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HAWKSHEAD, a small town, a township, a parish, and a sub-district, in Ulverston district, Lancashire. The town stands in a sheltered valley, at the head of Esthwaite water, 2 miles W of Windermere lake, 4 E by N of Coniston r. station, and 5 SW by S of Ambleside; is surrounded by a picturesque country, with many of the finest features of the Lake region; dates from very ancient times; was long the capital of Furness, and a seat of the courts of justice of Furness abbey; has a compact form, with a rather spacious market place; contains a number of old, quaint, picturesque houses; is a seat of petty sessions, and a polling place; and has a post office under Windermere, a good inn, a modern town hall, a church, a Baptist chapel, a grammar school, a national school, and some charities. The church was founded about the time of the Conquest; retains the piers and arches of its original masonry; was rebuilt, in the time of Elizabeth, by Archbishop Sandys; has a massive square tower; contains effigies of Archbishop Sandys' parents; and stands on an elevation, with a fine view. The churchyard contains the grave of the distinguished Miss Elizabeth Smith. The grammar school was founded by Archbishop Sandys; has an endowed income of £210, and a good library; and numbers, among its pupils, Dr. Walker, Dr. Wordsworth, the poet Wordsworth, Lord Abinger, Sir Frederick Pollock, and Dr. King. A weekly market is held on Monday; and fairs, on Easter Monday, the Monday before Holy Thursday, and 2 Oct. The township bears the name of Hawkshead-with-Monk-Coniston and Skelwith; and includes the hamlets of Borwick, Henakin, and Gallowbarrow. Acres, 9,152. Real property, £6,720. Pop., 1,144. Houses, 234. The manor belonged formerly to Furness abbey; and belongs now to the Duke of Buccleuch. The parish contains also the townships of Claife and Satterthwaite, and comprises 19,252 acres. Real property, £13,219. Pop. in 1851, 2,283; in 1861, 2,081. Houses, 415. The property, in many parts, is subdivided. Much of the land is hilly pasture. Slate and building stone are quarried; copper ore is worked; and iron ore and other useful minerals occur. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Carlisle. Value, £150. * Patron, the Duchy of Lancaster. The chapelries of Satterthwaite, Brathay, and Low Wray are separate benefices. There are chapels of ease in Skelwith and Claife, and a Quakers' chapel at Colthouse. The sub-district contains also part of Ulverston parish. Acres, 30,132. Pop., 3,599. Houses, 717.

John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72)




Civil Registration

The Register Office covering the Hawkshead area is Ulverston.

Description and Travel

Information about the village provided by The Hawkshead Traders Association.

You can see pictures of Hawkshead which are provided by:



Hawkshead parish from Mannix & Co., History, Topography and Directory of Westmorland, 1851.


Ask for a calculation of the distance from Hawkshead to another place.

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Historical Geography

In 1835 the parish of Hawkshead contained the townships of Hawkhead and Monk Coniston with Skelwith, Claife, and Satterthwaite.

Information about boundaries and administrative areas is available from A Vision of Britain through time.

You can see the administrative areas in which Hawkshead has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.


Probate Records

For probate purposes prior to 1858, Hawkshead was in the Archdeaconry of Richmond, in the Diocese of Chester. The original Lancashire wills for the Archdeaconry of Richmond are held at the Lancashire Record Office.


You can also see Family History Societies covering the nearby area, plotted on a map. This facility is being developed, and is awaiting societies to enter information about the places they cover.