Arts and Crafts in the Area
Go onto Barry’s www.woodenfruits.com website to buy some excellent wooden fruit from the area’s local craftsmen
With 75 years of direct involvement with St Thomas’ church, Crosscrake, being christened in 1934 and in working life, the village undertaker and sometimes grave digger, I wanted to write this article. Driving my lawn mower and cutting the churchyard paths, my part time hobby is reading the inscriptions on the many older tomb stones, some barely readable (some 200 years old and worn away by the weather.
Two of them brought memories of one particular family from Sedgwick. The first one was a John Dawson born 1863, died 1958. He was a one time stone mason and foreman at the Wakefield estate in our village. A few yards up the Kelly Hill walkside is the stone of his wife Annie Dawson died 1943 aged 69 years, residing at Box Tree Cottage, Sedgwick. This is the story of one “Annie Mackey” a Scottish lassie hailing from a small hamlet in Sutherland situated on the far north eastern coastline, called Chilasey, Strathhalladale, Helmsdale, Sutherland. She was born there on 10th April 1874 not far from my sister Kathleen’s farm at Dornoch. She has lived there 55 years now and married to vet Gordon Monroe.
Annie’s family had been crofters and were forced from the hinterland by the Duke of Sutherland during the dramatic highland clearances circa 1780-1840, to make way for large scale sheep farms. Many had to take up herring fishing for a living. Transport was a huge problem; ferries and horses were available.
Then in the second half of the 19th Century the railway arrived, a life saver for many. Help was on hand for Annie Mackey. Servants were required in many English mansions. By some means she arrived at Sedgwick House circa 1890. The local lads soon snapped them up. John Dawson married Annie and moved into No. 2 Wilson Terrace, Sedgwick. Two sons were born. The second one William married another Sedgwick Lass Minnie Willacy. They only had one daughter Mary my cousin. Sadly she died 2 years ago. Looking through a family deed box, her grandmother’s birth place was revealed: “Scotland”.
I well remember “Annie” as a large rounded elderly lady who kept an open house - all welcome - anytime. After their day at “Box Tree” it changed hands for a pair of guns. Times have changed !
Continued from July/Aug re Alexander Fulton, Land Agent, Sedgwick.
Information from the 1902 Coronation Edition of the Country Gentleman’s Estate book for Edward 7th 1903 - it listed that Alexander Fulton was the Land Agent of the Estate of Jacob Wakefield, WH Wakefield Egerslack, Grange-over-Sands, J Howson, Crackolt, Natland and Dr Walker, Kirkby Stephen, Dr Keigthly, Old Hall, Endmoor. In all the land totalled 7,680 acres and only a horse for the journeys. He kept a pony & trap at Top o’ th’ Hill Sedgwick in the joiners yard premises; the village blacksmith was the groom and resided at Holly Tree Cottage, Sedgwick - Mr Sam Newton.
The Wakefields built a laundry in Well Heads lane, last building on the right, now “Overslade”. The 2 storey cottage houses the mounds. The long building was the substantial laundry building and was equipped with hand machinery. Water came from the plentiful canal piped to a tank in the ground and hand pumped into the five headed boilers (coffers). The garden had many washing lines and closed at WW2 time circa 1940.
AF had several children, 2 daughters and one son. James never married. After the end of WW2 he was living in Sedgwick Cottage alone and decided to sell up and end his days in Vancover, Canada, where his brother lived and farmed extensive fruit orchards.
The valuable contents were auctioned on the premises including his maroon saloon, a 2 cylinder Jowett car Reg EC something, EC being the 1st reg letters for Westmorland. Some time later the house was sold to off-comers and converted into a 2 g/f and 1st floor flats. After several years it reverted to a single dwelling for Mr and Mrs Caton.
At the outbreak of WW2 the beloved Sedgwick House was requisitioned by the war Office and made into a National Fire Service NFS training depot. Upwards of 40 men were billeted in the house. A large parade ground was tarmaced LHS of the driveway to the headmasters bungalow site. A 60ft red brick tower with windows opening to 5 floors for practising fire drill, was built and garages and five flats for more staff. About 10 Green Goddesses, fire engines and pumps were hired up on the tarmac for practice purposes. Jacob and Nancy Wakefield had to sell up and move taking what they required to Eversley House, Leasgill, never to return. Most of the mature trees had to be cut down on all the estates for the war effort, as no imports were being brought to the UK. The former Gunpowder Works, closed in 1935, across the swing bridge was an ammunition dump/storage camp with many soldiers based there to secure the base.
Sedgwick was a real military base with many comings and goings for 5 years. Sports were arranged on the cricket field with fierce competition between the army and the NFS. Sedgwick House was sold to Lancaster County Council to make a special school for children with epilepsy. This carried on for about 30 years creating valuable employment for both men and women locally. Finally it was sold on to developers to convert the listed buildings into upwards of 30 flats with the coach house included. Many changes in one lifetime for old Alex Fulton. I feel he would have “grave concern”.
There is a special grave stone on the wall side situated 15 yards from the “Clark” iron gates up Kelly Lane. It is a column shaped 6ft high, very impressive, with the name “Greenwood” in large letters inscribed at the top. This family lived at the Mill House in Stainton village. John Greenwood, 1776-1866 and his wife Orpha hailed from Halifax, Yorkshire. In the 1851 census he is listed as masters of Stainton woollen mill. The house and cottage are still there with remains of the weir and damn on the opposite side of the lane (half a mile south of Skettlegill).
They had eleven children, 8 girls and three boys. Their first born was Martha – 1807. Thomas was the last one born in 1832 in the USA. Jane the 6th was born in Canada in 1819. Did Orpha travel alone or together seeking orders in the new world. They were busy people with so many children and a mill to run.
In 1851 employed there were a reeler, 2 wool spinners, 2 line coolers, 4 twist spinners, 4 line weavers producing cloth for military uniforms and horse blankets. By this time only one son lived at home in the house was Thomas. He was 19 years of age, his wife Agnes was 21 years old and they had a daughter also names Agnes – 1 year old (fast movers in those times by gone times). They had a lodger Sarah Smith aged 17 employed as a Reeler.
The water supply to drive the 6 mills in the parish, St Sundays Beck came from Killington reservoir built in 1818 to also fill the canal at Stainton Cross.
In the Hamlet of Halfpenny, the Mill there was owned by a Thomas Cock in 1851. He ran the mill with his son William. They came from Farham in Surrey, and manufactured linen. Working there were six Line Weavers, 2 sack seamsters, 2 line spinners, 2 bobbin turners, a flax dresser and finally a Wharper in Line.
There were 13 cottages in the hamlet of Halfpenny Lane. By circa 1860 the former flax mill was used by the Williamson Brothers, manufactured of machinery for industry and agriculture. Soon requiring more floor area, they moved to canal head, Kendal, to become Gilkes – still there to this day. Following on at the Halfpenny Mill were boiled sweet manufacturers.
By the end of WW1 this mill was derelict along with Stainton Mill. Both were purchased by DH Willacy in 1924, demolished and the stone used by him to build the pair of substantial houses at the end of Gatebeck Lane on the A65. Selling price £1000 each!!! (To be continued) Signed Chippy.