Ancient parish and township in Allerdale above Derwent ward, Cumberland.


2,427 acres [982 ha] including 202 acres [82 ha] of surviving common land on Ponsonby Fell. Commons at In Fell, Low Moor and Pikehow Moor (totalling 96 acres [39 ha]) enclosed 1853; further 54 acres [22 ha] at Gaterigg Bank and Calder Gills enclosed 1


estimated at 375 in 1688; in range 150-180 for most of 19th and early 20th centuries, with peak of 190 in 1851; rose to 218 in 1951, then fell back to 92 by 2001.


manor of Ponsonby held from 12th century by descendants of Punzun (from whom it was named), who took surname de Ponsonby. By 1388 had passed to Stanley family, who held it until mid-20th century. Nicholas Stanley sold Ponsonby Hall to Home Office 1951.


largely agricultural until 20th century; some freestone quarrying. Calder Hall became site of world’s first commercial nuclear reactor: construction started 1953; power station opened 1956; closed 2003.

Places of worship:

medieval parish church (dedication unknown); tower and spire added 1840; restored 1874.

Schools and other institutions:

no parish school; parish was served by schools at Calder Bridge (see Beckermet St Bridget) and Gosforth. Approved school for boys opened at Pelham House 1941; closed in 1980s.