Ancient parish in Allerdale below Derwent ward, Cumberland.


6,915 acres [2,798 ha], including 3,630 acres [1,469 ha] of commons and stinted pasture, enclosed in 1771. Divided into two constablewicks, Highside and Lowside (or Hawes). Bassenthwaite and Skiddaw Common (1,018 acres [412 ha]) remains unenclosed fell grazing.


estimated at 530 in 1688. Rose from 450 in 1801 to peak at 557 by 1851; had fallen back to 445 by 1901; then remained fairly steady across 20th century to stand at 412 in 2001.


manor of Bassenthwaite was divided between two daughters of Adam de Bassenthwaite in early 14th century, one half descending through Irton family to Leighs of Isel and thus to Lawsons; other moiety through Martindale family until forfeited to Crown on attainder of Roger Martindale c.1570, after which it was granted to earl of Derby. Derby share passed to John, Lord Ashbuton in 1714 on his marriage to Henrietta Stanley; he enfranchised tenants 1715. Other landowners included Highmores of Armathwaite (sold in 18th century to Fletcher-Vanes) and Speddings of Mirehouse.


predominantly agricultural. Woollen cloth manufacture (‘Skiddaw grey’) and blue slate quarries in 17th century; several fulling mills. Antimony mine opened in 1820s at Robin Hood, but proved uneconomic; had closed by late 1840s.

Places of worship:

medieval parish church of St Bega beside lake near Mirehouse (rebuilt c.1800; restored 1874). Hawes (or Halls) chapel, closer to village (Bassenthwaite Halls), built as chapel of ease 1471; rebuilt 1805. Replaced by new church of St John, nearby, 1878. Primitive Methodist chapel opened 1868; bought by Wesleyans 1882; extended 1930s; remains in use.

Schools and other institutions:

school near Hawes chapel in early 19th century; forerunner of schoolroom attached to chapel, dated 1862. Board school built 1874; now Bassenthwaite Primary School. Reading room and library, adjacent to Methodist chapel, built 1874 (closed; converted to dwelling). Village halls: Parish Room, built 1908 for Skiddaw Humane and Friendly Society; former Hawes chapel used as church room.