SIX men have denied historic allegations of assault and cruelty which centre on a South Cumbria school.

The men - whose combined ages total 415 - appeared in the dock at Carlisle Crown Court today.

Between them they face 10 charges which arise out of alleged incidents dating back to a period spanning almost a decade - between January, 1973, and May, 1982 at Witherslack School, near Grange-over-Sands.

Roger Melbreck Whitehouse, 77, of Butterflowers Caravan Park, Haverigg, denied two charges alleging actual bodily harm assaults, and further denied two child cruelty allegations.

Alec Edward Greening, 68, of Dalton, near Burton-in-Kendal, denied one child cruelty allegation and one charge alleging actual bodily harm assault.

Four men pleaded not guilty to one assault occasioning actual bodily harm allegation.

They are Andrew John Elliot, 67, of Main Street, Greatford, Stamford, Lincolnshire; Michael Lynch, 71, of Kirkhead Road, Grange; Anthony Gerrard Maxwell, 71, of Liquorstane, Falkland, Cupar, Fife; and Glyn Anthony Chuew Waterhouse, 61, of Stainton, near Kendal.

During today's 20-minute crown court hearing, each of the six men spoke only to confirm their names, dates of birth and nationalities, and to enter their not guilty pleas.

They were informed that their trial, due to last around five weeks, will begin on November 19.

In the meantime the six men were each granted bail, and told they must attend a pre-trial court hearing in October.