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the article and data that initiated the Ravenstonedale  project


our project page on the Family Tree DNA website

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Lords of the Manor of Ravenstonedale


1542-1568 Sir Thomas Wharton, 1st Baron - eldest son of Thomas Wharton of Wharton Hall, best known for his victory at Solway Moss in 1542) (1495-1568)


1568-1572 Sir Thomas Wharton, 2nd Baron - eldest son of 1st Baron Wharton. A devout Catholic and companion of Mary I - imprisoned in Tower in 1561 when Eliz became Queen (1520-1572)


1572-1625 Sir Philip Wharton, 3rd Baron - son of 2nd Lord Wharton.  He was aged 17 years old when he inherited and though married three times both his sons pre-deceased him. (1555-1625)


1625-1695 Sir Philip Wharton, 4th Baron - he was the grandson of the previous Sir Philip and inherited the peerage at the age of 12. He was a supporter and a favourite of Cromwell, and was a great supporter of non conformist ministers, giving money to establish the High Chapel in Ravenstonedale and funding the Minister there. (1613-1696)


1695-1715 Sir Thomas Wharton, 5th Baron, and from 1706 Earl Wharton - son of Philip the 4th Baron, MP for Buckinghamshire, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and Lord Privy Seal - nicknamed 'Honest Tom' (1648-1715)


1718-1729 Philip Lord Wharton, 1st Duke - son of Thomas 5th Baron. became a Jacobilte while travelling in Europe; after an initially successful career his reputation fell into decline and he eventually died a drunkard having lost the entire Wharton fortune.


in 1728 the Manor of Ravenstonedale was sold to Robert Lowther from whom it descended to the Earls of Lonsdale.

The Grant of the Manor of Ravenstonedale to the Priory of Watton by Torphin (CLICK HERE to open a pdf)

This document includes a transcription of a copy of the original record, recording the transfer of the Manor to the Priory of Watton (this was an order of Gilbertine monks) who held the manor for around three centuries up to the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries.  During this period, the Priory would have taken the role of the Lord of the Manor, and all tenants would have been subservant to the monks.  It seems that not only were the customs of the Manor established during this time, but also, when the Manor was taken over by the first of the Lord Whartons, the tenants continued to hold the properties they (or their ancestors) had held during the previous centuries, and the size and location of those properties remained unaltered.

Privileges granted to the Manor of Ravenstonedale (CLICK HERE to open a PDF)

These privileges date back to those originally granted to the Gilbertine Priory by King Henry III in 1225, which had originally been set out by King John.  The Grant itself includes many unfamiliar terms, so you might want to look some of them up in this Glossary, from 'The History of the county of Cumberland'!

Ravenstonedale data - Manorial & Diocesan records

Articles of Agreement between the Lord of the Manor and the Tenants concerning the use of Woods and Underwoods (1592) (CLICK HERE to open a PDF)

Following the dissolution, there was great dissatisfaction between the tenants and the Lord.  This dispute was the result of one of several perceived attempts by the Lord to erode the Tenants Customary Rights.  I think the Indenture can be seen as a successful result for the tenants, who achieved a written record of their right to retain control of the usage of wood and underwood that was growing on their own properties.  The list of signatories is very impressive (I think 176 names?)

Ravenstonedale Glebe Terriers

I am most grateful for permission from the Diocesan Registrar, the Bishop of Carlisle and the Vicar to reproduce on our website the text of two Glebe Terriers for Ravenstonedale, along with thumbnails of a small part of the texts. (The original parchments are held at Cumbria Archives in folder DRC/22/225, but access is restricted).  In addition to naming Churchwardens  and ' Chief Inhabitants', the second document names a number of Ravenstonedale residents named along with their properties.

thumb of ~1704 terrier
thumb of 1749 document

2. Dated 1749 – Description: This large two-sided sheet of parchment contains considerably more detailed information than the earlier Terrier, but the writing on the central fold is faded and the edges and corners very curled, so although the hand is pretty clear, not all of the text is visible. (Robert Mounsey who signed this document was Curate from 1732-1780; Richard Osbaldeston was Bishop of Carlisle from 1747-1762)

click on the thumbnails to read my full transcriptions of the two documents.  NB the transcripts should open in new windows

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Ravenstonedale DNA project

Ravenstonedale DNA project

boundary map of r'dale

I was particularly interested in the description of the boundaries of the Manor of Ravenstonedale which are set out in Torphin's grant.  Quite a few of the places named are instantly recognisable, others look similar to names of farms which appear in later records.


So I have included in the linked document a map of Ravenstondale, taken from the 1851 Jurisdictions map at which seems to me to show almost identical boundaries to those on a current OS map, and I have marked the places I could identify from Torphin's grant.  I hope you will find this as interesting as I do!

1.  Description: This loose paper was undated, but must date from between 1702-1706. It is signed by John Dalton, who is believed to have been Curate of Ravenstonedale between 1697 and 1706 (and possibly a little earlier). William Nicolson was Bishop of Carlisle from 1702-1718. The document is written in an unusual rounded script. I was amused to read what appears to be quite a blatant criticism of Lord Wharton

On the following page you can view some copies of original documents and read my transcriptions:

  • The Great End Book of Ravenstonedale

  • Settlement and Agreement of the Jury and Tenants

  • Inspeximus

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