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Thomas Ellwood

Leaves from the Annals of a Mountain Parish in Lakeland
Being a Sketch of the History of the Church and Benefice of Torver

Written in 1888 by the Rev. Thomas Ellwood, this is a fascinating little book (much quoted by John Dawson) by a very significant figure from Torver's history.  I came across it by accident and it is still available from Amazon.  It explains how St Luke's church came into being and much else about Torver up to the 19th century.

You'll find more about Rev. Thomas Ellwood in John Dawson's wonderful article about the Three Churches of Torver from which I'll quote here some of what Dawson had to say:

Thomas Ellwood was a scholar, a member of the Cumberland & Westmorland Archaeological & Antiquarian Society, and quite an expert on Icelandic studies.  He gave up his teaching post at St. Bees School, and came to Torver in 1861 to help Matthew Carter, the incumbent Rector of St. luke’s, whose health was failing.  He served as Curate until 1864, when Carter died, and then became Rector, until his own death in 1911.  In the latter part of his ministry, as his health failed, he was helped by his son, Rev. R.D. Ellwood, (as curate) who eventually took over as rector.  Thomas Ellwood and his wife, Dorcas, are buried in the same grave in the churchyard.  He died on November 24th. 1911, aged 73, and she died on December 3rd. 1904, aged 71.

Researching some of the matters referred to by Ellwood in 'Leaves from the Annals...' I chanced upon the complete book online, not very well laid out but all there.  After posting this item on the website I was contacted by Tony Hacking of Ellis Howe who had kindly downloaded the book from that site and cleaned up the text as far as he was able, sending it to me as a Word document. 

I would like particularly to draw the reader's attention to the appendix on page 33 of the attached pdf version where Ellwood writes about the Rev. Robert Walker (1709 - 1802), a most remarkable man and a true Christian who devoted his life to the service of the people.  In our soft and comfortable lives it is hard to imagine the hardships suffered by Rev. Walker as he served both as Rector and Schoolmaster here in Torver, raising a family and working all hours on the land to supplement his meagre income from the church and the parish.

We are asked to acknowledge the Cornell University Library website from which the book came, and do so gladly.


We have it!  Through combined effort between Tony Hacking and myself we have sorted out the text of Leaves... from the OCR copy obtained from Cornell University Library and it is now attached at the bottom of the page.  This is a most valuable addition to the history of Torver, now online, on our own website, so that everyone can read it.  

My thanks to Tony for his invaluable help on this project, dealing with all the techy stuff that had me baffled.


You can read 'Leaves' online here.