button to main menu   Old Cumbria Gazetteer
placename:- Claife
parish Claife parish, once in Lancashire
county:- Cumbria
coordinates:- SD3798
10Km square:- SD39

1Km square SD3798

source:- Martineau 1855

Guide book, A Complete Guide to the English Lakes, by Harriet Martineau, published by John Garnett, Windermere, Westmorland, and by Whittaker and Co, London, 1855; published 1855-71.
Page 30:-
... His driver, or some resident, will probably take care that he [a visitor] does not stay till it is more than reasonably dusk. ... it is said to be impossible, somehow or other, to get over to the Ferry Nab in the ferry-boat, except by daylight. And if you should
Page 31:-
arrive at the Nab too late, you may call all night for the boat, and it will not come. The traveller may judge for himself how much of the local tale may be true. He may probably have heard of the Crier of Claife, whose fame has spread far beyond the district: but if not, he should hear of the Crier now, while within sight of Ferry Nab. If he asks who or what the Crier was,- that is precisely what nobody can tell, though every body would be glad to know: but we know all how and about it, except just what it really was. It gave its name to the place now called the Crier of Claife,- the old quarry in the wood, which no man will go near at midnight:-
It was about the time of the Reformation, one stormy night, when a party of travellers were making merry at the Ferry-house,- then a humble tavern,- that a call for the boat was heard from the Nab. A quiet, sober boatman obeyed the call, though the night was wild and fearful. When he ought to be returning, the tavern guests stepped out upon the shore, to see whom he would bring. He returned alone, ghastly and dumb with horror. Next morning, he was in a high fever; and in a few days he died, without having been prevailed upon to say what he had seen at the Nab. For weeks after, there were shouts, yells, and howlings at the Nab, on every stormy night: and no boatman would attend to any call after dark. The Reformation had not penetrated the region; and the monk from Furness who dwelt on one of the islands of the lake, was applied to to exorcise the Nab. On Christmas day, he assembled all the inhabitants on Chapel Island, and
Page 32:-
performed in their presence services which should for ever confine the ghost to the quarry in the wood behind the Ferry, now called the Crier of Claife. Some say that the priest conducted the people to the quarry and laid the ghost,- then and there.- Laid though it be, nobody goes there at night. It is still told how the foxhounds in eager chase would come to a full stop at that place; and how, within the existing generation, a schoolmaster from Colthouse, who left home to pass the Crier, was never seen more. Whatever may be said about the repute of ghosts in our day, it is certain that this particular story is not dead.
person:- boatman
person:- : Crier of Claife
date:- 1855
period:- 19th century, late; 1850s

old map:- Ford 1839 map

Map of the Lake District, published in A Description of Scenery in the Lake District, by William Ford, published by Charles Thurnham, London, 1839.
thumbnail FD02SD39, button to large image

placename:- Claife
county:- Lancashire
date:- 1839
period:- 19th century, early; 1830s

old map:- Morden 1695 (Wmd)

Maps, Westmorland, scale about 2.5 miles to 1 inch, and Cumberland, scale about 3 miles to 1 inch, by Robert Morden, 1695.
image MD10SD39, button   goto source.
thumbnail MD10SD39, button to large image

placename:- Classe
county:- Lancashire
date:- 1695
period:- 17th century, late; 1690s

old map:- Jansson 1646

Map, Cumbria et Westmoria, or Cumberland and Westmorland, scale about 3.5 miles to 1 inch, by John Jansson, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1646; published 1646-1724.
thumbnail JAN3SD39, button to large image
Buildings and tower.

placename:- Classe
county:- Lancashire
date:- 1646
period:- 17th century, early; 1640s

old map:- Speed 1611 (Wmd)

Maps, The Countie Westmorland and Kendale the Cheif Towne, scale about 3.5 miles to 1 inch, and Cumberland and the Ancient Citie Carlile, scale about 4 miles to 1 inch, by John Speed, London, 1611; published 1611-1770.
thumbnail SP14SD39, button to large image
circle, building and tower

placename:- Classe
date:- 1611
period:- 17th century, early; 1610s

old map:- Saxton 1576

Map, Westmorlandiae et Cumberlandiae Comitatus ie Westmorland and Cumberland, scale about 5 miles to 1 inch, by Christopher Saxton, London, engraved by Augustinus Ryther, 1576; published 1579-1645.
image Sax9SD39, button   goto source.
thumbnail Sax9SD39, button to large image
Building, symbol for a hamlet, which may or may not have a nucleus.

placename:- Classe
county:- Lancastria
date:- 1576
period:- 16th century, late; 1570s

story One night the ferryman heard a cry from the opposite bank, so set out across the lake. He didn't return till next morning, speechless with fright, and died without speaking a word, a few days later. From then the crying was heard on stormy nights, till a monk from Lady Holme Island exorcised the spirit.
The Crier of Claife may have been the spirit of Thomas Lancaster who poisoned his wife, six children, and a servant, with arsenic, 1671. He was hanged from the door frame of his house, the custom for a domestic murderer, and then put in irons at the gibbet at Sawrey Causeway, near the ferry.

Old Cumbria Gazetteer - JandMN: 2008

button to lakes menu  Lakes Guides menu.

©  Martin and Jean Norgate: 2012
mailto button  email:- JandMN@norgate.freeserve.co.uk
button, online connection  Other projects

button, online connection  Geography Department, Portsmouth University