Staveley (grid reference SD469981) is a village in the District of South Lakeland in Cumbria, England. It is situated 4 miles (6 km) northwest of Kendal where the River Kent is joined by its tributary the Gowan. It is also known as Staveley-in-Westmorland and Staveley-in-Kendal to distinguish it from Staveley-in-Cartmel (a small village near Newby Bridge which is now in Cumbria but was previously in Lancashire).
Three hills overlook the village; Reston Scar on the north side on which much of the village is built, Piked Howe to the northeast known to the locals as Craggy Wood and Lily Fell to the south in the direction of the village of Crook on the opposite side of the A591 bypass. Piked Howe and Reston Scar sit either side of the opening into the Kentmere Valley. Both mark the beginning of a larger horseshoe chain of hills known as the Kentmere Round.
The nearest village to the west is Ings, a small settlement which now shares schools and parish minister with Staveley. To the south of the village is Crook, and to the north Kentmere which can only be accessed by road via Staveley village centre, meaning that the two villages have had a close relationship with each other for many centuries. But the village which had the strongest links to Staveley in more recent years is arguably Burneside which is the next stop on the railway line to the east on the way to Kendal. National Cycle Route 6 runs through Burneside and Staveley.
The village got its name from the woodworking industry that thrived in the area due to the forests that originally covered the surrounding hills, and the close proximity of two rivers for processing the wood. Staveley means literally the 'field of staffs' (from the Middle English plural stave for staf OE stæf and the ME leye meaning pasture from Old English leah; akin to Old High German loh thicket, Latin lucus grove).
Above the village on the east side is the Craggy Plantation, which covers much of Spy Crag. This area was used in the 1990s for testing various measures to control the spread of North American Grey Squirrels into the native Red Squirrel habitats. Other woods in the area include Beckmickle Ing (Woodland Trust), and Dorothy Farrer's Spring Wood (4.6 ha, Cumbria Wildlife Trust) which is coppiced.
Gowan beck comes in to the village from the west after passing through the village of Ings. It is difficult to determine where the river got its name. In Scottish, gowan the name for the common daisy or occasionally the buttercup. It is derived from the original form gollan which is the marsh marigold, the name was made famous by Robert Burns in a poem originally entitled "The Gowan" which is now known as "To a Mountain Daisy". The Lakeland poet William Wordsworth also uses the word gowan to refer to a common wayside flower indicating that the name was used in the area and therefore it is possible that the river got its name from the fact that it flows through many flower meadows on the valley floor. In Gaelic Gowen/Gowan can also mean "blacksmith". The name may therefore otherwise have come from the Scots Gaelic or from Irish missionaries who are known to have travelled in Cumbria during the Anglo-Saxon period and have given many words to the local dialect.
The area has been inhabited since around 4000 BC (evidence of which can be seen close to High Borrans) when Celtic speaking Britons established farms. It has been suggested that the Romans built a road near Staveley in order to link the Roman forts at Kendal (Alauna) and Ambleside (Galava). However, the existence of any Roman road in the immediate vicinity of Kendal is not confirmed. On the other hand, the Roman road at High Street (a few miles north of Staveley) is well evidenced.
In the eighteenth century a turnpike road from Kendal to Ambleside was constructed through Staveley. There are references to an inn at Staveley in Dorothy Wordsworth’s journal. She wrote: "I am always glad to see Stavel(e)y; it is a place I dearly love to think of"
Since the 1840s Staveley has had a railway station on the Windermere Branch Line from Windermere to Oxenholme. It is one of only a few locations in the Lake District National Park to have a station, but in the nineteenth century most tourists continued on to the railhead at Windermere. Staveley remained relatively unaffected by mass tourism until the twentieth century.
Another nineteenth-century project built through Staveley is the Thirlmere Aqueduct, commissioned in 1894. On its way to Manchester, the aqueduct passes under the river Kent at Staveley. Although the Staveley section of the acqueduct was constructed underground (via "cut-and-cover" and tunnelling techniques), some of the infrastructure associated with it is visible.
Historically within the county of Westmorland, it became part of the new non-metropolitan county of Cumbria in 1974.
The area of Staveley is divided into three civil parishes;
- Nether Staveley,
- Over Staveley
- Hugill (after Hugill Fell). Williamson's Monument is situated on the fell above this section of the parish.
Weekly markets and a three day annual fair were held from 1329 when the village was granted a market charter.
In the Middle Ages, the mills at Staveley produced woollen cloth. During the industrial revolution there was cotton production at Staveley, but this industry shifted to Lancashire and the Staveley mills were converted to work wood. By 1850 bobbin turning was the main industry in the valley.
Staveley Mill Yard
At the weir by Wilf's Cafe visitors can see water being drawn from the River Kent, which originally powered a waterwheel, replaced in 1902 with turbines.
A conservation area protects much of the centre of Staveley. There are proposals to extend the conservation area across the river Kent to include a garden designed by Thomas Mawson. Staveley has a number of listed buildings.
The oldest building is a tower, all that remains of a medieval church dedicated to St Margaret. The structure is maintained as a clock-tower: on it is a plaque commemorating the Staveley men of F Company, Second V B Border Regiment, who served in the South Africa Campaign of 1900-01 under Major John Thompson. In 1338 the then Lord of the Manor, Sir William Thweng agreed to build a church. Before this the villagers had been expected to travel 7 miles to Kendal each Sunday for services. The church, completed in 1388, was replaced by a new parish church, built in 1864-65 to a design by J. S. Crowther;
This Victorian church, dedicated to St James, is notable for the stained glass windows at the east end, which were designed by William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones and depict the Crucifixion and Ascension of Christ surrounded by angels and stars. One of the angels was used for the Royal Mail's second class Christmas stamp in 2009.
Other places of worship
There is a small Catholic church, now disused, situated on Station Road. There are two former Methodist chapels. The Primitive Methodist chapel was the first to be converted into housing.
Staveley CE Primary School was founded in 1755 and moved to its present position at Brow Lane on Reston Scar in 1840. A new building was built 30 years ago to house the infant classes. The school also caters for children from the nearby villages of Crook, Kentmere and Ings. Before the modern-day school that exists now, the school used to be housed in a small cottage on the main street next to St. Margaret's Tower.
Every year in August residents put on an art exhibition for regional artists at the Roundhouse on Main Street, which includes lectures and demonstrations by notable British artists.
- Welsh, Mary. Stroll from Staveley and through magnificent woodland, Westmorland Gazette
- Beckmickle Ing, Woodland Trust
- Dorothy Farrer's Spring Wood, Cumbria Wildlife Trust
- "Roman Routeplanner". Omnes Viae. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
- photographs of the William Morris & Co. east window, Stained Glass Photography website
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Staveley, Cumbria.|
- Staveley with Ings Parish Council
- Staveley and District Historical Society
- Virtual Tours of Staveley
- The Operatic Society's fiftieth production (dead-link)
- Staveley CE School
- St James' CofE church
- the Eagle and Child Inn
- Wilf's Cafe - formerly the Bobbin Life
- Li'le Hullets Bed and Breakfast
- Staveley Natural Health Centre
- Staveley Carnival
- The Cumbria Directory - Staveley