1868 - The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland
"CARTMEL, a parish and market town, in the hundred of Lonsdale North of the Sands, in the county palatine of Lancaster, 14 miles, in a direct line across the sands, to the N. of Lancaster, and 254 miles from London. Newton-in-Cartmel is its post town. It gives name with Cark to a station on the Ulverston and Lancaster railway. The parish, which is of great extent, is situated in a beautiful country on the borders of Westmoreland, on the coast of Morecambe Bay, at its north-eastern extremity, and is bounded on the W. by the river Leven and Windermere Lake. The river Ken skirts it on the E. The parish comprises the chapelries of Field Broughton, Grange St. Paul's, Cartmel-Fell, Flookburgh, Lindale, and Staveley, and the townships of Upper Allithwaite, Lower Allithwaite, East Broughton, Upper Holker, and Lower Holker. Cartmel was the site of a monastery of the Augustine order, founded about 1188 by William Mareschal, Earl of Pembroke, which was well endowed, and flourished till the Dissolution, at which period it had a revenue of about £212. The monks had amongst other privileges that of nominating guides for passengers across the Leven sands, which are passable at low water. After the Dissolution the church of the priory, being also the parish church, was ordered by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to remain undemolished. The town of Cartmel stands in a wooded valley, sheltered by bold and lofty hills, and the neighbour-hood abounds with striking scenery. Most of the streets are irregularly built and very narrow, and the houses are of stone. The pursuits of the inhabitants are chiefly agricultural. Some are employed in the powder factories at Upper Holker. Limestone is abundant in the district. Travellers are conducted over the sands by guides (called Carters) appointed and paid by government. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Carlisle, value £113, in the patronage of the Duke of Devonshire. The church is dedicated to St. Mary. It was originally the church of the priory, and is a large building in the form of a cross, in the early English style, with a curious central tower. It has 26 fine carved stalls, and a beautiful window at the E. end, and contains many ancient and interesting monuments. Among these are the tomb of William do Walton, one of the first priors of Cartmel; the fine altar-tomb, with recumbent effigies of (as is supposed) Sir John Harrington and his lady, who lived in the reign of Edward I.; and monuments to the Lowthers and Prestons. The church, having fallen into decay after the Dissolution, was restored by the Prestons about the middle of the 17th century, and it has been again repaired since 1850. Here is a grammar school, founded about 1650, and afterwards endowed by several benefactors, which has an income of about £100 per annum. The poor have the benefit of other charitable endowments, which produce about £50 a year. At the foot of a limestone rock, called Humphrey Head, 3 miles S. of the town, is a mineral spring, called Holy Well, the water of which is used in cases of gout, skin diseases, &c. Holker Hall, the beautiful seat of the Earl of Burlington, is 2 miles to the W. of Cartmel. In the vicinity are numerous pleasant residences of the gentry. A large number of Roman coins was discovered in the parish, early in the present century. Edmund Law, Bishop of Carlisle, was a native of Cartmel, and was educated at the grammar school. His father was incumbent of Staveley. Tuesday is the market day, but little business is transacted. Fairs are held, chiefly for the sale of cattle, on Whit-Monday, the Monday after the 23rd October, the Wednesday before Easter, and the 5th November."