There is an old farmhouse in the hamlet of Scarrowmanwick, which was formerly the Ship Inn and is now called the Scarrowmanwick Farm. It is not known how long there has been a building at this site, but there are two references in the TCWAAS to Scarrowmanwick.
"Two interesting gifts in mortmain to Wetheral Priory occur about 1240. One, by John de Hermine, of two bovates of the fee (foedum) of Ravenwick at Kaberch (Caber), which he held of the monks, makes reference to Scalemanock (Scarrowmanwick) and the regia via which led to Carlisle."
"I will pass on to Humphrey Lord Dacre who died in 1485. The inquisition held some eight months after his death describes the manor of Kirkoswald, within which were:- . . . a tenement . . .called Scallermanok (Scarrowmanwick) held by him as of the manor of Stafful, service unknown . . .".
Perriam & Robinson in their book, Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria, add the following information in relation to "the tenement . . . called Scallermanok": "No evidence of an earlier building in the present village. In 1984 Mrs. Metcalf of the main farm pointed to a site to the SW of the farm as a possible site; she had some memory of large stones being ploughed up there when the new barn was built."
On my last visit to Scarrowmanwick, in September, 2002, I had a long talk with the Bell family, the present owners of Scarrowmanwick Farm. We also had a walk around the farm, and reached it by going along a lane, leading from the house, called "Clartey Alley". It was always wet. Robin Bell told us that Scarowmanwick was colder than anywhere else. It got the helm wind. Jack Robley of Demesne, Cumwhitton, used to call it a "two top-coats place". Robin told me that the farmhouse had been listed in the 1960s, and a visit to the Records Office at the Castle produced the following information.
NY 58080 47070 KIRKOSWALD
Farmhouse and barn. Early C18. Coursed red sandstone walls, graduated green slate roof, C19 stone and C20 brick chimney stacks. 2 storeys, 6 bays. Plank door in moulded architrave with pulvinated freeze and segmental pediment. Single pane sash windows in chamfered stone surrounds. Adjoining barn of similar stonework under common roof.
It seems possible then that the Robleys built the present Scarrowmanwick farmhouse, but we have no evidence either way, at the moment. The first Robley to farm there, seems to have been Thomas (c. April 25th, 1706, at St. Marys, Carlisle). His parents, the prosperous John and Ann Robley lived at Woodhouse, Wreay and they rebuilt Woodhouse in 1730. John and Ann sent Thomas' brother, Isaac, to Queen's College, Oxford, and he became minister of St. John's-in-the-Vale, Crosthwaite. Thomas himself married Margaret Hewetson on 19th February, 1734 at Hesket-in-the-Forest
Thomas died in 1765, leaving Scarrowmanwick to his son William. William (c.30th June, 1742 at Kirkoswald), married Joanna Slack (sometimes called Hannah) at Croglin Parish Church, on 9th December, 1765.
Further research may reveal what happened at Scarrowmanwick, in the years between William's departure and the arrival of his son Thomas. Thomas (c. 26 April, 1769 at St. Mary's, Carlisle), married Elizabeth Dixon at Hesket-in-the-Forest on 20th November, 1796.
Their eldest sons, William (c. 1st January, 1798 at Wreay) and John (c. 23rd October 1799 at Castle Sowerby) later emigrated to Canada, and became the ancestors of the Pictou, NS Robleys. The last child to be christened at Castle Sowerby was Thomas (27th February, 1804). The first child to be christened at Croglin was Elizabeth (27th April, 1806). It seems likely then that Thomas and Elizabeth moved to Scarrowmanwick between 1804 and 1806.
Thomas, who was my great-great grandfather, lived to the age of 80. His will, proved in 1849, left everything to his wife during her lifetime. When Elizabeth died, in 1864, Scarrowmanwick passed in equal shares to Joseph (c. 28 November, 1801 at Castle Sowerby), and Isaac (c. 31st March, 1811 at Croglin). Isaac never married. Great grandfather, Joseph, a champion wrestler, and the introducer of the "swinging hype", looked after the alehouse side of the business. His name appears in the Register of Licenses Granted in the Division of Leath Ward, 26th August 1873, as the proprietor of the Ship Inn.
I asked Robin Bell about the Ship Inn, and who could have patronised it in such an isolated place. Robin said there was a limestone quarry on the fells behind Scarrowmanwick. He thought there would have been a hundred people living locally in those days (1800s?). He showed me the remains of their houses. Today there are only 4 houses in the hamlet of Scarrowmanwick, 3 of them farms.
The Inn was called the Ship, because the beams in the ceiling, of what used to be the bar, were made from ships broken up at Silloth. You could tell they originally came from ships because of the unevenness of the wood, and the holes in them. Robin pointed to the beams, and explained that they had been axed.
As well as farming Scarrowmanwick, and running the Ship Inn, Joseph and Isaac seem to have rented the land, belonging to the farm across the road from them, from a man called William Pearson. This is clear from an article by Rev. Canon Thornley called Kirkoswald Field Names.
Joseph had married Jane Craggs on 14th February, 1856, and when he died on 8th June 1874 the administration of his estate passed to his widow. Isaac had already retired to the village of Croglin, leaving Thomas as husbandman in charge of the farming. The 1881 census records 9 people living at Scarrowmanwick: Thomas, the head, 4 of his 5 brothers, Joseph, Isaac, William and John, his mother Jane, sister-in-law Mary Ann (wife of Joseph, and my grandmother), nephew John and niece Jane. When Isaac died in 1893 he left his share of Scarrowmanwick to Thomas. Thomas, and his mother Jane, went bankrupt in the 1890s, shortly after the death of Isaac. Robin Bell attributed the bankruptcy partly to the building of the new byre, which cost around 750 pounds. This was a lot of money in those days.
It was not the end of the Robley connection with Scarrowmanwick. My father, William Isaac Robley, who lived at Midtown, Cumwhitton, bought back the farm which had long been associated with the Robleys, and where his father Joseph had been born, married, and seen the birth of his first children. Robin remembered my father well, although he died in 1954 when he must have been about 10. He used to visit Scarrowmanwick in his old Wolsey car, and later in his Rover. My father,he said, stood at this very place where we were now standing, looking across the fell land and discussing his plans for the farm. One of his most cherished dreams, was to make the new barn into a house.
Scarrowmanwick was not a farm where you could make a lot of money, but the Robleys had a reputation in the district for initiative and hard work. Robley recalled that there was a blockage in a field drain, and when they dug down they found that the drains were 11 feet deep. It was amazing how they got down to that depth on the rocky soil, and all by hand. They freed the blockage and found the drains were still in excellent condition. They flowed as freely as ever.
When my father bought Scarrowmanwick he offered to make some improvements to the house which was in very poor condition. Two things that were needed were a new chimney and a new fireplace. My father discovered that a brick chimney was quarter of the price of a sandstone one. He offered them either a sandstone chimney and no fireplace, or a Wembley fireplace and a brick chimney. They chose to have both, and this accounts for the twentieth century brick chimney which was quite out of character with the original building. Still it was an excellent fire-grate, and although it had been replaced it had gone on to someone else and was still working.Scarrowmanwick was sold again in 1964 by his daughter, Marian, the author of this article. It was bought by Robert Bell, who now farms it in conjunction with his son Robin, and Robin's wife Frances.
The Bell family breed pedigree sheep: Swaledale and Leicester. When the Foot and Mouth outbreak happened, they were told they all had to be destroyed. Their sheep did not have Foot and Mouth, but those on a neighbouring farm did. They lost all their sheep except 10 Leicesters, descendants of a pedigree flock Robin's grandfather had established. He kept 10 back, and the government inspectors came out and tested them and as they were healthy they let them stay. Robin was replacing his sheep, but was not getting the quality of the original flock.
Revised by Marian Robley Foster , January 2003, photographs taken by Marian Robley Foster in September, 2002
Many thanks to Robin, Robert and Frances Bell who contributed so much information to this article.