Sharp Edge (Cumbria) is pleased to support the village of Arlecdon by providing this historical information.


Arlecdon Church - photo by Margaret Fox


From Bulmers Directory of West Cumberland (published 1883):-

Arlecdon Parish

This parish is about four miles in length from north to south, and two and a half miles from east to west. It is surrounded by the parishes of Lamplugh, Dean, Distington, Moresby, and Cleator, and the townships of Weddicar and Kinniside in the parish of St Bees. The total area of Arlecdon parish is about 5,700 acres, comprised in the three townships of Arlecdon, High and Low Frizington, and Whillimoor. The parish id chiefly agricultural. Coal and iron ore are also extensively worked. The population at the commencement of this century numbered 350, and during the next 50 years it had only increased by about 300. At the last census (1881) the return was 6,649.

The greater part of the parish is held by customary tenure under the Earl of Lonsdale and the le Flemings of Rydal hall, Westmorland. A grant of land was made many years ago to the church in lieu of tithes, and consequently the parish is now free from that impost.


The township of Arlecdon comprises about 1,446 acres of rateable land, which is assessed at £39,832. The village of Arlecdon and the hamlet of New Asby are the only centres of population; the rest live in scattered houses throughout the township. The manor of Arlecdon is included in the Fee of Beckermet, which is itself a Fee of the lordship of Egremont. After the subjugation of the Cumbrian kingdom by William the Conqueror in 1072, he conferred the district upon his faithful friend and follower, William de Meschines, and that nobleman granted Arlecdon, together with Fizington, Rotington, Weddicar, and other places, to Michael le Fleming, Knt., a kinsman of baldwin, Earl of Flanders, and brother-in-kaw of the Conquror. From this Sir Micael are descended the Flemings of Rydal, in which family it still remains. The Earl of Lonsdale is lord of the common, which is freehold, as is also a great part of the ancient lands the manorial rights of which are exercised by their respective owners.

The village of Arlecdon is situated about six miles north-east of Whitehaven. Cattle fairs are held here on April 24th, the first friday in June, and September 17th. The present church, dedicated to St Michael, is small edifice, with few pretensions to architectural beauty. It was erected in 1829, at a cost of £798 6s. 4d., the whole of which, excepting £100 given by the Bishop of Chester, was raised by subscription among the parishioners. A church occupied the spot at an early period of our history, probably anterior to the Norman Conquest. Previous to the thirteenth century the benefice was a rectory; but in the year 1241, John le Fleming, grandson of the original grantee, gave this church to the monks of Calder; but in 1262, in consequence of so many churches being conferred upon the religious orders, the Archdeacon of Richmond made complaint of the diminution of his patronage, and the consequent loss of a portion of his revenue. As a compensation the Archbishop of York, Godfred Ludham, appropriated Arlecdon to the Archdeaconry. The living is styled a vicarage, and was in the gifts of the Bishops of Chester, as appropriators and patrons, until 1856, when, on the demise of Dr. Percy, the authority of the Bishop of Chester ceased in Cumberland, and his rights and privileges in that county were transferred to the Bishop of Carlisle, who is now patron. The living is not mentioned in the Liber Regis of Henry VIII.; but at a later period it was certified to the Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty as of the clear value of £10. About the year 1784 the Dowager Countess Gower gave £600 towards the augmentation of the living, and in 1810 a grant of £200 from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners was made. The living is now worth £300. At the time of the inclosure of the commons in the townships of Arlecdon and Whillimore, in 1820 390 acres of land were given to the church in lieu of the tithes of those townships. The tithes of the remaining townships were commuted in 1846 for £84, the whole of which was payable to the Bishop of Carlisle. A beautiful stained glass window, on which is depicted Our Lord's Ascension, was erected in 1881 to the memory of Isaac Fletcher, Esq., of frizington, by his widow. The churchyard was also enlarged the same year, the cost of which was defrayed by voluntary contributions.

A fine suite of schools was erected by the Board in 1878. They consist of three departments, and have accomodation for about 300 children. In the same year a school was erected for religious instruction on Sundays.

New Asby is a small hamlet in the township, near which is the Asby colliery.

At Kidburngill was born in 1799 Mr William Dickinson, an accomplished writer on agriculture. His essays on the "Agriculture of East and West Cumberland" carried of the prizes offered by the Agricultural Society. Geology and botany were two of his favourite studies, and, in acknowledgement of his acquaintance with these subjects, the Linnean Society conferred upon him the degree of F.L.S. His splendid collection of geological specimens, the labour of many years, he presented to the Workington Mechanics Institute.

Arlecdon Parish Directory

Arlecdon Township

Post Office at Jos. Mattinson's. Letters are delivered at 11.15a.m., and are despatched at 3.10 p.m.

  • Asby Colliery; John Ramsay, manager
  • Andrews William, stationmaster, Winder station
  • Atkinson William, blacksmith, Asby
  • Banks Jonathon, blacksmith, Rowrah
  • Barlow John, Manager, Crossgill Ore Mines
  • Board Schools; Wm. Jones (boys); Miss Sarah Parker (girls); Miss M. B. Dinning (infants)
  • Boyd mr. Thomas, Asby House
  • Branthwaite Jonathon, shoe and clog maker
  • Burdett Edmund, Esq., Hakodadi
  • Burns John, joiner
  • Cookson John, grocer
  • Court James, butcher, Waterloo villa
  • Dickinson Mr John, Kidburngill
  • Elliot Mary, vict., Sun Inn
  • Gould Sampson, quarry contractor
  • Hannah James, shoemaker
  • Hastings John James, milliner, &c.
  • Ives Rev. Wm. F., M.A., The Vicarage
  • James John, grocer, Arlecdon hill
  • Jordan Emlin, grocer, Asby
  • Keating William, vict., Greyhound Inn
  • Lowden Charles, general dealer
  • Mattinson Joseph, postmaster
  • Mc.Williams John, toy dealer
  • Mossop Isaac, shoemaker, Asby
  • Mossop henry, commercial traveller
  • Nicholson Joseph Hartley, shoemaker, Asby
  • Roe William, beerhouse
  • Routledge Mr. Joseph, Tilekile Cottages
  • Scott John, builder, &c., Arlecdon House
  • Strong John, M.D., Rowrah
  • Watson John, grocer
  • Wilkinson John, staionmaster, Rowrah station
  • Wilson Jos. Bowman, civil and mining engineer, Kirklandhow
  • Wren Rasley, Prudential assurance agent

Farmers (# are yeomen)

  • Coulthard Lancelot, Asby
  • # Dickinson John, Kidburngill
  • Fleming john, Skelsceugh
  • Hetherington John, Dubhall
  • # Jackson Henry, Bigcroft
  • Jackson Joseph
  • James John
  • #Kay James, Arlecdon parks
  • Mossop Isaac
  • # Mossop Clement, North Mosses
  • Seward John, Arlecdon Hill
  • #Sewell John, Sunnyhow
  • Smith Richard, Asby
  • #Watson John, South Mosses
  • #Wilson John, Kirklandhow
  • Wood Joseph, Asby



From The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland, edited by N.E.S.A.Hamilton publication date not recorded. (Any knowledge of this would be appreciated!)


Arlecdon, a par., tnshp., and vil. in the ward of Allerdale-above-Derwent, in the co. of Cumberland, 6 miles to the N.E. of Whitehaven, its post town, and about 10 miles S.W. from Cockermouth. It comprises the tnshps. of Frizington and Whillymoor. Coal, limestone and iron ore are obtained in the neighbourhood. The living is a perpetual cur. in the dioc. of Carlisle, val. £100, in the patron. of the Bishop of Carlisle. The church, dedicated to St Michael, was rebuilt in 1829, and is a neat stone edifice, with a bell turret. The parsonage house was erected in 1842, at a cost of £600, and is situated about 1 mile from the church. The Wesleyan Methodists have a chapel here. There is also a parochial school. The Earl of Lonsdale is lord of the manor. At Cringlegill is a chalybeate spring. Fairs are held on the 24th April, the first Friday in June, and on the 17th September, for cattle and horses.


From Pevsner's Buildings of England: Cumberland and Westmorland (published 1967):-


St Michael, 1/2 m. N of the village, and thus with a good view to the N. Arlecdon itself is a mining village of no attraction. The church is of 1829 - cf the lancet knave - but was much remodelled in 1904. The W tower is of the latter date. Rockfaced, with a polygonal baptistry attached to the S.

Rowrah Hall, 3/4 m. SE. Derelict. Facade of cross-windows and doorway with a segmental pediment. This is of 1722, the date on the lintel of the doorway of the extension on the L. Or is it of 1705, the date on a barn?

Scallow, 1 1/4 m. E. Derelict at the time of writing. Dated 1687. The windows have mullions, but the hood-moulds are all connected by a course which always rises around them. Above the doorway instead of a window a blank vertically placed oval.


The definitive history of Arlecdon and Frizington is Sugden (1897) - now available directly from the publishers and can be despatched worldwide for only £13.99. ISBN 0 9529812 1 1



A video on the history of West Cumberland is now available covering Whitehaven, Workington, Maryport, Silloth and Cockermouth. Available for only £11.99 from W.H.Smiths in Whitehaven and other shops in West Cumbria.


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"A place of slumber and of dreams, remote among the hills." - Longfellow