Township in Kirkby Lonsdale parish, Lonsdale ward, Westmorland.


4,324 acres [1,750 ha], including 2,200 acres [890 ha] of common fell enclosed 1816.


c.200 in later 17th century. Rose from 266 in 1801 to 623 in 1841 after establishment of boarding school, which continued to inflate census figures: in 1991 only 265 of 574 inhabitants usually resident.


manor of Casterton was part of Richmond fee of barony of Kendal (q.v.). Leased 1669 to Wilson (later Carus-Wilson) family, who remained large landholders until end of 19th century. Economy: largely agricultural. Coalmining from later 17th century; had ceased by mid-19th century. Lime-burning from 17th century. Tourism from later 20th century: caravan park established 1960s.

Places of worship:

chapel of St Columba at Chapel House mentioned 1356; closed 1531; demolished by 1692. Holy Trinity church erected 1831-3; chancel added c.1860; restored 1891.

Schools and other institutions:

William Carus-Wilson’s boarding school for clergy daughters (famous from Jane Eyre) moved from Cowan Bridge 1833; closed 2013, becoming junior department of Sedbergh School. Second girls’ boarding school, the ‘Servants’ School’, also established by Carus-Wilson, moved to Casterton 1837; re-founded as Endowed Church School 1880s; merged with Clergy Daughters’ School 1921. Village school built 1841; closed 1972. Village hall (former mission hall) given to village 1913.