Township in Kendal parish, Kendal ward, Westmorland. Part of CP was transferred to Kendal 1935.
2,093 acres [847 ha] before boundary change; 1,939 acres [784 ha] after loss of 154 acres [62 ha] to Kendal 1935. Common land on Skelsmergh Fell (196 acres [79 ha]) enclosed 1829.
rising from 247 in 1801 to 367 in 1881, then falling back to 309 in 1931 (last census year before loss of territory to Kendal). Reduced CP had population of under 300 in later 20th century; stood at 271 in 2001.
manor of Skelsmergh held by Leyburne family from 13th to 16th centuries; then sold in parcels. Parts acquired by Bellingham family became reputed manor of Skelsmergh, descending with Levens (q.v.). Leyburnes retained Skelsmergh Hall and some land until forfeited 1715.
farming. Fulling mills at Beck Mills (Spital Mills) on River Mint and on River Sprint in 16th century. New fulling mill at Beck Mills, built 1723, had become flax mill by 1804 and worsted spinning mill 1829 to 1865; other uses thereafter; converted to housing 1948. Logwood and sickle mill at Scarfoot by 1743; woollen mill there in 19th century, also grinding raw materials for dyeing; closed 1920. Bobbin mill built at Oakbank late 1840s; later wood turning and paper waste; closed 1981. Stocks Mill a tannery in 1743; bobbin mill in earlier 19th century. Tannery at Garth Row in 17th century. Industrial estates on area transferred to Kendal 1935 with wide range of manufacturing, distribution and servicing activities in late 20th century.
Places of worship:
chapel of ease dedicated to St John the Baptist recorded 1578 but fell into decay in mid-17th century; modern Anglican church of St John the Baptist built 1871. Roman Catholic chapel of Ss Robert and Alice at Dodding Green originated in mass centre there, recorded from 1680s; room converted to chapel in 18th century; closed 1990; buildings taken over by Cenacolo Community 2004. Christian Brethren mission room at Garth Row by 1858; closed 1955. Kingdom Hall for Kendal Jehovah’s Witnesses built 2006.
Schools and other institutions:
National school at Garth Row built 1874; closed 1949. Parish room built 1897, becoming village hall (Skelsmergh Community Hall).