Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for KENDAL

KENDAL, a town, a township, a parish, a sub-district, a district, and a ward in Westmoreland. The town stands on the river Kent, and on the Kendal and Windermere railway, at the termination of the Kendal and Lancaster canal, 21 miles N of Lancaster. Its name is a contraction of Kentdale; and its former name was Kirkby-Kendal, or more fully, Kirkby-in-Kentdale, signifying "the church town in the valley of the Kent." The stretch of valley around it is fertile and ornate-in good association with the famous " Kendal green '' of olden times; and is encompassed by hills of considerable height. A barony, including the town, was given, by William the Conqueror, to Ivo de Talebois; and passed to the Bruces, the Rosses, the Parrs, the Thwengs, the Lumleys, the De Coucys, the Copelands, the Beauforts, the Crown, and the Lowthers. The title of Baron Kendal was borne by the early owners; that of Earl of Kendal was borne by John, Duke of Bedford, brother to Henry V., by Prince Charles, third son of James II., by Prince George of Denmark, and by other distinguished persons; that of Duchess of Kendal was conferred, by George I., on the German lady, Madame Schulenberg; and that of Baron Ross and Parr of Kendal continues to be borne by the Earl of Pembroke. A strong castle was founded on the summit of a steep green eminence, on the E side of the town, by one of the earliest barons; was completed in the early part of the 13th century; and appears to have resembled several strong baronial fortresses of the time of William the Conqueror. It was the birth place of Queen Catherine Parr, and of her brother, the Marquis of Northampton; it is supposed to have been dismantled by some body of royal troops, in consequence of the Marquis of Northampton's effort on behalf of Lady Jane Grey; and it is now a ruin, comprising only four broken towers and part of the outer wall. The town was settled by Flemings in 1337, and became, in their hands, famous for the manufacture of woollens, and of "Kendalgreen" buckram. It was fearfully devastated by the plague in 1598, visited by James I. in 1617, and occupied by some of the rebels of 1715 and 1745. It was the death place of Romney the painter; and it numbers among its natives Richard de Kendal the grammarian, Bishop Potter, Dean Potter, Sir G. Wharton, Walker the astronomer, and Hudson and Wilson the botanists. It was freed from villeinage by one of its early barons, and was made a borough by Elizabeth. Wordsworth describes it as "A straggling borough, of ancient charter proud, And dignified by battlements and towers Of a stern castle, mouldering on the brow Of a green hill." The town stands chiefly along the right side of the Kent; and it has a principal spacious street, about a mile in length, and a number of smaller intersecting streets and lanes. Its appearance, to a considerable extent, is exceedingly irregular, and still answers, in some degree, to the poet Gray's account of it in 17 69: " All the houses, excepting the principal streets, seem as if they had been dancing a country dance, and were out. There they stand, back to back, corner to corner, some up hill , some down hill , without intent or meaning. '' The interior aspect, nevertheless, is pleasant. The houses are built of mountain limestone; and, though mostly rough and greyish, they look clean and comfortable. The building stone has been called marble; and it so far deserves the name as to be quarriable in large blocks, of a light whitish colour, susceptible of good polish, and extensively used for making chimney pieces. Three neat stone bridges span the river. The townhall, or Whitehall, is an edifice of 148 feet by 37, built in 1825, at a cost of £6, 000; has, on its chief front, an Ionic portico and a receding balcony; and contains a news room, a ball room, and a number of other apartments. The county house of correction, at the N end of the town, has capacity for 33 male and 10 female prisoners; and was maintained in the year 186 4 at a cost of £601. The market house was erected in 1855. The Bank of Westmoreland, the Odd Fellows' hall, and the Old Maids' hospital, all in Highgate, are pleasing edifices. The museum, in the New road, contains a good collection of small antiquities, limestone fossils, and objects of natural history. The parochial church dates from about the beginning of the 13th century; measures 180 feet by 99; has a remarkably fine interior; includes three chapels, formerly belonging to the Stricklands, the Bellinghams, and the Parrs; is surmounted by a strong tower, 72 feet high; was restored in 1852, 1864, and 1869, at a cost of more than £11, 000; has a memorial window to Major Yeates, inserted in 1865; contains some brasses and epitaphs; and was the scene, in the 17th century, of a curious adventure, worked by Sir Walter Scott into his poem of "Rokeby." St. George's church, near Stramongate bridge, is a handsome recent structure, with two slender towers, surmounted by low spires. St. Thomas' church, at Strickland-Gate, is also a fine recent structure, with a tower. There are numerous dissenting chapels; and one of them was originally a theatre. The Roman Catholic chapel is a neat edifice. The free grammar school was founded in 1525; is a plain building; has £38 a year from endowment, and six exhibitions at Oxford; and numbers among its pupils Bishops Law and Potter of Carlisle, Dr. Shaw, the oriental traveller, Ephraim Chambers, the first English Encyclopedist, Dr. Fothergill, and some other distinguished men. Pyper's national school has £80 a year from endowment; Sleddall's green coat school, £25; Sande's hospital and blue coat school, £328; and a variety of charities, including the endowed schools, £1, 418. There are literary and scientific institutes, Christian and mechanic institutes, working men's newsroom and library, and other institutions. The new cemetery, at Parkside road, was opened in 1855, and has two chapels. A small cemetery in Castle-street, is used only by dissenters, and has a small chapel. St. Leonard's hospital, or the Spittle, was anciently an institution of note; was given, by William de Lancaster, to "Conyngesheved" priory; and passed to the Lowthers. An old chapel stood on Chapelhill, and was converted into a dwelling house. Another old chapel stood at Stramongate bridge, near an old house bearing the inscription "Pax hac domo." The town has a head post office, ‡ a railway station with telegraph, two banking offices, and three chief inns; is a seat of petty sessions, county courts, and quarter sessions, and a polling place; and publishes two weekly newspapers. A weekly market is held on Saturday; fairs for cattle and horses are held on 22 March, 29 April, and 8 and 9 Nov.; fairs for wool and cheese are held in June, July and Aug.; and hiring fairs are held on Whit-Saturday and at Martinmas. Manufactures of woollens, linseys, railway wrappers, horse cloths, carpets, trouserstuffs, woollen cords, ropes, clogs, bobbins, combs, and fish hooks are carried on. Brewing, tanning, iron and brass founding, and the making of agricultural implements also are carried on. A pumping apparatus at a brewery here was constructed in 1 865, with the longest suction pipe in the N of England, forcing water a distance of 720 feet and up an incline of 80 feet, and delivering a steady stream of 2 inches in diameter into a tank with capacity for 14, 000 gallons of water. The town, as a borough, both municipal and parliamentary, comprises all Kendal and Kirkland townships, and part of Nether-Graveship township; and it is governed by a mayor, six aldermen, and eighteen councillors, and sends one member to parliament. Borough income, in 1861, £1, 110. Real property, £41, 170. Electors in 1868, 454. Pop. in 1851, 11, 829; in 1861, 12, 029. Houses, 2, 590. The township of Kendal, as already noted, lies all in the borough. Real property in 1860, £37, 896; of which £26 were in quarries, £1, 934 in gas works, and £7, 088 in railways. Pop. in 1861, 10, 418. Houses, 2, 216.—The parish contains also the townships of Kirkland, Nether-Graveship, Natland, Crook, Hugil, Kentmere, Over Stavely, Nether Stavely, Fawcet-Forest, Whinfell, Selside and Whitwell, Patton, Grayrigg, Dillicar, Lambrigg, Docker, Scalthwaiterigg and Hay and Huttonthe-Hay, Skelsmergh, Strickland-Roger, StricklandKettle, Long Sleddale, New Hutton, Old Hutton-withHolmescales, Helsington, and Underbarrow-with-Bradley-Field. Acres, 68, 360. Real property, £92, 708. Pop. in 1851, 18, 333; in 1861, 18, 600. Houses, 3, 777. The surface is very diversified; includes much fertile land and many orchards; and extends away to some of the Lake mountains. An ancient camp was on Helsehill; and many features of interest will be found noticed in our articles on the townships. The parochial living and that of St. George are vicarages, and that of St. Thomas is a p. curacy, in the diocese of Carlisle. Value of the parochial, £521; * of St. George, £190; * of St. Thomas, not reported. Patron of the parochial, Trinity College, Cambridge; of St. George, the Vicar of Kendal; of St. Thomas, Trustees. The chapelry of St. George was constituted in 1848, and that of St. Thomas in 1837; and both are wholly within the borough. Pop. of St. G., 3, 144; of St. T., 2, 092. Houses, 683 and 460. There are also within the parish the chapelries of Crook, Burneside, Grayrigg, Helsington, Hugil, Kentmere, Long Sleddale, Natland, Stavely, New Hutton, Old Hutton, Selside, Underbarrow, and Winster.—The sub-district contains only the townships of Kendal, Kirkland, Nether-Graveship, and Natland. Pop. in 1861, 12, 305. Houses, 2, 639.—The district comprehends also the sub-district of Ambleside, containing the parishes of Grasmere and Windermere, and the townships of Crook, Hugil, Kentmere, Over Stavely, and Nether Stavely; the sub-district of Milnthorpe, containing six townships of Heversham parish, four townships of Beetham parish, and the townships of Helsington and Underbarrow-with-Bradley-Field; the sub-district of Grayrigg, containing all the other Kendal townships, and the Firbank township of Kirkby-Lonsdale parish; and the sub-district of-Kirkby-Lonsdale, containing eighteen townships of Kirkby-Lonsdale parish, one of Beetham parish, one of Heversham parish, and all Burton-in-Kendal parish. Acres, 189, 134. Poor-rates in 1863, £16, 557. Pop. in 1851, 36, 572; in 1861, 37, 463. Houses, 7, 194. Marriages in 1863, 277; births, 1, 193, -of which 99 were illegitimate; deaths, 679, -of which 248 were at ages under 5 years, and 21 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 2, 531; births, 11, 271; deaths, 6, 866. The places of worship in 1851 were 42 of the Church of England, with 14, 694 sittings; 1 of United Presbyterians, with 400 s.; 5 of Independents, with 1, 010 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 850 s.; 1 of Unitarians, with 312 s.; 7 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 1, 490 s.; 2 of Primitive Methodists, with 340 s.; 1 of Wesleyan Reformers, with 160 s.; 2 of Sandemanians, with 170 s.; 4 undefined, with 1, 100 s.; and 2 of Roman Catholics, with 700 s. The schools were 61 public day schools, with 4, 358 scholars; 50 private day schools, with 1, 470 s.; 56 Sunday schools, with 4, 657 s.; and 3 evening schools for adults, with 139 s. The workhouse is in Kendal township; and, at the census of 1861, had 171 inmates. The ward excludes the borough, and is otherwise mainly identical with the district, but not so extensive. Acres, 144, 797. Pop. in 1851, 18, 000; in 1861, 19, 234. Houses, 3, 525.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a town, a township, a parish, a sub-district, a district, and a ward"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Kendal CP/AP/Tn       Kendal SubD       Kendal PLU/RegD       Westmorland AncC
Place: Kendal

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