button to main menu  Gents Mag 1831 part 1 p.302

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Gentleman's Magazine 1831 part 1 p.302
and Mary) to Cuthbert Bishop of Chester and his successors, paying thereout to the Crown yearly 43l. 8s. 4d. From Sir Thomas Chaloner these rich possessions passed into the highly respectable family of the Wyburghs, long resident at Saint Bees, but afterwards removed to Clifton in Westmoreland, in consequence of marriage with an heiress. Being great sufferers in the reign of Charles I. from the civil wars, these estates were mortgaged to the Lowther family, and on a suit in Chancery, instituted by Sir John Lowther in 1663, the estates passed into the family of the Earl of Lonsdale, their present noble and munificent possessor.
The parish of Saint Bees being extensive, the church is the Mother Church for a distance of many miles, including the populous town of Whitehaven, and five other chapelries, namely, Ennerdale, Eskdale, Nether Wasdale, Wasdale Head, and Lowswater, together with numerous other townships. Some of these have been considered to have distinct parish churches, but they are in fact nothing more than chapels of ease. There is an order extant of the time of Bishop Bridgman (A.D. 1622), by which these five chapelries are enjoined to contribute to the repair of the Mother Church,* and at the present time yearly payments are made by them respectively.
The old abbey is built of free-stone. The western part or nave, erected in the reign of Henry I. is fitted up as the parish church, the great door of which is ornamented with grotesque heads and chevron mouldings.† In 1705 the church was certified at 12l. per annum by James Lowther of Whitehaven, esq. the impropriator. It is at present a perpetual curacy of small value, held by the Rev. Dr. Ainger.
There was formerly in the body of the church, on the south side, an effigy in wood of Anthony the last Lord Lucy of Egremont, which, if a true portraiture, showed him to be a large bodied man, upwards of six feet high, and proportionably corpulent. This monument was removed to make way for modern improvement some time since. The other monuments now existing are comparatively modern, and not worthy of any particuclar notice.
The eastern part of the abbey was built in the thirteenth century, and had been for many years in ruins, till 1817, when it was fitted up as a college, containing one large hall for the students, and a lecture room, the end of the ancient cross aisle being converted into another. Near the steps leading up to the college, are two mutilated stone figures, to which common report has given the names of Lord and Lady Lucy. This institution or college was commenced under the auspices of the Right Rev. George Henry Law, D.D Lord Bishop of Chester, and intended for the education of those candidates for ordination in the northern diocese, who are termed "LITERATES." With the assistance of the Earl of Lonsdale, the college was fitted up, and the house built for the principal. One of the lecture rooms is likewise used as a library, and contains a very useful collection of divinity works. In this room is a full-length likeness of the principal, executed by Lonsdale, and presented by the students, as a testimonial of their high respect. The students, previous to admission, are expected to be well versed in the Classics, so that the course of study does not exceed two years. In this period the standard divinity works are diligently studied, and such principles inculcated as are likely to form faithful ministers of the Gospel, who, as far as their spheres for exertion will permit, may be able to preserve the Church in its original purity, free from those errors which indistinct notions are apt to engender. The present principal is the Rev. William Ainger, D.D.; lecturer, the Rev. Richard Parkinson, M.A.
A short distance from the church and college is a respectable farm-house standing on part fo the ancient monastic premises, and retaining to this day the name of "The Abbey." In this immediate neighbourhood, separated only by the high road to Whitehaven, is the grammar school, which has been long eminent in the north, and has produced many very learned characters, amongsts whom was Bishop Hall, Master of Trinity College, Dublin. It was founded in
* See Burn's Westmoreland and Cumberland, vol.II. p.47.
† Well engraved by Coney in Dugdale's Monast. iii. 574.
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