Temple Sowerby

Chapelry and township in Kirkby Thore parish, East ward, Westmorland.


1,241 acres [502 ha.]. Common land at Temple Sowerby Moor, Down Moors, Whinns and Parson’s Close enclosed 1774.


rising from 299 in 1801 to stand in range 370-440 across mid- and later 19th century (peak of 476 in 1871); downward drift across 20th century to low point of 279 in 1971, rising again to 330 in 2001.


manor of Sowerby given to Knights Templar c.1228, passing on their suppression 1312 to Robert de Clifford, who granted it to Knights Hospitaller 1323. Sold to Thomas Dalston 1544, who settled it on his son Christopher, whose seat was at Acorn Bank; then descended through Dalston family (who rebuilt Acorn Bank in 17th century and remodelled it in mid-18th) until late 18th century, when it passed by marriage through several families to Boazman family by mid-19th century.


farming; livestock fairs established early 19th century; tanning in mid-19th century. Brick and tile works near Acorn Bank by late 19th century; gypsum quarrying there by 1913 and nearby at Houtsay Park across 20th century.

Places of worship:

medieval chapel of ease (now St James’ church) recorded 1227-8; rebuilt 1754; enlarged 1770; tower built 1807-8; restored 1870s. Independent chapel converted from existing building 1813; survived until 1850s. Wesleyan Methodist chapel built 1872; now closed and converted to dwelling.

Schools and other institutions:

school taught in chapel in 17th century (recorded 1672); schoolhouse built 18th century; extended 1872 and 20th century; now Temple Sowerby CE Primary School. Infant School recorded 1885; appears to have been converted to reading room (with small library attached) by 1900. Free library in village recorded 1860. Victory Memorial Hall built as First World War memorial c.1920.