Formal line front Castle Hill 3 10 2017.

Castle Hill Trust is a CIO - Charitable Incorporated Organisation - registered with the Charity Commission. Reg No. 1173361

​The charities 'objectives' are 'for the public benefit, to advance education in the local community by delivering classes and workshops for people of all abilities, ages and income levels so that they can learn and interact, and individual capabilities, competencies, skills and understanding can be developed'.

​We do this by  - 


  • providing activities for people of all ages and abilities.

  • ​Hiring rooms to other people and organisations, many of whom provide activities open to the public.

​Our rooms can also be hired for private functions.

The Settlement: it’s History and Purpose

This brief time-line describes the buildings function since its construction in 1785.

1785 – Castle Hill built as the residence of Captain William Currey a Maryport Ship owner in 1785 at the top of Mote Hill at the southern end of High Street with a commanding position looking down on the River Ellen with views across the Solway Firth.

1789-???? - Private Residence to the Senhouse family.Dower House to the Senhouse family

???? - 1934 - Rented by the Addison family for three generations. When the late Miss Addison died the house became vacant and empty for three years prior to being acquired by the Friends Society for use as the Maryport Educational Settlement.

1937-2005 - Educational Settlement (including 1940 - 1959 Maryport Infant School)

2006 - Sold by the Friends Society to the Cumbrian Local Education Authority with the understanding that the building continue to deliver educational provision in the town of Maryport.  Ownership transferred to Maryport Educational Settlement Ltd.

2018 – MES wound up and assets transferred to Castle Hill Trust CIO

"The Settlement" - From economic depression to education


The economically depressed state of West Cumberland during the early 1930's led to a number of central government initiatives designed to alleviate the poverty experienced by the residents of West Cumbrian towns including Maryport. The Education Settlement arose from these initiatives.

The following is a brief description of how the Settlement came about and how it developed over a period of time. A number of original historical sources have been referred to along with archive material sourced from individuals connected with the Settlement.

The Settlement can be said to have sprung out of the unemployed clubs of the district, these clubs being a feature of north country life in the thirties. In terms of unemployment percentages in West Cumberland, Maryport and Cleator Moor all looked down on the rest of the area from commanding heights of deprivation. With the stimulus of The Cumberland Friends' Unemployment Committee, clubs were started at Glasson, Ellenborough and in King Street.  Activities included cobbling, woodwork, pig-keeping, provision of playing fields and last but not least a bath-tub which could be hired for a few pence if you did not have a bathroom at home.

Ralph Reedman arrived in the District in 1934 as assistant organiser to the committee.  Further Education classes began to be held.

The Settlement seems to have originated from a number of factors, some of them rather accidental. There was the availability of a suitable building at the right price, £900, and the dire needs of this particular area, and the steady pressure of a number people who had some influence. These included Rowntree Gillet of the committee, Sir George Gillet, Commissioner for Special Areas, William Hazleton Secretary of Educational Settlements' Association and A.D. Lindsay, later Lord Lindsay of Birk Master of Balliol who subsequently used to turn up at Settlement Council Meetings his motorbike. So the Reedmans were approached to become wardens, the Dower House was purchased. And the purpose of the new organisation was set out in the Trust Deed as for "certain work of an educational, religious, social and philanthropic nature coming within the legal definition of a Charity"

The regular weekly classes and events included a wireless discussion group, university extension courses in Drama and "Central Government", a Musical Appreciation group and classes in Art and Speech Training. An interesting event by Ralph was an afternoon school of two sessions divided by tea and took place c a month with a specialist speaker and, hopefully a group of about 20 people in discussion around a topic associated with the current Sunday evening lecture. Among the regular academic faces seen at the Settlement at this time were Bruno Wiltshire, later Professor Wiltshire, Wilfred Lunn and Thomas Hodgkin. All were then associated with unemployment clubs of the district and additionally they participated as extra informal members of Ralph's team.

It is of interest to mention in passing that Tom Hodgkin's wife, Dorothy, a lady of towering intellect, was later to win the Nobel Prize in physics and become the first woman since Florence Nightingale to be awarded the Order of Merit.

Over the years, many eminent speakers came and many exhibitions mounted.  LS Lowry had an exhibition in 1962 and Sheila Fell in 1964.  Percy Kelly, a relatively unknown local painter met Norman Nicholson, a relatively unknown Cumbrian poet, while attending an exhibition of French Impressionists in 1957 and a lasting friendship was formed.  It was at another exhibition that Kelly was inspired to begin printmaking, for which he is best known.

The Present

Castle Hill Trust (CHT) is a new charity and took over The Settlement in January 2018.  The Settlement has been an important part of the educational and social fabric of Maryport since 1937.  It has had ups and downs, but it is still held in great affection by local people.

The aim of CHT is to rejuvenate The Settlement to benefit the people of Maryport, especially the most disadvantaged, through a programme of arts, crafts, education and social activities, as well as making facilities available for other local groups and organisations. This is only made possible through the generosity of local funders.

We currently run a number of activities, such as

Job Seekers                       Craft & Chat          Paint & Draw               Sewing Bee

Pottery                              Youth Group          Gardening for All        Ukulele for beginners

all of which are open to any member of the community who wishes to participate.  We have people with various mental issues; learning difficulties and/or social problems who come to these activities and mix with other members of the group – to the benefit, we think, of all of the group.

Our aim is to develop more activities and events, in response to people’s needs so that The Settlement is once again a community hub.  We are currently in the process of developing a Man Shed in The Cellar (The Cavern Club?) with funding from Abbeyfield Carlisle Society Over 55 Community First Fund, Shepley Group Fund, Evening Hill Fund, Through Cumbria Community Foundation.

We have hosted

Two major art events

  • In 2017 a 2-day event  was held to commemorate that meeting between Kelly and Nicholson and involved over 200 local schoolchildren, each of whom produced a piece of art-work for display. Visitors from all over the UK attended.

  • In 2019, the format was repeated, this time featuring the famous local artist William Mitchell.

A local artists exhibition is now an annual event.

We have regular ‘Makers Markets’

We have a programme of daytime and evening talks by local authors. Business people, etc.

We hire out our facilities to other people and organisations to enable other activities to take place. 

We also host Cumbria Council Adult Education classes.

We are run entirely by volunteers and charge a nominal amount for our activities so that finance is not a barrier to participation. 


We are supported by.

Cumbria Community Foundation

Cumbria County Council

Cumbria Youth Alliance

Cumbria Voluntary Services

Maryport Town Council

Robin Rigg Community Fund

The Co-op

The Hadfield trust

CN Media Group