Staveley is a village in the District of South Lakeland in Cumbria, England. It is situated northwest of Kendal where the River Kent is joined by its tributary the Gowan. It is also known as Staveley-in-Westmorland and Staveley-in-Kendal to distinguish it from Staveley-in-Cartmel (a small village near Newby Bridge which is now in Cumbria but was previously in Lancashire).
The area has been inhabited since around 4000 BC (evidence of which can be seen close to High Borrans) when Celtic speaking Britons established farms. It has been suggested that the Romans built a road near Staveley in order to link the Roman forts at Kendal (Alauna) and Ambleside (Galava). However, the existence of any Roman road in the immediate vicinity of Kendal is not confirmed. On the other hand, the Roman road at High Street (a few miles north of Staveley) is well evidenced.
Weekly markets and a three-day annual fair were held from 1329 when the village was granted a market charter.
In the eighteenth century a turnpike road from Kendal to Ambleside was constructed through Staveley. In Dorothy Wordsworth’s journal for 1802 there are references to an inn at Staveley (possibly the Eagle and Child). She wrote: "I am always glad to see Stavel(e)y; it is a place I dearly love to think of"
Since the 1840s Staveley has had a railway station on the Windermere Branch Line from Windermere to Oxenholme. It is one of only a few locations in the Lake District National Park to have a station, but in the nineteenth century most tourists continued their journey to the railhead at Windermere. Staveley remained relatively unaffected by mass tourism until the twentieth century.
Another nineteenth-century project built through Staveley is the Thirlmere Aqueduct, commissioned in 1894. On its way to Manchester, the aqueduct passes under the river Kent at Staveley. Although the Staveley section of the acqueduct was constructed underground (via "cut-and-cover" and tunnelling techniques), some of the infrastructure associated with it is visible.
Historically within the county of Westmorland, it became part of the new non-metropolitan county of Cumbria in 1974.
The area of Staveley is divided into three civil parishes;
The village got its name from the woodworking industry that thrived in the area due to the forests that originally covered the surrounding hills, and the close proximity of two rivers for processing the wood. Staveley means literally the field of staffs (from the Middle English plural stave for staf OE stæf and the ME leye meaning pasture from Old English leah; akin to Old High German loh thicket, Latin lucus grove).
Woods in the area include:
In the Middle Ages, the mills at Staveley produced woollen cloth. During the industrial revolution there was cotton production at Staveley, and there is an eighteenth century mill building from this time. The cotton industry shifted to Lancashire, and the Staveley mills were converted to work wood. By 1850 bobbin turning was the main industry in the valley.
While there is no longer any bobbin production, there is a carpentry business in the village, established in 1972.
Staveley Mill Yard
At the weir by Wilf's Cafe visitors can see water being drawn from the River Kent, which originally powered a waterwheel, replaced in 1902 with turbines.