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   Farms and Enclosure


       Prior to the Enclosure Act of 1769, the area recognised as Cummersdale was mainly open moorland and used for grazing by the few local farms or holdings. It wasn't until 1770 that the moorlands were divided up between the various gentry and existing landowners, even the vicar of Wigton got a share of the lands!  It is said that the enclosure was the biggest land grab since the Normans came to our shores in 1066. Cummersdale Moor stretched across and behond Wigton Road and bordered Spittal Moor which is now the cemetery and Longsowerby. The farms using these moorlands were Well Flatt farm, Newlaithes Hall, Morton Head, Spittal Moor farm, King Rigg, Low Cummersdale Farm,High Cummersdale farm, Newby farm, and Brow Nelson farms.                                                                                                            

We know that there has been farming carried on at Brow Nelson since prehistoric times through to Roman, Medieval and to present day. Also at High Cummersdale we know from recent archaeological evidence that a fourth century farm existed there. We also know that from later medieval written references that because of the unsettled situation between Scotland and England many people were afraid  to live outside the protection of the city walls. Farming was carried out by important families using tenant farmers, the owners preferring to live within the city walls. The De Morpeth, De Berewys and the Blenerhasset families to mention a few of the families who have been land owners in Cummersdale. The De Carlisle's who are mentioned in the 12th century as landowners in Cummersdale continue holding lands and properties well into the 19th century, as does the Church. Alan de Penington was another important land owner at Cummersdale. In the 14th century William de Monte Acuto and Sir Richard Parvying held lands at Cummersdale. Henry Broughton and the Howards of Corby not only owned lands but also properties at Cummersdale. In the early 18th century more information is available regarding land and property holdings in the parish. The Carlisles, the Stordy's, Craghill's, Sewell, Forster and Westray families are some of the named landowners, these all appear to be locals. Two other landowners at this date was Robert Dobinson who lived at Newington Green, Middlesex, and Wiliam Maud of Selby, Co Durham. These last two named landowners eventually owned between them nearly all the lands in the Parish. In 1833 Robert Dobinson sold his estate at Cummersdale to William Maude. A plan of this estate was drawn in 1837, by the well known Carlisle Land Surveyor, John Studholme.                                                            By 1840 Thomas Sowerby owned most of the land around Low Cummersdale, and lands at Brow Nelson, (called Brown Elstone on the Tithe Award), in all, Thomas had 296 acres. William Maud also still had a considerable estate at Cummersdale, and at this date John Dalton, Corn Miller, Cotton Spinner, and Farmer had acquired a few fields and also leased some of Maudes lands in the parish. By 1850 John Dalton had purchased all of William Mauds lands at Cummersdale. In 1897 the late Col Sowerby's Dalston Hall Estate was for sale, which apart from the Hall and it's grounds also included several farms and land in Cummersdale and the Admiral Nelson Pub on the Dalston Road, (see Carlisle Journal, August 10th 1897, for the complete list of lands and properties).                    Low Cummersdale farm where Pirelli now stands was also part of the Dalston Hall Estate was quite a large farm consisting of 242 acres, a lot of their land was old pasture along the river banks. When the Dalston Hall Estate came up for sale again in 1936, following the death of Mr Edmund Stead,two years earlier. This included nine first class farms, two of which were in Cummersdale parish. Newby Cross farm, which had 142 acres of land, and Low Cummersdale Farm, but the acreage on this farm had shrunk to 149 acres, half the 1897 sale total.                                                                                               

The King Rigg farm was only 27 acres at the sale in 1968. Newlaithes Hall Farm, which I remember as Lowther Browns farm, is now more or less the centre of Morton Park housing estate. For potted history of this farm see Denis Perriam's article in Cumberland news 9th Aug 1996. 


    Low Cummersdale farm, situated where Pirelli now stands