The Bell Family

Camsgill, Preston Patrick

The small farm of Camsgill in the parish of Preston Patrick has a place in the heart of the history of Quakerism. This is the farm where Richard ORMROD b.1819 was Farm Manager according to the 1851 census. However the story starts 200 years before….

The Camm family lived at Camsgill and became involved with the Quaker movement around 1652. Thomas Camm was then a 12 year old boy, and attended a meeting with his father John Camm during one of the first tours of George Fox.

“Not far from Preston Patrick stands Camsgill, the little grey farmhouse which was the home of John and Mabel and Thomas Camm. When John left it for the West of England, it must have cost them a struggle. Possibly they prayed that the sacrifice might indeed prove to have been worth while. When he returned home for the last time, worn out and broken in health, to die with his own folk, in sight of his own green fields with the little stream running through them which still sounds so sweetly on the ear, he may well have been content as he remembered those stirring days at Bristol, when he and his beloved friend, John Audland, had shared their vision with countless eager Seekers.”

(from “Let Your Lives Speak” by Elfrida Vipont Foulds )


“In 1652 the great Quaker preacher GEORGE FOX travelled from Pendle Hill in Lancashire and preached to great gatherings of people at Firbank and then at Preston Patrick, where he entered the Church and "declared the word of life and the everlasting truth".


Many local houses have associations with George Fox and the early Quakers.


PRESTON PATRICK HALL, built in the l4th century with later additions, has a courtroom where Thomas Camm was sued for non payment of tithes. Thomas was present at the general meeting of 1652 at which George Fox was present; "a day of God's power, a notable day indeed, never to be forgotten by me, Thomas Camm ......I being present at the meeting, a schoolboy of about 12 years of age".


Not far from Preston Patrick Hall stands the farm of CAMSGILL, in a delightful, secluded..???

Other early Quakers were John Audland, Richard Sill, John Story of Goose Green and the Cartmells of 'Wath Sudden, who were all buried at the little Quaker burial ground near Low Park.


MABEL CAMM was the first person to be buried in the new burial ground at the Preston Patrick Meeting House which was built in 1691.”


( from a History of Preston Patrick on the Preston Patrick Church Website )


The Dictionary of National Biography has the following information..


JOHN CAMM ( born 1604 and died 1656) was born at Camsgill…


THOMAS CAMM (born 1641 and died 1707) was born at Camsgill in 1641, and was the son of John Camm…...In 1674 he was sued by John ORMROD, vicar of Burton near Kendal, for small tithes, and in default of payment was imprisoned for three years.


The website has details of John Orm(e)rods education


From Alumni Cantabrigienses


ORMEROD, JOHN. Adm. sizar (age 17) at ST JOHN'S, Apr. 30, 1656. S. of Roger, of Lancashire, husbandmen. School, Cowel (private; Mr Hindley). Matric. 1656; B.A. 1659-60. Incorp. at Oxford,  'M.A.' 1663. C. of Altham, Lancs., 1662-3. V. of Burton, Westmorland, 1664-91. Buried there Apr. 18, 1691.


From Alumni Oxonienses


Ormerod, John, s. Roger, of Lancashire, husbandman, sizar of ST. JOHN'S COLL., Cambridge, 30 April, 1656, aged 17; B.A. 1659-60; incorporated as M.A. 14 July, 1663., vicar of Burton, Westmorland,  1664. See Foster's Index Eccl. & Mayor, 126.



So is there any link between John Orm(e)rod the vicar from 1674 and Richard Ormrod farmer in 1851, probably not, but it is not a common surname in this county at this time…..


Other residents of Camsgill include

Pearson family at Camsgill in the 1840s—William Pearson

1881 census shows the Armitstead family in residence




A story of Quakers, vicars and farmers