Guided Tour St James-Brass Plaques


In Loving Memory of John Singleton a lifelong worshipper in this Church Vice Consul to the Netherlands and Denmark died on December 20th. 1957 aged 81

He died, aged 81 at his home-Prospect, Distington aged 81.

He was a Solicitor who practised for many years on his own at Lowther Street, Whitehaven but later formed the firm of Sumner & Singleton in Scotch Street.

He was Clerk to Whitehaven Amateur Operatic Society, the former Whitehaven Burial Board and the Egremont Charities Commission, also correspondent to the Egremont Group of Schools

He had been a choir boy, chorister, sidesman, PCC member and trustee of St. Nicholas’ Church.

He had been appointed Danish Vice-Consul in 1932 and transacted all legal business for the fleet at Whitehaven in WW2-which was 18 boats at the peak, as well as handling all welfare work for them.

In July 1946 he and his wife spent a holiday in Denmark as guests of the Danish government and in December of that year was awarded the King Christian Liberty Medal in recognition of his wartime services to Denmark.

In June 1955 he was presented to King Frederick IX at Christiansborg Castle, Copenhagen during a Congress for 245 Danish consuls.

In April 1957 he was conferred the honour of Knight of the Order of Danneborg.

In 1946 he was made a Chevalier of the Order of Orange Nassau for his work as Consul to the Netherlands.

His wife was a former sister at Whitehaven Hospital. He was buried in grave 5F8 at Whitehaven Cemetery on 24th December 1957 after a funeral at St. Nicholas’ Church.

This plaque should be read in conjunction with a plaque on the wall of the old consulate, on New Lowther Street, opposite Gough's solicitors, which is a registered war memorial-pictured here

Under the Chancel lie buried John Shepherd, Died 1770. Aged 70. and Elizabeth, his wife, Died 1775. Aged 74, John Shepherd. Died 1811. Aged 73. and Mary, his wife, Died 1809. Aged 71. Joseph Shepherd. Died 1826. Aged 46. William Davis. Died 1829. Aged 64

John (senior) was buried on 4th August 1770, Elizabeth on 28th December 1775, John on 8th October 1811, Mary on 21st May 1809, Joseph on 23rd June 1826 and William Davis on 28th June 1829.

There is also a surviving gravestone at St. Nicholas’ for John, Mary and Joseph.

John had died on 3rd October in King Street, and had formerly been a watchmaker and silversmith in the Market Place/West Strand as late as 1805.

From his will of 1810 we know he had a daughter Elizabeth (to whom he bequeathed £1,000, his mortgage on an estate at Alston (the property of Brown Hodgson), and his 2/64 th shares in the ship Authorne of Maryport, master Thomas Scaiff. He also had a son, Joseph [died 1826, aforesaid], to whom he left his several properties in King Street and 3 properties in New Street (otherwise Back Street) and the residue of his estate.

William Davis died at his home in Lonsdale Place on 27th June 1829. For many years he had been the master of the ship ‘Elizabeth’ of this town. He bore a protracted illness with true Christian resignation; and died, as he had lived, without an enemy. Of the 4 ships of that name the 1811 Jollies Directory tells us that it was the 1567 te Brigantine built by James Shepherd in 1796. In 1818 he had lived at West Strand. From the 1794 Universal British Directory we know that his previous command had been the brig ‘Dallam Tower’, since at least 1790. [although not built at Whitehaven this ship was registered here by 1790]. He had retired by 1828.

From his will dated 25th February 1829 we know that his wife was called Elizabeth and that he owned premises on West Strand which had for a long time had been used as an Inn, tenanted by James Savage. He also had a daughter called Mary Ann Davis-seemingly his only surviving child

Little is known about the shipbuilder James Shepherd, except his marriage at Holy Trinity on 19th May 1776 and his death on 30th May 1803, aged 58 (died at his home in King Street, buried at Holy Trinity), baptism not traced, died intestate.

In Memory of John hodgson who died Novr 8th 1804, aged 81 years, also Jane his wife who died Decr 12th 1818, aged 95 years, William hodgson, son of the above, who died June 1st 1834, in his 80th year. Jane, his wife died Oct 1st 1819, aged 58. years. William, their Son, died April 22nd 1857, aged 65 years. Isaac, their son, died Aug 5th 1871, aged 75 years. Ann, his wife died Sep 1st 1869, aged 73 years.

John Hodgson was buried on 11th November 1804 (he was a Mariner who lived in Duke Street), Jane (senior) on 12th December 1818, Jane (junior) on 3rd October 1819 and  William (senior) on 3rd June 1834 all at St. Nicholas, where there is a surviving gravestone to them.

William senior left his two dwelling houses in Robinson Court, Duke Street, tenanted by William Singleton to his son, Isaac.

William (junior, a Carpenter) is buried in grave 3C182 and Isaac (baptised 17th April 1796 at St Nicholas’) & Ann (both of 5 Lonsdale Place) are buried in grave 2L63  at Whitehaven (Preston Quarter) Cemetery-neither grace has a surviving gravestone. Isaac had at least three sons-Isaac, John and William, and one daughter-Jane. In 1851 they lived at 102, Duke Street and Isaac was a Master Shoemaker. William followed him into that trade and Isaac junior (born 7th September 1825, baptised 3rd October 1825 as a Wesleyan Methodist, and died 24th May 1891) became a Mariner (he went away to sea as an Apprentice on 11th May 1843 on a ship to the River Plate, and became a Master on 30th May 1848)by 1871 he was a Steam Boat Agent).

William, their son, died on 26th September 1902 at 5 Lonsdale Place-retired by 1881

William (junior, died 1857) was a shipwright who died at Howgill Street Infirmary

in memory of joshua dixon md. who died january 7 1825 aged 80 years. His remains rest in the adjoining churchyard. This tablet is here placed by the governors of the whitehaven and west cumberland infirmary of which he was one of the first benefactors

There is a long obituary in the Cumberland Pacquet of 11th January 1825. The Whitehaven Dispensary (mentioned in the obituary) was at 107 Queen Street, and had been gifted by James Hogarth, philanthropist. It was the beginning of a healthcare system in Whitehaven. From the National Dictionary of Biography we know he took the degree of MD at Edinburgh University in 1768 on which occasion he read an inaugural dissertation ‘De Febre Nervosa’

He had been baptised at St Nicholas’ on 8th August 1744-the son of Joshua Dixon, a mariner.

In 1764 he travelled to Liverpool where he served as assistant to Edward Parr, an Apothecary and merchant with interests in the slave trade

He had married Ann Fletcher (incorrectly shown as Heather in Sydney’s book) on 9th June 1775 at St James’ Church.

His lengthy will with 5 codicils was proved at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury-it names his sons William and Revd Richard (bankrupt).He also bequeathed £100 to keep the Dispensary running or help establish an infirmary plus £200 of other charitable bequests.

His 1801 book ‘The Literary Life of William Brownrigg, with an account of the coal mines near Whitehaven and observations on.. epidemic fevers’ is available on the shelves at Whitehaven Archives, reference 52BRO.

A detailed account of his life and of the Dispensary is in the 2009 book ‘Bleeding, Blisters & Opium’ bu Michael Sydney which is reference 21SYD at Whitehaven Archives.

His annual reports for the Dispensary (1783-1822) which are an essential study guide are available at Whitehaven Archives, reference YTHOS/2/2/1 & 2.

His funeral was at St. Nicholas’ on 14th January 1825.

His ultimate legacy was the opening of Whitehaven Infirmary in Howgill Street onn 1st May 1830.

Formerly there was a sarcophagus, in the form of an urn, five feet long, by two and a half feet wide in the grounds of St. Nicholas. The inscription read-


His piety was constant fervent and unassuming;

His philanthropy universal; his charity extensive,

Though dead, his memory is cherished in the ciecle

wherein the brightness of his light shone, and the

remembrance of his good deeds will live forever in the

affections of the poor, the diseased and the forlorn, to whose

support, alleviation and succour his valuable life was devoted.



He had lost his 5th child/first daughter-Jane on 24th December 1784 (buried Christmas Day 1784, baptised 17th April 1784).  Overall they had 6 children-of whom three died in infancy.

In Lowther Street, Whitehaven, on Friday night last, Joshua Dixon Esq MD at the advanced age of 80 years. The Doctor, on the evening of his decease, wrote two letters to his son and daughter; requesting a visir from the latter, and certain of his grand-children, whom he had not seen, to be brought to him. These letters were sent to the Post Office at half-past-eight. He was then well. In a short time he was seized with sudden illness-soon sent for Dr Robinson-but in spite of medical skill, was a corpse before midnight. No language that we have at command can do justice to the numerous merits of this universally respected Gentleman. All who knew him, and many who never saw him, know that his long life has been one continued scene of usefulness and benevolence seldom paralleled.  The town is indebted to him for many improvements necessary to is health and comfort. That excellent institution, the Dispensary, was the fruit of his exertions; and from its establishment in 1783, up to the day of his death, he acted gratuitously as physician and chief manager. The unfortunate, the poor, the sick, all were ever welcome to counsel, pecuniary assistance, and medical skill. There was not a mercenary feeling in his heart. He acquired but to bestow-he lived but to aid his fellow creatures. From morning till night he unremittingly pursued the heavenly work of charity. Often, latterly, when age had enfeebled his bodily frame (always weak and dimunitive) has he been seen climbing to the abodes of misery literally on his hands and knees! What more can we say, when a simple fact pronounces so eloquent a panegyric? While good deeds are held in reverence, so long will the name of Doctor Dixon be held in sacred remembrance: the rich and the poor alike have cause to lament the death of so valuable a member of society. Independently of these more rare accompaniments-the “graces of the soul”-the Doctor was distinguished by medical skill, and literary ability of no common order. He is the author of a great many useful tracts and essays, acknowledged and anonymous, but his chief effort as an author, was the life of Dr Brownrigg, in which he incorporated an historical notice of Coal Mines, particularly of those in our neighbourhood. To the Doctor’s literary character, however, we shall probably attempt to do more simple justice on a future occasion- his philanthropy, his charity, the goodness of his heart, his social qualities, are each and all fully impressed upon the minds and feelings of those amongst whose he has so long lived; there, in his life time, he himself (if we may be allowed the term) erected a monument more glorious than the proudest blazonry of the grandeur of kings, or the achievement of heroes. Such deeds are promised “an exceedingly great reward” by Him who has said nothing in vain.

In Memory of William Corkhill Died Aug 1, 1814. Aged 39

                            Ann Gunson, Died Feb 3, 1835. Aged 54

                            William Corkhill, Their Son Died at Liverpool, April 19, 1834. Aged 29


                            Five of their Children Died in their infancy


                            James Blake Whiteside

                            Their Grandson Died Feb 5, 1835. Aged 7 Months.

                            Jane Whiteside, his Mother Died Dec 23. 1842. Aged 35.

                            Ann Corkhill, Their Daughter Died at Paramatta, N.S.W. Jan. 31. 1855. Aged 53    

William was buried on 3rd August 1814 and Ann on 6th February 1835. The burials of James Blake and Jane Whiteside were not at Whitehaven. The remarriage of Ann Corkhill to Mr Gunson has not been traced.

The date of death for William (junior) is suspect as he was buried on 14th April 1834 in grave 3756 at Everton Necropolis, Liverpool, from Consort Street (burial 8168). He had been born on 28th July 1804 and baptised  at St Nicholas’ on 24th August 1804.

Ann had been born on 2nd October 1801 and was baptised on 18th October 1801 at St. Nicholas’. She did not marry, died at George Street, Parramatta and was buried on 1st February 1855 at St John’s Church, Parramatta.

In 1851 she was living at Lonsdale Place, Whitehaven with Harriete L Corkhill, nee Clements (born 1827 at Sydney, Australia, died 1904 in Australia)-the wife of her brother Richard Blake Corkhill.

That Richard Blake Corkhill was born in 1813, first went to sea in 1827 and had been a Ship’s Master since 1836. He died in 1887 at Balmain, Australia.

In Memory of William Corkhill. Died Dec. 8. 1816. Aged 72

Jenny, The Wife of William Corkhill and Daughter of John Blake, of Padstow, in the County of Cornwall, (Gentleman) Died March 27, 1812. Aged 67.

                        Richard, The Son of William and Jenny Corkhill. Died Oct.10.1799. In the 16th Year of his Age

                John Blake, Their Son, Surgeon, Died at Boscastle, in Cornwall, On the 8th March, 1809, Aged 35

                        Blake, Their Son, Solicitor, Died in London. Dec 13,1819. Aged 30

William Corkhill was buried on 11th December 1816, Jenny on 31st March 1812 and Richard on 12th October 1799, all at St. Nicholas’.

Richard had been baptised at St Nicholas’ on 23rd November 1783.

John Blake Corkhill was baptised at St.Nicholas’ on 18th April 1773 married Melicent Avery on 11th August 1796 at Foeabu’y, Cornwall.

Blake had been baptised at St. Nicholas’ on 16th June 1789. He had been articled as a Solicitor’s Clerk to William Atkinson on 24th June 1802 (aged 13!) for 5 years. By 1818 he was working in Ramsgate, Kent, and accepted John Avery Corkhill (son of his brother, John Blake Corkhill, born c1800) as his articled clerk. He was married to Emma Alice Elizabeth and had a son, Blake, baptised at St Giles in the Fields Church, London on 6th December 1815. He also had a daughter Emma Aspinall Corkhill about whom nothing more is known/

He was buried on 22nd December 1819 at St Andrew’s Church, Holborn, London.

Blake junior was buried on 17th July 1834 at St George the Martyr Church, Queen Square, London

The Font was moved here and the step given by whitehaven operatic society friends & members of the congregation in memory of alfred robertson arco organist of this church 1952-1965

(This relates to St. Nicholas’ Church)



(There is no record of whether this is one of the Altar Rails on this gallery, or if the Altar Rail in question was lost in the 1971 fire)

Passion Sunday was 7th April 1957. Robert was born on 28th April 1911. He died as Vicar of St Mark’s Church, Barrow-in-Furness. After Whitehaven Grammar School he went to Manchester University and Edinburgh Theological College. He had been ordained in 1934, and served his curacy at  Carlisle St John’s and was later Assistant Priest at Helensburgh, Scotland. He served as a Naval Chaplain in the Royal Naval Reserve in WW2, and went to Barrow in 1946. His funeral was at St Mark’s on 11th April.  He was married to Irene Mary Abigail (nee Bertram, married 1954, died 2002), and had one daughter-Helen M, born 1955, married 1985 and became Nelson. According to the Kennaugh family grave at Whitehaven he is buried at Pennington, near Ulverston.

While at Barrow he had seen congregations increase considerably and also seen the renovation of the church and its buildings.

His mother (born 1884, nee Bell) had died on 17th March 1954. She had been a member of the St.Nicholas’ Mothers Union for 44 years, since her marriage in 1910 (according to the Whitehaven News), which is interesting as other research has demonstrated that the branch was not formed until 1915!. She was buried on 20th March 1954. She was buried in an old Kennaugh family grave 1 J2 76 at Preston Quarter Cemetery, Whitehaven.

His father (born 1880) died on 21st May 1958 at Benslow Nursing Home, Hitchin (formerly living with his daughter at 1 Benchley Hill, Hitchin). He was a Master Plumber. His funeral was on 27th May 1958 at St. Nicholas’. He had been Churchwarden of St. Nicholas’ from 1940 to 1956 and was still an Honoray Warden at the time of his death. He was buried alongside his wife.

He had a brother, Thomas Edward (22nd November 1917-1992, died at Birkenhead) who also became a Clergyman. In 1954 he was Vicar of Fallowfield, Manchester.

He also had a sister, Elizabeth Liptrot of Hitchin, Hertfordshire


(‘This Church’ was St. Nicholas’ Church)

This is Robert Cecil Rodham (born 1882 at Weston Lodge, Brigham Road, Cockermouth, the son of John Squarebridge and Katherine Rodham). In 1891 his parents were running a private school at Penrith. In 1901 he was already an Organist, living at Barrow-in-Furness. By 1911 he was a Professor of Music and was living at 58 English Street, Longtown.

He died at 20 Foxhouses Road, Whitehaven on 20th February 1950 and left a widow, Eveline (formerly Carling, nee Aiston, born 3 October 1896, 1st marriage in 1920 at Newcastle to Ernest W) who he had married on 11th February 1942 at St.Nicholas’. Eveline remarried Harry Bower in 1967 and died on 29th July 1973 at the same address.

At the time of his marriage he was living at 13 Corkickle and Eveline (a Milliner) was from Heighington, County Durham. After a funeral at St. Nicholas’ Church he was buried at Cockermouth Cemetery.

Surprisingly there was no Obituary at the time in the Whitehaven News and we have no surviving records, which would tell us more about his life.


(Note that the Clergy Stalls mentioned were lost in the 1971 fire)

He was the second of 4 sons of the late Joseph Braithwaite (died 1896), of Blackbeck and Beckermet. With his brother, James, he took over the ironmongers business of JJ Peile at 74 Market Place in 1887, but disposed of it in 1904 to John Whittle and Sons for health reasons. He then became a director of Whittles-which post he retained until his death.

In earlier years he was involved with the Whitehaven Cricket Club and for some years was Captain of the First XI.

In 1896 he entered the Town Council, unopposed as Member of Trinity Ward, and was returned unopposed.

He became Mayor’s Auditor, then Vice-Chairman and later Chairman of the Finance Committee. In 1906 he was made Alderman.

In 1908 he was elected Mayor, re-elected in 1909 and 1910-the first Whitehaven Mayor for 3 years in succession. He appealed to the country for assistance after the terrible Wellington Pit Disaster, and the arduous work in administering the relief fund is thought to have led to his subsequent breakdown of health.

At the end of his term as Mayor he was presented, by Lord Lonsdale, with a portrait of himself which later hung in the Council Chamber.

He left a widow, nee Symons of Bridgewater and sister of the widow of his older brother.

He died at The Nursing Home, Foxhouses Road and was buried in the family grave 4C26-30 at Preston Quarter Cemetery on 23rd October 1918 after a funeral at St. Nicholas’ Church.


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