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England & Wales Hardwicke Marriage Index
Marriages 1754 - 1837
Wasdale Head St Olaf


The Parish

The chapelry of Wasdale Head lies in southern Cumberland, part of the vast wider parish of St Bees that covers much of this area of the county. Wasdale Head lies, as its name suggests, at the head of its remote valley leading from the West Cumberland coast into the interior of the Lake District, roughly 11 miles southwest of the market town of Keswick, Wasdale Head is also 9 miles west from the nearest numbered road, the A591 connecting Keswick with Ambleside. At the time of this transcript Wasdale Head would have been one of the most remote parish churches in England, a haunt of a few hardy shepherds and miners. Today Wasdale Head is a Mecca for hikers and climbers being surrounded by the highest mountains in England, a circle of Yewbarrow, Kirk Fell, Great Gable, Scafell Pike & Scafell making it a busy hub with the Ritson's Bar the centre of lively evenings telling of adventures on the hills. Lingmell Beck drains the parish southwestwards into the deepest lake in England, Wastwater, emerging as the River Irt it reaches the nearby Irish Sea in a joint estuary with the Esk. Wasdale Head is sited at just 80 metres above the sea but land rises spectacularly all around reaching the highest ground in England on Scafell Pike at 977 metres little more than 2 miles from St Olaf's door. Wasdale Head parish covered an extensive area of upland England, an immense acreage of 15,000+acres of which 90% was described as waste", the population of the congregation gathered at the dale head was fewer than 50. Like much of northern England Wasdale Head is not mentioned in Domesday Book which did not cover Cumberland.

The Church

St Olaf's church sits on the northern side of the track heading from Wasdale's main car park towards Sty Head Pass. The church has uncertain origins, first mentioned in documents of the mid-16th century there are rumoured to be Viking origins to this remote chapel. The church had no dedication until 1977 when it was granted to St Olaf. The combined nave and chancel originally had an earthen floor, the present one being laid as part of Victorian restorations. A tiny bellcote decorates the western end. The church can only be approached on foot a short walk of a little over 250 metres from the car park, the site is surrounded by a grove of ancient yews which pack around but leave sufficient space for photography.

The Records

Register No Covering Dates Deposited With Register Style Quality Standard Comments
1 5th October 1754 - 15th December 1812 Cumbria Archives - Carlisle Bishops Transcripts on loose-leaf folios Grade 2 Register - not a perfect read but with a low likelihood of misreads Formal registers do not survive, these entries were retrieved from a combination of BTs and contemporary transcripts
2 16th February 1817 - 10th December 1836 Cumbria Archives - Whitehaven - Reference - YPR/21/2 Standard Rose style preprinted and prenumbered Marriage register Grade 2 Register - not a perfect read but with a low likelihood of misreads None

St Bees St Mary & St Bega
Ennerdale St Mary
St Bees St Mary & St Bega
Cockermouth All Saints
St Bees St Mary & St Bega
Nether Wasdale St Michae
Crosthwaite St Kentigern
St Bees St Mary & St Bega
Eskdale St Catherine
Eskdale St Catherine
Eskdale St Catherine
Ulpha St John

Register Reference Date Groom Forename Groom Surname Groom Status Groom Abode Bride Forename Bride Surname Bride Status Bride Abode
05/10/1754 Isaac SINGLETON     Agnes PARKE    
21/11/1754 John WASDALE     Anne VICARS    
01/02/1755 Robert MADORSEL     Elizabeth JOPSON    
22/11/1755 John BRAGG     Jane FLETCHER    
03/06/1756 William JENKINSON     Mary ROGERS    
31/12/1770 John SATTERTHWAITE     Sarah FLETCHER    
26/11/1771 Thomas SHARP     Dinah HUNTER    
25/02/1776 Thomas SHERWEN   Irton Dinah BRAITHWAITE    
02/05/1778 Robert GRAVE     Dorothy BRAITHWAITE    
02/01/1780 John BRAGG     Sarah BIRKETT    
08/07/1782 William JOPSON     Dinah BIRKETT    
28/01/1783 Joseph RICHARDSON   Arlecdon Mary JENKINSON    
23/01/1786 William MOSSOP     Jane BRAITHWAITE    
23/01/1786 William MOSSOP     Jane BRAITHWAITE    
23/09/1799 Wilson STABLE     Betty SHEPPARD    
26/12/1801 Jonathan JACKSON   Eskdale Sarah STABLE    
14/06/1802 Robert JENKINSON Single Drigg Rachel MACKEY Single  
28/06/1812 Timothy WILSON Single   Bella STABLE Single  
15/11/1812 Wilson STABLE Widower   Ann GRISEDALE Single  
1 16/02/1817 Thomas NICHOLSON Single   Ann HUNTER Single  
2 15/11/1817 Thomas GASKELL Single   Grace TYSON Single  
3 09/06/1821 Benjamin BROCKLEBANK Single   Ann SINCLAIR Single  
4 23/12/1821 William BRIGGS Single Corney Hannah GRAVE Single  
5 13/11/1825 William GAITSKEL Single   Ann TYSON Single  
6 06/08/1826 William WILSON Single Kirkby Ireleth, Lancashire Hannah BROCKLEBANK Single  
7 13/06/1829 John MILLER Single Eskdale Hannah BENNETT Single  
8 21/05/1831 William DAWSON Single   Agnes MACKERETH Single  
9 24/11/1833 Robert HOUSBY Single   Agnes GIBSON Single  
10 29/03/1834 John WILSON Single   Eleanor BRAITHWAITE Single  
11 10/01/1835 John RITSON Widower   Anne STABLE Widow  
12 10/12/1836 Wilson STABLE Single   Ann GILL Single  

Corrections to Tinstaafl Transcripts