Chapelry and township in Sedbergh parish, Ewecross wapentake, West Riding of Yorkshire.
Acreage: 20,890 acres [8,454 ha], including extensive areas of common moorland, enclosed 1859. Chapelry contained five divisions: North Lord’s Land: 1,928 acres [780 ha]; South Lord’s Land: 3,881 acres [1,571 ha]; Lenacre: 1,726 acres [699 ha]; Deepdale: 4,453 acres [1,802 ha]; and Kirthwaite: 8,901 acres [3,602 ha].
Population: 1,773 in 1801. After period of decline, reached peak of 2,096 in 1871, swelled by workers building Settle-Carlisle railway; steady decline thereafter to 675 in 2001, including some who were not usually resident.
Landownership: manor of Dent (comprising Dent town, North and South Lord’s Land, Deepdale and Kirthwaite) held by FitzHugh family, passing by marriage on death of George 7th Lord FitzHugh (d. 1513) to Parr family. Passed to Crown c.1574 and sold 1629 to Sir Allan Apsley, who sold it 1670 to Richard Trotter of Dent and others in trust for the tenants. Lenacre belonged to Monteagle and Middleton families; Monteagle manor was enfranchised 1595-6.
Economy: pastoral farming; quarrying and lime-burning; hand-knitting of stockings was widespread. Coal mining in Cowgill Head area from 18th century to c.1870. ‘Marble’ quarrying from late 18th century; marble mill at Stone House for cutting and polishing marble established 1820s; closed 1907. Dee Mill, Cowgill, a worsted and cotton mill in 1840s; had closed by 1892. Tourism increasingly important from 20th century.
Places of worship: medieval parochial chapel of St Andrew; tower built c.1785; major restoration 1889-90. Church of St John the Evangelist, Cowgill, built 1837-8. Quaker meeting houses in the Loaning, Dent (bought 1682; rebuilt 1701; closed by 1800; sold to Methodists 1834) and Lea Yeat (built 1703; closed 1911). Inghamite chapel 1754; later Sandemanian, abandoned by 1780s. Independent congregation by 1809; built Zion Congregational chapel, Flintergill, 1835; now Dent Meditation Centre. Wesleyan Methodist chapels in Dent (former Quaker meeting house, from 1834; now Dentdale Methodist Church) and Dent Head (1856-1876). Primitive Methodist chapels at Dent (1841-1934) and Deepdale (opened 1889; closed c.1996). Dent Foot Methodist chapel.
Schools and other institutions: school recorded pre-1560. Dent Grammar School endowed 1604; closed 1897. National school, Dent, built 1845; replaced by new school on adjacent site c.1968; now Dent CE Primary School. Old building became village hall (Dentdale Memorial Hall). National school at Cowgill (Kirthwaite) built 1866; closed 1968. Parish workhouse at Hall Bank opened 1733; continued to be used by Sedbergh Poor Law Union until new workhouse built at Sedbergh 1857. Dent Reading Room built 1880; now used as library.
Images and maps (from Portsmouth University) on Old Cumbria Gazetteer
Dent on Vision of Britain
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