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Ravenstonedale data - miscellaneous information

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Ravenstonedale Wills & Probate Index - (updated 27 apr 2018)

Wills are one of the easiest type of document to locate and may provide you with totally unexpected information about your ancestors.  This page gives you lots of information on how to find Probate documents for your Ravenstonedale ancestors, which may provide confirmation of relationships and introduce you to NEW family members.  The index currently includes a list of over 850 Wills and Administrations (1591-1893) for people from Ravenstonedale - I update the list regularly as I discover more Probate records. The Index is sorted into alphabetical order of surname of testator

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the article and data that initiated the Ravenstonedale  project


our project page on the Family Tree DNA website

Apprenticeship Registers for young men and women from Ravenstonedale (updated 25 feb 2018)

The attached pdf provides a list of 162 Apprentices and Masters between 1651 and 1837.  Some lived in Sedbergh or nearby villages but it is very likely their family will have originated in Ravenstonedale. You may find one of your ancestors on the list, either as a Master or Apprentice.  It is interesting to see how many young people were sent to other towns and villages through Parish apprenticeship schemes.  Did these young people return home at the end of their apprenticeship (usually seven years) or did they establish themselves where they were sent?   I have included information about the young men who made an even longer journey to the City of London, where it is looking as if a number of them were apprenticed to Masters who themselves came from Ravenstonedale.  But I still need to spend some more time searching through the records at the Guildhall Library and endeavouring to locate other records to identify each of them and discover more about their lives on being made Free to complete my search.

  • Apprenticeship records  The list has been colour-coded according to destination, showing those who were apprenticed to Masters living in Ravenstonedale, in nearby counties, more distant counties and in London. Sources are provided at the end of the list. (updated 13 apr 2019)

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this is a close up of a small section of the 1379 Lay Subsidy Roll - a much more experienced person than me transcribed the names shown in the linked documents!

But there are may OTHER documents that can add colour and details to our research - the first document listed in the section on Taxation records is the earliest record I have located that tells us about who lived in the parish.

Taxation records for Ravenstonedale

The 1379 Lay Subsidy Roll (see image below left) is the earliest document we possess that lists the people who lived in Ravenstonedale.  The original document is damaged, so there are gaps in the list, and it seems that the use of hereditary surnames has not yet been adopted by the majority of the people living in the parish at this time - however, some of the names seem to crop up a century and a half later in the 1541 and 1568 tenancy documents.  It is very interesting and well worth a look!

Lay Subsidy Roll 1379 (Transcript)

The later taxation Rolls provide greater detail, but by the 17thC this tax was only payable by those who owned a more substantial amount of property/land/goods.  So there were very few tenants on the later lists:

Above is a copy of a section of the Lay Subsidy Roll for 1610, the only Ravenstonedale tenants listed are

  • Rowland Taylor

  • Anthony ?Pinder

  • John Adamthwaite

  • George Fawcett

The section of the Lay Subsidy Roll shown on the left is for 1624 and I have included the entries for Ravenstonedale, Mallerstang, Wharton and Hartley and Kirkby Steven for comparison of the amounts paid by tenants in those parishes.  Even Sir Phillip Musgrave (who paid on the basis of land rather than goods) only paid £10 10 shillings.  The Ravenstonedale residents who were required to pay the subsidy were:

  • Anthony Pinder  [£6  16s]

  • Rowland Taylor  [£6  16s]

  • George Fawcett  [£3  8s]

  • Vincent Fothergill  [£3  8s]

  • Phillip Green    [£3  8s]


In 1625 the Ravenstonedale residents paying were:

  • Rowland Taylor  [£6  16s]

  • Gyles Cooke    [£6  16s]

  • Vincent Fothergill   [£3  8s]

  • Phillip Green   [£3  8s]

  • Henry Bousefell   [£3  8s]

  • William Fothergill  [£3  8s]

Above is an image of the Lay Subsidy Roll from 1379 - which lists the tenants of Ravenstonedale long before any other records are available

Land Tax raised in Great Britain - source: The National Archives, IR 23/93/110 folio 149-152

Hearth Tax and Window Tax for Ravenstonedale

Two other taxes were applied across the country - the Window Tax and Hearth Tax - transcriptions of the Window Tax and the later Hearth Tax records have been extracted from the Edenlinks website. The earlier Hearth Tax was sourced from British History Online:

Lists of people of influence in the Manor:

  • Known Ministers at the parish church of St Oswalds - this list is probably incomplete, if you can provide any more information I should be most grateful

  • Known teachers at Ravenstonedale Grammar School - a clue to the effectiveness of the teaching at the village school can be seen in the high level of literacy evident from the writings in the Great End Book and the lists of tenants signatures on some of the documents.  The free grammar school was founded about 1688, by Thomas Fothergill, B.D., master of St. John's College, Cambridge, aided by members of his family, natives of the parish; a good school-house was built by contributions in 1758 (source Topographical Dictionary of England, 1848).  I have heard of a book recording the successful students of the final teacher on this list - John Robinson - if anyone could send me details of this publication I should be most grateful.

  • Pupils of Sedbergh School with Ravenstonedale connections - I have transcribed these from 'The Sedbergh School Register 1546-1909, published 1909 by B Wilson.  The list includes all those who were found with a search for the word 'Ravenstonedale', so may not be a comprehensive list at all, as not all entries include the place of birth.  However, it is interesting to note that the list includes quite a few who went on to become Masters at Ravenstonedale Grammar School - not all of whom appear on the previous list of known teachers, which was sourced from the Clergy Database.

image from Kendal Debt Book 1842

Ravenstonedale names in the Kendal Debt Book of 1842

I came across this information quite by chance, and Alan who undertook all the research for his Bednall Archives website kindly agreed to allow me to reproduce the image shown to the left of the list of Debts for 1842 which includes a number of Ravenstonedale tenants.  

Transcript of the names and residences on the list - do you recognise any of YOUR ancestors?


Alan has listed the types of products ordered as

  • ... coffee and tea, generally conger tea but also green tea, coupon tea and on one occasion "Mexican" tea. Many orders also included tobacco (twist and shag) and snuff, currents and raisins. Some of the other items ordered were: sugar, treacle, cheese, eggs flour, meal, salt, pepper and mustard, annatto, nutmeg, cumin and rue , soap, starch, blue and soda, candles, linseed and on one occasion gunpowder. A very few orders included hardware or other non-food goods such as shoes, a shoe brush, a broom head,  mustard pot and snuffer.

I recognise most of the products on the above list, but was surprised to see such exotic items as green tea and Mexican tea!  And what is 'annatto'?

Another type of list that can reveal the names of those living in the parish are Voters lists (these not only list the names, but early ones tell us who they voted for!).  But again, only a limited section of the community was eligible to vote so they cannot provide a comprehensive list of all those living in the parish.


In the next section, I hope to include lists of tenants and their place of abode from transcriptions of the various Rental documents and surveys that appear in the collection of Ravenstonedale Manorial Records

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Ravenstonedale DNA project

Ravenstonedale DNA project

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