Pre-amble: Orton – Morland

Day 5:  The route crosses the fells above Orton, away from the River Lune and into tributaries of the Eden.

It passes Robin Hood’s Grave (one of them) and descends from the ridge with its important limestone pavements, over the Lyvennet Beck to Crosby Ravensworth. Higher up on the hill is the King’s Well spring where it is said Charles, son of Charles Stuart & who wished to be king, paused to refresh himself. His pointless journey ended at the Battle of Worcester and with him managing to hide in (apparently innumerable) oak trees in order to escape. One of the curious aspects of the various Stuarts royal persons who wished to or were kings, is that apart from James VI (1st in England) they all spent time ‘on the run’…. Presumably tells us something?

The river name Lyvennet may derive from a British name. As such it could be associated with ‘Llwyfenydd’ the centre of the post-Roman Kingdom of Rheged (one of the ‘Hen Ogledd’ – kingdoms of the north). This kingdom is celebrated in old Welsh poetry (‘Cumbria and Cymry are related words… similarities to ‘comrade’). It was one of those kingdoms that seem to have survived for many years – often associated with the spine of Northern England. Rheged could have covered most of the area traversed in this walk, even as far south as present day Rochdale. One of the ancestors of the kings of Rheged was said to be Coel Hen ‘Old [king] Cole’.

The old names are being revived – there is even a Rheged Discovery Centre at Penrith.

Crosby Ravensworth: Pevsner in his details at Orton introduces the the name of Revd Sidney Swann. He became vicar of Crosby Ravensworth in 1905. He was, to put it mildly, slightly more than any average vicar could ever have been – sportsman, clergyman, adventurer and inventor (the first man to cycle round Syria!!), whose presence was felt across much of the locality.

he became involved in a number of projects, one of which was the design and construction of a stone-cutting machine for stonemasons Parkin & Sons. He also built a timber cross-braced box girder footbridge over the Eden near Crackenthorpe Hall….  Swann decided to compete for £1,000 offered…. for the first engined flight between Liverpool and Manchester. Unfortunately he was unable to get his machine airborne through lack of engine power…  

A new prize of £10,000 was announced by the Daily Mail for the first flight between London and Manchester … Swann decided on a bi-plane design, … he was again plagued by poor engine power and the only time he got airborne was for about 30 yards before falling back and killing a sheep…. his record-breaking attempts were not over. In September, 1911, he rowed a skiff across the English Channel in 3hr 5min, a new record that stood until 1954…. Swann was later vicar of Morland and his final living was at Lindfield, in the diocese of Chichester, where his story had a sad ending. He became increasingly eccentric, had to be straitjacketed on one occasion and was narrowly prevented from doing away with his wife, Lady Bagot, with a large cooking knife. He died, aged 80, of a heart attack following a fracture of the thigh caused by falling off his bicycle.”

(The above information is originally from a book published in 2006Clergy of Crosby Ravensworth, 1564-2005, is available by post from David Risk, Brookside, Crosby Ravensworth, Penrith CA10 3JP (tel. 01931 715324)

The following link adds more – and includes the British Pathe newsreel from 1927 in which a rowing invention is demonstrated

How would such a character as Swann fare today? It would seem unlikely that he would be regarded as ’suitable’ & be successful in passing through the professional hoops and hurdles now required. One rather fears that he would be formally ‘statemented’, given copious amounts of drugs and pills, provided with a ‘carer’ and unless possessed of large sums of money, confined to one of the less attractive areas of north London where he would spend his days muttering, chomping and waving wildly at passing motorists.

The parish church at Crosby Ravensworth is large…’an unexpectedly grand and fully doecorated church to find in so quiet a place… the fruit of two successive remodellings…the second… a long collaboration between an artistic energetic incumbent… and his architect friend’ (Pevsner). Well that may have been very nice for them but it does rather leave the later generations with a major monument to maintain. The local parishes wen site gives a flavour of the complexities now facing local people:

it is the largest church in the group and we are proud of it; but it needs a lot of work to be done in repair and refurbishment. 

Three years ago, in consultation with the then Archdeacon, the PCC felt then that the best solution would be to ‘go redundant’, so that, with it being a Grade I listed building, the Churches Conservation Trust might take it over, yet still allow limited use. Dealings with the CCT, although very helpful at first, have been very protracted. Meanwhile a new PCC has put much thought into the matter and has asked the Diocese to reconsider, so all options are still open. We have had to put together a business plan and strategies for the next twenty years for the Archdeacon and this is under consideration. Meanwhile we have been granted a deferment of the redundancy process to enable further investigation, so we look confidently to a brighter future.

The web site also provides links to other events such as the local Show – and the pictures presented present a lively community proudly conserving a variety of local traditions, including Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling.

Another site adds to the complexities related to rural survival: ‘The area is often neglected by tourists’ (

Yet it may be that being rather isolated from the major routes which are actually comparatively close & particularly being in a somewhat closed valley does encourage a greater corporate spirit than might occur elsewhere.

The route of the walk continues down the valley through Maulds Meaburn and King’s Meaburn (‘stream meadow’ – ‘water meadow’). A divided manor associated with one of Beckett’s murderers, Hugh de Morville.

The day’s journey concludes at Morland.

‘Easily missed is this lovely village of the beautiful valley near the River Lyvennet’ (Mee)

’St Lawrence. The only tower of Anglo-saxon character in the NW counties’ (Pevsner).

Both guides mention a Markham. Mee states; Here sleeps Frederick Markham… a soldier and sportsman who made a remarkable journey into the interior of Kashmir and Tibet, bringing home rare specimens of deer.’ He was in charge of the 2nd Division at the storming of Sebastopol which ended the Crimean War – but died soon after. More information is at

Markham produced a book about his Indian adventures called ‘Shooting in the Himalayas’.

‘The one I had fired… had hit her near the spine, and would, no doubt have proved fatal in a short time

She was full grown… On opening her we found three young ones not much bigger than mice, but with claws completely developed and hard and sharp’

Callous, uncaring, completely insensitive to the natural wonders of India? It is writing such as this that illustrates how close we are to others in the ‘animal world’. I guess it could have been written by the tiger itself had things gone the other way and the full account of this incident is (provided one can put present attitudes to one side) ‘a good read’. (Extract from google books online)

His family still live in Morland with one member a long serving vicar: ‘Gervase Markham (d.2007) must have been one of the last squire parsons.’ (Pevsner)


Orton dep 08.30

Ftpths 620091, Robin Hood’s Grave 617107, Crosby Ravensworth (8kms), ftpth 623150, Maulds Meaburn, ane, ftpths 625182, 621190, 620193, (or via ‘Turnbank’) 620204, King’s Meaburn (16 kms), Chapel Bridge 615219, ftpth, lane to

Morland (20 kms)

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