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Wythop Mill, Wythop Hall, Broom Fell, St Cuthbert's Church, Combria.
[14.3 km] Tue 06 Jun 2023

Lat/Long: 54.652960, -03.275976
OS Grid ref: NY 17685 29412
After a pleasant drive to Wythop Mill I parched in the wide verge below the old School. I walked down the lane passing the private house that used to be the Globe Inn, though there is no sign of its former use. At the bridge I turned right to follow the narrow lane up towards Fisher Wood. There were some allotments of the right by Wythop Beck but no houses. I crossed over Brumstone Bridge and up the steep hill to Eskin. The farm buildings were set up for horses and there were several in the fields as I continued on to Old Scales. I was here last week when I was visiting the site of the old Chapel ruins in Chapel Wood.

Wythop Beck valley.

Wythop Hall.
Today I am continuing to Wythop Hall farm which I’ve not seen before. There are no public footpaths shown on the map but I was pleased to see no Keep Out notice on the open access gate at the end of the adopted road. I walked along the access track to the farm buildings. The actual Wythop Hall building is not obvious from the track and I had to walk round some of the main farm buildings to see it.

Lintel showing 1678.

I saw a woman and her dog and asked about datestones, She pointed out one on the side door of 1678 and another over a barn door of 1855. The farmer came out and asked what I was doing. I explained I was just passing through and having a look. I asked about the annual Aug service in the old chapel ruins and he said they were still doing them.

Wythop barn.

Wythop barn lintel datestone 1855.
I left and followed the track east then south to the ruins of the old Silica mine or quarry. The foundations are mostly concrete and mostly date from the 1930s. The whole brick making operation doesn't seem to have been very successful. At the higher end there is a concrete column about 4m high which looks like it was for a cable way. I followed the track south and through a gate heading for Lord’s Seat. Up ahead I could see another gate on the hillside where there was an old track heading diagonally upwards. I followed it generally in a SW direction trying to avoid the large beds of ferns.

Wythop Silica workings.


Possible cable way.
As I approached the summit ridge the ground was very rough but when I reached the main path between Lord’s Seat and Broom Fell it was flat and easy. I walked across the mostly flat ground to the tall cairn on Broom Fell t3hen the steep descent towards Widow Hause. I met a man walking up as I descended. My original plan was to descend after Graystones but when I reached the felled plantation I decided to descend directly to Wythop Moss as the map shows a track at the base of the mountain.

Broom Fell cairn and stone shelter.

Wythop Moss.
When I got there it was an indistinct path but soon improved as I continued west. The map shows it terminating at the next boundary wall but thankfully it continued towards the next boundary fence where I continued down to the remains of the old reservoir banks. It was even disused at the time of the old Ordnance Survey map in the 1860s. I'm guessing it was originally to collect storage water for a mill downstream. I soon found a green track heading down to the south and followed it through agate to Tom Rudd Beck where I hopped across and took the west track to the road.
Corner of the old reservoir.

Sharp bend in the road.
Turning right I descended to the zigzag road that Wainwright in his ‘North Western fell’ guide book describes as “Is this the sharpest double zigzag on a Lakeland road!”. At Highside Farm I followed the narrow tarmac (but private) road down to St Cuthbert’s Church. I was relieved that it was open and was able to go inside. There was a note about the grave of Ann Sewell who was murdered on 26th March 1860. The note described her grave’s location so I went outside to have a look. I was surprised how large and tall most of the gravestones were. Her gravestone was adjacent to the north wall.

St Cuthbert’s Church

St Cuthbert’s Church.

Gravestone of Ann Sewell:

Grave of Ann Sewell.

To the memory of
Ann Sewell
Whose life was terminated
By the hand of an assassin
While in the discharge of her humble
Duty on the 26th day of March
AD 1860 aged 26 years.

Stay mortal man oh stay and shed a tear
For the untimely death recorded here.
Sad proof alas how quickly sin destroys
The airy fabric of all earthly joys
And while you read so near the hallow'd spot
Reflect how soon the grave may be your lot
And may the solemn thought instruction give
To be prepared for death e'en while you live.
On the 26th March 1860 Ann Sewell was discovered murdered at Beckhouse Farm. On the 6th April George Cass who was born at Eaglesfield and who also worked at Beckhouse Farm was arrested for her murder. He was found guilty at his trial on 2nd August and hanged at Carlisle on 17th August 1860. His guilt has subsequently been questioned. The last public hanging at Carlisle was in 1862, when George was executed in 1860 screens were erected to shield him from public view.
Ann was buried in Embleton churchyard and a headstone paid for by public subscription reads as follows :- Sacred to the memory of Ann Sewell whose life was terminated by the hand of an assassin while in the discharge of her humble duties on the 26th day of March 1860 age 26 years.
Ann Sewell was an orphan, hired at the Cockermouth Martinmas Fair, 1859, to be a house servant at Beckhouse Farm. On 26 March 1860 the farmer and his wife were away to market. Five day labourers at the farm were served their midday meal by Ann, including George Cass from Eaglesfield, who was the last to go back to work. His woman and their illegitimate daughter had come earlier in the day to beg money from him. George slit Ann's throat in an argument, taking her purse containing one sovereign and a half crown. George was tried at the Carlisle assizes, 2 August 1860, and was hanged on 17 August before a large crowd of spectators.

I returned to the road and walked about a mile back to the car.
On the way home I stopped at the Bassenthwaite Lake Railway Station cafe to take a photo of the replica train.

Bassenthwaite Station.

Waiting room cafe.
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