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Adamthwaite is an isolated farm on the moors, about 1000ft above sea-level, in the parish of Ravenstonedale, Cumbria, England. The original farm is mentioned in documents dating back to about 1500, but the main building which stands today was rebuilt by Thomas Adamthwaite in 1684.
At the end of the 17th century it consisted of several small farms huddled close together in a small valley, with Harter Fell to the East, Green Bell and Ravenstonedale Common to the North West, and Wandale Fell to the South. An old track led through the valley - linking Adamthwaite to Ravenstondale in the North and to the South it passed their nearest neighbours at Murthwaite before continuing to Rathay Bridge and Sedbergh.
In 1683, Thomas Adamthwaite was admitted as a tenant of Upcast – one of the properties at Adamthwaite at Fell End. However, he appears to have sold ‘one close called Mean Close with two gates in Adamthwaite sslass’ to Richard Mowland in 1684 and ‘one whole messuage and tenement’ to Michael Knewstubb in 1694.
In 1690 John Adamthwaite of Adamthwaite had left the largest of the four farms to his daughter, Sybel, who subsequently married Thomas Adamthwaite of Sedberg in 1697. After their marriage, Thomas became known as ‘Thomas Adamthwaite of Adamthwaite’
In 1716 the smallest of the farms had been owned by another Thomas Adamthwaite (it is not known who owned this portion before 1716) who married Agnes Atkinson.
In 1741 this farm also passed over to William Adamthwaite who already owned the larger farm. Did Thomas move to Steps Beck at this point?
William died in 1756 and the two farms passed to William Dixon who left them to his sons in 1766, but in 1766 one of the sons, Richard Dixon, transferred them back to the son of the first William and his wife Agnes Metcalf - this was yet another William Adamthwaite (b.1744) who married Jane Stephenson in 1767.
This William sold the largest farm to John Relph in 1766. In 1790 he appears to have been a tenant farmer at Stenerskeugh and then he left Ravenstonedale shortly afterwards.
The A683 from Kirkby Stephen south towards Sedbergh now follows the 'proposed Road' shown on the above map
this is now the only farmhouse at Adamthwaite - over the door is carved "TA1684" recording the year that the house was rebuilt by Thomas Adamthwaite
William and Jane (Stephenson) had two sons, Edward (b. 1771) and Matthew (b. 1778) and two daughters, Jane (died as an infant) and Margaret (b. 1781). Edward and Matthew walked to London where Edward’s family grew in the Paddington area [see the YELLOW line on the tables] – nothing is known about Matthew.
By the time of the 1841 census, Adamthwaite was occupied by four servants:
Mary Nicholson, age 25
John Metcalf, age 20
Michael Bland, age 15
Stephen Brunskill, age 15
(all but John Metcalf were born in the County)
The only Adamthwaite left in Ravenstonedale was Mary Ann, the daughter of William and Mary (Knewstubb) - [TURQUOISE line] who was age 35, a female servant in the same household as Margt Birtle, age 50, a pauper - living in Newbiggin.
the road across Ravenstonedale Common towards Adamthwaite
A fascinating reminder of the past way of life at Adamthwaite, which survives to this day, is the spinning gallery.
The Adamthwaite Spinning Gallery is one of only a few remaining in the district (another is at Yew Tree Farm where Beatrix Potter lived, and there is also one in Sedbergh)
It was used by the women for spinning and for drying the wool. But all the members of the family would have been involved in knitting - men, women and children.
Adamthwaite according to A. Wainwright
The text and illustration below are reproduced with kind permission from Walks on the Howgill Fells by A. Wainwright, published by Frances Lincoln Ltd, copyright © The Estate of A. Wainwright 1972, 2003
The links to the right will take you to other parts of this 'History' section of the website, where you can discover more about the history of the Adamthwaites, and Adamthwaite Farm.
This is one of the Sections of this website where I regularly report new discoveries, so do come back often to see what's new!
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