St John Beckermet

Ancient parish in Allerdale above Derwent ward, Cumberland, including hamlet of Carleton and modern settlement of Thornhill.

Acreage:

2,946 acres [1,192 ha], including commons at Brisco and Ullcoats, enclosed under Egremont enclosure award 1783, and smaller commons at Carleton Moor and Grange Brow (188 acres [76 ha]), enclosed 1816.


Population:

estimated at 430 in 1688. Remained usually under 500 until 1870s, when it began to grow, reaching 682 by 1891; rapid rise across 20th century as Thornhill village (built for mine workers in 1920s) grew, to stand at 1,076 by 1931 and 1,925 by 2001.


Landownership:

manor of Beckermet held by Fleming family of Rydal from 12th century.


Economy:

farming; village noted for bacon-curing in 19th century. Iron ore mining by late 19th century, with expansion in early 20th: mines at Beckermet (closed 1973), Ullcoats, Florence (sunk 1914; closed 1968). Sandstone quarrying.


Places of worship:

medieval parish church of St John the Baptist; early origin suggested by survival of pre-Conquest sculpture; rebuilt 1810 and again 1878-9. Thornhill Mission opened 1932-3. Methodist chapel at Thornhill opened 1928; closed 1944.


Schools and other institutions:

parochial school was in Beckermet St Bridget (q.v.). New CE Primary School built in St John Beckermet 1965 and extended 1975. Thornhill Primary School built 1927.