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Cumbrian Manorial Records

Cumberland: Directory of Baronies and Superior Manors

Adam Son of Swein, barony of

This barony was granted or confirmed to Adam son of Swein by Henry I, but was rendered largely obsolete at an early date through division and granting away of lands.  No baronial records survive.  It originally covered parts of Kirkland and Kirkoswald parishes, including the manors of Blencarn, Culgaith, Kirkland, Kirkoswald and Melmerby.

Allerdale, barony of

The barony of Allerdale below Derwent was originally granted to Waldeve son of Gospatric, earl of Dunbar, who, according to tradition, granted immediate lordship of many manors within the barony to family members and supporters.  Waldeve was also granted the honour of Cockermouth, and the barony of Allerdale was closely linked to the honour of Cockermouth from the twelfth century.  The lords of Cockermouth claimed overlordship over the whole of Allerdale, but they had immediate lordship over only a few manors (Papcastle, Great and Little Broughton, Caldbeck Upton and Underfell, Uldale, Crosscanonby (als Crosby), Aspatria and Whitehall).  The caput of the barony was originally at Papcastle: the court held there was described in the 16th century as curia baronis sive hundred’ vocat' Alerdale courte (‘the barony or hundred court called Allerdale court’) (D/Lec Box 41).

Braithwaite; see Derwentfells

Brampton; see Gilsland

Burgh by Sands, barony of

The Barony of Burgh by Sands, or Burgh upon Sands, covers a wide stretch of the Solway coast, together with the outlying manor of Westlinton.  Customary and free tenants of the barony resided in many manors and townships, inside and outside the barony boundary.  In addition to barony head courts, barony court books include records for at least four member manors: Aikton (sometimes Aikton and Thursby), Burgh, Drumburgh, and Westlinton.  The composition of the member manors varied, with certain manors becoming alienated and/or reunited with the barony over time.  The barony eventually passed by marriage from the Dacres to the Howards, and was purchased by Sir John Lowther in 1685.

Cockermouth, honour of

The honour of Cockermouth, which descended with Allerdale barony, was split into an upland section, known as the forest of Derwentfells, and a lowland section, known as the Five Towns.  Manorial records also exist for the borough of Cockermouth itself, which appears as a separate manor on the MDR.  For full details see Derwentfells; Five Towns; Percy manors.

Copeland Forest

The upland section of the barony of Copeland or Egremont, covering the western valleys of the Lake District.  The manor of Loweswater was probably part of the forest before it was separated from the rest of the barony in 1230.  The remainder of the forest was partitioned into three parts in 1338 after the death of John de Multon: Ennerdale (which was never reunited with the rest of the barony and was forfeited to the Crown in 1554); the ‘Middleward’ (the townships of Kinniside and Netherwasdale and the empty extra-parochial pasture of Stockdale moor), which descended to the Fitzwalter family and was sold by the Earl of Sussex to the Crown in 1539 and was thus reunited with the Percy share, which was then in Crown hands; and Eskdale, Miterdale and Wasdalehead, which went to the ancestors of the Percies. Copeland forest does not appear as an entity in the MDR as it did not have the status of a single lordship or manor; records are entered under the name of the constituent manors. See also outline of Percy estates.

Crosby, barony of, or Linstock barony

Long held by the bishops of Carlisle, the barony of Crosby is said to have comprised the whole of the parish of Crosby on Eden (with the constituent manors of Crosby, Brunstock, and Walby), and Linstock and Rickerby in the neighbouring parish of Stanwix.  Though the bishops were overlords of the barony, other landowners (such as the Howards of Naworth) held certain of the manors and lands within its precincts, and thus generated their own series of manorial records.  The bishops administrated their lands and tenants through the court of the manor of Linstock, where they had their seat, and thus their manorial records for the area are generally entered on the MDR under the name of Linstock manor rather than Crosby barony.

Dalston, barony of

The barony of Dalston, in the hands of the bishops of Carlisle since 1230, covered a wide area to the south of Carlisle, including the parishes of Dalston and St Mary, Carlisle, and was split into High Dalston Lordship (covering Cardew, Great and Little Dalston, Ivegill and Raughton and Gatesgill) and Low Dalston Lordship (covering Caldewgate, Cummbersdale and Shaddongate) for certain administrative purposes.  The northernmost area had been separated from the barony at an early date and became known as the manor of John de Chapple, held by the Dean and Chapter of Carlisle.  Whilst the constituent manors of Great and Little Dalston appear separately on the MDR, it seems that in practice most documentation was generated under the auspices of the barony as a whole, and it is under that name that most Dalston records will be found on the MDR. 


The ‘land between Cocker and Derwent’ formed the private forest or free chase of Derwentfells, the upland section of the honour of Cockermouth.  It contained the townships of Setmurthy, Embleton, Wythop, Thornthwaite, Lorton, Brackenthwaite, Buttermere, Braithwaite, Coledale, Newlands (or Rogerset) and Borrowdale.  The head court of Derwentfells (which met twice a year, usually in April and October from the late 15th century, with courts of pleas at approximately three-week intervals) had jurisdiction over all these eleven townships.  In the 15th and 16th centuries, the lords of the honour of Cockermouth also held local courts for Setmurthy, Lorton, Brackenthwaite and Braithwaite.

During the period when the honour of Cockermouth was divided between the Lucy and Fortibus families (between 1215 and 1323), the Lucys’ estate in Derwentfells formed the manor of Braithwaite. In the 15th and 16th centuries, after the honour was reunited, the manor of Braithwaite continued to have jurisdiction over a number of townships: Thornthwaite, Braithwaite, Coledale, Newlands (or Rogerset) and Buttermere, as well as Underskiddaw and Brundholme (which lay outside Derwentfells).

From the 16th century, the estates of the lords of the honour of Cockermouth in the forest of Derwentfells were administered under two manors: Derwentfells (covering lands in Setmurthy, Embleton, Wythop and Lorton, together with lands outside the forest at Mockerkin) and Braithwaite and Coledale (covering lands in Braithwaite, Coledale, Newlands (or Rogerset) and Buttermere).

Egremont lordship or barony

The barony of Egremont or Copeland, sometimes known as Allerdale above Derwent, covered west Cumberland between the rivers Derwent and Duddon (though Millom lordship or seigniory was to all intents and purposes a separate unit of superior jurisdiction, so that the southern boundary of Egremont Lordship was effectively the River Esk).  The barony was partitioned in 1338, after the death of John de Multon, the last baron of Egremont, two-thirds of the barony descending by the mid-16th century to the Percys, earls of Northumberland.  The Percy’s estates were administered from Cockermouth Castle.  For some aspects of estate administration the barony was divided into two bailiwicks, that ‘between Ehen and Derwent’ covering the northern section; that ‘between Ehen and Duddon’ the southern.  The lowland parts of the barony, outside Copeland Forest, fell under the jurisdiction of Egremont Lordship court, to which ‘turnsmen’ from each township were obliged to go. Townships sending turnsmen to the court were: Egremont, Lowside Quarter, St John and St Bridget Beckermet, Cleator, Muncaster, Drigg, Irton, Bolton, Gosforth, Haile, Newton, Workington, Lamplugh, Murton (with Mosser, Whillimoor, Weddicar and Moresby), Kelton, Frizington, Distington, Wilton and Braystones, Calder and Beckermet.

Five Towns

The ‘five towns of Copeland’ formed the lowland part of the honour of Cockermouth, which also included the forest of Derwentfells.  The ‘five towns’ were: Brigham (coterminous with Brigham township); Clifton (covering the townships of Great Clifton, Little Clifton and Stainburn); Dean (coterminous with the ancient parish of Dean and including Branthwaite and Ullock, Pardshaw and Deanscales); Eaglesfield (covering Eaglesfield and Blindbothel townships) and Greysouthen (coterminous with Greysouthen township).  The head court for Five Towns received presentments from all of these townships.  From the 15th century, a separate court was held for Dean.

Gilsland, barony of

Granted to Hubert de Vaux in 1157/8, Gilsland barony descended to the Howards of Naworth Castle, earls of Carlisle, and comprised over twenty manors.  Jurisdiction over the whole of the barony of Gilsland lay with the barony court held at Brampton.  The court leet or head court was held twice a year, in Spring and Autumn, and courts baron (for civil pleas) every three weeks.  Gilsland manors over which the Howards had direct jurisdiction were often divided into sub-groups for court sittings at Brampton.  Thus, for example, one court might be held for the manors close to Brampton; a second (sometimes known as the court ‘Beyond Irthington’) for the manors to the west and north; and a third (sometimes known as the court ‘Above Gelt’ or ‘Beyond Gelt’) for the manors in the south of the barony (see table below).  In addition, courts for single manors might be held within those manors at other times of the year. 

Barony Courts: Typical Sub-divisions
Brampton Beyond Irthington Above Gelt
Brampton Irthington Hayton
Farlam Laversdale Cumwhitton
Nether Denton Newby Castle Carrock
Upper Denton Walton Wood Cumrew
Talkin Triermain  

Certain other manors associated with the barony were referred to as the ‘Out manors’ – indicative of a different administrative/jurisdictional relationship.  These were: Ainstable (a Howard manor lying just outside the barony); Brackenthwaite and Newbiggin, and Lanercost (manors which lay within the barony but whose immediate lordship had been granted out or demised in earlier times); and two of the Howards’ Northumberland manors (Featherstone and Thirlwall).  In addition, nearby Cumberland manors which the Howards held (or where they had tenants) were regularly appended to baronial administration.  The most important of these were Brunstock, Crosby, and Walby (these three lying in the Bishop of Carlisle’s barony of Crosby or Linstock).  In addition to the court groupings noted above, the Howards’ manors were subdivided into bailiwicks, and these could include the ‘out’ manors of the barony and Howard manors lying outside the barony. Records such as bailiffs’ accounts, and books of ancient rents and services, were generally arranged into bailiwicks and ‘out’ manors (see table below). 

Brampton Bailiwick Irthington Bailiwick
Brampton Irthington
Farlam Laversdale
Nether Denton Newby
Upper Denton Walby
Talkin Brunstock
Askerton Bailiwick Hayton Bailiwick
Askerton Hayton
Triermain Castle Carrock
Walton Wood Carlatton?
Brackenthwaite and Newbiggin
Featherstone (Northumberland)
Thirlwall (Northumberland)

Greystoke, barony of

The barony of Greystoke descended from the Greystoke family to the Dacres and then the Howard family.  Head courts for the whole barony covered the townships of Greystoke, Penruddock and Hutton Soil, Hutton John, Watermillock, Matterdale and Warkthwaite, Threlkeld, Grisedale, Hutton Roof, Berrier and Murrah, Johnby, Little Blencow, Motherby and Gill. The barony court books also sometimes record separate court sittings for the manors of Greystoke and Grisedale, Matterdale, Newbiggin, Stainton, and Watermillock.

Inglewood Forest

The records of Inglewood Forest, the royal hunting ground south of Carlisle, are closely associated with those of the honour of Penrith. The structure of the forest courts in the 17th century was described by Thomas Denton, the lawyer and antiquary who had served as steward of the forest and of honour of Penrith, as follows:

‘… a foristers-moot-court at Hesket Thorne every St Barnabie’s day in the morning, where the chamberlin of Carlisle is foreman of a jury there & the rest of the jury are made up of the constables or turnmen of the 13 townships on the west & north parts of the forest, & of the free parkers. And in the afternoon the turnmen of the 13 townships on the south & east parts of the forest do meet the steward at Akebank, where the bayliffe of Penreth is foreman of that jurie, who are impannelled, sworne & charged to enquire as in a court leet or turn court of all miscarriages within their severall liberties; and the presentments of these juries are affeired, estreated out & levied by the forest bayliffs, according to the custome & method used in court leets. And this court is by prescription, in the nature of your swainmoot courts used in forests. And there is likewise another court leet holden within the moneth of Michaelmas yearly, at the usuall place where their court barons are holden about Hesket, where all coppiholders & lessees within the verge of the forest-mannor do appear and a leet jury pannelled, & a side jurie for tryall of actions, and the coppihold estates pass by surrender by the verge.’ (Thomas Denton: A Perambulation of Cumberland 1687-1688, edited by A.J.L.Winchester in collaboration with M.Wane, The Surtees Society and Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, Vol.207, 2003, p.281).

Kirklinton, barony of

The barony of Kirklinton (sometimes known as Kirklevington or Levington) originally consisted of the parishes and manors of Kirklinton and Scaleby, but was divided between co-heiresses at an early date. One part, the manor of Kirklinton, eventually descended to the Dacres, and is sometimes given the title of ‘barony’. Most relevant documents appear with the manor of Kirklinton on the MDR, though these are relatively few in number. The manor of Scaleby had its own history, granted by Edward I to Robert de Tilliol; however, few significant manorial records survive.

Liddel, barony of

Situated on the Anglo-Scottish border, the barony of Liddel consisted of the parishes and manors of Arthuret, Nicholforest, together with the manor of Solport. The barony passed through several hands before descending to the Crown in the late 14th century, during which time it appears to have been treated as parcel of the honour of Dunstanburgh (Northumberland) and Duchy of Lancaster. In the early seventeenth century, Liddel, Arthuret and Nichol Forest were granted to the Earl of Cumberland, to be held under the Crown, and the lands eventually came into the hands of the Grahams of Netherby. Few records survive for the barony or for Liddel and Arthuret, but there is a body of manorial material pertaining to Nicholforest and Solport. Thus most records relating to this area will be found with Nicholforest and Solport on the MDR.

Linstock; see barony of Crosby

Millom Lordship or Seigniory

The seigniory of Millom covered all the land between the rivers Esk and Duddon. It was technically held of Egremont barony but was, in practice, an independent lordship. Head courts, usually held twice yearly in Spring and Autumn, had jurisdiction over the whole seigniory. Local byrlaw courts were held immediately following the head courts for five townships over which the lords of Millom exercised immediate lordship: Millom itself; Kirksanton; ‘Satherton’ (the eastern end of Whicham parish, subsumed into Kirksanton byrlaw from 1540); Bootle (with jurisdiction extending into Corney township as well); and Ulpha.

Penrith, honour of

The honour of Penrith was the name for a group of manors originally granted together to the King of Scotland by the treaty of York in 1237, which were brought back into the hands of the English crown on the outbreak of the Scottish wars of independence in 1296.  The honour consisted of Penrith, Castle Sowerby, Langwathby, Great Salkeld and Scotby. Carlatton also descended with the honour until the early 17th century. As it shared the same descent, the honour of Penrith became closely associated with Inglewood Forest, and many records show the two jurisdictions being administrated together. In addition to being included in many honour documents, Castle Sowerby, Langwathby, Great Salkeld, Scotby and Carlatton have their own entries on the MDR. All manorial records for Penrith itself are entered with the Honour. However, the town of Penrith also contained the subsidiary manors of Carleton and Bishop’s Row (the latter belonging to the bishop of Carlisle), and these have their own entries on the MDR.

Wigton, barony of

Originally held of Allerdale, the barony contained the manors of Dundraw, Kirkbride, Oulton, Waverton and Wigton, and was also associated with Blencogo, Dockray, Lessonhall, and Woodside and Curthwaite. The barony eventually came to the Percies of Northumberland, and its records are now in the Leconfield archive. The subsidiary manor of Wigton was held by the Fletcher-Vane family and has its own series of manorial records.

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