All text and images © Helvellyn Consulting 2021
Herbert Pattinson was born on the 29th April 1883, the tenth child of Lancelot and Martha Pattinson, who at that time were living at Eagle Farm in Glenridding. Lancelot was from a long line of Pattinsons in Patterdale and Glenridding – there are over 256 Pattinson entries in the Patterdale Parish Registers. The most famous of all was probably Lancelot Pattinson, or “Lanty Patty” as he was known, who lived in a cave near Goldrill Bridge (“Lanty’s Castle”) until his death in 1865 aged 96. Herbert’s mother Martha (nee Millican) was born in Coniston but had moved to Patterdale when she married Lancelot in 1864. When they married Lancelot was a miner at Greenside. In all they had eleven children. The first, John, was born in 1864. He was followed in regular succession by Thomas William (1865), George Henry (1868), Arthur Millican (1871), Emma Jane (1873), James (1875), Benjamin (1877), Albert (1879), Walter Paul (who died as a baby in 1882), Herbert in 1883, and finally Annie in 1886. The family had started off with the other Pattinson clan at Grassthwaite How (home to Glen and Harrison Pattinson), where Lancelot had been brought up but as the family grew they moved first to Croft House in Glenridding, and then by the mid 1870s, to Eagle Farm Glenridding, where they were to stay for 100 years.
Herbert would have attended Patterdale school with his siblings and cousins and it is very likely that he and many of them appear in the photo below taken of the children there in 1889. Around this time his father was still working as a miner at Greenside, as were his elder brothers John and Thomas. From the 1891 census it appears his elder sister Emma had a fine job as a “vermin slayer”. However by the time Herbert left school around 1897 it appears that his brothers had moved out of working underground and had set themselves up as joiners and coach builders in Glenridding. By 1901 their father Lancelot was the only one still working as a Lead Ore Smelter while the boys, including 17 year old Herbert, were all working as Coach makers or, in the case of Albert as a coach smith.
By 1911 Herbert’s father had finally left the mine and was working as a farmer. His eldest brother was still living at home and working as a general labourer. His sisters Emma and Annie were “assisting in the farmhouse”. James, Albert and Herbert himself were probably working with their elder brother Arthur, who by now was living at Keldas House (having married Jessie Wallace in 1904), and was running the firm of “A Pattinson Builder, Joiner & Blacksmith” in Glenridding.
When the war broke out in 1914 it appears that Herbert had moved to Bowness to work at an Admiralty Boatyard (Borwick & Sons Yacht, Launch & Boat Builders”. It was from here that in 1916 Herbert signed up, in Windermere, on the 13th January 1916. At the time he weas living in Bowness but at the end of that year, on the 23rd December 1916, he returned to Patterdale to marry Annie Birkback, and they moved into Martenhowe on the outskirts of Glenridding.
It is likely that Herbert knew at this point that he was likely to be mobilised at any moment. In December his brother Arthur had written a reference on this behalf emphasising his skills as a joiner
“he is a good steady ..workman and has been used to working ash, oak, elm and other hard woods. The reason why le left me was to go to Admiralty work”
Herbert received a similar reference from his employers in Bowness, as well as personal reference on the 25th January 1917 from The Rev WP Morris, the Rector of Patterdale which concluded that.
“I understand he is desirous of joining the Aircraft (Naval) Section. He is a joiner by trade and a very useful man be would be in the Royal Engineers if the above department is full”
The Royal Flying Corps was an obvious place for a man of Herbert’s skills, and others from the valley, such as Brownrigg Thompson, ended up in this branch of the services. However the powers that be seem to have taken the Rev Morris’ advice and on the 26th January 1917 Herbert was mobilised into the Royal Engineers at Chatham in Kent. He enrolled as a Sapper (the Royal Engineers equivalent of a Private) and it was noted on his forms that he was a “carpenter & joiner -
By the 6th January 1918 Herbert had transferred back into the Royal Engineers, joining the 6th Siege Corps on the 25th January 1918. We know that he was admitted to hospital on 20th April 1918 although we are not sure why, and on the 10th June 1918, he transferred to the 12th Field Company of the Royal Engineers, staying with them until 4th April 1919 when he transferred to the 458 Field Company. It was from here that he was finally demobilised on the 16th October 1919 from Chatham, returning to Glenridding.
On returning to the Dale it appears that Herbert settled initially at Deepdale Bridge with his brother John. He was still there in 1935 although by 1939 he appears to have moved back to the family home at Eagle Cottage in Glenridding with his wife Annie and his sister, also Annie. Even at that point there were still 26 Pattinsons listed in the Dale on the electoral roll!
We believe Herbert died in December 1971 at the age of 88, Annie having died a few months earlier in June at the age of 95. Herbert is remembered on the Glenridding Village Hall Roll of Honour alongside his cousins Glen and Harrison Pattinson.
In terms of the rest of the family, Herbert’s father had died at the age of 75 during the First World War at Eagle Farm, and was buried at Patterdale Church on the 11th March 1917. Herbert’s mother Martha died three years later in 1920 at the age of 78. Herbert’s eldest brother John married Sarah Littlefair at the age of 55 in 1919 and remained in the village until his death aged 69 in December 1945.
Brother Thomas William had married Esther Bowman in Penrith in 1894. They moved away to Lancashire and had two children (Elsie and Florence) but by the time Thomas died in 1918 at the age of 52 they were living at Place Fell Cottage in Patterdale. Another brother, George Henry, had married married Sarah Typer in 1893 in Cardiff. They lived in Gloucester where George worked as a gardener. They had one child, Lancelot Vincent and George died in 1947 aged 79 in Cheltenham.
Elder brother Arthur, whom Herbert had worked for before the outbreak of World War One, also continued to live in Glenridding at Keldas House. He had married Jessie Wallace in 1904 and they lived at Keldas House until his death in February 1945 at the age of 73. We believe Herbert’s brother Benjamin moved to Ulverston, where he married Nora Bell around 1919, and stayed until his death in September 1962 at the age of 85.
It appears that Herbert’s other siblings, Emma, James, Albert and Annie all remained unmarried and lived together at Eagle Farm and Cottage until their deaths. The youngest, Annie, was the first to die in 1946 at the age of 60. Next was Emma, in 1949 at the age of 75. James died in 1952 at the age of 77, and finally Albert in 1964 at the age of 85.
If you can add anything to the story of Herbert and his family please contact us.
Sapper Herbert Pattinson
Royal Engineers & 46361 - 12th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment (The Green Howards)
Born 29th April 1883, Eagle Cottage Glenridding
Died Dec 1971 Aged 88
Son of Lancelot & Martha (nee Millican) Pattinson, Eagle Farm
Husband of Annie Birkback
A photo of the children at Patterdale School in 1889, kindly given to us by the family of Dawson Bowman, which will include Herbert and almost certainly his elder siblings Benjamin and Albert. We have tried to identify as many of them as possible on our Patterdale School Then and Now page.
The reference for Herbert from The Rev WP Morris
The reference from Borwick & Sons in Windermere
The reference from Herbert's Elder Brother Arthur
Herbert's Medal Index Card