James Finlinson

The puzzle of the several James Finlinsons and their Occupations

Every now and again in the poor law vouchers we come across an unusual surname and think that this would be a good person to research, based on the belief that the more unusual the surname, the easier they will be to locate in the records. All too often, we find the sources confusing with more than one person sharing the same name. What follows is about two people sharing the name James Finlinson who had a tendency to move around a great deal.

One James Finlinson (1783-1847),was a man pre-occupied with parochial office becoming Governor of the Workhouse, Assistant Overseer, Registrar, Surveyor and Manager of Roads for the parish of Dalston. Despite his accumulation of posts, James has been somewhat of a difficult person to trace especially before his appointment as Governor of the Workhouse in 1825. He and his wife, Elizabeth’s (1784-1869) association with the poorhouse lasted for many years.

In 1825 James and Elizabeth were appointed as Governor and Matron of Dalston Workhouse with the salary of £14 per annum and a room for a loom. In 1826 a new workhouse in Dalston was built. On 26 April 1827 James was appointed assistant overseer of the poor for Dalston with a salary of £13 and keeper of the workhouse with an additional of £12.

In the Militia List, Cumberland Ward, for 1818, is a James Finlinson, weaver, aged 32, of Buckabank. Given his occupation, this is likely to be the same Finlinson who became the workhouse governor.

Finlinson is one of those people whose association with parochial office spanned the old poor law and the changes brought about by the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act. In 1843 he was appointed as manager of the roads and in November 1844 resigned as Overseer.

He was reappointed Overseer in February 1845.

Dalston Vestry minutes of 1844 show that Finlinson’s offer regarding Dalston workhouse was resolved. Rent of £6 10s per annum was accepted for part of the workhouse, including the kitchen, vestry room, lodging room above vestry room, the garden and one out building.

James’ parents were James Finlinson, yeoman, of Houghton and Ann [Nancy] Corry who were married by licence on 30 October 1779 at St Michael’s, Stanwix, (licence granted 24 October 1779). At the time their first child John was baptised at Stanwix 28 October 1781, James and Ann were living at Pepper Moss. John went on to marry Mary Wood, and became a farmer at Warblebank Westward.

James was baptised at Bolton parish church, Cumberland, in 1783. Other children followed: Sarah, baptised 24 July 1785; Ann baptised 6 March 1791, both at Bolton. Joshua, son of James Finlinson of Little Dalston, husbandman, and his wife Ann late Corry, was baptised 11 June 1797 at Dalston.

Joshua became a blacksmith and parish clerk in Thursby. He is buried in Thursby churchyard. Also buried in Thursby churchyard are James (d.23 February 1834, aged 81), and Ann (d.20 February 1824, aged 70).

James Finlinson the younger, married Elizabeth Pape on 11 May 1809 at St Mary’s, Kingston-upon –Hull, by banns.

Why they married in Hull is a mystery.

One theory is that James was serving in the Military, but no mention of James has been found in Military records.

Elizabeth was baptised in Mordon, Sedgefield, County Durham, on 18 December 1784. Her parents were Robert Pape, a cordwainer, and Ann. The family moved to Whitby, Yorkshire, where a daughter, Ann, was born on 10 January 1789 (baptised 13 January 1789 at St Mary the Virgin, Whitby). Robert Pape was buried in the same church on 20 October 1812, aged 63.

In the 1841 no occupation for James or his wife Elizabeth is stated. In their household is a William Finlinson, aged 15, who most likely was the son of Joshua blacksmith of Thursby.

James died on the 25 November 1847. He is buried in Dalston churchyard. The inscription on his grave reads:

In Memory of James Finlinson many years assistant overseer for this parish,

who died Nov. 25th 1847, aged 65 years

Also Elizabeth, his wife,

Who died November 13th 1869, Aged 85 years.

This stone was erected

By the members of the Loyal Caldew Lodge,

Dalston, of the Independent Order of Oddfellows, M.U.,

As a token of respect for his valuable services

After his death, although this has not been determined for certain, it seems that Elizabeth continued to live in what was the Poorhouse for a while. In both the 1851 and 1861 Censuses she had her sister Ann were living at the Forge, Buckabank. Her occupation was given as laundress and that of her sister as a boot binder.

One of the other James Finlinsons in the area was a schoolmaster. He also had a wife Elizabeth. James married Elizabeth Shepherd on 5 September 1796 at St George’s, Bloomsbury, London. This James and Elizabeth Finlinson certainly had two children baptised Helen (25 January 1804) in Wigton, and Joshua in Penrith (6 June 1807) who went on to become a Church of England clergyman.

There were also three daughters of a schoolmaster James Finlinson and Elizabeth Finlinson who were baptised on 20 October 1814 at St Mary’s Carlisle, but, despite the title ‘schoolmaster’, it is not certain yet as to which James and Elizabeth were their parents.

Sources

Dalston Memorial Inscriptions, p.79 No. 224

Parson and White, Directory of Cumberland 1829, p. 372, James Finlinson Governor of the Workhouse

Mannix and Whellan Directory of Cumberland 1837, p.193, James Finlinson Registrar Dalston

James Finlinson entries in the Carlisle Journal and Carlisle Patriot:

Unless there is reference in the newspaper articles to Dalston, it is difficult to determine to which James Finlinson they refer

Carlisle Journal 5 Jan 1811

Advert for Pupils J Finlinson Grove House near Wigton

Carlisle Journal 17 Aug 1811 p.1 col.D

Letting of farm at Bog-Hall Bolton parish near Wigton.

James Finlinson was owner & occupier of the estate

Carlisle Journal 27 Nov 1819

Letters to the Carlisle newspapers regarding a dispute over recording a County meeting. James Finlinson was said to be an obscure schoolmaster of Carlisle

Carlisle Patriot 8 Jan 1820

Private Tuition offered to inhabitants of Carlisle by J Finlinson

Carlisle Journal, 19 May 1838 p.3, col. D.

Correspondence with a Mr J Routledge of Brampton regarding Jane Hall a pauper belonging to the parish of Cumwhitton

Carlisle Journal 26 Feb 1842 p.1 col. B

Nominations for Election of Guardians of the Poor James Finlinson for Dalston

Carlisle Journal, 5 March 1842, p.1, col. E

Nominations for Election of Guardians of the Poor James Finlinson for Dalston

Carlisle Journal, 7 May 1842, p.1, col. A

Notice of order of road diversion Barras Lane Dalston. James Finlinson Surveyor of the Parish of Dalston.

Carlisle Journal, 27 April 1844, p.3, col. C

Alterations to Highway at Hawksdale James Finlinson surveyor

Carlisle Journal, 20 July 1844, p.3, col. C

Poilce Intelligence case of John Cairns false entry of birth J Finlinson overseer & registrar

Carlisle Journal, 10 August 1844, p.3, col. H

Under reports from the Cumberland Assizes

James Finlinson assistant overseer for Dalston witness in case of George Cairns who was prosecuted for obtaining money under false pretences from the registrar of births deaths & marriages for Dalston district.

Carlisle Journal, 27 February 1846, p. 1, col. D

Election for the Guardians of the Poor James Finlinson for Dalston

Carlisle Journal, 6 March 1847, p.1, col. F

Notice of Appoint of Joseph Shields of Buccabank as Deputy Registrar to James Finlinson

Thanks to Margaret Dean, and Bob Nichols for their help.

Alexander Cockburn (1794-1842), Pipe Maker, Grocer, and Miller

Although baptised in Swinton, Berwickshire, Alexander Cockburn and his brother John (1781-1835) were to establish themselves in business in Carlisle. John may have arrived first, with Alexander joining him later. Marrying Mary Storey, the daughter of Johnathan Storey, a spirit merchant in Shaddongate Parish, the register describes Alexander as a pipe maker in 1817.[1] The Cockburn brothers also had a small premises in Fisher Street where they also sold tobacco. [2]

Clay for the pipes was available locally. The Pipery was situated near the Mill Race in Shaddongate.[3] Once a small suburb of Carlisle, it was on the road to Dalston just outside the city walls. At the end of the eighteenth century Shaddongate saw an influx of migrant workers looking for employment opportunities in the manufacturing industries. Many of these workers were of Irish and Scots origin.


Alexander and Mary’s daughter Margaret was baptised 28 February 1819 [4] by which time Alexander also had a Grocer’s shop at Annetwell Street within the area of the old city. Shortly after this in 1823 the canal was opened improvng trading links especially to Liverpool. It was here that another brother James (1801-1868) moved. Initially a flour miller, he married his first wife Ann Storey (1805-1852), [5] the sister of Mary Storey in 1824. While the brothers’ sister Mary Anne Hepburn (1797) married Steven Somerville and lived in Edinburgh, other siblings were Alison (1783-1811), Robert (b.1786), Margaret (b. 1789), Agnes (b.1791), and Isobel (b.1801). [6] Their parents being Alexander Cockburn (1752-1825 ), a fewer or blacksmith, and Margaret Service (1757-1829). [7]

Alexander and Mary don’t appear to have had any more children, before Mary died in childbirth on 22 November 1824 aged 29 at Annetwell Street. [8]

The brothers continued with their Pipery in Shaddongate despite the unrest that had developed in the area. Living conditions were poor, overcrowding common for many. The migrants being unfairly blamed for some of the trouble. After the ‘Shaddongate Riots’ of 1826, the Cumberland Pacquet and Whitehaven Ware’s Advertiser described the arrival of Benjamin Batty to direct efforts to restore order in the area. He was to instigate the formation of a police force to combat insubordination in the suburb. His first attempt to restore order in February 1827 led to him having to take refuge in Mr Storey’s house after being set upon. It is possible this could have been Mary Story’s father’s abode.[9]

24 January 1831 Alexander married again. His wife Jane Ross (1793-1873). [10] was the widow of Hugh Ross and the daughter of John Tallentire and Jane Henderson. A son, John Tallentire, was born 21 December 1834.[11]

For a brief time John Cockburn, after trading as a haberdasher and paper dealer, became a bookseller at 34 Scotch Street, once occupied by Mr Jollie the publisher. At the time, Alexander was listed at Irish Gate Brow [Annetwell Street].[12]

On Alexander Cockburn’s headed bill of September 1835 to Dalston’s Overseers he is described as a grocer supplying goods to Agness Ha[e]rdman for 23 weeks at a cost of £2.17s. 6d. [13] Agnes’s life is a mystery.

SPC21/2/48/159 Dalston Overseers’ Voucher September 1835


Well established in Carlisle, Alexander was elected a Counsellor. [14] All appeared to be going well. He owned three farms which he let. [15] Then on 16 September 1835 brother John died aged 54 [16] and on 3 January 1837 a fiat of bankruptcy was issued against Alexander. [17] The fact being made well known by various newspapers. The Cumberland and Westmorland and Whitehaven Ware’s Advertiser further reiterated his status Peter Dixon was elected to Alderman of the Corporation of Carlisle on Tuesday in the rooms of A Cockburn a bankrupt’.[18] He relinquished the office of Alderman on 9 November 1836, [19] and his farm properties were advertised for sale. [20] Creditors were asked to make it known what they were owed. The Pipery in Shaddongate was advertised for lease, by the now owner Mrs Armstong in May 1838. [21] A Certificate was issued in April 1837 [22] which would effectively discharge him of what was asked of him under the bankruptcy proceedings, while final dividends were paid out in 1838. [23]

Denton Corn Mill was offered for lease by Mrs Dixon [24] and Alexander was successful in taking over the Mill. He placed a notice in the Carlisle Journal of 1838 as follows:-

A Cockburn having entered on this commodious mill respectfully informs the public that the arrangements which he has made enable him to execute all orders in this line with the greatest care and expedition’. [25]

Alexander Cockburn was not re-elected Councillor in November 1841 at the Municipal Elections for Caldewgate Ward.[26] The next year, on 21 May 1842 Alexander died aged 48. [27] His death appeared in the Liverpool Standard and Commercial Advertiser on 27 May, where brother James was living at Aigburth, Toll Gate near Liverpool.[28] The obituary emphasised his role for Carlisle Corporation. Alexander was buried at Holy Trinity Church where his brother John had also been buried, in close proximity to where they had been in business together.

His wife and son didn’t stay on at Denton Mill. [29] They lived in Stanwix Village for a while, as did daughter Margaret who later married William Roxburgh (an estate agent from Liverpool who at one time lodged with them).[30] James Cockburn died in the Workhouse Liverpool 1868 where he appears to have sought surgical treatment. Jane Cockburn died 18 April 1873 aged 80, [31] but before her will could be enacted, her son John Tallentire died 24 April 1873 aged 38 intestate. By then, John Tallentire was a fairly successful building contractor of Bolton Place, Carlisle. As he had no close relatives, the estate went to John Alexander Cockburn (son of Alexander Cockburn’s brother John) of Allenwood Paper Mill.[32]

View of Carlisle from Blackwell Building s on the left of the the Industries that once followed the River Caldwe towards Shaddongate
Left buildings of the Industries which followed the River Caldew into Shaddongate April 2020

Sources
[1] Carlisle Patriot, 26 April 1817, p,3. col. e.
[2] Pigot & Co., National and Commercial Directory Cumberland Westmorland and Lancashire for 1828-29 (London and Manchester, J Pigot & Co., 1828).
[3] Carlisle Journal, 2 March 1844, p.4, col. b.
[4] Cumbria Archives, PR/47 25, St Mary’s Parish, Carlisle, Baptism Register 1813-1822
[5] Liverpool, England Church of England Marriages and Banns 1754-1935 [accessed at www.ancestry.co.uk, 6 June 2020]
[6] Berwickshire Swinton and Simprim Church of Scotland Birth serach [accessed at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk 6 June 2020]
[7]Alexander Cockburn and Margaret Service gravestone at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/125134655
[8]Carlisle Patriot, 27 November 1824 p,3. col,e
[9] Ware’s Cumberland Pacquet and Whitehaven Advertiser, 13 February 1827 p,3. col,e
[10] Cumbria Archives, PR/47 14, St Mary’s Parish Carlisle Marriage Register 1825-1837
[11] Cumbria Archives, PR/47 27, St Mary’s Parish, Carlisle, Baptism Register 1830- 1853
[12] J. Pigot, National Commercial Directory of Cumberland and Westmorland (London and Manchester: J Pigot & Co., 1834 [accessed at www.ancestry.co.uk p. 23]; Carlisle Journal 9 August 1834
[13] Cumbria Archives, SPC44/2/48/159 Dalston Overseers’ Voucher, September 1835, Alexander Cockburn Grocer , dealer in Tea, Hams, Bacon Butter Flour &c
[14] Carlisle Patriot, 26 December 1835 p,3. col,e
[15] Carlisle Journal, 15 August 1835 p,2 col,e
[16] Carlisle Journal ,19 September 1835 p,3 col,f
[17] Carlisle Journal, 7 January 1837 p,2. col,c
[18] Ware’s Cumberland and Westmorland and Whitehaven Advertiser ,24 January 1837, p,2. col,d
[19] Carlisle Journal, 21 January 1837 p,3. col.b
[20] Carlisle Journal, 29 July 1837 p1 col,e
[21] Carlisle Journal, 12 May 1838 p,2 col,d
[22] Perry’s Bankruptcy Gazette, 8 April 1837, p,6
[23] Carlisle Journal, 15 September 1838 p,1 col,a
[24] Carlisle Journal, 30 December 1837 p,2 col,f
[25] Carlisle Journal ,17 February 1838 p,1 col b
[26] Carlisle Journal, 6 November 1841 p,3 col,6
[27] Carlisle Journal, 21 May 1842 p.3 col f
[28] Liverpool Standard and Commercial Advertiser, 27 May 1842 p,8 col g
[29] Carlisle Journal, 28 May 1842 p,1 col,c
[30] Carlisle Patriot, 30 July 1847 p, 2 col,h
[31] Cumbria Archives, PROB/1873/W346A269, Will of Jane Cockburn
[32]Cumbria Archives , PROB/1873/96, Administration John Tallentire Cockburn 9 May 1873

This is a work in progress subject to change with new research

footnote
Margaret Cockburn [Roxburgh] died 15 January 1848 at her Stepmothers home in Carlisle Carlisle Journal 21 Jan 1848
James Cockburn 2nd wife was Jane Pickering (Graham) married Liverpool 11 February 1855

William Wetherell, (1785-1870), Shoe, Clog Maker and Repairer, Dalston, Cumberland

William Wetherell was baptised on 6 March 1785 at Kirkby Lonsdale, Westmorland. He married Martha Davidson on 31 January 1803 in Dalston, Cumberland, where he made and repaired shoes and clogs. He appears in the Pigot’s 1829 Trade Directory listed under Clog and Patten Makers (& shoes).[1] By this time William and Martha had eight children bapised in the hamlet of Raughton Head, near Dalston: Thomas (1803-1880), Richard 1806-1857) , Jane (1808-1890) Ann (1810- ), James (1813-1814), Martha (1815-), William, (1817- ), and Margaret (1819-1842).[2 ]

His bills to the Select Vestry of Dalston from 1835 to 1837, are mainly for the repair of clogs or calking of clogs, less often new clogs and once for a pair of shoes. The price of new clogs varied according to size (see Blog about Clogs 9 January 2019). For example, the Roddick brothers got new calked clogs on 19 October 1835, priced at 3s for George, and 2s 6d for Thomas. On 13 July the following year they received the same again. On this occasion Thomas’s clogs cost more at 2s 9d. Like the Roddick brothers items on the bills are mainly for children of working or apprentice age.[3]

SPC44/2/43 7 Dalson Overseers' 1836 Voucher William Wetherell
SPC44/2/43 7 Dalson Overseers’ Voucher, William Wetherell, 1836

George and Thomas Roddick, John Hind and John Sanderson also appear on the bills of Joseph Shields, Schoolmaster, who had a Hedge School at Corsica Cottage, Buckhowbank. The family of George and Thomas Roddick received parish relief payments between 1830 and 1835.[ 4] John Sanderson was the illegitimate son of Ruth Sanderson. His mother received payments from the Parish between 1824 and 1831. Her other two children Joseph (1817-) and Sarah (1821-) like John being born at Dalston Workhouse.[5]


Clogs would have been the favoured footwear of those who worked in the industries which grew around Dalston; as well as the cotton mills of Northern England. The River Caldew provided the water power for the industries of Dalston at this time. With extensive cotton mills, a flax mill, and forge there was a constant demand for Wetherell’s footwear . The wood (sycamore, beech and willow) used to make the clogs was either sourced locally and stacked to dry out, or alternatively seasoned clog sole blocks were bought in.

Wetherell usually had an apprentice or a few other shoemakers working for him; advertising in the local newspaper when these were required. [6]

‘Shoemaker Wanted two good Journeyman shoemakers for strong country work will meet with constant work if suitable’


As there are only vouchers for the short span of time it is not discernable for how long Wetherell had been supplying the Vestry of Dalston. By 1838 John Brown, previously a shoemaker in Carlisle, appears to be doing similar work for the Vestry and for the same individuals named on Wetherell’s bill.[7]

Wetherell’s wife died in 1845. He appears in Slater’s trade directory of 1848 as does John Brown. Both were still trading in Dalston.[8] Retiring shortly afterwards, he subsequently married his housekeeper Margaret Ladyman (baptised in Temple Sowerby 1803), at Gretna 12 August 1854 [9] and died 12 November 1870.[10] He was succeeded by his son William who married Jane Dewers, and their sons James and William. Two other sons followed their father into the same trade. Thomas married Mary Ann Nelson and set up his business in Skelton. Successive generations joining and continuing the business. Richard married Isabella Roper and traded in Carlisle, while sister Jane married John Olivent Bewsher also a shoemaker, eventually emigrating to the United States.


Sources
[1] J Pigot & Co., National, Commercial Directory Cumberland & Westmorland and Lancashire
[2] England Birth and Baptisms [accessed at www.findmypast 10 May 2020]
[3] Cumbria Archives, SPC44/2/48 160, Dalston Overseers’ Voucher, 15 June 1835 – 12 December 1835; SPC44/2/43 7, Dalston Overseers’ Voucher, William Wetherell11 July 1836- 5 September 1836.
[4] Cumbria Archives, SPC44/2/32, Dalston Account Book for Weekly Outdoor Relief. 1826-1840.
[5] Cumbria Archives, SPC44/2/35, Dalston Account Book for the Maintenance of Illegitimate Children, 1833-1836
[6] Carlisle Journal, 5 November 1836, p.2.
[7] Carlisle Archives SPC44/2/47/4, Dalston Overseers’ SPC44/2/43/7, Dalston Overseers’ Voucher 2 December 1837-28 May 1838 ( John Brown)
[8] Cumberland 1848 ( Slater’s County Directory)
[9] England and Wales National Probate Calendar, Index of Wills and Administration. 1858- 1995 [accessed at www.ancestry.co.uk 10 May 2020]
[10] Carlisle Patriot, 19 August 1854, p.5.

This is a work in progress subject to change with further research
Additional information from Cumbria Archives
DSO 242, Carlisle Shoemakers Guild, 1800-2003
DGC 2, Shoemakers Guild, 1795-1934
Penrith Observer, 28 February 1956, p.6 (Old time clog shoe and timber trade).

Nathan Arnison (1796-1886), Linen and Woollen Draper, Penrith

Nathan Arnison can be found in a trade directory of 1829 at Nether End, near Penrith, as a linen and woollen draper. [1 ] He moved the business to Market Place Penrith around 1831. He bought the shop from a William James who had purchased it from Christopher Crackenthorpe, a member of the Wordsworth family. The shop once was the home of William Cookson silk mercer and draper, and the maternal Grandfather of the poet William Wordsworth and his sister the diarist Dorothy Wordsworth.

Plaque re the former owners of Drapers on the site of N Arnison business, Penrith


A small bill amongst the Greystoke overseers’ vouchers, is headed ‘Bought of N. Arnison Linen and Woollen Drapers, Family Mourning and Funeral Furnishing’, and dated 27 April 1836. The four items, totalling 11s 1/2d, inclued the versatile fabric of cotton calico, priced at 1s. 6d, and 1 pair of sheets at 4s. 4d. [2] It is not apparent from the bill who might be the recipients of these items. Eight years later as well as a small bill for £1.17.6 a larger bill from N Arnison exists.[3] To the Executors of the late John de Whelpdale it is for his funeral expenses in June 1844 for £123.7s.6d Among the 63 different textiles supplied are black and slate calico, ribbon, black mourning silk, crepe, silk and Barcelona handkerchiefs. [4]

N Arnison Linen and Woollen Draper Penrith PR5/67-K

Nathan Arnison, the son of George Arnison (1744-1833) and Elizabeth Topping (1752-1831) of High Hareskeugh (sic) was baptised 1 January 1796 at Kirkoswald .[5] His father a yeoman and victualler of the Horse Heads Inn, Haresceugh [6]. Nathan married Ruth Barra (1799-1870) in 1827. Two sons joined the business: George (1829-1883) and Thomas Bell (1833-1888). N Arnison and Sons appear in subsequent Trade Directories. Robert (1836-1916) was a draper in Sheffield. The other sons William Barras (1830-1896) and Charles Nathan (1840-1911) were principally solicitors. [7] Nathan and Ruth also had two daughters: Isabella Ruth (1838-1914) and Elizabeth who married Hamilton Woods, an engineer.

When Nathan Arnison died 27 February 1886 he left a well established businesss. [8] Those living in the Penrith area will be familiar with the shop that remains in the same place in the centre of Penrith today.

Sources

[1] Parson and White, Directory of Cumberland and Westmorland Furness and Cartmel (1829).
[2] Cumbria Archives, PR5/67- K 8, Greystoke Overseers’ Voucher, 27 April 1836.
[3] Cumbria Archives, DX 8/1/15, N Arnison Account, 1843.
[4] Cumbria Archives, DHUD/17/60, John de Whelpdale deceased, N. Arnison, Penrith, draper, 29 June 1844.
[5] J.J. Thornley, Penrith Ancient Church Registers of the Parish of Kirkoswald.
[6] Parson and White, Directory of Cumberland and Westmorland, Furness and Cartmel (1829)
[7] M Harrison & Co., Directory and Gazetteer County of Cumberland (1861).

[8] Cumbria Archives, PROB/1886/W570, Will of Nathan Arnison.

Isaac and Mary Mark. When will they be Settled?

Three letters which relate to Isaac Mark and his wife Mary can be found with other Greystoke overseers’ vouchers. The first dated 2 June 1821 is an examination of Isaac Mark’s antecedents by the magistrates of Leath Ward to determine his place of settlement . Isaac is described as a labourer late of Kingside Hill, Holm Cultram. Born at Bowscale in Greystoke Parish he had, until about the age of 15, worked on a farm at Newlands. His father rented it from William Pattinson for £50 a year. In 1788 Newlands was described as being in both Castle Sowerby and Sebergham Parish [1]. After that, Isaac served in first the navy for twelve years then in the 81st Foot Army Regiment for twelve years. Not being in any one place more than six months, he had been to Malta, Gibraltar, Sicily, Naples, and Lisbon amongst many other places. He was married in Gretna around 1804-5. His son was born about 3 months later. He said he had not tried to gain a settlement elsewhere.[2]

Examination of Isaac Mark June 2 1821 PR5/67-C3


Isaac Mark was baptised on 30 October 1771, at Bowscale, Cumberland, the third son of Thomas (1736-1812) and Sarah Pattinson(1738-1805). He was the brother of George (b.1762), Mary (b.1762), Elizabeth (b.1765), Ruth (b.1767) John (b.1769), Thomas (b.1774), Sarah (b.1779) and Benjamin (b.1785). All were baptised as Quakers.[3] Isaac’s family were descendants of the Bewley and Mark families whose names dominated the Quakers of Mosedale, Cumberland. Some were persecuted for their faith. [4]

Perhaps struggling to make a living, Isaac left the farm. Military conflict may not have sat well with any Quaker principles he had.

It is not known where his wife Mary was born. The marriage document gives her surname as Marey Gels of Higton Lancshire[sic]. Their son, Thomas, appears to have been baptised in Bolton le Moors Lancashire on 17 June 1804.[5] Shortly afterwards, on 17 October 1804 Isaac enlisted in the 81st Foot Regiment at Londonderry, Ireland. He appears on a list of others in the Regiment serving in Canada [6].

While Isaac was absent Mary and Thomas were removed from Bolton le Moors to Greystoke on 3 October 1808, only to be sent back.[8 ] At a future appeal at the Quarter Sessions, they were returned to Greystoke where they were accepted by the overseers and given relief. The overseers account book shows that Mary was given £1 every 4 weeks but towards the end of 1813 payments were sometimes £2 every 8 weeks.[9]

Cumbria Archives PR 5/45 1810-1814 Poor Account Book payment 11 February 1811

On 14 November 1808 an order was given to remove Mary described as a widow and her son named Benjamin aged about 1 year from the Caldewgate Parish of St Mary’s in Carlisle to Castle Sowerby. The record refers to her son as Benjamin, no reference is made to her son Thomas although a subsequent document refers to a son called Thomas suggesting he was still alive. Mary either thought she was now widowed or claimed she was. It is possible that there were two sons, Thomas and Benjamin. The 1851 census records Benjamin Mark aged 43 a Bricklayer of English Damside, Carlisle living with William Gilmore and his wife Mary Gilmore. Although referred to as Son-in-Law it may be that Benjamin Mark was his stepson and Mary Mark his wife. Isaac having died [10]

Caldewgate was mainly and area of innkeepers, tradesman and manufacturers attracting people from other areas looking for employment. The poor could be looked upon badly, more being spent on removing a pauper than relieving them.[11] Whether Mary was removed is not known.

By 7 December 1816 Mary’s status was no longer described as that of a widow. Once again the Justices ordered that Mary and her son Thomas be removed from Caldewgate Quarter to Greystoke Parish. Mary and Thomas, aged about 11 years, were described as having previously been removed from Bolton le Moors and accepted by one of the Overseers of Greystoke, Johnby, Blencow, Motherby and Gill, about seven years previously. Isaac her husband a soldier could not be found at the time, his whereabouts until lately being unknown. The Magistrates believed that he had returned to the Greystoke area and his place of settlement. They rejected Greystoke’s appeal against her removal as they had been paying her relief and should have been less submissive in accepting her from Bolton le Moors. The onus being on them to prove a settlement in another neighbouring parish.[12] Isaac may have left the army after the Napoleonic Wars about this time and have returned to what he considered home looking for work.

On 9 June 1821 a short letter to Thomas Burn the Overseer for Greystoke from Isaac and Mary stated they had arrived in Wigton. It briefly describes Isaac and Mary’s journey. He writes she desires you send her bed and what there is‘. [13 ]

Letter from Isaac and Mary Mark to Thomas Burn 7 June 1821 PR5/67-C17

The last letter, dated 17 June 1821, is from John Stalker, the Overseer of Castle Sowerby to Thomas Burn warning him that if they try to send Isaac and Mary to them they will lodge an appeal at the Quarter Assizes. Stalker wrote: ‘take care you do not incur a penalty by suffering a woman deranged as she is to be at large’. Greystoke to be trying to remove both of them [14].

Together by choice or necessity it is not known if they every gained a settlement anywhere.

Thomas Burn from John Stalker 17 June 1821 PR5/67-C2

Sources
[1] Cumberland Pacquet and Ware’s Whitehaven Advertiser,6 August 1788, p.1
[2] Cumbria Archives. PR5/67-C item 3, Greystoke Overseers’ Voucher, 2 June 1821
[3] Quaker Birth Marriage and Death Registers, 1578-1831 [accessed at ancestry.co.uk 21 February 1821]
[4] Rev. Edward Thomas Bewley. The Bewleys of Cumberland and their Irish and other descendants (1904).
[5] Gretna Green Marriage Registers [accessed at ancestry.co.uk]; Liverpool Parish Clerk Project Online. www.lan.upc.org.uk
[6] The National Archives, Kew, WO 25/481, 81 Foot British Regimental Registers of Service 1801-1816pp. 89-90 (https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/)
[7] Lancashire Archives, Salford Quarter Sessions, QSP/2575/31, Salford Epiphany 1809 or event date 3 October 1808
[8 ] Lancashire Archives Salford Quarter Sessions QSP/2575/31, Salford Epiphany, 1809 or event date 3 October 1808; Cumbria Archives, PR 5/57, Removal orders, 1737-1833
[9] Cumbria Archives, PR 5/45, Overseers’ Account Book, 1810-14
[10] Cumbria Archives, SPC 67/38, Castle Sowerby Removals, 1778 -1835; Cumberland Quarter Sessions, Q4/2, Christmas Sessions, 1809, p. 105.
[11] Frederick Morton Eden, The State of the Poor (1797) Volume II page 60
[12]Cumbria Archives, PR 5/57, Removal Orders, 1737-1833
[13]Cumbria Archives, PR5/67-C, item 17, 9 June 1821
[14]Cumbria Archives, PR5/67-C, item 2, 17 June 1821

This is a work in progress subject to change with further research

Assistant overseers in northern England: connections east and west

The project’s research into salaried overseers, called assistant or perpetual overseers in the contemporary terminology, took us to the Durham County Record Office. The chapelry of Lamesley in County Durham holds a very unusual collection of sixty five letters, all written in May or June 1831, in relation to the same post for this sort of job. Thirty one men wrote on their own behalf, while others wrote references or testimonials in support of their application.

This flurry of administrative activity was sparked by an advertisement, placed in newspapers for Durham and Newcastle on Tyne, for an assistant overseer. The terms of employment were stringent: in exchange for £60 per year, the appointee was asked to live in the chapelry, have no other occupation, and to offer securities of £200 against the risk of malpractice in office. The candidates would undergo ‘election’ on Friday 10 June at 3pm.

What does this have to do with the project’s focus on Cumbria (including selected parishes in former Westmorland)? The appeal of this post was felt far and wide, attracting applications from Liverpool and other places some distance west and south of Lamesley. An application from Brough in Westmorland came from one George Pearson, who in comparison to some of the applicants wrote rather a good letter in terms of both handwriting and details of his occupational background.

Pearson described himself as a married man of 34 years old.  He had been a clerk to Mr Blackett at his colliery works, left Mr Blackett in 1819 to be clerk to the London Lead Company, and remained there for eleven years.  He gave up that employment owing to ill-health, and on recovering began teaching in a school at Brough ‘as an occupation rather than to make a living by it, there being over many schools in Brough before I began’.  He claimed to be well-versed in accounts, to have property exceeding the requisite security bond, and to command references for his religious and moral character. He named referees including a banker, a reverend, and four others including Mr Blackett. 

Wellcome Images: detail of clerks from ‘Hudibras addresses a lawyer who sits in an elaborately decorated pew next to shelf of books; two clerks sit beneath’. Aquatint by Merigot, 1799, after William Hogarth. https://wellcomecollection.org/works/mqw23ewf/items?canvas=1&langCode=eng

Pearson’s letter went on to ask about the duties required of the post-holder, and his chances of success.  He gave an unusual account of his faith, in that he was a member of the Methodist Society but an attender at Church, to the extent of being a churchwarden at Longmarton and establishing a large Sunday School there (where the teachers were nearly all Methodists, apparently). 

His application looked quite professional, but struck a plaintive note: the salary on offer at Lamesley was less than half of the total he had commanded at the London Lead Company, ‘but such is the competition for situations and so numerous are applicants’ that during the previous year he had visited Liverpool, Newcastle and other places with ‘the best’ recommendations but without success. 

But Pearson’s story doesn’t end there, because he spent some time considering his position and eventually withdrew from the appointing process at Lamesley. He explained his reasons in a letter, and in doing so gives us extra insight into the recruitment of assistant overseers. He wrote on 7 June ‘as all the ratepayers have a vote in the election and have been canvassed by different parties, several of whom may be every way eligible, the choice will probably fall on one who belongs to the neighbourhood and is connected by friends with the parish: the chances of success for a stranger would in consequence, I fear, be so slight as not to warrant the expense I should incur in coming over’. Who knew that you had to ‘canvas’ for ratepayers’ votes to secure a post as assistant overseer this early in the nineteenth century? There was a contested election for the assistant overseer of St Chad’s in Lichfield in 1843, where it is evident that canvassing had taken place, but this was under the ‘New’ poor law of 1834 (where the Guardians of each Union had to be elected, so a culture of electioneering for poor-law offices was more pervasive). And Pearson was not simply making a false assumption because at least three other applicants either refer to their own ‘canvas’ or that of other candidates.

The letters in the Durham archives provide a fascinating insight into the evolution of the job application as a genre of writing, but they also offer us detailed guidance on the tensions and opportunities for aspiring assistant overseers. A single post could be hotly contested, drawing interest from beyond county boundaries. Lamesley is plainly not in the modern county of Cumbria, but its evidence in this respect will form a key component in our writing about the holders of assistant overseer posts.

Oh, and the job? It went to a Mr William Wren, who lived in Lamesley and had already been an assistant overseer in a different location during ‘a most arduous and difficult period’. But that is another story.

Sources: Newcastle Courant, 21 May 1831; DCRO EP/LAM 7/174-240.

Jane Gate (1795-1867) Dalston Village.

parish of Dalston Voucher from Thomas watson for the Delivery and Attendance of Jane Gate
SPC44/2/48/73 Thomas Watson Surgeon’s bill to the Parish of Dalston for Delivery and Attendance on Jane Gate feb 11th 1831

Jane Gate was born in Dalston and baptised there on 14 July 1795. The youngest of six children, her elder siblings were William (b.1784), Robert (b.1786), John (b.1789), and twins Elizabeth (1792-1795) and Margaret (b.1792). Her father Jonathan (b.1755) was listed as a labourer in the parish register. Jane’s mother Frances Mathews (c.1760-98) died when Jane was three years old. [ 1 ]
Jane Gate’s name appears on a voucher dated 11 February 1831. A payment for 10s. 6d was made to Thomas Watson (1801-1833) surgeon: ‘to a Delivery and Attendance on Jane Gate ,Workhouse’.[ 2 ] This refers to Jane’s son William who was baptised in Dalston 7 April 1831. This is not the only time that her life converged with the physicians of the parish. To one encounter with Dr Daniel Wise in 1824 she may have owed her life .

Daniel Wise (1781-1829) was born 1 May 1781 Seaville, Holme Cultrum Parish, the son of John and Dorothy Wise. It is not known when he became a practicing doctor although he was in the Dalston area in 1815.[ 3 ] Three vouchers exist with a list of his expenses sent to the overseers of Dalston. Common items supplied include pills 1s 6d, powders 6d and 2s.0, a blister and ointment 1s 0d, while also including the inoculation of children at the poorhouse and attending deliveries. [ 4 ]

Part of Dr Daniel Wise bill 1817 Dalston Parish SPC44/2/51/2

In 1823 Jane Gate was living in the Townhead area of Dalston, an area near the church and the centre of the village. Various newspapers reported on the events in Jane’s house that night, although they all vary slightly in how they relate the facts. In summary, her neighbour Mary Irving like others suspecting she may be pregnant called to see how she was. Finding Jane unwell she went for Margaret Scott who brought Betty Irving, Mary’s mother, as well as Jane Irving and Mary Atkin. Quite a few neighbours appear to have been in the house trying to determine Jane’s circumstances. Eventually, after denying she had given birth, Jane when asked by Mary Atkin if if she had given birth and where it was replied ‘upon the coals in the coal hole’. There they found a male infant dead covered in coal dust. It was also revealed that Jane had a illegitimate daughter, Frances, about 5 years old living with her.

Dr Wise was sent for by the overseer and seeing the injuries to the dead infant felt it had come to some malicious harm. A subsequent inquest conducted by Richard Lowry at overseer Thomas Martin’s house, the King’s Arms, reached a verdict of ‘wilful murder’ against Jane Gate and she was committed under a coroner’s warrant for trial. [ 6 ] Jane could not be removed to prison and her subsequent trial was postponed as she was not considered well enough. The coroner bound her over to the churchwardens and overseer to prosecute. It was reported that Jane had a ‘dangerous and infectious illness’. Jane Gate had smallpox.[ 7 ] Her trial was postponed until the spring assizes.

At the Cumberland Assizes (9 March 1824) Jane faced an indictment of murdering her own child. Appearing before the Grand Jury, she pleaded ‘not guilty’. She was appointed council to represent her as she had none.

Jane’s daughter Frances (1819-85) was asked to give evidence. Frances, on being questioned, said she did not know how old she was or what would become of her if she told a lie. No more was asked of her.

Mary Irving, one of the first to enter Jane’s house, described where Jane Gate lived. A house with one room downstairs, one up, a kitchen, stone flags on the floor and a fire, ‘Very near the public road where anyone can see in’. Many other women also lived there who knew her well. [8]

Evidence given to the coroner was simulary repeated by some of the women who had been present. No mention was made of any employment that Jane may have had or help from the parish.

At the coroner’s inquest, Dr Wise said that the infant had injuries about the head enough to cause death. He was unable to give a positive judgement as to whether the male child was born alive, or if the injuries were deliberate or incidental. [9]

Justice Holroyd directed the jury. He pointed out that there was proof she had concealed the child, but as the law had changed, where previously the mother of a dead child born in secret would be guilty of murder Lord Ellenborough’s Act meant the circumstances had now to be enquired into. She had not dealt with the child as if she meant to murder it although there may be a strong suspicion. Jane Gate was found ‘not guilty’ of murder but sent to Cockermouth House of Correction for two years for the concealment of the child.[10] None of the newspapers give any account of anything Jane Gate may have said in her defence other than her reply, ‘Not Guilty’. One newspaper went as far as to provide judgement of Jane, calling her a wretched woman’.[11]

By 1827 Jane was living in Whitehaven about 14 miles from Cockermouth. She is receiving payments from the overseers of the poor. 1s 6d per week.[12 ] Three letters from Jonathan White asking for the money paid to her to be refunded by the Overseers at Dalston exist.

Jane must have returned to Dalston before her son Robert was born in 1831. By 1841 Jane, and her children Frances and Robert were living together. Jane and Frances were working in the cotton industry. They remained in Dalston, but poverty was never far away. When not working as agricultural labourers or in the cotton industry they were listed as paupers or recipients of parochial relief on subsequent census returns. Jane died December 15 1867 while living at Whitesmith Buildings, Dalston; Frances on 4 January 1885 at Skelton’s Yard, Dalston; and William on 13 February 1900 at Dalston.

Dr Wise died on 13 March 1829 aged 46 years. He and his wife Ann Hayton had three children, Joseph (1810-1830), Dorothy Wilson (b.1812) married to Dr James Allen (who died in Bedlam Hospital, London 1877) and Ann (b.1816). [13]

References
[1] Cumbria Archives. PR 41 Dalston St Michael Parish Register, 1570-2016
[2] Cumbria Archives. Dalston Overseers’ Voucher, SPC44/2/48/73 line 1 24 march 1831
[3] Cumberland Pacquet and Ware’s Whitehaven Advertiser, 12 September 1815, p3 col a
[4] Cumbria Archives, Dalston Overseers’ Voucher, SPC44/2/51/1, June 1817; SPC44/2/51/2, 15 February 1816 – 24 April 1817; SPC44/2/51/3, 22 August 1814- April 1815, bills to the Overseers of the Poor from Daniel Wise
[5] Carlisle Patriot, 12 July 1823 p 4 col. d
[6] Bell’s Life, 20 July 1823, p4 col b (accessed 19 August 2019 at Find My Past.co.uk)
{7] Westmorland Gazette, 16 August 1823, p3 col e
[8] Carlisle Patriot ,13 March 1824, p1 col e,f
[9] Carlisle Patriot 13 march 1824, p2 col a

10]Cumbria Archives. Q/4, Conviction Books 1791-1891, Lent 1824
[11] Cumberland Pacquet and Ware’s Whitehaven Advertiser, 15 March 1824, p2 col e
[10]Cumbria Archives, Q/4, Conviction Books. 1791-1891, Lent 1824.
[12] Cumbria Archives, SPC 44/2/66/30, 19 August 1827; SPC 44/2/66/32 22 September 1827; SPC 44/2/66/38, 5 December 1837.

[13]ancestry .co.uk

Joseph Shields (1795-1858), Yeoman, Schoolmaster and Grocer, Dalston

SPC44/2/52/3 John Sanderson Nov 29 1836 to Feb 28 1837 2s 6d

Schooling had been available in Dalston from the late 1600s. Jonathan Rowland, who died in Dalston on 28 August 1742, had been a schoolmaster for 50 years.[1]

With the development of local industry the population of Dalston grew along with the need for children to receive tuition. This could have provided Joseph Shields with the opportunity to increase his income by combining the roles of schoolmaster and grocer with yeoman. Alongside Dalston’s Grammar School (rebuilt in 1815) available to the poorer children of the parish, there were 16 further schools by 1831.[ 2]

Joseph Shields name appears on four overseers’ vouchers for Dalston Parish. [3] They are dated between 1835 and 1837 and concern the schooling of four boys: George and Thomas Roddick, John Sanderson and John Hind. A charge of 2s 6d was made for each boy for a fixed time span of one quarter per year. John Sanderson’s tuition lasted from 30 November 1835 to 1 March 1836.[4] Three girls from the local factory were also tutored for thirteen weeks each at 1d a day. The bill for them amounted to 3s 3d.[ 5] The 1d may have been deducted from their pay at the factory. The payments were made by James Finlinson, at one time Governor of the workhouse, and later Overseer and Surveyor of Dalston.[6]

SPC44/2/52/1 [c.1836] Dalston Parish Joseph Shields for tuition of John Sanderson, Ruddock brothers and 3 Girls from the Factory

Joseph Shields was born on 30 April 1795 in Kirkoswald, Cumberland. He was the son of Joshua Shields (1762-1841) and Margaret Boustead (1762- 1821).[7] Joseph moved to Wetheral and then to Dalston where he married Isabella Crozier, the daughter of Edward Crozier (1798- 1860) and Isabella Lambert (1795-1836) on Christmas Eve 1823. Both Joseph and Isabella signed the register suggesting they had had some education. When their son, Edward, was baptised on 11 June 1826, Joseph’s occupation was given as yeoman at Fountainhead, Near Dalston, but records for the subsequent baptisms of daughters Margaret (7 September 1827) Sarah (10 April 1830) and Isabella (14 August 1831) describe him as a schoolmaster.[8]

In 1834 Shields was listed as the teacher of boys and girls at Buckhowbank, Dalston. Others who also taught there were a Mr Monkhouse, Joseph Thomlinson, Thomas Stubbs, John Richardson’s wife, Esther MacLean (Cumdivock) John Davidson (Gaitskill),Widow Bailey (Raughton) Ann Blaylock (Stockdalewath), Mrs Twentyman and Miss Dugdale. [9 ]

The 1841 Census shows Shields’ occupation as a grocer. When his wife Isabella died (September 13 1845). [10] When the marriage details of his daughters Sarah and Isabella appear in the local papers, he is noted as a schoolmaster. [11] Mannix and Whellan’s directory (1847) lists him as a grocer and schoolmaster. [12] This switching between occupational titles was commonplace. Sometimes it reflected the social status connected with a particular trade or profession; at others it may have reflected the economic importance attached to their different occupations.


The overseers’ voucher does not make any reference to where the children were taught. Dalston Monumental Inscriptions notes refer to Joseph as ‘Keeping a hedge-school at Corsica’.[13] This refers to Corsica Cottage at Buckhowbank, Dalston. It could be that Joseph taught from a room in his own house. He later owned Sunny Vale near Stockdalewath.

The Carlisle Journal of 1853 [14] has a notice for a house , barn and outbuildings to be let at Sunny Vale. Stockdalewath. The same property was again advertised for rent in November 1857, with three acres of land attached being occupied by a Mr Waugh.[15] Further income for Joseph. This property was subsequently put up for sale after Joseph’s death (21 May 1858).[16]

Joseph’s will of 19 May 1858 gave instructions that his money (less than £20) and that from the sale of his property Sunny Vale should be divided between his 4 children: Edward who was living in Australia, having emigrated in 1857; and daughters Margaret (Brown) in Whitehaven, Isabella (Carlile) in Buckhowbank, and Sarah (Wannop), in Liverpool.[17]

Corsica Cottage Buckabank Dalston 2019

Sources
[1] Cumbria Archives, DRC/2/95, Wilson, J., 1890, The Monumental Inscriptions of the Church, Churchyard and Cemetery of St Michael’s Dalston, Beck, W., (1890)
[2] Cumbria Archives, PR 41/52, Schools in the Parish of Dalston.
[3] Cumbria Archives, SPC44/2/52/1-4, Dalston Overseers’ Vouchers, 30 November 1835 to April 3 1837, Joseph Shields to James Finlinson for tuition of children.
[4]Cumbria Archives, SPC44/2/52/2, Dalston Overseers’ Vouchers, 30 November 1835 – 1 March 1836.
[5] Cumbria Archives, SPC44/2/52/1, Dalston Overseers’ Vouchers, May 31 to July 21 undated year
[6] Cumbria Archives, Vestry Notices Dalston Parish PR 41/152 List of schools and teachers, 1834.
.[7] Cumbria Archives, PR 9/2, Kirkoswald, St Oswald Parish, Baptism, Marriages and Burials 1659- 1809.
[8] Cumbria Archives, PR 41/8, Dalston Parish Register, 8 Baptisms 1813-1832; PR 41/10, Marriages, 1813-1837.
[9] Cumbria Archives, PR 41/152, Vestry Notices Dalston Parish List of schools and teachers, 1834.
[10] Carlisle Journal, 20 September 1845.
[11] Carlisle Patriot, 18 March 1854, (Isabella Shields); Carlisle Journal, 20 June 1856, (Sarah Shields).
[12] Mannx and Whellan, Directory of Cumberland, 1847.
[13] as [1] Notes et the end of the book with regard to headstones transcribed.
[14] Carlisle Journal, 8 January 1853.
[15] Carlisle Journal, 6 November 1857.
[16] Carlisle Journal, 13 July 1858
[17] Cumbria Archives, PROB 1858/W985b 19 May 1858.

Research is a work in progress and subject to change.

Any information about ‘Hedge Schools’ in England is welcome

Sunny Vale 2019

John and Eleanor Gate (fl. 1753-1776) ‘Whipping ye Dogs out of the Church’

SPC 44/2/53 Dalston workhouse Account Book 1746-1775
SPC 44/2/53 Dalston Workhouse Account book Payment to Eleanor Gate 1786

A voucher dated 1786 has a payment to Eleanor Gate (nee Carrick) for £1.7s.6d. It does not stipulate what this is for but it may relate to the role that she carried out for St Martin’s Church, Dalston, in the years prior to this.[1]

The marriage of John Gate to Eleanor Carrick was registered in Dalston on 10 June 1725.[2]

Amongst the payments and supplies of clothes and clogs for the poor in Dalston Poorhouse’s account book each May from 1753 appears a payment to first John Gate then Widow Gate for £1.0s.0d forwhipping ye dogs out of ye church, opening & shutting ye sashes, sweeping ye church &c for 1 year’. John Gate first received the payment when Isaac Snowden was the master of the poorhouse when he was paid £5.0.0 a year. After John Gate’s death (buried 5 February 1763), his widow Eleanor took over the role. The payments usually appeared at the same time as those to the master of the poorhouse. Eleanor continued to appear in the account book receiving payments until just after John Mark was appointed master of the poorhouse on 3 February 1771. By 1774 ‘Whipping ye dogs out of the Church’ no longer appears to have been a paid task, however, Eleanor received the same payment for the other previously listed tasks. [3]


Dog whippers were engaged by the church to keep order at a time when dogs were perhaps not welcomed but tolerated when they accompanied their owners to church. The role may have also extended to controlling misbehaving children, waking those who had fell asleep or dealing with anything that disrupted the service. This was carried out at other churches. Some dog whippers were provided with a whip, wooden tongs and a uniform. [4]

SPC44/2/37 Payment May 6 1764 to Eleanor Gate for whipping ye dogs out of the church

References
[1] Carlisle Archives, Dalston Voucher, SPC44/2/37 line number to be assigned. June 12- October 5 1786
[2] Carlisle Archives, PR 41/3 Dalston St Michael’s Parish Register of Baptism’s Marriage’s and Buriel,s 1679-1749
[3]Carlisle Archives, SPC 44/2/53 Dalston Workhouse Account Book 1746-1776
[4] Daniel Scott, Bygone Cumberland and Westmorland (1899)

How to build a workhouse

An Act of 1723 allowed parishes to rent or build a workhouse, either for their own paupers exclusively, or as part of a group of parishes working together to accommodate their poor. The following decade saw numerous parishes experimenting with the offer of workhouse relief, and some places went to the trouble of commissioning a purpose-built structure. But how did they afford it?

Parishes were funded by a local tax, which was good at meeting the annual costs of relieving the poor but not well adapted to raising the capital sums required to invest in a new building. Some form of borrowing was inevitable; funding might came from a landowner, or a cluster of wealthy inhabitants who saw it as their duty to underwrite a big social project like a workhouse. It might also take the form of a joint-stock enterprise, where modestly prosperous people purchased a ‘share’ to the value of £25 or £50, received interest on their loan over a number of years, and eventually saw the return of the original share value as well.

A specialised form of this sort of financing was called a tontine, a form of gambling with one’s own (or one’s family members’) longevity. A tontine sold shares and yielded dividends which expired on the death of each share owner, but where the survivors of the scheme enjoyed increasingly-large incomes from the interest (since the money produced was divided between fewer and fewer people). A humorous interpretation of the history of a fictional tontine can be found in the 1966 film The Wrong Box.

Parishes in Cumbria and Westmorland certainly adopted the joint-stock approach to building workhouses in a few instances. The Whitehaven workhouse was built in 1743, and the cost was borne by the sale of tickets for £25 promising to bear interest for 31 years. The whole cost including the principal was paid off by 1780. The Kirby Lonsdale workhouse was constructed using a similar method, albeit 68 years later and with more expensive shares: there the tickets were £50 each, with the aim of discharging the whole debt by 1831. The question arises, was there the additional excitement of a tontine element to these parish ticket sales?

Historian of both workhouses and financial instruments, Professor David Green, confirms that workhouses were erected by tontine in some places, even if not in Whitehaven or Kirby Lonsdale. He writes ‘St Martin in the Fields in London and Forehoe workhouse in Norfolk were both tontine schemes. The Forehoe workhouse tontine was set up in 1776 to raise £11,000 for a new building.’

The manner of raising money for the workhouses in Whitehaven and Kirby Lonsdale is interesting whether or not it involved a tontine, but we are hoping for further enlightenment (perhaps from the overseers’ vouchers).

Sources: Parson and White, Directory of Cumberland and Westmorland (1829), pp. 255, 688-9; email from David Green 3 October 2019.