"Comprises a small district, bounded on the east by Northumberland, on the south-west by a detached part of Lanercost [Ed: Nether Denton], and on the west and north by the river Irthing. The manor belonged in the reign of Edward I. to one Richard Stonland, by whom it was conveyed to the Witheringtons, in which family it remained for several generations. The next possessors were the Tweedales; it was subsequently conveyed to the Howards, and is now [Ed: 1884] held by the Earl of Carlisle." [Description from T. Bulmer & Co's History, Topography and Directory of East Cumberland, 1884]
"The church, which is situated in the village, was restored about three years ago [Ed. restored ca. 1881]. The old fabric was a very humble structure in the early Norman style, built of stones taken from the old Roman Wall, and had undergone very little change during the course of many ages. For ecclesiastical purposes, this parish has been united with the district attached to St. Mary Magdalene, in Gilsland. In early times, this church belonged to the priory of Lanercost. Near the church is an old pele tower, supposed to have been originally the vicarage house." (Extract from Bulmer's 1884 History & Directory, cited above)
"The pele tower, or fortified vicarage, is located at NY615654 on the Ordnance Survey maps. In 1970 it was roofless, in ruin, but standing two stories high. It was one of a number of fortified parsonages in the area." (More information is available in 'Shielings and Bastles', cited above)
Upper Denton was a part of the Howard of Naworth family estates and the Barony of Gilsland. Many of the Manorial Records are available at the Carlisle CRO, but the bulk of the family records have been deposited in the University of Durham's Library. More detailed information may be found on the Durham University Library - Special Collections website.
Upper Denton 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.
[Page originated by Don Noble on 7 Sep 1997 and updated 18 Mar 2000 - Don Noble]