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Thorneythwaite Farm Borrowdale

The 1000 year story of a Lakeland farm and its valley

Ian Hall


When Thorneythwaite was sold in separate lots on 9th August, 2016 roughly a thousand years of discernible history of its existence as an independent fell farm came to an abrupt halt. A surprising amount of that history has been recorded.

It is there in the Norman documents of the 12th century, when it belonged to Alice de Rumilly of Skipton Castle; there in the chartularies of Fountains and Furness Abbeys to whom she gave all Borrowdale, Keswick and Crosthwaite Church, which she founded. It is there in the Great Deed of Borrowdale (1614); in the records of the German copper miners later that century; and as home also to many who toiled in the Graphite mines of Seathwaite and in the later development of Honister quarry and mine. Ian Hall was a teenager there in the 1960s and has sought here to put flesh on the skeleton provided by those records, mixing the ongoing saga of the forty generations who have called Thorneythwaite home with his memories of his own parents’ struggle to make a living on this harsh little fell farm. He is also the author of ‘Fisherground – Living the Dream’, a memoir of the last quarter of the 20th Century, when he and his wife Jennifer shared a fell farm with their good friends Geoff and Anne-Marie Wake.


Orchard House Books



Publication Date:

2017 August


Paperback; 152 x 230




Some black and white illustrations