Ancient parish in Allerdale below Derwent ward, Cumberland, including villages of Arkleby and Parsonby.


2,568 acres [1,039 ha]. Plumbland Common (139 acres [56 ha]) and Parsonby Common (40 acres [16 ha]) enclosed at unknown date. Parsonby Hill and other small areas (36 acres [15 ha]) enclosed 1817. Arkleby Green (13 acres [5 ha]) enclosed 1803. Warthole Common (157 acres [63 ha]) remains open pasture but common rights extinguished.


estimated at 410 in 1688. Rising from 330 in 1801 to peak of 800 in 1851 (attributed to opening of collieries and lime works and establishment of free school); then gradual decline across later 19th and 20th century to stand at 367 in 2001.


parish contained four manors. Manor of Plumbland, in hands of Orfeur family by early 14th century; sold to Lawson family 1709. Manor of Parsonby, held by rector of Plumbland. Manor of Arkleby, held by Martindale family until forfeited to Crown 1568 and granted to Penruddock; sold to Gustavus Thompson 1725, left by his widow to Gale 1772; sold to Craik 1788; to Harrison then to Saterthwaite 1790; bought by Lawson 1803. Manor of Warthole (or Wardhall), held by Calder Abbey; Dykes family there by 15th century; manor descended in Dykes (later Ballantine-Dykes) family to 20th century.


agriculture; fulling mill and colliery at Ward Hall, recorded 1688. Coal pits in Plumbland and Arkleby in early 19th century; small drift mine worked by unemployed miners c.1930. Limestone quarrying; large quarries at Thrushgill (1837-1891) and Warthole Gards (1847; extended 1887-8; quarrying ended 1942), with waggonway to Maryport & Carlisle railway, provided lime for West Cumberland iron works. Lime-burning: two lime works in mid-19th century; large limekilns at Wardhall lime works late 19th century (had closed by 1900). High Close quarry, worked by T. Armstrong Ltd 1938-1957, produced aggregate and road stone. Brick- and tile-making at Plumbland mid-19th century.

Places of worship:

medieval parish church of St Cuthbert at Parsonby; rebuilt 1869-71. Independent (Congregational) chapel built 1847; closed c.1961; bought by mission hall congregation 1962 (now Plumbland Evangelical Chapel). Plumbland mission hall (a wooden hut) set up by breakaway group of Congregationalists 1946; dismantled and sold 1963.

Schools and other institutions:

school recorded 1660; grammar school at Parsonby opened 1800 (endowed by John Sibson (d. 1760) but not established until after his widow’s death); now Plumbland CE Primary School. Reading room with small library established by curate of Plumbland c.1861; closed c.1930. Church rooms built c.1919; demolished and rebuilt as village hall 1984.