Lorton

The new Lorton Bridge was opened officially on Monday, 24 January by Cumbria County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Tony Markley (left picture below). This was followed by an unofficial opening by Alan Hudson, Chairman of Blindbothel Parish Council (right picture below). The side walls, excepting the coping stones, consist of re-dressed stone from the old bridge. There are more pictures at Lowesater Cam here, not only of the new bridge, but also of some of the houses in Lorton.

Lorton consists of two parts: High Lorton and Low Lorton and lies on the east bank of the River Cocker. The village is flanked to the east and south east by the fells of Grasmoor, Hopegill Head, Whiteside, Ladyside, and Whin Fell. The River Cocker runs along the bottom of the valley dividing Lorton from Blindbothel. For an accurate map of the Lorton Parish boundary, see here. In bygone days, the population of Lorton was much smaller than it is now. Most of those in the village were engaged in various occupations associated with farming life. According to the 2001 census, there were 114 households across the parish of Lorton with a total population of 250.

Lorton had two shops from the late 1940s until the 1970s. The Kennon family opened their shop in Low Lorton in 1947/48 and ran it until it closed in the late 1970s. Leslie Milburn ran the shop in High Lorton from 1926 until the 1970s. He used to take photographs and make up calendars to sell in the shop. He sold all kinds of items besides food. It was closed during Second World War while Milburn was serving in the armed forces. Outside the shop, a round-shaped sign hung on a bracket. It had the silhouette of mountains around the top and, encircled by a belt motif, the Latin words OMNIA OMNIBUS (Everything for Everyone) in the middle. The shop was taken over by the Eland family in the 1970s and continues to serve the community and visitors.

The famous Lorton Yew Tree stands behind the Village Hall on the bank of Whit Beck in High Lorton and is said to be at least 1,000 years old. It was once much larger than it is today, having been reduced in size by a storm shortly after Wordsworth immortalised it in a poem he wrote in 1803, ‘Yew Trees’. In 1652 George Fox, the founder of the Quakers, preached under the tree and John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, is also said to have preached under it in 1752. [Sources of information: an entry on Wikipedia ”A Cumberland Valley, A History of the Parish of Lorton” by Ron George]

There is more information about some of the buildings and houses in Lorton on the Lorton People page here, about the church here and about the village hall here. You can see some good aerial photos of Lorton and the valley on the Visit Cumbria website here.

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