Hesket in the Forest

Ancient parish (thought to have been chapelry in Carlisle St Mary parish until 14th century) in Leath ward, Cumberland, embracing townships of High and Low Hesket (which also included village of Armathwaite), Calthwaite, Plumpton Street, Itonfield and Petteril Crooks. CP enlarged by absorbing Plumpton Wall CP 1934.


16,733 acres [6,890 ha], including c. 4,000 acres [c. 1,600 ha] of common land enclosed under Inglewood Forest enclosure award 1819. Parish acreage divided between constituent townships thus: High and Low Hesket: 3,658 acres [1,480 ha]; Calthwaite: 1,888 acres [764 ha]; Plumpton Street: 2,714 acres [1,098 ha]; Itonfield: 2,980 acres [1,206 ha]; and Petteril Crooks: 5,159 acres [2,088 ha].


1,545 in 1811, rising to 2,150 in 1871; then falling back to 1,822 in 1931 (last census year before boundary changes). Population of enlarged Hesket CP stood at 2,363 in 2001.


Hesket parish covered core of royal forest of Inglewood which, as defined 1301, comprised tract of lowland between Carlisle and Penrith, lying west of River Eden as far as Thursby, Caldbeck and Blencow. Held by Crown with honour of Penrith from reign of Richard III until 1696, when William III granted forest and honour to William Bentinck, duke of Portland, whose descendant, 3rd duke, sold it to his brother-in-law William Cavendish, 5th duke of Devonshire, 1787. Inglewood forest court or ‘swainmote’ met at Court Thorn, Low Hesket. Manor of Armathwaite held by Skelton family from 14th century until 1712 when Richard Skelton sold it to William Sanderson; then descended to William Milbourne 1741; sold to earl of Lonsdale 1846, later passing to Edward Ecroyd (1833-1914). Manor of Nunclose (land in Hesket belonging to nunnery at Ainstable) was granted to William Graham 1552, passing to Lowthers who exchanged it for other land 1695 with Dalstons of Acornbank, who sold it 1762 to William Milbourne, thus uniting it with Armathwaite. Large sales of land in forest in years 1789-93: Calthwaite sold to Dixon family; Itonfield to Oliphants.


predominantly agricultural; fishery in River Eden at Armathwaite, said 1688 to be worth £50 per annum. Quarrying for freestone on Great Barrock and for grindstones at Ivegill in 19th century. Tile works at Calthwaite and Plumpton Street in mid-19th century.

Places of worship:

medieval parish church of St Mary, High Hesket; rebuilt 1720. Chapel at Armathwaite built 1401-2; rebuilt 1668; now chapel of Christ and St Mary. Supposed site of early chapel at Chapel Hill, Calthwaite. All Saints Church, Calthwaite, built 1913. Mission room at Broadfield recorded 1901. United Presbyterian chapel, Plumpton Street (date stone 1709); sold to Wesleyan Methodists 1899; rebuilt 1905; still in use (known as Plumpton Backstreet Chapel; now Cottage Wood Centre). Methodist chapel at Low Hesket built 1869; closed late 20th century.

Schools and other institutions:

school at High Hesket endowed by John Brown 1763; rebuilt 1853; now High Hesket CE Primary School. Endowed school at Armathwaite recorded 1818; rebuilt 1854; replaced by new school on different site 1884; now Armathwaite Primary school. School at Calthwaite built by subscription 1852; rebuilt 1875; now Calthwaite CE Primary School. Reading room at Calthwaite, built 1888; converted to dwelling. Village hall at Low Hesket opened 1954.