Boarbank Hall, owned by the Augustinian sisters in Allithwaite, was built by a woman of independent means in a period when few women had such independence. Pat Rowland, of Cartmel Peninsula Local History Society, has researched the history of the hall and has discovered that it has had some interesting occupiers in the last 180 years.

In 1837 Mary Winfield Lambert had a grand house built on the site of Boarbank Cottage.

Mary, born in Kendal in 1787, the daughter of Josias and Beatrix Lambert, was the maternal granddaughter of Richard Winfield, a wealthy and important linsey-wolsey manufacturer in Kendal who owned much land, including some around Allithwaite.

On his death in 1821 Harriet Winfield, Richard’s surviving daughter — and Mary — were his beneficiaries, which made them very wealthy women.

From 1824 Mary lived at Allithwaite Lodge. Harriet, following the failure of her marriage to Thomas Carter, Dean of Tuam, also lived there. On Harriet’s death in 1835 Mary was her sole beneficiary.

Much of the land around the hamlet of Allithwaite now belonged to Mary and she oversaw its cultivation and improvement. She never married. Her estate was auctioned following her death in 1857 and part of the proceeds went towards the building of the church, vicarage, school and school house. Mary had set aside land she owned for these important buildings. The hamlet of scattered cottages and farms now had a focus and the village grew.

The house was purchased by Robert Legge, described in the 1861 census as a landed proprietor, born in Dublin in 1804. The estate was auctioned again in 1863 because the family decided to go to Australia.

Henry Chandler, born in Guildford, Surrey, in 1813, an agricultural implement manufacturer (Richmond and Chandler, of Salford) was the next owner. The firm was established around 1845.

They exhibited and won many awards at agricultural shows around the country and also exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851, where they were described as inventors and manufacturers. Their machinery included a cheese press, sack holders, corn crushers and grinders, an improved steaming apparatus, bean and oat mills, a linseed mill, turnip cutters and root washers and a chaff cutting machine. Their machinery was used around the world.

In 1852 they advertised a cradle for washing gold ore and offered advice to mechanics about emigrating to Australia to prospect for gold.

Boarbank Mansion was partly destroyed by fire in 1870 and rebuilt and extended in a formal Italianate style. In 1882 a yacht belonging to 18-year-old Norman Chandler, Henry’s eldest son, capsized and caused the death of two of his friends, Edward Young and Herbert Elliot, both of Kents Bank. Norman had owned the yacht for eight days.

This was the third narrow escape that he had had that year as he had been tossed out of a canoe and another canoe had overturned. Henry Chandler died in 1887.

John Ratcliffe JP was the next owner. He was a retired brewer, born in Rawtenstall, Lancashire, in 1840. In 1902 Joseph Bliss JP bought the estate. He was a banker, born in Leyland, Lancashire, in 1853.

Since 1921 the occupiers have been Augustinian sisters. They are a Catholic community of nuns who share their possessions, talents and time, care for the sick in their nursing home and provide hospitality in their guest house. More detail about the history of the order, a history of the area and Boarbank is contained in a booklet which has been recently revised and reprinted and is available from Boarbank Hall.