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At first sight, Over Kellet does not appear to have been blessed with much of a history. There has never been a truly 'Big House' in the parish; no great personage has ever lived here; no great event has taken place.

henry8The absence of any great happening is an accident of history, though people living here at the time of the 'Pilgrimage of Grace' in 1538 may have thought they were witnessing a major happening. However, the gathering on Kellet Moor in support of the Monasteries, melted away after receiving 'assurances' from Henry VIII's representative. Similarly those of the Royalist persuasion might have been briefly uplifted when the future Charles II passed through from Borwick Hall to Lancaster in August 1651 and then on to defeat at Worcester.


The lack of a Manor House of importance, springs from several causes. An ambitious dynasty needs a combination of luck, advantageous marriages, the ability to provide male heirs and to have a 'Vicar of Bray' willingness to shed principle and back the 'right', i.e. winning, side. The landowners of the Parish failed to observe all or most of these conditions.


For instance, Tostig the Saxon thane and the Harringtons of Cartmel, were defeated in battle; the Crofts of Claughton Manor and the Middletons of Leighton Hall clung to their Catholicism and paid for it (literally); The Abbeys of Cockersand and Furness and the Priories of Hornby and Lancaster had all their lands in the Parish - and elsewhere - seized and sold by Henry VIII after the Dissolution, to entrepreneurial land speculators; The Wilsons of Hall Garth failed to produce a male heir and the estate passed by marriage to the Ainslie family; Roger de Poitou rebelled against the King and had his lands confiscated. In living memory the estates attached to Hall Garth (in 1924), Capernwray Hall (1946) and Swarthdale House (1952), were dispersed, mostly as a result of agricultural depression and death duties.

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Over Kellet, Carnforth, Lancashire, United Kingdom
Last update:
23 February 2020