A Branch from Cumberland and Anglesey

Written by Jill Coulthard, wife of Captain John M. Coulthard, Master Mariner



MOSES came to Rottington when CLEMENT was a child in arms, according to the family story.   Moses had been born in 1695 at High Prior Scales in the Calder Valley, a younger son of Clement and Abigail.   On 24th April 1723 he married ELIZABETH ASHBURNER at Egremont Parish Church.   Their eldest son, William, was baptised the following March at St. Bridget Beckermet.

Moses leased the farm of Thornholme, high up in the Calder Valley.   It was principally a sheep farm with the fells of Kinniside Common as pasture.   The work of the farmer and his shepherds was long, hard and demanding in maintaining the flock both in size and health.   They needed to be rock climbers and walked many miles in all weathers in pursuit of their sheep.  The daily life of Thornholme is best described by Graham Sutton in his books "Shepherd's Warning" and "Smoke Across the Fell", now out of print but available from second hand bookstores on occasions.

Illustration from Graham Sutton's "Fell Days"

The present farmer has showed us around the outside of the farm, including a large outbuilding which he believes was used for bacon curing.   Two generations of Charles Mossop farmed here in later years and a fish pool on the fell is still known as "Charlie's parlour" so we were told.

CLEMENT, the second son of Moses and Elizabeth, was born at Thornholme about 1730 though there is no record of his baptism.   Whether there were other children between him and the six year older William is not known.

Shortly after this, Moses moved his family to Rottington where he leased the Hall farm.   Born there and baptised at St. Bees Church were Mary 1735, John 1738, Moses 1741, Elizabeth 1745 and Ruth 1749.   Their son, John, died in 1745 followed by their eldest, William in 1748.   This left two remaining sons, Clement and Moses.   From the will of Moses senior it appears that his son Moses had some kind of disability which prevented him from fully taking care of himself.  After his father's death he lived with his brother Clement and wife who had been given the care of him and the supervision of his welfare had been given to another daughter, probably Elizabeth.   When Moses junior died unmarried in 1794 he was described as a Lodger of Rottington.

Moses' wife, Elizabeth, died in June 1749 some months after the birth of Ruth, leaving him with five surviving children aged between nineteen and a few months.   Just over a year later, on 3rd July 1750, Moses married again at St. Bees to HANNAH KITCHEN.   Moses and Hannah had two sons, Henry in 1751 and Isaac in 1752.   It is probable that Isaac died young but Henry became a seafarer and was Master of the "Hannah" in 1784, based in Whitehaven.   Three of his sons were also at sea in later years.   Henry was an ancestor of George Gillberry.

CLEMENT married on 15th August 1766 at St. James' Church, Whitehaven at the age of 36.   His bride was ELEANOR WALKER baptised in 1742 at Haile but whose family had moved to the farm just across the road from Rottington Hall, where her father had died some two months previously.   This farm was known, latterly at least, as The Orchard House and although generations of both families lived nearby each other into the early years of the twentieth century, this was the only marriage between them.


Eleanor must have been well liked and respected as a later remark made by a family member was "that all the niceness of the Mossops came from the Walkers".   Eleanor' older brother, HENRY WALKER, continued at the Orchard House and had married MARY COOK on 1st December 1761 at St. John's Church, Beckermet in which parish her father WILLIAM COOK farmed the family estate of Grange.   William Cook's wife was RUTH KITCHEN but her relationship, if any, to Moses Mossop's wife Hannah is not known.   William and Ruth Cook had five other daughters who were married advantageously to other local farmers including a Clement Mossop of Ennerdale, the grandson of one of Moses Mossop's first cousins.

William Cook had died in 1765, not living to see his three youngest daughters married.   In June 1772, Hannah the wife of Moses Mossop also died.   The following year on 22nd May 1773 Moses Mossop and Ruth Cook married at St. John Beckermet, spending the rest of their years together at Cringlethwaite in that parish, a farm owned by Moses and passed down to future generations of the family.   Moses died there on 13th September 1785 aged 90 but was buried at St. Bees, the parish he had made his home.   Ruth lived to 1794 and died at the Cook farm of Grange, being buried in St. John's with her first husband and his family.

So begins the tenure of Moses son, CLEMENT, at Rottington Hall, together with his wife, ELEANOR.   By the time his father Moses married Ruth Cook in 1773 they already had four children and were to add an extra six.   All the children were baptised at the parish church at St. Bees.

ELIZABETH (BETTY) born 1767 married JOHN LISTER, a Mariner at Whitehaven St. James on 13th February 1790.   They had ten children but John had died by 1819 leaving Betty as a widow in straightened circumstances.    Betty's mother, Eleanor, left her all her property at Rottington but when Betty died in 1831 it formed part of the sale of her estate.   It was bought back into the family by her brother Moses.

WILLIAM born 1768 joined the Life Guards.   He was, however, back in Cumberland by 1799 when he married Jane, possibly Steel, and had three children.   He built The Rookery for himself in the grounds of Rottington Hall and the land was split between the two properties.   He died in 1817 aged 49.  They had three children, CLEMENT who died aged 13 three weeks after his grandfather Clement Mossop, WILLIAM who followed his father's profession in the 1st Regiment of Life Guards and died aged only 32 apparently unmarried, and MARY who married Rev. William Dickinson Grice and had five children.

HANNAH born 1770 married WILLIAM FOX of St. Bees on 27th September 1794 at Holy Trinity, Whitehaven.   They were the parents of CATHERINE FOX, wife of ALEXANDER COULTHARD junior.



(Photograph taken by Tom Dalzell a week before the church was demolished)



MOSES born 1772 married William Fox's sister, MARY FOX, on 6th November 1799 at St. Bees.   He continued to farm Rottington Hall.   They were the parents of CLEMENT who married MARTHA COULTHARD and also of HENRY who continued to farm Rottington.

JOHN born 1774 took Holy Orders and lived in the south of England, becoming Vicar of Hothfield, Kent.   He married firstly MARY AYNSCOMBE a cultured lady from a wealthy family, several years his senior.  Mary had two artistic unmarried sisters.   Mary left her entire estate to John who also received a substantial legacy from Mary's surviving sister.   Through these means, or in addition to his own endeavours, John became a very wealthy man.   He married secondly at Wigton, Cumberland on 1st August 1843 at the age of 69, MARGARET PEARSON a lady some forty two years his junior.   She was said to be related to the Fox family of St. Bees.   Despite this age difference they produced a daughter MARY AYNSCOME MOSSOP, named after his first wife, and a son, JOHN HENRY.   After John's death, Margaret remarried and had two more children.    John Henry attended Eton College where he was Captain of Boats.   He remained unmarried.   Mary married Colonel Sir William Alexander Baillie-Hamilton, KCMG though these honours came to him later in their married life.    They had two sons George Douglas and Walter Stuart.

ISAAC born 1776 also took Holy Orders.   He became Vicar of Cranbrook in Kent but, according to a local history, made himself highly unpopular with his parishioners with whom he seemed to have little fellow feeling.   There was relief all round when he was appointed Rector of nearby Smarden.  According to the family, however, Isaac spent as little time there as possible, preferring the life of a country gentleman in St. Bees.   He no doubt left Smarden to his curate who succeeded him as Rector and wasted little time in uncovering wall paintings which he had probably been longing to do for some time, without having the authority.   Isaac died unmarried and was buried at St. Bees.

ELEANOR born 1778 died in 1782.

MARY born 1780 married JAMES FOX, brother of William and Mary, on 12th May 1804 at St. Bees.   Mary inherited the farm at Cringlethwaite from her father.

ELEANOR born 1783 died in 1787.

CLEMENT and ELEANOR had "Whinyeat" built in the grounds of Rottington Hall for their retirement after MOSES married MARY FOX and occupied the farmhouse.   Clement died in March 1814 aged 84, three weeks before his namesake and grandson, William's eldest son.   He owned several properties and had tenant rights of others.  Eleanor continued to live at "Whinyeat" but after a fall the family decided she should not live alone and therefore she went to her daughter "Mrs. Fox" of Seascale Hall.   One presumes this would be Mary as Hannah was settled in St. Bees.   She died there on 23rd June 1820 and was buried at St. Bees.

Clement had left his property at Rottington to Eleanor.   She in turn left hers, which presumably included the Hall, to her daughter Betty as she was in most need.  As above, when Betty died her brother Moses bought it back from her estate.   One presumes Moses had lived there in the meantime paying rent or a share of the profits to Betty.   So Rottington Hall continued in the family.

MOSES and MARY had six or seven children.

JAMES born 1800 does not appear to have survived as nothing further is heard of him.   The transcription of the baptism register may be a mistake for ISAAC below

ISAAC 1801-1851 was a Surgeon in Whitehaven, married to Agnes Fleming with eight children of whom only four daughters survived to adulthood.

CLEMENT 1802-1847 married MARTHA COULTHARD as described in Instalment 3.

HENRY 1805-1889 married MARY DICKINSON and continued at Rottington Hall.

CATHERINE 1807-1808.

ELEANOR 1808-1899.

MARY 1811-1803 kept a notebook for many years in which she recorded the family deaths which has been a great help in knowing when these happened.

The later story of Rottington Hall is recapped in Instalments 3 and 4.