Archive for April, 2012

Wilfred Grisdale was born in Hollas (‘The Hollows’), Matterdale, Cumberland in 1675. He was one of several children of Thomas Grisdale.  The Matterdale Grisdales were at the time quite poor farmers and craftsmen. So how did Wilfred become a rich man? How did he become the ‘Lord of the Manor of Brigham and Hewthwaite’ in Bridekirk (near Cockermouth) and the owner of two large manor houses and lots of land? And also how was he connected with William Wordsworth?

I don’t yet know all the answers but here is the story as I know it so far. Also see:

In 1702 at the age of 27 Wilfred married Mary Stanger in Crosthwaite, Cumberland. By the next year he and Mary were in London where their first child, also called Wilfred, was baptised at St Leonards Church in Shoreditch on the 5th August 1703. The family lived in Holyn Street. A second child, John, followed in 1704, baptised at the same church on the 7th August. We know that Wilfred was a ‘Brewer’ but this information only comes later.

Wood Hall, Bridekirk, Cockermouth

But by 1707/1708 he obviously had made a considerable amount of money because in that year he was able to buy ‘Wood Hall’ (Woodhall), a large manor house (see picture) near Bridekirk, from the Tolson family , (see ; Wilfred’s next two children were twins, Mary and Wilfred (the first Wilfred had probably died). They were born and baptized in Bridekirk on 28th December 1708. Wilfred was shown as being of ‘Woodhall’. Wilfred’s brother William (who had a son also called William) died in Bridekirk in August 1708 and was said to be of ‘Woodhall’.

The question is how did Wilfred, even if he had started his brewing career as soon as he moved to London, get enough money in only 4-5 years to buy such a splendid house? One supposition is that he married into money? Was Mary Stanger rich? Was there a dowry? I don’t know yet, but it is interesting to note that some years later when Matterdale School was founded in 1722 by another Grisdale, the Rev. Robert Grisdale (more on him another time), one of the richest local landowners was also called Mary Stanger.

Wilfred and his family were soon back in London and we know for sure he was a brewer by this time. His last three children Jane (born 1713), Elizabeth and William (twins born in 1716) were all baptized in St Mary’s, Whitechapel. The family were living in Hooper’s Square, Whitechapel and the Brewery was in Goodman’s Field.

Hewthwaite Hall

He obviously continued to prosper because in 1827 Wilfred took another step up. He bought and became the Lord of the Manor of Brigham and Hewthwaite, near Bridekirk. And with this he became the owner of Hewthwaite Hall (see picture). The seller was the indebted Jacobite Lord Wharton (see

But Wilfred’s good fortune was not to last. It seems that only one of his children survived. This was Mary Grisdale born in 1708 in Bridekirk. In 1729 she married Joshua Lucock in London. Joshua was the scion of a well-established Cumberland gentry family that was later to suffer much insanity (see: They had two children: Grisdale Lucock born in Hoopers’ Square, Whitechapel, in 1731 and Mary, born in Camberwell in 1735. Wilfred himself had by this time already died – in 1732 in Hoppers’ Square. Wilfred’s daughter Mary Grisdale (Lucock) died in 1737 in Hoopers’ Square, Whitechapel. His granddaughter Mary Lucock died in Camberwell only one year later in 1738, aged just three.

Joshua Lucock went on to marry twice more (see link above).

So what became of Wilfred’s great wealth? It’s a long and complicated story and without going to the Carlisle Records office it will be difficult to find the full tale. But essentially after the death of his daughter and granddaughter his estate was inherited by a ‘nephew’ – William Singleton a Surgeon in London. When he died in 1767 it passed to his daughter Mary Singleton. She died a spinster in about 1775. Then Wilfred’s will came back with force and his estate was divided between several people, the manor of Brigham, including Hewthwaite Hall, was allotted to the Lucock family, who sold it in 1783 to Sir Gilfred Lawson.

I am still trying to sort out the whole sequence. At the end I reproduce some documents verbatim that will help.

There is an interesting addition to the story. In 1745 Joshua Lucock built a large house in Bridekirk which is now called ‘Wordsworth House’ – because the poet was born there:

Sir Nikolaus Pevsner described in his book ‘The Buildings of England – Cumberland and Westmorland’ Wordsworth House as ‘quite a swagger house for such a town’. It was built in 1745 for the then High Sheriff of Cumberland, Joshua Lucock. In 1761 Sir James Lowther, son of Sir John Lowther who built Whitehaven and its port, bought the property.

John Wordsworth, the poet’s father, moved to Cockermouth as agent to Sir James in 1764, and in 1766 married Anne Cookson and moved rent free into what is now known as Wordsworth House. Here four sons and a daughter were born – Richard (19 August 1768), William (7 April 1770), Dorothy (25 December 1771), John (4 December 1771) and Christopher (9 June 1774). Their mother died on 8 March 1778 when William was eight, and he spent most of his time with relatives in Penrith. His father died in Wordsworth House five years later on 30 December 1783. In 1784 all the children finally left the house to be cared for by relations.

Wordsworth House

An interesting tale, but still with much more to discover. Such as:

Who was Mary Stanger of Crosthwaite? Did she bring money to Wilfred?

What is the relation with the noble family Lawson, Baronets? There seem many.

What sort of Brewery did Wilfred have in Goodman’s Field?

What was the precise connection between Wilfred and Dr William Singleton?


Also see:

These documents are held at Cumbria Record Office, Carlisle Headquarters :

 D LAW/1/198  t. James I, then 1707 – 1841

Deeds to the customary messuage and tenement called Borranskell’s Tenement (1707), later called Little Hewthwaite, and to the farm house called Lowthwaite built nearby c. 1778, which became part of the Singleton estate, and which Sir Gilfrid Lawson bought as two properties in May and Dec. 1783; includes enfranchisement of the same in 1841; hitherto held of the Manor of Hewthwaite, rent 17s. 4d.; bundle also includes uncompleted damaged quitclaim following sale of the Manor of Bassenthwaite to Sir Wilfrid Lawson by Richard Fletcher and Barbara his wife, John Irton and Mary his wife, and John Irton his son (30 houses, 20 cottages, 2 dovecotes, lands), t. James I
Mortgage for £100 by Richard Swinburne of Hewthwaite in the parish of Cockermouth Esq. and Eleanor his wife, to Dame Elizabeth Lawson of Isel, widow and guardian of Sir Wilfrid Lawson, Bt., infant, on his behalf – Borranskell’s Tenement, rent 17s. 4d., at Hewthwaite; interest, 6%; and two further deeds re same of same date; and admittance of Sir Wilfrid (Thomas, Lord Wharton, lord of the manor) 1714/15, 1707, 1714/5
Dimissions to William Singleton, surgeon (1750), and Mary his only child and heir, spinster (1768) – ½ acre parcel in the Manor of Derwentfells at Setmurthy, rent 7d. (Duke of Somerset, lord), 1750, 1768
3. Lease and release of Part 6 of the late Miss Singleton’s Cumberland estate, and
4. Lease and release and covenant to levy fine on the 11th Part of same, 25 and 26 June 1776
Joshua Lucock of Cockermouth, Esq., and numerous others mostly of his family
Dr William Pitcairn of Warwick Court, Warwick Lane, London, doctor in physic, sole Executor of the late Miss Mary Singleton, late of the Rolls Buildings, Fetter Lane, London, who was the only child of the late William Singleton late of Aldersgate Street, London, surgeon, cousin and heir of Mary Lucock (deceased) the granddaughter of Joshua Lucock deceased by the daughter of Wilfrid Grisdale of Goodman’s fields, Middx., brewer, deceased.
Recites names of the Commissioners for the Partition, which person got what part, and what each part comprised; refers to “the Plan” [now in Item 199]; the parts (“Lots”) 6 and 22 relate to various named closes at Hewthwaite; states sums payable in lieu of tithe
Note William Singleton, surgeon, was William Grisdale’s nephew. Wilfrid Grisdale was Lord of the Manors of Brigham and Hewthwaite, with the capital messuage called Hewthwaite Hall.
Fine re same – 40 acres land, 5 acres meadow, 25 acres pasture, common of pasture and turbary, in the parishes of Cockermouth and Bridekirk, 1777
Supplemental abstract of title (“No. 2”) of Dr Pitcairn, reciting from 1730-1777; c. 1778
Mortgage, draft “for Mr Baynes’ approval” [their London solicitor], and contemporary copy of same (John Lucock [party to Items 3 and 4 above], of Cockermouth Esq., to Daniel Moor of Whitehaven, mariner), – for £800 – the capital mansion of Hewthwaite Hall, and that other, farm, house “lately Erected” next door by the said John Lucock, and lands near it “heretofore part” of Hesket Hall demesne (names each field and which old field they were “taken from”), 1778
Admittance – Sir Richard Cope, Bt., nephew and heir of Sir John Mordaunt Cope, Bt., deceased, to the house and land called Little Hewthwaite, rent 17s. 4d., in the Manor of Hewthwaite (Joseph Fisher, lord), 1782
Agreement for sale, and lease and release of Lewthwaite (John Lucock gent. and Daniel Moor to Sir Gilfrid) for £1036, being £848 to Daniel Moor and £188 to John Lucock, May 1783
Power of attorney by John Lucock re same a May 1783
Lease and release of named closes at Hewthwaite (Dr Pitcairn to Sir Gilfrid) for £1650, Dec. 1783
Customary conveyance, and surrender-and-admittance (Sir Gilfrid to William Browne of Tallentire Hall, Esq. [his trustee]) – Little Hewthwaite, 1785
Enfranchisement (John Sanderson Fisher, infant, of Woodhall p. Bridekirk, Esq., lord on the death of Judith Bolton, widow, last admitting Lady, to William Browne as Sir Wilfrid’s Trustee) for £72 – 7 closes (total 38a. 0r. 36p.) and 5 parcels of woodland adjoining (total 15a. 1r. 12p.) at Little Hewthwaite in Setmurthy tp., total rent 17s. 4d.; nothing reserved; the closes are not named, 1841

This is from Magna Britannia: volume 4: Cumberland, Daniel and Samuel Lysons, 1816:

BRIGHAM, in the ward of Allerdale below Derwent, is an extensive parish, containing ten townships, besides those of the parochial chapelry of Lorton, viz. Brigham, Blindbothel, Buttermere, Cockermouth, Eaglesfield, Embleton, Grey-Southern, Mosser, Setmurthy, and Whinfell. The whole parish, exclusively of Lorton, contained in 1811, 1008 houses, and 4918 inhabitants.

The manors of Brigham, Grey-Southern, and Eaglesfield, were given by William de Meschines to Waldeof, son of Gospatric: the latter gave Brigham to Dolphin, son of Alward, in marriage with his sister; after a few descents it was divided into moieties between the coheirs of Brigham; one moiety after remaining for some time in the family of Twinham, and afterwards in that of Hercla, was forfeited by the attainder of Andrew de Hercla, Earl of Carlisle, and given to a chantry in the church of Brigham; this moiety, after the dissolution, was granted to the Fletchers of Moresby, and was sold to the tenants. The other moiety was successively in the families of Huthwaite and Swinburn; it was sold by the latter in 1699, to the Honourable Goodwin Wharton; in 1727 the trustees of the Duke of Wharton sold it to Mr. Wilfred Grisdale; after the death of his daughter, Mrs. Lucock, and her only daughter, it passed under his will to Mr. William Singleton, who died in 1767; on his death this and other estates became vested jointly in several persons under Mr. Grisdale’s will, and having been divided by virtue of a commission of partition, issued out of the court of chancery, this moiety of the manor of Brigham was allotted to Joshua Lucock, Esq. and is now the property of his grandson Raisbeck Lucock Bragg, Esq. The Earl of Egremont is Lord Paramount.