Castle Sowerby

Ancient parish in Leath Ward, Cumberland, comprising five townships or ‘bounds’: Bustabeck, Howbound, Rowbound, Southernby and Stockdalewath.


8,605 acres [3,482 ha], divided between ‘bounds’ thus: Bustabeck: 1,743 acres [705 ha]; Howbound: 1,674 acres [677 ha]; Rowbound: 1,178 acres [477 ha]; Southernby: 1,130 acres [457 ha]; and Stockdalewath: 1,534 acres [621 ha]. Sowerby pasture and other commons, totalling c.5,000 acres [c.2,000 ha], enclosed 1769.


estimated at 705 in 1688; rising from 515 in 1801 to peak of 1,015 in 1841; then steadily declining to 337 in 2001.


part of honour of Penrith (q.v.), with which it descended.


farming: noted for its corn, especially oats, which was said to be ‘the best in the county’ in later 17th century; woodland on former common land, with charcoal-burning, perhaps in medieval period. Coal mining at Hewerhill by later 17th century; mine there in mid-19th century; mining had ceased by 1900. Limestone and free stone quarrying; brick- and tile-making in Bustabeck Bound in mid-19th century.

Places of worship:

medieval parish church of St Kentigern in Howbound township. Said to be remains of chapel called Lady Chapel at ‘Birksceugh’ in early 19th century. Chapel of ease at Raughton Head, now church of All Saints, consecrated 1678 (possibly replacing earlier building); rebuilt 1761. Quaker meeting house at Sowerby Row built 1713; closed 1787. For Stockdalewath Methodist chapel, see Dalston.

Schools and other institutions:

school at Sowerby Row endowed 1751 by John Sowerby; closed c.1963. Schoolmaster at Raughton Head chapel in late 17th century; school adjoining chapel yard built 1744; rebuilt 1806; dismantled and materials reused on new site 1857; now Raughton Head CE Primary School. Village hall at Millhouse, rebuilt 1998-9.