Chapelry in Grasmere parish, Kendal ward, Westmorland, covering valleys of Great Langdale and Little Langdale.


9,510 acres [3,849 ha], including extensive unenclosed fell commons totalling 4,994 acres [2,022 ha]. Common field named Langdale High and Low Common Field (77 acres [31 ha]) enclosed 1853.


around 300 in early 19th century, then rising from 442 in 1841 to peak of 846 in 1901; in range 650-800 across earlier 20th century; stood at 563 in 1971 (last census year for which separate figure available).


Great Langdale was hunting forest in barony of Kendal and descended with Windermere (q.v.). Manor of Baysbrown in Great Langdale granted to Conishead Priory by William de Lancaster; divided after Dissolution. Manor of Little Langdale held by Penningtons of Muncaster from 13th century; enfranchised to tenants c.1692.


hill farming. Woollen textiles: two fulling mills recorded 1454; woollen mill at Colwith recorded late 17th century. Iron making at Hackett forge, Little Langdale, established 1620s by conversion of two fulling mills to bloom forge; converted to finery forge c.1711; ceased operation 1760s. Forge at Baysbrown late 17th century. Extensive slate quarrying: by mid-19th century major quarries at Thrang Quarry, near Chapel Stile, and Elterwater (which remains active). Elterwater Gunpowder works established 1824; closed 1928. Langdale Linen Industry (‘arts and crafts’ revival of cottage industry) established 1883; had declined by c.1920. Tourism increasingly important from 19th century; former gunpowder works at Elterwater converted to holiday resort later 20th century.

Places of worship:

chapel of ease in Great Langdale recorded 1571; rebuilt 1753; rebuilt again 1857 as Holy Trinity church; extended 1878. Tradition of early chapel at Chapel Mire in Little Langdale.


Schools and other institutions:

school taught in chapel by curate in early 18th century; two schools recorded 1818. School at Chapel Stile, Great Langdale, built 1824 by Elterwater Gunpowder Company; now Langdale CE Primary School. Little Langdale school built 1865; closed 1965. Langdale Institute, founded 1891, included billiard and reading rooms and library. Mission room at Chapel Stile by 1897; now Langdale village hall.