The Kings of Mardale Green
Hidden away in the far North Eastern corner of Westmoreland is the secluded valley of Mardale, a rugged and remote place with mountains on every side, it once offered the perfect hiding place for a family on the run.
|One such band was, Hugh Parker Holme and his family, originally a native of Stockholm Sweden, and a knight of the realm who once made his living from war, He entered early Britain within the armies of William the 1st, and for his troubles he was rewarded with a large estate in Yorkshire.|
|The year was 1209, and Hugh was thought to be involved within the Canterbury Conspiracy, a plot of their day to oust the then King John of England, this incurred the displeasure of John, who had them driven out of their homes, now fearing for their lives, they all headed north, making for safety in Scotland, which was neutral at the time.|
march was long and weary, crossing rivers mountain and dale, avoiding all the
major routes they managed to remain hidden from view, Hugh sensed
they were nearing their goal, but with their last few
supplies running desperately low, and night time approaching,
they stopped to rest and gather their strength, for the mountains ahead
would test them in the days ahead, whilst sitting in a circle with their backs towards
each other, looking up they saw the last few streams of daylight
breaking through gaps in the
blackening skies, suddenly one
of Hugh's sons noticed a light flickering far below them in
|As he spoke, the heavens opened, the light now was fading fast, so they decided to take shelter in a tiny cave they found earlier that evening, little did they know it, but this place was to serve them well in the days ahead, unknown to them they were high upon Rough Crag, in the most inaccessible part of Riggindale (The cave survives to this day and is marked upon modern maps as Hugh's Cave), with the Scottish border a short distance away, they closed their eyes and drifted off into a deep sleep.|
|As daylight broke, the rain and hail still pounded the ridge, so they waited until the worst of the weather abated, by now what little supplies they had were gone, and leaving his family behind for the first time since they set out, Hugh went down into the valley alone, to seek new supplies and to check if any news of the plot had reached this place, Hugh would make the trip from cave to green many times and as luck would have it, they heard news of King John's demise, with him safely in the ground changed everything, so making for neutrality and safety in Scotland was now not so important, they decided to stay a while longer.|
|The days turned into weeks and the months past so fast, that any fears they had, ebbed slowly away, by now they had left the safety of the cave and ventured down into the valley, where a kind old man, who was getting on in years and needing the care of others, took them in, when the old man passed away, Hugh bought his lands and set too at building his own home, high upon the Rigg, Hugh's young family added a much needed boost toward village life, the locals were very forthcoming and welcomed them with open arms.|
|In the years to come, Hugh gained the peoples trust, mainly by the doing of good, they valued his thoughts and eventually involved him within their politics, so much so, that they eventually awarded him with the title, The King of Mardale.|
|In the centuries that followed, every 1st male of the family line, were dubbed the King, the last male passed away in 1885 with Hugh Parker Holme, his memorial can still be seen in the new church yard, just up the road from the old church in Shap village, the very last line of the family ended with one Mary Elizabeth Holme who died in 1915 at the ripe old age of 90.|
In 1990 news of a pair of Golden eagles had returned to Riggindale (Above) after an absence of nearly 160 years, they too made their eyrie only a short distance from where Hugh and his family laid up on that wet Lakeland night, the Eagles were last seen together in 2000, since then the female bird has not, until then we will hope and wait their return.
Today he is the King of the valley.