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CARTMEL, a small town, a parish, and a subdistrict in Ulverstone district, Lancashire. The town stands in a fine valley, overhung by the Coniston fells, within 2½ miles of the Leven sands, 2 NE of Cark and Cartmel r. station, and 6½ E of Ulverstone. Egfrid, King of Northumbria, gave the surrounding lands to St. Cuthbert; Ethelred, a successor of Egfrid, put to death here two rivals to his throne; and William Mareschal, Earl of Pembroke, founded here, in 1188, a grand Augustinian priory. The priory enjoyed the privilege of providing guides for the Leven and Morecambe sands; and was given, at the dissolution, to Thomas Holcroft. The church of it still stands; measures 157 feet along the nave and choir, 100 along the transepts; and is now the parish church. The nave was rebuilt in the 15th century; the rest is early English; the choir has an eightlight, transomed, east window; the central steeple exhibits the curious feature of a diagonal belfry on a square basement; and the church contains carved stalls, two ancient monuments of Prior Walton and Sir J. Harrington, and monuments of the Prestons, the Lowthers, and others. The town consists of good stone houses, in narrow irregular streets; and has a post office under Newton-in-Cartmel. It once had a weekly market; and it still has fairs on the Wednesday before Easter, Whit-Monday, the Tuesday after 23 Oct., and 5 Nov. A grammar school has £116 from endowment; and other charities £49. Bishop Law was a native; and was educated in the grammar school. The parish includes also the village of Newton-in-Cartmel; and contains the townships of Cartmel-Fell, Staveley, East Broughton, Upper Allithwaite, Lower Allithwaite, Upper Holker and Lower Holker. Acres, 28,747. Real property, £29,658. Pop., 5,108. Houses, 1,038. The property, in many parts, is much subdivided. Some of the inhabitants are employed in cotton mills. A medicinal spring, called the Holy Well, occurs about 3 miles south of the town and draws numerous visitors. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Carlisle. Value, £200.* Patron, the Duke of Devonshire. The p. curacies of Cartmel-Fell, Grange, Field-Broughton, Flookburgh, Lindale, Allithwaite, and Staveley are separate benefices. The subdistrict is conterminate with the parish.

John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72)




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Civil Registration

The Register Office covering the Cartmel area is Ulverston.


Description and Travel

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Cartmel parish from Mannix & Co., History, Topography and Directory of Westmorland, 1851.



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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.

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  • "FRITH, a hamlet in the parish of Cartmel, hundred of Lonsdale, county palatine Lancaster, 12 miles N.W. of Lancaster. It is situated near Morecombe Bay, between the rivers Kent and Leven, and is divided into Higher and Lower Frith."

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Historical Geography

In 1835 the parish of Cartmel contained the townships of Cartmel Fell, Staveley, Upper Allithwaite, Lower Allithwaite, Broughton East, Upper Holker, and Lower Holker.

You can see the administrative areas in which Cartmel has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.


Probate Records

For probate purposes prior to 1858, Cartmel was in the Archdeaconry of Richmond, in the Diocese of Chester. The original Lancashire wills for the Archdeaconry of Richmond are held at the Lancashire Record Office.


You can also see Family History Societies covering the nearby area, plotted on a map. This facility is being developed, and is awaiting societies to enter information about the places they cover.