St Bees

Township in St Bees parish, Allerdale above Derwent ward, Cumberland. CP was enlarged by transfer of part of Preston Quarter CP, including parish church and St Bees School, 1896. Further enlarged by transfer of part of Hensingham CP 1934 and by absorbing Rottington CP 1973.


1,814 acres [734 ha], excluding 34 acres [14 ha] of detached portions in Preston Quarter, absorbed into St Bees CP 1882; thereafter 1,848 acres [748 ha] until 1896 boundary changes. St Bees Common (320 acres [129 ha]) enclosed 1816.


rising from 406 in 1801 to 1,041 in 1891 (last census year before boundary changes). Population of enlarged CP fluctuated seasonally: numbers in 1921 (1,609) said to be inflated by influx of summer visitors and in 1931 (1,028) to have been reduced because of school vacations. Population stood at 1,717 in 2001.


manor of St Bees or Kirkby Beacock granted to St Bees Priory on its foundation c.1120. After Dissolution passed through Challoner and Wybergh families, and was mortgaged to Lowthers. Sir John Lowther of Whitehaven gained possession 1665 and manor descended to earls of Lonsdale, who remained lords in 20th century.


farming; sandstone quarrying in mid-19th century. Tourism from mid-19th century: hotel erected 1847 ‘for visitors and students’; station on Whitehaven & Furness Junction Railway opened 1849.

Places of worship:

for medieval priory and parish church, see Preston Quarter. United Methodist Free Church built 1866; still in use.


Schools and other institutions:

for St Bees School, see Preston Quarter. Ladies’ boarding school recorded 1847. National school for girls built in St Bees village before 1860; replaced by mixed Board school on new site 1875; now St Bees Village Primary School. Village hall, founded as ‘Hodgett’s Club’ c.1882, containing reading room, billiard room and dance hall; used as cinema in 1940s. Recreation ground by late 19th century; outdoor swimming pool, built by unemployed men, opened 1934.