Kirkby Lonsdale


"Kirkby Lonsdale, that is the kirk-town in Lonsdale, hath its name from the dale in which it is situate, through which the river Lon (corruptly called Lune) runs all along from north to south; which river also gives name to the town of Lancaster; at which place the said river runs into the sea. Which dale also gave title to the noble family of Lowther, until the title became extinct on the death of the late Henry viscount Lonsdale. Kirkby Lonsdale is the largest town in the county, next unto Kendal; and is beautifully situate upon the banks of the river, over which there is a large stone bridge of three arches; for the repair of which bridge, there was a grant of pontage in the third year of King Edward the first. The parish of Kirkby Lonsdale is bounded on the East by the limits of the county of York; on the South, by the county of Lancaster and the parish of Burton in the county of Westmorland; on the West, by the said parish of Burton and the parish of Kendal; and on the North, by the parish of Kendal, and the parish of Sedberg in the county of York: and contains within it the several townships of Kirkby Lonsdale, Casterton and Hutton Roof, Lupton, Barbon and Manserghe, Middleton, Killington, and Firbank. The church is dedicated to St. Mary. . . The impropriation, and patronage of the vicarage,... were granted to Trinity College in Cambridge by Queen Mary in the first year of her reign."
[Nicolson and Burn: The history and antiquities of the counties of Westmorland and Cumberland. 1777. Transcribed by Anne Nichols ]


Kirkby Lonsdale contained several townships which became separate parishes:

Casterton and Hutton Roof, Lupton, Barbon and Mansergh (1728), Middleton, Killington, and Firbank.
Lupton later became a separate parish (but does not have a separate page on this site)



M.Is for Kirkby Lonsdale were transcribed in Monumental Inscriptions of Westmorland by E. Bellasis 1888-89 and are available on Westmorland Papers.



Returns do not survive for the 'census' of 1787.

Census returns are available from the usual sources for 1841-1911.

The 1881 census for the township of Lupton are available in a transcript


Church History

Click for full-size image on Geograph: SD6178 : St Mary's Church, Kirkby Lonsdale by Alexander P Kapp
© Alexander P Kapp

St Mary
Impressive Norman arcade remiscent of Durham Cathedral. S aisle and double N aisle running length of the church.
Chancel with triple lancets of c1200. W tower with upper storey of 1705. C19th S porch. Many monumemts inside.
This and other photographs are on Geograph site.
Historical and architectural notes on National Heritage List (English Heritage site).
Photograph(s) and description on VisitCumbria.
Access and contact details on Church of England site
SD5680 : All Saints Church, Lupton by Richard Webb
© Richard Webb.
All Saints. Lupton
Small neo-Norman church of 1867.
Historical and architectural notes on National Heritage List (English Heritage site).
This and other photos are on Geograph site
Photograph(s) and description on VisitCumbria.
Access and contact details on Church of England site

Church Records

Parish Registers and Bishop's Transcripts are held by Cumbria Archives :
originals at Kendal RO and microfilm copies at Carlisle RO.

 Kirkby LonsdaleLupton
 WPR19WPR 74
Baptism registers1538-1967 
Marriage registers1538-19721927-1977
Banns registers1754-1910 
Burial registers1538-1973 
Bishops transcripts1676-1874 

See the CASCAT online calogue for WPR19 for information on these and other parish records.
.See the CASCAT online calogue for WPR74 for information on these and other parish records.

For searching on LDS familysearch.org see IGI batch numbers (compiled by Jake Prescott)
or use the batch number search site (by Hugh Wallis).

The non-conformist register for Back Lane Independent Chapel (Congregational?), Kirkby Lonsdale 1816-36 (bb) is held in Kendal Records Office and at the Public Record Office


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Kirkby Lonsdale which are provided by:



The details for the parish from the Parson & White's Directory for 1829 are transcribed on Edenlinks site.





Records relating to the Barony of Kendale, CWAAS, William Farrer & John F. Curwen (editors) are available on British History Online:

Cumbria County History Trust has published a "Jubilee Digest" for the townships of Kirkby Lonsdale and Lupton

Magna Britannica et Hibernia.Volume 6: Westmorland by Thomas Cox (Vicar of Bromfield, Essex) 45 pages, printed in 1731.
Transcription by Sarah Reveley, Joan Fisher and Lisl Schoenwald. (Rootsweb Westmorland Listmembers) (c) 2003

"LONSDALE, or Kirkby Lonsdale, that is, the Church Town in Lonsdale, so called, because it stands in the Tract, which adjoining to the River Lone, is called the Vale of the Lone, where it is the chief Town, to which the neighbouring Inhabitants resort to Church and Market. The Market is weekly on Tuesday, and Fair yearly on (blank) This Town is chiefly of Note for giving the Title of Viscount to the antient and reputable Family of Lowther, of whom Sir John Lowther, Vice-Chamberlain to King William III and Queen Mary, and one of their Privy Council, was created by their Majesties Baron Lowther, and Viscount Lonsdale; but because their chief Seat is at Lowther Hall in this County, we shall defer our Account of that noble Family, till we come to speak of that Place. John de Kirkby, that stout Prelate who vanquished the Scots almost miraculously, was born (as is supposed) in this Town. He was first a Canon, and then Bishop of Carlisle, which Place, when the Scots invaded England, and burnt it, with an Army of Thirty thousand Men under the Conduct of William Dowglas, Anno 1345. he not being able to bear the Insult, stirred up the Gentry of that Country to oppose them, and with the Help of Thomas Lucy and Robert Ogle, Persons of the greatest Interest in those Parts, got such a Company together, that make Use of an advantageous Station, he utterly vanquished and ruined the Scots. If it be said, that this Bishop had more Passion than Piety, and that it had better became him to pray than to fight, the Answer is ready, That it was a Kind of Necessity that forced him to act St. Peter's Part in drawing his Sword, for his Own, and the Nation's just Defence, which neither Religion nor Reason forbid. He must want Piety as well as Courage, who will not oppose a publick Enemy; and it a Bishop may not be Plaintiff in a military Case, surely he may be a Defendant."



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SD585821 (Lat/Lon: 54.233017, -2.63821), Kirkby Lonsdale which are provided by:


Probate Records

Wills for Kirkby Lonsdale will be at Carlisle since about 1858 but before that will be at the Preston R.O. as it was in the Diocese of Chester until that time.



Hearth Tax records for 1674 Kirkby Lonsdale transcribed on Edenlinks.
Hearth Tax records for 1674 Kirkby Lonsdale transcribed on Edenlinks. (Cas)
Hearth Tax records for 1674 Lupton transcribed on Edenlinks. (KL)