Crosby on Eden, Cumberland


Description from T. Bulmer & Co's History, Topography and Directory of East Cumberland, 1884

History, Topography and Directory of East Cumberland, comprising Its Ancient and Modern History; A General View of its Physical Features; Agricultural Condition, Mines and Minerals; Statistics, &c., &c.
by T.F. Bulmer, T. Bulmer & Co., Manchester, 1884. Transcription by Don Noble © 1997


This parish, as the name indicates, lies along the banks of the Eden, and is bounded on the other sides by Scaleby, Stanwix, and Irthington. It is divided into four townships, viz., High Crosby, Low Crosby, Brunstock, and Walby, whose united area is, according to the latest returns, 2,855 acres, which are assessed at £4,060. The only employment of the inhabitants, who number 593, is agriculture, for which the soil of the parish is generally well adapted. The land lying in the vicinity of the river is a rich dry loam, resting on a gravelly subsoil; a strong clayey soil is found in several places, and in a few, meadow and moorland. The most extensive land- owners in the parish are S. G. Saul, G. H. Saul, Thomas Story, Mrs. Carruthers, Robert Bell, Rev. J. Hudson, Thomas Nicholson, Miss Coleman, George Thompson, John Thompson, Mrs. Fitzgerald, John Jamieson, Rev. J. A. Fell, Trustees of John Foster, and Exors. of the late Andrew Wright. The parish appears, from its name, to have been one of the districts inhabited by the early Danish settlers, who, after their con- version to Christianity by the Hiberno-Celtic missionaries, clustered their dwellings around the emblem of Redemption, which had been erected by the road side ; thus their little village was known as Crosby, that is Cross town. But of this ancient cross not a vestige remains to point out the spot where it stood, nor does it live even in local tradition - that storehouse of past memories - in which has been preserved so much of the folklore and the history of the past. The name only perpetuates the memory of its former existence. After tbe suppression of the Rebellion of 1745, when the troops of Prince Charles Edward took Carlisle and marched triumphantly into the centre of England, the want of an open means of communica- tion between the east and west coast in these northern parts was made apparent. An Act of Parliament was therefore obtained, enabling the government to construct a road which should at all times afford an easy means of communication between Neweastle-upon-Tyne and Carlisle. This military road crossed the country from east to west, running through the centre of the parish. Parallel with, and a short distance from it, ran the old Roman road, constructed by the imperial legions sixteen hundred years ago. LOW CROSBY township comprises an area of 1,041 acres. The soil is a rich loam, producing excellent cereal crops. The Manor, which includes the whole parish, forms part of the barony of Linstock, sometimes called the barony of Crosby. A mound or double fence runs along the eastern side, separating it from Gilsland. This is known by the name of the "Barons' Dyke," or sometimes the "Bishops' Dyke." The barons of Gilsland appear to have advanced claims to the manor of Crosby, and this dyke, Mr. B. S. Ferguson suggests, was the result of a compromise between tbe two barons. The manor was given at an early period to the priory of Carlisle by Walter, the second prior of that house, and soon afterwards a grange was erected, in which a few of the brotherhood dwelt. Their occupation was to look after the interests of their con- vent in this distant part of their possessions. Walter had, before he donned the hood and cowl, been a valiant soldier in the train of the Conqueror, whose fortunes he had followed from Normandy. As a reward for his fidelity, Carlisle was entrusted to his care and extensive grants of lands and manors were bestowed upon him. His admission among the brotherhood, with all his lordly domains, swelled the possessions of the priory to almost inordinate extent; and at a subsequent period some of these possessions were transferred from the priory to the bishop by Gualo, the papal legate. Crosby was one of the manors conferred upon the convent by Walter; and in the partition by the pope's legate, it was conveyed to the bishop of Carlisle, whose successors have ever since exercised the rights of the lordship. The land is nearly all held on customary tenure, and the tenants attend the manorial court, which is held for the bishop once a year. The court rolls, which extend through a long period of time, are pre- served, and contain many interesting items of information about the manor. The village of Low Crosby is pleasantly situated near the banks of the Eden, on the high road leading from Carlisle to Newcastle-upon- Tyne, and about four miles E.N.E. of the former town. Eden Grove, the residence of Mrs. Carruthers, is delightfully situated near the river from which it takes its name. BRUNSTOCK is a sparsely inhabited township. The village of the same name is situated about three miles N.N.E. of Carlisle. Here stands Brunstock House, the beautiful seat of Silas George Saul, Esq. It is of the Gothic style, and is surrounded by beautifully laid out grounds. HIGH CROSBY. The area and rateable value of this township are returned in the parish. The soil varies from a rich loam in some places to poor land in others, resting on a gravelly subsoil. The village of High Crosby is about half a mile from Low Crosby. Crosby House, the residence and property of the Rev. Joseph Hudson, M.A., vicar, was erected by his grandfather, the Rev. Dr. Lowry, vicar of the parish from 1791 to 1832. Newby Grange, built about thirty years ago, and the property and residence of Thomas Hesketh Hodgson, Esq., J.P., is a handsome structure in the Elizabethan style. It is pleasantly situated amid a profusion of sylvan scenery. The vicarage, and the residence of George Saul, Esq., are the other principal dwellings in the township. WALBY is a small township containing only four dwellings. The great Roman Wall runs through it, and has given its name to it. The hamlet of Walby is about four miles north-east of Carlisle, and is supposed to have been the site of one of the camps or stations which the Romans established along the Great Wall or Dyke, at intervals of about four miles. The terminal syllable points it out as one of the Danish settlements of a later period.
Extract from History, Topography and Directory of East Cumberland, T. Bulmer & Co., Manchester, 1884.
[Transcribed by Don Noble on 16 Nov 1997. ]