Ancient parish in Leath ward, Cumberland. CP enlarged by absorbing Melmerby CP 1934.
7,472 acres [3,042 ha], including extensive commons on Pennine edge. Ousby In Fell, Low Moor, Star Howes, Fell Green, The Mires, Castle Slack and School Green (totalling 1,670 acres [675 ha]) enclosed 1863; Ousby Fell (3,581 acres [1,449 ha]) remains unenclosed common land.
estimated at 365 in 1688. Rising from 253 in 1801 to 329 in 1871, followed by decline to 225 by 1931 (last census year before boundary change).
said to be named from its Danish owner, Ulf son of Haldane. Complex descent through medieval period: manor had apparently been divided into eighths by 1289. Ownership remained divided but manorial rights had been obtained by Crackanthorpes of Newbiggin by 17th century.
farming; lead and coal mining by late 17th century; had largely ceased by mid-19th century. Crushing mill at Smittergill Head c.1851 to 1873.
Places of worship:
medieval parish church of St Luke; rebuilt late 16th century and again 1858, further restoration 1896. Wesleyan Methodist chapel of 1838, replaced by larger building 1872; had closed by 1985.
Schools and other institutions:
school taught in church by 1703. National school built 1856; closed c.1966; converted for use as community centre.