The farms and houses in the village and the valley were originally built around a wooden frame, using local materials. The frame was then covered with wattle and daub, made from clay and dung, or with woven heather walls. The roofs were thatched, again using heather. Later, houses were built using stone from the fields or the local quarries. The slatefor the roofs also came from local mines and quarries. Prior to 1830, nobody was allowed to build on the mosses, because of the danger of flooding.
Many farmhouses still have the hanging shelves, below the ceiling rafters, where haver bread was stored. This unleavened, country bread was made from oats, coarse in texture and made to last! The kitchens had the old fire ranges with a boiler to heat water, on one side, and an oven to bake with, on the other side.
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Arndale Cottage is now one house, made from two tiny cottages. It is situated just up Lamb Howe Lane. The cottages were probably occupied by the woodsmen, who made swills and besoms from coppice wood. At the turn of the last century it was owned by Mr "Pont" Pearson, a man fond of his drink. Around 1900, he made a drunken bet, using the cottage as the stake. He lost the bet. When he told his parents, they said he must honour his word and build himself a new house! This he did, just across the road from Lamb Howe, calling it New House. The story continues under "New House and Damson Dene". Later Mr and Mrs William Thornburrow, Dennis Inman's aunt and uncle, retired here from High Yews.
Affectionately known as the "Tin Bungalow", Mr and Mrs Airdrie Cartmell lived here, early in the 20th century and their only son, Peter, was born here. It was situated opposite "Nancy Well", which May Armstrong talked about using, when she lived at Skelcies. After the mains water arrived in the village, the well was deemed by the "authorities" to be too dangerous for children and so was filled in.
Local men, including Ted Inman, Ted Wilson and Tommy Winder, built this little bungalow, at the top of Totter Bank, in Cowslip field, for Mr Robert Wilson of Yews. The new stone for the outer walls was quarried from an adjoining field and used along with recycled stone from a demolished barn at Starnthwaite. Robert Wilson's son, John, had to use trace-horses to cart the stone up the steep slope of Totter Bank.
At one time the property was owned by the Church of England and occupied by Sister Evelyn May. It was renamed Cuthbert's Corner because, it is said, the piece of land was given to the Celtic saint 1,300 years ago. The small stone outhouse was converted into a chapel and the Bishop of Carlisle celebrated the Eucharist there on a Midsummer's Day in the 1980s. Derek Wilson, the grandson of the original builder, owns it now.
Borderside is the house, just inside the Parish boundary, built by William Pearson, in the middle of the last century, for his new bride, Ann Greenhow. William wrote to his friends, William and Dorothy Wordsworth, that his cottage exhibited "a goodly row of chimneys with pretty round tops on square pedestals, the only specimens yet in Crosthwaite of the revived good old fashion". The style was one favoured by Wordsworth.
William Pearson was born in 1780, close to Borderside, at Low Yews, originally known as "Yews", which was owned and farmed by his father.
He was educated at the schools in Crosthwaite and Underbarrow. He was also encouraged, in his early life, by his father's interest in all things scientific and by a collection of books at home and borrowed from a Kendal book club.
During his long and interesting life, he was at various times a teacher, a private tutor, grocer's assistant, bank clerk and farmer. It was with money saved whilst working at the offices of Messrs Jones, Fox and Co.in King Street, Manchester, over a period of 17 years, that he was able to buy the Borderside estate.
Returning to Crosthwaite in 1820, he was able to spend more time in writing about subjects close to his heart. He wrote essays and articles about country life, folklore, philosophy as well as poetry. He campaigned on issues, such as the repeal of the Corn Laws, the game laws and the Married Woman's Property Act.
At Borderside, he planted over 300 new fruit trees, apples, pears and plums. His interest in farming and horticulture led him to write articles for the Kendal Natural History Society and to meet and form a lasting friendship with Dorothy and William Wordsworth. William Pearson first came to know the Wordsworths through Ann Relph, the daughter of Tobias and Dorothy Atkinson, of Spout House. She was a contemporary and friend of Dorothy, William Wordsworth's sister. He helped the Wordsworths in farming matters, finding hay, straw, fruit and potatoes for them.
Letters on these subjects, and also on natural history and poetry were exchanged over the years. He also went fell walking with them, around Rydal.
t was the Wordsworths' itinerary of Italy and Switzerland, which William and Ann followed on their honeymoon.
The Pearsons married late, he being 60, she 53. They moved into their new house at Borderside in 1848, kept company by robins, fish and their ponies! William built a fishpool near the house fed by a crystal clear spring which, even today, needs no treatment to make it pure. The old house continued to be tenanted until it was demolished in the 1990s. It had a plaster panel over the fireplace, bearing the initials AP and a date of 1686.
William died in 1856. His nephew Thomas Pearson inherited the "new" house and Pearsons still live there today.
The hamlet of Bowland Bridge, Post Office, inn and cottages was owned by the Walker family. The inn was run in conjunction with a small farm. The shop employed other members of the family. The pub, shop and three cottages were sold in 1945, to comply with the will of Nana Elizabeth Walker, for the sum of just under £5,000. The bridge was built from rubble with one span. The earliest part may be 17th century, although it had to be rebuilt, so strengthening it in 1991. The old blacksmith's shop further along from the pub is now a private house.
The hamlet of Bridge End has not been within the boundaries of Crosthwaite and Lyth, since the River Gilpin was diverted, when the stone bridge was built. However, this small hamlet is the gateway to the valley. Its garage, inn, smithy, cottages, butcher's and chip shop are all used by those who live in the valley.
Bridge End has had several different names on the old maps, Sampul, then Sampool, Bridge Inn and now Gilpin Bridge. The original wooden bridge was known locally as New Bridge, because every year it was washed away in the floods and had to be rebuilt! This was replaced by the stone bridge, which stands there today.
The smithy, built in the early 19th century, has had two known owners, the Brockbanks and the Fletchers. The Brockbanks moved to Pool Bank, where they set up a smithy (see The Brockbanks of Lyth in our genealogy section). These Brockbanks were the ancestors of Mrs Ainsworth, who farmed with her husband at Pool Bank until recently. Hartley Trotter remembers the Fletchers being at Bridge End, Joe followed by his son Peter. Peter contributed a lot of information to this book, before he died, sadly, in 2002.
The smithy has recently been sold, leaving just one smithy in the valley. Thanks to the Levens Local History Group for the colour picture of the Smithy before it was demolished.
The butcher's and chip shop are fairly new additions to Bridge End (they have since closed 2009 ed). They were built by George Denney of Johnscales and are now owned by his daughter Liz and her husband Peter Clarke.
The Broad Oak Farm Trust was started, when trustees John Knipe of Flodder, Thomas Robinson of The High and Tobias Atkinson of The Spout purchased the property of that name, in February 1732 for £520. They borrowed the money to make the purchase. After their deaths in November 1734, May 1738 and February 1746 or 1747, Thomas Robinson's son, also Thomas, became a trustee and appointed five others to join him, John Cartmell, Joseph Taylor, Robert Garnett, Daniel Dickinson and Miles Turner. These six trustees set out the conditions for the charity. The rent received for the farm was available for distribution between the schoolmaster, the vicar and the poor of the parish, in agreed proportions. The trustees were to receive 28% of the income, for repairs and renewals, the vicar and the poor of Crosthwaite, 29% each and the schoolmaster 14%. Some examples of costs incurred by the trustees are; walling in 1770 cost one shilling per yard; in 1760, 33 apple trees were purchased for 17s/6d and 3 pear trees for 2/-; £2 was spent on employing a man to beat the dogs out of church! In 1803, under the Enclosures Act, an allotment of 16 acres and one rood, near to Thorper Dyke, was awarded to the Broad Oak Charity.
The farm at High Cartmell Fold was probably in existence in the early 16th century. What you see today is a long building of varying heights and periods.
Some features such as mullioned windows and cellar walls are original, but the two massive limestone fireplaces date from the late 17th or early 18th century.
Frances Mary Cartmell put in "modern" Victorian sash windows, to replace the earlier ones and a marble fireplace in her bedroom. Below the farmhouse is an old cruck barn. Adjoining it is the barn, built by Frances Mary in 1909, to stable her beloved horses.
Cartmells have been in Crosthwaite since 1390 when Adam de Cartmell held land from Philippa, wife of the late Earl of Oxford. By 1535 the family were at Cartmell Fold, which they farmed until sometime after the First World War, when the farm was let successively to Robert Clarke, Ernest Dobson and then his son Alan. Cartmells live there again now.
Low Cartmell Fold is of the same period as High Cartmell Fold. It was once let to two families, but now it is one house again. There is a very large porch on the front of the house and the door is extremely thick. When Alan Newton researched the farmhouse, it had a lock 10 inches by 6 inches and the doorposts had three large bar holes, suggesting that the occupants were expecting attacks. There was some evidence of a priest's hole, behind a cupboard in the wall, next to the stairs. The mullions were made of oak, with metal bars across the windows. The kitchen floor was unusual in that half was stone flagged and the other half was the original stone bedrock.
Some people who have lived there recently claim to have seen the ghost of a little girl. Peter Cartmell remembers the barn at Low Cartmell Fold being used as a dancing school in the 1920s.
Cowmire Hall (pronounced Coo-mer or Co-mer) is a late 17th century farmhouse incorporating a pele tower of about 1500, built by the Brigg family. There was probably a hall-house there before that date. It stands in the Winster Valley, below Whitbarrow Scar. Its proximity to Cartmel Fell Church, on the opposite side of the valley, meant that the family always attended that church, even though the house is within the parish of Crosthwaite and Lyth. The Brigg family were important, wealthy benefactors in the area and probably helped build the church in 1504. In 1675 the Newbys owned Cowmire. Isabel Newby, only child of William Newby, married Richard, the seventh son of Sir Daniel Fleming of Rydal.
Richard built the Hall onto the old tower, removing the top of the latter.
The front or east of the three-storey Hall has seventeen windows and a hooded porch over the front door. The pele tower lies behind this, and was one of the numerous peles in Westmorland, Cumberland and Northumberland which were built, up until the Battle of Flodden in 1513, to protect people and stock from border raiders. The roundarched mullioned windows in the tower appear to be by the same mason as those in the church. One of the two tunnel-vaults in the basement, now an office, was once used as a dairy.
Over the elaborate hall fireplace, carved with a border of grapes and leaves, is a circular panel with Richard Fleming's coat-of-arms.
A fine oak staircase, with large ball finials on its newel posts, climbs up from the hall in short, straight flights. In the bothy across the farmyard, now an attractive holiday flat, are the remains of an old loom, possibly for weaving silk.
Until 1934 Mr and Mrs John Carruthers lived there. One of their five children, Rebecca, married William Inman, the miller at Crosthwaite Mill. The Hall is now the home of Mr. and Mrs Oliver Barratt, who make the renowned Cowmire Damson Gin from fruit grown in their own orchard and from other local farms.
Looking north, up Starnthwaite Road, by Crosthwaite Green, the house on the right is Dodds Cottage, once the home of the Crosthwaite family and the old Post Office. Both Elizabeth and her daughter, Isabella, were dressmakers.
To the left can be seen two cottages, both called North Cottage. The far one was the home of Joe Davidson, who ran the joiner's shop on the Green. His wife was a district nurse and she let one of her rooms to Dr White for use as a surgery, two mornings a week. She was one of only a handful of trained midwives in Westmorland. Open-air religious services were held on the Green, outside Joe's joiner's shop. If the weather turned wet, everyone went into the building. Apparently when Joe was a boy, he was very naughty. If anything was amiss the local bobby was always on Joe's doorstep first. According to his daughter Eva, never a day went by at school without a caning for some misdemeanor. He and a few others once smeared Mrs Moon's door handle with a very unsavoury substance! She lived at Dodds Howe Cottage and immediately informed the local policeman. When he arrived at Joe's house, he asked if Joe had a hand in the mischief. "No," stammered Joe in reply, "but Mmmary Mmmoon did!" He bred fighting cocks in a pen, in a field behind North Cottage and used to take them to cock fights with his friend, Ben Edwards.
The joiner's shop building was sold to Dick Hartley in the late 1950s. He kept chickens and his car in it. One night the barn went up in flames and burnt to the ground! Fortunately nobody was hurt and even the car was elsewhere at the time of the fire. It remained a shell until the 1980s, when it was rebuilt and named Damson Cottage.
The nearer cottage was the home of Annie Shepherd, also a district nurse. She lived there, with her two sisters and her nephew, Harry, known to all as "Kippers". He ran a cobbler's shop in a little wooden hut on the Green.
This large three-storey house, which is situated opposite the Church in the area known in the past as Church Town, was probably built early in the 19th century. The Cartmell family once owned it. Francis Mary Cartmell left an account for the outside decoration of the house (1890) and rent received from a Dr Garman in 1891/2. Thomas Noble and his wife lived at Eden Mount and had a garden next to St Mary's Church. He also rented the orchard and gardens of Crosthwaite House from Miss Cartmell. Obviously Dr Garman was not a gardener! It was rented in the 1960s by Albert and Doreen Dixon, who ran it as a bed and breakfast business. During that time they welcomed many famous people, including Henry Cooper's twin brother. Mr and Mrs Dawson now run it as a guesthouse.
This building still stands on the Gilpin, down the lane, opposite the Argles Memorial Hall. The roof is supported by a wonderful arrangement of heavy beams, to which is attached a swinging beam with chain pulleys, to raise sacks from the lower floors. It was mentioned in records as early as the 13th century. Over the last 200 years, it has been run as a grain mill by James Wilson, William, Frank and Edward (Teddy) Fox and from 1921 onwards by William (Billy) Inman, in partnership, for a while, with his brother Jack. In 1947, it was bought by Mr Buckley and tenanted by Joe Kegg. He bought it from Mr Buckley in 1950 and ground oatmeal and a small amount of poultry meal. When he retired, it was sold and became a private residence. It is now owned by the Dove Nest Group, who run it as a Management Training Centre.
As the name suggests, this farm was once the home of the Dawson family. Jane and Rowland Dawson are mentioned in the records as living there in 1655. Around this time Dawson Fold was home, briefly, to a school. It moved afterwards to Hartbarrow in Cartmel Fell. Mr Frankland was the schoolmaster.
Later it was owned by John Marshall, who sold it in 1729 to John Dickinson. In 1884 William Dickinson left Dawson Fold to Arthur Hoggarth, in his will.
The farm and its 85 acres of land were tenanted by Matthew Walling.
His mother was Elizabeth Martindale and her grandmother had been a Dickinson from Dawson Fold! When Matthew died in 1924, his son William took over the tenancy, followed by his sons, George and James.
L. S. Hoggarth lived in the new house, arriving in the 1930s. Around this time road improvements, next to the house, were carried out. When Major Hoggarth's wife died, she left Dawson Fold to Mrs Barr. In the 1980s, she sold the farmhouse and land to the tenant, George Walling.
The big house, which had been built in 1860, was purchased by Gordon Pitt. Today the farm is owned and farmed by Christine Walling. She lives in the bungalow, next door and sells fruit and vegetables at the roadside stall. The old farmhouse was sold to the Midgley family.
Durham Bridge was built at the end of the 17th century, although in the Records of Kendale a John Banks is recorded as the owner in 1669, perhaps of an earlier building. In 1760 it was the property of John Dawson of Witherslack. He left his estate to his daughter Susannah, who married a Newby of Barber Green. His grandson, Thomas Newby Wilson, sold Durham Bridge to Mr Frank Argles in 1871, for £7,673. The Argles family still own Durham Bridge. There have been several tenants at the farm. William Wilson was followed by his son, William, who had eight children, William, Ted, John, Frank, Laura, Polly, Annie and Herbert. John took over from his father and farmed there until his retirement, when he went to live at Barrow Tenement.
After the Wilsons, Robert Tebay became the tenant. His landlord installed a water system, called a "ram", unique in the valley at that time. It enabled water to be pumped from Foulsteads up to the farm, without any electrical or fuel operated motors. When you cycled past, you could hear the thump of the ram. Robert Jackson, the local agricultural contractor used Durham Bridge as a base. The grass embankment opposite the farm was often home to the threshing, muckspreading and haymaking machinery that he used.
After the Tebays, Jack and Mary Myers took over the tenancy of Durham Bridge, having moved from Tarnside. They retired to Oak Lea in Crosthwaite Village and their son, David, lives there now, running a holiday lets enterprise in the farm buildings, which he has converted.
This farm nestles into the hillside on the eastern slopes of Whitbarrow. It was farmed by Thomas Atkinson in 1669, the same Atkinson family who owned Spout House Farm. In the 18th century Tobias Atkinson inherited the farm from his brother, Thomas. Their mother was Mary Knipe from Flodder Hall. The Atkinsons became related to the Argles family, when Jane Atkinson of Spout House married Captain George Argles. Burial records show that Thomas Halhead lived at Fell Side in the early 19th century and William Lawrence died there in 1871. In 1886 George Hayton had a farm sale there and two years later, the Westmorland Gazette reported a fatal accident. "Jonathan Walling fell whilst picking fruit and broke his neck. He was 48 years old, the brother of Matthew Walling of Dawson Fold." He was nursed for two days by his family but sadly died in great pain. He was a great loss to the farming community. He was the "Superintendent of the Cut". His duties were to make sure that the drainage ditches were clean, the tolls collected and that the workers did their jobs properly. His farm was in such good order through his hard, steady work, that he took first prize for the best-managed farm in the Agricultural Society's competition in this area. In the same newspaper, dated 1907, Mr Walling was said to have sold 32 cattle. Later the farm was occupied by Harry Dobson, John Park, Mr Bleasdale and then, Jim Bell. Today Mr and Mrs Peter Bell live at Fell Side.
Once known as "The Cottage", this old house was probably built in the late 17th century. It is listed in "Monuments of Westmorland" as being "a hundred yards east of the church". Within the last half of the 20th century, it has always been known as Guide Post Cottage but in this book it is named as "Crosthwaite Constabulary". This is interesting, because Mr Richardson, the village policeman in the 1930s, lived at Ormandy House, situated just behind this cottage.
Not so long ago, this was the home of the Matthews family. It was the joiner's shop. It is said that when Robert was asked the price of work done, he would start by saying, "Now let's see, 50d is 4 shillings and twopence!" Robert's son, William, carried on the business of joiner and undertaker when his father retired. The shop, to the left of the house, had a large grindstone and a plentiful supply of water from Haycote Lots. It had a large saw pit, where trees were cut by hand; one man in the pit, the other above the tree trunk, holding each end of the ripsaw. They had a steam saw fitted, but a disastrous fire in 1925 ended that enterprise. Later an engine was fitted to work the six foot diameter blade on the travelling bench, so that as the table moved forward, the trunk was sawn.
Some beautiful work was carried out there. An example, which can still be seen today, is the bier in Crosthwaite Church. After Billy retired from the undertaker's business, Anthony Clarke, his apprentice, took over and continues to this day, from The Ashes, Cartmell Fell.
This tiny cottage was built with two storeys but without the added benefit of stairs! To get to bed, you had to go outside and climb up the banking. At one time, Jane Pearson lived here. She was a friend of Mary Jane Wood, mother-in-law to "Whiskers" Inman from Draw Well.
The building dates from 1691, according to the carving on the outside framing and the occupant's initials were "WR". In the 18th century it was thought that coal, copper, lead or tin might be mined from the above The High, however, not sufficient quantities were found to make it a viable proposition. At that time it was owned by Lord Lowther.
Tony Schofield and his wife, Joan, farmed at The High for 25 years.
When they first moved to the farm, they had a dairy herd. Tony delivered milk to many hotels in South Lakeland, but when methods of collection changed, the big tankers would not go up to the farm. The family turned to raising beef cattle and sheep, despite the problems of working steeply sloping fields with a tractor. Tony has seen farming in the valley change dramatically since he first arrived in 1964, never more so as The High has now been converted into several homes and the fields sold off separately.
At one time, High Birks was rented by Bruce Rigg, from the trustees of John Cartmell's estate. He was a well-known horse dealer, travelling all over Britain and Europe, supplying horses to railway companies. His companion also had an extensive knowledge of horses, supplying heavy horses for dray work, and "vanners", light horses, for the delivery vans.
Bruce was a member of the Riggs' Hotel family, from Windermere. He wined and dined his clients at the hotel before a sale. Sometimes he would buy up to a hundred horses at a time. Canadian horses were driven from Kendal railway station. Ponies were kept in a field next to Bowland Bridge, no doubt destined to become pit ponies. In 1930, a hunter horse trial was held at High Birks. The weather was foul but it did not deter the hundred or so competitors from taking part. They jumped over walls, hedges and becks. Mr Harry Dobson, from Broad Oak, won the top prize, a saddle. Just before the War, several good horses died from a serious illness called "grass sickness".
Pam Bownass recalls that in the attic, there was a huge old linen press, which took up almost all of the space there. It was a large wooden platform, with a cover on rollers, weighted down by enormous rock slabs.
The cover was moved from one end to the other on rollers, about one foot in diameter, by a large handle and cog wheel, resembling a long, low giant's mangle!
Many of the old farmhouses in the valley, including High Yews, have been built using oddly shaped beams. The timbers are thought to have been recycled from ships, which were broken up at ports such as Milnthorpe. Mr and Mrs Willie Thornburrow farmed here. Their daughter Rhoda married Dennis Park, so uniting two well-known families, from the valley. They eventually farmed High Birks, when they bought it in 1958. Dennis was the District Councillor for several years and highly regarded. He helped many local families with planning permission and other problems.
High Yews has changed several times since Willie's day and is now occupied by Sue and Keith Jones, who specialise in breeding sheep, for the quality of their fleece.
Sir Daniel Fleming Bart built this house in the reign of George III. It is thought that he never lived there, building it for his mistress. The date stone is broken, making it difficult to see the exact date. Some people say that the date stone over the door had 1677 cut into it. The crest over the arch is the Le Fleming coat-of-arms. The present house is in effect two houses connected by a two storey, wooden framed corridor. The older house of the two is at the rear. Daniel Fleming enlarged it by adding the front section. Claire Hensman, who lives there now, says that it definitely feels like two separate houses. This is even more obvious from an aerial view. The walls surrounding the grounds were originally over 20 foot high. Until the 1960s, it used to have four cannons outside the house but, unfortunately, these were sold. Granny Martindale, of Mearsons Farm, ran a dame school in the "tower" portion, for the children of Hubbersty Head.
Eglin, the paper manufacturer, lived there early in the 20th century.
Next, the Burrows, a branch of the Le Fleming family, occupied the house, before John Burrows moved to Dodds Howe. The Cockerton family lived there, too. They were related, by marriage to the Higgin- Birketts of Winster and the Sandys family of Graythwaite Estates. Peter and Claire Hensman live at Hill Top now. He is a descendant of the Wakefields, a Kendal banking family.
This tiny cottage was owned until 2000, by descendants of the Bownass/ Pearson family. Mrs Phelps, who as Miss Dodgson was schoolteacher of Crook School for many years, lived there until she died. She was very interested in, and knowledgeable about, the local history of the area and its families. It is thanks to her that much of this history has been saved to tell here.
This house, adjoining Hill Top Cottage, sold its land over the years and is no longer a working farm.
Hollow Clue was a little area, first mentioned in the records in 1374, as being the site of a fulling mill, although nothing remains of that now.
The house on the right in the photograph is Wood Yeat. The house was built in 1716. Legend has it, that it was once a small inn called the "Turk's Head". The barn, behind the house, has recently been converted into private accommodation. In the 19th century, Wood Yeat was probably the main part of an estate that included Green Farm, situated opposite Tower Hill (The Clock House), which can be seen in the background, to the left.
At one time it was the home of Ted Inman. He lived there with his wife, Jane, until she died, then with his second wife, who was the widow of Jonathan Walling of Fell Side. Between them they celebrated three Silver Wedding Anniversaries; the Wallings, Ted Inman, with both his first and second wife! The little cottage on the left of the photograph is Farley Cottage, once the site of a blacksmith's. Until recently, horseshoes were still being dug up in the garden, also a stone sink, with no drainage holes, probably removed from the cottage in the early 20th century, when it became a private house.
This is probably one of the oldest farms in the hamlet, first mentioned in records in 1594. James Burrows managed the farm at some point in its history. He married the daughter of Mr. Garnett, of Barkbooth. As a marriage settlement, he received property at Hubbersty Head. Mr Garnett was a big landowner and appeared to have had control over the lease of Hubbersty Head Farm.
Canon Hubbersty from Cartmel Priory purchased it in 1866. The name must have appealed to him! He rented it out and one of the tenants was Elizabeth Bownas, who was a maid at the Vicarage in Field Broughton in the 1890s. When the Vicar died, she went to Canada with his widow, Mrs Baines Murphy. This lady eventually married a Red Indian Chief, Brant Sero, from the Six Nations Reservation in Toronto.
One of his forebears came to London as a guest of nobility and was presented to Queen Anne.
The farm was passed down through the Canon's descendants until it came to Mrs Law, last in the line. Mrs Law sold it to Fred and Maud Whitwell, who were the tenants in the 1980s. Maud still farms it, with her son, Tony. They rear sheep, hens and the occasional goose!
Lamb Howe was at one time owned by the Wakefield family, of Kendal.
It was once a mill, possibly a flax mill. The water to power it was from a dam in Arndale Beck, near the Winster boundary. Water flowed over the flat, low area of land near Bryan Houses, along a wall and even appears to go uphill for a little way, before going over the mill wheel. Edward Burrow of Hubbersty Head lived here for a while, as did Mr and Mrs Joseph Nicholson and their son, Bert. Robert Walkden, his wife and family, farmed it until the 1960s. After they sold it, it became a private house.
Mr. Calvert bought part of Lamb Howe Woods in 1960 to form the basis of what is now Lamb Howe Caravan Park.
The Low Farm and South Low are mentioned in early documents as Lawe. A family called Townson farmed there in the 17th to the 18th centuries.
In the 1851 census Thomas Park was living at the Low with his wife, four sons and two daughters. Colin Park's grandfather, Joseph, moved to South Low around 1909, taking over from the Trotter family. Joseph Park's son, Edgar, followed on from his father at South Low, farming there for the whole of his life.
Two windows in South Low were uncovered in the 1970s, during renovations. They had probably been bricked up originally to avoid the window tax, mentioned elsewhere in this book.
The Park family worked as a family unit on the farm. Sarah Annie, Edgar's wife, worked alongside the men in the fields and orchards, besides cooking, cleaning and bringing up a family. Breakfast had to be on the table immediately following the early morning milking.
Everything revolved around the farm. When Colin started work with the Forestry Commission, he was expected to take his holidays to fit in with the harvest and damson picking, as was his wife, Denise, and his sister, Lynda! In the early days, the Parks threshed corn with a hand flail, taking it to Crosthwaite Mill by horse and cart. At the Mill, it would be ground and then brought back to the farm as animal feed, all in the same day.
Edgar kept a diary. In it he tells of how, as a teenager, he helped to butcher a pig for home consumption. At night the pig's head went with him to The Plough Inn and was the prize in a dominoes match there! As well as milking cows, cutting peat, growing crops, the family had a number of orchards, which had to be planted and maintained. There were damsons, plums, pears and many varieties of apples, such as Scotch Bridgets, Charles Ross, Lady Sudleys and Beauty of Bath. Edgar worked on the farm with horses and horse-drawn implements. He bought his first little grey "Fergie" tractor in the mid 1950s.
Colin tells the story of when, aged seven, his father accidentally cut through his finger with a peat spade. The finger spouted blood. Father pulled out a dirty handkerchief from his pocket and wrapped up the wound. It was midday. He told his wife to delay taking his son to the doctor. "You mun wait til after milking time!" Colin had to sit on the peat bank all afternoon, finger throbbing. In the evening his mother took him to the surgery in Milnthorpe, where the doctor clipped the wound together! Edgar was the last man in the valley to cut peat for his own use. In the 1950s he was the first to sell damsons by the roadside. This became necessary when the wholesalers dropped their prices. Edgar found that he could sell most, if not all, of his crop there, as it was such a good position on the road. Some of his old customers still ring Colin for damsons! The Low Farm was tenanted in the first half of the 20th century by Les Park's parents, Les and his sisters were born there.
Margaret Dennison bought the Low Farm in 1947. She owned a haberdasher's shop in Ulverston. She sold the farm to her nephew, William (Billy) Wilson. He had come to the area two years before, with his parents. They came to Flodder Hall from Old Hutton. Billy had amassed the princely sum of £345 from snaring rabbits which his mother, Jane Elizabeth, sold on the markets. With this and two cows, a wedding present from his father, Thomas, he was able to start farming at the Low.
Billy was a "cow" man. He loved his animals and was respected in the valley as a first class dairyman, winning numerous prizes at the Kendal Auction Mart. His Friesian cows all had names and even when they had finished their days as milkers, he would bring them into the parlour for cow cake. One cow in particular would look backwards at Billy, stamping her foot, until he released more food from the hopper! He did have a few sheep, which he fattened to send to market, but his view was that you could not do two jobs well. He concentrated on his cows until he finished farming in 1996.
Billy also had his orchards of damsons, in addition to the dairy business. His first year of damsons enabled him to buy his tractor, a little grey "Fergie".
Billy died in 2002 at the age of 80, one of the last of his generation of farmers in the valley.
Low Yews was originally known simply as "Yews". The farmhouse has a plaque on the front wall with the date 1641, but it is possibly much older.
William Pearson, later of Borderside, was born here in 1780. Several generations of his family had lived there, before him.
John Wilson, in his essay, tells what life on the farm was like in William Pearson's time. Bracken was used for cattle bedding. Hay was forked down, through trapdoors in the barn floor into the fodder gang, in the shippon below.A large turnip house ran the full length of the barn, underground. It had large limestone slabs covering it. Here root crops or swedes for cattle feed could be stored, frost free, in the winter. Stock on the farm included two carthorses, shorthorn cattle, pigs, wintering hoggs, free-range laying hens, ducks, geese and turkeys for the Christmas Market! They ploughed and sowed for green crops and potatoes for home use and the Market. The household employed a servant girl and boy, to help both outside and in. Whenever William went to visit Dorothy and William Wordsworth, he would take a supply of produce from his farm.
Built in the early 18th century, Mireside was a productive farm, tenanted by Tom Airey, until they retired to Mireside Cottage. His son-in-law, William Wilson, took over the tenancy. It is one of the few farms in the valley which has been tenanted by the same family for several generations. It is built on the typical long-house design, a long corridor at the rear and a door to the living room at the far end. One can imagine a traditional inglenook fire there, to warm the family and visitors.
Mirk Howe was built in the early 18th century. Mr and Mrs Hodgson lived at Mirk Howe for most of their married life, where they brought up a family of eight children. Apart from the usual farm work, they supplied customers in Bowness with produce. They kept an accredited bull and pigeons too! They also grew prize dahlias. The school photograph shows George, Fred, Alan, Doris, Betty and Doreen. Michael and Peter were too young to attend.
Originally Moss Side Farm was the farmhouse and Little Moss Side was called Moss Side Cottage. When the Quaker movement was strong, there was a family of Quakers who lived here. They belonged to the Kendal Meeting House, not Pool Bank. Later a permit was granted for the house to be used for Non- Conformist worship. Mr Franklin was the preacher. Whether this was the same Mr Frankland who had an Academy at Dawson Fold is not clear. Certainly the names are spelt differently.
Both farms are part of the Argles Estate. Miles Mason lived at the farm with his wife and son Roland. Roland always had a pony or a horse and grew up to be a very fine horseman. Miles ran the two Moss Sides together.
His mother and sister lived in the cottage.
Mr. Jake Young also farmed the two establishments as one. When he retired, his sons, Leslie and Alwyn, continued farming there. Alwyn still farms Moss Side today. Leslie had the milk round in Crosthwaite. When he moved to Kendal, Derek Cleasby took over Little Moss Side Farm and the milk round, until new regulations required milk to go to the central dairies to be pasteurized. He had to get all his milk from Kendal. The fireback in Little Moss Side has a Royal Stuart coat-of-arms and the date 1627.