ninth of ten children born to agricultural labourer James Armer (1798–1874)and Margaret Armer neé Cowperthwaite (1799–1871)
factory boy aged 15 in 1851 living at Burton-in-Kendal
married Annie Cannon (1835–1892)at Bolton-le-Sands, Lancashire on 12 November 1857
railway watchman in 1861 living at Lambrigg Head, Westmorland
railway pointsman in 1871 living at 10 Low Gill Cottages, Low Gill, Westmorland
railway porter in 1881 living at Speight Bridge, Hutton in the Hay, Westmorland
railway foreman porter in 1891 living at 8 Helmside
wife Annie died in 1892
inmate of Milnthorpe Workhouse in 1901
inmate of Milnthorpe Workhouse in 1911
George and Annie had ten children:
John James Armer (1858–1870) – baptised 8 September 1858 at Over Kellet, Lancashire – died aged 12 – buried 8 April 1870 at Ulverston, Lancashire
Clara Armer (1860–1927)– baptised 6 January 1861 at Grayrigg, Westmorland – servant at Middleshaw Farm, Old Hutton in 1881 – married James Graham (1864–1927) in 1888 – died aged 66 at Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire in 1927
George Armer (1862–?) –
Nancy Armer (1865–1865) –
Margaret Armer (1866–1880) –
William Armer (1869–1884) –
Anthony Armer (1871–1884) –
Annie Armer (1872–?) –
Robert John Armer (1875–1948) – see further information below
Joseph Armer (1879–1961) – stores clerk for shipbuilder at Barrow-in-Furness in 1911 – married Florence Price – had eight children (6 boys and 2 girls)
Robert John Armer (c.1875–1948)
born at New Hutton, Westmorland
scholar in 1881 living at Speight Bridge, Hutton-in-the-Hay, Westmorland
married Jane Graham (1877–1965)daughter of railway engine driver Richard Graham in 1899
lived at 17 Helmside, Oxenholme
died 1 August 1948
buried at St. Mark’s Church, Natland
headstone inscribed “In loving memory of Robert John Armer who died 1st August 1948 aged 73 years. Also of Jane his beloved wife who died 3rd March 1965 aged 87 years.”
administration Carlisle 1 September 1948 to Jane Armer widow
effects £890 14s 3d
widow Jane continued to live at 17 Helmside with son Richard and his family
Jane died 3 March 1965
probate Carlisle 9 June 1965 to son Richard Graham Armer railway employee
Robert and Jane had at least four children:
Richard Graham Armer (1902–1995)
Phoebe Armer (1903–1979)– died 29 August 1979 – buried at St. Mark’s Church, Natland – headstone inscribed “In loving memory of Phoebe Armer who died 29th August 1979.”
Robert Eric Armer (1905–1980)
George William Armer (1912-1943) – George was a schoolmaster and served in WW2 as a Sergeant Navigator/Bomber in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 15 Squadron and was killed in action on 2 March 1943. He is buried at Baarderadeel General Cemetery, Schillaard, Friesland, Netherlands and is commemorated on the Natland War Memorial and by a wall plaque inside St. Mark’s Church
James Armer (1850-1871)
born at Old Hutton, Westmorland in 1850
son of railway labourer Matthew Armer (1825-1901) and Mary Armer neé Bell (1826–1900)
cousin of Robert John Armer (c.1875–1948) above
scholar aged 10 in 1861 living at Bridge End, Old Hutton
railway labourer aged 20 in 1871 living at Bridge End, Old Hutton
gatekeeper killed at Oxenholme Station 9 December 1871
Can you add any information to this page? Do you have any photographs or memories you could share? If so, please email us
We know of six men associated with Oxenholme who lost their lives on active service in World War 1 or shortly after:
George Francis ‘Frank’ Askew (1889-1915) ‘Frank’, was born at Lancaster on 12 January 1889, the second of at least six children born to Edmund and his wife Ellen. The family moved to 12 Helmside, Oxenholme when Frank was just 2, with Edmund being employed on the railway first as a yardsman and then as a shunter. Frank enlisted at Glasgow and served as a Private in the 8th Battalion of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles). He died at Gallipoli on 8 June 1915. His name is recorded on the Helles Memorial, Turkey but not on the Natland memorial.
Alexander Cragghill (1899-1918) Alexander, born in 1899, lived at 19 Helmside, Oxenholme and was the second of two sons born to William Cragghill and his second wife Catherine Cragghill (formerly White). Alexander’s father William, a railway engine driver, had thirteen children by his first wife Ellen Craghill neé Butler. Alexander served as a Private with the 13th Battalion, The King’s (Liverpool) Regiment. He died on 28 March 1918 during the First Battle of Arras. Alexander’s name is recorded on the Arras Memorial, France and on the original plaque of the Natland memorial.
Herbert Nixon (1892-1920) Herbert, born at Clifton, Westmorland in 1892, was the second of five children born to Thomas George Nixon and his wife Elizabeth Todd Nixon who lived at 24 Helmside, Oxenholme. Like his father, Herbert worked on the railway. Herbert married Helen Escolme in July 1917 and daughter Marian was born in October 1918. Sadly Helen died just three weeks later. Herbert initially served as a Private in the RASC Motor Transport Unit. He died from typhus on 25 January 1920 while serving in Southern Russia. Daughter Marian was brought up by her mother’s sister. Herbert’s name is recorded on the Haidar Pasha Memorial, Turkey and on a supplementary plaque added to the Natland memorial in 2008.
Douglas Swan Tweddle (1891-1917) Douglas, born at Oxenholme in 1891, was the fourth of eleven children born to James Swan Tweddle and his wife Rhoda Nixon who lived at 23 Helmside, Oxenholme. Like his father, Douglas worked on the railway. Douglas married Florence Cole at St. Peter’s Church, Aintree in 1916. He served as a Private in the 22nd Battalion, The Manchester Regiment. He died on 27 May 1917. His name is commemorated on the Achiet-le-Grand Communal Cemetery Memorial and at St. Peter’s Church, Aintree, but not on the Natland memorial.
Charles, born at Oxenholme on 24 June 1894, was the fifth of six children born to William James Wilson (1845–1904) and his wife Susan Isabella Rachel Wilson nee Smith (1860–1933), known as Rachel, who lived at High Park House, Oxenholme. Charles was educated at Cheltenham College. He served with the 2nd Battalion, The Border Regiment as a 2nd Lieutenant but was killed in action on 12 March 1925 during the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, France aged 20. He was initially buried at Cuthbert Farm Cemetery near Richebourg-L’Avoue and his remains were due to be moved in 1925 to Rue-Petillon Cemetery, Fleurbaix but were not found. His name is commemorated at the Le Touret Memorial and on the Kendal Memorial. Probate was granted at Carlisle on 23 July 1915 to his widowed mother Rachel. His estate was valued at £744.
John James Woof (1893-1917) John, a farm labourer born at Oxenholme, was the second of eight children born to Joseph Woof and his wife Hannah Woof. He served as a Private in the 1st Battalion, The Border Regiment. He died on 23 April 1917 and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.
In November 2018, Kendal Library, with the support of Kendal Town Council and the Royal British Legion, created a walking trail to commemorate the sacrifice of the 316 men from Kendal and Oxenholme during the First World War. The above is an extract. Unfortunately, the red markers were placed at the wrong end of Helmside Road – all the men lived in Helmside Cottages off the map in the bottom left corner.
We know of one man associated with Oxenholme who lost his life on active service in World War 2 or shortly after:
George William Armer (1912-1943) George was born in 1912 to Robert John Armer and his wife Jane who lived at 17 Helmside, Oxenholme. George was a schoolmaster and served in WW2 as a Sergeant Navigator/Bomber in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 15 Squadron. George was killed in action on 2 March 1943. He was buried at Baarderadeel General Cemetery, Schillaard, Friesland, Netherlands and is commemorated on the Natland War Memorial and by a wall plaque inside St. Mark’s Church
The following transcriptions have been extracted from the National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations):
ARMER George William of 17 Helm-side Oxenholme near Kendal Westmorland died 2 March 1943 on war service. Administration Carlisle 29 June (1944) to Robert John Armer retired engine driver. Effects £539 2s 4d.
ARMER Robert John of 17 Helmside Oxenholme Kendal Westmorland died 1 August 1948. Administration Carlisle 1 September (1948) to Jane Armer widow. Effects £890 14s 3d.
BAINES Richard of Helmside Natland Kendal Westmorland retired railway signalman died 17 January 1922 Administration Carlisle 29 March (1922) to John Baines hotel porter. Effects £208 0s 11d.
BAKER Francis Edwin of Mountain View Gatebeck near Kendal Westmorland died 20 February 1949. Administration Carlisle 9 April (1949) to Mary Jane Baker widow. Effects £447 19s 4d.
BALMER Brenda Annie of 48 Helmside Road Oxenholme Kendal died 29 June 1987. Administration with Will Newcastle-upon-Tyne 28 July. Not exceeding £40000
BLAND Ernest Williamof 4 Hill-place Oxenholme near Kendal Westmorland died 25 March 1944. Administration Carlisle 2 May (1944) to Margaret Ann Bland widow. Effects £486 9s 11d.
DICKINSON Edmund of 14 Fairbank Kirkby Lonsdale Westmorland died 24 January 1932 at the Guardians Institution Kendal Westmorland. Probate Carlisle 8 Fbruary (1932) to Margaret Alice Dickinson (wife of James Dickinson). Effects £60 7s 3d.
DIXON George Whiteheadof Station Inn Oxenholme near Kendal Westmorland died 4 May 1958. Administration Carlisle 3 June (1958) to Ellen Wilson Dixon widow. Effects £851 15s 10d.
FORSHAW Ellen of Station Cottages Oxenholme near Kendal Westmorland died 7 March 1914. Administration Carlisle 23 March (1914) to Edward Fleming labourer. Effects £83 15s 3d.
GRAHAM Richard of 6 Ford-terrace Kendal Westmorland died 29 January 1927 Probate Carlisle 25 February (1927) to Francis Braithwaite Graham shunter and George Weaver ticket collector. Effects £1,668 9s 3d.
HAYTHORNTHWAITE Richard of 2 Helmside Oxenholme Westmorland railway signal chargeman died 31 December 1919. Administration Carlisle 17 March (1920) to Elizabeth Alice Haythornthwaite widow. Effects £98 3s 9d.
KNIGHTS Richard Atkin of Hillcrest Oxenholme Westmorland died 10 December 1952 Probate Carlisle 24 February (1953) to Lawrence Herbert Shepherd cycle agent. Effects £3,046 16s 9d.
MOFFAT Ada Mary of Mountside Beech Hill Terrace Kendal Westmorland died 13 June 1966. Probate Carlisle 7 September (1966) to Philip Gardner Thomson solicitor. £10,108
MOFFAT Thomas of Glen-villa Oxenholme Westmorland died 8 March 1923. Probate Carlisle 24 April (1923) to Ada Mary Moffat widow and Arthur Ingram Moffat agricultural merchant and agent. Effects £4,726 5s 7d.
NIXON Elizabeth Todd of 24 Helmside Oxenholme Westmorland widow died 1 July 1946 at 10 Gandy-street Kendal Westmorland. Probate Carlisle 23 July (1946) to Percy Nixon railway engine driver. Effects £597 14s 8d.
PAINE Harry of 8 Union-street Kendal Westmorland brakesman died 5 December 1913 at Wigan. Administration Carlisle 2 January (1914) to Jane Paine widow. Effects £168 5s.
PEARS John. 16 January (1890). Administration of the Personal Estate of John Pears late of Helmside near Kendal in the County of Westmoreland Railway Porter who died 1 January 1890 at Oxenholme near Kendal in the said County was granted at Carlisle to Sarah Pears of Helmside Widow the Relict. Personal Estate £246 14s 11d.
POOLEY John of 5 Hill Place Oxenholme near Kendal Westmorland died 17 December 1950. Probate Carlisle 26 January (1951) to William Haythornthwaite retired engine driver and William Thomas Thornton retired railwayman. Effects £182 10s.
RISHTON Frank of Helmdene Oxenholme near Kendal Westmorland died 23 March 1934. Probate Carlisle 9 August (1934) to Margaret Rishton widow Henry John Rishton retired farmer and Richard Askew retired police sergeant. Effects £11,055 8s 8d.
ROOKE Ada Louisa of Bromley Cottage Stainton Kendal Westmorland died 20 January 1965 at 21 Bolefoot Oxenholme Kendal. Probate Lancaster 15 February (1965) to Arthur Robert Rooke retired railwayman and Millie Shaw married woman. £1796.
SWAINBANK Martha of Helmgarth Oxenholme Westmorland (wife of Henry Ellis Swainbank) died 13 May 1932. Administration Carlisle 22 June (1932) to the said Henry Ellis Swainbank engine driver. Effects £764 3s 9d.
SWARBRICK Allan of 12 Helmside Oxenholme near Kendal Westmorland died 12 March 1944 at Westmorland County Hospital. Administration Carlisle 2 May (1944) to Jane Swarbrick widow. Effects £372 6s 3d.
TEASDALE George. 23 August 1866. The Will of George Teasdale formerly of the “Beehive” Inn Stainton in the Parish of Heversham but late of “Oxenholme Station” Inn Natland both in the County of Westmoreland Innkeeper deceased who died 30 June 1866 at the “Oxenholme Station” Inn aforesaid was proved at Carlisle by the oaths of Isabella Teasdale of “Oxenholme Station” Inn aforesaid Widow the Relict William Hindson of Old Hutton in the County aforesaid Relieving Officer and Thomas Dixon of Underhelm in Stainton aforesaid Farmer the Executors. Effects under £800.
TEASDALE Isabella. 3 February 1876. Administration of the effects of Isabella Teasdale late of “Oxenholme Station” Inn in the Township of Natland in the County of Westmoreland Widow who died 1 January 1876 at “Oxenholme Station” Inn was granted at Carlisle to George Teasdale of “Oxenholme Station” Inn Innkeeper the Son and one of the Next of Kin. Effects under £200.
WILSON Charles Henry of Oxenholme House Oxenholme Westmorland died 7 March 1927. Probate Carlisle 27 April (1927) to John Gasgoigne Swinglehurst esquire and Edward Moser solicitor. Effects £49,017 19s 8d. Resworn £49,142 19s 8d.
WILSON William Esq.9 September 1880. The Will with a Codicil of William Wilson late of Rigmaden in the County of Westmoreland Esquire who died 26 July 1880 at Rigmaden was proved at Carlisle by Arthur Shepherd of Shaw End in the said County esquire and Christopher Wyndham Wilson of Rigmaden William James Wilson of High Park in the said County and Charles Henry Wilson of Rigmaden Esquires the Sons the Executors. Personal Estate under £200,000.
WINDER Albert Edwardotherwise Albert Edward Chapman of 4 Helmside Oxenholme Kendal Westmorland died 30 January 1957 at Kendal Green Hospital Kendal. Probate Carlisle 19 February (1957) to John Willie Winder railway guard. Effects £423 15s 8d.
WINDER John Willieof Helme Hurst 100 Oxenholme Road Kendal Westmorland died 29 November 1958. Administration (with Will) Carlisle 19 February (1959) to Helena Winder widow. Effects £2,208 9s 8d.
WINDER Sarah Elizabeth of 19 Helmside Rd Oxenholme Kendal died 4 June 1977. Probate Newcastle-upon-Tyne 22 July (1977). £8,874 772301254W
Alexander Armer (58), railway engine driver, of Rinkfield, Kendal, died yesterday in hospital in Kendal. He was involved in a collision with a car while cycling home on Sunday morning from Oxenholme station.
On Saturday last an inquest was held at the railway-station, Oxenholme, by C. G. Thomson, Esq., on the body of James Armer, gatekeeper at the level crossing at Oxenholme, who had been struck down and killed that morning by a luggage train, as detailed in the following evidence: –
Matthew Armer, of Old Hutton, labourer, deposed. – The deceased James Armer was my son. He was 21 years of age. He was not married. He was the gatekeeper at Oxenholme Station on the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway. He had been in the employment of the London and North-Western Railway Company for several years, but had only acted as gatekeeper at Oxenholme for about five weeks. Deceased had been on day duty for the last fortnight. His hours were from six o’clock in the morning until six o’clock in the evening. He took all his meals with him to work.
Robert Armstrong of Carlisle, deposed: – I am an engine driver in the employment of the London and North Western Railway Company, and have been in the service of the company for nearly 23 years. I was this morning driving a luggage train which leaves Carlisle at 3.30 a.m. It is due at Oxenholme at 6.18 a.m., but is it not marked to stop at Oxenholme. We were rather more than an hour late this morning, and approached Oxenholme about 7.30 a.m. We ran through Oxenholme Station at about a speed of fifteen or twenty miles an hour; certainly under twenty miles. Just before the engine reached the cabin on the south side of the gates, on the east side of the line, I saw the deceased come from the direction of the cabin and went right in front of my engine. It was not quite light at the time. I whistled, but could see nothing of the deceased. I looked at the other side and saw his cap fly off, and I was sure the engine had struck him then. I stopped the train and came back, and found deceased had been removed to the porters’ room. He was not dead, but insensible. There was a train on the down line running north as we passed the level crossing. My engine would be about ten or fifteen yards from the deceased when I first saw him, and I think that if he had gone direct across the line he would have cleared it. I saw no one near deceased. The signals were all right for our passing through the station. I afterwards examined the engine and found marks on the ash box as if it had come into contact with deceased.
James Robinson, of Upperby, near Carlisle, deposed: – I acted as fireman on the engine driven by the last witness this morning. We passed through Oxenholme Station at a speed of about twenty miles an hour. The driver whistled just before we reached the level crossing, and I saw deceased’s cap flying off as we passed the gates.
Henry Nelson, of Oxenholme, deposed: – I am a foreman platelayer in the employment of the London and North-Western Railway Company. About half-past seven o’clock this morning I was in deceased’s cabin, with himself and John Park, the pointsman and signalman at the south end of the station. We were all talking. We had not been more than two or three minutes in the box when the north end signalman gave four gongs, which is the signal that a goods train is approaching from the north. Park returned the signal with one gong, which means all right – that the road is clear. Deceased asked me to open his gates, and I said “well, when I have more time,” and he then took down the gate keys and went and opened the goods yard gate on the east side of the line, and I afterwards heard him run down past the cabin, but I did not see him. The next thing I heard was the goods train passing and whistling for breaks. After the train had passed we found deceased lying in the four foot about twenty-three yards below the gates. He was lying with his face downwards. We lifted deceased into the six foot, and then went for assistance and removed him into the porters’ room, where he remained and died in about twenty minutes. Deceased was very much injured uponhis head, and one foot was smashed. He was never sensible after we found him.