Businesses in Askham Towns and Villages of Cumbria


(See also Lowther, Lowther Castle and Moor Divock)

Askham cottages and green By Graeme DougalA mile of green and trees decorate the roadway and define the village of Askham. Whitewashed cottages inhabit the landscape where ancient man once lived. Evidence for early habitation-hut circles and ancient remains still exists at nearby Skirsgill Hill and Moor Divock.

The village name was, at first, Ascum, or Ascom, deriving from ‘home of Aske’. Sir Robert Aske, an influential man during Henry VIII's time, may have descended from the same family. Other scholars think the name comes Askham Queen's Head pub 1682 By Graeme Dougalfrom the Saxon ‘esc’, a hazelnut, or the Old Latin word ‘ascum’, meaning a boat.

There are two pubs in Askham. One, the 17th century Queen's Head, retains many of its original features, including wooden beams. The 18th century Punch Bowl on the village green is furnished with an antique settle, Chippendale dining chairs, and rushwork ladder-back seats. Askham Punch Bowl Inn By Graeme DougalOriginally part of a smallholding pig farm and orchard, the Punch Bowl became a watering hole for travellers on the way to the village of Mardale (now under the waters of Haweswater Reservoir). Both inns welcome travellers with warming fires.

Askham farm house By Graeme DougalAskham Hall, at the lower end of the village, was a 14th century pele tower and the home of the Sandford family for 300 years. They converted it into an Elizabethan mansion in 1574. We know this because of the inscription over the gate:

"Thomas Sandford, esquire,
For this paid meat and hyre,
The year of our Saviour
XV hundrethe seventy-four."

In 1724 Askham became part of the Lowther estate when it was taken over by the Earl of Lonsdale.

Askham St Peter's church 1832 By Graeme DougalA short distance away from the village and huddled under the cliffs beside the river is St Peter's Church, a grade II listed building. The church, built in 1832 by Sir Robert Smirke and funded by the Earl of Lonsdale, took the place of a 1240 building dedicated to St Kentigern. The old church had two bells, a large aisle, and a monument to Sir William de Sandford (died 1416). A 16th century south transept still remaining was a burial chapel for Askham Hall's family, the Sandfords. Bright and plain inside, the church windows have leaded diamond-shaped windowpanes. In the church is a 17th century font.

Askham, by the River Lowther, lies in the Lowther Estate and is overlooked by the ruins of Lowther Castle, which became too expensive to keep up and was abandoned. It still reflects its past as an estate village.

Photos courtesy of Graeme Dougal

Askham village green Askham church
Askham old house Askham old cottage

Photos courtesy of Karen Flowers

Askham is 4 miles south of Penrith.

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