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The Stordy Ostles

Thomas Ostle (1698-1781), the eldest son of Joseph and Jane Ostle of Newtown married Mary Stordy on September 3rd 1726 at Burgh Meeting. She was the daughter of John Stordy of Thurstonfield. The Stordys were a prominent and well-to-do Quaker family which included Thomas Stordy of Moorhouse, who had died in 1684 while imprisoned for his faith at Carlisle.

Thomas Ostle's uncle, Jonathan, had married Thomas Stordy's daughter and heir, Ruth, in 1705. She lived for only two years after the marriage and, through her, Jonathan inherited a large amount of property. Although he later remarried, he died childless in 1752 and left almost his entire estate to Thomas and Mary. Mary also received a substantial legacy from her father when he died in 1743. The couple thus became quite wealthy land owners. They had eight children, six of whom survived into adulthood.

Their eldest son, Thomas, moved into the property which had belonged to Jonathan in Moorhouse, a hamlet 4 miles (6 Km) due west of Carlisle. Thomas and Mary built a fine new house for him there. His younger brother, Joseph, moved in with him. These Moorhose Ostells (they retained the original spelling of the name) were to move to Carlisle during the 19th Century where they became solicitors.

Low Moor House
The house which Thomas and Mary built for their eldest son at Moorhouse

Cruck Barn at Moorhouse
Ron Palmer, until recently the owner of the house, stands in the fine cruck barn attached to the property.

Thomas and Mary's second son, John, stayed at home in Newtown. His descendants are still there. Their eldest surviving daughter, Mary, married the boy next door, William Glaister. Mary and William's eldest daughter, Mary Glaister, married Daniel Beeby, a member of a Quaker family of seafarers from Allonby and their grand daughter, yet another Mary, was to write the famous "Memorandum" which has been published by the Cumbria Family History Society.

The fourth son Jacob was a carpenter. He married a Sarah Allison and moved to Cockermouth where, by 1810, he was listed as a "Cabinet Maker and Grocer". Their son, Thomas, became a successful book publisher in London.

Their youngest son to survive childhood was Caleb, a Malster by trade. He married Deborah Pea and, in 1764, they built a home right on the sea bank at Mawbray, just down the coast from Newtown. This property was always known as 'Mawbray Yard' but it has now been renamed 'Ostle House'.


This 1852 Watercolour of Mawbray Bank by an unknown artist shows Caleb's maltings with the sails of Bank Mill in the background.


Caleb and Deborah's home today
Their lintel is shown as an inset.


Caleb’s grandson, another Caleb was born in 1812. This is his birth token, engraved on a well-worn silver half-crown from the reign of William III. It must have been in circulation for over a century before Caleb’s birth. It is in the collection of Michael Finlay.

By 1735, things had settled down for the Quakers and they were able to purchase land at Beckfoot on which to build a proper Meeting House. The original trustees of the property were Thomas Ostle and three other Friends, John Saul, Daniel Hayton and Robert Wilkinson.

Under the terms of his Uncle Jonathan's will, Thomas Ostle had been charged with distributing a sum of two hundred pounds amongst his younger sons, Joseph, Jacob and Caleb, to none of whom had he left any property. Thomas finally carried out this request in February 1783. The three signed an agreement acknowledging receipt of the money and releasing their father from any further liability.


The Signatures of Joseph, Jacob and Caleb from the indenture they signed after receiving their legacies.

Thomas died at Newtown in 1781, Mary survived him by seven years. Their descendents continued to farm at Newtown for another five generations.


The farm at Newtown. The door on the extreme right has the lintel inscribed by Thomas and Francis Ostle in 1680. The slightly higher extension has a lintel inscribed '17 JOJ 21' this refers to Joseph, Thomas' son. The 'New' house on the left was probably completed around 1850.


John (1794-1861) was the great grandson of Thomas Ostle and Mary Stordy, he married Mary Biglands in 1824. Mary died in 1838 and John survived her by twenty-three years. Their second son, John, kept the journal which is transcribed on this website. He married Rachel Harrison.


This picture comes from the family album.

The couple at the top are John and Sarah (Bell) Harrison, the parents of Rachel. The pair at the bottom are probaby John Ostle and his sister Sarah. These are the first Ostles of whom we have a photograph.

John's second cousin, another John, set up business as a photographer in Carlisle around 1858, one of the very first professionals in that city. It would be nice to think that this was one of his earliest experiments. It would have to have been taken before 1861 when John of Newtown died.

The John in the photograph seems to have led a fairly uneventful life farming Newtown. However, he had other business interests. Together with his cousins and their neighbours, the Glaisters, they invested in a Schooner.

According to the Index of Registered Vessels for Maryport, the 'Dan Glaister' was built there by Messrs K. Wood in 1851. Her original master was Dan Glaister of Maryport. He was John Ostle's second cousin, both of them being great-grandsons of Thomas Ostle and Mary Stordy. Dan seems to have been born at the Glaister farm, next door to the Ostles, and was about nine years older than John so the pair must have known each other all their lives.

The ownership of the schooner was divided into sixty-four shares, with Captain Dan owning four and his nephew, Joseph Glaister, holding two shares as did both John and his brother, Dan Ostle of Cowgate. Their cousin, John Ostle of Mawbray Cote also bought two shares and some of the other local Quaker families also invested including the Littles of Bank Mill who seem to have been close friends of the Ostles.


From the ' Carlisle Patriot'

In 1853 Dan retired and his nephew Joseph became master of the schooner. By this time, the ship was running a regular freight service between Maryport and the Canning Dock in Liverpool in conjunction with the new steam ship, the ' Cumbria'. A year later, Joseph Glaister handed over command of the sailing ship to a Thomas Post and became captain of the Cumbria himself until his untimely death in 1857.

John's eldest son, Thomas continued to farm at Newtown, his younger son, John, the diarist, farmed at Border Farm, The Nook and finally at New Cowper.

Thomas (1826-1886) married Sarah Bell in 1854. His son, John (1856-1907), did not marry. He lived at Newtown for many years with his sisters Rachel, Mary and Sarah Jane. Eventually Rachel married John Hope. When Mary died in 1930, the farm was rented out to another family, temporally ending three hundred years of continuous husbandry by the Ostles.

The farm was re-occupied by Tommy Ostle in the 1950s, and his son, John, took over in 1978. It is currently farmed by John’s nephew, Kevin Clark.

A plan of the farm at Newtown

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