Sunday, 21 July 2019

The Death of Constable Thomas Nicholson of Ambleside, 1845

The Death of Constable Thomas Nicholson of Ambleside, 1845

Thomas Nicholson was a saddler and auctioneer of Ambleside. He was baptised in 1813 in the county of Westmorland, although his age varies slightly, dependant on which documents are viewed. He was the son of Joseph Nicholson and Agnes Nicholson (nee Coward). Joseph was Ambleside's first postmaster and Agnes was a bookseller. The post office was on  Agnes was appointed Postmistress in 1839, and in 1841, Agnes is recorded as a widow in the census, so most likely Joseph died in 1839. Their eldest daughter Hannah, took over as the bookseller. 
Little is known of Thomas's early life, although on Thursday 3rd December 1835 he married a 21 year old Dorothy Fleming of Spring Cottage, Rydal, at that village. They would go on the have four children together. Agnes was baptised in 1836, Joseph was baptised on 10th June 1838, Dorothy was born in the last quarter of 1840, and Elizabeth who was born in the 2nd quarter of 1843.
The first advertised auction sale that is known to have been run by Thomas was to take place at the house of Mr. Stalker at the Salutation Hotel, Ambleside, on Wednesday and Thursday, 18th and 19th April 1838. It was the effects and furnishings of a lady who was leaving the area. He continued to advertise auctions of premises and their contents, usually sold at venues in local inns and hotels, throughout his life. Although the date of his appointment as the Ambleside constable is unclear, he first appeared in the Westmorland Gazette as a constable in a case where the shop of a Mr. Davidson had been burgled in Ravenglass, near Whitehaven on the night of 19th May 1843. Silver watches, cutlery and other articles had been carried off and suspicion fell on two men who had purchased trifling goods the day before. Mr. Davidson was a member of a 'Prosecution Association' who secured the services of a Mr. Wilson (one would assume the Parish Constable). He pursued the men to Ambleside and obtained the assistance of Constable Thomas Nicholson. Following contact with the head of Kendal Police, Mr. Frederick Grossmith, a search of the town which proved to be fruitless, and both men returned to The Duke William Inn, Staveley, for refreshments.

The former Duke William Inn, Staveley.

Once there they were told that two males carrying bundles were recently seen on the Underbarrow road. With a quickly gathered posse, they came up to both men near The Punch Bowl, Underbarrow. One managed to escape and it was said that the drunken state of the constables had led to some confusion. That said, both had earlier finished their pursuit and had only come across the information, after the hunt at Kendal was concluded, so there was some excuse for their condition. Mr. Wilson had gathered the property and Nicholson with others escorted their prisoner to Staveley, but continued drinking, now it the company of their detained man. In the drunken confusion of his captors he himself escaped, never to be found again, despite the assistance of Mr. Grossmith, who was called out. The papers were indignant, quoting other recent escapes from other constables, questioning whether the authorities ever considered supplying 'proper instruments of security' to the constables of the area.
On 7th March 1844 Thomas gave evidence, at the Salutation Hotel to a Commission which was under the hand and seal of the Bishop of Chester. The Reverend William Sewell was accused of 'drunkenness, intemperance, intoxication, scandal, and other scandal and evil report'. The case centred upon the conduct of the reverend after a meeting regarding the affairs of the town, at The Salutation on 23rd December 1843. He was then reported as being intoxicated and arguing with others about a scandal of ill-using his wife and children, who then were no longer living with him and lived now in Bowness. Other witnesses gave evidence, one who had been present after the meeting concluded was Thomas Nicholson. He stated he had been in the Reverend's company and saw him drink only a gin and two glasses of wine, refusing other drink. Most witnesses said that the reverend was a sober man by temperment and had been so that night. The conclusion of the Commission was that the reverend had been sober that night, but it was sufficient to admonish him over his previous conduct in his public and private life; the matter was then dropped.
Through the rest of 1844 and 1845 Thomas appeared at court with a number of minor cases of driving more than the statutory two horses and carts on the turnpike road to Grasmere. There was another case of someone not having his name on the side of his cart, contrary to the law, other cases were of people being drunk and disorderly in Ambleside, witnessed by Constable Nicholson and Mr. Grossmith, and another of a 'potter' riding his cart without reins.
The most notable and tragic case he was involved with was at the Ulverston Magistrates Office on Thursday 30th January 1845, where Inspector Davidson preferred a charge against the Hawkrigg family of Skelwith Bridge for concealing the child delivered to Mary Hawkrigg. Constable Winter had attended Skelwith Bridge on hearing such reports and took the family into custody. Mary then led him, the inspector, and constable Nicholson of Ambleside, to the place where the child had been interred in a wood near their house. She said it was living when born but died the following day, about six weeks previous. The body of the child was found wrapped in a cloth and 18 inches under the ground. An inquest had been held at Hawkshead and following the result, the magistrates dismissed the proceedings against all the Hawkrigg family.
The next incident was a further tragic one, although not one where Thomas was on duty, but it would lead to his untimely death; with the circumstances being given to the coroner's inquest held at The Royal Oak, Ambleside, on Thursday 18th September 1845. On Tuesday 16th, William Atkinson a bobbin-maker, and John Workman, a husbandman of Elterwater, were making their way in Mr. Atkinson's gig to the Keswick wrestling when he was overtaken  by Thomas riding a horse, just past the toll bar at Grasmere. Thomas stopped, said he was tired and he and Workman swapped positions. The latter found that the horse rode well. They parted from Thomas at Keswick and at 7:30pm were making their way back to Ambleside, with others. Just past the toll bar outside Keswick they were again passed by Thomas who was galloping horse and he appeared intoxicated. He spoke as he passed, but was soon out of sight. Mr. Atkinson's view was that the horse would have acted quietly on its own, had it been allowed to, and it had no vice about it. Four miles outside of Keswick near the other side of 'Noddle Fell' in the Vale of St. John, they found Thomas lying in the road with the horse about three hundred yards away. (*Author - I assume Low or High Rigg, with Naddle Beck below; there are other known references for 'Naddle Fell') He was bleeding from the nose and couldn't stand on his own. He was placed in their gig and they made their way to Wythburn for 8pm where they had refreshments. Thomas had roused in the gig and said he wanted to be at home. They told the inquest that Thomas got out of the gig at Wythburn, but did not speak or have anything to drink. John Love was a tailor at Ambleside and was at Wythburn when the gig had arrived. Having heard of Thomas's plight had gone out to assist him into the premises and found him fallen out of the gig, with his thigh tangled in the reins and his head dangling to the ground.
They later arrived at Ambleside around 10pm and he was taken to his home. All believe Thomas was just drunk. He asked for his hat which had fallen behind the gig horses hind legs. William Fell, the surgeon, was called and on examination found blood also coming from Thomas's ear. He then felt a severe and extensive bruise on the top of his head and diagnosed a skull fracture. Thomas died at 12 noon on the Wednesday.
So passed Ambleside's constable, albeit not a death on duty, so would never feature in the National Police Roll of Honour. The death was still the passing of an Ambleside notable. 
Crime however never ends and Ambleside still needed a constable. At the end of the Petty Sessions of 8th October, John Longmire was sworn in as the replacement officer for the late Constable Nicholson.
Dorothy remarried a tailor called William Coward, at least 7 years her junior, in 1847. They went on to have four children together, before she died in the first quarter of 1854, aged 38, which was the same quarter as her last child, so likely died in or associated with the birth. William Coward died in 1856, so all the children were orphaned. Some remained with family and others were displaced as far afield as boarding schools in Cheltenham. Agnes, the first born of Thomas and Dorothy, was educated at Casterton servants school, near Sedbergh. This had recently opened in 1838 and was for 100 poor girls who were clothed, lodged, and educated for either  employment in service, or the teaching profession. 
 Thomas's mother Agnes died on 29th March 1862, still at Ambleside Post Office. She was 83 years old and in her earlier years William and Dorothy Wordsworth knew her and Joseph well. Dorothy wrote that she and William used to attend the Post Office late at night. Joseph and Agnes would get up from their beds and allow them to sit in the parlour and alter letters they had earlier posted, before they were sent off in the morning. One would assume it was William, concerned the poem was still not to his liking, and altering again before it was finally posted.


Friday, 12 July 2019

The Low Bridge Inn closure at Kentmere.

The Low Bridge Inn closure, Kentmere.

A popular and endurance testing Lakeland walk is The Kentmere Horseshoe. It starts at Kentmere village, taking in Yoke, Ill Bell, Froswick, Thornthwaite Crag(The Beacon), Mardale Ill Bell, Harter Fell, Kentmere Pike, and Shipman Knotts. It can be done the other way around, and makes a change to those who have walked it a number of times. You park up near the church or hall for a small fee, if early enough to get the limited parking places. If not, there is a field near Low Bridge in the village where parking is allowed on days named by notice, again for a minimal fee. This is accessed right at the bridge and on the opposite side of the road, near the Kentmere village side, is a house called Low Bridge.

Low Bridge, Kentmere, and the house of the same name.
What most walkers do not realise this house was The Low Bridge Inn. It should not come as a great surprise, when you think of it logically. It is a long valley, with habitation near the top, or head. It has a pass which accesses the Mardale valley, where a pub was also at the valley head, indeed it is difficult to think of a populated valley where there is not an inn to service the community and traveller.
 Despite having held a licence for over 300 years it shut in 1887. What happened to it? All local inns of the time would serve a community in more ways than just ale and/or a room for the night, and The Old Bridge Inn of Kentmere was no exception. 
On Tuesday 30th October 1838 the inn was the scene of a triple inquest following the deaths of a father and son, and another man, all three dying on the fells.
On 30th December 1847 it was the place of an inquest on the death by burning of six year old Elizabeth Hunter, of The Head, Kentmere. Her clothes had caught fire at 5pm on Tuesday 28th as she reached for a stick; her mother Mary (wife of William) was out feeding the family pig when the tragedy happened and the child died that night. The verdict was Accidental Death.
On 9th May 1850 it was the meeting place for the reading over and executing of the Award of the Commissioner for the Kentmere Common Fields Inclosure. Notice was given by the Kendal Land Surveyor, Mr. C. Webster. In September 1854 he also advertised the premise and Corn Mill for letting. It must have been a Mr. W. Philipson who became the tenant of the owner Miss. Susannah Sharp, as The Kendal Land Surveyor once again advertised the premise for letting, now in the possession of Mr. Philipson, for a decision on 17th December 1859.

The view back towards Staveley and the mouth of the remote Kentmere Valley.
The view to Kentmere from Garburn Pass to Troutbeck
Like many country inns, especially those remote ones, it was the venue for the annual sports day for the valley. Such a day was 29th June 1860 when it played host to the Kentmere Sports, of hound dog trailing, boys running, and this was followed by wrestling which consisted of 6 rounds.
Unfortunately a few can always spoil it for the many and the inn suffered from some disorder. On 31st May 1879 a James Gilpin was drunk and quarrelsome on the premises, refused to leave on request, and was then evicted. He returned with an axe, smashing into the door and broke a window with his fist. He was found guilty and fined. The landlord Thomas Hall, came in for some criticism from the Magistrates bench for not giving his evidence in a straightforward manner. As a landlord the two groups of people you do not want to fall out with are, the police and the magistrates, both having great sway on the issue of your licence to serve alcohol.
The 16th April 1880 saw it return to the venue of an inquest, this time over the body of a 52-year-old quarryman called William Sharp, who lived at Kentmere flag quarry and was killed the previous day. He had been crushed by a two-ton piece of rock in the quarry that he and witness John Ridding, of The Nook, Kentmere were ‘bringing down’ from the roof. Despite the quarry using some inherently dangerous practices while blasting to bring down rock, and the manger not being aware of any inspection scheme by a government inspector, the verdict was only one of Accidental Death.
The 11th October 1880 saw the premises once again return to disorder with John Airey and James Thompson Jackson being found to be drunk on licensed premises. Neither appeared at court and were found guilty on the evidence of Constable Johnston and fined 10s and 13s 6d respectively. Next at the petty sessions was Edward Sarginson, the landlord of the premises. He and his wife had been away that day and the premises had been left in the charge of a servant girl. However, he still had a vicarious liability and was fined 49s and his licence endorsed. Matters were not boding well and the cumulative effect of disorder was mounting.
Matters seemed to quieten but local people can have objections many years later, especially if part of a temperance movement and/or a church. There was also a Temperance Hotel in the village, located only on the other side of the narrow river and must have suffered, or been disturbed by any alcohol infused disorder, when miners, quarrymen and farmhands had just been paid.  Many incidents of local disorder and rowdiness would go unreported, being such a remote licensed premise with no immediate method of communication with the police.

The former Low Bridge Inn with the Temperance Hotel behind, as seen from Kentmere Church.

On 10th September 1887 at the adjourned Brewster's Sessions at Kendal Mr. F. W. Watson applied for a renewal of the licence in consequence of a change in the tenancy. He pointed out that there had been a licensed premise there for 300 years, the owner and tenant were both respectable people. He stated that there had been no complaint of disorder against the premise and it was a centre for tourists, anglers, and sportsmen alike. A Mr. Woolcott submitted a petition of objection, saying there were only 174 residents, of which 77 were children, and only 15 adult inhabitants did not sign the petition which objected to the renewal. It was further said that the licence was now unnecessary and the premise was a fruitless source of sin. After two hours deliberation the Magistrates Bench refused the application. 
It was then said that a strenuous appeal would be made against the refusal. This decision not to renew the licence had been based on the discretionary power of the licensing magistrates being as absolute in the renewal as it was in the granting of one. They had refused it not on the grounds of disorder, though those reasons were put forward, but on the grounds of: firstly the wants of the neighbourhood, secondly there no longer being a need for a licensed premise in the village of Kentmere, and thirdly the inability of the police to supervise such a remote inn. It was later to become known as the Sharp-v-Wakefield and others(Justices of Westmorland) case.
The matter was taken before the Justices at the court of Quarter Sessions on the grounds that under the Licensing Acts of 1828 (9 Geo. IV., c. 61), 1872, and 1874, the magistrates did not have jurisdiction to refuse a renewal on the grounds stated, but the decision was upheld. At the Queens Bench Division on Monday 30th April 1888 before Justice's Field and Wills the decision was again upheld following an earlier hearing. Justice Field said the matter relied upon the Act of 1828 and he could not find by either legislation or construction by judges on statutes(*Author - I take this to refer to case law), that anything had limited the wide discretion of the magistrates. Section 9 of the act said they had full power to decide, touching the granting, withholding, or transfer of any licence, and also to decide on the fitness of the person. So long as the power was not exercised corruptly or arbitrarily, the magistrates and Quarter Session Justices were correct and the appeal was dismissed - with costs. 
The implications of this decision for a small and isolated country inn were recognised as having a far wider impact across the area and nation as a whole. The local papers questioned what this might mean for other isolated inns at Ambleside, Bowness, Windermere, Grasmere, Langdale, Hawkshead, Troutbeck, etc.
Although the late tenant of the Low Bridge Inn had not been a member of the Westmorland Licensed Victuallers Association, such were the implications for their members that they decided to take the matter further, with the support of other like organisations around the country. Another Public House, The Swan Inn at Middleton, near Kirkby Lonsdale, was also seen to be under similar threat. It had opened to supply the workers needs, whilst the nearby railway was built and following the recent death of the tenant the ratepayers of the area were conducting a similar petition for closure, as the Kentmere residents had done.
On Saturday 15th December 1888, before The Master of the Rolls, and Justices Fry and Lopes, the Sharp-v-Wakefield and others case was heard by the Court of Appeal, but the rulings were unaltered. They decided again that so long as the power was exercised judicially then the power of the magistrates was absolute. They also agreed that the wants of the neighbourhood and the remoteness for police supervision were matters for the courts to take full account of. 
It was announced in April 1889 that the Licensed Victuallers decided to take the matter forward to the House of Lords, the highest court of the land, such was the importance of the decision on many rural communities. Hope was expressed since the Solicitor General was of the view that the magistrates did not have the discretion as exercised in the Low Bridge Inn case. The concern again was the loss of a livelihood for the licensee and the loss of an amenity to the locality. The Wasdale Head Hotel was one such premise quoted as at real risk by this decision.
The Kendal Otter Hounds met on Thursday 8th May 1890 at Stramongate Bridge. The River Kent was followed to its source, but without any success. At the conclusion many followers proceeded to the Low Bridge Inn, forgetting the circumstances of the famous licensing case. 
In March 1891 the matter was before The Lord Chancellor and Lords Bramwell, Herschell, Macnaghten, and Hannen, at the House of Lords, who reserved judgement. Finally, on the morning of Friday 20th they announced their decision. The appellant had based their appeal on the grounds that the original legislature had never intended to entrust the magistrates with a discretion so wide as to cause such injustice. The Lords again disagreed and upheld the decisions of the earlier courts.
So ended one of the oldest Liquor Licenses, The Low Bride Inn, in the County of Westmorland, whose memory would pass into relative obscurity. The premise in modern times is a house bearing the relic name of Low Bridge, perhaps in homage to its former purpose.
Thankfully it did not act with the impetus for the Temperance Movement for the closure of other mentioned remote inns and hotels, the Wasdale Head Hotel, perhaps being the most notable example. 
In a modern age, wouldn't it have been refreshing though, at the end of a long hot summer's walk around the Kentmere horseshoe, to have sank a pint of fine ale at the public house; or would that desire now impact too greatly on one of the quietest occupied rural valley communities of Lakeland? I think the jury will always be out on that one for many years to come.
Susannah Sharpe died aged 76 in the Kendal registration area, her death being announced across the nation in newspapers, including the 30th December 1995 edition of the Edinburgh Evening News. The papers referenced the famous licensing case that was lost in the remote valley and hamlet of Kentmere, which for a brief spell in time, occupied the minds of the nation in a debate on the closure of inns by magistrates. The Cumberland Pacquet and Ware's Whitehaven Advertiser said that the case had cost the Licensed Victualler's Association £7,000, but since their unsuccessful attempt to challenge the original decision there had been a number of cases where magistrates had decided on other closures but challenges had since been launched, and won, in the higher courts. That caveat that the magistrates had to act judicially provided an added check to ensure that any decision was fair with regard to the needs of all in the community, itself a check on the Temperance Movement. The Swan Inn at Middleton still provides for the community and tourists visiting the Kirkby Lonsdale area to this day.


Thursday, 11 July 2019

The tragic deaths of Thomas Gillespie, his son Thomas, and John Huddlestone. Kentmere 1838

The tragic deaths of Thomas Gillespie, his son Thomas, and John Huddlestone. Kentmere 1838

Thomas Gillespie was a 50-year-old Woodreef who lived at Bank (or Bankhog) House (*now a barn), Kentmere Hall, with his wife Mary and their children, on the estate of Christopher Wilson of Rigmaden. (A modern equivalent to a Woodreef/reeve is a Woodland Ranger.) One of the children was 14-year-old Thomas, and on the night of Friday 26th October 1838, they were joined by 44-year-old John Huddlestone, a tailor and bachelor, of Staveley.

Kentmere Hall

He stayed the night with them and in the morning, they set off together with the Gillespie family terrier to go fishing at Hayeswater Tarn, which was approximately six miles away, towards Hartsop village, in Patterdale, with the intention of returning that evening.

Hayeswater (Tarn), with the modern dam now removed and returned to the original level of 1838.

The weather worsened and even in the sheltered Kentmere valley it was described as a terrible day, with the water higher than could be remembered. The winds were strong, with snow now falling, and the conditions were expected to be far worse on the high surrounding fells. Even those with an intimate knowledge of the mountains would have found the severe weather very challenging and there were no places of shelter on the fell tops. When they did not return that night Mary began to slip into a terrible state of anxiety. As Sunday progressed and there was still no sign of them, she sought out another resident, Reginald Sharpe and told him of her plight. On Monday morning he went with Henry Hogarth and a dog, over Garburn Pass, then through Troutbeck Park, to Kirkstone, and descended into Patterdale.

Kentmere from Garburn Pass.

They enquired all along the route to no avail, but at Hartsop they were told a man and a boy had gone into Mr. Gelderd’s house, The Kings Arms, in a very wet state. With their spirits temporarily lifted they went there only to find that they were not the Gillespie family. They then set off for Hayeswater, but a search there also revealed no clue of the missing party’s whereabouts. They then checked Hayeswater Gill that feeds the Water from Thornthwaite Crag, but to no avail. By now time was advancing and they were despairing of finding the party. On the high route back to Garburn Pass along the fells and near Glad Grove Gill, they were met by a small terrier dog which had ran out barking at their own. They immediately recognised the terrier as being the Gillespie family dog.

The hills to the west of Kentmere, left to right - Yoke, Ill Bell, Froswick and the path to Thornthwaite Crag. Glad Grove Gill is to the right of Froswick. 

They quickly went into the gill and found all three dead. Mr. Gillespie was lying on his back and his face upwards, his son was lying between his father’s thighs, leaning on the left one with his arms entwined around it; he had a piece of oatmeal in his mouth. Mr. Huddleston was lying a few yards away, face down. Both men had flasks of rum on them, Mr. Gillespie’s was part consumed and Mr. Huddlestone’s was empty. It was now 5pm and the two searchers were forced to leave the bodies, taking only the terrier back with them to Kentmere. The next morning, they returned with other residents and brought the three bodies back to the village and the grieving Mrs. Gillespie.

An inquest was held at the Low Bridge Inn on Tuesday 30th October, before the coroner Mr. R. Wilson Esquire. It could only be conjectured that the three were returning to their native Kentmere valley via the high route and had become overtaken by the inclement weather and had sought what shelter they could in the gill. The had become benighted, had fallen asleep and starved to death in the cold conditions. A verdict of ‘Found Dead’ was returned.

Mary was now a grieving widow and had five other children to care for, three of whom were very young. Local gentlemen began a subscription for her, and the local Westmorland Gazette paper encouraged their readers to donate generously, the Bank of Westmorland being the place where donations could be sent or deposited. Although no final amount was advertised, a meeting was arranged to take place at 10:30am on 28th March 1839 at the bank, to decide on the best method of apportioning the money subscribed.

It is unclear what happened to the Gillespie family but there is no record of them living in the valley in the census of 1841.

Such a tragedy touches a community at a very personal level, the subscription was one form of the community’s expression of grief and humanity. Another was displayed in the form of words of a poetic nature, where that greater expression was openly displayed in the 8th December 1838 edition of the Westmorland Gazette, the full article being:

ORIGINAL STANZAS, On the three unfortunate persons, Huddlestone, Gillespie and bis son, who perished amidst a snowstorm, and were found lying dead beside each other on High-street hill, betwixt Kentmere and Ullswater, October 1838.


Reader, hast thou ever been

Amidst that wild, stupendous scene,

Mountainous High-street and its rock-pil'd height

Of shelving cliffs and precipices bare,

The eagles stronghold and the foxes’ lair

Whose rav'nous cries the timid sheep affright,

Re-echoed from the gloomy caverns there.

Pleasant it is in Summer's opening prime,

The craggy sides of this said hill climb,

And from its, summit see the ardent beam

Of morning light o'er eastern landscape stream;

Magnificent the view—

Wood, water, hill and dale.

And the green-pastur'd vale,

By the sun's bright rays tinged with a golden hue.

Here, stretching far away,

a dimly-purpled gray,

The distant mountain-peaks enthron'd in clouds;

And, closer still at hand,

Shepherds and flocks a joyous band,

Bask in the shade, that from the heat them shrouds.

Woe to the traveller, in winter time

Doom'd this hill's bleak hill’s ridge to climb,

’Midst mists and drizzling rain,

And gusts of wind which roar amain:-

The pelting storm sweeps by, -

Who his dang'rous way could wend,

Through deathly perils without end.

No hand to guide, no friendly shelter nigh;

Many have tried

To thread the murky gloom and perilous maze

Of the hill-path, and far from human gaze

 Have droop'd and died!

Weary and faint, they sat them down,

To rest on the steep hill side,

The eagle from his nest had flown,

On the tempest-wind to ride.

Ah! who shall stay the raging storm,

Ye hapless, death-doom'd men;

The snow-cloud drifts its awful form,

To whiten cliff and glen.

The angry sleet show'ring fast,

How can ye onward go!

The swollen stream is hurrying past.

And the boiling torrents flow.

Now bid farewell to hearth and home,

In vain you gaze around—

Poor souls! to you no help will come,

None hear that wailing sound.

“O had we never ventured here,” –

Methinks you thus might say,

“Our bones had found some other bier.

Than in snowy shroud to lay: -

“And who shall list our dying groan,

Save the wild birds shrieking nigh;

No friend to soothe the struggling moan,

And close the sunken eye.

"A cold, cold hand is on our heart,

Its blood will soon congeal;

Yet, ere we thus from life depart

Together let us kneel:-

“Tho bootless is all human aid,

And sad our destiny,

Father! On Heav’n our hope is stayed,

We lift our pray’rs to thee!

“Since, life must end at thy command,

Resign'd we yield our breath:"—

Then, clasp'd together hand in hand,

They calmly sunk in death.

And now the tempest-storm o'er,

The wind is hush'd and still:

Although the gushing torrents roar,

Down High-street’s rugged hill.

And over Hartsop’s village bright,

The golden sunbeams shine,

Hayswater tarn gleams with the light-

But hark! - that piteous whine.

The shepherd hies him on apace,

Towards his faithful Tray;

Three dismal forms he soon can trace,

Stiffen’d and cold as clay.

And some who shall say in Kentmere vale

What sorrows there is known,

When yonder widow hears the tale—

She's husbandless and lone!

And for her sake, her children's too,

Shall pity’s tears not flow,

And charity their sufferings view

And gentle aid bestow!



The sad incident is now over 180 years old, but still touches the modern soul, not sanitised by the passing of time. Local people and tourists alike have a common interest in leisure on the Lakeland fells, just as the three men had in 1838. It is not believed any headstones were erected, certainly none remain. With the Gillespie's not staying in the valley and Mr. Huddlestone having no descendants to remember his passing, it had slipped from the memory of the community. I have spoken with two local historians who were unaware of the tragedy. Kentmere is a close community and I am sure in now being reunited with this piece of history, tragic as it is, they will be keen to reflect on the passing of the three, and also feel great sympathy for the plight of Mary Gillespie and her five remaining children.