DENT: a township and ancient chapelry in Sedbergh parish, Ewecross Wapentake, in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

Acreage of administrative unit

the chapelry covered 20,890 acres [8454 ha], including extensive areas of common moorland, enclosed in 1859.  The chapelry contained five divisions: North Lord’s Land (1928 acres [780 ha]); South Lord’s Land (3881 acres [1571 ha]); Lenacre (1726 acres [699 ha]); Deepdale (4453 acres [1802 ha]); and Kirthwaite (8901 acres [3602 ha]).  


1773 in 1801. After a period of decline it reached a peak of 2096 in 1871 due to the building of the Settle-Carlisle railway. After that a steady decline to 675 in 2001, including some who were not usually resident.

Land ownership

In medieval times the manor was held by the FitzHugh family but later passed to the Parrs through marriage.  It passed to the Crown in c.1574 and in 1629 was sold to Sir Allan Apsley.  During the Commonwealth the manor was in the hands of a man called Parsons but it reverted to the Apsleys after the Restoration.  In 1670 it was sold to Richard Trotter of Dent and some others in trust for the tenants generally. Trotter and the others tried to keep it to themselves but after a dispute the tenants became fully enfranchised. The Manor of Dent comprised the town, North and South Lords Land, Deepdale and Kirthwaite but much of Deepdale and Kirthwaite was let to inferior or mesne lords.  Lenacre mainly belonged to the Monteagles and the rest to the Middletons.  The Monteagle manor was enfranchised in 1595/6.

Economic activity

Five corn mills. Rash Mill, built on the site of one of those mills, still exists (2012); it started as a carding and spinning mill but later converted for use as a joinery. Bannister’s Mill, a weaving mill, burnt down shortly after 1800. Hand knitting of stockings etc was widespread – remembered in the phrase the ’Terrible Knitters of Dent’. Coal mining. Stone quarries and also Dent ’Marble’ quarries in association with a marble works. In the 20th century a brewery, a mountain gear supplier, agriculture and tourism.

Places of worship

Church of St Andrew, dating from 12th century.  St John the Evangelist (Anglican), Cowgill 1838. Two Society of Friends meeting houses in the Laning, 1701-1834 and Lea Yeat, 1701-c1910.  Inghamite chapel 1754; later Sandemanian, abandoned by the 1780s.   Independent  chapel 1809.  Zion Congregational chapel, Flintergill, 1834.  Wesleyan Methodist chapel, the Laning,1834. Primitive Methodist chapel, the Laning, 1841-1934. Deepdale Methodist chapel 1889. Dent Head Wesleyan Methodist chapel 1856-1876. Dent Foot Methodist chapel.  


Schools: A medieval school pre-1560. Dent Grammar School 1604-1897. National Schools in Dent in 1845 and Cowgill (Kirthwaite) in 1866.  Quaker schools at Lea Yeat in the 1780s and at Silverdale c1880. Various dame schools in 19thcentury.  Dent Primary School at present (2012).                 

Other institutions: Workhouse 1733-1854, Reading Room 1880, Dentdale Memorial Hall in old National School.             

Additional sources used

Sedbergh & District History Society archive.

Compiled by:  members of Sedbergh & District History Society.