"This extensive parish stretches along the border of Scotland, from which it is separated by the rivers Liddel, Kershope and Sark and Scot's Dyke. It extends from the Solway Firth to the confines of Northumberland, a distance of about twenty miles. The parish is comprehended within the barony of Liddel, of which it forms the principle part, and was, previous to the union of England and Scotland, the constant scene of strife, rapine and desolation. It comprises the townships of Middle Quarter, Moat Quarter, Nether Quarter, and the chapelry of Nichol Forest." [Description from T. Bulmer & Co's History, Topography and Directory of East Cumberland, 1884]
"The church, with its ivy-mantled walls, forms a very picturesque object in the landscape on the west bank of the Esk, two and a half miles north of Longtown. It was built in 1637 on the site of the old fabric, by Sir Richard Graham, pursuant to the letters patent of Charles I. From the tenor of the grant, it appears that the old church had long been demolished, and the parochial limits not accurately known. The letters patent gave power to Sir Richard to unite and consolidate into one entire parish the old parish of Kirkandrews and Nichol Forest." (Extract from Bulmer's 1884 History & Directory, cited above)
Kirkandrews on Esk fell under the authority of the ancient diocese of Carlisle and wills prior to 1858 were proved in the consistory court there. Records from 1548 to 1858 include original wills, letters of administration and inventories, although there are significant gaps in the years before 1661. These are deposited with the CRO at Carlisle. Comprehensive indexes exist, at the Carlisle CRO, in card files easily accessible in the reading room. The indexes cover from 1617 to 1941, listing the year of probate and the residence of the deceased. This is extraordinarily helpful in distinguishing between many individuals of the same name. Microfilm of many of these records, and a partial typescript of the indexes, is available at the Kendal office of the CRO.
The Province of York covered most of northern England, including this parish, and anyone who died leaving property in more than one diocese within the province would have their will proved in the Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of York (PCY) or sometimes in the Chancery Court of the Archbishop of York. These records are now deposited with York University, Borthwick Institute of Historical Research.
For probate from 1858 on, and general information, see our England - Probate page. However please note registered copy probate records for Cumberland are also available 1858-1941 at the Record Office in Carlisle.
"The tenants of the barony, who occupied dwellings scattered along the river banks, ostensibly gained a livelihood by cultivating their lands and pasturing cattle on the waste, but it was notorious that those cattle were seldom bought in market overt." [CWAAS Transactions, NS, Vol XI, 1911 - referenced above]