Some Garsdale Incumbents


The present church of St John the Baptist was built in 1861 to the east of the site of an ancient chapel . Records show that certain lands in Garsdale were conveyed to St Agatha’s Abbey at Easby near Richmond in the thirteenth century. In return, the Abbey provided a chaplain for Garsdale together with “all things necessary for the due discharge of his office”.  (1)    The benefactors listed in old documents include Ralph Fitz-Alan of Garsdale who endowed a chantry and Thomas de Staveley who gave permission for lands between Thursgill and Roger Pot to be enclosed for cultivation by monks. (2)  With the dissolution of the monasteries, the manor or lordship of Garsdale became Crown property.  (3)

The chapel was a daughter-church of Dent without parochial privileges until 1562 when it won the right to hold baptisms and burial services.  Until then, Garsdale was required to pay a fixed sum to the minister and clerk of Dent Church.  In 1687 the ecclesiastical payments ceased but Garsdale still contributed a quarter of the civil rates to Dent until well into the nineteenth century. (4)

Little is known of the building eventually demolished in 1861.  A local historian, the Revd W Thompson, writing in 1892, recalled the old chapel as “a long low building, dimly lighted and containing a heterogeneous assemblage of high-backed pews”.  (5)  In 1799, William Wordsworth wrote to Coleridge describing a walk with his sister Dorothy through Garsdale,  we rested in a tempting inn, close by a lowly house of prayer in a charming little valley....”.  (6)

Pre-Reformation incumbents were appointed from the canons of St Agatha’s Abbey.  (7)  Thereafter they were Crown appointees.  The following information regarding the identity and contribution of some Garsdale incumbents has been collated from a variety of sources acknowledged in the References.


At the time of the Dissolution (circa 1540), the Abbey was paying to William Coke, Chaplain of Fitz Alan’s foundation, the annual stipend of £4 13s 4d.  (8)


By 1577, and under a different dispensation, the “clerk and minister at Garsdale” was signing the name James Smathwat on an inventory he wrote for Miles Winn of Grisedale who asked to be buried at St John the Baptist Church.  (9)

The Chaplain’s salary , which had been augmented by £5, the gift of a certain Lady Bowes, continued to be paid by the Crown until 1615 when it lapsed.  The people of Garsdale complained to the Chancellor of the Exchequer pleading poverty, whereupon the salary was duly reinstated.  (10)


The Revd Richard Jackson arrived in Sedbergh in 1648 to become the Master of Sedbergh School.  He was appointed by the newly elected Master and Senior Fellows of St John’s College, Cambridge, whose predecessors had been ejected for loyalty to Charles 1, this being the time of the Commonwealth. The Revd Richard Jackson was also appointed to the curacy of Garsdale.  In 1653 he was charged with neglecting the school and three years later, in March 1656, he was ejected as Master.  A petition from Garsdale in Mr Jackson’s favour stated that he had served there for about seven years and had gained a reputation as a very able Minister and preacher of the Gospel”.  Another petition from Garsdale, however had spoken of him as “somewhat distempered with drink” on a certain day and as “leaving his cure for at least three months together”. (11)


The Revd Peter Walkden was ordained on 26th October 1709. Evidence of his connection with Garsdale Church is from the record he kept of children he baptised at the succession of churches of which he was Pastor through 60 years. The first eight children to be listed were baptised at Garsdale between October 1709 and October 1710, including William Haygarth, father of the renowned Dr John Haygarth.  Mr Walkden ministered in various Lancashire parishes between 1711 and 1746 and thereafter in Stockport until 1768.  (12)


The Revd James Rudd was signing the registers as minister from 1735 to 1738.  (13)


During the period 1740-45, the Revd Charles Udal served both as minister and schoolmaster of Garsdale. Money and land had been given by Thomas Dawson in 1634 to build a priest-house “known to have been occupied in past-times by the curate of Garsdale who taught school downstairs and dwelt aloft.” (14) The deed stipulated that income from the land be used to keep the property in repair and pay the Master of the school, “on condition that some 4, 6 or 8 poor children are taught free.” (15)   Although known as Garsdale Free School, this indicates that fees were charged for some pupils.

The building still stands by Kirkbridge.  It is possible that here Mr Udal gained his reputation as a severe disciplinarian. (16) His pupils included the Dawson brothers from Raygill, the elder remaining long enough to gain sufficient education to become an exciseman.  The younger brother John stayed but a short time, returning to work on the farm whilst applying himself to the study of mathematics and, eventually, gaining national fame.


Parish registers between 1753 and 63 were signed in a bold hand by the Revd William Todhunter. (17)  

His gravestone bears the following inscription incised on a copper plate:











The Vicar of Sedbergh’s 1774 report to the Bishop of Chester includes the statement that the Revd Richard Nelson was appointed by the Lord chancellor to the curacy of Garsdale on 1st October 1763. At that time Garsdale was, with Dent, a licensed chapelry within the Parish of Sedbergh. (18) The name Nelson was common in Garsdale from the turn of the sixteenth century until comparatively recently, prompting speculation that Mr Nelson was a local man. (19)   He died on 27th August 1802, aged 63 years.  There is no record of a grave in Garsdale churchyard.  There is however, a headstone marking the grave of some members of his family including a son Robert who died 29th August 1789, aged 19 years, and a grandson, Richard Frobesher who died 12th September 1800.  (20)

The entry of Mr Nelson’s death in the Garsdale burials register is followed by that for Joseph Shaw who died on 19th September 1802, aged 93 years, having served as parish clerk from 1735 to 1795.  Almost every marriage in the chapel during that sixty years was witnessed by Joseph Shaw. (21)



The Revd Thomas Blades was appointed to the living in 1805.  A memorial tablet taken from the old chapel and attached to the north wall within the present church bears the following inscription:



















The first name on the tablet is that of his elder brother, John Blades. A substantial Garsdale farmstead is still known by the name Blades’s. Other Blades family members are buried in the churchyard. (22)


A story is recounted of the Duke of Cambridge, son of George III, staying at Dandragarth for the shooting on Garsdale moors.  The clergyman in the party “happened to be a crack shot and a good whist player, and the duke found him a congenial spirit”. (23)   Could this have been the Revd Thomas Blades?  He certainly scored highly when crow-shooting with a group of neighbours, according to an entry in James Haygarth’s diary for 1826. (24)

Dandra Garth




Entries in this diary (1824-30) register James’s preoccupation with the weather, pulling neighbours’ teeth and observing bird-life around Badgerdub, his home.  No light is thrown on Mr Blades’s ministry or of his involvement with the school.  Another document from the same source is a draft letter written in 1827 by James Haygarth to his uncle, Dr John Haygarth, concerning the conduct of the Sunday School, financed by Dr Haygarth and held in his birth-place, Swarthgill.  James supplies information about the curriculum, mainly reading, writing and spelling; possibly some arithmetic.  Pupils were graded on their reading from “The Testament” and the Anglican Prayer Book.  The number of scholars attending is given as 47 or more. (25)


  The Sunday School Movement     which gained momentum in the late eighteenth century aimed at raising the

general education of the bulk of the working population, whose children could not be spared for full-time

schooling, nor be able to pay the “school pence”.  Non-conformist denominations founded Sunday Schools

as well as the established church.  Dr Haygarth’s foundation obviously had an Anglican bias but whether

the incumbent played any part in its direction is not mentioned.


Farming in Garsdale during the incumbency of the Revd Thomas Blades would be affected

by the ongoing enclosure of common land, (though the enclosure of higher land came much later

in 1871) which led to larger but fewer farms, and by improvements in the Turnpike road which

increased marketing opportunities for the more prosperous farmers.  As elsewhere, the plight of

the poor intensified.  But this was an era of heightened social awareness, culminating in the

legislation of the 1830s and reforms affecting the franchise, Poor Law administration, employment

of children and elementary education.  Grants, albeit small, were made to the National Society, an

Anglican organisation with the object of founding the so-called National Schools which, as in Garsdale,

came within the cure of the incumbent. (26)


Garsdale National School was founded in 1841, by which date the Revd Henry Thompson had succeeded to the curacy.  A memorial tablet in the chancel records his period of service: the longest for which there are authenticated records.




FROM 1838 TO 1883

HE DIED AUGUST 29th 1883,



WHO DIED AUGUST 20th 1848,




WHO DIED MARCH 25th 1882.


The Old Vicarage: East Paradise

Mr Thompson lived at East Paradise which was then the vicarage. 

The house and estate had been given to the Church in 1624 by Isabel Garthwaite.  (27)  


In 1839 the Governors of Queen Anne’s Bounty allocated money for the

addition of  “a sitting room or rooms” to the old house. (28)          







drawn from a  postcard date-stamped 1907

Parish magazines provide a valuable commentary on life in the dale during this period. In January 1888, Mr Allton was appealing for choir members; by June he was congratulating the church choir on their first concert in the National School.  Such concerts became a regular feature of parish life. “The Vicar explained that the object of these concerts was to raise funds for the repair of the school etc.”  (February 1889)  Fund-raising became a priority later that year when extensive losses were suffered throughout Garsdale and Grisedale resulting from a terrible flood.  A relief fund was set up to alleviate distress and to compensate those most affected. The vicar acted as secretary to the committee and used the parish magazine to further the appeal.

The damage and poverty caused in August 1889 by the flood would divert public attention from a project which had been launched in February of that year, the building of a new vicarage.  East Paradise was judged to be inconveniently remote for the proper performance by a vicar of his duties in both church and school.  Accordingly Mr Allton, with support from the Bishops of Ripon and of Penrith, launched an appeal for the necessary funds. Progress reported in parish magazines, was slow initially, but in December 1891, the Vicar was able to announce that Mrs Batty had presented a site for the new vicarage and that the fund stood close to £900. Building contracts were let in May 1892 by the Architect and Surveyor of Kendal.  A tale has been passed down concerning the personal interest taken by the Vicar in the construction, insisting that copper nails be used to secure roofing slates.  Present occupants confirm that the roof continues to withstand Garsdale weather.

The school continued to engage the attention of the incumbent and churchwardens who served as school managers.  Theirs was the onerous task of deploying the income of the charity for school and house maintenance and payment of the master’s salary.  Following Mr Edmondson’s resignation, difficulties were experienced in attracting and retaining for the meagre salary on offer, candidates of the calibre to achieve, single-handedly, the educational standards required by the inspectorate.  The Manager’s Minutes Book (38) records that, in 1886, they debated setting a voluntary rate or even converting to a Board school.  Instead they decided to delay repairs to the School House and recommend that the school master had better get lodgings for the present.” Reports by Government and Diocesan Inspectors were published in the parish magazines for all to read.  Prompted by Filvil’s criticism in December 1888 of  “... a dirty school.” , the School House was let to a tenant who would take charge of the school cleaning.  Lack of a house was a further disincentive for a master to remain in the post and, by 1891, applicants were again being sought.  An inspector’s recommended solution to appoint “... a governess and an unqualified assistant” was supported by Mr Allton but rejected by a manager who considered a woman to be “not much use amongst a lot of boys.”  A master was duly appointed and, in 1892, HM Inspector’s report stated “Under the new teacher, the attainments of the children have improved....”.  The Managers praised Mr Topliss and announced “a much better grant than we have ever had before.”  The good opinion of the Inspectorate was not sustained.  In 1893 the need for a second teacher for the younger children was stressed, and the building was, in effect, condemned as being beyond repair.  The site was criticised with mention of the 1889 catastrophic flood which devastated Garsdale and “imperilled the lives of the children” whilst within the school.  The Managers successfully contested this judgement and the school gained approval “on condition that the existing premises be put into proper repair....”  This involved a new elevated roof, additional windows and a boarded floor.  (39)

Mr Allton continued mindful for the fabric of the church and yard, meeting the cost of a flagged walk from the gate to the porch door in Dec 1891.  In spite of the ongoing maintenance which he was careful to put in hand, the church building continued to present serious problems.  A surveyor’s report of 1896 blamed inferior construction and unsuitable building material for the serious depredations due to water penetration, particularly through the west wall.  (40)  Drastic measures were urged and, by 1900, the forty-year old structure had been subjected to a £1,000 restoration.  Although priority was given to making good the structure, opportunity was taken to redesign the interior, notably the chancel and sanctuary where the reading desk and choir stalls were repositioned, the floor tiled and both a rood screen and a reredos erected.

Significant benefactions were made to Garsdale Church at this time. The plain glass east window was replaced by a fine example of stained glass by C E Kempe, depicting St John the Baptist flanked by St Thomas and St James.  (See Appendix A)  This was given in 1896 in memory of Thomas James Batty, son of Dr and Mrs Bryan Batty, by his widow Mrs Beatrice Batty.  The font is another memorial to Thomas James Batty given in 1898 by his widow who proved over many years to be one of the parish’s foremost benefactors.  A new pulpit, matching the font in design and materials, and replacing a simpler wooden structure, was presented in 1898 in memory of John Haygarth MD FRS, who was born in Garsdale, 1740, and died at Bath, 1827, the gift of his granddaughter.

By long tradition, the incumbent and church wardens acted as trustees for the various Garsdale charities.  The parish magazines reported the annual distributions of Doles money to “the poor of Garsdale” (April 1890) or to “the cottage holders of the dale” (March 1892). Social welfare, however, was shared with the parish Guardians, a relic of the Poor Law, elected by the ratepayers.  In 1892 the parish surveyor raised the need for additional burial ground.  The vicar asked the assembled ratepayers for a decision between a separate cemetery or an addition to the churchyard.  The latter was chosen and the Guardians were commissioned to purchase land extending the churchyard to the north and east and to “settle the whole matter for the ratepayers at the smallest outlay”.  (May 1892)

The Parish Magazines for Sedbergh and District were discontinued at the close of 1893, possibly for financial reasons.  Copies to hand provide more than a record of major undertakings involving the incumbent and parishioners of Garsdale.  They depict social life, with accounts of concerts and celebrations usually in the school, and with recognition of generous hospitality and voluntary service.  Traditions were forming of which echoes remain a century later.  Our church and chapels may not be filled to overflowing for Harvest Festival services but they remain important events in the Garsdale calendar.

The Revd D T Allton resigned the living in 1906 and went to live in Caton, Lancaster. He was buried in Garsdale churchyard, close to the porch door.  A memorial tablet within the church records the parishioner’s tribute to him.











The Revd Charles Bernard Graham was appointed vicar of Garsdale in 1906.  Following ordination as deacon in 1884 and priest in 1885, he served in a number of Midlands parishes, in the Dioceses of Gloucester, Leicester and Peterborough.  (41) Following completion of the railway, the population of Garsdale had declined appreciably and, by the turn of the century, stabilised at around 400.  Life in Garsdale was influenced by the increased mobility afforded by the railway.  Stock breeders were able to reach distant markets notably in Scotland and cattle docks occupied much of the station yard.  (42)    At the same time, it eliminated a source of income for the landless; that of coal-mining, a local industry since the 17th century.  Coal of a more uniform quality was brought instead from South Yorkshire pits to Garsdale station. (43) One response to straitened circumstances was migration to cities, accessible by rail.  Many Garsdale families moved to Liverpool and set up as cow-keepers, supplying fresh milk daily to the congested dwellings, usually with the hope of returning to the dales when fortunes improved.  (44)

When Mr Graham arrived in Garsdale, he would find two social centres; one focus being the Church and National School, the other the Station where residents adapted the space beneath the water tank as a recreation room which became known as the Tank House.(45) Garsdale Head children were deterred by distance (four miles) from attending the National School. Instead they walked two miles to Lunds School in the neighbouring parish of Hardraw or travelled by train to Hawes.(46)  Methodists worshipped at the nearby Mount Zion (Hawes Junction) Chapel.  The value of the Sunday Service in the Station waiting Room for Anglican residents must have been obvious to the new vicar.

Mr Graham followed Mr Allton’s practice of active participation in the affairs of the National School, chairing meetings of managers and, as correspondent, compiling valuable records in the minute books.  (47)   Appointing teaching staff, deliberating on their achievements, and determining their emoluments were frequent matters on the agenda. Schoolmaster Gill, appointed in 1903, remained through most of Mr Graham’s incumbency.  In 1908, he was joined by an assistant teacher for the primary and first grade classes, for whom a woman was deemed appropriate.  The Inspectorate’s suggestion that the single master be replaced by “a governess” for the seniors and a female assistant for the younger children proved to be the solution when Mr Gill’s post became vacant in 1914.  By 1915, these posts were held by the Misses Earnshaw: Elsie, the Head Teacher, and Lucy the uncertificated Assistant.  The following year, the managers were reporting that Lucy’s conduct, efficiency and progress were good.

School maintenance also featured.  In 1909, the managers agreed to an inspector’s suggestion that the yard should be paved but dismissed the recommendation for artificial lighting as unnecessary.  In January 1910, a report on the temperature in the school was received more sympathetically.  Fires were allowed to be lighted one hour earlier.

Two very serious railway accidents occurred locally during Mr Graham’s incumbency.  In 1910, twelve people died in a collision to the north of Hawes Junction, and, in 1913, a collision at Aisgill caused sixteen fatalities. (48)  Mr Graham’s concern would extend to the bereaved and also to those judged to have been culpable.  That he was greatly moved by such tragedy is shown in his writings.

 A volume of poems published in 1914 includes one, Aisgill Moor, which reflects upon that disaster. (49)  His parishioners were soon to be caught up in the national tragedy of World War I.  Of Garsdale’s estimated 390 inhabitants 31 were enlisted and at least seven of these lost their lives.

Mr Graham’s own death occurred in 1916.  His grave, in Garsdale Churchyard, bears the following inscription:







APRIL 28th 1916 AGED 57 YEARS

Peace Perfect Peace


He was survived by his widow, Mrs Maud May Graham, who continued living in Garsdale at least until 1921.


Vicarage and school

The Revd Herbert William Sherwin was appointed Vicar of Garsdale in 1916.

Following ordination at Liverpool in 1908 and 1909, he had served as curate in the northern industrial cities of Liverpool, Sheffield and Leeds.  Mr Sherwin was a younger appointee than his recent predecessors. In 1919, a daughter was born to him and Mrs Sherwin. (50)                        

 Joan Elizabeth was the first and, to date, the only child to be born in Garsdale’s new vicarage, known later as The Firs.  It fell to Mr Sherwin to support his parishioners through the final stages of the First World War and to celebrate with them the victorious outcome.


At a public meeting called by Mr G Kayley, clerk to the parish council, a date, 28th August 1919, was fixed for Garsdale to hold its Peace Celebrations.  A committee was formed to organise the event and Mr Sherwin agreed to act as secretary.  The minutes book (51) which he meticulously compiled provides a fascinating account of the committee’s deliberations and of the event itself.  The day’s programme followed that for the 1911 event marking the Coronation: an afternoon of children’s sports and tea, followed by an evening of field games and supper for adults.  The decision to end with dancing was taken on a majority vote.  Contingency plans in case of rain had to be invoked; children were provided with tea in the school and entertained with a concert.  Fortunately the next day proved fine and the full programme was implemented. 

Dancing continued into the early hours. On the Sunday following three United Services were held; Low Smithy 1:30 pm, Church 3:00 pm and Street Chapel 7:00 pm

Collections taken to meet costs proved more than adequate and in October 1919 another committee was set up to decide how the £9 surplus should be spent.  Again, Mr Sherwin served as secretary.  Although united in wishing to honour those from the dale who had given their lives in the War,  a debate ensued regarding the manner.  The majority voted for the erection of a memorial.  The favoured design was for a substantial stone seat set against a roadside wall and surmounted by an inscribed stone plaque.  The preferred site was against the Vicarage garden wall, in full view when approached from the Garsdale Hall corner.  Mr Sherwin continued to minute meetings throughout 1920.  Invitations to submit tenders had elicited few responses and those received were for amounts considered above that which could be raised by public subscriptions.  By the spring of 1921 frustration was evident. Design modifications were considered but not resolved and the scheme was shelved.

In 1918, the post of headteacher was once again vacant. The war had changed attitudes to the employment of women and the managers agreed without question to advertise for a headmistress.  Miss Butler, who accepted appointment, was to remain in the post until 1930, on a salary which was still set by the managers and related to reports by the Inspectorate . Mr Sherwin was concerned to increase the educational opportunities for Garsdale’s school children and, with Miss Butler, put to the managers a scheme to utilise the School House as extra accommodation to provide a reading room and a recreational area for games such as chess and draughts. (52)

Low House In July 1919 the trustees of the Garsdale Charities, the Revd H. W. Sherwin, Mr G. Dinsdale and
Mr T. Mason, met to appoint a foundation manager of the school in place of the late Mr R. Inman of Low House. His daughter, Miss Elizabeth Inman’s acceptance of the office was in the tradition of faithful service to the parish rendered by her family.  As a relatively young family man, Mr Sherwin would doubtless be invited to consider opportunities to extend his experience in the Church’s ministry.  In 1923, he resigned the living of St John the Baptist Garsdale and moved to the parish of Holy Trinity Bingley.



Low House.


The Revd Frederick George Badrick studied at Victoria University Manchester before ordination in Manchester Cathedral in 1906 and 1907.  He served as curate in a number of Yorkshire parishes including, from 1921 to 1923, Holy Trinity Bingley, the parish to which Mr Sherwin had transferred.  It is possible to speculate that the new vicar gave a positive account of his previous parish for, before the year was out , Mr Badrick was appointed Vicar of Garsdale.  For nearly thirty years, he, with his wife, lived and worked in Garsdale, knowing and being known by virtually every resident.  He lives on in the memories of survivors from those years.  Anecdotes are exchanged which reveal a singular character; abrupt sometimes, humorous often, caring always.

       In addition to conducting Sunday services, Mr Badrick made a practice of entering the Church each morning to read Mattins.  He also taught regularly in the School.  Practical tasks undertaken included lighting and stoking the coke stove for winter services, filling andpriming the oil lamps and tolling the bells.  He actively promoted the lending library and the ‘Penny Bank’ which operated in the school on Monday evenings and for which, in winter, he would keep the stove burning and the candles alight.

Services continued to be held at the Junction on Sunday evenings.  The Prayer Book liturgy was followed with music from a harmonium carried across to the waiting room from one of the houses.

This was at a time when Garsdale enjoyed the exclusive support of a number of office holders; a police constable, a stationmaster, a postmaster, a head teacher and a vicar for whom the parish was his sole cure.

Management of the National School was still a local concern.  Entries in the Minute Book (53) for 1925 include an excellent report from H M Inspector and a cordial recommendation from the managers for an increase in the headmistress’s salary.  In June 1931, the managers “gave consent to the reorganisation scheme (the Hadow Report) whereby Garsdale National School will become a primary school for children up to eleven.”  This foreshadowed the future.  Meanwhile many of Garsdale’s children completed their education in the local school.

The School House had remained unoccupied for several years before being made habitable and let to the family who were wishing to retire from Garsdale Hall.  For some forty years they had farmed the School land, rent from which contributed to the Charitable Trust’s income.  When, in 1934, the School House once again fell vacant, Mr Badrick was pleased that it provided a ‘First home’ for a young couple he had recently married.  For a short time in the 1950s and again in the early 1960s, it once again became the home of Garsdale’s school teacher.

Between the years 1934 and 1939, Mr Badrick kept a diary. (54)  Entries are spasmodic, sometimes cryptic and difficult to decipher, but they provide substance for the memories carried from that time.  His reputation for visiting all and sundry of his parishioners, irrespective of allegiance and distance, is borne out.  Likewise his interest and involvement in farming is confirmed.  During hay-timing, he would join his neighbours in the fields where he showed special skill in sharpening machine blades.  Over the years he gained a reputation as an amateur horse-doctor, being called upon for advice which would enable ‘horse power’ on the farms to be maintained in those pre-tractor days.

The Vicar’s usual form of transport was a bicycle.  He also made use of a hire car for winter services at the Junction and to enable members of that congregation to join in Festival Services in Church.  He was very aware that the sparsely populated locality favoured Methodism, with five small chapels spread through the dale.  Somewhat rueful comments regarding relative numbers of worshippers creep into his commentary: he is grateful to his “faithful few” and cheered when visitors help his “small service”.  On the occasion when the Street Chapel Sunday School was conveyed by coach for the annual outing to Blackpool, the Church Sunday School travelled to Morecambe in a single, albeit large, car.  Notwithstanding his strict conformity to Anglican tenets and practices, Mr Badrick had great respect for, and formed firm friendships with, his non-conformist neighbours.  Their regular support for the Church’s Harvest Festival is recorded appreciatively.

Through teaching in the School, the Vicar came to know the children.  He was careful to acquaint them with the history and significance of their Parish Church and to familiarise them with its forms of worship.  St John the Baptist’s day was celebrated with a nine o’clock service in Church followed by a half-holiday.

As for recreation, the vicarage garden proved a source of satisfaction.  Splendid blooms, carnations, sweet peas and chrysanthemums, were presented on visits to the sick and elderly.  Shopping trips to Sedbergh on the market day bus supplemented the vicarage library.  The occasional holidays recorded include one in London during 1938.  Mr Badrick delighted in the sights and the shrines and returned refreshed, notwithstanding the ominous portents of an air barrage display mounted over the City of London.

By December 1938, the threat of war was being taken seriously.  Courses in air-raid precautions and first-aid were planned. The Vicar and two of his neighbours were instructed and enrolled as special constables.  On the third Sunday in Advent, special collections were taken for the Jews persecuted by the Nazis. The Vicar wrote, “The response was splendid.  The tiny fellowship responded generously”.

During 1939, the people of Garsdale continued the precautionary training, with lectures and demonstrations in the School.  The Vicar recorded being examined in first-aid and patrolling with the special constabulary. The gravity of the situation was however only fully realised when, on 31st August, a message was received that evacuees from Bradford were to arrive in Sedbergh the next day.  Contingency plans were implemented but fewer children arrived than expected and, as elsewhere in Britain, many soon returned home.

The final entry in the diary is for 6th September 1939.  The vicar attended an education meeting in the afternoon and was “...on police duty 9 - 11 pm”, grateful that. the night was warm and dry”.

The stresses of wartime and the austerity which followed could be seen to have robbed Mr Badrick’s later years of the ease he might have enjoyed.  Some, returning to Garsdale after enforced absence, were encouraged to find him steadfast in his ministry and as affable and humorous as before.  Less active, perhaps, in field and garden, he still cycled up and down the dale to visit his parishioners.

Close relations with neighbours brought comfort to Mr and Mrs Badrick when their health failed.  Friends who numbered both Anglicans and Methodists took turns to watch over their Vicar during his last illness and one accompanied him in the ambulance to the hospital where he died.  As they drove past the Church, Mr Badrick was heard to quote, from Psalm 26, words which are engraved on his tombstone.






AGE 76










Garsdale folk continue to benefit from Mr Badrick’s generosity and support in the maintenance of their Parish Church through the bequest made in his will.

During the interregnum which followed, the vicar of the neighbouring parish of Cautley-with-Dowbiggin, the Revd T W Castle accepted responsibility for taking the services, now limited to one each Sunday.  Writing in the January 1953 edition of the Sedbergh Rural Deanery Magazine, (55)  Mr Castle expressed his intention to visit parishioners as soon as possible, and commented on Garsdale’s good fortune in having “...two excellent church wardens and an efficient church secretary.”  The Vicar’s Warden was Mrs B Cameron and the People’s Warden, her daughter-in-law, Mrs A Cameron.  The church secretary was Miss E Inman who also served as organist. The annual vestry report in the May edition announced with regret the resignation due to ill health, of Mrs B Cameron from “...the office she has held for many years.”  Mrs A Mason’s appointment was welcomed. These names echo from Garsdale’s past.  Members of each of these ladies’ families held equivalent offices, serving Church and School, during the Revd D T Allton’s tenure, if not before.

The February 1953 magazine printed the following statistics regarding the status of the parish; Population 410, Acreage 11068, Church accommodation 186, Scattered farmsteads 55

By October, a decision had been taken to combine Garsdale and Cautley parishes under a single incumbent.  Mr Castle declined the offer from the Lord Chancellor to take over this role, arguing the need for a younger and more vigorous man. In December 1953, he wrote of his decision to resign the benefice of Cautley shortly. He looked forward to retirement in Askrigg but promised to “carry on” until a new vicar was appointed. He chaired Garsdale’s Annual Meeting in April 1954 but the minutes were signed the following year by a new hand, that of the Revd E Smithies, vicar of the linked parishes. Mr and Mrs Smithies lived in Garsdale Vicarage for some three years before resigning. Another interregnum followed, culminating in a decision to amalgamate the two smaller units with Sedbergh. Later, in 1974, this was established as the United Benefice of Sedbergh, Cautley and Garsdale.

A system, whereby responsibilities and privileges were shared whilst reserving for the units a degree of autonomy, was pioneered by the Venerable David A Rogers and implemented in turn by his successors, the Revd David Ianeson and the Revd Canon Alan W Fell.  Subsequently the Parish of St John the Baptist Garsdale has enjoyed much needed support whilst preserving in good measure its integrity.



R. & B. Lake. 2000

The Garsdale website thanks Mrs Barbara Lake and the late Mr Ralph Lake for permission to reproduce this document here.



The code WPR/60 applies to Garsdale Parish Records held in the County Archive Record Office, Kendal. SDHS refers to documents held by and the publications of Sedbergh and District History Society.


1.         Thompson, W, Sedbergh, Garsdale and Dent, (Leeds; Richard 1892) p225.

2.         ibid.

3.         op cit, p228.

4.         Boulton, D, Sedbergh Historian Vol 2, No 3, 1988, p16.

5.         Thompson op cit, p226.

6.         Clark, C, (edit) Home at Grasmere, Penguin Books, 1960, p22.

7.         Bradley, E, The Story of the English Abbeys, Vol 1, Robert Hale, 1938, p212.

8.         Gale, Roger, Registrum Honoris de Richmond, 1722, p83.

9.         Banks, J, The Silent Stream, Penwork, (Leeds) Ltd, 1991, p27.

10.       Thompson, op cit, p228.

11.       Clarke, H L, History of Sedbergh School, Jackson & Son, Sedbergh, 1925, p40.

12.       Haygarth, O, Sedbergh Historian, Vol 2, No 4, 1989, p21.

13.       WPR/60, Parish Registers of Garsdale.

14.       Thompson, op cit. p226.

15.       WPR/60, Garsdale National School: Papers re-endowment, 1621-1903.

16.       Thompson, op cit, p234

17.       WPR/60, Parish Registers of Garsdale.

18.       Lancaster, K J, Sedbergh Historian, Vol 3, No 1, 1992, p29.

19.       SDHS, Newsletter, 1989, p31.

20.       SDHS, Survey of memorials in Garsdale Church and Churchyard, 1984

21.       WPR/60, Parish Registers of Garsdale.

22.       SDHS, Survey of Memorials, op cit.

23.       Thompson, op cit, p229.

24.       Lancaster, K J, Sedbergh Historian, Vol 2, No 6, p32.

25.       SDHS, Badgerdub papers, 1827, HB/p86.

26.       Best, G, Mid-Victorian Britain, Fontana Press (VI Imp), 1988, pl73ff.

27.       Thompson, op cit, p227.

28.       WPR/60, Garsdale Church; new sitting rooms at Paradise Farm, 1839.

29.       WPR/6O, Garsdale National School   op cit.

30.       ibid.

31.       ibid.

32.       ibid.

33.       WPR/60, Garsdale Church: Architect’s Plans.

34.       Hollett, C, Sedbergh Historian, Vol 2, No 3, 1988, p32.

35.       SDHS, Newsletter, Dec 1991, p27.

36.       Hollett, op cit, p33.

37.       Crockford, Clerical Directory, 1890.

38.       WPR/60, Garsdale National School: Minute Book of Managers, 1886-1891

39.       op cit, 1893-1919.

40.       WPR/60, Garsdale Church: Report on Structural Condition, 1896.

41.       Crockford, Clerical Directory, 1919.

42.       Mitchell, W R, Garsdale, Castleberg, 1999, pp 16-18, 83-4.

43.       op cit, pp 44-6.

44.       op cit, p47.

45.       op cit, p116 ff.

46.       op cit, pp 106-8.

47.       WPR/60, Garsdale National School: Minute Book of Managers, 1904-1933.

48.       Houghton, F W & Foster, W H, The Settle-Carlisle Line, Norman Arch (Bradford) 1948

49.       Graham, C B, Wild Flowers and other Poems, Richard Jackson (Leeds), 1914.

50.       Garsdale Church, Baptismal Register, (current).

51.       WPR/60, Minute Book: Peace Celebrations and War Memorial, 1919-1921.

52.       WPR/60, Garsdale National School, op cit.

53.       WPR/60, ibid.

54.       In MS only awaiting transcription..

55.       Sedbergh Rural Deanery Magazine, 1953.







The compilers of this far-from-complete account of Garsdale’s incumbents acknowledge help in accessing information from the present Vicar and Church Wardens, staff at the Public Records Office Kendal, and members of the Sedbergh and District History Society, notably contributors to that society’s Journal and Newsletters.




Extract from a letter dated 13 November 1999 regarding the East Window in St John the Baptist Church, Garsdale, from the Hon Secretary of the Kempe Society


“I can confirm that this window is by C E Kempe and is dated December 1896.  From our records, I see that the figure of St John the Baptist used ??? a cartoon from Horsington in Somerset and St James the Great from Monmouth.  Unfortunately I cannot decipher the location of the church where the original cartoon of St Thomas was used.  The Chief Designer at this period was John William Lisle whose daughter (Margaret Stavridi) is the author of the book Master of Glass....”