Nichol Forest Chapelry is a part of Kirkandrews on Esk Parish, being the northeastern portion of the parish and bordering on the parishes of Bewcastle and Stapleton. It extends about ten miles along the rivers Liddel and Kershope which separate it from Scotland. Catlowdy and Scuggate are two small hamlets within the township. With the "Debatable Land", Nichol Forest formed the barony of Liddel which served as a buffer state between England and Scotland along the English West March. This area was the scene of many a raid and outrage during the reiver era. [Description from T. Bulmer & Co's History, Topography and Directory of East Cumberland, 1884]
Nichol Forest 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]
[Page originated by Don Noble in 1999 and updated 12 June 1999 - Don Noble]