KENDAL, a market town and municipal borough in the Kendal parliamentary division of Westmorland, England, 251 m. N.N.W. from London on the Windermere branch of the London & North-Western railway. Pop. (1901), 14,183. The town, the full name of which is Kirkby-Kendal or Kirkby-in-Kendal, is the largest in the county. It is picturesquely placed on the river Kent, and is irregularly built. The white-walled houses with their blue-slated roofs, and the numerous trees, give it an attractive appearance. To the S.W. rises an abrupt limestone eminence, Scout Scar, which commands an extensive view towards Windermere and the southern mountains of the Lake District. The church of the Holy Trinity, the oldest part of which dates from about 1 200, is a Gothic building with five aisles and a square tower. In it is the helmet of Major Robert Philipson, who rode into the church during service in search of one of Cromwell's officers, Colonel Briggs, to do vengeance on him. This major was notorious as " Robin the Devil," and his story is told in Scott's Rokeby. Among the public buildings are the town hall, classic in style; the market house, and literary and scientific institution, with a museum containing a fossil collection from the limestone of the locality. Educational establishments include a free grammar school, in modern buildings, founded in 1525 and well endowed; a blue-coat school, science and art school, and green-coat Sunday school (1813). Onan eminence east of the town are the ruins of Kendal castle, attributed to the first barons of Kendal. It was the birthplace of Catherine Parr, Henry VIII. 's last queen. On the Castlebrow Hill, an artificial mound probably 1 of pre-Norman origin, an obelisk was raised in 1788 in memory of the revolution of 1688. The woollen manufactures of Kendal have been noted since 1331, when Edward III. is said to have granted letters of protection to John Kemp, a Flemish weaver who settled in the town; and, although the coarse cloth known to Shakespeare as " Kendal green " is no longer made, its place is more than supplied by active manufactures of tweeds, railway rugs, horse clothing, knitted woollen caps and jackets, worsted and woollen yarns, and similar goods. Other manufactures of Kendal are machine-made boots and shoes, cards for wool and cotton, agricultural and other machinery, paper, and, in the neighbourhood, gunpowder. There is a large weekly market for grain, and annual horse and cattle fairs. The town is governed by a mayor, 6 aldermen and 18 councillors. Area, 2622 acres.
The outline of a Roman fort is traceable at Watercrook near Kendal. The barony and castle of Kendal or Kirkby-in-Kendal, held by Turold before the Conquest, were granted by William I. to Ivo de Taillebois, but the barony was divided into three parts in the reign of Richard II., one part with the castle passing to Sir William Parr, knight, ancestor of Catherine Parr. After the death of her brother William Parr, marquess of Northampton, his share of the barony called Marquis Fee reverted to Queen Elizabeth. The castle, being evidently deserted, was in ruins in 1586. Kendal was plundered by the Scots in 1210, and was visited by the rebels in 1713 and again in 1745 when the Pretender was proclaimed king there. Burgesses in Kendal are mentioned in 1345, and the borough with " court housez " and the fee-farm of free tenants is included in a confirmation charter to Sir William Parr in 1472. Richard III. in 1484 granted the inhabitants of the barony freedom from toll, passage and pontage, and the town was incorporated in 1576 by Queen Elizabeth under the title of an alderman and 12 burgesses, but Charles I. in 1635 appointed a mayor, 12 aldermen and 20 capital burgesses. Under the Municipal Reform Act of 1835 the corporation was again altered. From 1832 to 1885 Kendal sent one member to parliament, but since the last date its representation has been merged in that of the southern division of the county. A weekly market on Saturday granted by Richard I. to Roger Fitz Reinfred was purchased by the corporation from the earl of Lonsdale and Captain Bagot, lords of the manor, in 1885 and 1886. Of the five fairs which are now held three are ancient, that now held on the ZQth of April being granted to Marmaduke de Tweng and William de Ros in 1307, and those on the 8th and gth of November to Christiana, widow of Ingelram de Gynes, in 1333.
See Victoria County History, Westmorland; Cornelius Nicholson, The Annals of Kendal (1861).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)