Whinfell, Grayrigg, and Selside


Genuki's description of Kendal and out-lying parishes.

Steve Bulman's descriptions of the Barony of Kendal.

Rootsweb Westmorland-L mailing list.

Westmorland-L members interests page.

Kendal Workhouse and Poor Law Union.

Nancy McLaughlin's Kirkby Stephen Parish Registers and Westmorland Will Abstracts.

The Cumberland and Westmorland Online Parish Clerk (OPC) project

Try the LostCousins site.



Grayrigg and Selside are two parishes lying to the north-west of Kendal, Westmorland, while Whinfell is a small "township" that overlaps parts of both parishes.

The enumerator for the 1861 census of Whinfell, John HAYTON, described Whinfell as follows:

"The Township of Whinfell comprises about 1912 acres of arable meadow and pastureland, exclusive of nearly the same extent of enclosed common. The lowlands are generally very fertile and abound with luxuriant crops. The higher or more northern part lies plain to the violence of the weather, & is consequently less productive. It is distant between 4 and 5 miles from Kendal, is pleasantly situated in a picturesque part of the County, between the Townships of Grayrigg & Selside, & forms part of the Chapelry of Grayrigg. The principal site of attraction is "Whinfell Beacon" whose elevation is 1500 feet above low water mark. To it, tourists and pleasure seekers of all denominations, during the summer months frequently repair, & the view to be gained from its summit, of the surrounding landscape below, on a clear day, is truly delightful. It is bounded on the north by Borrow Beck, which flows through the romantic vale of Borrowdale, on the west and south-southeast by Patton Beck, & on the east by Thursgill, Sweet Bridge, & Whinhow Beck. Within its boundaries will be found specified in the colums of this book, the names of the Farm Houses and Cottages therein situated."

I have traced my ROBINSON line back to at least Henry ROBINSON, who was probably born in Whinfell about 1783, and if my "brickwall" theory (below) is correct, to an Edmund ROBINSON of Selside, who was probably born about 1710-1720.

I have started to compile a list of Whinfell residents based on the censuses from 1841 to 1901, and other sources, together with details of the population of Grayrigg, Selside, and Whinfell. Contributions of additional information would be welcome.

Whinfell census database, 1841 to 1901

Extracts of wills: John THOMPSON (died 1799) and his son John THOMPSON (died 1820)

My "Brickwall"
My brickwall is as follows: although I know from the 1851 census that Henry was born in Whinfell (and subsequently died there in 1858), I have been unable to find a baptism record for him, and thereby positively identify his parents. However, there are baptism records for several ROBINSON families at Grayrigg and Selside around that time, so providing Whinfell was his birthplace, it is reasonable to assume that Henry came from one of these families. The puzzle and question is, which one?

My best guess at the time of writing this is that his parents were an Edmund and Jane (nee LOWIS) ROBINSON

Chapel Baptism Date Name Father Mother Surname Residence
Grayrigg 19 Feb 1775 Mary Edmund Jane Robinson Whinfell
Selside 23 May 1777 Ann Edmund Jane Robinson Hollowgate, Fawcett Forest
Selside 20 Jun 1779 John Edmund Jane Robinson Hollowgate, Fawcett Forest
Selside 17 Dec 1781 Hannah Edmund Jane Robinson Hollowgate, Fawcett Forest
1783? Henry?
Selside 22 Aug 1784 James Edmund Jane Robinson Mart Close, Fawcett Forest
Selside 29 Jun 1787 Edmund Edmund Jane Robinson Eshted, Whinfell
Selside 20 Apr 1792 Jane Edmund Jane Robinson Eshtod


To contact me please email:  jeremyb at pcug.org.au

© Jeremy Bishop