Local Historical Stories


Early in 1996 Alastair Robertson - our local historian was asked if he would write a couple of historical articles for the Alston Moor Newsletter. He thought he could manage three or four but in the event, over 20 years later, they were still going. Once, and only once, he received an unsolicited article from an outside source, this was the reminiscence of a school for wartime evacuees at Nent Hall that came from Mr. Michael Dickinson and it was gratefully included in the series.

They’re a real mixed bag, too random to put into a book, but they’re still worth keeping in a more permanent form, so the Historical Society website seemed the perfect place to have them.

Material for the articles came largely from local sources, from the Alston Moor Historical Society Archives, St. Augustine’s Church Records, Alston Library, the Cumbria County Records Office in Carlisle and the County Records Office Northumberland.

There has been editing in some cases that will be noted at the beginning of each item, otherwise the articles have been left as they were written, complete with occasional references to such things as cement lorries, the millennium, and foot and mouth disease, which are themselves now things of the past (?).
Read on …

Story No: 29 The Cumberland Hearth Tax

Stacks Image 309218

This scruffy image is a copy of a page from the register of the Cumberland Hearth Tax that was levied from 1662 to 1689. The probable date is 1664, the only year to have survived in the County.

The number of hearths in the house was an indication the size of each house and therefore the wealth of the occupants. Those in receipt of Poor Relief, or houses worth less than 20/- per annum, were exempt.

Each page in the book is divided into two columns, and where other areas can cover several pages, the entry for Alston is contained in only one column. (The other column on the page is the first set of entries for Castle Sowerby).

Unfortunately the Alston page is torn off half way down so that only nine entries can be read clearly.

Translated, it reads:

Alston moore in Leathward
(No. of Hearths) (Tax in shillings)

Willm Richardson 5 10
Raph Whitfeild 2 4
John Whitfeild 1 2
Mary Teasdill 1 2
Nicho Whitfeild 4 8
John Laton 2 4
Chr Ridley 1 2
Tho Backhouse 3 6
Nicho Ridley 3 6
Nicho (Walton?) - -
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Line drawing of Alston Market Cross
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About Us
Alston Moor Historical Society was founded in 1973 and, due to the nature of Alston Moor, it is a member of both the Northumberland Association of Local History Societies and the Cumbria Federation of Local History Societies.
Alston Moor Historical Society
Alston Moor, Cumbria
Alston Moor Historical Society - Alston Stories