Histories of Heversham

The history of Heversham and Leasgill, and of what is now South Lakeland are well documented.
The more significant local histories are identified below together with summaries and in some cases, sample text.
Click on the illustrations to obtain further text where this is available but please observe copyright.
The final source – Heversham: A Website History by Roger Bingham is unique to the Heversham and Leasgill website.

A Quick Summary

This photograph from the early part of the C20 is from the centre of Heversham, looking North. It shows the Old Blue Bell on the left and former Post Office on the right. The Old Blue Bell closed in 1949 and the name was transferred to what was then the Heversham Hotel – now the Blue Bell. The church is behind the dense yew trees on the right. Click on the photograph to obtain a quick summary of local history.

Holme C. (1914)

The Lonely Plough,
Mills and Boon

Published by Mills and Boon (1914) and also by Oxford University Press (1930), this is a novel rather than an historical work but Constance Holme based her story in part on the local flood of 1907. The book is available in local public libraries. Other novels by Constance Holme, who lived at Ackenthwaite, are to some extent based on her experiences of events in the area.

The Preface to the 1930 edition is provided here, or click on the cover illustration.

Curwen J.F. (1930)

The Ancient Parish of Heversham with Milnthorpe including the hamlets of Leasgill, Ackenthwaite and Rowell,
Titus Wilson, Kendal

This book is very much a seminal work on the history of Heversham and the surrounding area. Subsequent publications on Heversham often draw heavily from this source. A brief extract is provided here - by clicking on the illustration, a picture of St. Peter’s Church which appears as the opening plate in the book.

The book is available in local public libraries.

By the same author, a former Chairman of Heversham Parish Council.

Historical description of Levens Hall,
Titus Wilson, Kendal (1898)

Humber R.D. (1966)

Game Cock and Countryman,
Cassell, London

R.D. Humber was brought up in Heversham. He became a freelance journalist and nature writer. This book celebrates wildlife and also field sports – cockfighting in particular which was made illegal in 1849 but which was still practised in South Lakeland at least until 1950. It contains many graphic descriptions of life in Heversham and in South Lakeland during the early part of the C20.

A brief extract is provided.

The book is available in local public libraries.

Humber R.D. (1968)

The Story of a Westmorland School and Village,
Titus Wilson, Kendal

The same R.D. Humber (see above) wrote this history. It concentrates on the history of the former Heversham Grammar School but there are many references to life in Heversham over the period 1613 to the 1950s. The former Grammar School, now part of Dallam School, had mixed fortunes over this period caused by circumstances and according to Humber, by headteachers of various abilities.

A brief extract is provided here.

The book is available in local public libraries.

Bingham R.K. (1987)

The Chronicles of Milnthorpe,
Cicerone Press, Milnthorpe, ISBN: 0902363980

The irrepressible Roger Bingham has written what is probably the ‘definitive’ history of Milnthorpe and surrounding areas. Heversham receives many mentions in this book.

The book is in print and is available in local public libraries.

Roger Bingham has authored a number of books on local history and some of these are identified below.

Bingham R.K. (2000)

Memories of Milnthorpe for the Millennium: A look back at a Westmorland village before 1950,
Bingham, Ackenthwaite, Milnthorpe, ISBN: 0950999113

This book on the Milnthorpe area is built around familiar and unfamiliar old photographs and maps.

Bingham R.K.

Other books on local history and culture by Roger Bingham include –

Our Village - an illustrated history of Milnthorpe from 1860.(1977)

The Church at Heversham (1984)

The Lost Resort? The Flow and Ebb of Morecambe. (1990),
Cicerone Press, Milnthorpe, ISBN: 1852840714

Kendal: A social History. (1995),
Cicerone Press, Milnthorpe, ISBN: 1852842016

From Fell and Field A History of the Westmorland County Show 1799-1999. (1999),
Cicerone Press, Milnthorpe, ISBN: 1852842903

Sisson M. (2000)

A Century of Heversham and Leasgill: A walk in time through these old Westmorland villages,
Helm Press, Kendal, Cumbria, ISBN: 095318367

Malcolm Sisson, known to all locals as ‘Mac', was born in the nearby village of Sedgwick and spent most of his adult life with his wife Jennie, in Leasgill.
Mac has been involved in most village activities including the Athenaeum Management Committee, as Clerk to the Heversham Parish Council, as a churchwarden and as a local correspondent for the Westmorland Gazette.
Both Mac and Jennie have regularly attended St Peter’s Church and for many years were members of the choir.
Mac summarises his book as ‘a walk in time through the two villages’.

The booklet is in print and is available in local public libraries.

Extracts are provided here - or click on the illustration.

Bingham R. (2001)

Heversham – A Website History,

This material is unique to the Heversham Community website.
It is gleaned from classic sources and from other publications by Roger Bingham but it also includes new material and previously unavailable illustrations.

A chronological timeline is included.

This website history is available in full by clicking on the photograph of Roger Bingham or here.
Note that this material cannot be obtained elsewhere.

Other Sources

Other sources include –

Pigot and Co. (1828), National Commercial Directory

Mannex P.J. (1849), History of Westmorland; with Furness and Cartmel in Lancashire

Parson W.M. and White W.M. (1829), History, Directory and Gazetteer of the Counties of Cumberland and Westmorland

Thompson B.L. (1957) (Ed.), Some Westmorland Villages
Compiled by the Westmorland Federation of Women’s Institutes

Marsh J. (1991), South Westmorland Villages in Old Photographs
Alan Sutton Publishing, Stroud

Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England
Penguin Books

Pevsner - The Buildings of England series of books published by Penguin Books.
Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, an art historian of European standing, conceived the idea of English architectural guidebooks after he settled in England in the 1930s, that eventually became 'The Buildings of England'

Genealogical Research

Census and other information are available from Kendal Library and from the Archive section at County Hall, Kendal.

National records including Census information for 1901 are available on-line from the Public Records Office