Dickinson of the Rigg in Branthwaite


Appendix:  Dickinson of the Rigg in Branthwaite


David and Thomas Dickinson bought a freehold at the Rigg in Branthwaite in Dean. The investment attraction was coal.

The tenement was split into two moieties, perhaps the modern-day ‘Branthwaite Rigg’ and ‘Rigg House’, of maybe just two halves of Branthwaite Rigg or two halves of Rigg House.

The Rigg - map

Their older brother George was already established at Winscales.


Both parties to the original c1660 sale would have had a copy of the terms [an indenture], but clearly when a dispute arose some thirty years later neither party could find a legible copy. So a new indenture was drawn up.

[with some changes - by 1687, Thomas Dickinson had died and his widow had married John Phillipson]

David and Thomas Dickinson had bought the property as a freehold from Henry Skelton of Branthwaite Hall, the local lord of the manor; but had sold back the mining rights. So the Skeltons were free to exploit the mines on the property.

That might have seemed fine in the 1660s, but the 1680s/1690s saw a runaway boom in mining and a more advanced technology.

The mining was causing damage, which the new indenture confirmed that the Skeltons were required to fix or to pay compensation.

It was customary for owners of small properties to hand over the actual mining to a bigger organisation with the necessary skillls and equipment. This is what the Dickinsons have done here, and maybe the Skeltons handed that onto the Lowthers or Lamplughs. The indenture implies that the Dickinsons also handed back the royalties to the Skeltons, but they do seem to have a healthy cashflow, so probably were benefitting in some way.

David Dickinson (1616-1697)


He was baptised at Lamplugh (14 October 1618) and buried in Dean (24 Apriil 1697).

In at least his forties when he moved from Streetgate, he seems to have formed a bond with his nephew Daniel (who inherited Streetgate from David's brother William). David named his son and heir as Daniel in 1667, and Daniel returned the compliment by making his uncle godfather to his son Joseph in 1680 and naming his next son as David. In 1684, Daniel kept a list of those who had contributed towards the building of his new barn; and David was the biggest contributor.

Thomas Dickinson (1621-1670)


He was baptised at Lamplugh (29 March 1621) and buried in Dean (6 September 1670).

The Lamplugh register gave his wife's name as Alice; and she was his widow and administrator at his death in 1670. With a young family of three, it is not surprising that she remarried at the first opportunity (a three month gap) to her neighbour John Phillipson of Branthwaite Raise in Dean.



David's probate inventory, made some three weeks after his death, valued his personal estate at £29 13s 2d.

This isn't a large sum, and not untypical for someone of his age (he was just into his eighties). He may have handed over the running of his property to his son, keeping back what was personal to him.

However, he had never been more than the owner of half of the tenement, and his inventory does include £14 of 'horned beasts'. But then, Thomas' inventory in 1670 was almost double his.

It is possible that he had already used up resources in order to provide a dowry for his older daughter Elizabeth. He bequeathed a further £21 10s dowry to his daughter Isabel, presumably having done something similar for Elizabeth. Given the value of his inventory, it's difficult at first to see how the family could have afforded it. The money was to be paid by his son Daniel in £5 annual instalments. This becomes tenable if the family were receiving an income from mining.


David had two sons and four daughters - Daniel the heir, Elizabeth, Isabel, Mary and Ann.

The eldest, Noah, seems to have died aged eleven, buried in the register just above Henry Skelton. Daniel therefore inherited.

Elizabeth married Oswald Peile in 1691 and had a son Oswald just after David wrote his will. They lived at Rigg in 1697, but had returned to Oswald's tenement at Whitekeld by 1714.

Isabel was clearly intended to be a catch for a future or known suitor. Ann seems to have received little in the will, but nevertheless married in 1701.

Mary was somehow helpless. The will rather implies that Daniel needed coercion to look after her.

This Indenture made the eight day of June in the third year of the reigne of our Sovereigne Lord King James the Second of England Scotland and Ireland King Defender of the Faith and in the year our Lord God one thousand six hundred eighty and seaven Between David Dickinson and John Phillipson both of the Rigg in the parrish of Deane and County of Cumberland yeomen on the one part And Henry Skelton of Branthwhait Hall in [the aforesaid] Parrish and County Esquire on the other part Witnesseth that whereas Henry Skelton Esquire deceased grandfather of the said Henry party to these presents heretofore by his deed in writeing did give grant bargaine sell and convey to the sad David Dickinson and his heirs one moiety of all that his tenement called the Rigg with the appurtenances lying and being within the Mannor and Lordship of Branthwhait in the said County of Cumberland and did likewise by his deed in writeing give grant bargaine sell and convey to one Thomas Dickinson the other moiety of the said Tenement with the appurtenances called the Rigg which said moiety of the said tenement is since come to and vested in the aforesaid John Phillipson and his heirs and whereas the said David Dickinson and Thomas Dickinson by their deed in writeing duely executed in performance of their agreement upon the said purchase had and made to and with the said Henry Skelton the Grandfather did jointly and severally give grant bargaine sell and reconvey to the said Henry Skelton the Grandfather and his heirs all Coale and Coale Mines and Royallty of coal and Coal mines lying and being within all or any part of the said tenement called the Rigg by them purchased as aforesaid together with all libertyes priviledges commodityes and advantages whatsoever for the finding sinking boreing gaining and disposesing thereof only makeing reasonable amends and Satisfaction for and concerning the damages which should happen in the corne and grass of the said David and Thomas Dickinson and their heirs severaly and respectively by ca[re] or reason of his the said Henry Skelton the Grandfather his heirs or assignes boring sinking banking gaineing or carrying away or other workes done in for or about the said Coales or Coal or Coal mines and Whereas the said Deed or Writeings made aforesaid by the said David and Thomas Dickinson to the said Henry Skelton the Grandfather is defaced for the quieting appeasing and Ceding all suites troubles controversies and differences which might arise or happen touching the Right and interest of in and too the said Coales and Coal mines and Royalty thereof the said Dickinson and John Phillipson Partyes to these presents do hereby for themselves their heirs and assignes severaly and respectively give grant and confirme to the said Henry Skelton party to these presents his heirs and assignes all Coales and CoalMines royalty of Colaes of and within the aforesaid tenement called the Rigg together with all libertyes priviledges and advantages whatsoever for the finding boreing sinking gaineing carrying away and disposeing thereof to his and their best benefitt and advantage and the said Henry Skelton for himself and heirs Executors Administrators and Assignes doth by these presents covenant grant promiss and agree to and with the said David Dickinson and John Phillipson their heirs executors administrators & assignes severally and respectively that he the said Henry Skelton his heirs executors administrators assignes shall and will from time to time and at all times hereafter pay and satisye the said David Dickinson and John Phillipson their heirs executors administrators & assignes severally and respectively for their severall and respective damages which they shall severaly and respectively sustaine in ther corne and grass and touching and concerning sinking boreing getting or carrying away of the said coales or coalmines granted and confirmed as aforesaid the said satisfaction and payment for the said Damages to be ascertained adjusted and deemed by two persons within the aforsaid parrish of Dean indifferently and mutually to be chosen by the said Henry Skelton his heirs and assignes and the said David Dickinson and John Phillipson their and assignes severally and respectively in Witness whereof and hereunto sett our hands and seales this eight day of June 1687