the tithes, merely restoring £5 a
year to the rector, who was elected by its chapter.[77] St. Mary's
Abbey had been founded in York city in 1088, and its chapter found
it necessary by the end of the thirteenth century to look round
the great church province of Richmondshire to see if there were no
revenues which might by royal favour be appropriated.

  [77] _Victorian History of Cumberland._

In December, 1301, Edward I. despatched a writ to the sheriff of
Westmorland, bidding him inquire of true and lawful men whether it
would be to the damage of the Crown or others if the abbey of St.
Mary of York were allowed to appropriate the church of Kirkeby in
Kendale with its chapels and appurtenances.

The inquisition was held, be it noted, not at Kendal but at Appleby,
where a sworn jury declared the appropriation would damage no one.
An explicit statement was added which concerns us. "The chapels of
the said church, to wit the chapels of Gresmer and Winandermere are
in the patronage of Lord Ingram de Gynes and Christian his wife, by
reason of the inheritance of the said Christian, and they hold of
the king in chief.... And the chapel of Gresmer is worth yearly 20

  [78] _Inq. ad quod damnum_, 38/6.

Accordingly a license was granted by Edward I., under date February
23rd, 1302, for the Abbot and Convent of St. Mary's, York, "towards
the relief of their impoverished condition," to appropriate the
"church of Kirkeby in Kendale, which is of their own patronage, in
the diocese of York, and consists of two portions, on condition that
they appropriate none of its chapels, if there are any."[79]

  [79] _Calendar Patent Rolls_, 30 Edw. I.

The appropriation took effect; and moreover the Abbey succeeded in
gaining jurisdiction over the "chapels" of Windermere and Grasmere.
The nomination of the rector indeed remained in the hands of the
lord of the Fee, but it was passed on to the chapter of the Abbey
for confirmation, before being finally ratified by the Archdeacon
of Richmondshire. Thus three august authorities had to bestir
themselves, when a fresh parson was needed for our parish; and in
1349 King Edward III., the Abbot of St. Mary and Archdeacon Henry de
Walton were all concerned in the business.[80] No doubt the monks
seized the right to nominate whenever they could, and in 1439 George
Plompton was named by them before his admission by the archdeacon.[81]

  [80] _Calendar Patent Rolls._

  [81] _Calendar Patent Rolls_, 17 Hen. VI., p. 1.

This change was not put into effect, however, without fierce
opposition in the district. In 1309 an appeal went up to the king
from the Abbot of St. Mary, who styled himself "parson of the church
of Kirkeby in Kendale," wherein he stated that when his servants had
gone to carry in the tithe corn and hay, they had been assaulted by
Walter de Strykeland and others; and moreover that Roger, the vicar
and the other chaplains and clerks appointed to celebrate divine
service in that church, hindered them in the discharge of the same,
trampled down and consumed his corn and hay, and took away the horses
from his waggons and impounded them. Whereupon three justices were
appointed to adjudicate upon the case.[82]

  [82] _Calendar Patent Rolls._

From this it would be seen that the local clergy were as bitterly
opposed to the monastic rule as the gentry and the people. Sir
Walter de Strickland with armed servants at his command headed
the opposition. His lands at Sizergh lay to the south of the town
of Kendal and he refused to the men of the monastery right of way
across them for the collection of the tithes of corn, which was
always made while the stooks stood upright in the field. After much
wrangling, for no abbot was ever known to withdraw a claim, articles
of agreement were made out between them, which reiterated the
statement that the church of Kirkby Kendal was "canonically possessed
in proper use" by the monastery.[83] However, the convent found it
easier to let the tithes to the opponent, rather than to wrestle with
an obstructionist policy; and in 1334 Sir Walter is found agreeing
to furnish to the monastic granary now established at Kirkby Kendal
three good measures of oatmeal for the tithe of the sheaves of
Sigredhergh, sold to him by the abbot and convent.[84]

  [83] Sizergh Castle MSS.

  [84] MS. Dodsworth 28, fol. 78.

But the people were not appeased, and when in 1344 the archbishop
made a visitation, opportunity was taken to lay before him, in the
name of "the common right," complaints against the monopoly of funds
by the convent, as the following document shows:--

 Release of the Abbot and Convent of the Monastery of St. Mary,
 York, concerning their churches, pensions, and portions.

 In the name of God, Amen, Since we, William, by divine
 permission Archbishop of York, ... in our progress of visitation
 which we have lately performed in and of our diocese ... have
 found that the religious men the Abbot and Convent of the
 monastery of St. Mary, against the common right detain the
 parish churches and chapels, portions, pensions, and parochial
 tithes underwritten, namely, ... the annual pensions in the
 parts of Richmond: of the church of Richmond 100s. and 20
 lbs of wax, ... of the vicarage of Kirkby Kendall £4, of the
 churches of Gresmere and Winandermers 5 marks.... We have
 commanded the said abbot and convent ... to show their rights
 and titles before us and have caused them to be called, ... and
 we ... having considered the rights and good faith of the said
 religious men ... release the said abbot and convent ... as
 canonical possessors of the said churches, chapels, portions,
 pensions (&c).... Dated at Cawood, on the 20th day of the month
 of August in the year of our Lord MCCCXLIIIJ, and in the third
 year of our pontificate.[85]

The appeal had been made in vain. Yet opposition could not have
ceased, as the case was finally carried to Rome. In 1396 a
confirmation of the abbey's possessions (including the chapels of
Gresmere and Wynandremere, worth 5 marks each) was made by the Pope,
on petition by the abbey, according to letters patent of Thomas
Arundel, late archbishop of York, dated November, 1392.[85]

  [85] _Calendar of Papal Registers_, vol. v., p. 1-4.


Though not successful, Sir Walter de Strickland's opposition had done
some good, but for exactly 200 years longer did the monastery by the
walls of the city of York hold sway over the church of Grasmere. In
what degree its influence was felt in the mountain parish cannot be
told, or what it gave in return for the pension it abstracted. It
may have assisted in the rebuilding of the edifice, lending aid by
monastic skill in architecture. Probably it supervised the worship
in the church, and improved the ritual, passing on to the village
priest the tradition of its own richly furnished sanctuary. Signs
were not wanting at the Reformation that the district had been
ecclesiastically well served.

It has been seen that the parson of the parish was a pluralist
and a non-resident as early as 1254; and so were those of his
successors of whom we have evidence. The glimpses obtained through
scant record disclose the tithe-taking rector of the valley as a
figure distinguished by education, if not by family, and known to
the lofty in station. He is termed "Master," and bears the suffix
"clerk"; while "Sir" is reserved for the curate, his deputy, who
has not graduated at either university.[86] He was skilled in law
more than in theology. He may have served an apprenticeship in the
great office of the Chancery; sometimes men of his position are
termed "king's clerk."[87] He was not an idle man, and was often
employed in secular business by the lord of the Fee. It may have
been in the collection of the lady's dues--for the heiress Christiana
de Lindesay, had married Ingelram de Gynes, of Coucy in France, in
1283--that the parson of Grasmere suffered an assault (1290) at
Leghton Gynes (later Leighton Conyers). It is certain that when
Robert de Gynes, one of the sons of Christiana, and possessed of some
of her lands about Casterton and Levens, went "beyond the seas" in
1334, he empowered Oliver de Welle, parson of Grasmere, to act with
Thomas de Bethum as his attorney. Oliver de Welle had a footing in
our valleys besides his parsonage, for he is stated to have held,
under the lord William de Coucy, deceased, "a certain place called
Little Langedon in Stirkland Ketle," which was then (1352) in the
custody of the executor of his will, John de Crofte.[88]

  [86] Dr. Cox, _Parish Registers of England_, p. 251.

  [87] In 1383 Richard de Clifford, "king's clerk" was presented to
  the church of Warton in Kendale, _Calendar Patent Rolls_.

  [88] MS. Rawlinson, B. 438, f. 2.

Edmund de Ursewyk, "king's clerk," whom the king nominated
to Grasmere in 1349--the young lord William de Coucy being
dead--doubtless came of a Furness family, and may have been related
to Adam de Ursewyk who held land for his life in the barony, by grant
of the elder William,[89] as well as the office of chief forester of
the park at Troutbeck.[90]

  [89] _Calendar Patent Roll_, 20 Edw. III.

  [90] _Calendar Patent Roll_, 20 Edw. III.

"Magister George Plompton" was another learned cleric of good
family, being the son of Sir William Plumpton of Plumpton, knight.
He was a bachelor-at-law, and was ordained sub-deacon in 1417. It
was in 1438-9 that he was nominated to the rectory of Grasmere, by
the Chapter of St. Mary's, and some years after he acquired that of
Bingham in Nottinghamshire. This he resigned (and doubtless Grasmere
also) in two or three years' time, owing to age and infirmities.
He retired to Bolton Abbey, and in 1459 obtained leave from the
Archbishop of York to have service celebrated for himself and his
servants within the walls of the monastery--a permit which gives a
picture of affluent peace and piety in a few words.[91]

  [91] Canon Raine's Notes to _Testamenta Eboracensia_, Sur. So.,
  vol. 30, p. 68.

Master Hugh Ashton, parson, acted as Receiver-general for the lands
of the Countess of Richmond (the Lindesay Fee) in 1505-6.[92] On his
resignation in 1511, Henry VIII. exercised his right as inheritor
of the Fee, and nominated John Frost to the rectory; the abbot and
convent presenting in due form. This happened again in 1525, when
William Holgill was appointed.[93]

  [92] Min. Acc., Hen. VII., 877.

  [93] "List of Rydall-Writings." D.F.

Of other rectors of the post-Reformation period we know little or
nothing. Richard, "clericus," was taxed in 1332 on goods worth £4,
a sum higher by £1 than any land-holding parishioner in the three

  [94] _Lay Subsidy Roll_, West, 195/1A, 6 Edw. III.


  1254     Henry de Galdington. _Calendar of Papal Registers_, vol.
           2, p. 294.

  1290-91  William de Kendale. _De Banco Rolls_, Rev. 86 in 79d.
           Adam de Ottelay, "capellanus." Levens Rental of Ed.
           2 or early Ed. 3.

  1332     Richard "clericus." _Lay Subsidy Roll_. West., 195/1A.

  June 24  Oliver de Welle. _Close Rolls and Patent Rolls._ 8 Ed. 3.

  1349     Edmund de Ursewyk. _Patent Rolls._

  1362     Hugo de Middleton. Torre's _Archdeaconry of Richmondshire_.
  Dec. 3

  Jan. 13  Walter Hoton "parson." _Patent Rolls_, Henry IV.

  ----     Reginald Pulham. Torre; no date given.

  May 24   Peter Yrford. Torre.

  Feb. 10  George Plompton. Torre. _Calendar Patent Rolls._

  1486      James Chamer "capellano."

  1505-6    Hugh Ashton, "clerk," Min. Acc., Henry VII., 877.
            Resigns Grasmere Rectory in 1512. Rydal Hall

  1511      John Frost, on resignation of Hugh Ashton. Rydal
  Oct. 18   Hall MSS.

  1525      William Holgill or Hawgill. Rydal Hall MSS. Chester
  Mar. 14   Diocesan Registry.

  1548      Gabriel Croft, instituted on death of Holgill. Chester
  Jan. 11   Registry. Called Rector at Visitation of Bishop of
            Chester, 1554, when the following names accompany

            Dns William Jackson. His will was proved Jan. 21,
            1569, which calls him "late curat of Gresmer."

            Dns John Hunter.

            Dns Hugo Walton. Hugh Watson "preist" bur. March
            8, 1577. Grasmere Church Register.

  1563      "Sirre Thomas Benson, curate" witnesses will of John
            Benson Esq. of Baisbrowne.

  1569      ? Master John Benson, rector.

  ?         Lancelot Levens. Chester Diocesan Registry.

  1575[95]   John Wilson, instituted on death of Lan. Levens.
  July 18   Chester Diocesan Registry. Bur. May, 13, 1627.
            Grasmere Church Register.

    [95] 1575--March 20. James Dugdall, "Clericus" witnesses Indenture
    between Wil. Fleming of Rydal and his miller.

  1627      Robertus Hogge. Removed following year. Rydal Hall
  July 16   MSS.

  1628      Henry Wilson, B.A., instituted, according to Chester
  May 24    Diocesan Registry, on death of John Wilson, by
            presentation of Agneta Fleming. Ejected 1644.
            Died 1647.


  1645.     "Mr. Benson."

  1646.     "Sir Christopher Rawling." Probably had served as
            Curate for some time previously. The Register
            gives the baptism of his child in 1641 when he is
            called "Clericus." He likewise joined Parson Wilson
            in a bill in 1642.

  1653.     John Wallas. Independent. Ejected 1655.

  1655      John Tompson. Probably Presbyterian.


  1660.     John Ambrose. Probably nominated on death of Henry
            Wilson, but not allowed to serve.

  1684      Henry Fleming, B.A. on death of J. Ambrose.

  1728      William Kilner on death of H. Fleming.

  1728      George Fleming, LL.D. (Dean of Carlisle) on session of
            W. Kilner.

  1733      William Fleming, M.A. on resignation of Geo. Fleming.

  1743      John Craik, B.A. on death of W. Fleming.

  1806      Thomas Jackson on death of J. Craik.

  1822      Sir Richard Fleming, Bart., on death of T. Jackson.


The curates who officiated under the rectors were a different class
of men. Constantly resident, and seemingly holding the post for
life, they belonged as a rule to the district--even it might be,
to the township--as did William Jackson, who died 1569. A sharp
boy, son of a statesman, might attract the notice of the parson,
or of the visiting brother from St. Mary's Abbey. After serving an
apprenticeship, as attendant or acolyte within the church, he might
be passed on from the curate's tuition--for the latter almost always
taught school--to Kendal or even to the abbey at York. On being
admitted into the order of priesthood, he would return to his native
place (should the post be vacant) and minister week by week to the
spiritual needs of his fellows and his kinsfolk. Sometimes he even
took up land to farm. Adam de Ottelay, "chaplain," is set down in an
undated rental of the early fourteenth century, as joining in tenure
with John "del bancke."[96]

  [96] Levens Hall MS.

The "chaplain" James Chamer, who witnessed a Grasmere deed in 1486,
was probably the curate there.[97] It must be remembered, however,
that the three townships appear to have been, from an early (but
unknown) date, furnished with resident curates, acting under rector
and abbot. Little Langdale too, if tradition be correct, had its
religious needs supplied by a chapel. It is possible, indeed,
that this may have been served through the priory of Conishead in
Furness, to which William de Lancaster III.--the last baron to rule
Kendal as a whole, who died 1246--granted a settlement or grange
at Baisbrowne and Elterwater, which was later called a manor. This
grange lay within Grasmere parish, as does the field below Bield,
where tradition asserts the chapel to have stood. The first express
mention of a chapel at Ambleside (within the township of Rydal and
Loughrigg) is found in a document of Mr. G. Browne, dated 1584. But
in the rental of 1505-6, William Wall, "chaplain," is entered as
holding in Ambleside one third of the "pasture of Brigges." There
is little doubt, therefore, that he was resident in the town, and
uniting husbandry with his clerical office. Of a chapel in Great or
Mickle Langdale the first evidence that occurs (after the strong
presumptive evidence of the four priests serving the parish to be
given immediately) is the indenture of 1571, which expressly mentions

  [97] Rydal Hall MS.


The revolution which Henry VIII. brought about in the ecclesiastical
world of England shook our parish, as the rest of England.
Not content with the suppression and spoliation of the lesser
monasteries, he turned to the greater ones, whose riches in gold and
jewels, in land and revenue, excited his cupidity. Remote Grasmere
even, by diversion of the pension she had dutifully paid her church
superior, might supply something to the royal pocket! So the new
supreme Head of the Church is found in 1543, bartering what he could
to two of those job-brokers of ecclesiastical property, who were so
evil a feature of the Reformation. The parchment at Rydal Hall runs

     A Breuiate of the Kings Grant of Gersmire Advowson to Bell &
     Broksbye in 35^{to} Hen. 8

Be it remembered that in the charter of our most illustrious lord
Henry the Eight, by the grace of God king of England, France, and
Ireland, defender of the faith, and on earth supreme head of the
English and Irish church, made to John Bell and Robert Brokelsby
within named, among other things it is thus contained:--

     The king to all to whom, &c. greeting. We do also give, for
     the consideration aforesaid, and of our certain knowledge and
     mere motion for us, our heirs and successors, do grant to
     the aforesaid John Bell and Robert Brokelsbye, the advowson,
     donation, denomination, presentation, free disposition, and
     right of patronage of the Rectory of Gresmere in our county of
     Westmorland, which, as parcel of the possessions and revenues
     of the late Monastery of St. Mary near the wall of the City
     of York, or otherwise or in any other manner or by any reason
     whatsoever, has or have fallen, or may fall, into our hands.
     Witness the king at Walden the twenty-first day of October in
     the thirty-fifth year of our reign.

This is clearly a copy of but a part of the original charter, and the
"consideration" which Henry received does not transpire; but in the
following month the two speculators procured a licence to sell again,
and they passed over their purchase of the Grasmere advowson, and of
all woods upon the premises--meaning no doubt the old demesne of the
Lindesay Fee--to Alan Bellingham, gent., for £30 11s. 5-1/2d.[98]
Bellingham in the same year purchased direct from the Crown that
portion of Grasmere known as the Lumley Fee--thus gaining the
lordship of some part of the valley.

  [98] "List of Rydall-Writings," by D.F., in which he writes the
  names as Bellowe and Brokylsbee.

Henry's sale of the advowson did not touch the tithes, which were
left in the hands of the rector; but he reserved for himself the
"pension" of 2-1/2 marks which had been regularly paid out of them to
the abbey. It passed down with other Crown property to Charles II.,
and in his reign was sold, according to an Act of Parliament which
was passed permitting the sale of such royal proceeds. Since that
time it has been in private hands, and bought and sold in the money
market like stocks. It may perhaps be traced by sundry entries in
account books, as paid by the tithe-holder: in 1645, "for a pension
for Gresmire due at Mich: last" £1 13s. 4d. It was paid in 1729 by
Dr. Fleming as "Fee-farm Rent" to the Marquis of Caermarthen; and
later by Mr. Craike to the Duke of Leeds; while Sir William Fleming,
as owner of the tithes of Windermere, paid the same from them.[99]
It is still paid through a London agent, being officially set down
as "Net Rent for Grasmere, £1. 6s. 8d.: Land tax, 6s. 8d." This sum
represents--not five marks--but five nobles, or half-marks. Thus it
may be said that the dead hand of Henry VIII. still controls the
tithes of Grasmere.

  [99] Rydal Hall MSS. and Tax Eccles. P. Nicholai.

This tyrant wrought other changes for Grasmere. When creating the new
diocese of Chester, he swept our parts of Westmorland within it. The
archdeaconry of Richmondshire remained, but the archdeacon was shorn
of power. He no longer instituted our parson, as in the days prior to
the rule of St. Mary's Abbey, and this empty form fell to the Bishop
of Chester; who, on the death of parson Holgill in 1548, appointed to
the office one Gabriel Croft, upon nomination by the patron.[100]

  [100] Chester Diocesan Register.

Now Croft was seemingly a man of unscrupulous temper. The boy Edward
was by this time upon the throne, and spoliation of church revenues
was, under his advisers and in the name of Protestantism, the order
of the day. The parson of Grasmere was one of those who seized the
opportunity offered by the general misrule; and he committed an act
for which there could be no legal pretext. Previous rectors had
drawn the tithes of the parish, and pocketed the large margin that
remained, after the stipends of the worthy curates who did their work
had been paid. But Croft went beyond this. In 1549 he sold the tithes
on a lease, and not for the period of his life (which he might have
claimed as his right) but for ninety-seven years. The purchaser was
his patron, Dame Marion Bellingham of Helsington, widow; and she paid
him a lump sum of £58 11s. 5-1/2d., upon the agreement that she and
her heirs would furnish from the tithes a stipend for the rector of
£18 11s. 7d.[101]

  [101] List of Rydall Writings. D.F.

The bargain, ratified by John, Bishop of Chester, was excellent for
both parties; but it was disastrous for the parish. So far, the
tithes, however mismanaged, had lain in the hands of the church
and the clergy, for whose support they were rendered. The Abbey
of St. Mary, while exacting a pension from them, exercised in
return a supervision that was doubtless of benefit; for under it,
the rector--though he took the bulk of them himself--could hardly
escape providing the three priests resident within the parish with
sufficient stipends. Moreover, as he was an absentee, it is probable
that he made a stable arrangement for their ingetting, that would
be convenient to himself and comfortable for the parishioners (such
as obtained later), and that he even farmed them to the dalesmen
themselves. This method saved him the risks of an annual tithing
carried out by a paid agent, and it insured him a regular (if more
moderate) income, in easily transported silver money. The evidence
of the lawsuits shows that the system of paying a certain fixed
sum instead of the tenth in kind was actually in force for some
commodities, while in some cases this composition or prescription
extended to the whole of a landed estate.

The change was sharp, from church control to control by a lay
improprietor, whose simple business it was to squeeze as large an
income as he could out of his investment. He was not likely to leave
the tithing on the old easy footing, nor was the parishioner inclined
to increase his offering without resistance. Squire William Fleming
was a big enough man to front on his own account the common foe.
Averring that, in satisfaction of all tithes the customary annual sum
of 20s. had been paid for "the demeanes of Rydall," he refused Alan
Bellingham's demand for a tenth of hay, wool and lambs taken from the
yearly yield. Alan, who denied the custom, sued him in the Consistory
Court at York, including in his claim the proceeds of the years 1569
to 1572, for which payment had been made. The spiritual court judged
in his favour; whereupon Fleming carried the case to the civil court
of King's Bench. Here, after several adjournments, and a trial before
justices connected with the county, the final verdict was given in
his favour (1575).[102]

  [102] _Coram Rege Roll_, N.T., 17 Eliz., ro. 218.

Before the case was settled, the contenders struck a bargain, and the
ownership of the advowson of Grasmere passed from Alan Bellingham
of Fawcet Forrest, executor of Marion Bellingham, to the Rydal
squire for the sum of £100, and that of the remainder of the lease
of the rectory and tithes for £500.[103] The tenfold increase of
the purchase money in twenty-four years time shows the enormous
increase in tithe value when in the grasp of lay hands; for a rise
of agricultural prosperity would not account for it. Squire William
now became in his turn the oppressor; but the tale of the powerful
opposition he roused in the parish must be left to another chapter.
The advowson remains yet in his family.

  [103] Dated Nov. 3, 1573. "List of Rydall Writings."

To return to the parsons. Croft, with an annuity assured to him,
and a small capital in gold, no doubt troubled himself little about
his parish. He had defrauded it and crippled its funds for the
next hundred years. The curates we suppose stuck to their posts,
though where their stipends came from is a problem. Little change
in ritual could have been made, before Edward's death and Mary's
accession brought a reinstitution of the old form of faith, as well
as a hopeless attempt to restore stolen church property. In 1554 the
Bishop of Chester held a visitation at Kendal for these parts, and
the officials of the parish are set down in the following list:--[104]

  Gresmer.  Mr. Gabriel Croft, Rector ibm. pt.
            Dns Willmus Jackson, pt. xh.
            Dns Joh^{es} Hunter pt.
            Dns Hugo Walton pt.

            pt. Joh^{es} Benson   }
            pt. Georgius Mylforth } Guardiani
            pt. Edwardus Benson   }

            pt. Rogerus Gregg     }
            pt. Nicolaus Dicson   } Inquisitores
                Tho^{as} Gregg    }
            pt. Hugo Gregg}

  [104] Chester Diocesan Registry.

It is clear from this that three curates then served the
parish--"Dominus" being the latinized "sir" of the customary title.
Of the third in the list evidence is found in the parish register,
where the burial is recorded on March 8th, 1577, of "Hugh Watson
preist," this no doubt being the correct form of his name. It seems
likely that he officiated in Ambleside, which by this time was a
thriving little town. Of John Hunter nothing further is known: he may
have served the chapel in Langdale.

Record of William Jackson is found in his will:--[105]

     Sir William Jackson _late curet at Gresmer_.

     Jan. 21, 1569. I William Jackson clarke and curat of Grysmer--to
     be buriede within ye parishe church of Grysmer, near where my
     IJ brothers was buried--To my parishe church VIs. VIIId. And yt
     to be payd.... Kendaill for a booke at I bought of (erased) to
     the betering of the.... To the poor folkes XXXs. to be divided
     at the sytct of my supervisores. Item I give to every on of my
     god children, VId.--To every sarvent in my maister's house XIId.
     Item I geve to Sir Thomas Benson a sernet typet. To my Mr. John
     Benson a new velvet cap--By me Sir William Jaikson at Grysmer.

     Inventory, 21 Jan. 1569.--Rament unbequested to be sold be my
     executores and supervisores. A worsate jaccate, a brod cloth
     jacate, a brod clothe side goune, a mellay side goune, a shorte
     goune, a preiste bonate, a velvate cape, a sylke hate, II. pare
     of hosse, a mellay casseck, a worsat typat, a matras, a great
     chiste, a ledder dublat. Summa, III li. XIIs.... In wax and
     sergges, books and parchment, with other small thyngs to be sold
     within my chamber. I owe to Christofor Wolker's wyff Under Helme
     XIIs. of newe money to be payed to hyr, whych she dyd bowrere
     for me in my tyme of nede.

  [105] Wills and Inventories of the Archdeaconry of Richmondshire.
  Surtees Society.

The following extract from the Kendal Corporation MSS. may not be
inappropriate here:--

  MSS. of the Corporation of Kendal.
  This MS. commences 10th Report.

     Sept. 26, 1653. Prov. at election of a Mayor. Order that every
     Alderman shall provide _a gowne_ for the following Sunday, or
     be fined 40s. _Gowns_ according to an ancient order, to be all
     of one form "of blacke stuffe, to be faced with black plush or
     velvet, _and Mr. Maior himselfe to have one readie_ against
     Sunday next or else forfeit 40s."

     (A 13). "Abstract of fines of Leete Courte," Oct. 20, 1612.
     Various penalties for misdemeanours.

     "Abstracte of Fines for the Bilawes Courte," Dec. 14, 1612.
     Various injunctions and fines.

     "_Offerings and bridehowes_ allowed by Mr. Alderman" (then
     head of Corporation) and 4 Burgesses and the Vicar then being.
     Bidden dinners or "nutcastes, or _merie nightes_" for money not
     to exceed 12 persons. Same for "_churching dinner_" for monie
     taking, only 12 wives allowed.

From this will something may be gathered of the life of the village
priest who belongs to the vale, and whose simple wish is to be buried
by his two brothers within the church. He has his appointed chamber
in his master's house--doubtless the rectory. His possessions are
few. There are some books, also parchment and wax, for the making of
wills and indentures; there is the mattress on which he slept, and
a great "chiste," in which no doubt papers and clothes were stored
together. Of clothes he had a goodly stock, in jackets, gowns,
tippets, caps, and the stout leather doublet which no doubt he donned
for his long tramps through storm and rain and snow to the dying. The
sale of all these was to furnish money for his legacies--for coin he
had none. His benefactions are characteristic: loyally to his parish
church a noble, or half a mark; to every servant of his master 12d.;
to each of his godchildren 6d.; and he desires besides that an old
debt, incurred in his "tyme of nede," should be paid in new money.
Some crisis is suggested here, when the good wife of Under Helm
collected money for him.

But other facts may be gathered from this will. Our good curate
bequeaths to "Sir Thomas Benson" his sarsnet tippet, clearly from its
superior stuff, the best that he had. This, the usual outer dress
of the priest, was a long garment made with sleeves, reaching to
the ankles, and was tied with a girdle.[106] Now a Thomas Benson,
"curate," witnessed the will of John Benson of Baisbrowne in 1563; he
must then have served the chapel of Langdale for a series of years.
Also it seems probable that the curate's master, John Benson, was the
rector, succeeding Croft or another.

  [106] Wall's _Old English Parish_.

A spirit of peace and goodwill breathes through this document, and
one too that suggests continuity in the order of the church. Yet it
must be remembered that it was written in the reign of Elizabeth,
when the Protestant religion had been firmly established by law, and
written moreover by a man who had undoubtedly followed the Catholic
ritual fifteen years before. His fellow curate too of that date,
"preist" Watson, was still alive, surviving him by eight years. There
is a Protestant odour about the cassock, and Jackson possessed one;
but his wardrobe is distinctly of the old-world, priestly type. It
is probable indeed that there was little change made for some time
even in the services of the church. The people of the north-western
mountains were conservative, and it was they who most stoutly
resisted the suppression of the monasteries. There is evidence to
show that the new tenets were but slowly adopted in these parts.
The church at Crosthwaite was found as late as 1571 to be still in
possession of the furniture and pictures that had lent a touch of
splendour to the former ritual; and they were then most stringently
ordered to be destroyed.[107]

  [107] Victorian _History of Cumberland_.

The people were not likely to welcome changes that brought in their
train not only impoverishment of service, but reduction in the number
of the clergy; for with the diversion of the tithes, there ceased to
be any provision for the salaries of curates.

Langdale did without a curate, and not until over 200 years was
the township once more blessed with a resident minister, though the
chapel was used for services. Ambleside was in different case. Now a
thriving little town, equally distant from the two parish churches
that claimed it, with fulling mills bringing in wealth, it was able
to maintain a curate independently, and did so.

James Dugdale the cleric, who witnessed a Rydal deed in 1575, might
have been supposed to serve at Ambleside, only that Priest Watson was
then alive. Certain it is that in 1584 the townsfolk placed their
support of chapel and curate on a solid basis, pledging each man his
portion of land thereto. This was immediately before the appointment
of John Bell as curate. The pledge was repeated in a deed of the year

The rector of the parish, with no more than £18 odd as stipend,
had now to perform the entire duty of the wide parish. Nothing is
known of Croft's later dealings with the rectorate, nor of Lancelot
Levens, who followed him. But on the latter's death in 1575, John
Wilson was instituted, and for fifty-two years he served as rector.
From his handwriting, seen in the market-deed, and from the register
(most negligently kept during his time of office) an unfavourable
impression is created. When he died in 1627, there followed--after
a few months interlude, when Robert Hogge served--the Rev. Henry
Wilson, B.A., who was to become notorious as a Royalist and
High-Churchman. He was nominated by Dame Agnes Fleming, the clever
widow of Squire William, who at this time ruled at Rydal Hall for her
son John.

The expenses of the tithe gathering were not great. An item of
2s. 0d. is paid to David Harrison, the Rydal inn-keeper, against
"tythinge," and "for gathering tith Eggs" 1s. 0d. These last
offerings were paid in kind, and we know from subsequent accounts
that this persuasive office was somtimes filled by women, "two
wiues," being paid in 1643 "for goeing 3 dayes gathering Eggs at

The later account-sheets kept by Richard Harrison show less
completely than Tyson's the income derived from the tithes.

                                                            li  s  d

  Rec. in pt. of Lambe booke of gresmire at seaverall
  tymes due before this 23 June 1643 due at Easter
  last                                                      11  6  0

  Rec. more in pt. of lambe booke, for gresmire that
  was begun at Easter last. Rec. this 10 Aug.                3  1 10

The tithes on lambs amounted therefore in 1643 to £14. 7s. 10d. Next

                                                            li  s  d

  Rec. more at before this 16 Julie 1644 in pt. of Easter
  Reckinings of Gresmire due at Easter last                  7  1  9

  Rec. more in pt. of Lambe booke then due                  11 12  6

  Rec. for Easter Reckininges Lambe silvr and some
  arreares due before this 26 Julie 1645 for gresmire       35 12  0

  Rec. of Easter booke & Lambe booke due at Easter
  1646 for gresmire before this 4 Ap. 1646                  30  2  6

We have no entries discriminating between tithe and demesne wool,
which was now selling at a high price; nor do we hear of the tithe
corn, except that in 1643 the sum of 10s. 0d. was paid for the hire
of a barn for it. In Tyson's accounts the even money received for
it--as well as other entries which connect its payment with the
holder of Padmire in Grasmere--give an appearance of it having been
then farmed, as it was at a later time.


It is clear that the tithes were dropping in value; and this is
little to be wondered at when the condition of the country is

War was rife, and the "troubles" that affected every household--high
and low, either in actual fighting or in tax-paying--were felt with
peculiar poignancy at Rydal Hall. Squire John Fleming, as a rich
man, had not stooped to conceal his religion, and had cheerfully
paid his fine of £50 a year as a Catholic of the old faith. He died
on February 27, 1643, at an unfortunate time for his young children,
when warfare was just beginning in the north-west. He was buried
the same evening, like many another recusant, in Grasmere Church;
and though Parson Henry Wilson was paid a fee for "ouersight of his
buriall" it is possible that mass was first said over the body in
the "Chapel" chamber at Rydal; for one Salomon Benson, a mysterious
member of the group of papists gathered about the Squire, in receipt
of a pension of five marks a year, was probably a priest.

The orphaned children--two girls growing to womanhood and a younger
boy--were now left with all the wealth that would be eventually
theirs, in charge of executors. Chief among these was Richard
Harrison, a nephew of the Squire, and a Roman Catholic. He appears
to have lived with his wife and son at Rydal Hall, and to have had
entire management of the household in the years that followed.

The position was a difficult one, and naturally grew more so as
time went on, and success began to attend the Parliamentary party.
The money-coffers of Squire John were freely dipped into for loans
to support the Royal cause, which the young heir joined in person;
and the house was the resort of Royalist soldiers and gentlemen of
the neighbourhood. As a consequence, it was peculiarly obnoxious
to the supporters of the Parliament, and was likewise detested by
the Puritans as a hotbed of Papists. Therefore, when the houses
of Royalists were sacked up and down the county, there was little
probability that it would escape.

A tradition has always existed that Rydal Hall was entered and
plundered by the soldiers of the Commonwealth; but it is in the
account-sheets of Richard Harrison that explicit evidence of the fact
has now, and for the first time, been found. The catastrophe would
belong wholly to Rydal history, but for a clause in the accounts
which concerns Grasmere church.

Dates are difficult to follow in the sheets, but it is clear that
the year 1644 marked the turning-point of the war. The hopes of the
Royalists had been high when Prince Rupert marched through Lancashire
to meet the enemy; but they were crushed by the terrible defeat of
Marston Moor on July 1st. The king's forces in these parts were
completely scattered, and there was a tremendous exodus of loyalists,
who left to join the king's army in the south. The band was led by
Sir Francis Howard, and it included the young heir of Rydal. The
exodus is marked in the account-sheets by the numerous sums borrowed
from the Rydal chests by various people, beginning with the chief
himself. Even the loyal parsons borrowed, and small sums were lent
about this time to two of the Cumberland curates, who possibly went
off on king's business too. Henry Wilson, the rector of Grasmere, was
a noted Royalist, and apparently acted as an emissary in the cause.
The following entry records one of the many loans to him, at a time
when he too was leaving the country:--

                                                                li s d
Lent parson wilson upon his note by & with the consent of Mr.
  Phillipson & Mr. Willm. wch. makes that he hath lately lent
  8 li wch. he will either repay or els giue satisfaction that
  it may allow when he comes & serues the cure at Gressmire
  Church lent him this the 13 July                              5 10 0

It is clear that in this year, 1644, the hall and its inmates shared
in the general sufferings. Friendly messengers rode by night to give
warning when another hall was sacked. Hostile soldiers were quartered
on the premises, and some pillaging of horses and other things was
done, for which Harrison tried to obtain restitution. He also sought
protection--if it might be granted by wire-pulling and bribery--from
Colonels Bellingham and Briggs, who commanded the Scots troops in
Westmorland. It is possible that the new glass required both for the
hall and for the choir of Grasmere church, "which was broken," may
have been the result of some hostile demonstration.

But the actual raid upon the hall was made at Eastertide, 1645. The
soldiers of "Captaine Orfer & Collonell Lawson" entered it, searched
for money and took all they could find (which was little) and carried
off Richard Harrison to prison, where he remained till Pentecost.

Further mischief is recorded in another paragraph of the sheets, when
the sum of £2 4s. 8d. is set down at Easter, 1645, as "pd. for bread
and wine twice at Gresmire Church in regard it was once plundered by
Lawson's souldiers."

Now this provision for the Easter communion, which the tithe-holder
was bound to make, was a special provision, always accounted for
separately, and probably delivered direct to the church from the wine
merchant, whose name is occasionally mentioned. So in this case, the
church itself was presumably entered with violence, and by the same
troop that visited Rydal Hall.

It was a Cumberland troop that did the mischief, as is evident from
the names of the officers. Colonel Wilfred Lawson of the Isell
family was an ardent fighter for the Parliament. Captain Orfeur was
doubtless a member of the stock of Plumbland Hall.[108]

  [108] He may have been one of the brothers of William, head of
  the family, who died in 1660. See "The Orfeurs of High Close,"
  _Transactions_ Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian Society,
  vol. iii.

The troop may have marched from the siege of Carlisle Castle, which
had been held for the king through the winter; and nothing is more
likely than that, on their march over the Raise, they would halt at
Grasmere, and do what despite they could to a sacred building held
by an episcopalian parson and a recusant patron, who were of course
odious for their so-called "delinquency." The event, however, is
inferred rather than actually stated in Harrison's account.[109]

  [109] It is necessary to be explicit on this point, for, on the
  authority of the writer's MS., a statement that the church of
  Grasmere was broken into by the Parliamentary forces appeared
  twice in print in 1910, without any reference being given to the
  actual source of information, or its ambiguity.

At Whitsuntide, on his release from prison, Richard Harrison
returned to his post at Rydal Hall as factotum and financier. The
position became steadily worse. Young William Fleming had returned
from Bristol, after reverses in the south, only to be captured and
imprisoned in Kendal; and his freedom had to be procured by a heavy
ransom. In restless mood he declared his intention of going overseas,
and considerable sums were paid for his fitting out; but he never
got beyond London, where he died shortly after of smallpox. The
Parliamentary Committee, then sitting at Kendal, exacted heavy fines
from the estate for delinquency. Oppressive taxes too were repeatedly
levied for the support of the Parliamentary forces and the Scotch
army. This extraordinary outflow of money, as well as the loans made
to friends, must have materially reduced the wealth of Squire John,
and have left less for the suitors who presently appeared to claim
the hands of the heiresses.

Not the Rydal estate alone, but the whole country-side groaned under
the burden of taxation. It is therefore not surprising that from the
hardness of the times, as well as from possible illwill, the tithes
began to yield an uncertain return; and that to come by them at all
it was sometimes necessary to engage a strong man or a stout party
for the business. An item in the account-sheets for 1645 runs:--

                                                            li  s  d

  spent in 3 dayes when we went to gather the tith woole
  being ten in company                                       1  4  0

  Spent more when Mr. Mason & I went to gather the
  Easter dues at severall tymes                                15  0

  Oct. Adam Fisher & young Jarrat for Inning the tith
  corne at Gresmere this yeare 1645                          1  0  0

Adam Fisher was the Rydal blacksmith, and doubtless a strong man.
Clearly no farmer could be found to take up a contract for the tithes
of corn; and as we have seen, a barn had been hired for its housing.

In 1648 Harrison went into Cumberland, and spent a week getting the
"tith-rents" due on St. Mark's Day; and he enters:--

                                                            li  s  d
  geaven my cosen Lamplougs man for his paynes in
  comeinge to meete me there with directions from
  [parliamentary] comittee to pay there rents unto
  me, otherwise I had gotten none payd                       0  5  0

Harrison was subjected to another imprisonment, and squeezed by
the hostile government of many further sums. His account-sheets
close in 1648-9, when the hall--soon to lie under the ban of
sequestration--was itself closed.


The year 1645 marked the beginning of a great change in the church
government of Grasmere. Already the new system devised by the
Presbyterian party (which was now in the ascendant after the success
of the Scotch at Newcastle) was being put into force as a substitute
for episcopal rule. The division of the country into sections, each
called a _classis_--to be administered by a committee of laymen
empowered to nominate for each parish a minister and four elders--was
very rapidly carried out. The following answer was sent to the
Parliament's demand, by letter from the Speaker, that _classes_ for
South Westmorland should be formed:--[110]

  [110] Shaw, in his _Church under the Commonwealth_, says that the
  scheme was already working in Northumberland and Durham at the
  close of 1645, and that it seems to have been put in force in
  Westmorland early in 1646. This letter explains the delay.

  Honourable Sir

     We received your Honours letter (dated the 22nd September last)
     the 3d of February last Wherein is required of us with advise
     of Godly Ministers, to returne to your Honour such Ministers
     and Elders as are thought fitt for the Presbiteriall way of
     Government (which wee much desire to be established) and the
     several classes. After wee received your Honours letter to that
     purpose (though long after the date) wee speedily had a meeting;
     and upon due consideration nominated the Ministers and Elders
     which wee thought fitted (as your Honour may conceive by this
     enclosed) for the Presbiteriall imployment as is desired and
     have divided the County of Westmerland into two Classes. Since
     the expediting of this your Honours direction: Wee have heard
     of an Ordinance of Parliament directing to the election of such
     persons: But as yet neither Order or Ordinance hath come unto
     us; Only your Honours letter, is our Warrant and Instruction;
     And accordingly we make bould to send (here inclosed) the names
     both of Ministers and Elders. And if we faile in the Parliaments
     method in this particuler, Wee shall willingly (upon your
     Honours next direction) rectify any mistake for the present,
     and shalbe willing to submitt to your Honours and Parliamentary
     directions; Which wee shall duly expect, that in wharsoever
     wee haved missed, wee may amend it. Thus with our Service
     recommended Wee remaine

  Yours Honours Servants

  Ric Prissoe, Maior     Edmond Grey
  Thomas Gleddall        Rich Branthwait
  Ger Benson             Allan Gilpin
  Rowland Dawson         Thom Sandes
                         John Archer

  Kendall 10 Martii, 1645

     (Endorsement) 10 Martii, 1645 (1645/46). From the Maior and
     Committee at Kendal with their Classes.

     For the Honourable William Lenthall, Esq., Speaker of the
     Commons House of Parliament. These--[111]

  [111] MSS. Tanner, 60, fol. 527, Bodleian Library, Oxford.

In the list of the parishes with their church officials which
accompany this servile epistle, ours appears thus:


     Mr. Henry Wilson, minister of Gressmer a notorious malignant and
     articled against at Parliament.


  Mr. Thomas Brathwait     Edward Knotts and
  Michaell Benson          Francis Benson

The newly-elected elders were men of good position and character.
Mr. Brathwaite, son of Gawen, and grandson of James, was soon to
become the head of the Ambleside Hall family. The Bensons were the
descendants of the rich clothiers of Elizabeth's days. Francis,
living at his freehold of the Fold, Loughrigg, was later to display
his indomitable will as a disciple of George Fox. Edward Knott was
one of a race of Grasmere statesmen whose course was a forward one
for some hundreds of years, and whose later history belongs to Rydal
and Coniston.

But before these men were chosen, or this letter written, the
"Committee" in Kendal had already interfered in church matters in
Grasmere, and had suspended the parson. The Rev. Henry Wilson had
served the king's cause in other ways than by preaching; and it is
probable that the sums of money he began to borrow from 1643 from the
Rydal Hall estate (whose coffers all the needy Royalists had recourse
to) were used upon journeys to and fro as an emissary, or were
expended in some other way for the cause.[112]

  [112] The secret messengers who passed with despatches between
  the king and his army endured great perils and sometimes lost
  their lives.

                                                           li  s  d

  Lent to P'son wilson upon his bill & Sr. Chr: Rawlings
  13th of August for 6 weekes or els to Allow in his
  wages at Martinmas                                        1  0  0

         *       *       *       *       *

  Lent to Mr. Wilson P'son of Gresmire the 16 July
  upon his bill to be allowed in his sty. pd. at martinmas
  next 1644                                                 3  0  0

By September he had borrowed £4 more, and on December 30th, £2 10s.
But the Parliamentary party had by this time determined to put a curb
on the Royalist parson's excursions. There exists among the MSS.
of the Corporation of Kendal, a bond, dated November 16th, 1644,
entered into by him to Colonel James Bellingham, "that the said Henry
Wilson shall appear and render his body into the hands of the Provost
Marshall of Kendall, at the end of twenty dayes next after the date
hereof, and in the mean tyme shall not travell forth of the County of
Westmorland nor hold any intelligence nor send any message by word or
writeing to any of that party now in armes against the parliament,
but in all things demeane himselfe well, and not indeavour in any
wise to seduce or withdrawe the affections of any of his parishioners
or others from the service of King & Parliament."

Attested by James Bellingham, Thomas Brathwaite, and Thomas

  [113] Communicated by Mr. J. A. Martindale.

Under the pressure of military force he was constrained to appear
before the Parliamentary tribune at Kendal; and he must have been
then formally inhibited from duty; for the Rydal account-book shows:--

                                                          li  s  d

  pd to Mr. Benson who serues at Gresmire put in by
  the Committee & ordered to pay the stypend to
  him that was due to Mr. Wilson for Halfe A
  yeare ended at penticost last 1645                       9  5  9-1/2

  pd to mr. benson by an order from the Committee for
  Halfe A yeares wage for serving the Cure at Gresmire
  ended at Martinmas last 1645                             9  5  9-1/2

It is singular that in the Committee's report of its action to the
Parliament, in the letter already given, it makes no mention of
Mr. Benson's supersession of the rector. It was not destined to
stand however; and possibly there was opposition in the parish. For
Harrison enters, under February, 1646:--

                                                          li  s  d

  pd. to Sr. Chr: Rawling in pt. of his wages for seruing
  the Cure of Gresmire for Halfe A yeare to end at
  penticost next & either to pay it again or els to
  stand in paymt.                                          5  0  0

The remaining £4 was paid on May 22nd, "by order of the Comittee."
It would be interesting to know who this server of the cure was. He
had been resident since at least 1641, when a child of his "Christe:
Rawlinge, cler," had been baptized. He had likewise joined Parson
Wilson in his bill three years earlier. His prefix "Sir," betokened
him to be of the lower order of clergy, who had not graduated at
either University.

Meanwhile Wilson, without stipend, was sinking under a weight of
debt. A year after the death of his first wife, he had married (in
1639) Mrs. Dorothy Forrest, and he had (besides a former family)
young children born in 1642 and 1643. Harrison thought it necessary
now, in 1645, to obtain the consent of the young heir of Rydal, and
of another executor, before lending him further sums of money:--

                                                         li  s  d

  Lent parson wilson upon his note by & with the consent
  of Mr. Phillipson & Mr. Willm. wch. makes
  that he hath lately lent 8 li wch. he will either
  repay or els giue satisfaction that it may allow
  when he comes & serues the cure at Gressmire
  Church lent him this the 13 July                       5  10  0

Possibly he left Grasmere for a time, yet it is clear that he had
hopes of recovering his position there. It is noteworthy that the
curates of St. John's and St. Bride's, Cumberland, borrowed money
about the same time, and probably for the king's business likewise.

Parson Wilson--for so he was still called--borrowed £2 more in April,
1646, making in all £10, and £5 more in May. This was done by consent
of the executors of the late Squire John Fleming, and he gave them a
bill which terminated on September 29th. He was quite incapable of
meeting such a bill, and it became necessary to devise a plan for
securing repayment.

Now steps upon the scene a figure destined to play for long a
prominent part in Grasmere church affairs. "My Cozen Ambrose" is
mentioned in Harrison's account-book as ordering an additional 15s.
to be paid to parson and clerk on death of Squire John "for oversight
of his buriall" and now he took more pronounced action. He was nephew
of Squire John, whose sister Dorothy--his mother--had married the
lord of Lowick. He had been educated for the church, and in 1629 was
elected Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge.[114] From the first
he was doubtless intended to fill the post of rector of Grasmere,
as the patronage belonged to the family. Truly, the living for the
moment was worth no more than £18 11s. 7d., the stipend paid by the
tithe-holder; but Gabriel Croft's lease of the tithes was to lapse in
1647, when they would again belong to the rector. So when Wilson was
found to be in the last straits for money, John Ambrose came forward
(with the lease in view) to adjust matters. Under date January, 1647,
Harrison entered in his book:--

     pd. to Mr. Wilson P'son of gresmire accordinge to articles
     made betwixt Mr. Wm. and him by doctor Ambrose order for
     delapidations for gresmire Rectorie and for confirmeinge all
     the tythes of Rydall at 20s P' annm. duringe his life upon his
     agrement 24 mch 1646, and a bill 15 li lent money deliuered him
     in, and pd. him this daie more to make up the Some to 22 li 10s,
     set down by doctor Ambrose 7 li 10s 0d.

  [114] Dr. Magrath's _Flemings in Oxford_.

Thus the broken-down parson was mercifully left in his dilapidated
house with his debt cleared, a few pounds in hand, and the prospect
of £1 yearly in lieu of the Rydal demesne tithe, which was the
ancient prescription.

Little as it was, it was better than nothing, and the incoming of
other tithes to the parson was problematic, even if he were again
allowed to serve the cure. But this doubtful future he had not long
to face. The church register of that year records on June 26th
"buryall Henry Willson Clerk of Gresmyre."

There is scarcely a doubt that the Rev. John Ambrose was at once
nominated to the post by the Fleming family. In evidence given for
the Restoration lawsuit over the tithes, it is stated that he had
been inducted "about 15 years since," and had kept the office and
officiated, till ejected by "the late usurpers." The position with
tithes restored to it, was worth a struggle to keep, and the parish
elders and the Presbyterian party at large would seem to have offered
no real opposition to this powerful nominee.

That party indeed was losing ground all over England, where a
personal examination before administration of the sacrament--rigidly
enforced under the Scotch system of eldership--was much disliked;
and by 1649 its control over church affairs was practically at an

  [115] Shaw's _Church under the Commonwealth_.

The successes of the Parliamentary army had besides, after the
victory of Naseby (1645), brought the Independents into power.
Without passing a law to annul the Presbyterian scheme, they brought
forward in Parliament various fresh ones of their own; and in 1650
a bill was framed for "the better propagating of the Gospel" in
Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmorland and Durham, these counties
having petitioned that the vexed question of "settling ministers"
might be finally resolved. The Act was to hold good for three years;
and after a slight extension it was abandoned, as the Commissioners
appointed to carry it out had not given satisfaction. It was while
the Commissioners under the Act were in office, and no doubt by
them, that Ambrose, an episcopalian and a Royalist, and nominated
moreover by a family of recusants, was ejected. In the depositions
taken at Ambleside, October, 1663, for the tithe lawsuit, John Newton
of Ambleside declared that the ejection took place about Martinmas,
1653; and "John Wallace of Kendall clerk," aged 32, gave evidence
"that the complainant Ambrosse, by some of the late usurped powers
was sequestered out of the parish church of Grasmere, sitting at
Newcastle on Tyne before 1653, after which this deponent officiated
in the said cure 1653, 4 and 5; and after he left one John Tompson,
clerk, officiated till complainant was restored. During deponent's
officiating most of the parishioners paid their tithes to him,
and owned him as patron; and he believes they did the like to

  [116] Ex. Deps., 15 Chas. II., Mich. 33, Westmorland.

Wallas was clearly placed in the Rev. John Ambrose's post by the
Independents, who now--with John Archer at their head--ruled the
municipal and religious affairs of Kendal, for the Parliament, by
a strong-handed committee; and that it was an ill-judged choice
as well as an ill-favoured one (at least by one section of the
community) is certain. By no religious party should John Wallas have
been considered a suitable pastor for the wide and conservative
parish, since he was either a man of low, disorderly life, or
unfortunate in making enemies who could successfully libel him. In
1655 he was summoned before the justices at the Quarter Sessions
upon two charges. One was the attempted ravishment of Clara Barwis
of Loughrigg, "a virgin" twenty-two years old, and of this offence
he was declared not guilty; while the unhappy girl--likewise charged
with "ye detestable sinne of fornication with John Wallass Clke"--was
by an irrational and shameful verdict sentenced to three months
imprisonment for the joint offence. The other charge against him was
an assault upon one John Hird; but as he brought a counter charge
against Hird, this disturbance of "ye publique peace" must have
assumed the aspect of a free fight.[117]

  [117] Book of Quarter Sessions Indictments, Kendal Corporation.

Wallas was not long to enjoy unchallenged his position at Grasmere.
The situation was being watched by one who only awaited opportunity
for action. It was a time of unrest and seething thought; and in 1651
George Fox, after beholding his vision of blood--when he ran through
the streets of Lichfield crying "Woe, woe"--had begun his wandering
life as a preacher. The country was swayed to and fro by contending
religious factions. The more sober and rational-minded among these,
shocked by the confusion that prevailed, formed themselves into
"Voluntary Associations," under which the acting church authorities
of each district--whether Independent or Presbyterian--united for the
purpose of settling (if this were possible) the vexed questions of
the administration of the sacrament and the ordination of ministers.
At once an Association was formed for Cumberland and Westmorland,
where the success that attended George Fox's first missionary journey
through the distracted counties in 1652-3, had brought consternation
to all sections of the Puritan party, and under the leadership of
Mr. Richard Gilpin it proceeded to action.[118] Meetings for the
settlement of church affairs were held every month at Carlisle,
Penrith and Cockermouth, and in 1656 the counties put forth a joint
manifesto, called "Articles of Association."

  [118] Fox's _Journals_. He says that he had "large meetings" in

It was the existence of this body with its moderate and conciliatory
policy, that doubtless enabled the new squire of Rydal to take the
step he had for some time been preparing. Barely of age in 1654, and
not yet in possession of the family estates, he nevertheless--while
studying law in London--kept his eye on the condition of affairs in
Grasmere and sought how he might--if not restore his kinsman Ambrose
to the rectory--at least oust the intruder. An entry in his accounts
of 1s. paid on May 24th "for ye Parrishioners of Gresmire their
Caveat" shows that he had secured the support of part of the parish
at least. Again on June 27th he paid 1s. 6d. "for a cop. of the
Refferees names concerning Wallas." Without doubt he was preparing,
even to the co-operation of Mr. Brathwaite of Ambleside Hall, for
the swift stroke of ejection which was carried through on the eve of
his own entrance to Rydal by his faithful servant John Banks. John
communicated the result in the following letter:--[119]

  [119] Rydal Hall MSS.

  Hounoured Sir,

     I praise God I got saffe to Rydale wth the oxen on Saturday at
     night where I was fforced to staye all night it was so late I
     acquainted the P'ishors that you had sent them word to get a
     minister every Lord's daye till such tyme as you presented one,
     and that the might paye them out off the tythes, but none would
     meddle unless I would goe to the Church and appear wth them soe
     I was fforced either to neglect it or send to Mr. Turner off
     Amblesyd to procure him to goe to preach wch I did And he went
     to your Cousin Bratwhait to aske his advice and leave that he
     might goe, soe he came to Rydale and I went along wth him But
     Wallas seeing us cum almost at the Church went quite away to
     Langdale Chapple whether he intended to goe beffore or noe I
     knowe not But he lefft the Clarke to oppose us who would not
     suffer Mr. Turner to read in the usuall place soe I wished Mr.
     Turner to goe into the pulpit and officiate But the Clark begun
     to read a Chapter and I bid him giue over but he would not soe I
     shutt the booke soe Mr. Turner read a Chappter and sung a psalme
     and begune to preach and when the sermon was done I spoke to
     some of the P'ishoners to procure every Lords daye a minister &
     pay them off theire tithes.

  Conyston this 11 Feb. 1655.

  Your obedient servant

  John Bankes.

Good John, with the squire's authority at his back and the
co-operation of the Ambleside curate (a Presbyterian no doubt), had
successfully carried the situation through for that day, but his
spirit quailed before it, as did that of the people. Under date
February 18th he again wrote to his absent master:--

     I should be glad to hear ffrom you iff you have heard anything
     ffrom Oxford or London concerninge the P'sonage of Grasmire,
     ffor wallas keepes the place still and saith he will doe it and
     that he is instructed by Mr. Archer to keepe it til such tyme as
     he present another, And he saith that he will cause Mr Turner
     to be put off his place ffor goeing that one daye to officiate
     there, Sir I desire that you will be pleased iff you heare
     anythinge to lett me knowe that I may encourage the P'ishoners
     ffor the are nowe more dismayed then the were beffore.

In a postscript he reverts to the subject:--

     Sir it will not be amisse to remynd them aboue (probably meaning
     any grandee with whom young Daniel might come into contact
     during his honeymoon visits) concerning Grasmire ffor it is the
     Generall oppinion off all heare that Mr. Archer will doe you a
     preiudice in it iff he can.

Mr. Archer was of course disputing the right of the Rydal squire
to nominate. But he and the Independents were yet to learn the
indomitable nature of the will that now opposed theirs. The young
squire, too wise to attempt the reinstating of his kinsman, and
assuming the right to nominate, appointed one John Thompson to the
rectory: and he won his way in spite of obstacles placed in it.

                                                        li  s  d
  10 ber 4, 56. Spent at Penrith when Mr. Thompson
  appeared there to showe unto ye Coms. by wt.
  title hee officied att Gresmer                         00 01 06

John Banks, then doing business in London, wrote in perplexity
on October 23rd, saying that counsel's opinion was talked of in
connection with the matter. Thompson, however, kept his post. He may
have acted in tune with the Presbyterians for the time being, but at
the Restoration he returned at once to the uses of the re-established
Church of England. At the Quarter Sessions held at Kendal, September,
1660, William Willson of Langdale was charged with "disquietinge,
abuseinge, & disturbinge John Tompson Clerk vicar of Gressmire in
readinge ye booke of comon prayer or service of ye Church & in his
collaton or preachinge at Langdale Chappell" on the 26th, "beinge ye
lord's day" and the said Willson, refusing to submit or to swear the
oath of allegiance, was committed to gaol, with the option of a fine
of 100 marks.[120] Willson indeed was a Quaker or Friend, who abjured
all oaths--a fact at first misunderstood, and which so frequently
caused their committal on political grounds. He was one of George
Fox's most fiery adherents, and a speaker among the little band that
had sprung up in the parish during the anarchy; and in denouncing the
clergy on their own ground (the "steeple-house") he did but imitate
his master.

  [120] Book of Indictments, Kendal Corporation.

On the other hand John Wallas--who had apparently been appointed by
his friends to another church--was charged before the Justices with
not reading the Book of Common Prayer, as ordained by law. His next
appearance at court, in 1663, was in connection with the plot against
the king and government, lately discovered. He was suspected of being
mixed up in it, and was committed to Appleby gaol for three months.

The young squire of Rydal, Daniel Fleming, had now a free hand in the
congenial task of setting the church of Grasmere on the old footing.
There was some delay or uncertainty, however, in the return of his
cousin Ambrose to the rectory. The church register contains a note
of money collected, August 25th, 1661, and this is signed by John
Brathwaite, "Rector of Grasmere," by John Browk, "curate," and the
churchwardens; and John Browk's signature as curate occurs again
August 7th, 1663. But it is certain that Parson Ambrose soon made
good his claim to the position of rector, and that John Brathwaite
remained as his principal curate in charge. He was a man who had
seemingly no mind for strife or commotion. He showed supineness in
allowing the squire to conduct the dispute about the tithes which now
arose; as well as later to oppose the scheme of the Ambleside folk to
secure the privileges of baptism and burial for their chapel. On this
occasion the excuse was made of his being then (1674) in residence as
Fellow of St. John's, Cambridge.[121] Perhaps he loved too well the
cloistered ease of the University. He never attempted to reside at
the rectory, and would seem to have arranged for bachelor quarters
to be fitted up at the hall, where he might spend such time as he
thought it necessary to devote to the parish. These entries occur in
the great account book:--

  [121] See Cumberland and Westmorland Society's _Transactions_,
  vol. vi., N.S.

                                                         li  s  d
  Aug. 11. 59. Payed unto Grigg for 3 dayes paveing
    & guttering of ye Roome under Mr. Ambrose's
    Chamber                                              00 01 00

  Jan. 26. 59. Lost at Tables unto Parson Ambrose        00 01 00

Such peaceful hours of card-playing--restricted to the festival time
of Christmas--were occasionally varied by polemical events; if so, we
may interpret the scene at the Loughrigg inn:--

                                                         li  s  d
  June 23, 1669. Spent at Braythey Bridge end in ye
    contest betwixt Jos. Penny & my Cosin Ambrose        00 00 06

For the recovery of the tithes, the rector relied entirely on the
legal knowledge and acute judgment of his relative; and the draft
of the Bill presented in the Court of Exchequer, and now lying at
Rydal Hall, is in the latter's handwriting. From this we learn that
certain parishioners refused to pay tithes to the newly-instituted
rector, and that their refusal was moreover of some years standing,
as neither Wallas nor Thompson had been in a position to compel
payment from the refractory. There are twenty-one names cited in the
bill. Many of these were no doubt conscientious objectors, though
some would be of that ever-present class, who seize any excuse for
shirking an obligation. From the wording of the petition, that the
objectors "pretended" John Ambrose never was parson of Grasmere,
nor had been lawfully restored, it looks as if there had been some
opposition to the squire's change of minister at the Restoration.
Mr. Thomas Brathwaite had assisted him as we have seen in the
removal of the Independent, but now the expulsion of the (probable)
Presbyterian minister in favour of the Episcopalian roused the ire
no doubt of the Presbyterian party, headed by the Ambleside Hall
family. Robert Brathwaite, gentleman, was younger brother of Thomas,
and had inherited from his father Gawen not only the property of
High House, Hugill (where he generally resided) but the small
"manor" of Baisbrowne in Langdale. It was on this estate that tithes
were claimed from its owner, who heads the list of recalcitrant
parishioners. Another prominent statesman among them was Christopher
Nicholson, of Padmire, Grasmere, of whose religious persuasion we
know nothing. A third was Francis Benson, freeholder; he, along with
Mr. Brathwaite and Michael Benson, had served as an elder on the
Presbyterian _Classis_, and had now become an ardent Quaker. These,
with the rest, had--so the petition declared--combined to resist
payment, and had persuaded others to do the like. Their position was
certainly weakened by the fact that they had failed to pay these
customary dues for its support, while they were satisfied with the
ministry; yet the demand now made for fourteen years' arrears, may
well have irritated them. The claim upon Mr. Robert Brathwaite's
estate stands thus, when placed in the form of a table:--

                                                                  £  s. d.
  Meadows, of which the "tythe-hay" is worth yearly               0  0 10
  Ten cow's milk each yearly 2d.                                  0  1  8
  One tithe-calf                                                  0  1  8
  Two foals, each 2d.                                             0  0  4
  Three hundred sheep, of which, the tythe wool is worth yearly   2  0  0
  One hundred lambs paying a customary sum each year of 1s. 2d.     11  8
  Three sows, the tithe pigs being yearly                              10
  Ten geese, ten hens, and ten ducks, tithe yearly                   5  0
  two swarms of bees, customary payment 2d. each                        4
  Five bushels of plums, with other fruit, tithe worth               3  0
  Twenty acres, pastured with barren cattle                          5  0
  Hemp grown, tithe worth yearly                                     2  0
  Oblaytions                                                         2  6

The demand made upon each of the foremost defendants in the lawsuit
was exactly the same, showing that the estimate of the tithes was
a purely conventional one. It amounted then for each prosperous
statesman to £3 14s. 10d.--a large sum compared with the commutation
of the Rydal Hall tithe; and when this figure is multiplied by
fourteen for arrears, a total of £52 7s. 8d. is reached, which was
likely enough to arouse dismay and opposition. The case dragged
on; and on October 20th, 1663, a commission sat at Ambleside, when
witnesses were called on both sides. The smaller statesmen were no
longer cited, while Robert Brathwaite, Christopher Nicholson, Francis
Benson, and John Benson stood as the defendants.[122] The verdict
is not known; but payment of tithes once more became customary.
The refusal of the Quakers to pay the church rate will be noticed

  [122] Ex. Deps., 15 Chas. II., Mich. 33, Westmorland.

The tithes seem often to have been let on lease, which saved the
rector the trouble and annoyance of collection. Edward Benson of
Loughrigg declared, in 1663, before the commission, that he and
Miles Mackereth and John Brathwaite held a lease of them from Parson
Ambrose for three years, which ended April 15th, 1665. About the year
1726 they were apparently farmed by the statesmen jointly. A paper
exists[123] entitled "Grasmere Tyth Corn lett to the Inhabitants Anno
1726. Some wanting." It contains the names of 55 landholders, with
the amount--varying from 1s. to 18s.--paid by each as an equivalent
for the tithe of corn. The total is £18 6s.

  [123] Rydal Hall MSS.

This agrees with the statement of Miss Craik, who in 1752 was
corresponding with Sir William Fleming on behalf of her incapable
brother, the rector. While expressing her surprise that he should
think of renting the tithes of corn, she tells him that Mr. Craik's
collector had been persuaded to grant a three years' lease at £14
10s., which was too little. The salary of the collector, she adds,
had been in a former year £5.

The growth of corn increased seemingly in this district as the
eighteenth century went by, owing no doubt to its heightened price
throughout the kingdom. The tithe of it accordingly went up in value,
while wool, from the decay of the cloth trade, went down.

[Illustration: CHURCH WARDENS]









[Illustration: Decorative]


Grasmere Church, as it stands at present, is itself the sole guide we
have to its age and the method of its building. No document exists,
prior to the Restoration, that concerns the fabric. It was then
apparently the same as it is now. As one steps within the portal,
and sees through the gloom its strange double nave, the rude spaces
broken through the thick intersecting wall, and the massive, split,
misshapen timbers that support its roof, one wonders who were its
planners and builders. Here surely in this strange and original
structure we see a work conceived and carried out by the very men who
worshipped within it. Sturdy, strong, and self-dependent, they would
seem to have asked little or no aid either in money or skill, for the
rearing and decoration of their church. Yet its builders, when they
came to remodel, if not to rebuild their ancient place of worship,
must have known edifices of statelier plan. There was Kendal, their
great centre, with a church that must always have kept abreast of the
time in architectural beauty, and which--from the earliest fifteenth
century at least, showed the dressed columns of stone, the soaring
arches, and chantried aisles which yet remain. St. Martin's of
Windermere, too, in the next parish, possessed a duly proportioned
nave, chancel, and aisle; and the columns--built though they were of
undressed stone--rose to support a clerestory and the evenly-timbered
roof. Hawkshead again (whither the dalesmen often repaired to market
or fair) owned a church that was ruder than the others, indeed--since
its huge cylindrical piers support circular arches, and the timber of
its roof is rough-hewn--but had a well-proportioned plan for nave and

[Illustration: Old Window in the South Wall.

Outside View]

These places, it is true, had advantages over Grasmere. Kendal was
in contact with the great world and with the heads of the church,
who visited it regularly. It had, besides, access to freestone.
Windermere, like Hawkshead, had to let the intractable slate of
the neighbouring mountains suffice for the main structure: hence
the great piers without capitals and the plaster finish of their
interiors. But Windermere had an advantage in its nearness to Kendal;
and Hawkshead in its association with the abbey of Furness, which
was easily accessible from there. Grasmere, on the other hand, was
probably ignorant of the beauties of the Abbey Church of St. Mary's
at York, to which it was attached. The church was practically shut
up within the remotest chamber of the mountains, and could only be
reached by 17 miles of bad road from Kendal, over which no wheels
could travel. But with no freestone near, with only the hard mountain
slate to rive, or the boulders of the beck to gather; without
traditional skill and with very little hard cash, our builders of
Grasmere proceeded--when need came--to alter and enlarge their
House of God by such simple methods as house and barn "raising" had
made familiar to them. Thus we read the story of the structure as
it stands at present, and see that the builders had clearly little
help from the outer world. We see, too, that this structure was an
alteration of an earlier one; which was not itself the first, for
the first stone fane probably replaced a wooden one, either here
or on Kirk How. It was doubtless of that simple oblong form, without
chancel or tower, which was technically known as a chapel,[124] and
of which specimens have remained among the mountains to this day. But
an _ecclesia parochia_, possessed of daughter chapels, could not be
permitted by the higher powers--whether of church or manor--to retain
so lowly a form. The manorial lords may have interested themselves
in its reconstruction, though there is no evidence of the fact. In
any case, it is likely that the Abbey of St. Mary would take the
necessary steps to bring it up to the requirements of its position,
and of the worship to be conducted within its walls. The visiting
brother would carry accounts of the remote little church to York; and
a monk skilled in architecture could be brought over to plan a new
building, and to direct its construction. The customary model for
a small parochial church would be adopted, which allowed a chancel
for priests officiating at the mass; then a nave without aisles
for the worshippers, lighted by narrow windows--for before glazing
was possible the opening had to be guarded from weather by wooden
shutters--and to the west a tower, in which to hang the bells that
should call the parishioners from far.

  [124] _Gothic Architecture in England_, Francis Bond, p. 191.

Such doubtless was the existing church in its first state, and of
it there may remain the tower, the porch, the south wall, and one
window. There are indications that before its enlargement it was more
ornate then now. Freestone was used, though sparingly, to emphasize
the chief architectural points. The opening into the tower, piercing
four feet of solid wall, has a moulding of freestone (now battered
away) to mark the spring of its slightly-pointed arch; while a
string-moulding is discernible in the north wall of the nave, which
may once have accentuated the window heads. The windows--if we may
suppose the one left between porch and tower to be a relic of the
original set[125]--were simple openings finished by an "ogee" arch.
The font may be as old as the window, if not older. Its mouldings,
which originally followed the rim and divided the bowl into a
hexagon, are almost obliterated; and though no doubt it suffered
during the Commonwealth, when it was degraded from its sacred use,
the damage may not be wholly due to that cause. The freestone used
in the building was unfortunately friable, and must have suffered at
every alteration--such as the piercing of the north wall by arches,
and the building up of the tower-arch for a vestry. It could not be
replaced by the remodellers; and they seem to have intentionally
chipped and levelled it, and then freely whitewashed it over, with a
general view to tidiness. They even went beyond this; for when the
east wall was reconstructed in 1851, a stone carved with the likeness
of a face was found built into it. This is now in the Kendal Museum.
The piscina, too, now refixed (and, unfortunately, redressed), was
found, covered with plaster, lower down in the same wall.

  [125] This is almost a certainty. A drawing made by a friend of
  Mrs. Fletcher, of Lancrigg, showed two like windows on the south
  side; but it is unfortunately lost.

[Illustration: Profile of Stone Head]

The worn, maltreated freestone might, if we knew its origin, tell
something of the tale of the building. A well-squared yellow block,
recently laid bare in the porch, is certainly not the red sandstone
of Furness.


Now should the age of the fabric, decorated thus simply though
judiciously, be questioned, it must be owned that there is nothing
to indicate its being older than the fourteenth century. It is true
that a western tower with no entrance from outside was a feature
of many Saxon churches, but such towers continued to be built for
parish churches until a late date. The rough masonry of the Grasmere
tower is due to the material; and the massive boulders used in the
foundation were no doubt gathered from the beck, whose proximity must
have been highly convenient for builders who were poorly equipped
for the quarrying of their slate rock. The "ogee" or trefoiled arch
was a development of the Decorated style of architecture, which
evolved the form from the elaborate traceries of its windows.[126]
The Decorated style is roughly computated as lasting from the open
to the close of the fourteenth century, and the period of its use
coincides fairly with the time when our church fell under the
influence of the monastery.

  [126] S. Holborne: _Architecture of European Religions_.

A church of primitive size would be sufficient for the folk of the
three townships, while they lived in scattered homesteads and were
all bent upon husbandry, with short intervals of warfare with the
Scots. But it would become too small for a growing population that
throve in times of peace upon the wool trade.[127] With walk-mills in
the valleys, and families growing rich as clothiers, some extension
of the church would be necessary; and this extension seems to have
been started in a fashion strangely simple. Leaving the walls of the
edifice intact with its roof, a space almost equal--for it is but one
yard narrower--was marked off on the northern side, enclosed by walls
and roofed over. The intervening wall could not be removed, because
the builders were incapable of spanning the double space by a single
roof. It was therefore left to sustain the timbers of the two roofs,
and through its thickness (over three feet) spaces were broken in the
form of simple arches. Thus--though one is called an aisle--two naves
were practically formed, separated by the pierced wall. The date
of this enlargement is uncertain. If we place it in the era of the
prosperity of the townships from the cloth trade, it could have been
done no earlier than the reign of Henry the Seventh, and no later
than the early days of Elizabeth; while a supposition that it was not
taken in hand until the dissolution of the monastery had thrown the
men of the three townships on their resources is strengthened by the
character of the work.

  [127] See Fullers and Freeholders: _Trans. of Cumberland and
  Westmorland Ant. So._, N.S.

How long the enlarged church remained under a double roof cannot be
said. Trouble would be sure to come from the long, deep valley, where
snow would lodge and drip slowly inside. Clearly there was urgent
need for action and radical alteration when the powerful Mr. John
Benson, of Baisbrowne, made his will in 1562. A clause of this runs:
"Also I giue and bequeath towardes the Reparacions of the church of
gresmyre XXs so that the Roofe be taken down and maide oop againe."

But how to construct a single roof over the double space? This
insoluble problem (to them) was met by the village genius in a
singular manner. The arched midwall was not abolished. It was
carried higher by means of a second tier of arches whose columns
rest strangely on the crowns of the lower. These upper openings
permit the principal timbers to rest in their old position, while
the higher timbers are supported by the abruptly ending wall. Thus
a single pitched roof outside is attained, sustained by a double
framework within. The result is unique, and remains as a monument of
the courage, resource, and devotion to their church of our mountain

       *       *       *       *       *

[Since this chapter was written the stone face--p. 104--has been
returned by Kendal to Grasmere.--ED.]


Of early furniture there is, of course, no trace within the
church. All the accessories of the ritual of the mass, whether in
metal, wood, or textile, as well as such as would be required for
processions on Rogation Days, were swept away at the Reformation. A
reminder of these processions may perhaps be found in the field at
the meeting of the roads near the present cemetery, which goes by
the name of Great Cross, for here, doubtless, a Station of the Cross
stood where the priest and the moving throng would halt and turn.
Another field is named Little Cross.

[Illustration: Date on Bench End]

One upright piece of oak, roughly cut with the date 1635, remains
to show us the style of the old benches--or forms as they were
called--which filled the space above the earthen floor. The bench
itself, to judge by the aperture left in this end-piece, would appear
to have been no more than six inches wide, and almost as thick; the
bench-end, which was further steadied by a slighter bar below, was
sunk into the ground.

[Illustration: BENCH END.]

These benches could not have been fixed with any permanence, for the
earthen floor was often broken up for the burial of parishioners.
The custom of burial inside the church was a favourite one, and
was continued down to the nineteenth century. While the choir was
reserved for the knight or gentleman (and of the former there were
none within the parish) and for the priest, the statesman was buried
in the nave or aisle; and only

the landless man or cottar would be laid in the garth outside.
Frequently in wills the testator expressed his wish to be buried
as near as possible to a deceased relative, or the place where he
had worshipped. He was in any case buried within the limits of his
township's division in the church. In 1563 Mr. John Benson, of
Baisbrowne, who was a freeholder and probably a cloth merchant,
desired to be buried "in the queare in the parish church of
gresmire as neare where my wife lyethe as convenientlye may be."
After the Fleming family of Rydal and Coniston became possessed of
the advowson, they were many of them--beginning with William the
purchaser in 1600--buried within the choir; though no monument or
tablet exists prior to the one commemorating Sir Daniel's father,
1653. The tithe-paper shows the rate of payment for interment in the
higher or lower choir. Besides fees paid to the officials of the
church, the townships, through their individual wardens, took payment
for all "ground broken," as the phrase went, within their division,
and the receipts from this source appear regularly in their accounts.
The usual fee for an adult was 3s. 4d. (a quarter mark), and out of
this 2d. had to be paid by the wardens for laying the flag. Less was
charged for children, while women who died in childbirth were buried
for nothing but the actual cost of the flag-laying. Under the year
1693, when seven parishioners were laid within the church soil, we
read "& more for the burying of two Women yt. dyed in Childbed in
the Church00li 00s 04d." There were seven burials in 1723, five in
1732, five in 1766, and four in 1773. As late as 1821 Rydal and
Loughrigg buried one inhabitant in the church, and Langdale three. It
is singular that the Grasmere township discontinued the custom before
the two others, for no interment took place in her division after

The following extracts from the wardens' accounts show how frequently
the floor of the church was disturbed and levelled:--

                                                      £   s.  d.

  1674  It. for lying Flags of 2 graves in our third  00  00  04

  1689  For lying the Grave Flags and mending
        Forms                                         00  00  06

  1690  All three townships pay for "lying Flags
        and mending Fourmes."

  1713  For Lying ye Flaggs upon Several Graves
        wh. had fallen in                             00  01  00

  1728  For mending the Flaggs and Fourms             00  02  02

  1729  For flagging and Leavelling ye Church
        floor                                         00  00  10

  1763  Grasmere mende forms and levell flags, 1s. 6d.; Loughrigg
        and beneath Moss the same, 1s. 8d.

  1772  New flags bought, and extensive work done upon the
        floor, at a total cost of £9 8s. 1-3/4d.: the flagging of the
        "low end" not being completed till next year.

  1774  For "mending Furmes in Church & a Soal-tree" 12s. 4d.
        is paid.

  1782  Grasmere purchases an oak tree for seats in her third,
        13s. 4d., carpenter 13s. 4d.; with a final 11s. 6d. next
        year for repair of the old ones.

  1783  Loughrigg and beneath Moss proceeds to the same; and
        two new "Sole-trees" [foot-rail] with the railing and
        repairing of four forms cost £1 9s. 0d., besides 1s. 8d.
        spent in ale at the public auction of the contract, and 2d.
        for advertisement of same.
                                                           s   d

  1811  For Levelling Church & mending Windows             1   6

  1819  To clearing Church of Stones and Rubbish           1   6

  1828  Outlay unusual. Grasmere shows "To Flags & Flagging
        in the Church" 19s. 4d. "To repairing seates" 2s. 0d.
        Loughrigg and beneath Moss "To Ambleside Church-warden
        paid for New Seats" £2 1s. 6d. Langdale "To
        Repairing Flags in Church" £1 6s. 6d.; Seats and Wood
        19s. 9d.

  1833  Grasmere repairs "fermes" in Church, 6d.

The soil beneath the church is thus literally sown with bones, and
the wonder is that room could be found for so many. But in this
connection it must be remembered that the practice of burying without
coffins was the usual one until a comparatively recent period.

No wonder that plague broke out again and again, that the fragrant
rush was needed for other purpose than warmth, and that fires within
the church could not have been tolerated.

The custom concerning these forms or _ferms_, as locally pronounced,
was rigid. Every man had a right, as townsman or member of a _vill_,
to a recognized seat within the church, which was obtained through
the officials of his township. This seat was, of course, within the
division of his township. The women sat apart from the men, and even
the maids from the old wives. So tenaciously was the hereditary seat
clung to, that reference to it may occasionally be met with in a

  [128] Edward Forrest, of Ambleside, when providing, in 1637,
  for his younger son (then under age) as a landholder, adds "and
  it is my mind and will that my said son Richard shall sitt next
  his elder brother Edward in the same forme, and likewise to haue
  another seate for a woman in the other forme, or seate accustomed
  for women." This was in Ambleside Chapel, but the custom was

  Mr. George Browne possesses a copy of a document drawn up in
  1629, after there had been contention, which gives the order of
  seating in Troutbeck Chapel. As this has not been printed, it may
  be briefly summarized here. A plan accompanies the paper. The
  general order was, for the men to be seated round the chancel,
  and upon a certain number of the front benches on the north side,
  which was free. The women were behind the men, five being placed
  on each form. They paid for their seats, at a diminishing rate
  from the front, the price starting at 20d.--one-eighth of a mark.
  The plan gives the place of every townswoman, and it is expressly
  stated that if there be a young wife in the family as well as an
  old one, she is to take her place on another form.

Some serious alteration in the allotment of seats was probably made
in 1676, judging from these entries in the wardens' accounts.

                                                       li  s  d

  Ittem for Laughrig third for lifting seatts upon
  Church & when ther names was sent in writting        00  2  00

  Itt. for grasmyre third for ye like                  00  2  00

The Squire of Rydal, as soon as the Restoration permitted it, set
to work to furnish that part of the church in which he worshipped
suitably to the honour and dignity of his family. The family seats
had before his time long stood vacant, even if they had been ever
regularly used. His predecessor, John, as an avowed Roman Catholic,
had preferred to pay heavy fines rather than obey the law in the
matter of attendance at the Communion of the parish church; and there
is little doubt that the mass was celebrated in private for him at
Rydal Hall. John's mother, Dame Agnes, may have attended during her
widowhood; but her husband William, the purchaser of the tithes and
patronage, must--always supposing him to be a good Protestant--have
attended more frequently at Coniston.

But Squire Daniel was a pillar of the church as well as of the State
in his neighbourhood, and his accommodation within the building was
framed in view of the fact. The following entry occurs in his account
book, under July 13th, 1663. The monument referred to is doubtless
the brass tablet we now see in the chancel, and it appears to have
waited for its fixing for ten years after its purchase in London:--

                                                        li  s   d

  Spent at Gresmer, when ye wainscott seat, & my
  father's monum.t were set up                         00  00  06

And two days later the bill for the seat was paid. It is not very
intelligible, but reads thus:--

  Paid unto Christ. Robinson of Kendall (Joyner)        li  s   d
  for 10 yards and foot 2/1 of double wainscott at
  4s P' yard, and yards 4 foot 2/1 of single wainscott
  at 3s P' yard, for a Board, Ledging & knobs in
  all (being for ye seats at Gresmere) ye sum of       03  06  06

No doubt this is the fine old pew which still stands between the
pulpit and the priest's door of the chancel. In it, for nearly forty
years, the squire worshipped, with his growing family about him. The
regularity of his attendance is shown by his account book, where
every collection is entered; and in spite of his frequent ridings on
public and private business, he never but once (till the close of
the book in 1688) missed the four yearly communions in his parish
church. On that occasion, when Easter Day, 1682, was spent at Hutton,
he attended a service at Grasmere on the previous Good Friday (held
possibly by his order), at which his Easter offering was given.

     Given this day (being Good-Fryday) at ye Offertory in Gresmere
     Church for myselfe 5s., for Will, Alice, Dan, Barbara & Mary 5s.

The sums given were invariable: 5s. for himself, 2s. 6d. for his wife
(while she lived), and 1s. for each child.[129]

  [129] For the custom of Easter offerings, see Canon Simmons'
  Notes to _The Lay Folks' Mass Book_, pp. 239-241.

It was in 1675 that the sad necessity rose of putting up a monument
to his excellent wife. The brass was apparently cut in London, for he
sent to his Uncle Newman there:--

     3li 10s. 0d. towards ye paying for my late dear wifes Epitaphs
     engraving in brass.

Though 2s. 6d. more was paid afterwards.

     Unto Rich. Washington of Kendall for amending of my late Dear
     Wifes Epitaph in brass.

Washington, who was entered in 1642 among the "Armerers Fremen and
Hardwaremen" of Kendal, and was mayor of the city in 1685,[130] was
wholly entrusted with the next family brass; for we find that under
date February 10th, 1682, he was paid "for ye Brass & the cutting
of ye Epitaph for my Mother and Uncle Jo. Kirkby, £4 10s 0d which
my brothers Roger & William are to pay me again." But this was for
Coniston Church.

  [130] _Boke off Recorde of Kirkbie Kendal._

It was after the squire's second son, Henry, had become Rector of
Grasmere, and by his encouragement, that the church was freshly
beautified and "adorned." The entry of 1s. paid in 1662 to James
Harrison for "makeing ye sentences w'in ye church" shows that
something was at once attempted; for it was as imperative that a
church should be "sentenced" as that the Royal Arms should be put
up, or the Commandments or Lord's Prayer. All these were devices
(expressly enjoined by the sovereign) for covering up the nakedness
of the churches after they had been stripped by the Reformers of
all objects of beauty and reverence, in roods, images of saints,
tapestries, &c., &c.; for Elizabeth and many of her subjects had
been horrified at the effect of changes that appeared to rob the
churches of their sacred character.[131] Frescoes on plaster had, of
course, been used from early times as a means of teaching Holy Writ
and Legend to the unlettered folk, and fragments of such pictures
are still to be seen in Carlisle Cathedral. But at the Reformation,
when plaster and paint were again resorted to, only the written
word was permitted (with the exception of the Lion and Unicorn);
and the wall-spaces of the churches became covered with texts
and catechisms,[132] which were surrounded or finished by "decent

  [131] _English Church Furniture_, Cox and Harvey.

  [132] An unusual catechism, printed in the Rev. E. J. Nurse's
  _History_, may be seen in the parish church of Windermere.

  [133] So important was this scheme of decoration considered, that
  in the reign of Charles II. the Archbishop of Canterbury gave
  a commission to his "well-beloved in Christ," a craftsman who
  belonged to the "Art and mysterie of Paynterstayners of London"
  to carry it out in all those churches of his province where it
  was found wanting.--_English Church Furniture._

In its turn the reformed style has disappeared, even in churches
peculiarly suited to it, like those of the Lake District, where the
rough unworkable slate is bound to be covered by a coat of plaster.
During recent restorations, however, at both Windermere and Hawkshead
the sentences were found under coats of whitewash, and they were
in a truly conservative spirit painted in again. Grasmere, weary
of "mending" the sentences and whitening round them, finally wiped
them out in the last century, and substituted the ugly black boards
painted with texts, which still hang between the archways. Fragments
of the old sentences were descried when the walls were recently
scraped and coloured.

It was in 1687 that a complete scheme of decoration was carried out
within the church, and one James Addison, a favourite decorator in
the district, was engaged for the purpose. The contract made with him
is preserved in the churchwardens' book:--

     Mr. Adison is to playster what is needfull & whiten all the
     Quire & Church except that within the insyde of the Arche of
     the steeple to paint the 10 Coman's on the one syde of the
     Quire window & the beliefe & Lordes prayer on the other with 8
     sentences & florishes in the Quire & 26 sentences in the Church
     with decent Florishes & the Kinges Armes well drawn & adorned.

Later on comes the copy of an agreement in later handwriting:--

  March the 29th An'o Dom'i 1687.

     Mem'd. It was then agreed on by and between James Addison of
     Hornby in the County of Lancaster Painter on the one part
     and Mr. Henry Fleming of Grasmer the churchwardens and other
     Parishioners of the Parish aforesaid: That the said James
     Addison shall and will on this side the first day of August
     next after the date hereof sufficiently plaster wash with
     Lime and whiten all ye church of Grasmer aforesaid (except ye
     inside of the steeple) and well and decently to paint ye Tenne
     Commandm'ts, Lord's prayer and thirty Sentences at such places
     as are already agreed on together with the Kings Arms in proper
     colours and also to colour the pulpit a good green colour and
     also to flourish the Pillars and over all the Arches and doors
     well and sufficiently, the said Parson and Parishioners finding
     lime and hair onely. In consideration whereof the sd. Parson and
     Parishioners doe promise to pay him nine pounds Ten shillings
     when or so soon as the work shall be done.

     And be it likewise remembered the s'd Parson and Parishioners
     gave him 05s in earnest and that the Parson is to pay the fifth
     part of the nine pounds Ten shillings, the parishioners being at
     the whole charge of the lime and Hair.

              The names of the 18 Questmen

  For Grasmer          For Langdale        Rydal Ambleside and

  Reg. Thompson      W. Satterthwaite      Thomas Benson
  John Hird          Jno. Middlefell       Jo. Banks
  Jo. Hawkrigge      Geo. Cowperthwaite    Reg. Braithwaite
      of townhead    Chr. Dawson           Jo. Newton
  Jo. Hawkrigge      Leo. Benson           Jo. Braithwaite de[134]
      of Howhead     James Dixon              Hawkshead
  Hen. Hird                                Hen. Barrow
  Eadwin Green

    [134] This is somewhat inexplicable unless the copyist, who has a
    late hand, has mistaken Howhead (in Ambleside) for Hawkshead. And
    the last figure in the account should be £1 18s.

                    Church Wardens

  For Grasmer             Eadwin Green
                          Rob't Hird
  For Langdale            Geo. Cowperthwaite
                          Leo. Benson
  For Rydal Ambleside and
    Loughrigg             Ed. Benson de Highclose
                          Tho Newton de Ambleside

     Memorand. That to promote ye Painting of ye ch'h ye Parson did
     offer to pay according to ye proportion ye Quire did bear to
     ye whole ch'h to ye plastering washing w'h lime and painting
     of ye ten Command'ts Creed L'ds prayer and 30 sentences, tho'
     y'er had but been 4 or 5 Sentences in ye Quire before and now ye
     ten Comma'd'ts and Creed were to be painted on each side of the
     quire windows The Charge of all which was commuted at £8 0 0 and
     ye K'gs Arms and ye painting of ye pulpit at ye remainder. So
     that the quire appearing by measure to be a 5 part ye Parson was
     to pay £1 12s. 0d. but to be quit of the trouble of providing
     his proportion of lime and hair he did prefer to pay ye 5 part
     of the whole £9 10s. 0d. ye parish finding all lime and hair
     which was agreed to. Besides ye £9 10s. 0d. agreed to be paid
     there was 5s. 0d. given to the painter in earnest to have the
     work done well.

                                                          £   s  d
  March 29. Paid for ye 5 part of the earnest money
  given to the painter                                   00  01  0

  June 21. Paid to Mr. James Addison for ye parsons
  share of painting the Church being ye 5 part of
  £9 10 0                                                00  18  0

The contract included the painting of the pulpit of a cheerful green,
as we read. It was a plain structure of wood, and the "Quission"
bought for it in 1661, as well as the cloth then procured for the
Communion Table, were doubtless worn out; for we learn from the
church-wardens' Presentment for 1707 that these and some other
points about the church had been found wanting by the higher church
authorities. The paper runs:--

     The defects found in our church for and at ye late Visitation,
     viz. The Floor of the Church-porch & Isles uneven Flagg'd; The
     South wall of the Inside fro' ye Bellfry unto ye East, dirty;
     A decent Reading-pew, Com'unio'-Table-cloth of Linen, & pulpet
     Cushio' wanting; A Table of degrees wanting, & a crackt Bell.

     All these faults except two (viz. The Reading-pew & crackt Bell)
     are amended. The porch & Isles even Flagg'd. The Wall made
     white & clean, A decent Table-cloth, Pulpet-Cushion, & Table of
     degrees, procured.

     A new Reading-pew is in making at present, & will shortly be
     perfected. & as for the Bell it was referr'd to Dr. Fleming's
     discerec'on to be amended & made tuneable; & he resolves in
     convenient time to call together & consult w'th the chief of his
     Parishion'rs to do it, & in w't time and manner, to the best

Accordingly we find entries of the expense incurred by a few of these

                                                            li   s   d
  1706   For Cloth, Silk, Fring and Tassles for ye pulpitt
           Cushion                                         01   02  05

         For Flocks harden and making ye pulpitt
           Cushion                                         00   03  01-1/2

         For Cloth for ye Table Cloth and makeing          00   05  11

  1709 For mending the Stairs and laying ye Flaggs
         in ye Clarks pew                                   00  10  00

Nothing is heard, however, of a new reading-pew, and in 1710 the old
one was mended at a cost of 1s. 8d. The bells, as we shall see, had
to wait.

Not until a hundred years later was a vestry thought of. In 1810
Thomas Ellis was paid 7s. for planning it, and George Dixon £12 2s.
1d. for its erection. It is said to have been made of wood, and
simply partitioned off the north-west angle of the church. It was
fitted with a "grate," that cost with carriage 19s.; and this being
set on the side nearest to the pews, diffused what must have been
but a gentle warmth through the edifice. It is the first heating
apparatus that we hear of, and the expenses for charcoal and wood,
with 3s. paid annually to the clerk for setting on the fire, were
small. Tradition says that while George Walker lighted the vestry
fire he rang the eight o'clock bell--a call to matins which had
survived the Reformation, and the service then abolished.[135]

  [135] _Mediæval Services in England._ Chr. Wordsworth. Tradition
  from Edward Wilson.

Time brought other improvements. The harmony of a church choir
entailed its special expenses. In 1812 the ladies of Rydal Hall,
widow and heiress of Sir Michael Fleming, provided "Psalmody" for
Grasmere church at a cost of £2 2s., and for Langdale at £1 1s.
Probably the price of this early tune-book was one guinea. A charge
of 7s. 6d. appears in 1829 for a new pitch-pipe. A "singing school"
was started, causing considerable expense in candles (12s. in 1844).
Edward Wilson fitted the "singing pews" with drawers in 1851. There
was apparently no instrumental music in the Grasmere choir, though
there may have been in Langdale chapel to judge from an item of
expense for violin strings.

[Illustration: Old Pitch Pipe]

Many odd expenses are noted in the accounts, as well as the
replenishing of worn books and garments. A large Common Prayer Book
cost in 1692 13s. 6d., and another in 1733 14s. Prayer Books began,
too, to be supplied in the body of the church; the townships buying a
few at a time, at a price varying from 6d. to 1s. In 1808 a new Bible
cost £2 2s., while the price of a large Prayer Book in 1823 was £2
5s., and another in 1835 £1 12s.

The "surp-cloth," "surpless," or "surplice" was renewed at various
prices. After the marvellously cheap one of 1661 (5s.; surely the
product of the valley, in flax-growing, spinning, and weaving),
others were got in 1697 for £1 12s., in 1730 for £1 11s. 4d., in 1734
for £2 7s. In 1755 a new one is set down at the modest sum of 1s.
5-3/4d., which, if multiplied by three, is barely 4s. 6d.; and in
1775 one (or perhaps the same) was altered for 1s. An amusing item
appears in the receipt columns of the three townships in 1795, when
they sold the old surplice and divided the amount. "By 1/3 of the
Old Surplice 2s. 7-1/2d."

"Communion Linnen" cost in 1823 14s. 6d. In 1820 a surplice cost £2
18s. 4d., and in 1830 £1 17s. 9d.


The one document that exists concerning the fabric of the church and
of its upkeep was written as late as 1661, when the Episcopal Order
of church government was restored.[136] There is every probability,
however, that in substance it merely reinstitutes an old custom. The
document is printed here:--

  [136] Rydal Hall MSS.

     A true Cattollogue made the twenty-first day of Apprill in
     the 13th yeare of the Kings Ma'tyes reigne in the yeare of
     our lord god 1661 by the eighteene men Appointed for the good
     of the parish church of Gresmyre whos names are here under
     written that is to say what particulars both of the church &
     church-yard-wall; and what parte is divided to every Third and
     what parte is not divided; what hereafter shall be expressed &
     to whom they doe belong of right to be mayntayned & uphoulden.
     Imprimus the chancell or quire ought to be maintained by the
     parson or rector that is to say the roofe to the midle of the
     rigging soe ffarr as the quire doth extend and the quire doore &
     ffoure windowes within the Compass of quire: & the pues within
     the quire and all the body of the church both roofe walles &
     Timber doth belong to the whole parish equally amongst them that
     is to say; Gresmyre third: Langdall Third & Loughrigg, Ridall
     & Ambleside third; to be maintained & uphoulden every third
     Alike; by even portions and likewise the roofe of the steple
     & the belle wheeles, things or any nessary thing whatsoever.
     Concerning the steple or within the steple all to be regarded &
     done at generall charges of those three thirds Abovementioned
     without any deniall; & the door both at the topp & below; &
     the 4 windowes Above at the bells and the steple window below;
     and the east window opposight to the higher pillors; & those
     doth belong to all the said 3 thirds equally Amongst Them to
     be mayntained & upholden; Now for the particulars within the
     Church ffor every third, & how ffarr every third ought to brake
     ground; as ffolloweth viz: Gresmyre Third, ffrom the quire
     wae upon the South side of the Church and Their fformes to ye
     steple doore; with the Cross alley coming in at the posterne
     doore; and to the midle of the Alleys of the south side ffrom
     the quire wale; to the midle of the steple, doth belong to
     gresmyre third, & five formes next to Langdall quire wale; & to
     the midle of the alley, & Two short fformes at north side of
     the second piller & halfe of one fforme being between Loughrigg
     quire and Ridell fformes with the fformes upon the weste Sid of
     the Church next to the west doore; doth belong To gresmyre third
     And all the remaindor of the fformes upon the north sid of the
     Church to the midle of the north Alley doth belong to Langdall
     Third; & the midle of the church to the midle of the north
     Alley; & to the midle of the west alley; with the two crosse
     alleyes viz, one at the ffont & the other belowe the quire
     wale; doth belong to Loughrigg Ridall & Ambleside Third; And
     for the windowes belonging to this Loughrigg third here named,
     be in number Three being upon the south sid of the church; one
     window at the backe of the portch; and two windowes betweene
     the portch doore & the pulpitt; and the portch Doore, doth
     belong to Loughrigg, Ridall & Ambleside third, to be up houlden,
     mayntained & kept in repaire of their own proper Costs & charges
     for ever; and likewise their parte of the Church yard Wale,
     viz.: one yeat which doth extend ffrom the South nooke of the
     steple & ffrom thence southward to the east nooke of Gresmyre
     third; when it begines to be seated with in the church yard; of
     their owne costs & charges Now windowes belonging to Langdall
     Third be in number three; one window being in the east end of
     the church oppossigt Againe the east end of the north Alley &
     two windowes nexte Adjoyning to it upon the north side of the
     Church; to be upholden & mayntained & kept in good repaire of
     Langdall thirds owne proper costs charges and their parte of
     the church yard, walle from the north nooke of Gresmyre third;
     being seated within the church yard, to the south nooke of the
     steple, & likewise one yeate with A feeld opposight Against
     Robert Harrison Doore; to be keept in good repaire of their owne
     proper charges & costs of Langdall third without any deniall
     According to the true intent & meaning of these presents;
     Gresmyre windowes be in noumber three; upon the north side of
     the Church the lowest Towards the steple & the west doore doth
     belong to Gresmyre third; & these to be mayntained & keept in
     good repaire of gresmyre third own proper Costs & Charges And
     the church-yard soe ffarr as it is seated within the church-yard
     with A pair of yeates & the roofe over the said yeattes of their
     owne proper costs & charges & note all repaireing the pulpitt
     church chest or any Bookes that doth concerning the church in
     any respects to be done At A generall Charge of the wholl parish
     be equall portions without any deniall & likewise the haske &
     joules at A general Charge of the parish and likewise A fonte
     At A generall charge to be maintained In Testamony thereof we
     the said eightenne have sette our honds the day & yeare ffirst

     [The names of the Eighteen follow, under three headings of
     Gresmyre, Loughrigg, and Langdall. They are often crossed through
     and written again. On the other side of the MS. is given the
     following list.]

The names of the Eighteen of the parish of Grasmere as they now
stand, April the 24th, 1688.

      Grasmere                  Langdale              Loughrigg and
                                                      beneath Moss

  Reignald Thompson      George Cooperthwaite       John Banks
  John Haukrigg          Christopher Dawson         Reignald Brathwaite
  John Hird              James Dixon                Hendry Barrow
  John Haukrigg          John Middlefell            Thomas Benson
  Robert Harrisin        William Satterthwaite      Thomas Newton
  Edwin Green            Leonard Benson             Thomas Mackereth

Something has already been said of the constitution of the parish,
and of the lay control which existed over its finances--the three
townships within the parish being represented by a body of eighteen
(six for each) as well as by two churchwardens; and this document,
while it strengthens the suggestion that the great addition to the
church had been carried out by the united parish, and at the expense
of the three townships--shows us exactly how each township arranged
to fulfil its obligation to maintain the building in proper repair.

It was an intricate matter. Each township by a common agreement made
itself responsible for the maintenance of a particular portion of
the church, not only of the fittings, but of the walls and windows
of the fabric, as well as of the garth outside, with the garth wall
down to its own particular gate of entrance.[137] There were besides
general charges, along with the expenses of the Sunday worship,
in which all took an equal share. Such an undertaking--both joint
and individual--may seem to a merely modern mind a complicated
business, especially as the church consisted structurally of two
parts, which had to be divided for purposes of finance into three.
But such problems were as nothing to men whose farmholds belonged to
a township (indivisible in itself) that was broken up into several
lordships, and whose land--though permanent in quantity--was every
year freshly apportioned within the common fields of his _vill_. The
subsequent accounts of the churchwardens, of which a few have already
been given, prove that the obligations incurred by this document were
rigidly fulfilled.

  [137] The churchyard wall at Milburn, Westmorland, is still
  divided for purposes of repair amongst certain inhabitants and
  property-owners, who speak of their share as _dolts_ (Old Norse
  _deild_, a share, from _deila_, to divide). _Transactions_,
  Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian Society, vol. 9, p. 297.

The division of the fabric amongst the townships was made on the
following lines. The care of the chancel, with its four windows and
door, fell, of course, to the recipient of the tithes--who at this
time was the rector. The township of Grasmere undertook to repair
the south wall of the church from the chancel door to the tower, and
half the aisle. The benches between this wall and aisle were all
apportioned to the folk of the township, as well as a few odd ones
in other parts of the church. The windows for which Grasmere was
responsible were not, as would naturally be supposed, those of the
south wall, but three in the north wall nearest to the east.

Langdale's share was wholly on the north side. Between the north
wall, which it was bound to repair, and the aisle, stood the forms
on which the folk of that valley were seated. The windows specially
apportioned to its care were the one in the east wall of the
northern half of the church (whose precincts were called the Langdale
choir) with the two in the north wall next to it.

Rydal and Loughrigg (in which township Ambleside above Stock was
joined for church matters) was responsible for the three windows in
Grasmere's south wall and for the porch. The forms for this portion
of the parish were apparently set in the middle of the church, on
either side the central arched wall.

The churchyard wall also was divided among the townships: Grasmere
taking the north-eastern portion, with the lych gates; Langdale the
stretch onward to the tower, with its own gate (now closed), which
was opposite Church Stile, or Kirk Steel, then an inn; and Rydal and
Loughrigg the stretch beyond to the south, past the present gate,
which was reserved at that time for the folk of the township.

Each township had clearly its own quarter of the churchyard as well
of the church, wherein to bury its dead. Within, the portions were
marked by the position of each township's seats, and without, by the
gates. The field apportioned to Langdale, by Harrison's inn, was no
doubt used for the tethering of horses from that distant valley.

The three townships jointly attended to the upkeep of the tower, the
bells, the roof of the church, the pulpit, and church furniture.

When the regulations for church repairs were thus solemnly written
out, there was urgent need for them. Neglect and ill-usage had
reduced the fabric to a forlorn state, and the accounts of the
wardens (who, however, went cautiously to work on renovation) show
what was immediately required for setting the place in decent order
and reinstituting the services and sacraments of the established
church. From the sum paid to the "glasser"--6s., for glazing only
Grasmere's share of the windows--it would seem that the winds of
heaven had blown freely through the building. The font, which was
always displaced by the Puritans, and often maltreated, required
mending in the stone part as well as the lead; and a new cover was
procured. A table-cloth--presumably of linen--was bought for 1s.
4d., a bottle (for the wine?) for 3s., a surplice for 1s. 8d., and a
pulpit cushion for 2s. 2d.

The binding of the Bible next year cost 1s. It had undoubtedly had
hard wear during the diverse ministrations of the Interregnum. It may
have been the very book bandied about on that Sunday of 1655 when
John Banks and his attendant minister were defied by the clerk, and
John, upon that official's persistence in reading aloud a chapter
from its pages, forcibly closed it, and handed it to Mr. Turner. Also
a Book of Common Prayer was got for 1s. 6d., a sum so small as to
raise a doubt of its newness. The large sum of £1 1s. was expended
on "makeing up ye raills in ye quire," which shows that this guard
to the space about the communion table (often maliciously broken by
zealots) was in a bad state. The rails were entirely renewed, and a
fresh table made in 1755; and it is interesting to note that they
were constructed on the spot by joiners brought from a distance,
no doubt Kendal. The wood was procured in Rydal, at a cost of £4
12s., with carriage 2s. 6d. Other expenses, in iron-work, turning
"bannisters," glue, &c., with the boarding of the men, came to £2 1s.
0-1/2d. No doubt the existing rails are those then made, with the
little table now used as a credence table.

[Illustration: Old Altar now used as a Credence Table]

An object within the chancel is older than these. It is a box
carved with the date 1648 and the words "S. Oswaldus Poor Box." It
is strange that this object should be acquired at a time when the
country was at strife and the church disestablished--unless, indeed,
it was the gift of a rich parishioner like Mr. Thomas Braithwaite
of Ambleside Hall, who was elder of the parish during the rule of the

  [138] The family employed carvers about this time for their
  houses and elaborate mantelpieces.

The placing of the King's Arms within the church was obligatory.[139]
This was a costly business, for two men, who brought the painted
panel, had to be boarded in the village. Some of the money went,
however, in drink, and the occasion was evidently made an excuse for
village jollity.

  [139] This was removed from Baisbrowne, and is now at Water Park,

Gradually other articles customary in a properly-appointed church
were acquired. A table-cloth--this time probably of cloth--was bought
in 1665 at a cost of 16s. 7d., and "A cloth to Cover ye Ellements" at
2s. followed in 1672. The Communion vessels in use up to this time
must have been of the rudest description, for those that replaced
them in 1670 were of simple pewter, except the "dubler"--doubtless a
plate for the collection of alms.

                                                        li   s   d

  Itt for A pewder dubler & pewder cup & a london
  plater                                                00   4   6

  Itt. for a wood dubler                                00   00  3

The accounts show no further expenditure on this score, except for
the repair of a "Flagon" (3d.) in 1708, and for "Sodering ye Tankers"
in 1726. The existing plate was supplied by private piety, as its
inscriptions tell. The two silver cups bear the date 1714, and they
are of the same pattern; but one carries the cross with sacred
monogram and the legend "The Parish Church Plate of Grasmere Renewed
Ao. Doi. 1714" (having been probably bought from the proceeds of
the sale of the older plate or by collected offerings), while the
other with a coat of arms inside its border, bears the inscription:
"The gift of Mrs. Dorothy Benson of Coat How to the Parish Church
of Grasmere Ao. Doi. 1714." This lady, wife of Thomas Benson,
freeholder, of the homestead by the Rothay, gave also a beautiful
old silver alms dish, said to be a piece of Dublin plate.[140] The
date on this is 1729. She gave a silver paten also, on which only the
maker's date (1731-2) is engraved. It is singular that each of the
three pieces displays a different coat-of-arms.[141]

  [140] Old church plate of the Diocese of Carlisle.

  [141] See Fullers and Freeholders.

Mrs. Benson's munificence was clearly felt by the parish, for the
item in the accounts of 1729 "For Wine given as a Present to Mrs.
Benson," 8s., must have been intended as an acknowledgment.

Another offering of plate was made much later (1852) by Mrs. Letitia
Lough, a friend of the Wordworths, who resided for some time at Fox
Ghyll, and later removed to Grasmere.

In connection with the Communion vessels of the Restoration period,
it must be borne in mind that there was far less use for them then
than now. The sacrament was at that time administered only four times
in the year. This fact is not only shown by the accounts of the Rydal
Hall agent and of the churchwardens, but it is expressly declared by
one of the answers made by the wardens at the Presentment of 1723.
They add that they provide fine white bread and good wine for the
sacrament "att ye charges of ye Inhabitants"; and four years later
they append to this statement "Easter excepted, which is at the
Charge of the Parson."

Thus on three occasions--Christmas, Whitsuntide, and Michaelmas--the
churchwardens and the Eighteen were bound to provide bread and
wine;[142] while the expenses of the Easter celebration were borne
by the rector, who received the Easter dues. When the tithes were
leased to laymen, this layman took over the charge. And as Squire
John Fleming held the tithes, items for this expenditure are found in
Tyson's and Harrison's account-books.

  [142] Is it possible that this custom may be referred to the
  ancient one of the Anglo-Saxon race which thrice in the year
  enforced the attendance of the markmen, unbidden, at a great
  religious rite, for which the sacrifices were provided at the
  cost of the whole district? See Kemble's _Saxons in England_.

In 1632 6-1/2 gallons of wine were procured "against Easter" for
Grasmere church, at a cost of 13s.; and the Easter bread (fine
wheaten bread as has been said, much relished by people whose staple
food was oatmeal), with the charge for procuring it, amounted to 10d.
In 1643 8 gallons were got in for the same purpose, costing £1 1s.
8d.; and next year 9 gallons, at £1 4s.--that is to say, some 4-1/2
dozen bottles of our present size were drunk on this occasion. The
wine cost 4d. to 5-1/2d. a bottle.

The amount of wine drunk by the parishioners seems large, even
when we remember that the whole of the adult population in the
three townships were bound to attend, and did attend these solemn
functions. Of this there is proof, for every non-communicant was
taxed, as existing Subsidy Rolls show. It is probable that when
receiving the wine, the parishioner took a hearty drink from the cup,
and not a sip as at present.[143]

  [143] About 1634 George Methwen, curate of Bamburgh, was summoned
  before the Court of High Commission for drunkenness and other
  misdemeanors, in the evidence this appears: "At Easter gone
  twelve monethes at Easter last, examinate (the witness) did
  receive the Holie Communion, and Methwen, when he did distribute
  the wine, did holde the same in his owne hand and would not
  deliver it into examinate's handes for to drinke, as he thinketh
  he ought to have done; for examinate in regard to his holdinge
  on it in that manner, could scarcelie taste of the wine. Methwen
  did serve some others at that time in the like manner, whoe tooke
  offence thereat."--_History of Northumberland._

  It is possible, of course, that not all the wine was drunk,
  but passed to an official as a perquisite. See Cox's _Parish
  Registers of England_, p. 227.

The churchwardens' accounts for bread and wine at the three
communions are accurately recorded after the Restoration, as well as
their expenses for the journey required to procure them--the ride to
Kendal being charged as 8d., or if only to Ambleside 4d. Unluckily,
however, only the sum expended is given, and not the amount of wine.
In 1666 the three sacraments cost the parish 9s. 9d., 9s. 3d., and
9d. 3d. respectively; in 1668, 6s. 11d., 8s. 3d., and 8s. 3d.; in
1669, 10s. 3d., 10s. 3d., and 7s. 9d. From 1681 the accounts kept
separately for Grasmere and for Loughrigg with Rydal each show an
expenditure for bread and wine; but the Langdale division, which had
now acquired the privilege of a Communion in its own chapel once a
year, was apparently let off. The expenses for that year were set
down as £1 13s. 3d.; Grasmere paying £1 0s. 1d. and Loughrigg and
Rydal 13s. 2d.; the division being based probably upon the number
of communicants in each township. In 1691 the total expenditure
was £2 6s. 6d., and it remained at much this figure till 1729. The
charge from that time became a fixed one, Grasmere paying 7s. 2d.,
6s. 6d., and 7s. 2d. for the Christmas, Whitsuntide, and Michaelmas
celebrations (which included two journeys); and Loughrigg and Rydal,
4s. 4d., 5s., and 4s. 4d. (one journey), and it remained at these
figures till 1821, when there was a change of rectors. From this
date the charge was exceedingly irregular, figuring occasionally as
high as £2 7s. 10d., while sometimes it does not appear at all, the
bread only being accounted for. Then it dropped greatly. From 1833
Loughrigg and Rydal ceased to pay--in consideration, no doubt, of the
celebrations held in the new chapel in Rydal; and Grasmere figured at
a sum under £1, or not at all! By a new arrangement in 1842 Loughrigg
and Rydal recommenced its contribution, though on a new basis of
irregular payments; and this continued until the break-up of the old
order in 1857, when it joined for the last time at the sacramental
bread and wine provided at the old parish church, paying 4s. 9d.,
while Grasmere paid 14s. 3d.

It may be of interest to note that with the new order and the new
rector (who kept a book in which he entered particulars of the
communicants) the bread and wine for Grasmere alone cost £2 5s. 9d.
When, in 1860, it rose to £4 10s., the sum included 8s. paid by the
rector to the wardens in place of his Easter provision. This ancient
rectorial charge is mentioned for the last time in 1865. It was
probably coincident also with the appointment of the Rev. Fletcher
Fleming, that the old order of sacraments four times in the year was
changed to a monthly celebration.

The following extracts from the accounts, besides others interspersed
in the text, show that the townships carried out their separate
obligations until the Vestry revolution of 1856-7, a period of almost
200 years. They apparently gave out their share of the work to their
own townsmen. John Birkett, who received 1s. for a "yeat stoop," in
1755, for the Loughrigg and Beneath Moss Gate, was a Rydal man. The
ale charged 1s. 8d. in the public auction, when that township let the
contract for the repair of its benches in 1783, was doubtless drunk
at the Fleming's Inn in Rydal, where such scenes were frequent.

     1667 to John Hawkrigg for mending gresmyr-yeat 1s 4d

     1668 for glassing one window for gresmyr 3s 6d

     1669 It. to Milles Mackereth for a Gammer & Crake & loupp to
     gresmyre Church yeats 1s 9d.

     1670 for mending sliper of our Church yeats 1d

     1678 For langdall yeat & laughrigg yeat for Irron-worke 6d; also
     "for mending Churchyard wale for laughrigg third" 1s 6d.

     1680 Loughrigg and beneath Moss repaire "our window" 1s 0d

     1683 Grasmere repairs windows, 8d., "yeats" 1s. 0d., and Lou. &
     b. M. the "Church wals" 10.

     1730 Lou. and b. M. makes a new gate 16s 6d.

     1751 Langdale makes a new gate 10s 7d

     1755 Lou. and b. M. makes new gate 8s 0d. and mends wall 4s 4d

     1759 Grasmere and Langdale repair their walls

     1761 Grasmere mends gates 1s 10d.; while mending of the church
     porch, 4s 6d is entered in general charges

     1768 Grasmere "glasses" windows 9s 6d

     1769 All three gates are repaired, and Grasmere mends her windows

     1773 Loughrigg and beneath Moss makes new gates and stulps 11s
     11d, also repairs wall 10s 0d, Langdale does the latter 7s 6d

     1775 Grasmere sells old gates for 4s 0d

     1776 Lou. and b. M. works on wall £3 5s 0d

     1777 Grasmere collects material for wall 19s 4d. Langdale makes
     new gate 9s 0d

     1780 Grasmere raises wall from the school-house to where it
     meets "Rydal third" £1 17s 3d. All the townships repair their

     1782 Lou. and b. M. again repairs wall, evidently with
     thoroughness, giving 1s 0d in ale to the men who work the
     foundation in water (of the river). The leading of stones for 5
     days with 2 horses cost £1 0s 0d. Total £2 3s 6d

     1790 Langdale pays "for new stoops for Langdale gate & hanging"
     4s 3d while all three townships mend windows--Grasmere for its
     "third" 6s 10d, Langdale 10-1/2d, and Lou. and b. M. is 6-1/2d

     1799 Lou. and b. M. pays "To mending Rydale Gates" 1s 0d

     1806 Lou. and b. M. pays £1 5s 6d for a new gate, to Edward
     Wilson of Grasmere

     1811 Lou. and b. M. repairs "Church Garth Wall" £1 11s 9d; and
     gate 2s 6d, to John Watson, smith, of Grasmere

     1819 Lou. and b. M. repairs wall, 15s 0d; and windows 15s 3d

     1822 Lou. and b. M. mends and paints church gates 6s 4d

     1832 Lou. and b. M. glazes windows 1s 9d

     1835 Lou. and b. M. pays for new gate £1 0s 0d

     1840 Lou. and b. M. repairs windows 5s 1-1/2d

     1842 Langdale pays 9s 0d to Edward Wilson for new gate

     1852 Lou. and b. M. repairs wall 7s 10d; and mends and paints
     gate 4s 3d

     1856 The three townships repair separately for the last time:
     Grasmere painting gate and windows at 7s 6d; "Rydall and
     Loughrigg" (now styled) painting her gate at 2s 0d and Langdale
     hers at 1s 6d

       *       *       *       *       *

[The churchwardens' accounts are in 3 volumes:

     The 2nd volume of these is missing, but there is a copy. This
       copy begins in 1732, overlapping by three years the first
       volume, which ends in 1735; but the copy of the 2nd volume only
       goes as far as 1782, and the 3rd volume begins in 1790, leaving
       a gap of eight years.]--ED.


The townships joined at many general repairs, as well as at the
cleaning of the church, and the expenses of maintaining worship
within it. It is interesting to note how extremely small these
expenses were. The cleaning, or "dressing," as it was called, of the
church, the greasing of the bells, the washing of the linen, the
writing of the register, the whipping of dogs out of church, and the
"drawing" of the accounts, all appear to have been paid for at the
Restoration at the rate of 1s. each per annum. This moderate fee was
presently raised to 1s. 6d., 2s. 6d., 3s., or 3s. 6d., but never rose
higher for over a hundred years. The "surpcloth and table-cloth" were
washed twice in the year 1662 for 1s., but from 1664 onward three
times were allowed for 3s., and by 1702 the laundress had secured
an additional 6d. for mending. The cleaning of the windows "and
sentences" (which were presumably touched up with paint) became a
regular charge at 1s., and the burnishing of the church plate was 6d.

But there were other expenses, belonging to the general charge,
which, being irregular but frequently recurrent, were troublesome to
the wardens and Eighteen, whose business it was to lay such a rate
annually on the inhabitants of the parish as should cover the outlay.
Such was the repair of the church roof, which was often needed; even
the moss (which it was the custom to stuff within the rigging to
arrest and absorb the wet which ran down from the ill-fitting slates)
required frequent replenishing. Accordingly, after sundry payments
made for "mossing church" or "mending slates," the Eighteen entered
into a contract, in 1686, with two Grasmere wallers for the upkeep
of the whole of the church roof, except the choir, for nine years,
for the sum of 7s. 6d. a year. In 1704 one William Grigg obtained
the contract for three years at the same rate, and undertook to keep
the roof in a sound state "as to Slatt and Moss (excepting upon
extraordinary Storms whereby the roof shall suffer much Damage which
shall be referred to the Eighteen the Easter following)." Grigg,
however, made no bad-weather demands, and it was only in 1714, a
year after the contract had been transferred to Edward Hird, that "a
violent storme" caused the spending of 18s. beyond the stipulated 7s.
6d. The parson and Eighteen then (1715) transferred the contract to
Stephen Haukrigge. The sum was perhaps too small, for in 1718 John
Warriner secured 8s. 6d. on the contract. "An extraordinary Storme"
in 1719 cost only an extra 3s. The contract, which afterwards rose
to 11s. 6d., had ceased by 1732, and odd sums for repair occur from
time to time, such as 13s. in 1733 and the same in 1734, with 3s.
3d. for slates and carriage. But little was apparently done, and by
1809 the roof seems to have been in a bad condition, for the ominous
item occurs "To cleaning Snow out of Church 2s. 0d." It was radically
repaired in 1814, when £37 1s. 11d. was spent on the slates, £11 on
timber, which was paid to Lady Fleming, the wood being doubtless
felled in Bainriggs, and the extraordinary sum of £1 13s. 6d. on ale
to the workmen and "letting" the contract.


Grasmere's pleasant chime of three bells is undoubtedly an old one.
The metal of the existing bells that sends its resonance through
the vale may be that of the first bells, though robbed of antique
inscription or mark by recasting. It is quite possible that at the
Restoration there still hung in the tower the Pre-Reformation triad,
stamped with an invocation to some saint in Longobardic characters or
with a quaint inscription in Black Letter; for the Rev. H. Whitehead
discovered in Cumberland many an ancient bell that had escaped
confiscation and the melting-pot in the dark days of Henry VIII.'s
ruthless robberies and his successor's drastic commission.[144]

  [144] 7 Ed. VI., 1553. See _Transactions_, Cumberland and
  Westmorland Antiquarian Society, vols. 6 and 14.

They were then, however, in a bad state, and the churchwardens
immediately proceeded to have them set in order, as the accounts show.

It is clear from the items that one of the wardens, Michael Knott,
rode to Cockermouth in search of a bell-founder, and that one was
procured whose name was John Langsha; also that he came over to
Grasmere and did the work there.

Now Mr. Whitehead considered that there was no bell-foundry in
Cockermouth at this date. When its three bells were recast in
1673-4 the expenses of the bell-founders' journey were paid, and
they apparently dug a pit in the churchyard and cast the great bell
there.[145] Such a method was resorted to when the remoteness of the
church or the badness of the roads made the carriage of the bells a

  [145] _Church Bells of Cockermouth. Translations_, vol. 14, p.

  [146] _Bells of England_, J. J. Raven, p. 190.

Who, then, was John Langsha? Until more evidence is forthcoming we
must suppose him to have been an itinerant founder. He or the firm
he worked for may have had head-quarters in some town of Cumberland,
and travelled thence to wherever they were called. According to
Mr. Whitehead, there was a bell-foundry of some repute at Penrith
in the seventeenth century. The account books do not show how this
renovation of the Grasmere bells was paid for. The wardens paid
John his "earnest," and a small item that remained after he left;
otherwise the only sum of consequence that appears is 9s. for two new

Only casual expenses in connection with the bells are given after
this for some time. For instance, in 1669 the item occurs, "in drinke
when we did turne midlmost bell," 2s. 6d. But the presentment of 1707
certainly discloses the serious condition of one bell, which was
then cracked; and the reliance of the wardens on the "discretion" of
their rector was misplaced, as nothing was done. There would seem to
have been no good founder at this time in the adjacent counties; for
when the bells of Brigham were renewed in 1711, under the incumbency
of Roger Fleming (another son of Sir Daniel), a Gloucester firm of
founders was actually called to the rescue. The bells, however, went
no further than Kendal, where there was, adjacent to the church,
a bell-house which could be hired, and there the Gloucester man
superintended the casting of them.[147]

  [147] "Church Bells of Brigham," _Transactions_, Cumberland
  and Westmorland Antiquarian Society, vol. 14, p. 283. It seems
  strange that there was no reliable bell-founder in Kendal, where,
  in the seventeenth century, there was a goodly number of workers
  in metal. (See _Boke off Recorde_.) Of these the Washingtons were
  apparently the most accredited workmen. A Richard of the name
  "besydes Kendal" at the Dissolution, bought the house of the
  Friars in Penrith, with its bell. (_Transactions_, Cumberland and
  Westmorland Antiquarian Society, vol. 6, p. 435.) The Richard
  of the next century was busy with arms during the Civil Wars,
  and worked for Rydal Hall. Mr. R. Godfrey ("Westmorland Bells,"
  _Transactions_, Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian Society,
  vol. 6, p. 84) considers that the Crosthwaite bell, dated 1695,
  was cast by Christopher Hodson in Kendal. In the preceding
  century one of this name (spelt Hodgson) appears among the
  freemen of the city, while a John and a Robert stand in the later
  list of freemen armourers and hardwaremen, though the mark for
  "foreigner" stands after their names.

At Grasmere, procrastination prevailed. The wardens, in 1723,
admitted "The Bells are not firme & in good order, but they are
agreed to make them good as soon as possible." In 1727 they again
admitted the bells to be out of order, but the ropes (it was
declared) were "good & firm." In 1729 the bells still waited to
be repaired "upon a convenient opportunity." In 1731 the great
plunge into expense was at last taken. "One of our bells is in
good order, The Other two are recasting at York & the ropes are
making, & everything hastning forwards to have them in good order."
Accordingly, the accounts for 1732 show the enormous outlay incurred
of £40 3s. 9-1/2d., and next year of £49 3s. "Towards Casting the
Bells and other Charges;" besides £3 14s. 5d. for "Charges for a
Ringing loft."

It is of interest to note that the Grasmere folk, in their bell
troubles, returned to their old ecclesiastical centre at York, whence
their first bells would come, and where there were good founders.
The inscriptions on the two largest bells, in an ornamental border
running round the crown, are as follows:--


              ED HIRD JOH WILSON GEO

  CHURCH     E Seller
  WARDENS     Ebor

                           in. dia.
  SOLI DEO GLORIA 1731     E Seller

Each bell carries besides on the waist below the founder's name,
the arms and crest of the Flemings of Rydal. Arms: _Gules, a fret,
argent_. Crest: _A serpent nowed, holding a garland of olives and
vines in his mouth, all proper_. Motto: PAX, COPIA, SAPIENTIA, on a
shield 5-1/4 by 3-3/4 inches.

[Illustration: Arms of the Lo. Fleming Family on the Great &
Middle Bells.]

Information about our bell-founder may be found in Mr.

J. E. Poppleton's _Bells in the West Riding of Yorkshire_.[148] At
the Restoration, and for nearly a century afterwards, a firm of
Sellers worked at a foundry in Jubbergate, York. William, the first
known of the family, founded a bell which yet hangs in Eskdale
Church, Cumberland. Edward, who followed, died in 1724, and was
succeeded by his son, the founder of the Grasmere bells. The second
Edward used the same signatory mark as his father, and it was the
custom of both to give, after the Latin inscription--and provided
there was no donor--the names of the rector and churchwardens who
were in office at the time of the founding. The Fleming coat-of-arms
undoubtedly stands for Dr. George Fleming, then rector.

  [148] _Yorkshire Arch. Journal_, vols. 16, 17, and 18.

A catastrophe is disclosed by the presentment of 1798, when the
"least bell" was "burst and unringable." It remained in this
condition for eleven years, when a private individual came to the
rescue. Its inscription runs:--

     COPIA PAX SAPIENTIA Re-cast at the expence of Mrs. Dorothy Knott
     1809 T MEARS & Son of London

Dorothy Knott was probably daughter of John Knott, of the Howe in
Applethwaite, born 1728, and of the family who removed from Grasmere
to Rydal.[149] From her benefaction to the school, we learn that
she lived in Ambleside, where spinster ladies of means were wont to

  [149] For the Knott family, see "A Westmorland Township,"
  _Westmorland Gazette_, May 7th, 1810.

The firm of Mears, who cast the bell, worked at the noted old foundry
in Whitechapel.[150] If this bell went to London, its journey was
a long one. But the turnpike roads were now made, which must have
facilitated carriage, and the bell would arrive by what is now the
Wishing Gate road. An old man living in Grasmere in 1886 used to
tell of his grandmother, who remembered the church bells having been
brought by sledge over the top of White Moss, then the only road into
the valley.[151] These must have been Seller's bells, for it is just
possible for three generations to bridge the 155 years; and this
traditional touch helps us to realize the remoteness of the valley in
those days, which no wheeled traffic could reach.

  [150] Raven's _Bells of England_, pp. 212-16.

  [151] W. Wilson's "Former Social Life in Cumberland and
  Westmorland," _Transactions_, Cumberland and Westmorland
  Antiquarian Society, 1886.

When odd work was done in the belfry in 1775, a letter from the
bell-founder cost 5d. for porterage.

Casual repairs continued to be done in the place.

John Watson, the smith of Winterseeds, tinkered the bells in 1807;
and three years after, when the little bell had arrived from London,
the two others were also down, for he was paid £3 14s. 8d. for
repairing them, and John Hartley received the considerable sum of
£11 14s. 6d. for hanging them. In 1764 bell-wheels and clappers were
repaired. The head-stocking of the great bell and two bell-clappers,
in 1767, cost £3 7s. 9d. Again, in 1773, 1774, and 1775, head-stocks,
clappers, and repairs to ringing-loft cost about £1. The ropes in
1769 cost 7s. 4-1/2d.

[Illustration: Great Bell Hammer]

It is clear that Sabbath bell-ringing was for long one of those
boon services which the Grasmere parishioner gave willingly to his
church. Ringing on Gunpowder Plot day, and some occasions of national
rejoicing and sorrow were paid for; but until 1692 nothing is put
down in the accounts for ringing, only a small item for grease
for the bells. In that year, however, the Eighteen entered into a
contract with the clerk, who was to procure men to ring on Sundays
and Holy Days, and to furnish the necessary grease, at the rate of
10s. a year. Next year, on its renewal with Thomas Knott, the sum
was dropped to 8s. 6d. "and what more as the Eighteen shall think
fit." However, the new clerk, Robert Harrison, in 1695 secured 10s.,
and at this figure it remained for some fifty years. After a gap of
eight years in the accounts, the item reappears in 1751 at £1, and
from that time onwards it fluctuates between the sums of 10s., 13s.
4d., £1, even once in 1759 touching £1 10s., as the Eighteen were
parsimoniously or liberally inclined. Finally, after a halt at 15s.,
it rose in 1794 to £1 1s., and from that slowly mounted until by 1814
it had reached £2 15s. 6d., at which it remained for eleven years.
From 1826 it rose again, and between 1831 and 1858 it stood at £3 6s.
£1 was then added.

The tower was an irregular source of expense, as the following items

  1665  the makeing of ye steple door 3s 6d

  1694  For mending the Garret: Flags 6d

  1697  Lime for church and steeple £1 17s 1d; this item includes
        "charge for Bargaining." "For sand" 3s 0d. "For
        Rough-Casting the steeple" £4 0s 0d

  1717  For repairing the Steeple loft and two Doors
        02: 14: 00

  1718  Edwin Green, one of the Eighteen, is paid 4s 0d "for
        attending when the steeple was repaired."

  1734  For a lock to ye Steeple door 8d

Work was done on the steeple and steeple window in 1757; and in 1767
a load of "slape" cost 1s. and lime 2s. 6d. The work of white-washing
recurred frequently. Church and steeple were entirely rough-cast
in 1773, at the considerable cost of £13,[152] the east window
(presumably of the north aisle) being at the same time repaired. The
interior was done in 1780 for £1 5s. 6d., and the exterior both of
church and steeple in 1791--which with the pointing of the windows
came to £3 15s. The townships repaired their individual windows next
year, this being repeated more radically in 1801.

  [152] The tower and all the body of the church was rough-cast in
  1910 at a cost of £200 5s. 1d.--ED.

The years 1803 and 1804 show that drastic work was done. One item
stands "To expenses of Letting white-washing the Church 8s. 0d."--a
sum spent mainly of course in copious draughts of ale. Another is
"To writing Contracts of Letting 1s. 6d." The amount actually paid
for "mending Roof of Church, and Whitewashing Church in and Out, and
Pinning up all Broken places in the Ruff Cast & Plaster," was £8
12s.--certainly a modest one. Church and tower were whitewashed in
1815 for £5 18s., and Edward Wilson, carpenter, received 18s. for a
"Craddle to White Wash Steeple." The process was repeated in 1832 at
a cost of £2 17s. 7-1/2d., and again in 1842, when Levi Hodgson was
paid £4 15s. 9d. for the work.

The scraping, smoothing, and daubing to which the church was
constantly subjected, may account for the mutilated state of such
bits of freestone (shallow mouldings, &c.) as are yet visible. In
what year Addison's decorations were effaced by a coat of whitewash
is not known. It is supposed that the black boards, painted with
texts, which yet hang in the church, replaced them, as being more
convenient for the whitewashers. If so, the once admired art of the
painter was allowed little more than fifty years in which to delight
and instruct the people; for one board gives, with the names of the
churchwardens, the date 1741. It is singular that in that year the
accounts show no unwonted expense.

An item that occurred from time to time for "mending sentences" was
changed in 1763 to an annual charge of 1s. for "cleaning church
windows and sentences."

Many little odd expenses there were: such as the "hack" or pick,
which, from its constant work on the graves, often wanted "laying,"
or a new shaft, at 3d. A fresh one and a "Cald-rake" were bought in
1715 for 1s. 6d.; while in 1802 "laying Mattock" cost 1s. 9d., and
"New Coolrake" 1s. 6d. In 1824 a new spade cost 3s. 9d. Occasionally
the church chest wanted "gimmers" or hinges, or new locks, a pair of
which cost, in 1752, 1s. 4d. An "iron chest" was bought in 1816 for
£7 17s. 6d. The ladder was mended often, and a new one in 1734 cost
9s. The "Corps Cloth," procured before 1798, when it was mended at
4d., required "Dying and Pressing" in 1803 at 3s. 3d.; and it was
renewed in 1823 for £2 15s. A new bier cost, in 1812, 11s. 6d. In
1821 a small hearse was built by Edward Wilson, which could travel
on the improved, but still narrow roads of the parish. Its use was
paid for; but in some years it was not had out at all, so--as its
initial cost was £14 9s., and the clerk was paid presently 5s. a year
for attending it, and a "Hearse House" was soon found necessary (£11
15s.)--it was not a paying affair.

Edward repaired the "Corpes Stool" for 2s. in 1847.

"A booke of Canons" was bought in 1665 at 3s. 3d.; a register book in
1685 at 11s., and again in 1784 at 8s.; a book of articles in 1691 at
1s.; and in 1692 "a Paper Booke for Registring ye poor" at 2s. 9d.,
as well as an Act of Parliament "for Setling ye Poor" at 3d.

But besides regular and casual expenses ever increasing, there were
special acquisitions too costly to be dealt with in the ordinary
yearly accounts. Such was the church plate, and the bells (as we have
seen), and, presumably, the clock, which at an unknown date replaced
the dial. The present clock was, according to the terrier, presented
in 1817, and was supplied by a Mr. Bellman, of Broughton-in-Furness.
The bill of 7s. 6d., paid to "Late Mr. Bellman for dressing church
clock," was not entered until 1820, though the previous year the
regular charge started "To John Watson for attending clock & keeping
water from it," which was £1 3s. 6d. for that year and afterwards 2s.
6d. less. The old clock existed till recently.

[Illustration: _Work on Inner Door._]

The church porch, like the tower, was repaired at the general charge.
This, in 1761, cost only 4s. 6d. The outer doors of the porch were
renewed in 1821. Edward Wilson contracted for the wood-work for £5,
while John Watson executed the iron-work for £3 5s. 8d. The priest's
door was renewed also, being doubtless paid for by the rector. These
doors remain, and the initials of the Winterseeds smith, which he
stamped upon his work, may be seen.

[Illustration: _Hinges of the Outer Door of the Porch._]

[Illustration: Door Handle in the Porch.]

At the opening of the nineteenth century the condition of the church
floor and of the antique forms had become a matter for serious
consideration. Nothing effectual, however, could be done in the way
of levelling and paving until the custom of burying within the church
had ceased. Even then there was reluctance and difficulty, for the
soil was full of bones, and so close to the surface did these lie,
that, according to tradition, many were gathered and laid elsewhere,
when the alteration finally was made. This was radically
undertaken in 1840. The floor, which until then was below the level
of the ground outside, was filled in and paved. The old benches
were removed, and pews set up in their place. Foreign timber--deal
painted--was for the first time used instead of native oak, and the
wood-work was given to an Ambleside man. The cost of the renovation,
which included repairs to roof and renewal of windows, amounted to
£300, and this was raised by subscription--Queen Adelaide (who was
visiting the district) contributing £50.

The abolition of the forms could not do other than tend to the
breaking up of old customs. The pews were no doubt apportioned to the
various households, in Grasmere township at least; while the question
of the rightful share possessed by the sister townships in this
altered accommodation was left open, as the events of 1856 show (see
Church Rates). With household pews, men and women sat together. The
western door, hitherto used by the men, and outside which (according
to tradition) all secular notices had been given out, was now made
up. £1 1s. had been paid, as late as 1816, "To John Watson for
Hanging of Men's Door." At the same time the tower-arch was walled
up, and the tower used for a vestry--the old wooden one being cleared
away. The font was brought into the church. The expenses of the old
vestry fire, which had risen to 5s., cease accordingly, and those of
lighting the "stove"--placed presumably in the church itself--begin
at 12s. a year. Comfort was now thought of. Straw matting had indeed
been procured for the communion rail in 1780 (3s. 1d.); it was bought
in 1844 for 11s. 4d.

The era of subscriptions raised the rate of church expenses
enormously, as has been seen in the 1840 renovation. In 1876 the
rough-casting of the church outside was done by subscription, and
contracted for at £30; £70 13s. 0-1/2d. being altogether expended
upon that and new spouts and painting clock, a sum which should be
compared with the cost on previous occasions.

The Rev. E. Jefferies, who was the first rector--certainly after
the days of Dr. Fleming--to take a zealous interest in the fabric,
reconstructed in 1841 the entire east wall at his own expense.[153]
He also presented the two carved chairs that stand within the
sanctuary. He made with his own hands a communion-table[154] and
foot-stools; the latter remain.

  [153] See Middleton's Guide.

  [154] This table is now in use at a Mission room in Ulverston

Another great renovation was carried out in 1879-80 under Mr.
Fletcher. Like the last, its cost was defrayed by offerings (£660),
and much of the work done in 1840 was now undone. The deal pews were
cleared away and the existing oak benches substituted--Grasmere
workmen being employed. The tower arch was again opened out, and the
font replaced. A vestry was partitioned off the north-east angle
of the church, which was formerly known as the Langdale choir. New
pulpit, font-cover, communion-table, and Litany-desk were provided
in 1884, and five years later the lectern was given by Miss Agar, of
Silverhow, in memory of her aunt. The alms-dishes that hang on the
south wall were found a few years ago in the old tithe-barn, which
has been turned into a parish-room.

[Illustration: Old Collecting Plate with Handle.]


From the Restoration there is evidence that the garth outside the
church was cared for. It was surrounded, as we have seen, with stout
rough-cast walls, which were divided among the townships for upkeep.
The space within them was not strictly divided, yet the older graves
show that there was an inclination for each township to lay its dead
adjacent to its own gateway and stretch of wall. The keeping in order
of the grassy space, with its ever-increasing mounds, fell to the
general charge. An item stands in 1673, "For dresing weeds out of ye
Church yard," 1s. 6d.; and a charge becomes frequent for "repairing
church-yard walks, 4s. 6d.," or "cleaning church-yard," 2s. 6d. Three
days at this in 1631 cost 6s. 9d.

Grasmere township paid in 1661 "For our P't of the Dyell" 1s. This
must have proved an unsatisfactory time-teller, as in 1683 4s. was
paid "For a diall & post." A post alone cost, in 1732, 1s. 9d., and
again in 1743 a new dial-post was fixed at 3s. 9d.

Trees were planted from time to time. Young ashes were set in 1684
at a cost of 1s. 6d. The yew tree, though no longer needed for the
bow, was still grown. A fresh one, planted in 1706, at a cost of
1s., perhaps took the place of the old one blown down in the gale of
December 18th, 1687.[155] This, too, which would now have numbered
over 200 years, appears to have gone. The existing trees were planted
in 1819 through the instrumentality of the poet Wordsworth (from a
sum supplied by his friend, Sir George Beaumont), and he continued to
care for them.

  [155] December 18th, 1687: "There hath been three very great
  Windes lately viz. Nov. 10, 87. at night, Dec. 3, 87. at night,
  and yester-night and all this day which was ye worst, & which
  hath blowne down ye great Ewe-tree in Gresmere Church Yard, the
  very tall Firr Tree at Ambleside, & many trees in Rydal Demesne,
  etc. It was accompanied with much snow."--Sir D. F.'s Account

The poet himself lies beneath their shade. Of the countless graves
that stud this ancient burying-place, it is his that draws the
pilgrims from afar; and the yard, encircled by its yews and the great
mountains, has perhaps inspired more and better poetry than any other
plot in England. Hartley Coleridge, Sir John Richardson, Green and
Hull the artists, are buried here, and their graves may be found by
referring to the short Guide issued by Mr. Peterson.

Wordsworth's monument, a medallion by Woolner, is within the
church. The beautiful inscription is a translation of Keble's Latin
dedication of his Oxford Lectures on Poetry to Wordsworth.



     The First day of Apprill in the XIIIJth of the Kings Ma'tyes
     Reigne A treue & A P'fect Acount of ye Disbursment of James
     Benson & Robert Watson Church Wardens For the yeare last past.

                                                 li  s  d

  Anno Domini 1661 as Followeth

  Imprimus for mending & mossing the Church      00 07 04
  Ittem for mending the Font stone               00 02 08
  Ittem for the Font Couer[156]                  00 02 08
  Ittem soldering the lead in the Font stone     00 00 06
  Ittem For a Quission for the pulpitt           00 02 02
  Ittem For A table cloth                        00 01 04
  Ittem For A Raill at the pullpit side          00 00 10
  Ittem For our p't of the Dyell                 00 01 00
  Ittem For mending the great bell Leather       00 00 02
  Ittem For our p'te of A surp cloth we bought   00 01 08
  Ittem For Drissing the Church                  00 00 04
  Ittem For greace to ye bells For our p'te      00 00 04
  Ittem For Lime for ye windowes & Fireing for
         glasser                                 00 00 04
  Ittem payed to ye glasser for mending our p'te of
         windowes                                00 06 00
  Ittem For A new botle to the Church            00 03 00
  Ittem payed For bread and wine                 00 08 04
  Ittem payed to John Jackson for lying 2 graues 00 00 04
  Ittem For writting this yeare                  00 00 04
  Ittem for Two Journeyes to Ambleside           00 00 08
                                                 li  s  d

                              The sume totall    02 09  0

  [156] The old font cover (see engraving) is lost.

Two churchwardens sign by a mark at the bottom. This is clearly an
account for Grasmere township alone.


     A Booke For the whole p'rish Concerning the Church Affaires, For
     the Churchwardens to writte their Accounts, euery yeare & to
     subscribe their names to the same mad The 23th day of Apprill

             Church wardens For this present year.
  Gresmyre    Michaell Knott    Langdell   James Harrison
              Willm Watson                 John Harrison

  Laughrigg Ridell Amblesid'   Thomas Partrigge
                               Thomas Braythwaitt

                                                          li  s  d

  Imprimis for our Journey to Kendal to be sworne         00 06 00
  Ittem for paper                                         00 00 03
  Ittem for dresing of ye Church                          00 01 00
  Ittem for binding ye Church bible                       00 01 00
  Ittem for ye bell Founder John Langsha in earnest       00 05 00
  Ittem for Ringing up on Cronoc'on Day                   00 01 06
  Ittem disbursed for ye Comon prayer book                00 10 06
  Ittem for mending ye midle bell Ropp                    00 01 00
  Ittem to James Harrison for makeing ye sentences
            w'in ye church                                00 01 00
  Ittem to Michaell Knott for a Journey to cockermouth
            for bell founder                              00 02 00
  Ittem left behind unpayed when bell founder was
            at grismyre                                   00 01 06
  Ittem for writting ye P'sentm't for ye whole p'rish     00 01 00
  Itt for writting ye P'sentm't into 3 P'ts               00 01 00
  Itt payed to ye Archbishopp men                         01 09 06
  Itt for Ringing upon gunpowder treason day              00 01 00
  It for our Journey to ye lord Bishopp men               00 08 00
  Ittem for setting up ye Kings armes & Charges in
            Drinke                                        00 16 06
  A slott to ye west doore of gresmyre owne Charges       00 01 09
  for bread & wine in owne Charges                        00 09 08
  for grease to ye belles                                 00 01  0
  washing the surp cloth & table cloth twice in ye
            yeare                                         00 01  0
  for makeing up ye raill in ye quire                     01 01  0
  Ittem for Driueing wedges in ye Frame of ye bells       00 00 03
  Ittem for gammers for ye Raill doore                    00 01  8
  Itt. for setting Church (wardens?) nome in ye
        Church                                            00 00 06
  Itt for lyeing Flagges at Raill                         00 00 03
  Ittem for two new bell-roppes                           00 09 00
  Ittem for writting                                      00 01  0
  Ittem for mending ye midle bell Claper leather          00  0 06
  Itt to John Newton for quorter of 2 men y't com
        to sett up ye Kings Armes in ye Church            00 02  0
            Finis ye 21th of Aprill 1663.
                                The sume tottall          06 16 04

  Churchwardens' Accounts for 1790.

  Grasmere April the 6th being Easter Tuesday
  Churchwardens chosen for the ensuing Year.

  For Grasmere  James Fleming for Knott houses
                John Allison for Thompson's Underhelme
  For Langdales John Benson for Milnbeck
                Edward Tysons for Fieldside
  For Rydal & Loughrigg--Edward Park for late Edward Benson's
    High Close
  For Ambleside--Thomas Lycott.

  General Charge.                                         £ s. d.

  To Ringing on Sundays & Holydays & to Grease &
      greasing the Bells                                    13 4
  To dressing Church and Church Yard                         2 6
  To cleaning Church Windows and Sentences                   1 0
  To washing Church Linen 3s 6d, to cleaning Church
      plate 6d                                               4 0
  To the Rushbearers 2s 6d, to drawing the accounts 3s       5 6
  To writing Marriage Register 1s, to drawing copy of
      Register 2s 6d                                         3 6
  To Dogwhipper 3s to Steeple Window mending 3-1/2d
      Repairing Choir Door                                   4 5-1/2
  To Bell ropes mending 1s, to 4 Bushels of Lime &
      Carriage for Steeple Roof 7s 4d                        8 4
                                                          £2 2 7-1/2

  For Grasmere in particular.                               £ s. d.

  Received by Assessments for Repairs of Church &
      Schoolhouse                                           4  3  4
  Rec.d of the old Churchwardens                            6 11-1/2
                                                           £4 10  3-1/2

  Disbursements.                                            £ s. d.

  To the old Churchwardens going out of their office
      & Journey                                                1  4
  To the new churchwardens entering on their office
      & Journey                                                1  4
  Paid to the Commissary for their part of one Presentment
      and Prayer Books                                         7  7-1/4
  To Bread & Wine & Carriage at Whitsuntide                    7  2
  To Bread & Wine at Michaelmas                                6  6
  To Bread & Wine & Carr: at Christmas                         7  2
  To writing their part of one Presentment                     1  0
  To Charges at laying Church Rate 1s, to repairing
      school windows 1s 3d                                     2  3
  To repairing Church windows in Grasmere Third                6 10
  To Wine at Xtmas 1786 lost by Leakage of the Wood
      bottle & unsettled before                                6 10-3/4
          Their Third part of General Charge                  14  2-1/2
                                                            £3 2  3-1/2
                                                   Remains   1 8  0

  For Loughrigge & beneath Moss.                             £ s. d.

  Received by Assessment for Repairs of the Church           1 13  4-1/2
  Recd. of the old Churchwarden                              1 13  4
  Recd. for one burial in the Church                            3  4
  Recd. of Ambleside Churchwarden                               5  0-1/4
                                                            £3 15  0-3/4


  To the old Churchwarden going out of Office & Journey      8
  To the new Churchwarden entering on his Office &
      Journey                                                8
  Paid to the Commissary for his part of one Presentment
      & prayer Books                                     5   0-3/4
  To writing his part of one Presentment                     6
  To Bread & Wine at Whitsuntide                         4   4
  To Bread & Wine & Carriage at Michaelmas               5   0
  To Bread & Wine at Christmas                           4   4
  To Charges at laying Church Fees 1s, to repairing
      Church Windows 1s 6-1/2d                           2   6-1/2
  To flagging a grave 2d To Wine lost by Leakage of
      w'd bottle at Xmas 1786 4s 7-1/4d                  4   9-1/4
             His Third part of General Charge           14   2-1/2
                                                     2   2   1
                                       Remains       1  12  11-3/4

       *       *       *       *       *

The account for Langdale does not appear.













[Illustration: On the Great Bell, Gloria in Altissimis Deo]


Grasmere settled down then, after the Restoration, to an absentee
rector, the Rev. John Ambrose; and under him was a curate-in-charge,
the Rev. John Brathwaite. One of his name, son of William, "pleb.,"
matriculated from Queen's College, Oxford, in 1631, aged 18, whom Dr.
Magrath thinks may have been he.[157] Under Mr. Thomas Brathwaite's
will, 1674, "Mr. Brawthwaite minister of Grassemire" received a
legacy of 20s., which shows that he enjoyed the esteem of that
Puritanical gentleman. He often appears in the Account Book. For
churching the squire's wife he received regularly 5s.; until there
comes the melancholy item in 1675:--

  [157] See "Flemings in Oxford."

                                                      £  s. d.

  Apr. 17--Given to Mr. Jo. Brathwait for preaching
  of my Dear Wifes Funerall Sermon (upon Prov.
  31, 29) and often visiting her dureing ye time
  of her sickness and praying by her                  02 00 00

Other items are more cheerful; for often the minister's little
daughter would carry offerings of fruit, cherries and wild
blackberries to the Hall, for which she would receive a _douceur_ in
return. Also, as boys apparently then caught woodcocks in springes,
as they did later (see Wordsworth's Prelude), the item occurs in

                                                      £  s.  d.

  Dec. 12--Given Parson Brathwait's Son who brought
      some Wood-cockes                               00  00  06

The daughter seemingly married in 1685, for the Squire's boys were
dispatched on May 24th, with money to give at her offering--a
collection made at the wedding for the benefit of the couple; Will
giving 5s. and Dan 2s. 6d.

It was in 1684 that Parson Ambrose, who for some forty years had
been connected with the rectory of Grasmere, passed to his long
rest. By surviving five brothers--several of whom were bachelors
like himself--he succeeded to the family estate; and the old Furness
homestead had been added to his other residences.[158] The Rydal
squire notes in that Account Book--which became practically a diary:--

  [158] West's _Antiquities of Furness_.

                                                       £   s.  d.

  Aug. 20--My Cosin Ambrose, Lord of Lowick and
      Parson of Gresmere, dying Aug. 16. 84 was
      this day buried, and I attended his Corps from
      Lowick-hall unto Ulverston-Church, where he
      lyes interred, being ye last male of his family
      in ye North                                      00  00  00

Little as Grasmere had known him, the old man remembered the place
in his will, and bequeathed £50 for the school, under trust to the
"minister and such persons as shall be of the four and twenty of the
parish of Grasmere."

The death of Ambrose left the post vacant for Henry Fleming, the
squire's second son, who had been bred up to the church, doubtless in
readiness for it. He had taken his B.A. degree in 1682, from Queen's
College, Oxford, and there he was still residing, in preparation
for his M.A. degree, to be taken next year. Presented now by his
father to Grasmere, he proceeded on November 22nd to Carlisle for
his ordination, and next month rode to Chester to complete the
business of his appointment. On January 7th he was formally inducted
to the ancient fabric, over which he was now--a young man of 25--to
rule; and his father on this occasion opened heart and purse to his
neighbours at the Church-Stile Inn in an unwonted manner.

     " ... and spent Jan. 7 at Robert Harrisons in Gresmere when he
     was Inducted by Mr. Jo. Brathwait 3s. 6d."

The new rector then returned to Oxford, where he remained until the
end of 1687. Clearly he was in no haste to settle down in Grasmere,
at any rate before his income was free from burden[159] and until
something was done to the rectory, which wanted effectual repair. His
eldest brother assisted him in plans; and he wrote to his father on
March 14th, 1687, "I have received a letter from my Brother William
concerning Grasmere church and Parsonage House, with a model of the
house he designes to build, which I like very well, if the money
will finish it, and adorn the church. But I am affraid that it will
fall short unless you be pleased to be assisting in wood."

  [159] The outlay connected with Henry's appointment was
  considerable. His expenses in Carlisle with his brother Daniel
  amounted to £2. 7s. 6d.; also after ordination "For ye Bread and
  Wine at ye Communion in Carlile-Cathedral" 2s. 6d., and 1s. given
  at the offertory. At Chester, besides expenses and fees, he paid
  the Bishop of Chester's secretary £5. 5s. Next, on February 13th,
  comes the item "Delivered my Son Henry to pay tomorrow at Kendal
  for his Tenths for Gresmer due at Xtmas last, ye sum of" £2. 17s.
  0-1/2d. Again on May 30th, "Paid at London unto Mr. James Bird
  for ye first payment of my Son Henry Fleming's First-Fruites for
  ye Parsonage of Gresmere, ye Sum of" £6. 8s. 7d. On November
  18th, the same amount was paid as second instalment; the third
  on October 9th, 1687, £6. 11s. 1d.; and a final of £7. 1s. on
  July 31st, 1688. The total, £26. 19s. 3d., is a little over the
  amount paid by the Rector of Clayworth as first-fruits in 1672.
  Money was, however, now coming in, and Parson Brathwaite would
  seem to have furnished the new rector with a round sum of £20 at
  intervals, beginning in May, 1685; two such being paid in 1687.
  What the arrangement was in regard to the curate's stipend is not

Probably the squire did assist; and it may be a stout oak from
Bainriggs that bears still the incised legend "This House was built
1687 Henry Fleming Par"; which implies that the house was entirely
remodelled.[160] The work went briskly forward, and on June 22nd the
squire noted:--

  [160] The beam was dislodged when the new rectory was built in
  1895, but upon the furnishing of the old tithe barn as a parish
  room in 1905, it was appropriately set up there.

                                                     £   s.  d.

  "Spent yesterday at Gresmere when I viewed ye
      Painting in ye Church, and ye Parsonage new
      House                                         00   05  00

which meant tips and treats at the alehouse, and a great commotion.

Harry was still in Oxford in October, but early in December he was
down, and preached to his people.

     Dec. 11--This day my Son Henry Fleming preached his first
     sermon--upon Romans xiii in Gresmere church, where I would have
     been, had I had notice of his preaching.

This statement shows Harry's nervousness in face of his clever
father. It may have been with reluctance that he left the University
where for nine and a half years he had lived a student's life; but
that his departure was intended to be final is clear, from the fact
that his box followed him, the cost of its carriage being 11s.--44
lb. at 3d. per lb.

Harry would seem to have been a quiet, unostentatious man. His tutor,
the Rev. Thomas Dixon, wrote of him to his father on his first
arrival from the country, "Yo^r Son is both frugall and studious, and
all that I find amiss in him is that he wants courage and heart, I
do all I can to animate and encourage him and to put some more spirit
into him. I hope disputeing in ye Hall will put some briskness and
metall into him, and teach him to wrangle: He is one of three that
yo^r nephew Fletcher calls his Juniors in ye Hall, So that they
must endeavour to bafle him and then heel cease to stand upon his
Seniority or att least to triumph in it. He deserves also all the
encouragem^t, that may be, because he is willing to do anything and
frequents Prayers and Disputacons as much as any one, though of much
less Quality and honour than himselfe. He has another fellow-Pupill
of ye same order that keepes pace with him, and they have combin'd to
sett patterns to all ye rest of their Table: I hope theyl continue
this their emulacon, and that yo^r Son will also excite others of his
degree to ye same excellency and p'fection."[161]

  [161] Ry. Hall MSS., His. MS. Com. 2084.

It is probable that Harry was never taught to "wrangle"; and though
his abilities were excellent, he rose to no high office in the
Church, like his brother George. He had a true interest in his
parish, as we must suppose, from the encouragement he gave to the
people over the embellishment of the church; and the accounts show
that "ye Dr." went over into Langdale at least once (in 1696) to
preach and administer the sacraments. He neglected the bells, as
has been seen, and possibly the wardens had a difficulty in getting
hold of him; for from 1694, when he acquired the living of Asby,
Cumberland, he resided there. He married, in 1700, Mary, daughter of
John Fletcher, of Hunslet, and on his death, in 1728, left a daughter

With Dr. Henry Fleming was associated, as curate, the Rev. Thomas
Knott. This worthy man was doubtless of the Grasmere stock that for
so many generations had supplied able and prominent members to the
village community.[162] He entered his name in the Grasmere register
as curate and schoolmaster in 1687. In 1694 he was promoted to the
more independent (and doubtless better paid) curacy of Ambleside. The
letter he wrote to his rector on the occasion of the Kelsick bequest,
which does credit to them both, has already appeared in print.[163]
The Rev. Thomas continued to officiate in Ambleside until his death
in 1744.

  [162] See _A Westmorland Township, Westmorland Gazette_, May 7th,
  1910. He was not, however, as there stated, the son of Michael.

  [163] See _Ambleside Town and Chapel_, p. 53.

The Squire of Rydal (who had been knighted in 1681) died in 1701, and
it was the curate-in-charge, Dudley Walker, who preached his funeral
sermon and received the honorarium of £1 1s. 6d.

The removal of this strong spirit must have made a difference in the
parish. His heir, William, who purchased a baronetcy, was a man of
feebler type, whose influence would be little felt in the parish.
He ceased, apparently, to worship at the old church, for in 1728 he
bought the two front pews in Ambleside Chapel, which had belonged
to the Braithwaites. On the death of his brother Henry, he appears
to have nominated for the rectory of Grasmere one William Kilner,
who immediately retired in favour of another son of Sir Daniel,
George, born 1667. He was totally unlike his brother Henry in
temperament. Handsome in person, of good abilities, assured spirit
and pleasant manners, his path in life proved an easy one. As a boy,
he, of all the brothers, had found it possible to ask his father
for money, whether to bet upon his cock at the Shrove-tide fight,
or to enter his college library, or even to engage in a trading
venture.[164] Once within the church, he advanced rapidly, for his
father's old friend, Dr. Smith, Bishop of Carlisle, gave him the
living of Aspatria in 1695, and four years later made the young man
his domestic chaplain. From that time he accumulated benefices and
honours. Made Archdeacon of Carlisle in 1705, he became Dean in
1727, shortly before his brother's death gave him the opportunity
of absorbing Grasmere. The wardens' presentment of 1729 states "Our
expected Rector is not yet Instituted and Inducted, the Cure is duly
Supplyed by a Curate; we know not what Salary is allowed him." The
church for the moment would seem to be poorly manned, for it adds "We
have no Parish Clark or Sexton at present."

  [164] See _Ambleside Town and Chapel_. More particulars of the
  education of George Fleming will be found in the forthcoming
  Chronicles of Rydal.

The august rector, who had other benefices, was probably little seen
in his native parish; and in 1733 he resigned it in favour of his
only son, William, who also became Archdeacon after him. Next year
George stepped up to the post of Bishop of Carlisle; and in 1736, on
his brother William's death, he succeeded to the Rydal estates and
the baronetcy. His only misfortune was the death of his son in 1743.
He himself died in 1747, and a nephew became possessed of Rydal Hall
and of the patronage of the church.[165]

  [165] See _Dictionary of National Biography_. The fact of his
  having acquired the rectorate of Grasmere seems, however, not to
  have been known to his biographers; but the Registry of Chester
  shows it.

It is risky to judge from negative evidence: but there is nothing to
show that George Fleming, bishop and baronet, did anything either as
rector or patron to benefit the church where he had worshipped as a
child, or the parish whence he and his son drew an income for fifteen
years; the sole mention of him in the church books being a statement
that he held a confirmation there in place of the Bishop of Chester.
The wardens and the Eighteen, with the curate, kept parochial matters
going; and the former, wearied no doubt of waiting for help from the
rector, tackled the great bell outlay in 1730-2, as has been seen.

After he had become bishop, George Fleming erected in the choir the
marble monument that commemorates (in grandiose Latin) his father and

The Rev. George Briggs acted as curate-in-charge from 1722. Though
he may not have enjoyed a university training, the facts of his life
that have been found suggest that his ministrations were beneficial
to the folk. Like the first "capellanus," of whom there is record,
Adam de Ottelay, and many another simple curate, he had footing in
the community as statesman, holding house and land. In 1725 he first
appears as "Mr. Briggs" in the Rydal rental, paying a lord's rent of
8s. 4d. for Padmar, or Padmire (Pavement End), which had belonged to
the Rydal manor apparently since the days of Squire John. In that
year also the minister, described as "clerk," married Miss Jane
Knott, of Rydal, daughter probably of Edward and sister of Michael,
who, for so long, acted as influential agents to the Rydal lord.

Mrs. Jane Briggs remained long as widow in possession of the Padmire
estate; and the name of the Rev. George Briggs--doubtless her
son--appears as holder, after a gap, in 1806; in 1819 that of the
Rev. William Pearson has taken its place.[166]

  [166] One would willingly connect this Grasmere land-holder
  with the astronomer of the same name who enjoys a place in the
  _National Dictionary of Biography_. This remarkable man was born
  of statesmen parents as near as Whitbeck, under Black Combe,
  in 1767, and was educated at the Hawkshead Grammar School. His
  biographer, Dr. Lonsdale, in the _Worthies of Cumberland_, says,
  "Between his leaving Hawkshead and his becoming a clergyman of
  the Church of England I have no facts to guide me: but it may be
  inferred that he went to Cambridge."

Meanwhile, the death of the Archdeacon had left the rectorate vacant,
and an unfortunate nomination was made by the patron-bishop. The Rev.
John Craik, B.A., was probably never resident--a fact quite usual:
but to this was presently added the more painful one that he became
incapable of managing his affairs, and his sister had to act for him.
Only five years after his appointment, Sir William Fleming writes of
the complaints of the parishioners, who with a church sadly in need
of repair can do nothing, since the rector will not come over to see
to it. Matters presently became so acute that a petition was framed,
begging the Bishop of Chester to intervene, as Mr. Craik was out of
his mind, and had not been near the church for three years.[167]
Yet it was not till the man's death, in 1806, that this miserable
situation came to an end.

  [167] Rydal Hall MSS.

The Rev. Gawen Mackereth was curate under Mr. Craik. To judge by his
name, he was a native of the vales, and he apparently entered the
church--like many more in this period--by the door of the village
school-house. He wrote his name in the register on October 23rd,
1735, as "Ludimagister et Clericus Grasmereiensis," copying the
inscription of Thomas Knott, though with a fault in the spelling.
Twenty years later he preached for the last time his two yearly
sermons in Langdale. Sir William Fleming chose the next curate
himself; and he may have intended the Rev. John Wilson to occupy
the post of rector, should this fall vacant. But that day was far
distant, and Wilson--who seems from his action with regard to the
owner of Bainrigg to have been a man of strong temper--lived but a
short time after his appointment.[168]

  [168] _Rydal Chronicles._

He was followed by Edward Rowlandson, of whom scarcely anything is
known; but who--according to the register that records his burial in
1811--served the parish for fifty years. He could not have taught the
school, as the burial of Thomas Davis, schoolmaster, is recorded in

Under him and Craik Grasmere must, indeed, have slumbered
spiritually. How could it be otherwise? But by this time Craik was
dead, after being rector for sixty-three years--surely a record term
for a lunatic! In the same year, 1806, Sir Michael le Fleming, the
patron who had never exercised his rights, died likewise. His widow,
Lady Diana, nominated as rector the Rev. Thomas Jackson. With him the
long record of absentee rectors was broken. He is said to have sprung
from a family of dalesfolk. He united, like some early predecessors,
his spiritual office with a temporal one, and acted as "clerk" or
agent to his patron. With his assistance, the heiress and Lady of
Rydal Hall freed her estate from debt, bought the ruinous homesteads
of the village, and replaced them by pretty cottages. Jackson was
successful also with his own affairs, and left a good deal of
property at his death, including Harry Place in Langdale, Tail End
in Grasmere, Brow Head in Loughrigg, and Waterhead on Windermere. He
lived, it is said, at Harry Place, and on most days rode his pony
(according to the report of old Langdale folk) over the fell to
Grasmere or Rydal Hall.

It is well known that the rectory was let to the poet Wordsworth.
The premises had been sadly neglected, the wardens having, in 1798,
"presented" the "Rectory-House, Barn, and out-Houses" as being in "a
ruinous state," but the new rector was too good a business man to
leave them in that condition. Dorothy Wordsworth writes (May 11th,
1810) that Mr. Jackson is willing to make the Parsonage comfortable,
and will contrive a good library out of part of the barn. Later
(June, 1811), she says, "There is an oblong 4-cornered court before
the door, surrounded by ugly white walls."[169]

  [169] _Letters of the Wordsworth Family._

This graphic touch is interesting and suggestive. The place had
apparently an ancient character, with a strongly walled fore-court,
capable of being closed and defended. Such a plan--which was always
that of a manor-house--might be necessary of old for rectories,
where the tithe-barn, often stored with grain and hay, stood
temptingly, and occasionally was the subject of dispute.[170] Now
it is just possible that the rectory may occupy the site of the
former offices of the demesne. No manorial lord was ever resident
in this remote vale, as far as we know; but a resident bailiff and
a forester there must at least have been, with a few underlings.
These officers would be placed in a lodge, stoutly barricaded with
wooden palisades--later converted into walls. To this nucleus would
be added, besides byres and barns and smithy, a "knight's chamber,"
for the accommodation of the lord, if he visited the spot, or pushed
so far in the chase; and nothing is more likely than that a priest's
chamber or house (along with the tithe-barn) would find a place
within this safe enclosure. In such a case, the decay and final
abolition of the demesne would leave the rectory in sole occupation
of the ground. Wordsworth gave up his tenancy, after the death of two
children, in the belief that the spot was unhealthy. It must have
been still more so in ancient times, while the marsh that almost
surrounds it was still undrained.

  [170] In the mediæval story of Reynard the Fox, the Priest's barn
  is well walled about. See Francis Bond's _Misericords_, p. 73.

On the re-construction of the rectory in 1895 the old elevation was
preserved as much as possible, but the level of the ground floor was
raised five feet.

Tradition also states that the Rev. Thomas Jackson served personally
the chapel of Langdale, and certainly--if he lived in that
valley--this would be more convenient for him than the parish church.
The curates under him appear to have been men of ability and worth.
William Johnson indeed secured a fame as educationalist that is
recorded in the _National Dictionary_. A Cumberland man, born in
1784, he appears to have come to Grasmere as schoolmaster before the
death of the old curate Rowlandson. He began to officiate in 1810,
shortly after he had entered St. John's College, Cambridge. His stay
in Grasmere was short, for Dr. Andrew Bell, when visiting Wordsworth
in 1811, was so struck by his management of the village school, that
he offered him the post of Master of the school then being built by
the National Society in London; and thither he repaired next year.
He became organizer to the Society and school inspector and rector
of a London church. After his retirement from more active work, he
returned (about 1848) to Grasmere, where he bought a piece of land
and built the house, since enlarged, called Huntingstile. He was a
friend of Edward Quillinan, Wordsworth's son-in-law, and in 1853
edited his poems with a memoir. He lived till 1864.

Johnson's name occurs in the letters of the De Quincey family. The
future Opium-eater had just settled at Dove Cottage, where he was
visited by his mother and sisters. The elder lady was a friend of
Mrs. Hannah More, and it is a little amusing to find that the aid of
that prophetess of the Evangelical Revival was invoked for Grasmere,
which was evidently considered, by the strangers who began to invade
the district, to be in a benighted state. At one particular evening
reception at Barley Wood, Mrs. More's home, an effort was made to
engage her interest in what were called "the Christian politicks" of
Grasmere; but little was gained beyond a vague promise of Tracts,
until the opportune arrival of Mr. Venn from Clapham, who gave hopes
of help (for a time at least) from the Sunday School Society in money
and books. Mrs. De Quincey, in reporting the matter to her son, looks
forward to the time when "experience recommends the Institution
to more effectual patronage at home, where at present it is an
experiment, and viewed with indifference, if not with suspicion,
by people who must very feebly comprehend the value of religious
instruction."[171] The "good Pastor" was to be cheered, meanwhile,
"under his difficult labour" by the magic of Mrs. More's name, and
the promise of more substantial aid when the De Quincey ladies should

  [171] _De Quincey Memorials_, vol. ii., 90-91.

But aid was to be found at hand, which probably did not excite
suspicion. To Lady Fleming religion became increasingly dear after
home troubles left her a lonely woman. Her accounts show that in 1817
14s. 8d. was paid to "Mr. Noble Wilson, Schoolmaster"--possibly for
books: and in 1821 a fee of ten guineas was paid him "for Teaching
Sunday School." Mr. Wilson, who followed Robert Powley (inscribed as
curate in 1814), must have been a favourite. He came over from his
cure at Witherslack in 1831 to bury Mr. Samuel Barber, who had made
"Gell's Cottage" (now Silverhow) his home.

Evil days had fallen once more on the Grasmere rectorate. The Rev.
Thomas Jackson died in 1822. He left two sons, one of whom, educated
for the law, succeeded him as agent at Rydal Hall. The other,
William, was bred up to the church, and no doubt his father had hopes
that he would succeed him as rector.[172] But the right of nomination
had, unfortunately, passed into the hands of Sir Daniel Fleming. No
protest to the bishop, as regards his choice, was of avail, and the
nominee, Sir Richard le Fleming, took office.

  [172] The Ven. William Jackson, D.D., was born in 1792, and
  preferred to the benefices of Whitehaven, Penrith, Cliburn and
  Lowther (Rector 1828-1878) by the Earl of Lonsdale, who gave him
  Askham Hall to serve as the Rectory of Lowther. Bishop Percy
  appointed him Canon and Chancellor of Carlisle, and gave him an
  Archdeaconry, which he resigned on becoming Provost of Queen's
  College, Oxford (1862-1878). He married the daughter of Mr. Crump
  who built Allan Bank, and had four daughters; two died young, one
  married a Mr. John H. Crump, the other the present Provost of
  Queen's College, Oxford, the Rev. J. R. Magrath, D.D.--ED.

The rector remained at the rectory after his inhibition in 1834, and
curates, named Kingsley, Magrath, and Harris did duty successively
for two years each. Then, in 1840, came the Rev. Edward Jefferies,
who for so long ministered to the parish as curate and rector. He
remained as curate when, in 1857, the opportunity came for Lady
Fleming to appoint her distant kinsman, the Rev. Fletcher Fleming,
of Rayrigg (already serving the chapel of Rydal), to the rectorate,
but when he retired, in 1863, the Rev. Edward was fully installed in
his office. Mr. Jefferies died in 1893.[173] The men who followed him
are still (1912) living; the Revs. H. M. Fletcher, W. Jennings, J. H.
Heywood, and M. F. Peterson.

  [173] He had resigned the living in 1878.


Brief mention of the later history of the chapelries under Grasmere
may be made here.

Ambleside, when the crisis of the Reformation came, took matters
strenuously in hand, as we have seen. The townsmen provided a regular
stipend for a curate who could teach Latin and Greek to their sons,
and also kept up the fabric of the chapel, in complete independence
of the mother church. Moreover the right of burial and baptism at
the chapel was secured in 1676, after some opposition from the
patron.[174] Nothing, perhaps, was definitely fixed with regard
to the nomination of the schoolmaster-curate, when the townsfolk
undertook to furnish his salary in 1584. They may have hoped that it
would be left to themselves; and certainly they, with Mr. Braithwaite
at their head, appointed during the Commonwealth. But the strong
Squire of Rydal soon made it plain, that as patron of the mother
church, he meant to establish his claim to the patronage of the
daughter chapel, which stood on the Grasmere side of Stock Beck.[175]
It has remained in his family ever since.

  [174] See _Ambleside Town and Chapel_, p. 42.

  [175] See _Ambleside Town and Chapel_, p. 46.


It may be well to give a list of the Post-Reformation parsons of
Ambleside (rectified according to present knowledge), as well as
the evidence of a provision made for them in 1584. This evidence
was found amongst Mr. George Browne's MSS. too late for insertion
in _Ambleside Town and Chapel_, where the deed of 1597 is given in
full. It is an extract from a contemporaneous document, written out
in a memorandum book of Christopher Birkett, who owned part of the
lands of the Forrest family in Ambleside; and it records the fixed
contributions of that family to the endowment.

     "Forth of the Schedule conteining the sums of money granted by
     ye Ten^{ts} and Inhabitants of Amble' for the repaires of the
     Chapel and payeing the Ministers Stipend according to an Award
     whereto the schedule is Annexed. Dated 16th Octobr in the 26th
     yeare of Queen Elizibeth.

  John Forrest xijd.
  Wife of Rich: Forrest viijd.
  Antony Forrest iiijd.
  Edw: Forrest 4d.
  Thomas Forrest 3s. 4d.

     A Schedule of all the P'cels of ground named and set downe to
     be Occupyed by ye Rulers of Ambleside to the use and intents
     conteined in the Award annexed.

     One P'cell of ground conteining one Rood lyeing at the height of
     Seethwait in the possession of John Forrest.

     One P'cell lyeing at Kilnhow, one Rood in the pos'ion of the
     wife of Richard Forrest.

     One close above the Grove in possession of Edward Forrest.

     One close called Grove close in possession of Thom: Forrest."


The names of two or three priests who may have served Ambleside
before the Reformation have already been given. A new era was marked
by the endowment of 1584, and the appointment of an excellent and
learned man followed.

     1585--JOHN BELL. He was the first curate to inscribe his name in
     the Bible belonging to the chapel, which, after long alienation,
     has been restored to the church.[176] Bell's latest inscription
     tells that he had then served (in 1629) for 44 years. He was
     buried in Grasmere, December 23rd, 1634. His fine action in
     constructing with his scholars a causeway across the miry bottom
     between Ambleside and Rydal was long held in remembrance. In his
     latter days he must have had an assistant under him, for the
     burial of Leonard Wilson, "Scolmaister at Amblesyd," is entered
     for February 12th, 1621.

  [176] _Ambleside "Curates" Bible, Transactions_, C. and W. An.
  S., n.s. vol vii.

1635--THOMAS MASON (spelt also Mayson and Masonn). It was he,
doubtless, who witnessed (and wrote out) many Ambleside deeds, though
not till 1840 does the word "clerk" follow.

1647--HENRY TURNER, undoubtedly a Presbyterian.

1669--JOHN PEARSON. This nominee of the Rydal squire met with some
opposition in the town, headed by Mr. Braithwaite "upon a private
Pique"--so the patron reported to the bishop. He was, however,
ordained and inducted; though the subsequent refusal of some of the
townsmen to pay their pledged contribution to the salary of the
curate was no doubt due to discontent.[177]

  [177] _Ambleside Town and Chapel, Transactions_, C. and W. An.
  S., n.s. vol. vi., p. 47, where particulars of some of the
  following curates and their assistants are given.

1681 ---- THWAITES. The Christian name of this pedagogue has not been
recovered. The diocesan registry does not give him; but his name
is entered in the Curates' Bible, and moreover four of the Rydal
squire's sons were placed under his tuition in January, 1681. His
stay was short, and a collection was made for him in the chapel on
October 20th, 1685, to which the squire contributed 5s.

1682--RICHARD WRIGHT was instituted curate before Mr. Thwaites'

1688--ROGER FLEMING. His name suggests his being a native. He united
husbandry with his other occupations. His burial is entered on
September 2nd, 1694, and on the 11th, his successor, who had served
Grasmere, was licensed.

1694--THOMAS KNOTT. He wrote out John Kelsick's will, by which
Ambleside has so largely benefited. As his name is the last in the
Curates' Bible, we must suppose that he caused a new one to be bought.





1798 ---- CRAKELT.


An extraordinary entry appears in the Grasmere register for February
15th, 1674, "ye buriall of John Osgood of Amblesid surverer[178] for
ye duty of Christ borne at Ridin in barkeshire."

  [178] May mean _server_ or _sufferer_. But whether we are to take
  it that John Osgood served as a clergyman or suffered as a Quaker
  is not easy to decide.--ED.


Langdale was, at the Reformation, in worse case than Ambleside, where
the townsfolk were rich enough to put both chapel and school on a
sound financial basis. The Little Langdale chapel ceased to be. The
one in Great Langdale, bereft of its particular ministering priest,
was threatened with a like fate. Probably it was never closed,
however. An intelligent native would be found to act as clerk for
a nominal wage, and occasionally the rector would visit it, and
would administer the Easter communion to those who were too old or
ill to cross the fell. Two clerks appear in the register before
the Commonwealth, who may have acted as lay readers. During the
Commonwealth the chapel would be wholly in the hands of the sect that
happened to be dominant for the moment; and the fact that its pulpit
was open to any religious speaker undoubtedly caused the followers of
George Fox to be more numerous in Langdale than in any other quarter
of the parish. It was a Quaker who resisted the Episcopal church
service, when it was revived. (See p. 88.)

But order was again established at the Restoration. Weekly services
were apparently conducted by a lay clerk, and the Grasmere curate in
charge came over once a year to administer sacrament (at a charge of
2s. 6d. to the township), and twice or thrice to preach (1s.). From
1680, when Langdale secured the privilege of a separate communion,
she ceased to contribute to the bread and wine consumed at the parish
church celebrations.

The ritual of the chapel is disclosed in a Presentment of its wardens
for 1732, preserved among the general accounts.

They have (they say) the Commandments set up within the chapel;
a Communion table; linen cloth; patten; flagon and Chalice;
Reading-desk and pulpit; a Surplice; books, etc.; with bell and
bell-rope. "Our minister resides with us; he is not in Holy Orders:
he reads Prayers and Homilies." He is allowed "the usual salary."
Sacrament is administered every Easter. Baptisms and marriages are
solemnized by the curate of Grasmere. No alms are received from the
Communicants; and they have no alms-box.

The separate parochial accounts kept for Langdale continually give
items for repair and upkeep of the fabric and its adjuncts. One of
these was a "common stable," doubtless used for the accommodation of
those who rode to worship. After consultations, the re-building of
the chapel and school was decided on in 1751, and the work was slowly
proceeded with, at the expense of the township, through the next
three years. There may have been always a priest's lodging in the
valley. In 1762 the "Parson's House" was repaired for 13s. 3-1/2d.

The following is a list--incomplete in its earlier part--of clerks,
readers, and curates who served the chapel after the Reformation:--

  William Gollinge "of The Thrange in Langden, clerk" had a son
    baptized 1590.
  Charles Middlefell "clerke of Landale" died 1643.
  Richard Harrison, clerk; died 1670.       Daniel Green, d. 1829.
  Richard Steele, d. 1780.                  Owen Lloyd, d. 1841.
  Thomas Jackson, d. 1821.                  Stephen Birkett, d. 1860.
  William Jackson, 1821.[179]               James Coward, vicar; 1885.
  Thomas Sewell, 1822.                      R. S. Hulbert, ret. 1900.

    [179] See page 173, note.

Owen Lloyd was the son of Charles Lloyd, who was the friend of
Charles Lamb and for some time had resided at old Brathay. He
inherited considerable poetic gifts, and composed the Rushbearing
Hymn always sung at the Ambleside Festival. He lived for a while with
his friend, Mrs. Luff, at Fox Ghyll, Loughrigg.

RYDAL.--The chapel of St. Mary, Rydal, was built by Lady Fleming in
1824 and consecrated by the Bishop of Chester on August 27th, 1825.
This new foundation took a large slice out of the old parish, though
customary dues and tithes continued for some time to be paid to the
rector. (See later.)

BRATHAY.--The church, which was built here in 1836 by Mr. Giles
Redmayne, stands on the Lancashire side of the river, but its
parochial boundary took another slice off the old parish, which was
now wholly robbed of the township of Rydal and Loughrigg.

So the old mother church, robbed of her daughter chapels and the
folk she so long fostered, rules to-day only the little valley of

[Illustration: Decorative]


Latter-day clerks and schoolmasters present a tangled subject,
difficult to unravel. Sometimes the clerk taught school. More often
there was a separate schoolmaster who served as curate, entering
holy orders for the purpose; for by this economy of labour two
meagre stipends were put together, and the rector might even effect
an economy on the one.[180] Sometimes each of the three offices was
served by its own functionary; and yet again it seems likely that
they were occasionally all filled by one man--in which case a deputy
was hired for the menial work.

  [180] There were sad doings among the Pluralists and absentee
  parsons of the eighteenth century; and the unpaid curates were
  often addicted to drink. See _Ambleside Town and Chapel_, pp.
  56-7 and onward.

The school of Grasmere was doubtless an ancient institution, taught
in days before the Reformation by the resident priest. It is not
unlikely that it would be supervised by the visiting monk from York,
for monasteries were then the centres of learning. It would, of
course, be held within the church, or the porch, according to the
season, as was the custom. After the Reformation, and during John
Wilson's fifty-two years' term as rector, followed by that of the
erratic Royalist, Henry Wilson, tuition must have been a good deal
neglected, or left to the clerk. One Michael Hird was serving as
clerk in 1613, and a Robert of the name in 1638, who may have been a
son, since the office was kept in a family whenever possible. Robert
Hird, "clarke," was buried in 1680, which looks like ejection by the
Presbyterians, and subsequent restoration.

For we are left in no doubt as to the appointments made by the new
religious authorities. George Bennison, proud, no doubt, of his
office and of his smattering of Latin, wrote in the register, "I
began to teache Schoole att Grassmire the 3 day of May 1641 being et
Ludimagister et AEdituus."[181]

  [181] From a recent work, _Educational Charters and Documents_,
  by H. F. Leach, we learn that the clergy taught both themselves
  and others from the earliest times; for instance, in the seventh
  century, Aldhelm, writing to the Bishop about his studies, tells
  him how after long struggles he grasped at last, in a moment, by
  God's grace, "the most difficult of all things, what they call
  fractions." In the tenth century a canon of King Edgar enjoins
  that "every priest in addition to lore to diligently learn a
  handicraft," and later in the same century the Council enacted
  that "priests shall keep schools in the villages and teach small
  boys without charge," and also that they ought always to have
  schools for teachers, "Ludi magistrorum scholas" in their houses,
  thus they would prepare others to take up the work professionally
  which they were doing for nothing. Five hundred years later we
  find it ordered at Bridgenorth, in 1503, that "no priste keep no
  scole, after that a scole mastur comyth to town, but that every
  child to resorte to the comyn scole." But the plague broke out
  and swept away "scole masturs" and pupils alike, and in 1529 the
  Convocation of Canterbury once more bade all rectors, vicars, and
  charity priests to employ some part of their time in teaching
  boys the alphabet, reading, singing, or grammar; and appointed a
  Revision Committee of one archbishop, four bishops, four abbots,
  and four archdeacons to bring out a uniform Latin grammar for
  all schools. That grammar was taught in Latin in the tenth and
  eleventh centuries we know from the Colloquy of OElfric, 1005,
  and from his preface to the first English-Latin grammar, in which
  teachers were told that "It is better to invoke God the Father
  giving him honour by lengthening the syllable (P[=a]ter) rather
  than cutting it short (P[)a]ter); no, comparing pronunciation as
  is the Britons' way, for God ought not to be subject to the rules
  of grammar."


  From his spelling of the place-name--which never had been
  anything but _Gresmer_--we suspect him to have been a stranger;
  and it would probably be difficult to fill posts on the spot that
  had been summarily made void. Next comes "Thomas Wilson clarke at
  Gresmere in 1655." He it must have been who fought the battle of
  ritual with John Banks, bailiff, before a trembling congregation,
  after the minister Wallas had decamped. (See p. 87.) He, in turn,
  must have lost the post at the Restoration.

  The Parliament passed a law in 1653 obliging every parish to
  supply a layman for the care of the registers, who was oddly
  called a "parish-register."[182] Accordingly this was done, and
  certified by the non-conformist magnate of Ambleside Hall. "Bee
  it remembered that John Benson of Gresmere being elected and
  chosen Parish Register of Gresmere by the inhabitants ther was
  approved of and sworne before me the 9th of Aprill 1656.

  [182] Dr. Fox's _Parish Registers of England_.

Tho: Brathwaite."

John kept the office, as an entry in the accounts shows, at least
twenty years.

Rector Ambrose, when he left £50 to the parson and "twenty-four"
of the parish, in trust for the school, gave an impetus to
education in the place. The sum--or part of it--may have been used
for the erection of a school-house. At all events, the quaint
little house still standing by the lych-gates was already there
when Anthony Dawson, statesman--incited perhaps by the parson's
example--bequeathed, in 1635, the sum of £7 to a "School Stock in
Grasmeer."[183] He expressly entrusted it to the patron, rector,
and incumbent, "towards the maintenance of a Schoolmaster teaching
Scholars at the School-House built at the Church Yard Yeates in

  [183] The dates of these legacies are incorrectly given on the
  list within the church.

  [184] Rydal Hall MSS., Grasmere, was by no means behind the times
  in education. There was no parish school at Clayworth, Notts.,
  in 1676, when an independent master was encouraged by permission
  to teach within the church; and an effort made to raise a school
  "stock" or endowment failed five years later. See _Rectors' Book
  of Clayworth_.

These legacies gave importance to the office of schoolmaster. The
choice lay then, as now, with the rector and the lay representatives
of the parish, at that time the Eighteen, now only six. The
appointment of young Thomas Knott as schoolmaster, shortly after this
accession of funds, was an excellent one. Curate as well, there is
a question as to whether he did not occupy also the post of clerk.
He was termed clerk in the wardens' accounts, when in 1694 he was
paid 2s. for attending the Visitation and Correction Court. But a
man who could appear at so dignified a function could hardly have
swept out the church, or dug the graves--and these, according to
the Declaration of the Wardens "We have no sexton belonging to our
Church"--were among the clerk's duties. He may have paid a deputy to
do these things, since there were perquisites belonging to the post
worth gathering in.

INCOME OF THE CLERK.--The parish clerk was, in his way, as important
a functionary as the parson. Like the rector, he had no fixed salary,
but took from early times the offerings of the folk, which became
fixed and proportionate, like the tithes. From every "smoke" or
household fire, he had one penny a year. For church ceremonials, when
he acted as Master of the Ceremonies, he received a fixed fee, 2d.
for a wedding and 4d. for a funeral. He was the accredited news-agent
or advertizer. For instance, when the Rydal and Loughrigg Overseers
wished to put a pauper out to board, in 1796, they gave him 2d. "for
advertising her to let." (See Tithes.) He was paid 2d. for every
proclamation in church or yard.

These ancient fixed fees lessened in value through the centuries,
as did the tithes. Various small emoluments however became attached
to the post as time went on. If the clerk was a good penman--as he
was certain to be when acting as pedagogue--he might be employed on
the church writings. Besides the joint Presentments, charged at 2s.
6d. (of which Grasmere and Langdale paid 1s. each and Rydal with
Loughrigg 6d.), there were the wardens' accounts to be drawn up, at a
fee rising by degrees from 3s. to 5s.; as well as a fair copy to be
made into the large register-book from the parson's pocket-register.
This last duty--oft, alas! negligently performed--was long rewarded
by 1s. annual payment, which afterwards rose to 3s. 6d. These items
occur in the accounts:--

                                                          £ s. d.
  1672--"For writting ye burialls Christenings and
        Mariages out ye Register Bookes 2 times"         00  2 00

  1675--"Itt. for writting a coppy out of ye Regester
  Book etc                                              £00  2 00"

  1790--"To writing Marriage Register 1s. 0d. to
  drawing Copy of Register 2s. 6d."

The contract for bell-ringing was given to the clerk, and doubtless
he secured a profit upon it. He had an annual payment for lighting
the vestry fire; another (5s.) for "attending" the hearse. In 1822
the accounts give--after an item for "cleaning" the church-yard and

     "To Ditto Sentences and Window and Church throughout self and
     Boy" 7s. 6d.

This was clearly not a school-master clerk, who enjoyed--instead
of receipts from menial labour--the scholars' pence and the small
stipend. If we turn back to enumerate the men who served the office,
we find Robert Harrison (1695 to 1713) followed by Anthony Harrison.

There was no clerk in 1729, according to the presentment. Gawen
Mackereth (1736 to 1756) is entered as "clarke and schoolmaster,"
though he certainly entered holy orders; so he may possibly, with a
deputy, have combined the three offices. John Cautley was clerk in

After this came three generations of Mackereths: George of Knott
Houses; the second George, who filled the office from 1785 to his
death, at 81, in 1832; and David, his son. These men were clerks,
pure and simple.[185] David pursued the calling of a gardener,
working for Mr. Greenwood at the Wyke. In his time it was decided to
give the clerk a salary. It began in 1845 at £4, and was advanced in
1854 to £5, with the stipulation, however, that one J. Airey should
receive 13s. 6d. of it. But David did not prosper, and he emigrated
to Australia in 1856. He is remembered by Miss Greenwood as a tall,
fine man, like his successor; he used, after giving out the psalm to
the congregation at the desk, to march into the singing-pew (which
stood where the organ is) and there lead the voices. Indeed, the
parish clerk of old, besides a tuneful voice, was generally endowed
with a fine presence. The family is spoken of in an old newspaper
of nearly a year ago. Grasmere, December 31st, 1909: "Death of a
noted Guide.--Last week there died at Grasmere one of the best known
guides in the district, and one of the best known characters in
his day--John Mackereth. He was descended from a very old family
of Grasmere statesmen, intimately connected with Grasmere Church
in three generations of parish clerks, and earlier still as 'Ludi
magister et clericus.' The Rev. Gawin Mackereth held these offices
from 1736 to 1756. George Mackereth, of Knott Houses, parish clerk,
was buried July 23rd, 1785. His son George became parish clerk, and
was buried 22nd October, 1832, aged 81 years. He was succeeded by his
son, David Mackereth, who held the office up to the fifties. David's
son, George, was much disappointed that he was not chosen clerk after
his father's time. He was a tailor, and also a noted guide. He died
in 1881, and Johnny as he was always called took his place as guide.
He was also boatman in Mr. Brown's days at the Prince of Wales Hotel.
In these capacities he was known to hundreds of visitors, who never
came to Grasmere without looking him up. Of late years he worked on
the roads for the council. He was great on wrestling, and for many
years collected money for prizes at the rush-bearing. He had no
children, but four brothers and three sisters, all of whom have left
Grasmere, survive him." One Brian Mackereth was, in 1677, ranked
among the Freeman Tanners of the City of Kendal. (_Boke of Recorde_.)
In the same year Squire Daniel gave 5s. "at ye Collection of Brian
Mackereth's Houseburning." James Airey, the next clerk (1856 to
1862), must have been a clever, ingenious man, for he kept the clock
in order from 1831. He was also appointed schoolmaster--an office
that had often changed hands, and been united with the curacy--and
Edward Wilson was taught by him (along with the younger De Quincey
children) until he went with his brother to the Ambleside school.

  [185] The Mackereths made no pretention to learning, and Robert
  Pooley or Powley acted as school-master after the Revd. Noble
  Wilson in Sir Richard Fleming's time, and he was keeping the
  registers in 1814.

The school, meanwhile, had received other benefactions. The church
list records £80 given by William Waters, of Thorneyhow, in 1796,
towards the master's salary; and good Mrs. Dorothy Knott followed
this, in 1812, by £100, the interest of which was to be spent on the
education of five Grasmere children, born of poor and industrious
parents. John Watson, yeoman and smith, made a similar bequest in
1852, stipulating that the recipients should be chosen annually by
the trustees of the school. In 1847 Mr. Vincent G. Dowley gave £10.

While the salary of the master was paid out of the school "stock"
or endowment, the township took upon itself the maintenance of the
school-house; and the expenses were duly entered in the accounts
of the Grasmere "Third." The waller of those days was differently
remunerated from the workman of these. For instance, the large
statement of 1729 "For mending the School-house" is followed by the
small sum of 14s. 6d. Naturally the windows wanted "glassing" from
time to time. Occasionally new forms were procured--four in 1781 cost
5s. 4d.; or a new table, in 1805.

A loft or upper floor was constructed in the small house in 1782, the
opportunity apparently being taken when the Grasmere township had
bought an oak-tree for the renewal of their decayed benches in the
church, and while workmen were on the spot. The expences stand as

                                                           s. d.
  24 ft. of oak boards for school-loft at 3d. per ft.       6  0

  8-1/2 days carpenter laying school loft                  14  0

  1000 nails for the same                                   4  6

  2 Jammers for door and some hair                          1  0

The little house, so stoutly built and prudently kept up, remains
the same, only that partitions have been erected for rooms, and the
entrance has been changed from the church-yard to the outer side. The
cupboard where the boys kept their books, the pump where they washed
their hands, may still be seen. School was held within its walls till
1855, when the present schools were built.

With James Airey, who acted as both, the record of former
schoolmasters and clerks may be closed. But one who, appointed in
1879, served the office of verger (substituted for clerk) up to 1906,
must be mentioned. Edward Wilson was son of the carpenter of the same
name, and he pursued the craft himself. No custodian of old could
have filled the office with greater reverence or dignity, nor graced
it by a finer presence. Intelligent, calm, quietly humourous, he was
also gifted with an accurate memory of the events of his youth; and
his death, in 1910, at the age of 88 seems truly to have shut to
finally the door of Grasmere's past.

[Illstration: Decoration]


The church rate, levied by the wardens and the Eighteen on the
parishioners for the up-keep of the church, must for long have
stood at a low figure. In Squire Daniel's Account-book for February
16-62/63 the item appears "Paid ye other day an Assess to ye church
for my little tenem^t in Gressmer 00 00 02."

This was a small farm-hold at the Wray, which he had inherited from
his uncle. And forty years later, when the year's expenditure was
high, the freeholder, Francis Benson of the Fold, was rated no higher
than 5s. 9d. for all his lands. The general charges after 1662, when
the equipment for the episcopal services was complete, up to 1810,
averaged in those years when there was no extraordinary outlay,
barely more than £2, to which, of course, were added those incurred
by each township individually. In 1733, when the bells caused a great
outlay, it is possible that money was borrowed, for an item stands
"For interest to Jane Benson 5s. 0d." Rydal and Loughrigg furnished,
in 1661, the sum of £2. 9s. as its share in the maintenance of the
church; and in 1682, £1. 5s. 6d.; while in 1733 it mounted to £13.
3s. 7d., of which the special Ambleside churchwarden produced, on
behalf of his district, 19s. 1d.

When the churchwardens' books re-open in 1790, the general charges
stand at £2. 2s. 7-1/2d., and those of the three townships united
at £7. 13s. 2-1/2d.; our township paying of this £2. 2s. 1d. The
following table shows the progress of expense:--

          Complete Charges   Share paid by
            of Three         Loughrigg and
           Townships.        beneath Moss.      Ambleside.

         £  s.  d.           £  s.  d.         £  s.  d.

  1790    7 13  2-1/2        2   2   1             --
  1800    5  4 11-1/2        1  15   6-1/4         --
  1810   50  1  4-1/2       16   1  11-1/2     5  18   0-1/2
  1820   21  5  5-1/2        7   1   0-1/2     2   2   7-1/2
  1830   18  7  5            4  11   5-1/2     1   8   4-1/2
  1840   13 17  8            4   6  11-1/2     1  14   0
  1850   20 16  9-1/2        6   6   2-1/2     2   4   9-1/2
  1857   34 15  8-1/2       11  17  11-1/2[186]4   2  11-1/2

    [186] Of such charges as were shared by all, two-fifths of
    one-third was Ambleside's share.

The extraordinary expense of 1810 was caused by the building of the
vestry and hanging of the bells. In the year of the great outlay
upon the roof (1814), when Rydal produced £35. 19s. 11d. and £14.
7s. 4d. from Ambleside, the wardens laid for the last time but one,
the old church rate or "sess." Henceforth, the Overseers of the Poor
took it over, and so long as it lasted paid it out of the Poor Rate.
This seems to have been a period of laxity, when the old spirit of
responsibility and watchful care in the custodians of the building,
as representatives of their townships, became weakened. It was now,
in 1816, when the wardens and Eighteen would seem to have less to do,
that an annual dinner was instituted for them and the "minister."
This cost 2s. a head; and though at the Easter Meeting of 1849 "it
was resolved that in future the Landlord at the Red Lion Inn shall
provide dinners for the 24 at the Rate of 1s. 6d. p^r Head, Ale also
to be Included in the said Sum," the sum paid remained £2.

A fee of 1s. 4d. paid to the churchwardens on entry or exit from
office (which covered his journey to Kendal) had long been customary.
Besides this fee, his expenses began in 1826 to be paid separately at
the rate of 3s.

But the old order, long decrepit, was soon to be wiped out. Strangers
were pressing into the remote valley, which Gray had found in
1769 without one single gentleman's residence. Not only poets and
literary men began to settle in it, but rich men from cities, who
bought up the old holdings of statesmen and built "mansions" upon
them. These men demanded accommodation in the old parish church of
a kind befitting their notions of dignity. Opposition seems to have
been made to their demands. It is not quite easy to discover, from
the account given in the churchwardens' book of the meetings held
about the matter in 1856 and 1857, where the difficulty lay. We may
surmise, however, that while the seats in the Grasmere division of
the church were full to overflowing, those belonging to the other
townships would be often vacant, since not only the old Chapels of
Ambleside and Langdale were in use for regular worship and communion,
but new ones were built for Rydal and Brathay. It is possible that
an attempt to sweep away the traditional divisions and put Grasmere
folk in Langdale or Loughrigg seats produced the dead-lock we read
of. At all events, a vestry meeting was held on July 24th, 1856, with
the Rev. Sir Richard Fleming in the chair, "to consider the propriety
of making such an arrangement with respect to the free and open
sittings in the church as may conduce to the general convenience of
the inhabitants; and preparatory to an allotment by the churchwardens
of such free and open Sittings among the parishioners in proportion
to their several requirements, due regard being had to all customary
Sittings and to the rights of persons, having property in pews."
This proposal was made by Mr. Tremenhere and seconded by Captain
Philipps, both new-comers, though the latter (who had opened the
Hydropathic Establishment at the Wray) seems to have been chosen as
one of the Eighteen; and it was promptly negatived by a majority of
nineteen to four. Mr. Thomas H. Marshall, another new resident, at
whose instigation the matter had been begun, persisted in it however;
and the two wardens for Grasmere agreed to take lawyer's counsel
as to their action in carrying out a Faculty already procured, and
for which they paid Dr. Twiss £3. 6s. This counsel is not very
clear, but paragraph ii. of its text is of interest: "I think that
the appropriation of any number of pews in a Mass to the separate
townships, so as to exclude permanently the Inhabitants of the
parish in general from the use of them, would be a proceeding in
contradiction to the express provisions of the Faculty. The Faculty
must be taken to have superseded any antecedent custom under which
pews in a mass were appropriated to separate townships. I think it
is the duty of the Churchwardens to assign to such parishioners
as shall apply from time to time, indiscriminately as regards the
townships, pews or seats, as the case may be, among the free and open
sittings." Again, after expressing his opinion that the burden of
the church rate should fall on the inhabitants in general, he speaks
of "the custom for the townships to repair their own portions of the
Church applied to the Church in the state in which it was, and under
the exceptional arrangements of the Sittings which existed prior to
the issuing of the Faculty.... The manner of collecting the rate by
the officers of the townships may still hold good, but the rule of
assessment must, I think, be derived from the general law."

The Archdeacon was likewise applied to by Mr. Marshall and Mr.
Stephen Heelis, a lawyer from Manchester, who had bought a holding
at Above Beck, and had built himself a house there. He was an able
man, and at once took a prominent part in the proceedings. He was
made churchwarden for Grasmere, and with his colleague, William
Wilson, set to work in 1857 upon the unrestricted allotment of seats
countenanced by the authorities. This was the end of the individual
shares held by the townships in the fabric of the old mother church;
it was the end of the Eighteen who had represented the township; it
was an end, likewise, of the general church rate for which those
Eighteen stood responsible; since it was manifestly unfair to tax
those whose rights had been taken away. Langdale fell away, and the
Brathay part of Loughrigg, and Ambleside-above-Stock. The rate of
1-1/2d. in the £ on property, which the wardens proceeded to levy on
the whole of the parishioners, was responded to for the last time
in 1858, when Ambleside paid £7, Rydal and Loughrigg £10 17s. 10d.,
and Langdale £8 6s. 3d., to Grasmere's £13 14s. 11-3/4d. The little
division of Rydal with part of Loughrigg was indeed, by dint of its
being dubbed a chapelry, held yet a little longer in the grasp of
the old church; four statesmen and one warden were allowed her in
return for the rate she continued to pay. This she seems at first
to have paid equally with Grasmere, and in 1859 she contributed
the high figure of £15 0s. 10-1/2d. towards the expenses of the
church. In 1861 she paid £13 5s. 1-1/2d. By 1866, however, the rate
to supply the immensely increased expenses of worship had become a
burden, even to Grasmere folk. A voluntary rate took its place, and
Rydal contributed its unspecified portion to this for the last time
in 1870. The offertory that then superseded all rates, paid only by
worshippers, was an immediate success.

In 1879, when the volume of accounts closes, the year's expenditure
stands at £155 14s. 1d.


The religious factions--whether Baptist, Anabaptist, Independent
or Presbyterian--that had sprung up during the Commonwealth left
behind them no vital seeds of dissent in the wide parish of Grasmere,
although the two last had in turn held the rectorate and the pulpit.
As soon, indeed, as the Episcopal Church was restored, along with the
Monarchy, the people returned with apparently a willing mind, and
almost unanimously, to the old order of worship.

There was an exception, however, to be found in the Quakers, who were
firm in refusing to re-enter the Church. George Fox, wandering on
foot like an old Celtic missionary, had made his appearance in these
parts in 1653, and at once his preaching (which mirrored his mystic
and simple mind), united with a magnetic personality, had secured
him a following. His teaching discountenanced all creeds, forms, and
ritual. His meetings were, therefore, held in private houses; and
so much abhorred by his followers was the "steeple-house" with its
consecrated ground, as well as any fixed form of service (even the
Office for the Burial of the Dead), that they often laid their dead
in silence in their own garden-ground, rather than carry them to the

As the little band grew larger, a plot of ground was, however,
secured as early as 1658 at Colthouse, near Hawkshead, in Lancashire,
as a graveyard[187]; and in that neighbourhood, where they built a
meeting-house in 1688,[188] they became numerous and active; and on
the Westmorland side of the Brathay--in Langdale and in Loughrigg
more especially--George Fox also found adherents. In particular,
Francis Benson, freeholder of the Fold, of a wealthy family of
clothiers, and an influential man who served as Presbyterian elder in
1646, became his follower; and remained so through the persecutions.
He received Fox into his house, even when the preacher had become a
marked man. Fox's _Journal_, after recording his Keswick preachings
in 1663, runs on:--

  [187] Hawkshead Parish Register.

  [188] From Mr. William Satterthwaite, of Colthouse, a member of
  the Society of Friends.

     We went that night to one Francis Benson's in Westmorland; near
     Justice Fleming's House. This Justice Fleming was at that time
     in a great Rage against Friends, and me in particular; insomuch
     that in the open Sessions at Kendal just before, he had bid Five
     Pounds to any Man, that should take me; that Francis Benson told
     me. And it seems as I went to this Friend's House, I met one Man
     coming from the Sessions, that had this Five Pounds offered him
     to take me, and he knew me; for as I passed by him, he said to
     his Companion, That is George Fox: Yet he had not power to touch
     me: for the Lord's power preserved me over all.

The fanatical spirit of Fox is shown perhaps in this passage, where
he ascribes the inaction of these two parishioners of Grasmere, not
to a generous tolerance of mind (certainly God-given), but to a
direct interposition of Providence in his own favour. He likewise
attributes the death of the Squire's good and gentle wife later on to
God's wrath and judgment upon the husband for his persecution of the

In truth, Squire Daniel was not the man to view leniently the
opposition offered by the new sect to the restoration of the old form
of worship. It must be allowed that the method of their preachers
was not only irritating but provocative; for it was their wont,
when the congregation was assembled in the "steeple-house" to rise
and denounce both worship and officiating clergy as instruments of
Belial; with an occasional result of rough handling and ejection by
the people. We have seen that William Wilson, a Langdale man and one
of their speakers, resorted to this method of interruption when the
Church of England service was restored in the chapel. The parson of
Windermere later on wrote to Squire Daniel begging his magisterial
help, as a woman was in the habit of rising during worship and
denouncing him. Wilson's misdemeanour was immediately dealt with at
the Quarter Sessions, and on his refusing to swear the oath--a matter
of principle with the Quakers, which was not rightly understood,
and which made their offence a political one--was thrown into gaol,
where, if his fine of a hundred marks was not paid in six weeks, he
was to remain for six months, and to be brought again before the

  [189] Indictment Book, Kendal Quarter Sessions.

This was certainly a severe judgment. How the case ended is not
apparent, nor how long Wilson remained in prison. A letter exists
at Rydal Hall, addressed to "Justice fleeming" and signed L.M.,
reproaching him for his treatment of the Quakers, especially of
the four now in prison. One of these is "Wm. Willson, thy poore
neighbour," of whose wife and children the Squire is admonished to
have a care, since the prisoner had little but what he got by his
hands--a statement which implies that Wilson was a craftsman.

The Rydal Squire had at first believed that he could force the
Friends back to the common worship in the old parish church by means
of fines, for he had the frugal man's belief that the pocket can
be made to act upon the conscience. With the passing of the Act of
Uniformity (1662) and the later Conventicle and Five Mile Acts,
however, he and his fellow magistrates had a powerful legal hold over
them. It is clear that he caused the known Quakers of the parish
to be watched. One, James Russell, brought him word that there had
been a meeting on November 1st, 1663, at the house of John Benson,
of Stang End. This was on the Lancashire side of Little Langdale
beck, but the Westmorland folk who attended were Francis Benson, his
son Bernard, "Regnhold" Holme, Michael Wilson, and Barbara Benson.
Of Lancashire folk there were only Giles Walker, wright, who had
walked from Hawkshead, and William Wilson and his wife. Wilson was
the speaker, so his imprisonment had not damped his ardour. Again,
next year, the constable of Grasmere, Thomas Braithwaite, and a
churchwarden, Robert Grigge, gave evidence that certain Quakers had
been seen returning from Giles Walker's house near Hawkshead; and
among them were William Harrison, of Langdale, and Edward Hird, of

These doings were not passed over by the Squire. He even tried
conclusions with the most powerful of the sect, Francis Benson, of
the Fold, and accordingly the latter was summoned, in 1663, along
with his wife Dorothy, to appear at the Quarter Sessions to answer
the charge of having been present at a meeting. The penalty of
non-appearance was a fine of thirty shillings, while the fines of
John Dixon and William Harrison, both of Langdale, charged with the
same offence, were respectively twenty shillings and ten shillings.
Francis Benson probably cleared his legal mis-demeanours by money
payments, for no evidence has been found of his imprisonment. He
and his family, however, remained staunch Friends. The place of his
sepulchre is not known, though his death is recorded for February,
1673, of "Fould in Loughrig," in the Quaker Registers. There is a
tradition of a burying-ground at the Fold, somewhere about his now
vanished homestead, and it is quite possible that some members of the
family might be buried there, as the early Friends not infrequently
made a grave-plot on their own ground. The Fold was so much a
centre of the sect that a marriage took place there between William
Satterthwaite, of Colthouse, and the daughter of Giles Walker, of
Walker Ground, Hawkshead, on December 11th, 1661.[190] According to
another tradition, a Baptist Meeting-house stood at the Fold, and
an old man, named Atkinson, whose forbears had owned the adjacent
farmhold of the Crag--where he was then living--pointed out the exact
spot on a little triangle by the road where the building had stood,
and the "Dipping" took place. But this story is against all record,
for we can trace the Bensons' adherence to the Friends to a late

  [190] Papers of the Satterthwaite family.

A large number of Quakers travelled to Rydal in 1681 to make their
Test or Declaration before Squire Daniel and his son, but the only
folk of the parish among them were Bernard Benson, of Loughrigg, and
Jane his wife, and "Regnald" Holme, of Clappersgate, and his wife

In 1684 a Rydal man "presented" before the justices quite a concourse
of people who had been present at a "Conventicle" in Langdale. Some
seventeen Loughrigg and Langdale names were cited: Edward Benson of
High Close (his only appearance as a Dissenter), John Dixon of Rosset
in Langdale, William and James Harryson of Harry Place, "Regnald" and
Jane Holme of Loughrigg, James Holme, the Willsons of Langdale, etc.

Reginald Holme's name frequently appears in the Indictment Book
of the Quarter Sessions, and generally in connection with secular
disputes. He was, in fact, a turbulent character, little fitted to
belong to the peace-loving sect, which he joined possibly from sheer
love of dissent. Some items of his history have been given elsewhere.
He owned the mill at Skelwith Bridge--probably then, as later, a
corn-mill, though it is extremely likely that a walk-mill would be
set up additionally on this fine flow of water. About this water
and other matters he was in constant dispute with his neighbours.
One altercation, with a certain Thomas Rawlingson, the Friends
tried to settle for him but as he refused to accept their verdict,
a resolution was passed at a Monthly Meeting, held at Swathmoor
(1676), that the law might now take its course. On another occasion
Reginald was brought up before the Magistrates for assault; but the
recurring bone of contention was a dam or weir which he had built
across the river for the good of his mill--and to the damage, it
was declared, of the pathway above, and of his neighbours' grounds.
The Rydal Squire twice headed a party for the forcible destruction
of this dam, as has been told[191]; but long afterwards Holme was
in fierce conflict with Michael Satterthwaite, of Langdale, yeoman,
about this or another dam.[192] Finally, in 1684, a crisis occurred,
and Reginald's goods were seized by the strong arm of the law--a most
unwonted proceeding; on which occasion his sons and his daughter fell
upon the unfortunate officers, and beat them and put them forth with
violence--which made another indictable offence.

  [191] _Transactions_, Cumb. and West. Ant. So., vol. 6, N.S.

  [192] Indictment Book.

After the law-suit concerning the tithes, which followed upon
the Restoration (see ante), in which law-suit Francis Benson was
concerned, and possibly other Quakers, we have no evidence as to
whether the sect continued to oppose the payment of church scot.
But there is abundant evidence to show that they were resolute in
non-attendance at church, and in refusal to pay the church rate or
"sess" levied on the townships for the upkeep of the fabric and its
walls by the representative men of the parish. The Subsidy Rolls
of 1675 show that Francis Benson paid for himself and his wife
Dorothy the tax of 1s. 4d., which the Government demanded from all
non-communicants, as did "Reynald" Holme for self and wife, and John
Benson of Langdale.

From wardens' accounts and presentments we gain many particulars of
the dissenters of the parish, who appear to diminish in number as
time goes on. It had become necessary by 1694 to account, in the
books, for the deficit caused by the Friends' non-payment; and though
in the following year two of them yielded, Bernard Benson paying up
the large arrears of 15s. 11d. for "Church: Sess," and Jacob Holme
7s. 6d., the "Allowance for Dissenters" appears each year on the
debit side.

Presentments are only available from 1702. The following extracts
give the names of the non-payers of the two townships. Those of
Langdale would appear in their separate presentment:--

                           Loughrigg.                 £   s.  d.

  1705--Francis Benson of the Fold                    0   1   8
        The same for property in Grasmere             0   0  10
        Jacob Holm of Tarn Foot                       0   1   1
        The same for property in Grasmere             0   0   2
        Jane Holm of Skelwith Bridge                  0   0   4-1/2
        John Shacklock of the How                     0   1   4


        Francis Benson of Grasmere, Underhow          0   0   2
        Jane Benson, widow                            0   0   3
        Miles Elleray of Clappersgate                 0   0   2
        Arthur Benson                                 0   0   2


  1706--Francis Benson of the Fold                    0   1   1
        For Grasmere                                  0   0  10
        Jacob Holm                                    0   1   4
        For Grasmere                                  0   0   2
        Jane Holm                                     0   0   8
        For Mill Brow                                 0   0   4
        Miles Elleray                                 0   0   1


        Jane Benson                                   0   0   3
        Francis Benson, Underhow                      0   0   2


  1707--Francis Benson of the Fold                   £0   2    9
        For Grasmere                                  0   1    2
        Jacob Holm                                    0   1   10
        For Grasmere                                  0   0    1
        Henry Dover                                   0   0   11
        John Rigg                                     0   0   10-1/2


        Jane Benson, widow                            0   0    4
        Francis Benson, Underhow                      0   0    2
        The wardens add "Likewise we present two
           churchmen [name crossed out] and George
           Mackereth of Clappersgate                  0   0    9

  1712--Presented "for denying to pay their church-sess":--

        Jane Benson of Nichols in Grasmere            0   0    5
        Francis Benson of ye Fold in Loughrigg        0   0    3
        The same for Loughrigge and Rydal             0   1    8
        Henry Dover for Loughrigg                     0   1    2
        "We present Wm. Ulock Church sess"            0   0    4
        "We have in o^r. parish about two hundred
           Familys in all. No papists. No protestant
           Dissenters, Except 6 or 7 families of
  1717--Only Francis Benson of the Fold is presented
           for refusing to contribute to the Rates    0   1    8
        And for his Estate in Grasmere                0   1    4
  1723--The wardens declare that none refuse to pay
           the parson's dues, or clerk's fees, or church-rates,
           but the Quakers. "We do not know
           that they have qualified themselves according
           to ye act of Toleration. We do not
           know that the place of their meeting has
           been duly certified. We do not know that
           their preacher, or teacher, hath qualified
           himself by taking the oaths etc., as the Law
  1727--"None refuse to pay Church rate, but Francis
           Benson a Quaker for not paying his Church
           sess, viz.                                 00  01   03"
  1729--Francis Benson is again presented for refusing
          to pay his Church sess                      £0   1   5
  1732--His unpaid share is set down at                0   5   9
        And Bernard Benson's                           0   3   0

This Francis Benson, the third Friend of his name at the Fold, is
the last we know of. As the old families died out or dispersed, no
new adherents of the sect appear to have arisen in the parish, and
dissent ceased.

The only comment on non-conformity found in the registers occurs in
the second volume (1687-1713). It runs:--

     A perticular Register of some pretended Marryages of the people
     called Quakers within the parish of Grasmere As followeth--

But only two weddings from Great Langdale are set down. Also is

     Jane daughter of John Grigge of Stile End in Great Langdale was
     baptized by A prebyterian minister the tenth day of Aprill Ano
     Dom 1710.

The "minister" so clearly obnoxious to the registrar may have been a
visitor to the valley.

When a stranger entered the church in 1827 and asked the clerk if
there were any Dissenters in the neighbourhood, he was told that
there were none nearer than Keswick, where were some who called
themselves Presbyterians; and of these the clerk professed so little
knowledge that he hazarded the suggestion that they were a kind
of "papishes." The clerk aforesaid was old George Mackereth,[193]
forgetful alike of the Colthouse Meeting-House and the small Baptist
Chapel at Hawkshead Hill, built in 1678? For about the first
clustered a few families who clung to the faith of their fathers;
though the latter (of which little seems to be known) may have
dropped out of use.

  [193] Hone's _Table Book_.

Dissent had never existed in Ambleside. The men of that town, who
managed the affairs of their chapel, had no real leanings towards
it, and the Restoration found them all churchmen again. The only man
of the town-division who could be taxed as a non-communicant in 1675
was Roger Borwick, and he was a disreputable inn-keeper at Miller
Bridge, a Roman Catholic who had once been a personal servant of the
ill-fated heir of Squire John Fleming.

[Illustration: The Little Bell



The early registers are contained in three parchment books. The
first measures 15 inches by 7, and has a thickness of 1 inch. It was
re-bound recently in white vellum, and an expert has endeavoured
to restore the almost vanished characters of the first page. The
earliest legible entries are for January 1570-71. The sheets may have
once got loose and some lost, for there is a complete gap between
the years 1591-98, and another between 1604-11. There are minor gaps
besides, which, perhaps, may be explained by the system of register
keeping that obtained in these parts. A smaller book for entries was
kept, called a pocket-register, in which the minister (or the clerk)
noted down the ceremonies as they occurred; and these were copied
from time to time into the larger book. It was a system that, in the
hands of careless officials, produced nothing short of disaster, as
far as parochial history is considered. The re-entry, long over-due,
had often not been made, before the pocket-register was mis-placed
or lost. In times of stress, like those of the plague-years, the
church officials seem to have become paralized, and ceased to cope
for months at a time with the registration of the dead. For instance,
in the deadly year 1577, February, April, May and July are blank;
eight burials are then entered for August, and none for the rest of
the year. Again, next year, eight deaths are recorded for July, nine
for September, and twelve for November, while the intervening and
succeeding months are blank. This state of things continues through
the years of oft-returning plague that followed, and through the
long rectorate of John Wilson, diversified by the occasional loss
of a page or a mysterious skip, _e.g._, in marriages there is a gap
between the years 1583-4 and 1611--more than 27 years.[194]

  [194] The following list of omissions in the earliest Grasmere
  Church Register, 1570-1687, has been kindly supplied by Miss H.
  J. H. Sumner.--ED. "No Marriages between ffeb. 1583-4 and June
  1611; no Burials between July 1588 and May 1598; no Christenings
  between Dec. 1591 and ffeb. 1600-1; no Burials between May 1604
  and Apr. 1611; no Christenings between March 1603-4 and Apr.
  1611; no Christenings between ffeb. 1625-8 and June 1627; no
  Marriages between July 1625 and May 1627; no Burials between
  ffeb. 1625-6 and May 1627."

The first register-book is, therefore, a disappointing document, from
which no satisfactory conclusions as to population or death-rate
can be drawn, nor adequate information concerning families or
individuals. The Hawkshead register-book is a complete contrast to
this one, in neatness and fulness; and the scribe has marked with
a cross all deaths from plague. Maybe the grammar-school there,
with its master, affected favourably the records of the parish. In
Grasmere the school was, after the Reformation, left in general to
the parish clerk. This first book shows signs, like the Curate's
Bible of Ambleside, of having been accessible to the scholars--no
doubt while these were yet taught in the church; for experiments in
penmanship and signatures occur on blank spaces, which were seized
upon with avidity by the learner--parchment and paper being hard to
come by.

The condition of the third register-book is wholly satisfactory. It
is in its original binding, but the clasps have gone. It measures
16-1/2 inches by 7, with a thickness of 3 inches. Its title runs,
"Grasmere's Register Book, from May the 7th, A.D., 1713. Henry
Fleming, D.D., Rector; Mr. Dudley Walker, Curate; Anthony Harrison,
Parish Clerk." The book closes in December, 1812. As in the earlier
volumes, the baptisms and marriages are written on the left page, and
burials on the right. The first entry is a receipt from the man who
furnished the book:--

                    June ye 21, 1713.                 lb.   s.  d.

  Recd. of ye Reverend Dr. Fleming one Pound and
    Eleven Shillings for ye Parchmt. wherwth. this
    Book is made for ye clasps eightpence and for ye
    Binding Six Shillings. I say Recd. by me Bry:
    Mackreth                                           1   17   8

Some entries of confirmations were made in this volume. The first
has caused considerable surprise, and it is of interest on three
scores. It shows that the solemnization of the rite had been long
neglected--the Bishop of Chester no doubt finding this remote parish
of his diocese very inconvenient to reach, and relegating it on this
occasion to his brother of Carlisle, who but recently was its rector.
It likewise proves that the population was larger then than in the
next century, and that the estimate of the number of communicants
given on a preceding page was under, rather than over, stated. It
illustrates the fact, besides, that the old forms would accommodate
at least twice the number of the present benches.

     October the 23, 1737.

     A Confirmation was then holden at this Church by the Right
     Reverend Father in God Sr. George Fleming Baronet Lord Bishop
     of Carlisle at the instance of the Lord Bishop of Chester at
     which time and place About five Hundred Persons were Confirmed.
     [The next confirmation recorded is in 1862.]

An entry on the first page, in fine hand-writing, is likewise of
interest, as showing that long after the Reformation, and even after
the Prayer Book revision of 1662, the prohibition of the old Sarum
Manual against marriages taking place during the three great feasts
of Christmas, Easter and Penticost still had weight, though it could
not be enforced, and that the rector--a stout churchman--desired its

     Marriages Prohibited from Advent Sunday till a Week after the
     Epiphany, from Septuagesima Sunday till a Week after Easter,
     from Ascension day till trinity Sunday; Secundum Dr. Comber.[195]

  [195] The reference is to the Dean of Durham's _Companion to the
  Temple_, the standard work of the period on the Prayer-Book; but
  the passage goes no further than to say that "some among us"
  still observe the "former" prohibition.

Curious entries, or any bearing upon local history, such as are
frequent in some registers, are scarce in the Grasmere books. The law
that commanded the use of woollen for shrouds, by way of propping up
a declining industry, caused the usual amount of trouble here in the
way of affidavits and entries.

Another enactment, that all sickly persons who presented themselves
for cure by the Royal touch--a remedy much resorted to under the
Stuarts--were to come armed with a parochial certificate,[196] has
left its trace here.

  [196] Dr. Cox's Parish Registers.

     Wee the Rector and Churchwardens of the Parish of Grasmere in
     the County of Westmorland do hereby certify that David Harrison
     of the said Parish aged about fourteen years is afflicted as wee
     are credibly informed with the disease comonly called the Kings
     Evill; and (to the best of o^r knowledge) hath not hereto fore
     been touched by His Majesty for ye s^d. In testimony whereof wee
     have here unto set o^r hands and seals the Fourth day of Feb:
     Ano Dom 1684.

             HENRY FLEMING Rector.
             JOHN BENSON
             JOHN MALLISON Churchwardens.
  Registered by JOHN BRATHWAITE Curate.

This poor youth was probably of the Rydal stock of Harrisons, where
several generations of Davids had flourished as statesmen, carriers
and inn-keepers.[197] The journey to London would be little to them.

  [197] See "A Westmoreland Township" in the _Westmorland Gazette_.

The introduction of gunpowder into the slate quarries could not have
long pre-dated the following entry:--

"Thomas Harrison of Weshdale [Wastdale?], wounded with the splinters
of stone and wood the 29th of August last by the force of gunpowder
was buryed September the 2nd. Ano Dom 1681."

An instance of longevity is given in 1674, when widow Elizabeth
Walker, of Underhelme, "dyed at ye age of 107 years old."

But the entry that has caused the most comment is one that
commemorates a boating disaster on Windermere Lake. Forty-seven
persons were drowned, with some seven horses: "in one boate comeinge
over from Hawkshead" on October 20th, 1635. Singularly enough, this
is the only known record of an event with which tradition and later
story has been busy. These affirm that the boat-load consisted
of a wedding-party; also that the corpses were buried under a
yew-tree in Windermere church-yard. If the catastrophe happened to
the customery ferry, known as Great Boat, plying between Hawkshead
Road and Ferry Nab, the interment would naturally be made at that
church, though an unfortunate gap in the registers for the period
prevents certainty on the point. But why was the event written down
at Grasmere? It appears to have been inscribed by George Bennison,
clerk and schoolmaster, who did not enter office till 1641. Had he
the intention (unfortunately unfulfilled) of recording local history
in the register-book? Could we suppose the Ambleside Fair for October
20th--an occasion of great resort only a few decades later--to have
been in vogue before its charter was gained, the conjecture that the
drowned folk had been attending the fair might be entertained.[198]
There were other passage-boats on the lake besides the Great one.
In connection with the number drowned, it may be mentioned that
ferry-boats were formerly of great size. Miss Celia Fiennes, who,
about the year 1697, had occasion on her journey to cross the Mersey
with her horses from Cheshire to Liverpool--a passage which occupied
1-1/2 hours--did it in a boat which, she says, would have held 100

  [198] Mr. G. Brown has been helpful in this matter, which is
  very fully discussed in Mr. H. S. Cowper's _Hawkshead_. See also
  _Ambleside Town and Chapel_.

  [199] _Memorials of Old Lancashire_, vol. i., p. 60.

Miss Helen Sumner has been, since 1906, engaged in a transcript of
the first register-book. It is now complete, and it will be put into
use instead of the old illegible volume, of which it is an absolutely
accurate copy, done in fine modern script.

       *       *       *       *       *

     Miss Armitt was under the impression when writing of the
     Registers that the Second Register was missing, so consequently
     made no extracts from it.--ED.

[Illustration: Recess in the Porch for Holy Water Stoup.]


The Presentment for 1702 may be given fully as a specimen of the
document which the wardens were bound to furnish at the Visitation
of the Bishop or his emissary. A few extracts may be added, for
the simplicity and shrewdness of some of the answers make them
entertaining, as in the entire repudiation of an apparitor and his

During Dr. Fleming's rectorate, a difference arose between the
officials who controlled the finance department of the Visitation
and the vestries of the parishes of Windermere and Grasmere.[200]
It was proposed by the latter to make one Presentment serve for the
whole parish, mother-church and chapels together; and the rector
of Grasmere stated that it was only through a mis-conception that
separate Presentments had been made. This was a sound, economical
plan for the parish, but it was firmly opposed (as was natural) by
the higher officials, who affirmed that separate Presentments were
the rule. The table of "ancient and justifiable fees" was given as

  [200] Browne MSS.

                                                        £  s. d.
  For appearance and presentment of every warden, four
      old and four new                                  0  8  0
  Book of Articles                                      0  1  0
  Examination Fee and registration of every presentment 0  0  8
  Citation Fees and exhibiting the transcript           0  1  0
  Due to the King for Citation                          0  0  6
  Apparitor's Fee                                       0  0  8

  Also apparitors received at the Visitation a fee for carrying
  out books sent by the King and Council--as Thanksgiving Books,
  etc.; and for each of these he might claim a fee of 1s., which
  raised the sum total to be paid at a Visitation occasionally to
  14s. or 15s. No wonder our wardens disclaimed all knowledge of
  the apparitor! For their consolation they were reminded that in
  other Jurisdictions the wardens were called to Visitations twice
  a year, which doubled the fees and expenses.

  In 1691 the parish paid "To the Chancellor at the Bishop's
  Visitation for a Presentment" 5s. 10d. The writing of it cost
  4s. 2d. A Book of Articles was bought also. Five years later a
  Presentment for the whole parish cost 13s. 2d.

     (Presentment for 1702.)

     The presentment of John Mackereth, George Benson and Edward
     Tyson, Churchwardens, for the Church of Grasmere, within the
     Arch-Deaconry of Richmond in the Diocese of Chester, at the
     Ordinary Visition of John Cartwright, D.D., Commissary and
     Official, of the said Arch-Deaconry on Friday the fifteenth day
     of May Ano Dom 1702, in the parish church of Kirby Kendall, as

  Articles                         Tit. I.
    1,     Our Church is in good repair, and no part of it
  2,3,4,  demolishd, nor anything belonging to it Imbezzled or sold.
    5,    We have a Font with a Cover, a decent Communion Table,
          wth one decent Covering and another of Linnen, with a
   6,7,   Chalice and a cover, and two flagons for the Communio,
          &c., wth all the other things the Articles of this title
   8, 9,  inquire of, and they are ordered and used as they ought
          to be, according to our Judgmts, so yt we have nothing
    10.   to present in answr to the Articles of this first Title.

  Articles                         Tit. II.
  1, 2, 3,  Our minister, the Revrend Dr. Henry Fleming, is
          qualified accordg to Law, Legally Inducted, hath read
    4,    the 39 Articles wthin the time Appointed by law, and
          declared his Assent thereto, we believe and know nothing
  5, 6, 7, to the contrary. He has another Ecclesiasticall Benefice.
           He preaches, we believe, every Lords Day, unless sickness
     8,    or reasonable absence hinder him. Mr. Dudley
           Walker his Curate supplys the cure in his Absence.
     9,    Both our Parson and his Curate do all things inquired
           of by the Articles of this Title, and are not guilty of
    10.    any of the faults therein mentioned, as we are perswaided.
           So we have not any thing to present in Answer to the
           Articles of this Title.

  Articles                       Tit. III.
   1, 2,     We know not of any Adulteries, Fornicators or Incestuous,
           Com'on Drunkards or Swearers, or other
     3,    Sinn'rs and Transgressors inquired of in the Articles of
   4, 5,   this Title, wthin our Parish. We believe each person
     6,    behaves himself as he ought, during the time of Divine
   7, 8,   Service, nor have we observed anything to the contrary.
     9,    Onely in Answer the (_sic_) 4th Article of this Title
    10.    we present the persons whose names follow for refuseing
           to pay their duty for Easter Offerings, and for refuseing
           to contribute to the Rates for Repairing of our Church,
           and things thereto belonging, viz., _Francis Benson_ of
           the Fold, and _Dorothee_ his wife, _Jacob Holm_ and _Sarah_
           his wife of Tarnfoot, _John Holm_ and _Jane Holm_ his
           mother of Skelwath Bridge-End. All Quakers and
           come not to Church or Chapell to divine service. _Francis
           Benson_, of Under How, and _Jane Benson_, widow in Grasmere,
           Quakers, and come not to church to divine service.

  Articles                      Tit. IIII.
     1.      We have a Parish Clark belonging to our Church aged
           21 years at least, of honest life, able to perform his duty,
     2.    chosen by our Parson, and dos his duty diligently in his
           office of Parish Clark, as we are perswaided.

  Articles.                      Tit. V.
     1,      We have no hospitall, alms-houses, nor freschool.
           But we have a School and a Schoolmaster, licons'd by
           the Ordinary, who teaches his schollers in the Church
           Catechism, and doth ye other things inquired of in the
     2,    Articles of this Title, as in duty he ought. The Revenue
           of the School is Ordered as the Founder appointed, and
           as ye Laws of ye Land allow, to the best of our knowledges.
     3.    We have none that practiseth physick, Chyrurjery,
           or midwifery in our parish w'thout License from the
           Ordinary, that we are privy to, or know of.

  Articles                   Tit. 6.
     1,      Our church-wardens are chosen duly, and have done
    2, 3.  their duty, as we think they ought to have done, in all
           things here Inquired of.

  Articles                 Tit. VIII. (_sic_).

     1,      We do not know wt faults the Officers of our Ecclesisticall
           Courts are guilty of, and wh are Inquired of by
           these Articles of this Title. We have heard that they
           take greater fees then of Right they ought to do, and
     2,    if they do so, we wish they may reform such Injuryous
     3,    practices: But because we are privy to no thing of
           this kind done by any Ecclesticall Officer, we dar not
     4,    upon Oath present it, and here ends our Presentmt.

  JOHN MACKERETH } Churchwardens.

     The later presentments, up to 1732, are--except where quoted
     from elsewhere--largely repetitions of this. One or two answers
     to queries, however, are naive. In 1712 "we have no physitia's,
     nor Sargions in or parish."

     Concerning officers of Ecclesistiall Courts, we know not their
     Officers; nor wh their Officers are; nor now they perform them,
     well, or ill; nor wh their just Fees are, and can therefore give
     no account of ym.

     In 1717 "Concerning Apparitors. We know not how Apparitors do
     their office, nor can we present them, or any of tm, for any
     undue Fees exacted by them, and we think we ought not to pr'sent
     any man for faults wch we know not by him."

     Between 1702 and 1732 only one woman is "presented" for
     "fornication"; and only occasionally, in a later set of
     Presentments, between 1768 and 1796 is the fault--which the
     registers show to have been not infrequent--mentioned.


Printed briefs, that called upon the churches to succour the
unfortunate by offerings in money, reached Grasmere, remote as it
was. Such of these sheets, as were found to be sufficiently intact,
were quite recently gathered together and bound as a volume. Within
the register-book the amount realised by some of these collections
is set down. At Christmas, 1668, the offering made for the poor of
London after the fire, reached the high figure of £17 6s. 3d., which
shows how that great calamity affected the popular mind. Among other
recipients of the parochial bounty are found: "Captives at allgeeres"
(Algiers), 3s. 1d., also "A breife beyond ye seaes and for ye suply
of printing The bible for one John de Krins..y," 7s. 3d. Very
frequently individuals or towns that had suffered loss from fire or
other causes were relieved. Perhaps there was grumbling then, as now,
at the many collections, and 8d. only was realised for the relief of
Hartlepool. The Squire, who generally gave one shilling for a brief,
was doubtless absent that day.


The care of the poor was of old a parochial matter. The regular
supply of money for this purpose came from the offertories at the
great feasts of the church, and was distributed (at least after the
Reformation, if not before) by the wardens. There were other and
casual sources, such as the doles given at the funeral of a person of
gentle birth. The scale of the dole differed according to the rank
of the individual. In the seventeenth century four pence (the old
silver penny) was the usual sum, though at the funeral of William
Fleming, of Coniston (claimant to Rydal Manor), only 2d. was given.
Squire John Fleming was buried quietly, on the evening of his death,
like many another recusant. There was no time, therefore, for that
extraordinary and seemingly magnetic gathering of the poor, that
sometimes occurred, even on a day's notice--for such news sped like a
telegraphic message.

But some indigent folk collected next morning, when £1 10s. was
distributed. This, at 4d. a piece, would represent 90 persons. The
concourse was far greater when Squire Daniel's wife was interred,
when it numbered over 1,800 persons; the amount given reaching
£30 10s. 4d., while the dole-givers spent at the inn 3s. 6d. The
gathering at his little son's funeral, two years later (1677), was
naturally smaller. The entry in the account-book is as follows:--

  June 1--Given to ye Poor (at 2d. apeice) at ye
      Funerall (this day) of my son Tho. Fleming at
      Gresmere-church (where he was buried near
      unto my Fathers Grave on ye north side thereof
      close to ye wall, and who dyed yesterday, being
      Thursday, about 8 of ye clock in ye morning
      at Rydal Hall) ye sum of                          04  03  08

  It[em] paid to ye Minster for attending ye Corps all
      ye way 5s., to ye Clark for ye same, and
      makeing of ye Grave 2s., to ye Ringers 2s. 4d.,
      in all                                            00  09  04

The first bequest on record to the poor of Grasmere is that of
old Mrs. Agnes Fleming, the shrewd mistress of Rydal Hall. Her
will, dated 1630, directs that threescore and ten pounds shall be
devoted to the poor of Staveley and "Gressmire," the interest to be
distributed every Good Friday. In this distribution George Dawson
"beinge blinde" was to receive during his life-time a noble, which
was 6s. 8d. or half a mark. Accordingly, after her death, the bailiff
entered in his accounts £1 13s. as "paid the poor folke at Easter
1632 for my old mis"; the blind lad's noble was also set down. This
charity seems, however, to have been lost during the "Troubles" that
presently overtook family and country. An effort to re-institute the
one at Staveley at least was made by Squire Daniel.

  March 25, 1659--Spent with my Cosen Philipson at
      Staveley when I went to Mr. Feilde to looke
      yt ye Poor of Staveley bee not wronged in ye
      distribution of ye £40 interest, left ym by
      my great Grandmother Mrs. Agnes Fleming           00  00  06

Mention of an extraordinary gift appears in the same account-book.
The young Earl of Thanet had lately, as Lord Lieutenant of
Westmorland, entered the county in great state, and with a lavish
expenditure of money. His generosity (which may have had a political
bias) extended even to this remote quarter of the Barony. In those
days £10 was a large sum; and the coin (as a precise entry under
February, 1685, informs us) was conveyed to Kendal by a servant,
delivered to the mayor, who passed it on to the Rydal Squire. One
half was for Windermere, the other for Grasmere; and one wonders how
large was the gathering at the church for the dole.

  Mar. 1, 8-4/5--Distributed this day at ye Parish
      Church in Gresmere to ye Poor Householders
      yt go to Church in ye said Parish; being ye
      gift of Tho. Earl of Thanet, ye sum of           05  00  00

Other charitable gifts to the poor are written on boards hanging in
the church, viz.:--

Edward Partridge and others of Grasmere £50, the interest to be
distributed on St. Thomas's Day to such poor as do not receive
parochial relief. (Undated.)

William and Eleanor Waters, in 1807, £200, the interest to be
distributed under the like restrictions on Lady Day.


It is impossible, in an account of Grasmere, to pass over the
Rushbearing, a Church Festival that has come down from ancient times,
and which, after a period of languishment, has revived once more into
a popular pageant.

It may be the remnant of some fair or wake held on St. Oswald's Eve
and Day, and organized by the early church to supersede some Pagan
Feast of the late summer. The close of July, or the early part of
August, was a good time for merry-making in these parts; for then
the husbandman's chief harvests were gathered in--the wool from the
sheep, and the hay from the meadows; while the little patches of oats
were hardly ready for the sickle. We hear of a great pageant and play
devised by Thomas Hoggart[201] being performed in the open air at
Troutbeck village (1693) on "St. James his Day," which was the 25th
of July, equal to the 5th of August, new style.

  [201] _Remnants of Rhyme_, by Thomas Hoggart, Kendal, 1853.

The Rushbearing at Grasmere was held in recent times on the Saturday
nearest to July 20th; and a stranger, T. Q. M., found a celebration
taking place in 1827 on July 21st.[202] In fact, the Day of the
church's dedicatory Saint, August 5th (which is equal to August 16th,
new style) seems not to have been associated recently in the minds of
the people with the Festival; though it was associated at St. Oswald,
Warton, where the ceremony survived till the close of the eighteenth
century. It is possible that the shift from old to new style, in
1752, weakened the connection between Saint's Day and Festival in
the minds of the folk, leaving them content to await the summons of
the clerk, who reminded them, it is said, when it was time to cut the
rushes. The old chapels of the parish likewise had their Rushbearing.
That of Langdale appears in the wardens' accounts for that township,
where 2s. 6d. was generally put down for expenses attending it.
The item disappears, however, after 1752, for then the chapel was
rebuilt, and was no doubt paved throughout with the fine slate of
the valley: the need for rushes there being over, more than 80 years
earlier than was the case with the mother church. The Ambleside
Festival has continued to the present day (though with a lapse of a
few years, according to Grasmere folk), and is regularly held near
the day of her Saint (Anne), July 26th, the hymn used being the same
as at Grasmere.

  [202] Hone's _Table Book_.

As a matter of fact, the Rushbearing had of old a real meaning,
for the sweet rushes were strewn over the floors of churches and
halls alike, both for warmth and cleanliness.[203] The covering
was particularly necessary in churches where the soil beneath the
worshippers' feet was full of corpses. The great annual strewing
(though we would fain believe that it was done oftener than once a
year) was naturally performed when rushes were full grown. It was
a boon service given to the church by the folk during a spell of
leisure. Such service they were well accustomed to. The statesman not
only by custom immemorial, gave to his lord a day's labour at harvest
time, but he and his wife cheerfully turned into their neighbour's
field for the like. Sheep-clipping has survived as a boon service;
and what a man in old days gave to his fellow, he did not grudge to
his church.

  [203] Queen Elizabeth's Palace at Greenwich had its Presence
  Chamber, in 1598, "richly hung with tapestry and strewn with

Food and drink alone were the boon-workers' meed of old; and the
first entry that concerns the Rushbearing in the wardens' accounts
shows that the drink at least was looked for.

  1680--"For Ale bestowed on those who brought
      Rushes and repaired the Church                 00  01  00"

It appears from this entry that the boon service was not limited
to rush-bearing in old times; but that general repair was done by
willing craftsmen. The item for ale continues "on Rush-bearers and
others"; in 1684 it rises to 2s., and to 5s. 6d. next year. The
amount was perhaps considered excessive by the more temperate of
the parishioners--a runlet could be had for 3s.--and from 1690 the
charge "To Rushbearers" became a fixed one of 2s. 6d. At this figure
it stood for 150 years, though from 1774 the township of Grasmere
added on its own account a further 1s. for "Getting of rushes for the

The parochial charge "To Rushes for Church," 2s. 6d. appears for the
last time in 1841. With the paving of the floor, which took place in
1840, the need for the fragrant covering was over, and matting was
laid down--probably only in the aisles--in 1844, at an expense of
11s. 4d.

Up to then rush-strewing had been necessary. Burials in the earthen
floor had continued up to 1823; and the forms, from the gradual
sinking of the ground, had to be constantly lifted and re-set. Only
in 1828 the townships had gone to considerable expense in re-seating
and re-flagging their portions of the interior, and in the same year
a stray visitor to Grasmere expressed himself as shocked at the
primitive condition of the church. "I found the very seat floors
all unpaved, unboarded, and the bare ground only strewed with
rushes."[204] In the previous year T. Q. M. had found the villagers
seriously working at their annual task of strewing. It seems to have
been done informally, under the superintendence of the clerk; and
later in the day--nine o'clock it is said--came the spectacle and the
merry-making. A procession was formed, when the wild flowers--which
the children had been busily engaged during the day in gathering and
weaving into garlands--were carried to the church and laid there. An
adjournment was then made to a hay-loft, where dancing was kept up
till midnight, and where no doubt more than the parochial ale was
drunk. Old James Dawson, the fiddler, boasted to the stranger that he
had for forty-six years performed on the occasion. He complained of
the outlandish tunes introduced by the "Union Band chaps," who had
apparently superceded him in the honour of leading the procession.
But James may be said to lead the music in spirit yet, for a certain
march, used for an unknown period and handed down by his son Jimmy
(who succeeded him as village fiddler), is still played.

  [204] Morrison Scatcherd, quoted in the Rushbearing pamphlet
  compiled by Miss E. Grace Fletcher.

Clarke was present at the Festival at an earlier date,[205] and he
gives a rather different account of it. His description, however, is
of something he had seen in the past; and one is inclined to doubt
that the Rushbearing was ever held at the end of September. According
to him, the rushes were actually borne in the procession, which was
headed by girls carrying nosegays, the chief of whom (called the
Queen) had a large garland. When the work of strewing was done, and
the flowers laid in the church, the concourse was met at the church
door by the fiddler, who played them to the ale-house, there to spend
an evening of jollity.

  [205] _Survey of the Lakes_, 1789.

An account of the ceremony at Warton, earlier still,[206] gives an
interesting variation of custom. Here the floral decorations were
not separate from the rushes, but covered the bundles as crowns. The
smartest of them, trimmed with fine ribbon and flowers, were carried
in front by girls. The crowns were detached in the church, and
after the strewing of the rushes were left as ornaments. Artificial
trimmings were in use in Grasmere in 1828, for the stranger's eye
had been "particularly attracted by the paper garlands which I found
deposited in the vestry; they were curiously and tastefully cut, and
I was almost tempted to buy one of them." The sketch by Allom of
the Ambleside Festival in 1833 shows how elaborate and artificial
the bearings had become.[207] But taste and meaning could not have
been altogether banished for certain sacred emblems and devices
were cherished; and Moses in the Bulrushes, and the Serpent in the
Wilderness--the latter wholly composed of rushes--which are still
carried as "bearings" at Grasmere, are said to have been handed down
from a forgotten past. The same is claimed for the Ambleside Harp,
the strings of which are contrived from the pith of the rush--the
"sieve" of the olden days of rush-lights.

  [206] MS. account, given in Whitaker's _Richmondshire._

  [207] _Westmorland and Cumberland, etc., Illustrated_, 1833.

It has been seen that the joint payment by the townships for the boon
service ceased when the actual rush-strewing ceased. But the Festival
continued, though it was clearly changing its character and becoming
the children's Feast of Flowers. This is shown by Grasmere's special
contribution to the occasion. The annual gift, after rising a little,
is entered in 1819 as 3s. 9d., "To Rushbearers' Gingerbread paid
Geo: Walker." From that time Grasmere's expenditure for "Rushbearers
bread" is a constant though varying item. In 1839 it dropped as low
as 1s. 6d., which, supposing two-pennyworth to be the amount given to
each child, would represent but nine bearers. From this low figure
however it rose; and the languishing Festival was revived, if not
saved, by the munificence of Mr. Thomas Dawson, of Allan Bank, who
began about this time to present each bearer with 6d.[208] The
gingerbread item was often 6s.; in 1847 it was 9s. 10d.; in 1851
it is set down as "To Rushbearers 62," 10s. 4d. In 1856 13s. 6d.
was paid to A. Walker for "Rushbearers Cake," and in the next two
years the climax was reached by the sums £1. 1s. 5d. and £1. 1s.
The long-continued item then abruptly ceases--seventeen years after
the provision made for ale by the whole parish ceased--swept away
no doubt by the revolution in church-management and church-rates,
and for thirteen years there is a gap. When, however, the ancient
but now resisted church-rate was dropped in 1871, and all expenses
were defrayed from the large and gladly-paid offertory, the church
again provided for the Festival. The expenses were now put down under
"Rushbearing," as Bells 6s., Wilson 8s., Cakes 19s.; amounting to £1
13s., towards which the collection at the church service (for the
first time established) furnished 16s. 8d. Next year there was a
marked increase: Band £2, Joiners 8s., Ringers 6s., Gingerbread £1.
5s. 10d., and Baldry 4s. 1d.; total £4. 3s. 11d.; collection, £2.
18s. 1d. The payment to joiners must have been for making the frames
of the bearings, which have assumed many varied forms.

  [208] The wardens' accounts, given below, practically agree with
  the story as told in the _Rushbearing_ pamphlet, p. 24, where
  the Festival of 1885 is described, but apparently the date 1834
  should be 1839. "Before leaving the church-yard, the children,
  to the number of about 115, were each given a sixpenny piece, in
  accordance with the custom that has prevailed for over the last
  fifty years. The origin of this gift of sixpence will perhaps be
  of interest to many. In 1834 there were only seven rushbearers,
  and it seemed that this revered custom was on the decline. Mr.
  Dawson, of London, and owner of Allan Bank, was present, and
  he gave each of the rushbearers sixpence, which gift he has
  continued yearly ever since. The next year the numbers of bearers
  was increased to fifty, and year by year this figure has been
  added to. It is said that Mr. Dawson does not intend to continue
  his gift any longer, so that it appears the year 1885 will be
  the last one in which the children will receive their brand new
  sixpence, unless someone takes the matter in hand, or Mr. Dawson
  reconsiders his decision."

The Festival has, since 1885, taken place on the Saturday next to
St. Oswald's Day. The procession, from which everything gaudy and
irreverent has been eliminated, now makes a beautiful spectacle.
Children of all ages take part in it, even tiny toddlers, supported
by parent or grandmother. The floral burdens are deposited in the
church and the service held, when all disperse; and on the next
Monday the children have their feast with games and prizes, paid for
by the united contribution of the parishioners.

The Walker family, who for so long provided the gingerbread, are
remembered to have had a little shop--the only one in the place--and
it stood near the present one of Messrs. Gibson.[209] Presumably,
Dinah, the wife, baked the cake; and George, in the manner of the
time, pursued the additional trade of tailor. Mrs. Mary Dixon, of
Town End, was the gingerbread maker for many years, but has recently
given it up.

  [209] A supply of Kendal wigs (a special cake still made in
  Hawkshead) came to the shop once a week, as Miss Greenwood

       *       *       *       *       *

  "Grasmere Churchwardens' Account General Charge, 1834: to
  Rushes, 2/6. Grasmere in Part: to Gingerbread for Rushbearers,
  5/-. General Charge, 1835: to Rushes, 2/6. Grasmere in Part:
  to Gingerbread for Rushbearers, 4/6. 1836, General Charge: to
  Rushes, 2/6. Grasmere in Part: to Gingerbread for Rushbearers,
  3/6. 1837, General Charge, Grasmere in Part: to Gingerbread for
  Rushbearers, 3/-. 1838, General Charge, Grasmere in Part: to
  Ginger Bread for Rushbearers, 3/9. 1839, General Charge: to Two
  Years getting Rushes at 2/6, 5/-. Grasmere in Part: to Ginger
  Bread for Rushbearers, 1/6."


The continuity of village life is illustrated by the following list
of house names in Grasmere existing in the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries; all with asterisks are still there.--ED.


  1571 * The Wray.
  1574 * Brimahead.
  1576   The beck.
   "   * Underhelm.
   "     Bankhousehow.
  1577 * Turnhow.
  1579   Beckhousehow.
   "   * Blintarngill.
  1586 * Sick syd--(Syke side).
  1600   Beckhouses.
  1601 * Scorcrag.
  1604   The heirig.
  1611 * fforrest syd.
  1612 * Howhead--(How top).
  1613 * banriges--(Bainrigg).
  1614 * The wick, (or) wike--(Wyke).
   "     Wallend.
  1619 * Grenhead.
  1629 * Winterseeds.
  1630 * The mosse.
  1630 * Broadraine.
  1638 * Church Steele--(stile).
  1638   Knott place.
  1640 * Gilfoote.
  1642 * Gillside.
  1644 * Hollings.
   "   * Pademan--(Pavement End).
  1646   below sike.
  1651   beneath sike.
  1655 * Underhow.
   "   * Knothouses.
  1656 * Thornehowe.
  1669 * Tailend--(Dale end).
  1672 * Mosse side.
  1682   Mitchel place.
   "     Nicols.
   "   * Benplace.
  1683 * Underhowcragge.
  1684   Underlangcragge.


  1604   Townhead.
  1611   Townend.
  1640   Eiesdall.


  Above Beck, 192.

  Addison, James, 115.

  Adelaide, Queen, 149.

  Advowson, sale of, 63, 66.

  Agar, the Misses, 150.

  Airey, James, 185, 187, 188.

  Algiers, captives at, 214.

  Ambleside Chapel, 71, 89, 166, 174, 191.

  Ambleside Curates, 176, 177.

  Ambleside Hall, 183.

  _Ambleside Town and Chapel_, 181, _note_.

  Ambrose, Rev. John, 82-85, 90, 183.

  Appleby, 36, 53.

  Aston, Oxon, 39, _note_.

  Baisbrown, 62, 91.

  Banks, John, 86, 87, 126, 182.

  Baptists, 198, 202.

  Barber, Mr. Samuel, 173.

  Beaumont, Sir George, 151.

  Bell, Dr. Andrew, 172.

  Bellman, Mr., 146.

  Benson, Mrs. Dorothy, of Coat How, 130.

  ---- Edward, 92.

  ---- Francis, of Loughrigg Fold, 92, 195, 197.

  ---- John, 92, 183, 197.

  ---- Michael, 91.

  ---- Salomon, 73.

  Birkett, Christopher, 175.

  Braithwaite, the family of, 90, 91, 183.

  Brathay, 180, 191.

  Briefs, Church, 213, 214.

  Browne, Mr. George, 39, _note_.

  ---- MSS. of, 62, 175.

  Burials, 109, 110.

  ---- in woollen, 207.

  Cartmel, 12, 28 _note_, 37.

  Catalogue of 1661, 121.

  Charities, 214-216.

  Chester, Bishop of, 64, 65.

  ---- Dr. G. H. Law, Bishop of, 173.

  Church Stile, 30, 125, 163.

  Civil Wars, the, 73-77.

  Clayworth, 183, _note_.

  Close Rolls, Calendar of, 50.

  Colthouse, 194.

  Confession, Public, 33, _note_.

  Confirmations, 206.

  Coniston Church, 114.

  Coucy, Lords of, 48-50.

  Cox, Dr. J. C., _Parish Registers of England_, 57, 182, 207.

  Craik, Rev. John, 168, 169.

  Croft, Rev. Gabriel, 64-67.

  Cross, Great and Little, 108.

  Crosthwaite, 7, 36, 38, 70.

  Dale End, 170.

  Davis, Thomas, 169.

  Dawson, Anthony, 183.

  ---- James, 220.

  ---- Mr. Thomas, 222.

  De Quincey, Thomas, 172.

  Dixon, Mrs. Mary, 223.

  ---- Rev. Thomas, 164.

  Dove Cottage, 172.

  _Educational Charities_, 182, _note_.

  Elterwater, 62.

  Fire of London, the Great, 214.

  Firstfruits, 163, _note_.

  Fisher, Adam, 77.

  Fleming, arms of the family, 140.

  ---- Dame Agnes, 71, 215.

  ---- Sir Daniel, 86, 88, 89, 109, 112, 166, 195-197.

  ---- ---- account book of, 161, 164, 189.

  ---- Sir Daniel le, Bt., 173.

  ---- the Lady Diana le, 170.

  ---- Dorothy, 82.

  ---- Rev. Fletcher, 133, 174.

  ---- Rev. Sir George, Bt., 166-168, 206.

  ---- Rev. Henry, D.D., 163, 164.

  ---- Squire John, 36, 73, 214.

  ---- Lady le, 118, 173, 180.

  ---- Rev. Richard le, 173.

  ---- Sir Michael le, Bt., 170.

  ---- Rev. William, 167.

  ---- Sir William, Bt., 92, 163, 166, 169.

  ---- Squire William, 66, 67, 76, 109.

  Fletcher, Rev. H. M., 150, 174.

  ---- Miss E. Grace, 219.

  Forrest, the family of, 175.

  Fox, George, 85, 86, 194, 195.

  Friends, Society of, 85, 86, 92, 178, 194, 198.

  Galdington, Henry de, Rector of "Grossemer," 45.

  GRASMERE (Grassmire, Gresmer, Gresmire, Grossemer), 3, 19, 45.

  ---- Church, 33, 99-107.
    Altar, altar rails, 126.
    bells, 137-143.
    bench end, 108.
    books for, 126.
    Bread and Wine for, 75, 130-133.
    carved stone face, 104, 105.
    chest, 145.
    choir, 118, 119.
    church rate, 189-193.
    clock, 145, 146.
    corps cloth, corps stool, 143.
    decoration of, 115-118.
    dedication of, 14, 15.
    doors, 146, 147.
    earliest record of, 45.
    Font, 126, 150.
    furniture, 108, 120.
    implements, 145.
    pitchpipe, 119.
    plate, 129, 130.
    poor box, 126.
    presentments, 200-202, 210-216.
    registers, 204-209.
    renovation of, in 1841, 149.
    in 1879, 150.
    repairs to, 136, 137.
    roof, 106, 107, 136, 137.
    rough-casting of, 144, 149.
    Royal Arms, 129.
    Rydal Hall pew, 113.
    seats and seatings, 111, 112, 191, 192.
    secular use of, 33, 34, 37.
    sentences in, 114-116, 144.
    steeple (tower), 143.
    tithes, 45-47, 65, 66, 77, 90-93.
    tithe barn, 150.
    white-washing of, 143, 144.
    windows, 124-126, 145, 200.

  ---- Churchwardens, 38.
    accounts, 4, 133-135, 153-157, 190, 193.

  ---- Churchyard, 35, 151.
    graves in, 152.
    Langdale gate, 30.
    sundial in, 151.
    yewtrees, 151.
    secular use of, 35.

  ---- Curates of, 61, 62, 168-174.

  ---- "Eighteen," the, _see_ Sidesmen.

  ---- House names in, 224.

  ---- Overseers of, 37, 184.

  ---- Parish boundaries, 27.

  ---- Parish clerks, 184, 185.

  ---- Patrons of the living, 48-52.

  ---- Rectors of, 57-61, 161-174.

  ---- Rectory, 162, 164, 170, 171.

  ---- School, 181, 205.

  ---- Schoolhouse, 183, 187, 188.

  ---- Sidesmen, 28, 38, 39, 123, 183, 193

  ---- Townships, 24, 28-32, 123-125.

  ---- "Twenty-four," the, _see_ Sidesmen.

  Gell's Cottage, 173.

  Gilpin, Richard, 86.

  Gray, Thomas, 191.

  Greenwood, Mr., 185.

  ---- Miss, 186.

  Harrison, David, 71.

  Harrison, Richard, 72-77, 81-83.

  Harrison, Robert, 143.

  Hawkshead, 37, 100, 115, 116.

  Hearse, the, 145.

  Heywood, the Rev. J. H., 174.

  Hird, Rev. Michael, 181.

  ---- Rev. Robert, 181.

  Hodgson, Levi, 30 _note_, 144.

  Hoggart, Thomas, 217.

  Hollins, the, 18.

  Holme, Reginald, 197, 198.

  Huntingstile, 172.

  Independents, 84, 85.

  Jackson, Rev. Thomas, 170.

  ---- Rev. William, 68.

  Jefferies, Rev. Edward, 150, 174.

  Jennings, Rev. William, 174.

  Johnson, Rev. William, 171, 172.

  Kelbarrow, 15, 19.

  Kendal, Barony of, 24, 48, 49, 62.

  ---- Corporation MSS., 68.

  ---- Kirkby, 24, 25, 35, 53, 56, 99, 100.

  King's Evil, the, 207.

  Kirk How, 17, 19, 103.

  ---- Steel, _see Church Stile_.

  Kirktown, 19.

  Knott, Mrs. Dorothy, 141, 187.

  ---- Jane, 168.

  ---- Michael, 138.

  ---- Rev. Thomas, 165, 183.

  Langdale, Great or Mickle, 62, 178.

  ---- Chapel, 62, 70, 71, 88, 119, 171, 178, 179, 191.

  ---- Churchwardens' Accounts, 179.

  ---- Curates, 179.

  ---- Parson's House, 179.

  ---- Presentment, 179.

  ---- Rushbearing, 218.

  ---- School, 179.

  ---- Little, 58.

  ---- ---- Chapel, 62, 178.

  Langsha, John, 138.

  Lawson, Colonel Wilfrid, 73, 76.

  Lindesay, William de, 19.

  Lindesay Fee, 50, 51, 63.

  Lloyd, Rev. Owen, 179, 180.

  Loughrigg Fold, 197.

  Luff, Mrs., of Fox Ghyll, 130, 180.

  Lumley Fee, 64.

  Mackereth, the family of, 185, 186.

  ---- Rev. Gawen, 169.

  ---- George, 202.

  Maitland, Professor H. W., 39, _note_.

  Markets, 36.

  Marriages, Prohibition of, 206.

  Marshall, Mr. T. H., 192.

  Mears & Son, the Whitechapel Bellfounders, 141.

  Miller Bridge, 203.

  Monuments, 112, 113.

  More, Mrs. Hannah, 172.

  Mortuary fee, 26.

  Non-ratepayers, 194.

  Northumbria, Church and Kingdom of, 6-13, 23.

  Orfeur, Colonel, 75, 76.

  Osgood, John, 177.

  Oxford, Queen's College, 163.

  ---- ---- Provosts of, 173, _note_.

  Padmire End, _see_ Pavement End.

  Papal Registers, Calendar of, 45, 56.

  Parish-Register, 182.

  Patent Rolls, Calendar of, 49-51, 54-59.

  Patterdale, 7.

  Paupers, 184.

  Pavement End, 15, 72, 168.

  Pension Paid to St. Mary's Abbey, 47, 64.

  Peterson, Rev. M. F., 152, 174.

  Phillipps, Captain, 18, 191.

  Plague years, 204.

  Pope Nicholas I., 46.

  Presentments, 184, 200-202.

  Prisoner money, 37.

  Quakers, _see_ Friends.

  Quillinan, Mr. Edward, 172.

  Ravens, 37.

  Reading, 177.

  Record Office, the, 4.

  Redmayne, Mr. Giles, 180.

  Reformation, the, 62-72.

  Registers, the Grasmere Church, 182, 184, 204-209.

  Restoration, the (1660), 88, 178.

  Richmondshire, Archdeaconry of, 24, 46, 64.

  Richmond Fee, 48.

  Ripon, 9, 12.

  Roman Road, 16.

  Rushbearing, the Grasmere, 217-223.

  ---- Hymn, 180, 218.

  Rydal Chapel, 180, 191.

  ---- Hall, 73-77, 170.

  ---- Hall accounts, 72, 77, 90, 173.

  ---- Hall MSS., 4, 183.

  ---- and Loughrigg, 125, 189, 193.

  Saint Oswald, 7, 8, 14, 217.

  ---- ---- Well of, 14.

  ---- Wilfrith, 8.

  Scatcherd, Morrison, 219, _note_.

  Sess, 199.

  Slate quarries, 207.

  Smithy, 17.

  Steeple house, 89, 195.

  Strickland, Walter de, 55.

  Sumner, Miss Helen J. H., 205, 209.

  Tailbois, Ivo de, 18, 48.

  Tail End, _see_ Dale End.

  Thanet, Earl of, 216.

  Tremenheere, Mr., 191.

  Venn, Mr., 172.

  Visitation, 211.

  Walker family, the, 223.

  Wallas, Rev. John, 84, 90, 182.

  Watson, John, 17, 187, 142, 146, 147.

  White Bridge, 19.

  ---- Moss, 16.

  Whithorn in Galloway, 6.

  Wilson, Edward, senior, 119, 144, 145, 146.

  ---- ---- junior, 18, 36, 118 _note_, 188.

  ---- Rev. Henry, 71-73, 79-83, 181.

  ---- Rev. John, 71, 181, 205.

  ---- Rev. Thomas, 182.

  Windermere, 23, 28, 34, 46, 100, 210.

  ---- Ferry-boat accident, 208.

  Winterseeds, 17, 142.

  Wool trade, the, 93, 106.

  Wordsworth, Dorothy, 170.

  ---- William, 170, 172.

  ---- ---- monument to, 152.

  Wray, the, 15, 18, 189.

  York, 6, 9, 140, 181.

  ---- Archbishops of, 24, 56.

  ---- Bellfoundry at, 141.

  ---- Saint Mary's Abbey, 46, 47, 53, 54, 64, 65.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

Variations in spelling, punctuation and hyphenation have been
retained except in obvious cases of typographical error.

Missing page numbers are page numbers that were not shown in the
original text.

Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

Small capital text has been replaced with all capitals.

The carat character (^) indicates that the following letter
is superscripted (example: S^t). If two or more letters are
superscripted they are enclosed in curly brackets (example: 35^{to}).

Footnote 181: [=a] indicates macron over "a". Example: (P[=a]ter)

Page 175: The closing ) was missing in the following and has been
added by the transcriber: "It may be well to give a list of the
Post-Reformation parsons of Ambleside (rectified according to present
knowledge), as well as the evidence of a provision made for them in

The transcriber has moved the "V" section of the index into
alphabetical order.

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