Ancient parish in Cumberland ward, Cumberland, comprising townships of Buckabank, Cumdivock, Dalston, Hawksdale, Ivegill or Highhead, and Raughton & Gaitsgill. CP enlarged by gaining part of Castle Sowerby CP and losing land to Skelton CP 1934.


12,459 acres [5,042 ha] before boundary changes, divided between constituent townships thus: Buckabank: 2,148 acres [869 ha]; Cumdivock: 2,194 acres [888 ha]; Dalston: 656 acres [265 ha]; Hawksdale: 2,989 acres [1,210 ha]; Ivegill or Highhead: 1,650 acres [668 ha]; and Raughton & Gaitsgill: 2,822 acres [1,142 ha]. Commons in manor of Dalston, totalling 2,500 acres [1,012 ha], enclosed 1807.


2,120 in 1801, rising to 3,023 in 1831 before declining (attributed in 1841 to depressed state of manufacturing and in 1861 to cotton mill fire and depressed state of hand-loom weaving) to 2,004 in 1891 and 1,631 in 1931 (last census year before boundary changes). Population of enlarged CP stood at 2,643 in 2001.


barony of Dalston, almost co-extensive with parish, granted to bishop of Carlisle 1230 and remained in possession of the bishops thereafter, with their seat at Rose Castle in Hawksdale township. Several subsidiary manors within barony: manor of Little Dalston held by Dalston family from 13th century until sold by Sir George Dalston in 1761 to Monkhouse Davison, after whose death it was bought 1795 by John Sowerby, in whose family it remained until early 20th century. Manor of Cardew held by John Burdon c.1300; transferred to John Denton, in whose family it remained until sold by George Denton to Sir James Lowther 1686. Manor of Highhead acquired by L’Engleys family in early 14th century, passing by marriage to Ralph Restwold (d. 1383), descended through Restwolds until sold in 1540s to John Richmond, in whose family it remained until divided between heiresses in 18th century.


agricultural economy overlain by industrial growth from 18th century. Dalston had Friday market for meat etc. in 19th century (had ceased by 1900). Quarrying in Cumdivock and lime-burning in Gaitsgill in 19th century. Fulling mill at Dalston by 1688, recorded in place-name Walk Mill. Forge at Dalston, established 1756, manufacturing spades and other agricultural implements. Cotton manufacture from late 18th century: first cotton mill established 1782; by mid-19th century there were three: Buckabank Mill, New Rookery Walk Mill and Low Green Mill. Linen manufacture from late 18th century; both flax mill and canvas manufacture in mid-19th century. Nestlé powdered milk factory, opened 1962 near site of Low Green mill.

Places of worship:

medieval parish church of St Michael in Dalston village; reconstructed 1749 and 1890. Medieval chapel in Rose Castle, rebuilt late 17th century. Highhead chapel recorded 1358; rebuilt 1682 and again 1836; closed 1974. Other townships gained Anglican churches in 19th century: Christ Church, Ivegill, built 1868; St Jude’s, Gaitsgill, built 1869; demolished c.1970; All Saints, Cumdivock, built 1870-2. Wesleyan Methodist chapel at Dalston built 1825; used as National school by 1860. Wesleyan Association Methodist chapel opened 1851. United Methodist Free Church, Dalston, built 1881; enlarged 1903; still in use. Methodist chapel at Stockdalewath, built 1892; still in use.

Schools and other institutions:

Cumdivock: school at Chalkfoot built 1780 by parishes of Westward and Dalston; had closed by 1900. Dalston: grammar school founded in 17th century; rebuilt 1815; converted to elementary school in 1870; closed (by 1938 used as parochial hall). National school held in former Methodist chapel 1860; moved to new building on new site 1864; now St Michael’s CE Primary School. Caldew School (secondary) built c.1960. Parish workhouse built 1827. Working men’s reading room and library established 1848. Parochial library established 1874; by 1938 in possession of National school. Victory Hall built 1922. Gaitsgill: school recorded 1818; Primrose Hall built 1885 for estate workers by Lt. Col. J. Carleton Salkeld of Holm Hill; now used as village hall. Hawksdale: Board school opened 1879; closed and converted to dwelling; Lime House independent school moved from Wetheral to Holm Hill 1946. Highhead: reader at chapel endowed to teach children 1736. Ivegill: schoolmaster recorded 1688; small school built 1835; new school, now Ivegill CE Primary School, built 1873. Village hall, opposite school, built 1964.