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Westmorland: Directory of Baronies and Superior Manors

Appleby barony; see Westmorland barony

Kendal barony

The whole of the southern part of the historic county of Westmorland comprised the barony of Kendal, a territory granted to Ivo Taillebois c. 1091.  The barony was partitioned between heiresses in 1247.  By the 15th century, the barony had been divided into one half and two quarter shares, which were subsequently known as (a) the Richmond fee (half the barony), which came to the Crown through Margaret, countess of Richmond, mother of Henry VII; (b) the Marquis fee (one quarter of the barony), which came to the Crown by attainder of William Parr, marquis of Northampton, in 1553 but was re-granted to him: his widow exchanged the fee for other lands with Elizabeth I c. 1574; and (c) the Lumley fee (one quarter of the barony), which came to the Bellingham family of Levens in the 16th century. Charles II granted the Richmond and Marquis fees in jointure to his wife, Queen Catherine, after whose death in 1705 they were leased to Katherine Lowther, widow of Sir John Lowther (the first Viscount Lonsdale), and thereafter to subsequent generations of the Lowther family. Details of the descent of the barony are given in Joseph Nicolson & Richard Burn, The History and Antiquities of the Counties of Westmorland and Cumberland (London, 1777; facsimile reprint, Wakefield, 1976), Vol. I, pp. 34-63.

Richmond Fee. One half of Kendal barony, originating in the division of the barony between Peter de Brus and Walter de Lindsay, the husbands of the heiresses of William de Lancaster, baron of Kendal, in 1247.  The Lindsay share (of which the manor of Windermere was an administrative centre), later came to be known as the Richmond fee, having descended to the earls of Richmond.  The estate came into Crown hands through Margaret, countess of Richmond (d. 1509), mother of Henry VII. The fee was leased to the Lowther family after 1705, and a large volume of records survive in the Lonsdale archive. The Richmond fee included lands or jurisdiction in the manors and graveships of Casterton, Crosthwaite and Lyth, Grasmere (incl Langdale), Loughrigg (Rydal and Loughrigg on the MDR), New Hutton and members, and Windermere (incl Ambleside, Applethwaite, Troutbeck and Undermillbeck graveships).

Marquis Fee. One quarter of Kendal barony, which descended through the Brus and Ross families to the Parrs.  Sir William Parr (1513-1571), brother of Queen Katherine Parr, the last wife of Henry VIII, was created marquis of Northampton in 1547: it was from him that the estate gained its name. His estates were forfeited to the Crown on his attainder in 1553 but were re-granted to him: his widow exchanged the Marquis fee for other lands with Elizabeth I c. 1574, so that the fee was in Crown hands thereafter. Like the Richmond fee, the Marquis fee was leased to the Lowthers after 1705, and hence many records are included in the Lonsdale archive. The Marquis fee included lands or jurisdiction in the manors and graveships of Grasmere (incl Langdale), Scalthwaiterigg and members, Staveley, Strickland Roger, and Underbarrow.

Lumley Fee. One quarter of Kendal barony, this fee passed from the Brus family to the Thwengs and Lumleys.  Divided between heirs for some time, and held by various owners, the lands were eventually reunited in the hands of the Bellinghams of Levens Hall, and it has since descended along with the ownership of the Hall.  The major manors associated with the Lumley fee were Helsington, Staveley and Hugill, and Crosthwaite and Lyth.

Barony courts and the MDR:
Kendal barony held head courts for the Marquis and Richmond fees. In addition, courts for individual manors were also held under the auspices of the barony.   Because of the interrelated nature of barony and manor records, many of the records of a member manor have duplicate entries on the MDR, appearing under both the barony and the immediate manor name.  Where possible, the fee to which the document relates is also noted in the document description.  Thus a barony court roll relating to lands belonging to the Marquis fee in the manor of Grasmere would generally appear with the Kendal barony entries on the MDR as ‘court roll, Grasmere (Marquis fee)’, and with the manor of Grasmere entries as ‘court roll (Kendal barony, Marquis fee)’.

In the early nineteenth century, one of the Lowther’s stewards outlined the areas associated with the main courts, and the fees to which they belonged

Kendal Barony Courts in the Early 19th Century
Location of Court Area Covered Fee
Kendal Scalthwaiterigg and its members, Hay, Hutton in the Hay, Over Knotts, Nethergraveship, Crosthwaite nr Kendal Marquis
Ditto Strickland Roger, Underbarrow, Greenrigg and Greenhead Marquis
Ditto New Hutton and its members in Strickland Ketel and Helsington Marquis
Windermere Applethwaite and Undermillbeck Richmond
Ambleside Troutbeck and Ambleside Richmond
Grasmere Grasmere and Langdale Richmond and Marquis
Ditto Loughrigg Richmond
Staveley Staveley Marquis
Crosthwaite and Lyth Crosthwaite and Lyth Richmond
Casterton Casterton Richmond
Thornton (Yorks.) Thornton (Yorks.) Richmond

Table adapted from Kendal barony court book, 1802-1810 (D Lons/L5/2/11/123)

Westmorland barony

Whilst the southern part of the county of Westmorland comprised the barony of Kendal, the northern part was known as the barony or honour of Westmorland (also known as the barony of Appleby). Originally held by the Viponts, the barony was divided between heiresses in the 13th century, passing to the Cliffords and Layburns respectively, until reunited under the Cliffords in the 14th century. Through marriage, the barony passed to the Tuftons, earls of Thanet, in the 17th century, with whom the barony remained into the 19th century.  Unlike the barony of Kendal, little manorial administration appears to have been carried out at barony level – or perhaps these documents have simply not survived – and therefore the records to be consulted are those of the individual manors.


The manor of Windermere was centred on the manor house on The Holme (now Belle Isle), and was an administrative unit for that half of Kendal barony which later became the Richmond fee. In the fifteenth century, the manor of Windermere covered the four contiguous townships or graveships of Ambleside, Troutbeck, Applethwaite and Undermillbeck, with courts generally held at Windermere for these places. Later, these townships or graveships would sometimes be treated as manors in their own right.  On the MDR, all records for the area are entered with the manor of Windermere, but, where possible, the document description denotes the graveship to which it relates to (e.g ‘court roll, Troutbeck’).

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