Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Fanny Mercer - Fleetwith Pike

The commemorative cross to Fanny Mercer

Above is the cross that commemorates the death of Fanny Mercer and contains the following inscription:

'Erected by Friends of Fanny Mercer.
Accidentally killed 1887'

More limited information has been added to this scant information yet the fuller story has not been revealed and I will try and do this here.

Fanny Mercer was in service to the Reverend P. Bowden Smith a master at Rugby School who resided at Barby Road, next to the school. The family and their three servants holidayed in the lake district, stopping at Wood House on the shores of Crummock Water, the Bowden Smith's having holidayed there for five consecutive years. On the afternoon of Thursday 8th September 1887 the three servants were walking in the area of Gatesgarth, descending to the farm, down the ridge of Fleetwith Pike. She was using an Alpenstock, a long walking cane, which seems to have stuck in rocks and unbalanced her. She fell into the other two servants below, who were unable to stop her and she fell down the full height of Low Raven Crag, seen in the photograph above. Two of Bowden Smith's sons were passing and  assisted the other servants to take her to the house nearby which was only 400 yards away. She had suffered a very serious head injury and was unconscious after the fall. Despite despatching for a Doctor she never recovered conciousness and died at 10.00pm. 
The next day an inquest was held by the Coroner for Cockermouth, Mr. Hayton at Gatesgarth and clearly it was an accident. 
To date I have no other information on this unfortunate girl but at least as people pass by, this puts some human feeling to the story.
If anyone in the Rugby area has any further information on this piece of early fell history, I would love to hear from them.



  1. Hi Raymond,
    An interesting post. I've taken the liberty of retrospectively linking to it in my 'Round the Lake' report of 2014:

    1. Thanks. If your interest is Loweswater, have you also seen:
      I have sent Derwent Fells and Loweswater historical society the same.