|Businesses in Troutbeck (Windermere)||Towns and Villages of Cumbria|
(See also Townend)
Troutbeck is a string of hamlets-Townhead, High Green, and Townend-along the hillside of a narrow valley north of the town of Windermere. Formerly a part of Westmoreland, Troutbeck now claims Cumbria as its county of residence. The hamlets grew up around wells (dedicated to saints) in the area.
Troutbeck retains many of its 17th and 18th century buildings. Spinning galleries and oak mullioned windows are on view in the yeoman farmhouses. The spinning galleries are reminders of the cottage industries established as a result of the valley's cloth industry that relied on the nearby Troutbeck Bridge fulling mill.
Materials used to build farmhouses varied from slate to painted or rendered stone. Many of the chimneys are conical in shape. The 17th century coaching inn, the Mortal Man Inn, at High Green is well known for its sign on which is the verse:
"Thou mortal man that lives by bread
How comes thy nose to be so red?
Thou silly ass that looks so pale,
It is by drinking Sally Birkett's ale."
The Queen's Head is another interesting old Troutbeck inn. Horse drinking troughs with saints' names on them are set into stone walls. They were handy for the horses that had to labour up the nearby Kirkstone Pass. A school sits, like the church, down in the valley outside the village proper.
The church, Jesus Chapel, on the road to Kirkstone Pass, was constructed in 1736 on the same site as a 15th century chapel, rebuilt in the 16th century. Like many other churches it was renovated by the Victorians, who retained the tower and added an Arts and Crafts window combining the skills of William Morris and the painters Sir Edward Burne-Jones and F. M. Brown.
The roof is oak beamed, and the stalls and communion rail are composed of Jacobean woodwork. The altar table dates back to the late 1600's. In the spring Lakeland's famous daffodils bloom in profusion in the churchyard. The churchyard is also notable for its yew trees and three lych gates.
Farms in the area raise Herdwick sheep. Troutbeck Park Farm was purchased by Beatrix Potter in 1928 for that purpose. Another well known Troutbeck resident was Thomas Hoggart, a Cumbrian poet who lived in the 17th century. A third famous inhabitant was Hugh Hird, a strongman known for his prowess with the bow during Scottish border raids.
In 1843 the writer John Wilson wrote about Troutbeck. He commented that the scattered dwellings were “all dropt down where the Painter and the Poet would have wished to plant them, on knolls and in dells, and on banks and braes, and below tree-crested rocks, and all bound together in picturesque confusion . . .”
In the 1980's the Lake District Special Planning Board made Troutbeck a Conservation Area. It admirably lives up to this expectation. Lovers of vernacular architecture will revel in Troutbeck's offerings.
Troutbeck is three miles north of Windermere on the A592 (Please note there is another Troutbeck on the A66 near Penrith.)
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