A LONG LIFE.- May-day was welcomed with rather more than ordinary rejoicing in the little fell-side hamlet of Haresceugh; and no wonder, seeing it was the 96th anniversary of the birthday of the widely-known and highly-respected tenant of the Haresceugh Castle Farm, Mr I Blenkinship.
This hale old gentleman was born on May 1st, 1794, at the village of Ousby, beneath the shadow of Crossfell, where the fierce helm wind blows in all its fury. At the age of six he removed with his parents to Skirwith, where he dwelt until his marriage with Mary Workman, of Murton, Westmorland, in 1820.
The newly-married couple proceeded first of all to Greengill Farm, where they dwelt for eleven years, after which they moved to Knock, where they spent twelve years. On leaving Knock in 1842 they came to Haresceugh Castle Farm, which has been farmed by Mr Blenkinship ever since - a period of 48 years.
Mrs Blenkinship died in 1863. She left issue seven sons and five daughters, seven of whom are now living. The old gentleman has at present 34 grand-children and 31 great-grand-children. Many of his relations and neighbours partook of tea with him on Thursday, and he seemed to enjoy their society immensely.
Mr Blenkinship still moves about, and may often be seen taking short walks to his own fields, or driving cattle to the water. His memory is unimpaired, and he can tell with a touch of pride what a thrill ran through England at the news of Trafalgar and Waterloo.
He can also tell a good story or two about railways. Here is one:- It seems that he and one or two neighbours, shortly before the construction of the railway over Shap Fell, had been in the habit of purchasing a weekly paper, then a much dearer commodity then it is now. One week the paper contained an account of the railway, and the editor casually mentioned that it was intended to drive the waggons over the fell without horses. One of the party broke into a loud laugh, and said, "Ah tell thee what, Isaac, that fellow mun be a feul, an' if he hesen't new broken owt of a lunatic sylem they'll sun put him into yen."
He alone of them all has lived to see the final triumph of railways and machinery, but he says, "It's a changed world, bairns! It's a changed world."
Carlisle Patriot. Friday, 9 May, 1890.
DEATH OF MR. I. BLENKINSHIP. - It will be seen from our obituary column that at the patriarchal age of 97, MR. ISAAC BLENKINSHIP, Haresceugh Castle, has passed away, the cause of death being sheer old age. For 48 years he farmed under the Greenwich Hospital Trustees, and was formerly a well-known frequenter of Penrith and Alston markets. For several years past, increasing infirmities kept him at home, though he was going about two days before he died.
THE WESTMORLAND GAZETTE, JUNE 6, 1891 / NEWS ITEMS
Relationship to Marian Robley
Isaac Blenkinship (1794 - 1891)
is your 2nd great grandfather
Jane Blenkinship (1827 - 1916)
Daughter of Isaac
Mary Ann Lowis (1857 - 1928)
Daughter of Jane
William Isaac Robley (1892 - 1954)
Son of Mary Ann
Marian Robley (1932 - )
Daughter of William Isaac
There are still Blenkinsop's living at Haresceugh Castle. I visited it a year or two ago and encountered a very old man. He said his name was John Robert Blenkinsop, and that he spent his time mole catching and looking after Renwick churchyard. He knew the Blenkinsops had married into the Robley family, and was very friendly and willing to talk about himself.
He said his grandfather was Robert Blenkinsop. This must have been Isaac's youngest son. I know that Joseph and Robert farmed at Haresceugh Castle because they are listed in the 1901 directory for Cumbria.
John Robert had 1 brother, Joseph William, and a sister, Mrs. Dixon. I never did find out her christian name. John Robert lived in a cottage across the road from the old farmhouse, and my understanding is that Mrs. Dixon's descendants are now farming at Haresceugh Castle.
John Robert said that Mrs. Dixon was very interested in family history, and had many old documents at her house. I visited Mrs. Dixon and she confirmed that she had a great interest in the Blenkinsops. She said though that all the documents were in John Robert's cottage. He was very forgetful now and had probably forgotten he had them or where he had put them. I didn't get to see any of them.
John Robert said his father was John Blenkinsop and his father had a brother called Isaac and 3 sisters, Jane (married name Little), Grace and Ada.
I think this gravestone from Renwick Churchyard must be his parents:
Loving Memory of
Ada Catherine Blenkinsop
of Haresceugh Castle
who died 7 March 1964
aged 72 years
Also her husband
who died 24 July 1973
aged 84 years
There is a second gravestone alongside it which reads:
Loving Memory of
Joseph William Blenkinsop
died 8th May 1990
aged 75 years.
This is definitely John Robert's brother.
The last time I saw John Robert was the year of the foot & mouth outbreak. I remember I had to stay in the car and talk to him through the window because I was afraid of speading the disease. He was very frail. He may be dead now.