Rydal & Loughrigg

Township in Grasmere parish, Kendal ward, Westmorland.

Acreage: 4,889 acres [1,979 ha], including 936 acres [379 ha] of surviving common land on Loughrigg Fell.

Population: rising steadily from 230 in 1801 to 503 in 1921; then levelling off to stand at 534 in 1971 (last census year for which separate figure available).

Landownership: manor of Rydal granted to Roger de Lancaster before 1274; passed to Fleming family by marriage of Isabel daughter of Sir John Lancaster to Sir Thomas Fleming 1408-9, and descended in Fleming family of Rydal Hall until 20th century.

Economy: hill farming; fisheries (recorded in name Fishgarths Wood; ‘fish arks’ in rivers Rothay and Brathay in 17th century); small-scale quarrying in 19th century. Bobbin manufacture at Skelwith Bridge mid-19th century; had ceased by 1900. Tourism from earlier 19th century (early attraction was William Wordsworth’s home at Rydal Mount 1813 to 1850).

Places of worship: church of St Mary at Rydal built 1823-4 by Lady le Fleming; extended 1884.

Schools and other institutions: two dame schools recorded 1818. School supported by Lady le Fleming recorded 1860. Rydal Hall leased by Carlisle Diocese as retreat and conference centre from 1962. Reading room or institute at Rydal, built before 1897; now disused.