Holme Abbey

Township in Holme Cultram parish, Allerdale below Derwent ward, Cumberland, including village of Abbeytown.


5,616 acres [2,273 ha], including 472 acres [191 ha] in small detached portions, intermixed with land of other townships in parish. Holme Abbey was centre of ancient parish and lordship of Holme Cultram (covering 24,828 acres [10,048 ha]), which embraced townships of Holme Abbey, Holme East Waver, Holme Low and Holme St Cuthbert. Together, these formed Holme Cultram UD from 1894 to 1934. Commons in Holme Cultram parish, totalling c.6,000 acres [c.2,430 ha] and including Colt Park common field and stinted pastures on marshes, enclosed 1814. Benwray, a common field of 110 acres [45 ha] in Holme Abbey was enclosed 1843.


90 in 1801, rising to 962 in 1861, then declining to 720 in 1951 before rising again (peak 891 in 1961) to stand at 776 in 2001.


lordship of Holme Cultram (coterminous with ancient parish) was granted to Cistercian abbey of Holme Cultram (located at Abbeytown) on its foundation 1150. After Dissolution it remained in Crown hands until 1693, when sold to Frances Villiers, who sold it to Bartholomew Burton of Suffolk 1695. Passed from Burtons to Edward Stephenson 1732, in whose family (Rowland Stephenson having changed family name to Standish 1834) it remained in 20th century.


predominantly agricultural. Weekly market and fairs at Easter and in October held at Abbeytown in 17th century; village was focal point for whole parish and contained retailers and other services by 19th century. Carlisle & Silloth Railway arrived, with station at Abbeytown, 1856; beside it was oilcake mill by 1860s. Agricultural engineering works, Abbey Implements Works, established before 1900.

Places of worship:

nave of medieval abbey of St Mary served as parish church from Dissolution. Tower fell down 1600 and church was burnt 1604 and again 2006; restored and reopened 2015. Wesleyan Methodist chapel built 1859; in use early 21st century.

Schools and other Institutions:

school at Aldoth built on site of older one 1851; enlarged 1909; closed 1957. School at Abbeytown built 1853; replaced by modern building on new site (now Holm Cultram Abbey CE Primary School). Library and reading room built 1856. Assembly room built 1890; adopted as village hall 1932.