History of the settlement of Tallentire
Tallentire; medieval Tallentire; medieval Bridekirk; archeology Tallentire

Ancient Origins of Tallentire

Evidence for the beginnings of the village of Tallentire arises from just after the Norman Conquest. There are references to Waldeof, a lord of Allerdale, gaining ownership of Tallentire Manor and passing it to Odard son of Lyulph, the descendants of who carried the local name of Tallentire for a long period (Bulmer 1883). Activity in Tallentire is further evidenced during the centuries following the establishment of Norman control over Carlisle and its environs; the first recorded reference to the village coming from the early 1200’s in relation to farming methods employed at that time, meaning that the village is firmly established at that point. (North Pennines Archaeology)

The name Tallentire, first documented in 1200’s, probably means ‘edge of the land’ (Ekwall 1947). Clues to the general pattern of medieval settlement in Cumbria can be gleaned from place-name evidence, although some names were still not fossilised until the twelfth century (Newman 2004). Names ending in –tir (such as Tallentire) are British in origin, and are possibly more common in Cumbria, Wales and Cornwall when compared to southern England. Tallentire is a name thought to be given by people who spoke a Celtic language akin to Welsh, Cornish, Breton and Pictish (Todd 2005). It may have been a language spoken in northwest England and southwest Scotland, with just enough that distinguishes it from Welsh to deserve a separate title, Cumbric. Place-names with Cumbric elements occur all over northern Cumbria and they tend to cluster. It has been ventured that Cumbric as a language itself ‘can scarcely have outlasted the eleventh or the early twelfth century at the latest’ (ibid). This could help to place a date for the emergence of Tallentire village, meaning that it was already established as a place name by the 1200’s. 3.2.17 The present layout of the village is typical of medieval planned and nucleated settlements in Cumbria. Villages like Tallentire show a rectangular plan sometimes around a green but often apparently based around a narrow street (Roberts 1993). Two possibilities have been advanced for their distinctive morphology; the first is that they developed along the outgang or narrow fan of land leading from an existing farmstead to the unenclosed common, the second that they were new and deliberate creations, and represent evidence for planning (ibid). These villages have been tentatively dated to the early post-Conquest period, particularly from the twelfth century onwards in Cumbria (ibid), relating to the establishment of Norman settlements. It has also been suggested that the settlements may have been deliberate plantations by landlords as a result of the widespread destruction caused by the 'Harrying of the North' by William the Conqueror in 1069-71, and were intended to attract free tenants to the area (Taylor 1983); however, the main focus of the devastation is thought to have occurred predominantly to the south and east, in Yorkshire, Lancashire and Co. Durham (Muir 1989), and it is debatable to what extent Cumbria was affected.

The village is arranged along a narrow street projecting north-east from Tallentire Hall, with two ‘back lanes’ running parallel to the main street, one to the north and one to the south, which allow access to the tofts beyond. It is possible that the main east-west road through Tallentire may have medieval origins, although modern detached houses now line this street. Evidence for this comes in the form of possible medieval ridge and furrow fields immediately to the northeast of Middle Farm, (Site 7). Other

Post Medieval and Modern Cumbria experienced its agricultural revolution later than most regions, but even so there was a noticeable and notable quickening in the pace of land and stock improvement with the late 18th century and above all in the decades between 1800-1840 when the pioneers like Howard of Corby and Curwen of Workington were innovating so extensively. Enclosure was required before most improvements could be put into effect, and Tallentire was covered by an enclosure act in 1838. A report into agriculture in the north of England in the 1790’s showed the county to be backwards: people took a long time in generally improving land by manuring, introducing new root and clover crops, getting better strains of livestock and above all investing in land drainage (Burgess 1989). Other post medieval features include several lime-kilns, with associated small quarries. The lime kilns were constructed to make use of the local limestone beds, and the low number points to local production of lime as fertiliser for the fields. Kilns were usually placed adjacent to paths for ease of transportation both of the raw material in and the quicklime, out (Williams 1989). An increase in farm buildings within the village proper is also apparent for this period. From the eighteenth century onwards, Tallentire does not become any more prolific. Through a combination of documentary and cartographic evidence, the village continues as a small working settlement with its population changing relatively little. In 1801, the population of Tallentire was 182. This figure had increased by 1811 to 213 and in 1821 it was 244, but had decreased by 1881 to 217 (Parson and White, 1829). Sites that are listed in the HER for Cumbria seem to concur that the area around Tallentire was a quiet, industrious one. No wealth was brought upon the village through mineral extraction, although, a final search for copper around the village was made in approximately 1829 despite the fact that ‘former trails have been unsuccessful’ (ibid). Tallentire kept its Hall, and after the descendants of Odard held ownership, it transferred into the possession of the Fletchers of Cockermouth. From there it was carried by marriage into the Partis family. It was subsequently purchased by a Henry Hopper before being sold to William Browne (Bulmer, 1883). William Browne, esq. and his son of the same name appeared to have been generous benefactors to the village, constructing a school in 1863 and continuing to support it (ibid). Tallentire Hall once boasted a Pele Tower, although it is no longer standing as the present buildings were erected in 1863.

This account is taken from work by North Pennines Archaeology Ltd

The full documentation is to be found at https://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archiveDS/archiveDownload?t=arch-704-1/dissemination/pdf/northpen3-22518_1.pdf