While researching fell history on the internet I came across an article in The Fell and Rock Climbing Club Journal of 1907, page 40, which referred to 'The Patriarch of the Pillarites', which was the title assumed by the Reverend James Jackson of Sandwith, Whitehaven. He had given himself that name following his fascination with being an octogenarian, coupled with his burning desire to climb Pillar Rock, in the Ennerdale Valley. He achieved this and wanted to continually repeat this feat on an annual basis, which was to lead to his death. Other climbers erected a temporary iron cross, then later had the nearby rock carved with his initials and the year of his death. Any walker of the lake district with an interest in the histories it generates knows of the rock carving of a cross to the Scafell tragedy of September 1903, where four climbers fell to their deaths, which altered the techniques of mountaineering in lakeland. I was fascinated to question why with two such high profile incidents occurring, why was the Scafell carving so well photographed, yet the Pillar one had no image on the internet whatsoever? This was despite a great variety of articles on 'The Patriarch'. Intrigued I set out to find the cross and to try and add far more detail on Reverend James Jackson's earlier life as the pastor of Rivington, Lancashire, assisted by a visit to his church there. Over the last few years I have came back to this story and can now add that detail, so adding to the history of the English Lakes.
|The Vicarage at Rivington, home of the Reverend Jackson.|
|The Church at Rivington|
|Reverend James Jackson photograph recording his passion with Pillar Rock.|
|A close-up of his name on the headstone.|
|The cross to Reverend James Jackson. Hollydog applying some perspective.|
For further reading on the letters, this is the link. It may only be of interest to climbers or lakes historians: