Early History


We first hear of Preston in the Domesday Book, compiled in the reign of William the Conqueror in 1086. It was mentioned then as one of the manors held by Totfin Preston or "Priest-Town" indicates some close relationship with the Church. The second half of the name is a later addition, supposed to have been received from Patrick de Culwen, ancestor of the Curwens of Workington. PRESTON RICHARD, which is also served by St. Patrick's Church, is also an ancient settlement, being known at the time of the Domesday Survey as Preston Uethred, from its Saxon owner. Later it was called Preston Richard after a family who owned the manor house (now Old Hall) far 200 years.

An abbey was founded at Preston Patrick in the l2th Century by Thomas, son of Gospatrick, which he endowed with lands and various privileges. In 1I90 a house of Premon- stratersion Canons (white Canons) was founded by Thomas de Workington. For many years baronets and knights with the name Preston owned the lands and ruled the people. Sir John Preston was a "Justice of the, Court of Common Pleas" in the reigns of Henry N and Henry V.(I399-1422).

In October 1331 the Archbishop of York visited "the Chapel of St Gregory in the Parish of Burton". In these early days Preston Patrick was in the parish of Burton, all tithes and dues being paid to the vicar of Burton. Preston Richard belonged to the Parish of Heversham In 1452 Richard Preston and his wife obtained an Episcopal licence for an "oratory" at Preston Patrick. But the curate's annual stipend was

only 3-6-8,a sum too small to support even an unmarried clergyman. Between 1485 and 1509 there is evidence that a new chapel was erected on the present site, but it was not until 1657 that we have proof of a regular succession of curates and vicars at Preston Patrick Church. Even then it did not become a parish in its own right, with its boundaries as we know them now, until 1871.

In 1652 the great Quaker preacher GEORGE FOX travelled from Pendle Hill in Lancashire and

preached to great gatherings of people at Firbank and then at Preston Patrick, where he entered the

Church and "declared the word of life and the everlasting truth". Many local houses have associations with George Fox and the early Quakers.

PRESTON PATRICK HALL, built in the l4th century with later additions, has a courtroom where Thomas Camm was sued for non payment of tithes. Thomas was present at the general meeting of I652 at which George Fox was present; "a day of God's power, a notable day indeed, never to be forgotten by me, Thomas Camm ......I being present at the meeting, a schoolboy of about 12 years of age".

Not far from Preston Patrick Hall stands the farm of CAMSGILL, in a delightful, secluded

Other early Quakers were John Audland, Richard Sill, John Story of Goose Green and the Cartmells of 'Wath Sudden, who were all buried at the little Quaker burial ground near Low Park.

MABEL CAMM was the first person to be buried in the new burial ground at the Preston Patrick Meeting House which was built in 1691.

Ephraim Chambers was born at Milton in 1680 of a farming family. He attended grammar schools at Heversham and Kendal, then after studying at Oxford he became apprenticed to a globemaker in London. He then began work on his great Encyclopaedia, which appeared in 1?28 and was dedicated to George II.

J Wesley first visited Kendal in May 1753.He returned several times, making his last visit on May 9th 1788;when he approached Kendat from Kirkby Lonsdale. Thus Methodism was born in this area. Chapels were built. at Old Hutton, Hutton Roof, Stainton and Milnthorpe, but, from the first, "house meetings" were popular and flourishing. At Holmscales Farm on the N E boundary of Preston Patrick services began in 1875 and a "Camp Meeting" is still held in June every year. Meetings were held for many years at Challon Hall, with special events requiring more space being held at the Friends' Meeting House.

The Mason family of Foulstone (Lupton) were Quakers who, after attending the meeting at

Preston Patrick on Sunday afternoon then visited the Methodist service at Hutton Roof in the evening (1912) This spirit of co-operation has continued through the years. 1n the 1960's a thriving interdenominational Sunday School was held at the Preston Patrick Meeting House.


Throughout the l8th century the parish and the chapel grew more prosperous, 'The inhabitants began to pay "Chapel salary" which was collected yearly on the 2lst of September. In 1722 an estate at Nook was purchased with 200, and 240 was given by James Graham esq., Sir John Mawson and the inhabitants. In 1773 15 acres of land were purchased at Howgill with 200 of Queen Anne's Bounty, and 200 given by

the Countess Dowager Gower. In 1810 2 acres, 3 rods, l5 perches of land were bought

at Bentham for 200. In addition the ancient salary of 3-6-8 was still derived from

letting of Chapel property . In 1781 parochial privileges were granted to the district, but the parish was not fully independent until 1871.

9th Century

The picture in Preston Patrick and Preston Richard in the l9th Century is a prosperous one with an interesting mixed economy. The Lancaster to Kendal canal was opened in 1819 the toast being "Champagne to our real friends, real pain to our sham friends".

The Old Hall, formerly the ancient manor house of Preston Richard was inhabited by the Keightley family.

In 1885 Preston Patrick was described as "a large township and ecclesiastical district, containing the small hamlets of Gatebeck, Goose Green, Millness and Nook, with a number of scattered dwellings". Its population was 550. Some of the inhabitants were employed in the gunpowder works at Gatebeck and a few in hoop making and cooperage. But agriculture was, as today, the chief occupation. The most usual crops were oats, barley and turnips, but much land was pasture and meadow.

Moss End Farm on the Burton Road was in the occupation of the same family for 40 years and during that period its owners took 18 first prizes at local agricultural shows for superior management, and obtained the 2nd prize at the Royal Agricultural Show held at Carlisle in July 1880. Twelve acres of swede turnips were entered nine times for competitions during 1883, and obtained the 1st prize on each occasion, amounting to

45 in money and plate.


At Crooklands was a Bobbin Mill, which employed 25 people. The original Friends Meeting House fell into disuse in 1833. A new Meeting House was built on the original foundations and opened for worship in 1869. '

THE SCHOOL at Preston Patrick, which had been built by subscription in I7BU was endowed with 20 acres of land in 18I4 at the enclosure of the commons.entrusted to the care of the Chapel wardens. In 1869 the school was rebuilt and enlarged by Mr Keightley and others and was attended by 90 pupils.

It was at a concert at this school' in 1884 that a "singing competition" was announced, to bc

held the following year at Sedgwick House. This "singing competition" was the first MARY WAKEFIELD FESTIVAL. ENDMOOR SCHOOL was built in 1862 at the sole expense of Archdeacon Evans of Heversham.

A New Church was built in 1853 and in 1871 Preston Patrick was constituted a separate parish to which Preston Richard was added, the joint population being about 1,000. The church was extended in 1892 when an extended chancel, organ loft and vestry were built. This completed the church to its present form.

The Church and the Clergy '

Some notes from Church records and archives, from material collated by the Revd. and Mrs

P Smith. From 1657 we have records of a regular succession of curates and vicars. The records of

baptisms, marriages and burials date from 1703. Before this date burials, and probably weddings, took place at Burton.

In 1705 the Revd. Thomas Tolmin declared that he was ready to testify upon oath that "ye full yearly value of all the profits belonging to ye parochial Chapel.of Preston Patrick is not worth at most above ye sum of 3-4-0 per annum and that the incumbent has not any other living". In 1709 the local inhabitants won the right to nominate their own vicar, after a case in the court of chancery against the vicar of Burton. In 1814, when the vicar's stipend was still only 3-4-8 per year the parishioners "of their own free will" sold their right of appointing their vicar to Lord Lonsdale for 525. In 1853 the churchyard was enlarged by gift of the Earl of Lonsdale, and the new Church was consecrated under the name of St Patrick for the first time.

In 1856 the parish was transferred to the diocese of Carlisle(from the diocese of Chester). In 1873 Preston Patrick was made an independent parish, having formerly been part of Burton Part of Preston Richard was added, making a total population of about 1,000. In an effort to better the vicar's stipend and to build a vicarage, Mr Wakefield gave 500, Mr Keightley gave 500, Trinity College Cambridge gave 500, Revd Canon Gilbert gave 1,000 and the Earl of Lonsdale 50.

In 1875 the vicarage, now St Gregory's House, was completed at a cost of 1897;The

churchyard was extended in 1886 and again in I933.


The church stands on the south side of a hill known as St. Gregory's Hill and earlier chapels were dedicated to St. Gregory the Great. The ordnance map also marks a spring known as " St. Gregory's Well" along the footpath to the former vicarage which is as St. Gregory's House. However, the present church is dedicated to St. Patrick.


The first recorded burials in the churchyard were in 1709, earlier burials were at Burton. The churchyard has been enlarged on several occasions, the last extension was in 1933.

Old records refer to "an ancient yew tree in the churchyard" and this is still to be seen on the south side of the church. This tree must be many hundreds of years old. There are a number of fine scots pine trees in the churchyard and a large sycamore. In 1983 Preston Richard & Preston Patrick W.I. planted a red hawthorn tree to commemorate beautiful Britain year and a lime tree was planted in 1976 in memory of Mr. T Mason, a churchwarden for many years. The churchyard is managed with conservation in mind. In recent years, as haytime has been replaced by silo making, fields of flowers are quite rare and churchyards are becoming sanctuaries for wild flowers. This will only happen if the flowers are allowed to ripen and drop seed before the grass is cut and raked away. We try to do this and the result is fine spring displays of daffodils, bluebells, primroses and cowslips followed by bluebells, dog-daisies; foxgloves and other flowers; but we must be patient if we are to have them blooming in the coming years.


The church is entered via a porch, the outer doors of which were added only in 1961. Passing through the heavy inner door the church in which you now stand is the 3rd. (or possibly 4th.} on the present site. The nave 8c north aisle were built in their present form in 1851/3 with a much shorter sanctuary and a small vestry on the site of the present organ loft. The church was dedicated in the name of St. Patrick by the Bishop of Chester on 14 October 1853. The previous chapel, built in the reign of Hemy VII (1485-1509) was the subject of an architects report in 1850 and was considered beyond repair. The architect of the new church were Messrs. Austin and Paley of Lancaster.

In 1892 a new & enlarged chancel, and an organ loft and new vestry were built, a bequest of Mary Keightley . The architects were again Messrs. Paley, Austin & Paley of Lancaster. The whole is a plain gothic design without much of the fuss of victorian gothic architecture.

The only major alteration after this date was, the provision of meeting rooms and a kitchen & toilet within the tower area in 1989 at a cost of 17000. The architect for this was Mr. EM. Bottomley of Kendal and the contractors were Messrs M.& L. Sinfield of Endmoor.


In the 1853 building the font was placed in the SE corner of the church, the rest of the west end being filled with pews. The font was moved to a position under the tower in 1892 and the whale of the west end was filled with pews. These were removed during restoration work in 1982 to form the present open area. The font was moved to its present position in 1982.

History of Preston Patrick