As far as is known, the earliest inhabitants of the Lamplugh area belonged to the Neolithic, Bronze and early Iron Ages. As late as the 19th century, the remaines of one of their stone circles were still standing, in what is now known as School Field, and many of their stone axe heads have been found in the area.
Most of Britain would have been heavily forested at this time and the discovery of hazelnuts embedded in peat earth some twelve feet below the surface suggest that Lamplugh was no exception
Remains of the cobble and sandstone foundations of a Roman road, which ran between Cockermouth and Egremont have been found in the area between Todholes and Streetgate.
The name Lamplugh may be derived from landa, meaning enclosure, and plwyf, the Welsh for parish and therefore of Celtic origin. Later, the Anglo-Saxons reached Lamplugh eventually making it an independant kingdom holding out against the Picts. Inevitably, not being far from the coast, the Vikings arrived and settled, leaving many Old Norse place names ending in ton (township) and thwaite (clearing), such as Merton, Kelton and Smaithwait. Evidently the newcomers came on relatively peacefull terms and formed separate settlements to the earlier inhabitants, resulting in the three independant townships of Lamplugh, Kelton, and Merton.
The earliest known owner of the Manor of Lamplugh was William de Lancaster, Baron of Kendal who gave it, with Workington, in exchange for Middleton in Lonsdale to one Gospatric, son of Orme, Lord of Seaton. Gospatric left it to his son Thomas who gave it to one Robert who thereafter took his name from the Manor. The estate remained with the Lamplugh family up until 1919 when it was auctioned
The manor house, Lamplugh Hall is still extant, save for a substantial peel tower erected after the ravages of Robert the Bruce, which was apparently demolished in 1820 to provide building stone!
The house is largely hidden from the casual observer by some modern farm buildings, but the imposing stone archway, visable from the road opposite the Parish Church, cannot be missed. Through the arch one may see the Great Hall, the walls of which date from the fourteenth century, and where in medieval times the business of the estate was carried out, and where many of the househeld ate and slept.
Murton (Moortown) comprised the hamlets of Smaithwaite, Lund, Whinnah, Beck and Felldyke, and gave its name to a family that lived there up until the reign of Edward II, when it passed to the Lamplughs.
Kelton (Ketel's Town) belonged to Ketel, grandson of Talebois, first Baron of Kendal, and had its manor house at Salter Hallto next page