Hensingham is a township, village, and parochial chapelry in the parish of St. Bees, about one mile S. E. of Whitehaven, and contains several good houses and detached mansions, and being situated on the summit of a hill, commands a fine view of the surrounding neighbourhood and the town and harbour of Whitehaven.
Hensingham is noted for being the birth place (A. D. 1519) of Edmund GRINDAL, Archbishop of Canterbury and the founder of the Free Grammar School at St. Bees. He died July 6th, 1583, and was buried at the parish Church of Croydon.
Hensingham Church, dedicated to St. john, stands about the centre of the village: it is a modern edifice in the early English style of architecture, with a tower containing a clock and a bell. The interior consists of a nave and two aisles, and will accommodate about 600 persons, 180 sittings of which are free. It is endowed by the Earl of LONSDALE, with an estate valued at £100 a year. The living is a perpetual curacy, value about £126 per annum, in the gift of the Earl of LONSDALE, the Rev. John M. LOWTHER being the present incumbent.
The parochial school was instituted in the year 1807, for the free instruction of 40 children, and intended top be entirely supported by local contributions. It was rebuilt, on the old site, in 1851, by subscription, and a grant of £55 from the National Society, at the cost of £470. The school, which is a good stone building, contains rooms for boys and girls capable of accommodating 200 children, and has a teachers house attached.
The Wesleyan Chapel is a very neat building of red stone, situated between Marina Terrace and Cartgate, and was built in 1856. There is no stationed minister.
Water is supplied from the Whitehaven reservoir, forced up by the means of an engine erected for the purpose. The houses are supplied with gas by the Whitehaven Gas Light Company, but as yet there are no public lamps. There is also a Reading Room in the village, supported by members and public subscriptions.
Sail Cloths, Sacking, and Twines are manufactured here by Mr. W. WILSON; and limestone is quarried in the neighbourhood, at Overend. These quarries have been wrought for above a hundred years, and the stone is exported to Scotland, the Isle of Man, &c., &c.