The three main settlements in the valley are Buttermere, Loweswater and
Lorton all have their own church and identity ( and pub!!).
Buttermere ( the lake by the dairy pastures) is a tiny village between
the Lakes of Buttermere and Crummock with most of its buildings dating back to
the early 17th Century. It has hotels, pub food and a village cafe.
In 1805 Buttermere was made nationally famous by Mary Robinson who lived at the
Fish and was known as the Maid of Buttermere. She was tricked into
marrying Alexander Hope at Lorton Church. He was a bigamist and a conman who was
later hanged in Carlisle. There is an excellent book about it and soon to be a
There is a pretty church built in 1840 on the site of an earlier one but it is
the scenery gorged out by glaciers that dominates.
Near to Buttermere is the secret valley of Rannerdale, the supposed scene of
England's last stand against the Normans, described in a book entitled "The
Secret Valley" by Nicholas Size,
former owner of the Bridge and the only man ever to be buried in the Buttermere
Loweswater which means leafy lake, is a scattered village with the
centre being the church which dates from the 12th Century, the nearby school (
1830), now the village hall and the pub, the Kirkstile, with full bar meals and local ales. Near to Loweswater is Brackenthwaite , site of
a bloody battle between the Norse and the Normans.
Lorton, meaning roaring stream farm, is the largest of the villages.
it is a quiet, peaceful village with much history.
Low Lorton is situated by the River Cocker with an old pub, The
Wheatsheaf Inn which serves delicious food. There is also Lorton Hall which
boasts a 15th Century pele tower and is very
High Lorton is equally pretty with Lorton Park (including listed
smokehouse) and some lovely cottages. It stands at the foot the Whinlatter Pass,
the old Roman road to Keswick. A shop and post office serve the valley well and
the old Jennings Brewery, now at Cockermouth, started producing ales at what is
now High Swinside Farm, Lorton. They later moved to the village hall and
adjacent cottages before the move to Cockermouth.
Situated behind the village hall is the Wordsworth yew, an old tree made famous
in one of Wordworth's poems.
In between High and Low Lorton stands St Cuthberts church dating from 1198.It is
situated on a road once known as Crossgates which marked the boundary between
the two halves of the village. Also on this road is the old Sunday school and
the Old Vicarage.