Marble Tablets


There are a number of marble and brass tablets on the walls of St James' Church (see separate page on this tour for the brass plaques on the south balcony which were transferred from St Nicholas' Church after the 1971 fire).

This page aims to tell the stories behind these tablets


In Loving Memory of/Leslie Robert/Schrader Gunson/Lieutenant RGA 31 Heavy Battery ÆTAT. xxi./killed on the somme july 18 1916;/while searching for his missing men./and interred at the quarry cemetery, montauban/”greater love hath no man than this./that a man lay down his life for his friends”


He lived at Inkerman Terrace, the only son of John Robinson (a Draper’s Accountant) and Clara Jane (nee Schrader) of Ghyll Bank.  He was a lieutenant with the Royal Garrison Artillery 31 Heavy Battery, 4th Division, 3rd Army Corps (number not known). He died at the age of 20, on 18th of July 1916, in the Somme, while searching for his missing men.

He is buried in Grave VI D4 at the Quarry Cemetery, Montauban. There are 598 men buried here, which is 10km east of Albert in France. There is a photograph of him on page 7 of the Whitehaven News dated 27th July 1916 and page 8 of 4th March 1915.

While returning from observation duty a bullet caught him in the back, and he died ten minutes later. He was educated at Kent House, Whitehaven and St. Bees School (1907 to 1913), where he was in the Officer Training Corps. In 1912 he won the Col. Dixon cup for shooting. He studied medicine and surgery at Edinburgh University, and was in the OTC there with the Field Artillery, as well. He immediately joined up on the outbreak of war (leaving his studies). He was given his commission as 2nd Lieutenant on September 19th 1914, being stationed at Fort Picklecombe, Plymouth. On 9th February 1915 he sailed with the British Expeditionary Force from Southampton to France, and had been on the Western front for around 18 months. He was promoted to temporary lieutenant in September 1915.

There is a photograph of him opposite page 60 of the St. Bees School Roll of Honour, 36 STB at Whitehaven Record Office. He also had a younger sister, Joyce Surtees Gunson, born 26th December 1899. She moved to Hythe, Kent in 1934 after the death of their mother in May of that year (to live with a Dr Dickson and his wife, but died, a spinster, at Worthing in 1995. Their father had died in April 1923. Both are buried in grave 5A41 at Whitehaven Cemetery. John Robinson was from Whitehaven, as was his father, Jeremiah, (Leslie & Joyce’s grandfather) but Clara was from Hackney, London where they had married in 1894. Of interest is that in 1891 at the age of 27 John Robinson was a boarder at the Corporation Road Craiglands Hydropathic Establishment, Ilkely, Yorkshire- recovering from an illness.

He is also on the Hensingham St. John’s Church War Memorial.

Near this place lie the remains of/mr. joseph wood/ob. 25th September 1827, Æ.67./with unwearied assiduity he taught mathematics/during 48 years;/possessed the affection and gratitude of his pupils/and was justly esteemed by the/inhabitants of whitehaven and its vicinity

This is his obituary from the Cumberland Pacquet of 2nd October 1827

On Tuesday night last, at ten minutes before twelve o’clock, aged sixty-eight, Mr Joseph Wood who, for a period of forty-seven years, was a distinguished teacher of mathematics in this town. To his industry and ability many surviving individuals are indebted for their intellectual attainments. His unspotted character, suavity of manners, and engaging disposition, endeared him to all ranks of society. Cheerfulness accompanied him in the midst of his arduous occupation, and his pupils acquired science under his able tuition rather as an exercise of pleasure than a task of disagreeable and irksome recurrence. To this general and grateful feeling amongst them is to be ascribed as honourable and splendid testimonial of their regard presented to their instructor in the year 1817, the particulars of which we then recorded. It has frequently been observed that by the faithful and judicious discharge of the duty of preceptor, one of the most important benefits is conferred on the community, and in this varied and oftentimes difficult avocation, few persons have been more successful than was the subject of this memoir. Temperate in  all his habits, modest and limited in all his wishes and expectations, he enjoyed serenity of mind, and, until a short time previous to his death, the blessing of health. In June last, two ruffians attacked this unoffending gentleman, as we then noticed, and possibly the effect of that diabolical attempt to commit robbery, and possibly murder, contributed to shorten his days. Should this meet the eye opf either of the undiscovered villains, we hope it will cause a pang which may lead to compunction and an amendment of their lives. Possessed of the qualities already described, it is almost unnecessary to add that Mr Wood lived greatly and deservedly respected, and died much lamented.

Cumberland Pacquet 12 Jun 1827, page 2

About ten o’clock on Saturday evening the 3d inst., as Mr Wood, of this town, was returning to Hards Cottage from fishing in the river Ellen, he was attacked on the road between Mealrigg  and West Newton, near to a brook called Dubstarry’s, by two men who knocked him down. Mr Wood, being active, sprung up, struck one of the villains with the but end of the fishing-rod, which had a pike in it: bad actions always create fear-the fellow did not like the Herculean stroke, but retreated, exclaiming to his companion-“I----- thee, come away, I’ll be d...., the fellow has got a sword.” With that they ran off, leaving Mr Wood to return to his cottage without any further interruption.

He was buried at St James’ on 4th October 1827.

From various trade directories his private school is known to have been at 25 Plumblands Lane.

To the memory of/john ellwood of whitehaven/born at sandriggs near dufton, westmorland/who departed this life june 6th, 1837/aged 76 years/alpha, his wife,/died jan. 26th,1811, aged 56 years/william ellwood/died jan 3rd 1848, aged 72 years, /elizabeth ellwood/died sep 21st, 1852, aged 82 years.

This is his obituary from page 3 of the Cumberland Pacquet dated 13th June 1837-

On Tuesday last, in Plumbland’s Lane, in the 76th year of his age, Mr John Ellwood, principal of the late firm of Ellwood and Postlethwaite of this town. The deceased was a man of true English principles-just in his intentions and unflinching in his integrity. Economical in his household, and an enemy to all prodigality, he was yet liberal when a just occasion called for his bounty-hence his recent donation of £100 to the Whitehaven Infirmary. A lover of learning and an admirer of sciences, he was the unfailing friend and almost inseparable companion of the late Mr Wood [see the previous tablet], who died scarcely more lamented than Mr Ellwood himself. His friendship was steady as his character was stable, and it may with truth be said of him, that there has departed from amongst us a good and honest man-Mr E was a native of Sandriggs, near Dufton in Westmorland, but had resided in Whitehaven nearly half a century, and recently gave several handsome sums to be distributed annually and for ever to the poor of Dufton and Knock and other places in his native county.

From the ‘Parson and White’ 1829 Directory of Cumberland (also 1828 ‘Pigot’s’ Directory) we know that he had retired from the business (which had been dissolved) by then, and that he lived at 26 Plumblands Lane, and is described as a gent.

From the 1811 Jollie’s Directory the business can be traced as being in Duke Street.

By the 1821 ‘Commercial Directory’ it can be seen that Mr Postlethwaite (of Corkickle) had either died or retired and that the business was at 51 Duke Street.

His will dated 8th April 1836 gives us more information on his life-

He had property at Croasdale, Ennerdale which was left to his nephew-Thomas Willan [of Orton, Westmorland], the son of his sister Mary to whom he left £1,000 for her to live off the interest of it. She also had a daughter Grace and a deceased son, Mark.

He left £2,000 to his brother William [see below].

He also left £1,000 to his sister Elizabeth {see below} for her to live off the interest of it.

Another nephew--William Ellwood, also nieces Jane Ion and Mary Atkinson are also mentioned.

It is of interest that one of the signatories of the will was a John Postlethwaite.

Rather unusually the will was proved both in the Diocese of Chester (at Richmond, Yorkshire)-the normal court for Whitehaven, but also subsequently at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. It is not clear why the will had to be referred to the higher court.

From the Dufton registers we know that he was baptised on 1st January 1762 at Dufton-son of Thomas (1720-1775) and Mary (nee Westmoreland, 1731-1787) [who had married at Milburn, Westmorland on 11th June 1754].

From our own registers we know that John had married Alpha Smallwood (a widow) “between the hours of 8 and 12 in the forenoon” on 26th June 1799 [note that online information giving the marriage at St Nicholas’ the previous day is incorrect].

Cumberland Pacquet 29th January 1811, page 3 (deaths column)

Saturday last, in Plumbland’s Lane, in her 56th year, Mrs Ellwood, wife of Mr John Ellwood, and daughter of the late Mr John Drape, formerly a celebrated teacher of mathematics in this town. A woman of strict moral life, sound integrity,and of a most friendly disposition.

[note that her first marriage had been to Joseph Smallwood on 27th December 1778 at St. Nicholas’ Church]. His will of 6th September 1786 shows that he was a Mariner but had real estate at Ferry Point in America, and he was a Mariner. As Joseph is not buried in Whitehaven and Alpha did not prove his will until 1800 it is presumed that he died at sea. This poses many intriguing questions which cannot currently be answered.

Cumberland Pacquet, 4th January 1848, page 3 (deaths column)

Yesterday, in Plumblands Lane, Mr William Ellwood, brother of the late Mr John Ellwood, spirit merchant of this town, aged 72 years.

Dufton Registers show that he was baptised there on 29th December 1773.

Both his will and the 1832 Poll Book [Electoral Register] show that he owned 15 acres of land at Flascow, Sandriggs, Dufton which was occupied by Thomas Ellwood, his brother. The same Poll Book shows that John (see above) also qualified to vote at Dufton (while living in Whitehaven) because of owning land at Dufton, as well as Dufton Hall.

Cumberland Pacquet 28th September 1852, page 3 (deaths column)

On Tuesday last, in Scotch Street, in this town, Mrs Elizabeth Ellwood, aged 82 years, sister of the late Mr John Ellwood, spirit merchant, of this place; very deservedly respected

Dufton Registers show that she was baptised there on 31st October 1769. In spite of the death notice stating Mrs it does not appear that she married


IN memory of/the revd richard armitstead, a.m./rector of moresby and upwards of/xxx years minister of this chapel./he departed this life 18th may a.d. mdcccxxi/aged lvi years./agnes his wife died/15th april mdcccliii aged lxxxiii years./children

JAMES                                                                  born 1803                                                          died 1804

agnes                                                                  born 1804                                                          died 1805

frances elizabeth                                   born 1808                                                          died 1808          

margaret                                                        born 1807                                                          died 1809

margaret                                                        born 1811                                                          died 1826

joseph                                                                 born 1810                                                          died 1834

john                                                                     born 1803                                                          died 1853

richard                                                            born 1797                                                          died 1859

mary                                                                   born 1800                                                          died 1869

agnes                                                                  born 1809                                                          died 1869

william                                                            born 1799                                                          died 1870

frances                                                             born 1815                                                          died 1890


Richard Armitstead was baptised on 20th January 1766 at Arncliffe St. Oswald’s, North Yorkshire- the second son of Marmaduke Armitstead-a plebian (or commoner). Marmaduke was baptized at Arncliffe on 9th October 1735 (the son of John and Agnes), and was buried on 25th June 1811 having died on 21st June. The first child was John (baptized 15th May 1764, died 17894), and later children were Agnes (19th July 1767), James (2nd February 1769, died 1708), and Elizabeth (9th March 1777). Marmaduke had married a Mary Savage of Bolton Percy (SW of York) in 1763 or 1764- the Marriage Bond is dated 10th March 1763. At the time of the bond being issued Mary was 21, 5 years younger than Marmaduke.


The Armitsteads were an old yeoman family from the Craven District of the West Riding of Yorkshire, both Richard’s father and grandfather lived at Litton Hall. It is believed that he attended Ermysted’s Grammar School, Skipton (after an early education at the Village School)- but the records are insufficient to prove that. 1 Litton Hall had been leased by Marmaduke’s father, who had also owned New House Farm at Halton Gill. Marmaduke and Mary lived at Prospect House, Arncliffe (near the Falcon Inn). Marmaduke’s brother, Richard, built Armistead Farm at Litton in 1734


Nothing is known of his early life, but he matriculated to Queens College, Oxford as a batter on 25th June 1784. His batter account shows that he started directly thereafter. The term ‘batter’ means that he paid for his batters (tuition   and accommodation) but not for his commons (food). This would seem to indicate that he was on some kind of grant, as would have been necessary for the son of a commoner from a tiny North Country farming village.


He passed his BA in 1788 and his MA in 1791. His College Accounts show him as in residence until summer 1791. He must therefore have been an absentee Vicar for the first 6 months or so.


He was ordained deacon at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor by the Bishop of Carlisle on 4th July 1790 and as priest just one week later at the same place, by the Bishop of Carlisle. The story behind this is contained in 2 letters in Some Craven Worthies  pages 76-78 (Revd William Arthur Shuffrey 1903*). Bishop John Douglas was also a Canon of Windsor (since 1762), and Armitstead had befriended Revd Edward Wilson- another Canon of Windsor. There are two letters from Wilson to Mrs Knowles of Halton Gill- Wilson’s sister and a neighbour of the Armitsteads. The Revd Wilson arranged with the Bishop (who wanted to give St. James to a friend), that this appointment should be made. He was to have been deaconed and priested on the same day, but the indisposition of Canon Wilson’s Curate prevented that. The Bishop of Carlisle, in turn, personally recommended Richard on to Lord Lonsdale for the living of Whitehaven, having spent a week with him in Revd Wilson’s company. After he was priested Richard received Holy Communion in the King’s Private Chapel, slept overnight at Windsor Deanery and met the whole Royal Family, informally and formally.1

[* Revd Shuffrey was Assistant Curate in charge of Halton Gill 1881-1893, Vicar of Arncliffe 1893-1916, Rural Dean 1898-1916, Canon of Ripon Cathedral 1911-1929 and died on 19th July 1932 aged 80, he also wrote the definitive history of the Litton valley].


At the age of 24 Richard was of the then minimum age to be appointed to a living He was inducted to Whitehaven St. James on Christmas Day 1790 having very unusually not served any curacy (sources Bishop’s Acts Book & Commission to administer the oaths of office). Even for the time that was exceptional, and was presumably to fit in with the University Vacation. The institution could not wait until Richard left Oxford, as it had to be filled within 6 months of John Waite’s death on 14th October 1790.1


While at St. James Richard was a commissioner of land & property taxes for Allerdale above Derwent Ward, a vice president & auditor of the Benevolent Institution, Chaplain to the local Militia and a governor of St. Bees School from 23rd February 1814. He was also a magistrate in the town. WRO have a portrait of him5.


He married Agnes Lewthwaite (of Broadgate, Millom) on 14th September 1796, when she was aged 26- married at St. James. Agnes was baptized on 26th January 1770, daughter of William Lewthwaite (1740 to 1809) of the Cupola, Whitehaven (later rebuilt as the town hall).. WRO have two portraits of her5.


In total they had 12 children:

JAMes                                                                  born 1803                                                          died 1804

agnes                                                                  born 1804                                                          died 1805

frances elizabeth                                   born 1808                                                          died 1808

margaret                                                        born 1807                                                          died 1809

margaret                                                        born 1811                                                          died 1826

joseph                                                                 born 1810                                                          died 1834

john                                                                     born 1803                                                          died 1853

richard                                                            born 1797                                                          died 1859

mary                                                                   born 1800                                                          died 1869

agnes                                                                  born 1809                                                          died 1869

william                                                            born 1799                                                          died 1870

frances                                                             born 1815                                                          died 1890


Between 11th January 1813 and his death he was also Rector of Moresby, in plurality. A photograph of his portrait in Moresby Church is in the Church Archive Library- reference AL31l. He was originally instituted on 11th January 1813, but failed to “read in” in the time required by statute, and had to be re-presented and then re-inducted on 26th May 1813. He succeeded Henry Lowther as Rector, whom he had instituted on 14th September 1812 but who was then promptly moved to Distington. In her father’s will Agnes was left £2,000 in trust (run by her brothers John of Lancaster and Revd George of Adel) for her children, and all her father’s property in Lamplugh, Frizington and Winder, also his pews in St. James’ Church.


On 14th December 1813 he wrote to the Bishop of Chester concerning the living arrangements2. At that date there was no parsonage house in either Moresby or St. James Parishes, and Moresby was only worth around £100 per year of which £50 was paid to the Curate, and Highway Repairs cost £11 per year. He was notifying the Bishop that he intended to live in Moresby Parish for 6 months of each year, and St. James Parish for the other 6 months. In each case he would be only around two miles distant from the other church, and the Curate of Moresby was then perforce living in Whitehaven. He was also asking the Bishop to assist him in obtaining money from Queen Anne’s Bounty, or other sources, to build a Parsonage House in Moresby. The Curate also supplemented his income by teaching 23 pupils at a Private Seminary (the Moresby Classical Academy), at fees of 4 guineas per year.


He died on 18th May 1821 (at 41 Queen Street) at the age of 56 (according to the memorial stone in church), or 57 (in the burial register), and was buried on 21st May 1821 in St. James Churchyard. According to the Cumberland Pacquet he was buried in the South West Aisle of the Church (believed to be one of only two people ever to be accorded that honour). Therefore the memorial stone inside church may well mark the location of his grave.  Unless he was baptised unusually late in life for the era his age at death would have actually been 55, or 56 at most.


Richard became a Solicitor and a member of the Cumberland New Churches Commission- as such he is named in the conveyance of land from the Jefferson family for the building of Christ Church. He married Caroline Morland of Moresby on 20th June 1829 at Moresby Hall, under Licence, by his brother William.

He entered St. Bees School in 1811 and qualified as a Solicitor in 1820. He was also Magistrates Clerk, Infirmary Secretary, and a Director & Secretary of the Whitehaven Joint Stock Bank, from its foundation on 5th February 1829. 9

There appear to have been no Children from the marriage. In 1826 he went to Dominica in the West Indies to complete the sale of his mother’s brother’s (Joseph) plantation.3 This was but a few years before slavery was abolished.

He sailed from Whitehaven on 28th February on the Cumberland via Cork (10th to 15th March). The vessel was bound for Jamaica and called at Dominica especially for Richard. In 1826, the journal states, of the 18,873 population of Dominica, just 874 were whites, and 14,903 were slaves.  The plantation being sold was Check Hall.

When he landed on 21st April 1826 he was presented to the Governor and the Attorney General, and was hosted by the richest planter, Charles Court. Although the majority were slaves they only worked a 5 day week (producing sugar and coffee exclusively for export to London), and had the same meal breaks as English labourers. The sale of the estate took around 3 months to complete, Richard left on 14th July and landed at Gravesend on 7th August.

Although he lived all his life in Whitehaven (42 Queen Street) and Moresby (at Millgrove according to his will also Lythmore at Quality Corner in the 1847 Trade Directory) he died in London (at 13 Cockspur Street) on 19th May 1859, and was buried in Grave 21060 at Brompton Cemetery. WRO have a portrait of him4.

The Church has photographs of Lythmore and Millgrove, as they are in 2010.

The Solicitors practice, in due course, became part of the Brockbank practice.

His wife Caroline is buried in the same grave and died at 60 Ebury Terrace, Pimlico on 23rd April 1870, aged 76.


William never married. After graduating from St. John’s College, Cambridge6 he was Incumbent of Lorton from 8th February 1826 to 1864. He died while on a visit to Scotland at 26 Albany Street, Edinburgh at 00.35 on 15th February 187010 and was buried at Lorton on 18th February 1870, aged 70, from his home at Oak-Hill, Lorton (Home of his sister Frances and her husband), by the new Vicar- Reginald Perring. He left £300 to his Sister, Agnes & £100 to his each of his 2 brothers in law, in his will dated 11th March 1869. He had died at 26, Albany Street, Edinburgh of Bronchitis4 . He resigned from Lorton in 1848, but was promptly re-appointed7. He owned £812 of stocks in the Glasgow and South Western Railway Company and around £1,700 of stocks in the London and North Western Railway Company. The furniture in the house was valued at £211 and the horse and carriage at £107. Overall his Scottish estate was valued at £7,621. In the DBH papers there is also an excellent hand drawn and coloured plan of all the fields which constituted the Oak Hill Estate.


John emigrated to Paramatta, New South Wales (on board the Prince Regent on 25th February 1836, arriving in Sydney on 12th June4), where he was a Solicitor (admitted on 31st October 1836). WRO have a portrait of him5. Initially he had practiced in Lancaster from 1825. He became Coroner in 1838. He was declared bankrupt in 1843, and subsequently returned to England. He died at 42 Queen Street on 16th December 1853 and was buried on 19th. In the mid twentieth Century 42 Queen Street was the Commercial Hotel.


Joseph died in Jamaica on 20th October 1834, aged 26 at the Pembroke Estate, Parish of Trelawney, Cornwall County, Jamaica where he was the overseer4. He was buried the following day at Pembroke Churchyard by the Rector, W. Fraser.11 It is worth noting that the Jamaican records are incorrect in giving his age as 26, as he had been baptized at St. James, Whitehaven on 19th October 1810 so was only just aged 24. This is backed up by an entry in the family Bible. The St. James’ register states that he was born on 22nd August 1810.


Agnes married William Postlethwaite of Ulverston, his second wife, at Christ Church, High Harrogate (Knaresborough) on 7th September 18584. She died on 1st June 1869 & is buried at Broughton-in-Furness.4


Frances married William Lancaster Alexander (WLA) of Oak Hill, Lorton & Shatton Lodge, Embleton, on 22nd January 1857, at Embleton St. Cuthbert. She died at 02.30 on 17th September 1890 at Oakhill, Lorton  (and has a memorial in Lorton Churchyard, having been buried there on 20 Sep 1890). WLA was born in around 1821 in the Toxteth Park area of Liverpool and died on 31st March 1910 (buried 3rd April). WRO have portraits of both of them5  & a photograph of Oak Hill4. WLA also owned the farms of Esps and Bouch House (Embleton)- 92 and 42.5 acres respectively4. He continued to buy up local land until his death. He was also Chairman of Cockermouth Magistrates and Chairman of the Town School Board. His estate was worth £84,000 in 1910 (around £6 million or more in todays money). There is much more detail on the history of Shatton Lodge  in the Lorton &  Derwent Fells Local History Society, journal 45, dated February 2010, pages 7 to 18.


In the 30th March 1851 Census Richard Senior’s wife Agnes (then 81) is recorded as living at 8 Scotch Street (as a Landed Proprietor) with her three surviving daughters (all unmarried)- Mary, Agnes and Frances and a servant girl Mary Ann Fearon- aged 21. This address was in the Parish of St. Nicholas. This is where she died on 15th April 1853.


Agnes (Richard Snr’s wife) died on 15th April 1853 aged 83.


Mary died at Oak Hill, Lorton (with her sister Frances) on 1st February 1869, and is buried at Lorton Churchyard. She is remembered on the same granite obelisk as her brother (Revd William, of Lorton), Frances and WLA. Her will is particularly interesting. 8The church has photographs of the Obelisk, Oak Hill, Shatton Lodge, Esps and Bouch House as they are in 2010.


Margaret (2nd) died at Lythmore, Moresby on 15th April 1826, at the age of 15.


The Armitsteads at Lorton had significant interests in the Winder Iron Ore Mines (deriving from Agnes’ inheritance from her father), and there are considerable papers about that at Whitehaven Record Office: DBH23/2.


There are only two legible Armitstead gravestones at Armcliffe, both of which are 19th century (the Parish has photographs of them)-

  1. John of Halton Gill died 27/5/1857 aged 70, Jane his wife died 30/6/1850 aged 45, Margaret their daughter died 2/7/1853 aged 20  and Christopher their son died 2/9/1879 aged 44
  2. James of Skeldsgate died 10/7/1863 aged 64, Marmaduke his son died 23/1/1868 aged 23, Jane (James’ wife) died 13/3/1885 aged 77 and Ann their daughter died 18/8/1889 aged 55.


1Sections marked thus are from the CWAAS Transactions, Volume LXV (1965) pages 374 to 380. In turn the genealogical data was provided by Mr T.M. Armitstead- a descendant of Richard’s younger brother.

2 The section marked thus is derived from the CWAAS Transactions Volume LXXII (1972) pages 338 to 339

3 CWAAS Transactions Volume LXXVII (1977) Pages 157 to 159 (includes a photograph of him), and WRO Document YDX 309/14, also ‘The Lewthwaite of Broadgate Papers Part 2, by Tim Cockerill (2011)

4 WRO 309/10 and DBH 23/2/19

5 WRO YDX 309/11  6  WRO DRC 10/25/22 7 WRO DRC 10/25/21  8 WRO YDLEW 5/5/2  9 WRO YDLEW 5/11/49 10 WRO DBH 23/2/18 11 DBH 23/2/19

sacred to the memory of/john peile/late, a magistrate of this county, after/having been 57 years the/earl of lonsdale’s chief colliery agent,/and 45 years a trustee of the town/and harbour of whitehaven/faithful in the discharge of his official/duties and zealous in the interest of/his native town,/as husband also and as father/as felow townsman and as friend/he was loved and esteemed through/life and in the hour of death/prayed only to be forgiven through christ, what/in the weakness of his mortal nature he had done amiss, or had left undone./born december 20th 1776/died january 17th 1855.

This memorial does not really need further embellishment.

NORTH (Left Hand) WALL

Sacred/to the memory of/james fitzsimons/who died july 4th 1854, /aged 66 years/________/this tablet was erected/by his affectionate wife

His obituary on page 5 of The Cumberland Pacquet of 11th July 1854 reads-

On Tuesday night last at his residence in George Street, Mr James Fitzsimons, of the firm of Fitzsimons and Cowman, of this town, aged 66 years. The deceased had earned for himself a high reputation for his untiring zeal, his indefatigable industry, and his indomitable perseverance in the performance of any pursuit in which he embarked, and with that reputation he attained and preserved the commensurate esteem and regards of all with whom he came into contact. A naturally keen judgement supplied in him the deficiency of education, and by well directed toil he achieved an honourable position among his fellow-townsmen. Living he was respected, and dead he is regretted. His mortal remains were interred on Sunday last in St. James’ Church [this really means in the churchyard], and were followed to their last resting place by an immense concourse of his workmen and others, anxious thus to pay the last sad tribute to his memory.

In 1841, 1847 and 1851 he is recorded as living at 18 Brackenthwaite, and the business was a carriage (horse and gig) business-a carter. He had been born at County Down, Ireland.

He can be traced in Whitehaven as early as 1828 when he was living at 41 Duke Street, but was at Brackenthwaite by 1834.

His wife was Hannah. She died in 1859 but her place of burial has not been traced.

SACRED to the Memory of/Mr ISAAC FOSTER, late of this Place/who died on the 22nd day of May 1827,/in the 73dYear of his Age./ALSO/of AGNES, his Sister/who died on the 29th day of February 1824,/in the 77th Year of her Age.

Nothing else is known concerning this tablet.

There is only a brief death notice for Agnes in the Cumberland Pacquet of 8th March 1824 (and none for Isaac)-

In New Lowther-street, yesterday evening week, Miss Foster, in an advanced age.

IN MEMORY/OF/ALEXANDER/The only Son of/THOMAS AND MARGARET HAMMOND/of this Town, aged 20 years,/who is supposed to have perished/with all on board the barque Swallow/Which sailed from Guayaquil for Cadiz/on the 18th of July, 1840/And was never heard of afterwards/THIS TABLET/Is erected by his bereaved parents, In remembrance of their beloved Son,/Endeared to them by his Goodness, Gentlenes and Love/But now/”The sacred tie/Is broken:yet why grieve?Time only holds/His moiety in trust, till Joy shall lead/To the blest world where parting is no more”


Little more is known of this event. The vessel had been built by T & J Brocklebank at Whitehaven, and had only been launched on 28th July 1839, with a gross tonnage of 1837. There had been three other earlier ships of the same name built at Whitehaven, 2 of them by Brocklebank’s. There was also a later one built by Lumley Kennedy. Also at about the same time there were at least two other vessels of this name registered at other UK ports, and being reported in the National Press.

To further confuse matters the Whitehaven shipbuilding register records her as a brig, not a barque.

The evidence is that, although built here, she was registered elsewhere, probably Liverpool, and other sources suggest she had sailed from Guayaquil [in modern Ecuador] on 15th June 1840.

The ship appears to have disappeared with all hands so an exact date and location of loss is not known.

Alexander had been baptised at St. Nicholas’ on 28th October 1820.





In memory of the Revd Thomas Spedding A:M First Minister of this Chapel. Who died April 24th; 1783 Æ.61. years.In him were most agreeably united The tender Husband. The affectionate parent. The faithful friend The worthy pastor, and (Reader, if thou requirest yet more) The honest man He was sincerely respected through Life, and In his death universally lamented. But by None More than by his numerous Admiring Congregation

Isabella the wife of the Revd Thomas Spedding A.M. died May the 29th : 1787 Aged 62 Years

There is little more to say about this tablet other than to view this in connection with the one in the South Gallery to his family.

In Memory of the Revd Wm Stamper, A.M. of Queens College, Oxford: who died the 24th of Feby1811, aged 30 years

The Cumberland Pacquet of has the following death announcement

Sunday-evening, in Lowther Streeet, the Rev Mr Stamper, aged 30, son of the late Mr Stamper, surgeon in Workington.

More information is available from the book Alumni Oxonienses.

This tells us that he was the son of Joseph Stamper, had matriculated to Oxford on 12th October 1798 aged 17, gained his BA in 1802 and his MA in 1806.

No details of his short clerical career are available.

The Workington St Michael parish Registers show that he was baptised there on 5th May 1781.

His father is understood, from Death Duty Registers, to have died in 1804 or 1805 at Workington.

In memory of

Isaac littledale esqr who died march 24th 1791, aged 55 years

mary his wife who died 30th january, 1822 aged 89 years

ann, his daughter, who died june 15th 1768 aged 2 years

isabella his daughter who died november 8th 1777 aged 9 years

john his son died at stdomingo september 22nd 1798 aged 22 years

mary his daughter died at tunbridge wells august 5th 1804 aged 37 years

joseph his son died at berbice october 5th 1805 aged 35 years

ann atkinson his daughter died at carr hill october 9th 1828 aged 54 was interred in the paRISH CHURCH, HEWORTH, COUNTY OF DURHAM




The Littledale family were one of the most prominent Merchant families of Whitehaven, and appear in Burke’s Landed Peerage.

There is the following, short, death announcement in the Cumberland Pacquet of 29th March 1791-

Suddenly, on Friday afternoon, at his house at Cross, near this town, (where he rode after dinner) Isaac Littledale Esq., merchant of Queen Street, in the 56th year of his age; greatly respected.

He had married Mary Hartley at St James’ on 19th September 1764-this tablet lists all their 9 children.

Ann (died 1768) had been baptised at St James’ on 18th December 1765.

Isabella had been baptised at St James’ on 1st June 1768.

John had been baptised at St James’ on 9th December 1775.The family is known to have had trading interests in the Carribean. It is not known whether he was living on an estate out there or was on a ship when he died.

Mary had been baptised at St James’ on 23rd September 1766. It is not known how long she had been living in Tunbridge Wells, or why. She was unmarried and is buried at Speldhurst, Kent.

Joseph had been baptised at St James’ on 10th March 1770. Berbice is in modern day Guyana. The same comments as his brother John, above, apply. He did not marry.

Ann was baptised at St James’ on 21st February 1772. She had married Matthew Atkinson at St. Nicholas’ on 1st December 1806.

Isaac the younger was baptised at St James’ on 16th March 1771. In 1791 he brought a successful suit against the Earl of Lonsdale for damage done to his and neighbouring property by mining subsidence in the Duke Street/George Street area. In revenge the Earl of Lonsdale closed the pits until he received a petition promising to indemnify him from any such future action. He was a Solicitor and opposed Matthias Attwood, a Birmingham banker and the Lowther nominee, in the 1832 Reform election, losing by 173 votes to 211 with 54 abstentions. There are a few surviving pottery mugs which were issued to his supporters. He never married.

His obituary reads “On Sunday morning last at his home 14 Scotch Street somewhat suddenly, though he had been in a declining state of health for some months past, Isaac Littledale Esq. Mr Littledale’s removal forms a remarkable feature in the annals of the town, the family whose name he bore being one of the oldest and most remarkable pf which it can boast, and the gentleman whose death we now record is the last male descendant in the town in which his family, we believe, originated [this fact is no longer believed to be true]. Whitehaven is consequently now, for the first time for above a century without a male descendant of the Littledale family.

Thomas was baptised at St James’ on 6th February 1773 (born, according to his gravestone, on 18th December 1772). He had married Ann Molyneaux (22nd January 1787-28th August 1825, died at Newsham House, West Derby, Liverpool) at St Mary’s Church, Walton-on-the Hill on 15th May 1815. They had five children-Thomas (1818-1861), Alfred (1821-27th April 1842, drowned in the River Mersey), Anne Mary (1820-1896), John Bolton (1823-1889) and Isaac (1824-1824) and were living at the same address as death in 1841, with his sister Elizabeth, with 8 servants.

Elizabeth was baptised at St James’ on 12th February 1774 (born 15th January 1774). She married Captain John Wordsworth (cousin of the poet, born 1754 and baptised 28th February 1754 at Cawthorne Church, Yorkshire) at St. Nicholas’ Church on 21st October 1816.John was then aged 61, a widower, of Penrith. The marriage Licence at Preston Record Office proves that this is the correct marriage.

His previous marriage (on 7th January 1783 at St Martin Ludgate, London) had been to Anne Gale (1759-1815). He had served in ships of the East India Company, notably the Earl of Abergavenny (logs of his 2 voyages in that ship survive). He committed suicide on 22nd September 1819 by throwing himself from the parapet of his dwelling house, in spite of attempts by his man-servant to stop him, and is buried at Barton Church, near Ullswater. A court case concerning his debts was ongoing as late as 1854. There is also a memorial to him and Elizabeth inside Barton Church.

Other sources incorrectly say that he died in 1820 of yellow fever on the ship ‘Atlantic’. That John Wordsworth was only aged 22!


 Sacred to the memory of the children of the Revd Thomas Spedding MA and Isabella his wife

                        Carlisle       Born 1752                          died 1753

                        isabella       born 1753                          died 1755

                        carlisle       born 1757                          died 1784

                        thomas          born 1766                          died 1789

                        langton        born 1761                          died 1789

                        frances         born 1748                          died 1803      

                        sarah             born 1750                          died 1818      

                        mary               born 1759                          died 1819

                        jane                  born 1768                          died 1828

                        ann                   born 1765                          died 1839

                        elizabeth    born 1763                          died 1839

                        isabella       born 1764                          died 1853

Thomas Spedding was the 1st Vicar of this Church and was the second Son of Carlisle Spedding, who is attributed in some sources as the Architect of the Church. By March 1778 he was also Rector of Distington in plurality. He died on 24th April 1783, aged 62, and was buried on 27th April 1783 in the South West aisle of the Church.

Carlisle (I) is actually recorded as having been buried on 20th September 1755, not in 1753 as on the tablet. He had been baptized on 27th October 1752 at Holy Trinity Church.

Isabella (I) was baptized on 25th April 1755 and was buried on 16th December 1755 aged 22, so was a delayed baptism for some reason.

Carlisle (2) was baptized on 14th February 1757. He is not buried in Whitehaven

Thomas was baptized on 17th October 1766.He is not buried at Whitehaven

Langton was baptized on 2nd October 1761. He was buried on 2nd July 1789 at Liverpool St John’s Church. (Langton was the maiden name of his mother-marriage 1 Feb 1747 at Distington)

Frances was baptized on 21st October 1748 at Holy Trinity Church. She married Samuel Marti at St James’ on 12th December 1791, and was buried at St James’ on 8th August 1803.

Sarah was baptized on 7th November 1750 at Holy Trinity Church. No further information has been traced on her.

Mary was baptized on 22nd June 1759. No further information has been traced on her

Jane was baptized on 29th October 1768.  No further information has been traced on her. On line there is a story that she married in Carlisle in 1786 and moved to Liverpool, but there is insufficient information that she is the correct Jane Spedding.

Ann was baptized on 19th April 1765. No further information has been traced on her. On line there is a story that she married at Kirkland, Westmorland in 1787 but there is insufficient information that she is the correct Ann Spedding.

Elizabeth was baptized on 21st January 1763. No further information has been traced on her. Neither of the 2 possible weddings in Whitehaven appear to be her, and a likely looking death at Crosthwaite, Keswick can be ruled out.

Isabella (2) was baptized on 17th February 1764. No further information has been traced on her.

In memory of anne the wife of jonathan brown late of falmouth jamaica who died may 11th 1817, aged 33 years. William their son, died april 29th, 1817, aged 13 days

All we know from the newspaper is that they lived on Lowther Street. This is an all too typical case for the time of a woman dying either in, or as a result of childbirth; and then losing the child as well.

Her husband is described as ‘Esquire’, so the probability is that they had been involved with, possibly run, a plantation in Jamaica. They were therefore probably part of the wealthy trading elite of Whitehaven.

Sacred to the memory of samuel grundy of kirkby lonsdale who died at whitehaven on the 18th december 1834 after a short illness aged 44 years


he was not less distinguished in life for his vocal talents than for the many kindly virtues which grace humanity


this memorial was erected by the voluntary subscription of his friends mdcccxxxv.

There is an advert on page 2 of the Cumberland Pacquet dated 23rd December 1834, opening subscriptions (limited to half a crown per person) for this tablet, “to record his worth as a Man, and the regret felt by his sudden Decease”. Subscriptions to named people in Whitehaven, Ulverston, Penrith, Carlisle, Kendal, South Shields, Newcastle and Kirkby Lonsdale.

On page 3 of the same issue is this obituary-

On Thursday morning last, at the Globe Inn, in this town after a very short illness, Mr Samuel Grundy, carpet manufacturer, of Kirkby Lonsdale aged 44. The deceased  is sincerely lamented by a very extensive circle of friends. He was a very superior vocalist, and the acquaintances which frequently commenced in admiration of his musical talent, always ripened into esteem when his probity and worthiness of character transpired. It falls to the lot of few men, in his station of life, to be more generally respected. His remains were interred in the burial ground attached to St James’ Church, in this town, on Sunday afternoon last, and as a proof of what we have already said of the extreme respect in which he was held, we may mention that the number of persons attending his funeral was infinitely larger than has been remembered for many years, most of whom appeared to deeply regret his loss. The number present has been computed at upwards of a thousand. Some of his musical friends in this town rendered the last tribute of respect to his memory by volunteering their services. On the funeral entering the church, Mr Orre played the Dead March in Saul, upon the organ, in very superior style, and during the service the celebrated ode of Pope, The Dying Christian to his Soul, was given with an awful solemnity, which sensibly affected many who remembered the thrilling intensity of the deceased’s voice, in the same building, on the previous Sunday evening. The Revd John Jenkinson acquiesced to the request for a marble monument without the customary fee.


Sacred to the memory of john harrison esqr (one of her majesty’s justices of the peace and for many years deputy lieutenant of this county) who departed this life on the 13th day of june, ad 1844 aged 78 years this monument is erected as a token of esteem by his nephew john falcon

requiescat in pace

He had been baptised at St James’ on 25th March 1766 and had served his five year articles of clerkship to be an attorney from 8th January 1784 with Peter How the younger. His father was Thomas Harrison (see the next plaque).

His very long and complex will was proved at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, and can be seen online.

One of his younger brothers had been Revd Thomas Harrison who had been Vicar of Holy Trinity Church from 1808 until his death in 1840.

To the memory of thomas harrison esquire who died on the 13th day of july 1812. aged 68 years. also betty harrison his wife who died on the 26th day of jany1787 aged 46 years

These were the parents of John Harrison (the previous plaque) who had married at St James’ Church on 5th February 1765. Betty’s maiden name was Farish.

Thomas lived on Irish Street, and was a Merchant and Banker, also a Deputy Lieutenant.

When Betty died the family lived in Cross Street.

Erected to the memory of william richardson of this town, who died at carlingford in ireland on the 17th day of novr 1810 aged 57 years also of sarah his wife who died at the city of carlisle on the 27th day of novr 1854 aged 56 years also of henry their son who died in his infancy

He died at sea while Captain of the ship Mona on passage from Carlingford to Whitehaven. “The vessel arrived (with his corpse) on Sunday [18th] evening. From the list of shipping of the port published on 14th June 1810 the ship Mona is known not to have been one of the 188 ships registered at Whitehaven, or one of the 277 ships registered at the other 3 West Cumberland ports. Nothing else is known of either the Mona or of Captain Richardson’s sea-going career.

It is however interesting that the Mona is not recorded as sailing again from Whitehaven before the end of 1810.



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