MATTERDALE: a township in Greystoke parish, Leath Ward, Cumberland.

Matterdale CP was enlarged by absorbing WATERMILLOCK CP in 1934.

Acreage of administrative unit

7,288acres [2,949 ha], including extensive areas of common land:  Matterdale Common (2,800 acres [1,133 ha]) and a further 2,500acres [1,012 ha] of mossland and stinted pastures were enclosed in 1882.  Despite enclosure, 2605 acres [1,054 ha] of Matterdale Common remains registered as common land.


297 in 1801 rising steadily to 426 by 1871, then gradual decline to 229 by 1931, the last census year for which a separate figure is available.

Land ownership

a manor within Greystoke Barony; farms held by customary tenure by mid-17th century. 

Economic activity

largely hill farming; some quarrying andmining (2 miners recorded c.1900). Inns: Royal Hotel (extant); Temperance Hotel in Dockray.

Places of worship

chapel of ease, licensed as parochial chapel 1573.  Thatched until 1848, when tower was added.  Wesleyan Methodist chapel.


In 1722, Rev. Robert Grisdale built a school endowed with interest on £200, on one and a half acres of land given by Howard in 1716. Mrs. Grisdale left a library in the school in 1723, for the use of inhabitants. This contained c.200 volumes by 1847.  This school was superseded by a larger building on the same land.  Both are now closed and used for community purposes.

Additional sources used


Compiled by: June Hall