AIKTON: ancient parish in Cumberland Ward, Cumberland.

Includes the townships of Aikton, Wiggonby (with Thornby), Wampool (Laythes, Laverockstone, Whitrigg), and Biglands & Gamelsby (Crookdake, Drumleaning)

Acreage of administrative unit

6,172 acres [2,497 ha].

Date of Enclosure

Aikton Common & Green enclosed in 1816 (500 ac. 202 ha); Whitrigglees common enclosed 1811 (196 ac. 79 ha); Leathes common in 1825 (130 ac. 53 ha); Gamelsby & Biglands common in 1856 (166 ac. 67 ha)


582 in 1801 rising to 755 in 1821 and  steadily up to 808  in 1871, apart from a peak of 856 in 1851 then declining steadily to 449 in 1971 after which there has been a slight rise to 480 in 2001.

Land ownership

Demesne manor of Burgh Barony – one of the two original manors of the barony. Descended with barony till death of Hugh de Morville (d.1202); 1938 Directory describes Biglands as an ancient manor.

Economic activity

Quarrygill farm (place name) and gravel pit shown on OS. There was a grange at Laythes in the 17th century. Mills and millers are noted at Laithes (including windmill) and Gamelsby.  By 1901 several market gardeners are recorded at Lanshaw House Joseph Wilson Marrs market gardener. Chalybeate spa well at Biglands.

Places of worship

St Andrew’s church, with Norman and Early English work. Restored in 1732 and again in 1869; 340 sittings in 1851. A Mission Room was built in 1891, for 300 people.


School for 30 children at Wiggonby in 1818, some concern about funds. Wiggonby Grammar School endowed with property left by Margaret Hodgson in 1792. In 1876 the Directory recorded:  (1) a Free school for 40 children, erected 1860 with later additions; Charity Commissioners modified terms 1879 to allow charging; and (2) a National school. There was a schoolmistress in Aikton in 1847 and a schoolmaster at Thornby in 1829.

Additional sources used


Compiled by: Ian Caruana