Township in Kirkoswald parish, Leath Ward, Cumberland. CP enlarged by absorbing Renwick and Staffield CPs 1934.


5,737 acres [2,322 ha], divided for local administrative purposes into High and Low Quarters. Common land at How Moor and Viol Moor (280 acres [115 ha]) enclosed 1699-1712; Haresceugh Fell (2,470 acres [1,076 ha]) and other small areas of moorland enclosed 1876.


rising from 634 in 1801 to peak at 768 in 1831; then declining to 466 in 1931 (last census year before boundary change).


manor of Kirkoswald: part of barony granted to Adam son of Sweyn c.1120; said to have been given in marriage to Robert Trivers, lord of barony of Burgh by Sands (q.v.) with which it descended to Morvilles. Divided between heiresses of Hugh de Morville 1202; reunited in hands of Thomas de Moulton of Gilsland 1272; then descended with barony of Gilsland (see Brampton) to 17th century. Awarded to Francis Lennard 1652; sold to Sir Christopher Musgrave 1716, descending in Musgrave family until sold to Sir Francis Ley 1913. Manor of Haresceugh granted to Lanercost Priory 1167; after Dissolution granted to Sir Thomas Dacre of Lanercost c.1550; sold 1663 to Dr Peter Barwick and gifted to chapel of Witherslack (q.v.) 1666; sold 1920. The College restored by John Maye late 16th century; sold to Henry Fetherstonhaugh 1590 and descended in same family to present; they remodelled it 1696.


farming; charter for market and fair granted 1201: in 17th century weekly market held on Thursdays and fair around Whitsuntide; market had ceased by mid-19th century. Mineral extraction on Haresceugh Fell: quarrying and lime-burning; coal mining from 1746 to mid-19th century; lead mining from later 18th century; mine reopened for barytes extraction 1915; closed 1940s. Textile industry recorded from medieval period (fulling mill recorded 1399). Paper-making by 1715; former fulling mill converted to paper mill c.1789; paper-making ceased c.1882. Former paper mill in turn converted to woollen mill 1847; closed 1906.

Places of worship:

medieval parish church of St Oswald, which was collegiate 1523-1547; restored 1845, 1878-9 and 1893. Independent chapel at Parkhead built 1711; closed 1927; sold 1975 and converted to dwelling. Independent chapel at Sandhill, in Kirkoswald village, built before 1851; rebuilt 1865; sold 1938. Wesleyan Methodist chapel built 1821; replaced by new chapel 1871; still in use.

Schools and other institutions:

schoolmaster recorded 1613. School at Highbankhill probably founded by curate by 1684; endowed by John Lowthian of Staffield Hall 1742. Replaced by new National school at Sandhill 1857; now Kirkoswald CE Primary School. Library and reading room established by 1882; used by boy scouts from 1977; closed and converted to dwelling 1988. Church Institute built 1910.