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Cartmel Fell:

A Patchwork History


This book was short-listed for the 2008 Lakeland Book of the Year Award.

About this book:

  • ISBN: 9781904524465 (paperback)

  • Published 2007

  • Price £19.95 + postage

  • 280 pages

  • Illustrated with 57 black and white photographs, drawings and maps



About the Book:

FULL of fascinating details of life through the ages this book is the result of years of careful research. The author has collected an amazing amount of information on each house in the parish. This will be of great interest locally but also has a wider importance for local historians across the north of England.

About the Author:

I have always been interested in archaeology and this led to an interest in local history, though I studied art for five years and taught. I also farmed for twenty years. In the 1960s, the Lambrigg parish chest came into our keeping, until it went to the Kendal Record Office and that re-kindled my interest in local matters and pointed the way to research. I stress that I am NOT a historian, so this is the best I can do.


Jennifer Forsyth has used her vast knowledge of the Cartmel Fell area to produce this very informative and readable book. It is packed with fascinating material on the houses and the people who lived in them over the past few centuries. The book benefits hugely from the inclusion of a large number of delightful drawings and a good series of hand-drawn maps. Dr Jean Turnbull, Lancaster University.

This is a dip and delve book for everyone, whether local folk or fussy historians - so many snippets, so many gems. School and church are outstanding chapters. Jennifer's digging up of the past has probably produced more gold than she realises - it certainly has for me! Mike Davies-Sheil, Industrial Historian

Insight into rural history
Jennifer Forsyth calls her book about Cartmel Fell 'a patchwork history', but do not let this rather self-effacing description fool you into thinking this work has not been diligently researched. It has - and a thoroughly interesting read it makes, too.
Although the communities of Cartmel Fell have their own special histories, books like this often give an insight into the general social, religious and economic influences of the time.
For example, Mrs Forsyth gives a particularly interesting account of how 'parish government' worked in these relatively remote communities, especially how widows and orphans were more sympathetically looked after in their own communities before the much harsher workhouse days of Victorian England.
But the book is probably as much about buildings and holdings as it is an account of human lives and the chapter headings are invariably names of farmsteads, lodges or important houses of the past.
Mrs Forsyth's husband Alan is a founder member of the Cartmel Fell and District Local History Society and the marital connection has proved useful in terms of inspiration and in the practical help he appears to have given, especially in producing illustrations for the book.
Westmorland Gazette, September 2007

In depth study
Jennifer uses the term 'Patchwork History'; it is, in fact, an in depth study of people and property covering the Cartmel Fell area of South Lakeland. The extent of the investigation leading to the preparation of this book can be seen in the Acknowledgements.
The presentation of the material resulting from the study is evident from the division of the inquiry into property and district tracts supplemented by property drawings. At the beginning of the book there is a valuable 1930 Ordnance Survey map identifying the old County Boundary of Westmorland and Lancashire in the Cartmel Fell district. An interesting Appendix appears giving an indication of textile working, possibly a cottage industry, in some of the properties researched. All in all this is an excellent community history of used to local and family historians.
Friends of Cumbria Archives, December 2007.


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To Order:

Sadly this book is now out of print.

Also of interest:

Letters, Papers and Journals of William Pearson








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