Some Printed Sources for Curwen and Christian History
1. "A History of the Ancient House of Curwen," by John F Curwen (1928). 'A collection of extracts from monastic cartularies, inquisitions, wills, English and Scottish Public Records, historical manuscripts, and other available sources.' Continues to 1928, giving brief biographical summaries in later years, and including a number of collateral branches. Full and useful, although he apparently did not use many of the Workington Hall MSS, excepting those printed by Ragg.
[note: John F Curwen was also the author of various articles and works on Cumberland and Westmorland history and antiquities, being especially an authority on local castles and forts].
See also YDX 195/1
2. C & W, o.s., V, p.181 (1880). "The Curwens of Workington Hall and Kindred Families," by W Jackson. Covers the period to 1728; an important first attack on the subject, now mostly superseded by Ragg. Has a detailed and useful PEDIGREE, which needs minor modifications.
3. C & W, n.s., XIV, p.343 (1914). "De Culwen," by the Rev FW Ragg. A scholarly examination of the evidence relating to the Curwen family down to c.1450. He prints (not always accurately) transcripts of important early documents, and is the only person to have studied the early deeds in the Lonsdale archives relating to the Curwens. He also explored sources in the British Museum. His PEDIGREE emends that of Jackson.
4. C & W, n.s., LXII, p.95 (1962). "The Parentage of William de Lancaster, Lord of Kendal," by George Washington. The most recent thoughts on 11th. and 12th. century Curwen ancestry.
5. C & W, n.s., IV, p.217 (1903). "The Christians of Ewanrigg," by Alan D Curwen. Brief biographical notes on the family from the 15th. century, with PEDIGREE.
6. "North Country Life in the Eighteenth Century," Vol. II, Cumberland and Westmorland 1700 - 1830, by Edward Hughes. A volume which reflects particularly the author's interest in the Curwens and Christians, and in their mining, shipping, farming, and political activities. John Christian Curwen is perhaps the central figure of the book. Essential reading for the man and the period, containing transcripts of a number of Workington Hall documents.
Documents formerly the property of the Curwen or Christian families, but now in other collections.
a) D/Lons, records of the Earl of Lonsdale.
In 1725 the Curwen manors of Seaton and Stainburn were sold to Charles Pelham, and many of the records relating to these manors were transferred, together with some also relating to other Curwen manors, and some apparently having no connection with Seaton or Stainburn at all. The manors subsequently passed into Lonsdale hands.
Over 100 deeds c.1386 - c.1725 relating to all the Curwen manors, especially Seaton and Stainburn, but including Workington, Winscales, Dearham, Camerton, Harrington, and others. Also concerning advowson, tithes, and a fishery in the River Derwent.
Book of the Courts Leet and Baron of the manors of Harrington, Workington, Seaton, and Stainburn 1702 - 1725 [continued for Seaton and Stainburn to 1740 during the period that Charles Pelham was Lord].
Receiver's account roll for Workington and Seaton, with rental of other manors, 1451-2.
Inquisitions post mortem of Gilbert de Culewenne 1329 [copy], Sir Thomas Curwen 1553, and Oswald Curwen of Camerton 1551.
Description of the bounds of Workington, c.1698.
Assessment of General Fine, Seaton, 1682.
Workington terrier, 1698.
Also in the Lonsdale archives is the Account Book 1625 - 1646 of Sir Patricius Curwen. This is a full and detailed volume, containing an almost complete account of receipts and disbursements for family and estate transactions. There is a modern introduction analysing the contents. Prominent items are estate and manorial rents, with accounts of farming, fishing, coal and iron mining, salt extraction, trading, and Workington port dues.
b) D/Ben, the Benson solicitor's collection at Cockermouth Castle.
Benson's were the Christian family's solicitors in the 18th. and 19th. centuries, and although their records are only in the very first stages of sorting, the following appear to be included:
Broughton and Unerigg Colliery Books  1755 - 1778, containing accounts and transcripts of many colliery documents. They were apparently made for the marathon lawsuit involving also Humphrey Senhouse and Lord Egremont.
Other papers relating to the lawsuit Christian v. Senhouse, c.1750 - c.1790; they mostly concern Broughton Colliery.
Miscellaneous papers relating to the Christian family in the 19th. century, and particularly to their interest in Ewanrigg Colliery.
c) DX/318, Miscellaneous deposits.
A Curwen of Camerton deed dated 1608.
d) DX/128/1/11 (Temporary number)
Camerton Court Roll, Courts of Dimissions upon the deaths of Christopher Curwen 1713, and of Joseph Curwen, 1715.
Other records relating to the Curwens and Christians, although not of that provenance, will be found as follows:
Medieval deeds of the Lonsdale family [D/Lons]; Banklands Colliery accounts 1786 - 1796 [Anthony Bacon's papers in the Allison solicitor's collection, D/A]; papers relating to the disputes about rights in the Coupland Forest, late 17th. century, in the Lonsdale and Egremont papers [D/Lons, D/Lec]; 18th. and 19th. century general correspondence especially in the Senhouse collection [D/S].