Cross Keys Inn, Temperance

The Cross Keys History

The earliest records available show a Thomas Bland as occupant of the Cross Keys in 1619 but the property as we now know it was probably built in the late 16th Century and extended at one and in the early 18th century, and extended at the other end in the 19th century. The oldest part of the building is the parlour and the room above. In 1949 it was left to the National Trust in the will of Mrs Edith Adelaide Bunney, to be held as an unlicensed inn, in memory of her sister Miss Mary Blanche Hewetson.

(The Hewetson`s were a Ravenstonedale family and there is a window in Ravenstonedale Church , some 10 miles North of the Cross Keys, depicting St Cecilia, in memory of Mary Blanche who died 1890 aged 29. Edith Adelaide and Mary Blanche were the daughters of John and Adelaide Hewetson of Hwith House at Street, Ravenstonedale (demolished 1926) Edith was born 1868 and died 1948 at The Street, Ravenstonedale. She married Michael F. W. Bunney an architect who died in 1926. Their son Michael John Hewetson Bunney, of Hwith, Ravenstonedale, was born 1907 and married Charlotte Gray in 1935. They were both architects and had a practice at 30 Lowther Street, Kendal and were responsible for the refurbishment of Kendal's Abbot Hall.)

Previous to becoming an inn in the early 1800's the Cross Keys was a farmhouse known as High Haygarth. It probably became an inn shortly after 1819 when the Cautley road, which originally ran up over the Bluecaster Fell, was re-aligned to run on a more level route, which passed in front of High Haygarth.

The initials and date above the front door refer to John and Agnes Howgill who owned High Haygarth at that time

Following a jolly evening at the Cross Keys a relative of a local family by the name of Buck was being helped home in the direction of Ravenstonedale by the then Landlord. It would seem that this relative fell down the river banking. In an attempt to assist him the Landlord fell into the river Rawthey and subsequently drowned. On the 27th October 1902 the Cross Keys was sold by auction at the Bull Hotel, Sedbergh, for 900.00 to Mrs Sarah Buck of Ravenstonedale. Mrs Buck re-sold it to Mrs Edith Adelaide Bunney who removed the liquor license, with the result that since 1902 the Cross Keys has been a Temperance Inn.

The Quaker Connection

In 1652, Colonel Gervase Benson was a lawyer and one time Mayor of Kendal.

Colonel Benson lived at Borret farm near Brigflatts in Sedbergh, and owned High Haygarth (now the Cross Keys). In that year he was a supporter of a group known as the Westmorland Seekers, a group among many at that time who turned away from state religion and embraced freer forms of worship in "gathered churches" of like-minded men and women.

George Fox came to Sedbergh to attend his first Seeker meeting that Whit Sunday at Borret farm and this meeting saw the start of a further spiritual journey for Gervase Benson.

His first wife Dorothy was imprisoned at York "for speaking to (or heckling) a priest" and there she gave birth to their son Immanuel in 1653. When she died a year or two later she was buried in the garden at High Haygarth which we now believe to be an area covered by our dining room and verandah.

The connection continues with the present tenant, Alan Clowes - another "vociferous Quaker"!

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