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Parish History

Tunstall St John the Baptist is an Ancient Parish in the county of Lancashire.Other places in the parish include: Burrow, Cantsfield, and Burrow with Burrow.

A church at Tunstall is recorded in the Domesday survey but the oldest structure in the present church dates from the 13th century. The church was rebuilt around 1415 by Sir Thomas Tunstal. Alterations were made in the 16th century and the church was restored in 1907.

The church has associations with the Bronte sisters, several of whom attended here briefly whilst at school at nearby Cowan Bridge in 1824. Charlotte Bronte probably used their experiences as inspiration for "Jane Eyre". The sisters may have eaten their lunch in the small room above the entrance porch after services.

The Parish is in the united benefice of East Lonsdale, in the deanery of Tunstall, the archdeaconry of Lancaster and the diocese of Blackburn. The benefice of East Lonsdale combines this church with St Peter, Leck, St Wilfrid, Melling, St James the Less, Tatham, The Good Shepherd, Lowgill, and Holy Trinity, Wray.

TUNSTALL (St. John the Baptist), a parish, in the union of Lancaster, hundred of Lonsdale south of the Sands, N. division of Lancashire; containing, with the chapelry of Leek, and the townships of Burrow with Burrow, and Cantsfield, 721 inhabitants, of whom 142 are in Tunstall township, 3¾ miles (S.) from KirkbyLonsdale. This is the Tunestalle of the Domesday survey. It was early held by a family of the local name, a member of which, Sir Bryan Tunstall, was killed in the battle of Flodden-Field, and is called in Sir Walter Scott's Marmion, "the Stainless Knight." The family occupied Thurland Castle, a place of great antiquity, restored by the present, proprietor. The parish comprises 13,840 acres, of which 1076a. 1r. 13p. are in the township of Tunstall. The course of the river Lune here forms a direct line from north to south, and its banks are agreeably varied with groves and glades. The Greta, issuing from the adjoining county of York, enters Lancashire between Wrayton (in Melling) and Cantsfield, and after flowing to the south-south-west of Thurland Castle, terminates its career in the Lune. The bridge over this stream near the castle was rebuilt in 1817, but was so much injured by the destructive floods of the Greta, that it fell on the 16th December 1833; it was restored, however, in 1835-6. The Leek beck, a mountain torrent, rises near Graygirth fell; descends, by Leek and Cowan bridge, to Over Burrow; and flowing over immense beds of stone, falls into the Lune west of Burrow Hall. The road from Kirkby-Lonsdale to Lancaster passes through the parish. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £6. 3. 11½.; net income, £332; patron and impropriator, R. T. North, Esq.: the great tithes of Tunstall township have been commuted for £62, and the small for £50; the vicar has a glebe of 12 acres. The church is a large irregular structure situated to the north-east of the village, comprising a nave, chancel, and aisles, with a tower and spacious porch, all in a nearly similar style of architecture. It is believed to be the third erection on the site, which may have been occupied, in the Saxon era, by one of the churches mentioned in Domesday book. The last rebuilding is ascribed to Sir Thomas Tunstall, who lived in the reigns of Henry IV. and V. The ceiling fell down from age and decay in 1826, but was replaced. At Leek is a separate incumbency. Twenty-four children receive education for about £26 a year, arising from bequests; and there are some other small charities.

From: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis (1848), pp. 398-401. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=51356 Date accessed: 02 August 2010.

Resources

Civil Registration

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.

Church records

Include here information for parish registers, Bishop’s Transcripts and other types of church records, such as parish chest records. Add the contact information for the office holding the original records. Add links to the Family History Library Catalog showing the film numbers in their collection

Census records

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Probate records

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Lancashire Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.

Maps and Gazetteers

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Web sites

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