Ancient parish in East ward, Westmorland, embracing townships of Orton, Birkbeck Fells, Langdale, Raisbeck and Bretherdale and Tebay (for which see separate entry). Parish also shared extra-parochial common land of Birkbeck Fells Common with Crosby Ravensworth parish.


ancient parish contained 24,513 acres [9,920 ha], distributed among constituent townships thus: Orton: 3,538 acres [1,432 ha]; Birkbeck Fells: 1,479 acres [599 ha]; Bretherdale: 2,264 acres [916 ha]; Langdale: 6,082 acres [2,461 ha]; Raisbeck: 4,572 acres [1,850 ha]; and Tebay: (q.v.) 6,855 acres [2,774 ha]. Birkbeck Fells Common (extra-parochial) contained 1,824 acres [739 ha]. Common land within manor (totalling 5,366 acres [2,172 ha]) enclosed 1779. Common cow pastures enclosed mid-19th century: Langdale Cowbound (320 acres [130 ha]) in 1844; Ellergill High Cowbound (46 acres [19 ha]) in 1867.


rising from 1,230 in 1801 to around 1,500 in mid-19th century, peaking as result of influx of railway workers at 1,917 in 1881. After Tebay became separate CP 1897, population of remainder of parish fell from 832 in 1901 to 552 in 1971; stood at 594 in 2001.


manor of Orton (including Raisbeck) held by Gamel de Pennington in 12th century; had been divided into moieties by 1277 when in hands of Dacre and Musgrave families. Dacre moiety descended in family until 1614 when it was sold to tenants. Musgrave moiety, subdivided between Blenkinsopps and Warcops, was also sold to tenants; thereafter manor held in trust by four nominal lords; courts continue to be held. Manor of Bretherdale held by Byland Abbey (Yorks.) and manor of Langdale by Watton Priory (Yorks.); at Dissolution both acquired by Wharton family and later passed to earls of Lonsdale.


principally livestock farming; small-scale quarrying and lime-burning in 18th and 19th centuries. Stocking knitting, heyday in later 18th and early 19th century. Market charter granted 1336 with fair in October; revived 1658 when further fairs granted. Never major market centre: described as ‘small market town’ in 1670s; market said to be ‘of little moment’ in mid-19th century but was revived 1863. Livestock fairs (on 3 May, early September and mid-October) continued to be held in late 19th century. Service stations on M6 motorway, established by local farmers John and Barbara Dunning: Tebay West opened 1972; Tebay East opened 1993. Chocolate factory (Kennedy’s Fine Chocolates) established 1991; moved to former school building 1996.

Places of worship:

medieval parish church of All Saints; chancel rebuilt 1878-9. Wesleyan Methodist chapel built 1833; still in use. Primitive Methodist mission chapel at Greenholme opened 1901; closed 1994.

Schools and other institutions:

school built by subscription c.1730 (endowed as grammar school 1750); moved to new building 1809; relocated 1963; now Orton CE Primary School. Greenholme school, serving Bretherdale and Birkbeck, endowed 1733; rebuilt 1861 and also used as chapel; closed c.1963. Langdale school opened 1873; closed 1960s. Market Hall built by subscription 1865; now used as village hall. Temperance hall built 1858; disused. Reading and Recreation Society, formed 1883, built reading room.