A project was begun in November 1998 with the intentions of indexing all inscriptions on Memorial stones in Penrith (archived copy) and making the data available on the internet and to genealogy groups who are interested. Stones included in the project are war memorials, grave stones, and other miscellaneous memorials erected in memory to Penrith residents.
Penrith Church, dedicated to St Andrew, is a large and handsome building, in the Grecian style, built in the years 1720 and 1722, at the expense of £2253 raised by a parochial rate and voluntary contributions. "The outward fronts are constructed after a plain but neat plan, and connected with the old tower; but the inside of the edifice, for convenience and propriety, exceeds most churches in the north of England." The galleries are supported by twenty Ionic pillars, each cut from one solid block or stone, of a pale red colour, and veined. The old tower, which is of massive masonry, was suffered to remain, and in it is a peal of six bells, with chimes. In the walls of the church are preserved several inscriptions found in the old fabric; and in the south windows of the chancel are some fragments of stained glass, which have also been preserved from the old church. The chancel is also ornamented with two beautiful paintings, representing the Agony of Our Lord in the Garden, and the Angels appearing to the Shepherds, executed by Mr. Jacob Thompson, a native artist, who now resides at Hackthorpe, near Lowther. There are several marble monuments and slabs, with appropriate inscriptions, in this church, and on a brass plate is the following inscription, commemorative of the visitation of the plague... (Extract from History, Gazetteer and Directory of Cumberland, Mannix & Whellan, cited above)
Penrith 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.