"This parish, called in old documents Kirk-Levington, extends about eleven miles along the south side of the river Lyne, having an average breadth of two miles. It is bounded on the north by the river just named; on the south by Stanwix, Scaleby, and Walton; on the east by Stapleton; and on the west by Rockcliffe. Freestone is abundant, and is quarried in several places, but the great majority of the inhabitants are employed in the cultivation of the land. The parish is divided into three townships - Hethersgill, Middle Quarter and West Linton." [Description from T. Bulmer & Co's History, Topography and Directory of East Cumberland, 1884]
"The church at Kirklinton, dedicated to St. Cuthbert, was erected in 1845 and displaced an old Norman edifice, supposed from its very early Norman architecture, to have been built in the reign of Henry I. The present edifice is a handsome Gothic structure of red freestone, consisting of a nave, chancel, porch, and embattled tower. Whilst excavating for the foundation of the tower, sixty human skeletons were found buried within a short space of each other. But neither incriptions nor monument of any kind was found to identify these mouldering remains of humanity, or to indicate the period of their interment. The chapel of St. Mary at Hethersgill was erected in 1876, in the Gothic style and from red freestone from the local quarries. To supply the spiritual wants of Westlinton, a church was erected there in 1869 with a district embracing the township. A part of Rockcliffe was added to it in 1873, forming a consolidated chapelry with distinct parochial privileges. The church, dedicated to St. John, is a neat Gothic edifice, built of red sandstone of the locality, the cost raised by subscription." (Extract from Bulmer's 1884 History & Directory, cited above)
Kirklinton 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.