Westmorland Spirits Ltd., Cumbria, England, UK.
The modern day county of Cumbria in England was originally, following the Norman conquest of England in 1066 divided between the two baronies of Kendal and Westmorland (or Westmereland). Alexander De Gylpin (Gylpin being named after a place in Normandy) was the first Gilpin to live in this area, as a knight serving these barons. In the early 1200’s the two baronies became one (Westmoreland) and an ancestor Richard De Gylpin, also known as “Richard the Rider”, was responsible for killing a notorious wild boar. The boar had been terrorizing pilgrims on route through the Westmorland area and as a consequence of this brave action was granted 4,000 acres of land in Westmoreland known as Kentmere. The boar had been killed near the banks of a stream and even today it is the site of the Wild Boar Inn, the stream is called River Gilpin and the family are permitted to use a boar on a golden background as part of their crest.
The Gilpin family blossomed in Westmoreland and in the later half of the 1500’s Queen Elizabeth I had use of one George Gilpin. He was commissioned as Ambassador to Holland to form on behalf of England an alliance with the Dutch against the Spanish. This he duly arranged and it is no doubt he would have been one of the first Englishmen to bring Dutch Genever back to the UK.
Unfortunately the Gilpin family had one major setback in their ancestry, they supported the Royalty during the English Civil war and they entrusted the deeds of the lands to a friend. This in itself was a good idea, because whilst the Roundheads destroyed the family seat buildings (including Kentmere Hall), it did protect the lands from falling into their hands. However by the end of the war the deeds had been lost and they were unable to prove their ownership, losing the Kentmere lands after all.
Many of the Gilpin family still live in the Cumbria area today, including the little village of Cartmel. With such a heritage it is wonderful to find Matthew Gilpin as the founder and a director of Westmorland Spirits Ltd, making Gin – we’re sure George Gilpin would be proud. The family motto “Dictis Factisque Simplex”, translates as “Simple (honest & pure) in Word and Deed", seems apt with regard to this Gin also.
Born of a desire to make the ultimate martini, Matthew Gilpin set about using the expect services of Master Distiller Charles Maxwell. Charles runs Thames Distillers and is the 8th generation of the family (founders of the Finsbury Distillery) and been producing Gin since 1700 – making them the oldest unbroken lineage in Gin distillation. Together they spent 2 years trying recipes and variations of those recipes before settling on this version of the Gin. It was finally launched in the early spring of 2012.