St Bees is an Ancient Parish in the county of Cumberland. Hensingham is a chapelry of St Bees.

Other places in the parish include: Corkickle, Weddikar, Weddicar, Upper Town, Sandwith, Rottington, Preston Quarter, Nether Town, Middle Town, Lowside Quarter, Lowmill, Ginns, Hutbank, High and Low Harris, Wheddicar, and Braystones.

Parish church: St. Bega

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1538
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1676

Nonconformists include: Christians, Primitive Methodist, Protestant Dissenters, and Roman Catholic.

Table of Contents

Adjacent Parishes

Parish History

St Bees Cumberland Main Street

St Bees

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

BEES (St.), a small town, a township, and a subdistrict, in the district of Whitehaven, and a parish in the districts of Whitehaven and Bootle, Cumberland.

The town stands on the coast, adjacent to the Whitehaven and Furness railway, 4 miles S of Whitehaven. Its site is a narrow vale, watered by a streamlet, near the shore. It has a station on the railway, a post-office under Whitehaven, and two hotels.

It sprang from a religious house, founded about the year 650 by St. Bega, an Irish female Culdee. Her institution was destroyed by the Danes; and a Benedictine abbey was erected on the site of it, in the time of Henry I., by William des Meschines. The abbey property was given, at the dissolution, to Sir Thomas Chaloner; passed to the Wybergs and the Lowthers; and now belongs to the Earl of Lonsdale.

The church, retaining much of its original masonry, in combination with reconstructions at various periods till 1810, still stands. It is a cruciform pile of red freestone, mixedly late Saxon, Norman, early and late English, with a low square central tower; and has some fine carvings. The nave and transept are used as the parish church; and the choir was fitted up as a lecture-hall for the clerical college, established in 1817, for students not going to Oxford or Cambridge. A new lecture-room was built in 1863.

A grammar school, near the church, was founded in 1587 by Archbishop Grindal; and has an endowed income of £125, and a fellowship and scholarships at Oxford and Cambridge. Other charities, £46.

The poet Wordsworth, pointing to the origin of the town, and alluding doubtless more to the present than to the prior character of its church, says,-

When Bega’s voice, that instrument of love,
Was glorified, and took its place above
The silent stars, among the angelic quire,
Her chantry blazed with sacrilegious fire,
And perished utterly; but her good deeds
Had sown the spot that witnessed them with seeds
Which lay in earth expectant, till a breeze
With quickening impulse answered their mute pleas,
And lo! a statelier pile, the Abbey of St. Bees!

The township includes the town; and comprises 1,758 acres of land and 187 of water. Real property, £4,829. Pop., 1,031. Houses, 206.

The subdistrict includes also the townships of Preston-Quarter, Sandwith, Rottington, and Lowside-Quarter, and the chapelry of Hensingham. Acres, 10,407. Pop., 8,681. Houses, 1,659.

The parish includes likewise the town, township, or subdistrict of Whitehaven, the townships of Ennerdale, Kinniside, Weddicar, and Wasdale-Head, and the chapelries of Nether Wasdale and Eskdale. Acres, 71,332; of which 2,072 are water. Real property, £151,370, of which £25,015 are in mines, and £22,358 are in railways. Pop. in 1841, 19,687; in 1861, 23,901. Houses, 4,660.

The surface is very diversified; and contains much of the admired scenery of the Lake country. Gill-Foot and Linethwaite mansions are in the vicinity of the town; and a number of other fine residences are in other parts.

St. Bees’ Head, a large bold promontory, overhangs the Irish sea, 2½ miles NW of the town; forms the most westerly ground of Cumberland; and is surmounted by a lighthouse, showing a fixed light 333 feet high, visible at the distance of 23 miles.

Coal, lime, and freestone are extensively worked; and lead and iron ores are found.

Several vestiges of ancient works occur along the coast, appearing to be remains of fortifications raised by the Romans against incursions of the Irish and the Scotch.

The living is a p. curacy in the diocese of Carlisle. Value, £103. Patron, the Earl of Lonsdale.

The chapelries of Ennerdale, Hensingham, Lowes-water, Eskdale, Wasdale-Head, and Nether Wasdale, and the four vicarages of Whitehaven, are separate benefices.

There are dissenting chapels of ten denominations.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

A Topographical Dictionary of England 1848

BEES, ST. (St. Bega), a parish, in the union of Whitehaven, Allerdale ward above Derwent, W. division of Cumberland; comprising the town of Whitehaven, and the townships of St. Bees, Ennerdale, Eskdale, Wasdale-Head, Hensingham, Kinneyside, Lowside Quarter, Nether Wasdale, Preston Quarter, Rottington, Sandwith, and Weddiker; and containing 19,687 inhabitants, of whom 557 are in the township of St. Bees, 2¾ miles (W. by N.) from Egremont.

The parish extends for about ten miles along the coast, which in some parts is rocky and precipitous; and contains coal, limestone, and freestone: lead-ore is obtained at Kinneyside, where there are smelting-furnaces; and iron-ore was formerly got in Eskdale.

A lighthouse erected in 1717, and subsequently destroyed by fire, was rebuilt in 1822, on a promontory called St. Bees’ Head; it is furnished with nine reflectors, affording a strong light, which, from its elevated position, is seen at a great distance.

The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £103; patron and impropriator, the Earl of Lonsdale, whose tithes in the township of St. Bees have been commuted for £166.

There are four separate incumbencies at Whitehaven, and one each at Ennerdale, Eskdale, Hensingham, Lowswater, Wasdale-Head, and Nether Wasdale; nearly the whole of them in the gift of the Earl.

The parish church was formerly the conventual church of a monastery founded about 650, by Bega, or Begogh, an Irish female, who subsequently received the honour of canonization. The monastery was destroyed by the Danes, but was restored in the reign of Henry I., by William de Meschines, lord of Copeland, as a cell to the abbey of St. Mary at York; and in 1219 was pillaged by the Scots. Its revenue, at the Dissolution, was estimated at £149. 19. 6.

The church is cruciform, and has a strong tower of early Norman architecture, but the rest of the edifice is in the decorated English style: the nave is used for the celebration of divine service. The chancel, which had long lain in a ruinous state, was repaired in 1819, and fitted up as a school of divinity, in connexion with a clerical institution founded by Dr. Law, Bishop of Chester, for the benefit of young men intended for holy orders, who do not complete their studies at Oxford or Cambridge, but receive ordination after having studied for a certain period at this place; they can, however, only enter upon their ministry within the province of York.

In addition to this, there is a celebrated Free Grammar school, founded by letters-patent dated April 24th, 1583, obtained by Edmund Grindall, Archbishop of Canterbury, whereby its management is intrusted to a corporation of seven governors, of whom the provost of Queen’s College, Oxford, and the rector of Egremont, are always two, the former enjoying the privilege of nominating the master, who chooses an usher.

The annual income, arising from land, is £125; and the school enjoys the advantage of a fellowship and two scholarships at Queen’s College, Oxford, with the privilege of sending a candidate to be examined for one of five exhibitions, founded at the same college by Lady Elizabeth Hastings; a fellowship and three scholarships at Pembroke College, Cambridge; a scholarship of £4 a year at Magdalen College, Cambridge; and, in failure of scholars from the school at Carlisle, eligibility to two exhibitions founded by Bishop Thomas, at Queen’s College, Oxford.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis 1848

Lowside Quarter

A Topographical Dictionary of England 1848

LOWSIDE-QUARTER, a township, in the parish of St. Bees, union of Whitehaven, Allerdale ward above Derwent, W. division of Cumberland; containing 299 inhabitants. The township lies between the river Ehen on the east, and the Irish Sea on the west, and contains the venerable remains of Egremont Castle, built soon after the Conquest by William de Meschines, the first baron of Copeland, and still exhibiting traces of strength and grandeur. The township comprises 1940 acres, of which 95 are common or waste. As commutations of the tithes, rent-charges have been awarded amounting to £138.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis 1848

Parish Records

FamilySearch Catalog

England, Cumberland, St. Bees – Cemeteries ( 2 )
Gravestones which were in the old churchyard, St. Bees, levelled and cleared in 1974
Author: Todd, John

St. Catherine, Eskdale parish church : ground plan of church and graveyard
Author: Porter, John; Porter, Bruce H.; Porter, Lorna D.; Thompson, Bertie

England, Cumberland, St. Bees – Census ( 1 )
Census returns for St. Bees, 1841-1891
Author: Great Britain. Census Office

England, Cumberland, St. Bees – Census – 1851 ( 1 )
1851 census, Eskdale, Netherwasdale and Wasdale
Author: Russell, M. M., Mrs.

England, Cumberland, St. Bees – Church history ( 1 )
The story of the Priory Church of St. Bees & St. Bees School
Author: Jones, P. T.

England, Cumberland, St. Bees – Church records ( 20 )
Bishop’s transcripts for Chapelry of St. James’, Whitehaven, 1753-1878
Author: Church of England. Chapelry of St. James’ (Whitehaven, Cumberland)

Bishop’s transcripts for Ennerdale, 1688-1877
Author: Church of England. Chapelry of Ennerdale (Cumberland)

Bishop’s transcripts for Eskdale, 1676-1871
Author: Church of England. Chapelry of Eskdale (Cumberland)

Bishop’s transcripts for Hensingham, 1811-1876
Author: Church of England. Chapelry of Hensingham (Cumberland)

Bishop’s transcripts for Holy Trinity Newchaple, Whitehaven, 1717-1856
Author: Church of England. Holy Trinity Newchapel (Whitehaven, Cumberland)

Bishop’s transcripts for Lowes-Water, 1676-1875
Author: Church of England. Chapelry of Lowes-Water (Cumberland)

Bishop’s transcripts for Nether-Wasdale, 1690-1854
Author: Church of England. Chapelry of Nether-Wasdale (Cumberland)

Bishop’s transcripts for St. Bees., 1676-1895
Author: Church of England. Parish Church of St. Bees (Cumberland); Church of England. Chapelry of St. Nicholas (Whitehaven, Cumberland)

Bishop’s transcripts for Wasdale-Head, 1718-1871
Author: Church of England. Chapelry of Wasdale-Head (Cumberland)

Church records, 1870-1891
Author: Bible Christian Church. Millom and Dalton Circuit (Lancashire)

Loweswater BT’s : marriages, baptisms, and burials, 1723-1837
Author: Church of England. Chapelry of Lowes-Water (Cumberland); Sykes, Audrey M. M.

Marriages, births and baptisms, 1679-1832
Author: Society of Friends. Whitehaven Preparative Meeting (Westmoreland)

Parish registers for Eskdale, 1625-1930
Author: Church of England. Chapelry of Eskdale (Cumberland)

Parish registers for Lowes-Water, 1626-1978
Author: Church of England. Chapelry of Lowes-Water (Cumberland)

Parish registers for Nether-Wasdale, 1712-1811
Author: Church of England. Chapelry of Nether-Wasdale (Cumberland)

The register of the priory of St. Bees
Author: Wilson, James, b. 1763

The register of the priory of St. Bees
Author: Wilson, James, b. 1763

Registers of St. Bees, Cumberland, 1538-1837
Author: Stout, H. B.

The registers of St. Catherines, Eskdale, for the years 1630-1812
Author: Church of England. Chapelry of Eskdale (Cumberland)

Transcripts of baptismal, marriage and death records, 1585-1837
Author: Church of England. Chapelry of St. Nicholas (Whitehaven, Cumberland)

England, Cumberland, St. Bees – Church records – Indexes ( 10 )
Computer printout of Ennerdale, Cumberland, England

Computer printout of Eskdale, Cumb., Eng

Computer printout of Hensingham, Cumb., Eng

Computer printout of Nether Wasdale, Cumberland, England

Computer printout of St. Bees, Cumb., Eng

Computer printout of Wasdale Head, Cumb., Eng

Computer printout of Whitehaven, St. James, Cumb., Eng

Parish register printouts of Cumberland, England (Saint Bees) ; christenings, 1538-1751
Author: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Genealogical Department

Parish register printouts of Saint Bees, Cumberland, England ; marriages, 1538-1837
Author: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Genealogical Department

Parish register printouts of St. Bees, Cumberland, England ; christenings, 1752-1875
Author: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Genealogical Department

England, Cumberland, St. Bees – Poorhouses, poor law, etc. ( 3 )
Parish records, 1699-1903
Author: Eskdale (Cumberland)

Parish records, 1834-1932
Author: Lowes-Water (Cumberland)

Workhouse records, 1838-1906
Author: Whitehaven Union (Cumberland)

England, Cumberland, St. Bees – Public records ( 2 )
Parish records, 1699-1903
Author: Eskdale (Cumberland)

Parish records, 1834-1932
Author: Lowes-Water (Cumberland)

England, Cumberland, St. Bees – Schools ( 2 )
The Story of St. Bees, 1583-1939 : a souvenir of the 350th anniversary of the opening of St. Bees School
Author: St. Bees School (Cumberland)

The story of the Priory Church of St. Bees & St. Bees School
Author: Jones, P. T.

England, Cumberland, St. Bees – Taxation ( 1 )
Parish records, 1834-1932
Author: Lowes-Water (Cumberland)

Directories

Kelly’s Directory of the Leather Trades 1880

ST BEES

Boot & Shoe Makers
Burnycat John Main street
Graham James Main street

Administration

  • County: Cumberland
  • Civil Registration District: Whitehaven
  • Probate Court: Court of the Archdeaconry of Richmond Western Deaneries – Copeland
  • Diocese: Carlisle
  • Rural Deanery: Copeland
  • Poor Law Union: Whitehaven
  • Hundred: Allerdale above Derwent Ward
  • Province: York

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