Miterdale is a little known corner of the Lake District tucked away between Eskdale and Wasdale. It runs down from Burnmoor Tarn on the shoulder of Scafell, England's highest mountain, into the coastal plain in the parish of Irton. The River Mite reaches the sea at Ravenglass. The lower reaches of the Mite, in the parish of Irton, are separated from the lower reaches of Eskdale and Muncaster by Muncaster fell.
There were seven farms in Miterdale at the end of the sixteenth century - or eight if Low Holme is included. These farms, and their tenants, are known from the Percy Survey of 1578 and the Eskdale 24 Book of 1587.
At the bottom of the valley, where the Mite flows into the more open land of the parish of Irton, is Langrigg Green. Low Holm is on the end of the ridge between Miterdale and Eskdale. Two and a half km up the valley from Langrigg Green is Low Place and then another kilometre further up is the grouping of Bakerstead, Browyeat, Sword House and Miterdale Head (split into two farms).
Miterdale Head, Browyeat and Sword House are now ruins. Bakerstead is a barn now converted into an outdoor pursuit centre.
By the second half of the eighteenth century the valley (excluding Low Holme and Langrigg Green) was consolidated into two properties -
Miterdale Head (1750) and Sword House (1750) under William Coupland
Bakerstead (1771) Browyeat (1750) and Low Place (1750) under Stephen Nicholson
By 18211 all these upper valley properties were 'owned' by (Thomas) Nicholson and were inherited by his son John Nicholson.
See separate pages for
Eskdale Bobbin Mill remains a subject for further research.
There were two further properties in the area - Bang-Garth NY15200070, described as a tenementum prostratum (destroyed holding) in 1570, and Porterthwaite NY14081204 which lies in the parish of Irton4
(Note Holegill common is at the end of the ridge between Wasdale and Miterdale, between Eusthwaite in Wasdale and Low Place in Miterdale. The stream running off to the north is now known as Greathallgill)
"The bounds of Miterdale in Eskdale are given in 1294 as from the place where Hollegil falls into the Irt, ascending to Wassewater on that side of the stream of Lesagh and along Lesagh to Ederlangebeck, thence ascending to le Cance (read Cauce, " causey ") and by the boundaries of the abbot of Fumess to those of John de Hodeleston (Millom lordship). The stream of Lesagh must mean Lingmell beck ; Ederlange beck is Styhead beck, and le Cauce the old road traceable up Grains Gill; thus we get an early sketch of wild Wastwater. "
[This would appear to include the whole of Wasdale Screes and Scafell!]
In lower Wasdale the priory of St. Bees owned
the chapel, as it did the chapels of Eskdale, Ennerdale and
Loweswater. Ranulf son of William Meschines gave the priory
tithes of pigs, hunting and vaccaries, as well as
ordinary tithes, with the manor of Ennerdale ; and his sister, the first Alice de Rumelli, gave free pasture for the priory pigs in these western dales. The chapel of Loweswater and land there were given to St. Bees by Ranulf de Lyndesay before his death in 1158; he also gave land in Lorton to Carlisle priory.
Lake District History: W.G. Collingwood 1925 p76
1 Deserted Farmstead Sites at Miterdale Head,
Eskdale, by Angus J.L. Winchester
(CWAAS 1979 pp150-155)
2 Transcription of the Percy Survey, from "Past Presented" - with acknowledgements to David Bradbury.
3 CWAAS .ART. III. – A Pedigree of the Family of Porter of Bolton, Cumberland. By C. A. PARKER, M.D., F.R.C.S.E. Communicated at Carlisle, April 27th, 1911.
4 Miterdale and Giggle Alley Forests, Cumbria - Archeological Survey Report - Report No 1999-2000/087/AUA 8991 by the Lancaster University Archeological Unit.