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Beetham Parish Index

Kendal Ward

Beetham Parish History


· Beetham

· Farleton

· Haverbrack

· Meathop

· Witherslack




Beetham Parish is a large mountainous district at the south-western extremity of the county lying on both sides of the estuary of the Kent river, being bounded on the west and south by Lancashire and the sands of Morecambe Bay, and on all other sides by the parishes of Burton, Heversham and Kendal. Besides the Kent, it is intersected by the Belo, the Kendal and Lancaster canal, and several smaller streams. It is divided into four townships and one chapelry, of which the following forms the enumeration with the number of inhabitants in 1801, 1811, and 1821, and the estimated annual value of the lands and buildings in 1815:





Annual Value £










Beetham Township







Farleton Township







Haverback Township







Meathop & Ulpha Township






















BEETHAM, a neat village lying in the secluded vale of the Belo, 1 ½ miles S. of Milnthorp, on the new road from Lancaster to Ulverstone, which was formed about 1820, and is here carried over the Belo, by a new bridge near the noisy water fall at Beetham mill. The rock crossing the river, 66 feet in breadth, is 16 feet in perpendicular height, down which the water, after heavy rains, falls "with a mighty noise," but in summer the water is nearly all diverted to the two corn mills on the opposite shores. The river in old records is called Betha, and has evidently given name to the village, where there is a paper and pasteboard manufactory. The CHURCH, as well as part of the village, stands in Haverback township, and is dedicated either to St. Leoth or St. Michael, but to which has not been ascertained. It is an ancient gothic edifice with side aisles, a tower, and three bells, and contains several neat monuments, one of which was raised in 1824 in memory of the late Daniel Wilson, Esq. The living is a vicarge in the patronage of the King, as Duke of Lancaster, and incumbency of the Rev. Joseph Thexton, who has recently built a new Vicarage House. It is valued in the king’s books at 13 l. 7s. 6d., and is now only worth about 100l. a year arising from 13l. paid out of the rectory; 4l. 10s. out of the small tithes; the rent of three inclosures at Kellet, purchased by Mrs. Dorothy Wilson, in 1707; an estate at Priest Hutton, purchased with 200l. obtained from Queen Anne’s bounty; 100l. given in 1722, by Edward Colston; 100l. given by James French; and 60l. by the Rev. James Smith; and an estate at Yelland, purchased in 1731 with 200l. given by Elizabeth Palmer, and 200l. obtained from Queen Anne’s bounty. The Rectory of this church was given by Ivo de Talebois to St. Mary’s Abbey, York, and after the dissolution continued in the Crown till the 9th of James I who granted it to Sir Francis Ducket, of Grayrigg, reserving the ancient fee farm rent of 25l. and the yearly payment of 13l. to the vicar. The great tithes were afterwards sold to various proprietors, and the small tithes were purchased in 1756 for the vicarage, but as the whole crown rent of 25l. is now settled on them, the vicar only derives from them about 4l. 10s. yearly. Beetham GRAMMAR SCHOOL was built out of the parish stock about 1663, and re-built in 1827. It has been endowed with bequests amounting to about 37l. yearly, arising from 25A. 1R. 30P. of land (given in 1815 at the enclosure of the Commons in lieu of the wool and lamb tithes of part of the parish) the interest of £245, and the wool and lamb tithes of Haverbrack. The CHARITIES belonging to the poor are enumerated at pages 36 and 37, except 60l. left in 1820, by the late Daniel Wilson, Esq. who directed the interest to be distributed in bread. About forty yards from the school there formerly stood a Chapel dedicated to St. John, and near it many human bones have been dug up in a place now converted into a garden. The Manor of Beetham is of the Richmond fee, but at the Conquest was possessed with ttherest of the parish by Tosti, Earl of Northumberland, and was afterwards held by a family of its own name, the last of whom on record is Thomas de Betham, M.P. for Westmorland, in the 3rd of Henry VI. In 1767 Lord Clifford sold this manor with the demesne called Cappleside, for 2,500l. to Daniel Wilson, Esq. of Dallam Tower, whose descendant, George Wilson, Esq., is the present owner, and holds here a Court Leet and Baron, and View of Frankpledge yearly within a month of Michaelmas. Arbitrary fines and heriots are paid on the death of lord or tenant; but many of the estates have been enfranchised. Beetham Hall, now a farm house, was anciently a large fortified mansion with a spacious park where the remains of a lodge may still be seen. The hall or castle stands in an area 70 yards long and 40 borad, enclosed by a wall 3 ½ feet thick, and having loop holes about three feet from the ground. The front of the house was 87 feet in length, but a great part of it has long been in ruins. About 1 ½ miles S. of Beetham are the ruins of Helslack Tower, within one mile W. of which is Arnside Tower, also in ruins. These towers seem to have been erected to guard the Bay of Morcambe, as there are on the opposite shore vestiges of Broughton and Bazin Towers, eastward from which the peat mosses of "Melthop, Ulva, and Foulshaw," were inaccessible.

The Township of Beetham includes the hamlets of ARNSIDE, HALL, STORTH, WASSEL, HELSLACK, and SLACKHEAD, all being within 2 ½ miles SW. of the village. The township extends along the south side of the Kent’s mouth to the head land called Arnside Point, beyond which the river is navigable for small vessels to the hamlet of Storth, and on the shore are two wharfs and warehouses, where slate and other commodities are brought to be shipped for Liverpool and other ports on the western coast.

The sands here are well adapted for bathing, and though there is only water sufficient for this healthy recreation during three or four of the highest tides in each fortnight, many visitors come hither in summer, the air being remarkably salubrious, and the scenery in the neighborhood beautifully diversified and picturesque. There are three public houses on the shore, with Ferry-boats for conveying passengers to that part of the parish lying on the opposite side of the sands, which are about a mile in breadth. Near the village is Beetham House, the handsome villa of William Hutton, Esq., and near it is Elmsfield House, the seat of William Cotton, Esq.; and at the foot of Arnside Knot is Ash Meadow, the modern seat of William Berry, Esq., commanding an extensive view of the sandy bay, covered one hour with ships, and another with carriages and pedestrians. The plantations about Ash Meadow are in a most thriving condition, and the fruit trees extremely luxuriant, though they are many of them within a few yards of high water mark. The indigenous wood of the country flourishes best. The large coppices in the neighbourhood are chiefly hazel, and yield immense quantities of nuts.

FARLETON, a village and township, on the east side of the canal, 3 miles E. of Milnthorp, where there are several lime-kilns, and the hamlets of Akebank and Overthwaite. Farleton Knot, which rises above the village, is a lofty scar of limestone rock, on the summit of which are seven springs, and an abundance of musical stones. The manor, which was formerly included with Beetham, was sold to the tenants by Sir Richard Hutton, in 1693, and now pays only a free rent of 24s. yearly to the Earl of Derby, as superior lord.

HALE, a hamlet in Beetham, 1 ½ mile S. of Milnthorp.

HAVERBACK, a hamlet, ½ a mile NW. of Beetham, to which its township extends, and contains part of the village, with the parish church, as had already been seen. DALLAM TOWER, the seat of Geo. Wilson, Esq., on the north side of the township, near the confluence of the Kent and the Belo. This elegant mansion was erected in 1720, on the site of the old hall, which had been built out of the ruins of an ancient tower. The Park was planted about the same time, and has now a grove of fine oak wood. The house has recently been enlarged and ornamented with a handsome portico: the Park has also been extended, and now abounds with deer. In the turn of the river near the House is Dallam Wheel, where formerly was a very strong eddy, in which three brothers, "grown up to man’s estate," were drowned whilst bathing; one of them being first drawn into the circling water, where the others also perished by endeavouring to save him. The manor of Haverbrack was given to Conishead Priory, and after the dissolution was granted to William Thornburgh. It was subsequently purchase by three adventurers, in prospect of a lead mine, but was soon afterwards sold to Henry Parker, who successor, Edward Parker, Esq., sold it to Edward Wilson, an ancestor of its present possessor, George Wilson, Esq., who occasionally holds a Court Baron, and receives arbitrary fines from the tenants, who have not enfranchised their estates.

MEATHOP AND ULPHA, two hamlets, forming a joint township in Witherslack chapelry, lying on the north side of the estuary of the Kent, from 3 to 4 miles W. by S. of Milnthorp.

STORTH, a village in Beetham township 2 ½ miles S. by W. of Milnthorp.

WHASSET, a hamlet in Beetham township, 2 miles SW. of Milnthorp.

WITHERSLACK township lies north of Meathop and Ulpha township, which is comprised within its chapelry. A long and lofty scar, broken in some places like a fortress, divides the township into the two divisions, called East and West Sides, in which are a number of scattered dwellings, and the hamlets of Witherslack, Foulshaw, Low-Wood, and Town-End, distant from 2 ½ to 5 miles NW. of Milnthorp. Here is another range of rocks, called Whitbarrow Scar, which affords a romantic view of the surrounding country. The Chapel, dedicated to St. Paul, was built by Dr. John Burwick, Dean of St. Paul’s who died in 1664, and bequeathed the impropriate rectory of Lazonby, in Cumberland, to which his brother, Peter Barwick, M.D. added the demesne and hall of Hareskeugh, near Kirkoswold, for the purpose of allowing yearly 40s. to the vicar of Lazonby, £26 to the curate and schoolmaster of Witherslack, £4 for repairing this chapel, and £10 for binding out poor apprentices or marrying poor maids within this chapelry. But these allowances have been greatly augmented, owing to the increased value of the Charity lands, etc. which now produce £400 per annum, and have at different times enabled the Trustees to contribute towards procuring augmentations to the chapel from Queen Anne’s bounty, and to give dowries with deserving brides, amounting sometimes to thirty or forty pounds each. They also in 1824, erected a Girls’ School, in addition to the Boys’ School, founded by Dr. Barwick. The Simpson’s Ground Estate in Cartmel parish, was purchased in 1755 with ten bequests, and now yields £12 10s. yearly to the poor of Witherslack. The chapel is a neat edifice, with a square tower and three bells. Its burial-ground is remarkable for the number and beauty of the yew trees with which it is margined. The living is a curacy, in the patronage of the trustees of Dr. Barwick’s charity, and incumbency of the Rev. John Dawson. In 1749 and 1759 is received two augmentations, amounting to £800, with which land was purchased. The Rev. Noble Wilson is the assistant curate and schoolmaster. About a mile from the chapel is Holy Well, where a spring of a laxative and purging chalybeate water was discovered in 1656, but has now disappeared. Witherslack manor, which comprehends the whole chapelry, anciently belonged to the Harrintons, or Haveringtons, on who attainder it was granted by Henry VII to Sir Thomas Broughton, who was also attainted; and the same king granted the manor to the first Earl of Derby, to whose descendant, the present Earl, it still belongs, though it was many years withheld by the Laybourns and Withams. The Earl holds his manor court yearly at the Derby Arms on the second Tuesday after Trinity. The Hall is now occupied by a farmer, and when the Laybourns inhabited it, had a Park well stocked with deer. Near it is an extensive wood, between the Scar and the rivulet which divides Westmorland and Lancashire, opposite to Cartmel fells. The Fishery in the river Belo belongs to the Earl of Derby, Hon. F. G. Howard, and George Wilson, Esq. The two last claim from St. John’s Cross, upon the sands, up to another cross of the same name, above Beetham Bridge.

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Marked 1, reside in Hale; 2, at Slack Head; 3, at Whasset. Thus are in Haverbrack township.

2 Alexander William, stonemason

Berry William, Esq. Ash Meadow, Arnside

Berry Walter, carrier, Quay; h. Milnthorp

2 Bishpin John, Blacksmith

Bindlass Richard, gent.

2 Breaks Thomas, skoemkr.

Burrow Ciceley, vict. Board, Dixes

1 Cotton John, gentleman

Cotton William, Esq. Elmsfield house

1 Cowper William, Fell end

Ellam James, gamekeeper

Garlick John Clark, joiner

Greenwood Richard, ship owner & constant trader to Liverpool; Greenwood House

Hodgson Geoffrey, vict. Wheat Sheaf, and corn miller

1 Hodgson Henry, vict. King’s Arms Inn

Hodgson Miss Mary

2 Holme Arthur

Hutton Wm. Esq. Beetham house

Langhorne John, master of the Grammar School

3 Leck Luke, shoemaker

Pearson William, grocer

Pilling Mrs. Jane

Rawsthorne Mrs. Jane

Shaw John, tailor

Shaw Thomas, grocer

Talbot Mrs. Jane

Thexton Rev. Joseph, vicar of Beetham

Thompson Richard, vict. Fighting Cocks, Sandside

Turner William, paper and pasteboard manufacturer, Waterhouse & Milnthorp

Whitaker Ann, grocer

Wilson Edward, vict., Ship, Sandside

2 Wilson Samuel, plasterer

Yeats Rev. Edward, A.M., senior Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, Ashton house



Thus * are Yeomen


1 Balshaw James

3* Barton Robert

1* Beetham John

1* Bradley Henry

* Burrow Rd. Leighton beck

Daniel Robt. Beetham hall

3 Dawson William

* Denison Robert

3* Denison Richard

3 Graham Richard

* Helme James, Leighton beck

1 Prickett Thomas, Pious Bridge

1 Robinson James, & perpetual overseer

1 Strickland Robert

1 Thexton John

3 Towers John



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Masheter Wm. vict. Duke of Cumberland

Preston John, wheelwright




Thus * are Yeomen; & thus are Lime-burners


Asker Edward, Overthwaite

* Atkinson John

Atkinson Thomas

* Cartmel Thomas, gent.

Harrison John, Akebank

* Hutton Robert

* Hutton Rowland

Thompson William

Wilcock John, Akebank


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Bailiff Jas. Lodgings, Kellet house

Hudson Misses Elizabeth & Isabella

Hudson Rev. John, M.A., vicar of Kendal

Wilson George, Esq. Dallam Tower

Wilson Robert, gentleman, Morecambe cottage




Marked thus * are Yeomen; 1, at Arnside,; 2, in Haverbrack; 3, in Helslack; and 4, at Storth


1* Barker Robert

4* Barrow Mary

4* Bouskill William

1 Bouskill Robert

2 Camm John

4* Clark Mrs.

2* Cornthwaite Richard

4 Crosfield John

4* Green John

1 Harrison John, Arnside Tower

1* Hayes Robert

4 Hornsby Joseph

4* Hornsby William

4 Hudson Preston

4* Kirkby Isaac

4 Nicholson James

4* Pearson John

1* Saul William

1* Saul Thomas

4* Scarborough John

4 Sill Edward

4* Stephenson Christopher

3 Titterington Mary & John Helslack Tower

1 Whinnery John

1 Wilson John



 MEATHOP AND ULPHA - Marked 1 reside at Ulpha



Thus * are Yeomen


Atkinson Edward

* Barrow James

* Barrow John

* Barrow John, gentleman

Clarke William

Lowe Thomas

1 Martindale Susannah

Nicholson William

1 Tomlinson James

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WITHERSLACK - Marked † reside West of Witherslack; 1, at Poulshaw; 2, Low Wood; 3, Town-end; 4, at Witherslack village; and the rest East of Witherslack Fell

Banes Sarah, grocer, Woodbine cottage

Barrow John, wood hoop manufacturer, Beck head

Bell John, corn miller

Bell James, malster, mill

Bell Wm. wood hoop mfr. Spa Inn

Birkett Daniel, grocer, Ulverstone road

Dawson Rev. John, incumbent, Glebe house

4 Haresnape John, wheelwright

Herbert John, shoemaker, Smithy house

3 Hewartson Thomas, charcoal manufacturer

2 Hodson, John, shoemaker

Hodgson Wm., auctioneer, Primrose hill

Martindale Tobias, wood turner, Sunny bank

Moon Tobias, basket maker, Beck head

Park Wm. basket manufacturer, mill

4 Parrington Richard, vist. Derby’s Arms, Ulverstone road

Sargeant Wm. English wood dealer, Beck head

Sawrey John, auctioneer, High Yeat

4 Wilson Rev. Noble, master of the Free schol and assistant curate





Thus * are Yeomen


Addison Thomas, Barker’s Browfoot

Backhouse John, Low Fell end

* Barker John, Moss how

4* Barron William

Benson Jno. Strickland hill

2 Birkett Betty

Birkett John, Beck head

4* Bownas Wm. Fletcher

Butterfield Wm. Black Bull

3 Clifton John

1 Cottom Henry, High

2* Dickinson Frank

Garnett Abraham, Birks

Gibson Ann, Strickland hill

4 Gibson Wm. Smithy

* Hall Wm. Bowes lodge

2 Hoggarth George

4 Hoggarth John

Helliwell Nicholas, Halecat

Kirkby Matthew, Kirkby nook

Moon Peter, Ballart how

1 Nelson Robert, Middle

Otway Thomas, Swinners

Park Wm. Nether hall

Sarrat John, Summer hill

3 Stephenson Abraham

Stephenson William, Latter barrow

Stephenson William, Latter barrow

Stockdale William, Hall

Thornborrow Rt. Fell end

1 Webster Alexander, Law

* Wharton Thomas, Halecat

* Wilkinson Thos. Barker’s Brow foot

* Woof Richard, Cay Moss

Young, John, Nicholas


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Beetham Parish Index

Kendal Ward