South Lakeland is the cradle of the Society of Friends, with many of their earliest 'meetings' stretching from Swarthmoor, the home of their founder George Fox, and eastwards into Kentdale and Lunesdale.

Though pledged to be physically non-combatant they could, as their name of 'Quakers' suggests, be verbally violent.

Passive resistance was clearly not the style of Francis Howgill.

In 1663, after being sentenced to imprisonment for 'outspoken preaching,' he confronted his persecutor, Justice Duckett, at his home, Grayrigg Hall.

Francis fulminated: "thou hast persecuted the Lord's people, but his hand is against thee.

"He will blast thy dwelling and it shall become desolate and become a habitation for owls and jackdaws."

Neither man relented and Francis was carted off to Appleby Gaol.

Even so, the doleful prophecy seemed to come true.

In 1677, the Ducketts were dispossessed of their Hall for being Roman Catholics and 'the last of the line begged her bread at Grayrigg doors.'

After being bought by the Lowthers, the hall had fallen down by 1777, though some of its stones were incorporated in a later farmhouse.