From Mannex's directory of Furness and Cartmel, 1882
THIS is a very extensive parish, containing an area of 24,586 statute acres according to the Census returns, or by Ordnance Survey, 27,341. The parish forms a long strip of hand some 17 miles in length between its extreme points - Tilberthwaite on the north and Conishead Priory on the south. Hill and dale, copse and shingle, form its leading physical features. Towards the north the hills become bold and lofty, presenting in some places even a rugged appearance. Huge boulder stones are sprinkled along the valleys, often far removed from the parent rock from which they were detached. To the south of the town, around Conishead Priory, extends a tract of rich, fertile country, beautifully varied by gentle eminences shrouded in woods. Of the cultivated land of the parish, one-third only is arable, which yields a fair amount of agricultural produce. The land is less adapted to the cultivation of wheat than in Low Furness ; and the principal crop appears to be potatoes, of which such quantities are grown that they form an article of commerce.
The principal river is the Leven, forming the southern outlet of Windermere, and conveying the waters of that lake to Morecambe Bay. Its embouchure forms an expanse of sand three or four miles in width,. and covered by the tide at high water. The passage over these sands is fraught with so much danger that, from very early times, guides have been stationed there to conduct travellers across. The maintenance of these guides was formerly charged upon Conishead Priory, but since the Dissolution of Religious Houses they have been paid out of the revenues of the Duchy of Lancaster. So many lives were annually lost in crossing these three or four miles of sand, that the Abbot of Furness petitioned the king (Edward II.) for a view of frankpledge and coroner of his own ; sixteen lives were lost at one time, he stated, and six at another, and by granting his prayer "it would he the salvation of one soul at least." Since the construction of the Furness Railway, which crosses this estuary by a viaduct, few persons risk the journey over the sands. The other streams which flow through the parish are small, and possess no commercial advantages beyond the irrigation of the land. Upon the shores of the Leven, above Ulverston, are three saline springs, supposed to draw their supplies from the limestone rock, which have the medicinal effects of sea water.
Mountain limestone abounds in the parish, and may be seen in numerous places cropping out from the hill-side, forming the floor of a road or lining the coast. A species of grey limestone, in which various fossilised remains are found embedded, is quarried at several places in the district. This stone is capable of receiving the finest polish, which brings out the beautiful tracings of the various organisms as perfectly as when they were hiving creatures fresh from the hand of the Creator, upon the pre-Adamite earth. The eye may readily detect coralline secretions, echinidea, bivalves, univalves, fish teeth, fish bones, &c. Blue and green slate is obtained in abundance, and is transported to all parts of the kingdom. The Coniston limestone more properly belongs to the slate series, as it is only partially calcareous. It is rich in organic remains, including corals, brachiopoda, tentaculites, and trilobites. The copper mines of Coniston are still productive, and the iron mines of Plumpton, according to Camden, were worked as far back as 500 years. Above 60 years ago Colonel Braddyll expended a large sum of money in his endeavours to obtain coal and iron ore at Ulverston, but the attempt proved a failure. A further search for coal was made in 1875, with improved boring tools, but, as in the previous case, without success.
The parish of Ulverston comprises the following townships and chapelries :- Ulverston, Egton-cum-Newland, Lowick, Blawith, Church-Coniston, Torver, Subberthwaite, Osmotherley, and Mansriggs. The Ulverston Poor Law Union is much more extensive than the parish, and until recently embraced within its limits the whole peninsula or Furness and Cartmel. Barrow now constitutes a Union of itself. The following table shows the townships in the Union, with the rateable value of each at the last return, the acreage according to Ordnance Survey, and the population according to the last three decennial returns:
|Dunnerdale & Seathwaite
|Hawkshead, Monk Coniston, and Skelwith
THIS is a neat and well-built market town and port, delightfully situated on the Leven estuary, and partly on the sides of gentle acclivities with a southern aspect, and amidst an amphitheatre of hills open to the seaward. It is distant about a mile from the shore of the Leven, 5 miles from Dalton, 9 miles from Barrow, 19 miles in a direct line from Fleetwood, 26 miles from Lancaster by rail and 22 by the route across the sands, and 51 S.E. from Whitehaven. The town, though unquestionably ancient, has now a modern appearance. The air is mild and salubrious, and the environs are very picturesque. It is still the mart for the agricultural productions of the district, and was until late years the chief port for the shipment of Furness ores. Though in commercial importance it has paled before the light of its youthful rival, Barrow, yet it is a wealthy and thriving town. This is evidenced by the various important trades and professions enumerated in its Directory, by the elegantly-furnished shops which adorn the streets, and by the magnitude and accommodation of its chief hotels. Its market, which is held on Thursdays, is abundantly supplied and well attended. Ulverston has long been regarded as the key to the lakes, and during the summer season a very large amount of passenger traffic passes through the town on its way to Windermere.
Of the etymology of the word Ulverston our antiquarian philologists have arrived at no satisfactory conclusion, but its sound would indicate a Saxon origin. The learned Dr. Whitaker says -" The oldest orthography of the name is Olvaston or Ulvaston; and I am disposed to think that the modern 'r' is epenthetical, and that it was originally the town of Ulpha. Others attribute it to Ulphere. These are both familiar Saxon names, amid tradition says of the former, who was a powerful Saxon chief, that he extended his conquests from Yorkshire westward to the sea." In the provincial dialect of the locality Ulverston is pronounced Ooston
From the Domesday Book we learn that "In Ulvreston Turulf held six carucates of land rateable to the gelt," and Ulf, his son, occurs as a witness to the foundation charter of St. Mary's Priory, at Lancaster. In another part of the same survey, under the head of Yorkshire Gospatric's land, occurs the following entry :-" In Ulvestone Manor Gospatric had six carucates of land rateable to the gelt. The hand is three carucates. There are there four villeins, but they do not plough. The vill is a league long and half as broad. In King Edward's time it was worth twenty shillings, now it is worth ten shillings." Here we have Tur-ulf and Gospatric entered as owners of the same six carucates of land, and this has been explained by supposing Tur-uhf to have been the Saxon owner when the Normans conquered the country, and Gospatric the Norman grantee.
In the early part of the 12th century (1127) the manor of Ulverston became an appendage of Furness Abbey, being a portion of the munificent bequest of Earl Stephen, afterwards King of England, to that monastery; and from that time to the 7th year of Richard I. the abbots exercised the rights and privileges of feudal ownership. In that year an interchange of land took place between the convent and Gilbert Fitx Reinfrid, the latter ceding his rights over the Ulverston fells, and receiving in exchange the more valuable acquisition of the town and its appurtenances. The learned author of Richmondshire, who has invested the dry details of topographical history with all the charms of romance, speaking of this transaction, says :-" To this event the prosperity and wealth of Ulverston is chiefly to be ascribed. Ulverston till that time seems to have been nothing more than an inconsiderable village, of which the inhabitants continued in the same condition of pure villanage in which the monks had received them. But no sooner had Gilbert Fitz Reinfrid obtained possession of the place than he enfranchised these people, raised them to the rank of burgenses, and invested them with a freehold property in their houses. These privileges, great as they were, being followed by nothing more, placed the people in a new and anomalous situation. Nothing, indeed, is more common than for inhabitants of towns erected under the immediate protection of castles, and for that reason only, to be styled burgenses; but there are neither appearances, nor written evidences, nor tradition to justify an opinion that either this Gilbert or any of his successors ever erected a castle at Ulverston. Neither does it appear that the place was ever regularly incorporated, or had any municipal government, or, lastly, that it was ever represented in Parliament ; so that the privileges conceded to them were merely of a domestic nature."
In the eighth year of the reign of Edward I. (1280) Roger de Lancaster, a descendant of Fitz Reinfrid, was in possession of a moiety of the manor, and obtained in that year a charter for a market at Ulverston every week on Thursday, and a yearly fair on the eve, the day, and the morrow of the Virgin's Nativity (Sept. 7, 8, and 9). The other moiety was in possession of the Harringtons. In 1342 the Lancaster moiety of the lordship was escheated to the Abbey through failure of issue ; but Edward III. suspended the escheat, and conferred the manor upon Sir John de Coupland, the valiant knight who captured David II. of Scotland at the battle of Neville's Cross. On his death it reverted again to the Abbey, and remained in possession of the Convent until the Dissolution. The other moiety passed through successive generations of the Harringtons to the Duke of Suffolk, father of Lady Jane Grey, and on his attainder for treason it was forfeited to the Crown. In 1658 we find the manor in the possession of Judge Fell, the friend and protector of George Fox, the founder of the Society of Friends. Having no male issue the manor passed to Daniel Abraham, son-in-law to the Judge; but his prodigality encumbered the estate, and the manorial rights were sold to Lord Montague, from whom they have descended to the Duke of Buceleuch.
Courts leet and baron for the manor of Ulverston are held in the town on the last Monday in October.
THE Town consists of four principal streets and numerous smaller ones. Queen Street, the main thoroughfare heading from the railway station, is crossed by Market Street, and at the point of intersection formerly stood the emblem of Redemption, around which the Market was held. Several new streets have been built in the suburbs, but the town generally presents a somewhat antiquated appearance, and the absence of architectural uniformity adds to its picturesqueness. Several very superior buildings have been erected of late years which tend to modernise the aspect. Among these we may mention Stone Cross, the residence of M. Kennedy, Esq., J.P., so called from an ancient stone cross which stood near the site. This beautiful mansion is in the domestic Gothic style of architecture, and is built of the limestone of the district with freestone dressings. The designs were furnished by Mr. Grundy, architect, of Ulverston, under whose superintendence the work was carried out. The hall and staircase are surrounded by a gallery, resting upon marble columns, the walls of which are decorated in the very highest style of art. The tower commands a panoramic view of Morecambe Bay and the Lake Mountains. The house and grounds lie within the township of Osmotherley.
Among the other beautiful residences in the neighbourhood may be mentioned Bridgelands, John Denney, Esq,; Springfield, William Boulton, Esq. ; Stopbridge House, Miss Petty; Swarthdale, Dr. Ed. Lister ; Todbusk, D. Caird; The Vines, Mrs. R. H. Jefferson.
The manufactures of the town consist chiefly of iron and steel, spades, sickles, &c. There are also tanneries, breweries, paper mills, and various miscellaneous trades of a local character common to most towns. Though Ulverston can boast of possessing a charter for a weekly market since time year 1278, yet it appears to have laid in abeyance until after the dissolution of Furness Abbey. During the ages of monasticism the Abbey was the centre of attraction and the resort of all visitors, and Dalton from its proximity to the convent the general market of the district. "After the dissolution of that monastery, Ulverston being a more central place, and more convenient for High Furness, the market for grain was fixed there by common consent of the country." The fairs now held here are on the Thursday in Whit-week for pedlary and hiring servants; Thursday after Nov. 11th for hiring servants; and on Tuesday before the first week in January for horses.
The Market House, built in 1875, from the designs of Mr. J. W. Grundy, architect, is in the Italian style of architecture. It is built of red brick, relieved by freestone dressings. Annexed to the general market are the fish and poultry, and corn markets.
The New Post Office, in New Market Street, is a handsome building, erected also in the above year.
The Canal.- The estuary of the Leven seems to have receded from Ulverston, which, according to the law of the Customs, is a Creek within the limits of the port of Lancaster. In 1794-5 a canal was cut, one and a quarter miles in length, connecting the town with Morecambe Bay. It is said to be the shortest, straightest, and deepest in England, and is navigable for vessels of 300 tons burthen, which can be moored in safety in the capacious basin constructed for the purpose. The work was carried out under the superintendence of the eminent engineer, J. Rennie, Esq., and it may be mentioned that the second sod was cut by Edward Banks, a labourer, who, in after years, by the splendour of his talents and his industry, attained to high fame as an engineer, and was rewarded with the honour of knighthood.
After the completion of the canal Ulverston had a considerable coasting trade, exporting iron and copper ore and coppice wood, hoops, slates and gunpowder; but since the opening of the docks at Barrow the port is quite deserted and its shipyards silent. "In 1774," Mr. West tells us, "there were seventy ships belonging to this place. Coals were then imported, and sold at Â£1 5s. 6d. per caldron."
A new Pier has recently been constructed by the North Lonsdale Iron and Steel Co., whose works are situated towards the southern extremity of the basin. It is called the Beaconsfield Pier, and as it runs out for some distance into the Bay it provides a convenient front at which steamers and other craft can load and unload. The Pier is proving a source of great advantage, not only to the Company but also to the town, and it is to be hoped it may be the nucleus of other extensive works which may bring a revival of Ulverston's former prosperity as a port.
Railway.- The town is now in railway communication with all parts of the kingdom. The station, which superseded the original one about seven years ago, is a light, elegant structure, and very conveniently arranged for the large amount of passenger traffic which passes through. The approaches are ornamented with shrubberies kept in beautiful order; and the station is not less remarkable for the extreme neatness than for the cleanliness and order which everywhere prevail.
Gas and Water Works.- Ulverston was abundantly supplied with excellent water from several pure streams, one of which runs through and under a great part of the town; but since the construction of the Pennington resernoir a large portion of this supply has been diverted from former channels to fill that receptacle. The deficiency thus caused is compensated by the Barrow Corporation, who deliver free of charge 400,000 gallons per day. The Gas Works, in Morecambe Road, were erected in 1834, and the town was illuminated for the first time on the 4th April in that year. They have been much enlarged since their erection, and are now under the management of Mr. J. Swan.
The Iron Smelting Works of the North Lonsdale Iron and Steel Company, Limited, have now been in operation about six years, and comprise four furnaces of the most modern type and of the largest capacity in the Furness and Cumberland district. The Company also possess unrivalled facilities in their shipping pier adjoining the works for the distribution of their large make of pig-iron to the various distant markets.
The Workhouse for the Ulverston Union is a large building in the Gill, erected in 1838 at a cost of Â£5,800, and is capable of accommodating 350 inmates. Previous to that year Neville Hall was used for the purpose. Owing to the large increase in the number of paupers during late years, consequent on the great increase in the population, the house is now deemed too small for the district, and the desirability of erecting a more commodious one on another site is now under consideration. Neville Hall, after passing through various hands, was ultimately purchased by the County Police Authorities of Ulverston, and part of it was converted into a Police Station. During the past year (1881) the old hall was taken down and a new residence for the superintendent of police erected on the site.
Two newspapers are published in the town, the Advertiser and the Mirror; there are also a library and a newsroom. Four banking firms have branch establishments here; the premises of the Lancaster Banking Company in Queen Street are of a superior kind. The Savings' Bank in Union Street is a pretty building in the Italian style, surmounted by a clock tower. The Kendal Bank in Queens Street; and the Cumberland Union Bank in New Market Street is also an elegant structure. There are several large and well appointed hotels. The Sun Hotel, the oldest commercial house in the town, has undergone extensive alterations and additions, and is now replete with every accommodation and convenience for the comfort of its patrons. It is provided with a large double billiard room, handsomely decorated and furnished. The staircase and hall are spacious and well-lighted by beautiful stained glass windows. The County Hotel, formerly called Lightburne House, was the residence of the Gale family, and latterly of A. Brogden, Esq., M.P. It was altered and extended in 1878 and converted into a commodious hotel. The Victoria Concert Hall, attached to the Queen's Hotel, is capable of accommodating 800 persons; it is also used for dramatic performances. The Temperance Hall, and the Drill Ball, erected in 1873 and used by the 10th L.R.V., are also used for public entertainments. The Cottage Hospital is a small building erected in 1872, with accommodation for 15 patients. It is supported by voluntary subscriptions, and is entirely devoted to cases of accident.
At Dragley Beck, in this town, may still be seen the humble cottage where the great traveller Sir John Barrow, Bart., first saw the light. The monument to his memory, on the summit of the Hoad, erected in 1850 at a cost of Â£1,250, is similar in appearance to the Eddystone Lighthouse. It is constructed of massive blocks of native mountain limestone, and has an internal dianmeter of 19 feet in the saloon, diminishing to 9 feet in the lantern. The very exposed situation of the monument rendered necessary the possession of great strength, and to secure this, a thickness of 12 feet 6 inches has been given to the walls at the base, gradually diminishing to 2 feet at the cornice. The upper chamber is reached by a flight of 112 steps, where eight circular openings look out upon the chief points of the compass. The hill on which the monument stands is an immense mass of mountain limestone 417 feet in height, and from the summit of the monument a splendid panoramic view of the surrounding country can be obtained. The hills of Cumberland, Westmorland, Yorkshire, and at some periods of the year, even the mountains of Wales beyond Llandudno can be distinctly seen. In various places on the sides of this eminence the limestone may be seen cropping out above the surface. In one place the rock has assumed the fanciful form of an arm chair, with which is connected the legend of the Lovers' Leap, a story now remembered only in name. Parties may at any time visit the monument and ascend to the upper chamber in the lantern by applying to the keeper, Mr. J. H. Peters, 5 Quay Street, near Canal Head. The inhabitants of Ulverston are much indebted to Major John Barrow, second son of Sir John Barrow, Bart., for the interest he has displayed in making improvements, keeping the monument in repair, and making it a pleasurable place of resort for the people of the town and visitors to the district.
SIR JOHN BARROW is one of the many examples which this country affords of men who have risen from the lowest ranks of life to the highest pinnacle of fame when gifted with good natural ability, coupled with self-application and perseverance. He was born of poor but honest and industrious parents, and the only education he received was obtained in the Town Bank School. He afterwards obtained an appointment in an iron founder's office in Liverpool as clerk. He devoted much of his time to the study of mathematics, and afterwards taught that science at Greenwich. His first advancement in public life arose from his accompanying, as private secretary of Sir George Staunton, the expedition of Lord Macartney to China. After his return, he published an account of his travels in that country, which was acknowledged as the most valuable and interesting description of China and the Chinese which had hitherto appeared. He afterwards gave to the world his "Travels in South Africa." lie devoted considerable attention to Arctic exploration, and was mainly instrumental in planning the ill-fated expedition in which Sir John Franklin lost his life. Above the mantelpiece, in the little cottage at Dragley Beck, has been placed a marble slab, bearing the following inscription :-" In this humble cottage, the best memorial of his enterprising spirit, industry, and perseverance, was born on the 19th June, 1764, Sir John Barrow, Baronet, LL.D., F.R.S,, who accompanied Lord Macartney's embassy to China; who travelled far into the interior of Africa, and who was for forty years (embracing the whole period of the last war) secretary of the Admiralty. He died in London on the 23rd November, 1848, in the 85th year of his age. Remarkable for the vigour of his mind, as his latter works abundantly testify, and scarcely less remarkable for the activity of his body,
"SOLI DEO GLORIA."
He received the honour of knighthood from William IV.
Swarthmoor Hall is a large old-fashioned Elizabethan mansion, about a mile from the town, with nothing grand, nothing beautiful about it, except the memories of the great reformer who dwelt there two centuries ago. He is gone to his rest, but the sect which he founded still lives, and passes its quiet, unostentatious existence amongst the busy throng. One room is pointed out as that where he passed much of his time in reading and study. The old flagged hall was the spot on which the first meetings of the society were held ; and hard by is the first Quaker chapel, the gift of George Fox, as the inscription above the door testifies- "Ex dono G. F., 1688." In conformity with their tenets, the building is of the most rigid simplicity, presenting the appearance rather of a dwelling-house than of an ecclesiastical edifice. A high wall almost hides it from view. Within are preserved several relics of George Fox- his old black-letter Bible printed in 1541, still bearing the chain which formerly bound it to the desk, two old oaken chairs, and the two slender ebony posts of his bed.
The hall stands on the borders of Swart or Swarth Moor (now enclosed and converted into fields), where the famous German General Martin Swart and his mercenary troops first encamped, after landing at Piel in 1487. They were in the service of the Duchess of Burgundy, and had been sent to aid Lambert Simnel (who personated Richard Plantagehet, one of the princes murdered in the Tower by their uncle, afterwards Richard III.) in his attempt to obtain the crown. It has been thought, though erroneously, that the moor derives its name from this doughty general, but we find it mentioned in the Domesday Book as Warte, or black, so that its name is only a coincidence, and not derived from Martin Swart. Numerous German coins have been found in the neighbourhood of Ulverston, especially in the churchyard.
We append the following short sketch of George Fox; those who desire to know more of the deeds of this strange man will find them fully recorded in his Diary :-
"GEORGE FOX was born in the year 1624, at Drayton, in Leicestershire. His father was in very humble circumstances, and followed the trade of a weaver. He seems to have been a man of strong religious sentiments, and so remarkable for his integrity of life, that he received from his neighbours the name of 'Righteous Christopher.' He belonged to the Church of England, and instructed his son in that form of worship. When George had attained a suitable age he was apprenticed to a grazier and wool stapler ; but, tiring of that employment, he was sent to learn shoemaking. In 1643 he became a religious itinerent, and about 1647 he commenced his public ministry, by openly reproving the licentiousness of the age, and attacking with much severity the ministers and services of the Church. The distinguishing features of his system were the inward teaching of the Holy Spirit, and rectitude of manners. He also supposed that he was forbidden, by Divine command, to uncover the head to any of his fellow-mortals, or to apply to any the common title of Master, Sir, Lord, &c., but to approach all alike with the simple address of thou or thee. In his zealous endeavours to disseminate these principles, he met with much opposition, and was frequently arrested by the civil authorities and committed to prison. At Ulverston, Cocken, and North Scale, in the Isle of Walney, he not only met with opposition, but abuse, even to the imminent danger of his life; but at Gleaston, Dendron, and Rampside he was well received. In his first visit to Ulverston he took up his abode at Swarthmoor Hall, then the residence of Judge Fell, whose wife was a God-fearing woman. The preaching and conversation of Fox converted the whole household, excepting the Judge, who was then away on circuit. On his return home he was annoyed at the change in his family ; but the preaching of George soon effected a change in the sentiments of Judge Fell. He embraced the tenets of Fox, and became aim ardent disciple of the zealous preacher. In 1669 Fox married the widow of the Judge, eleven years after the death of her husband. He afterwards visited Ireland, Scotland, and America to propagate his sentiments, and subsequently Holland and other parts of the continent of Europe. After encountering innumerable sufferings, opposition, and afflictions, though generally brought on himself by his violent attacks on the clergy, and his strictures on them in their public ministry, this singular and extraordinary man died on tine 13th of November, 1690, in the 67th year of his age, in the White Hart Court, London. 'He was,' says Mr. Gough, in his history of the Quakers, 'a man of strong natural parts, firm health, and undaunted courage, remarkable disinterestedness, inflexible integrity, and undistinguished sincerity.' The name Quakers was first given to him and his party at Derby, from the shakings and contortions which accompanied their preaching."
The Cemetery for Ulverston occupies a site on the Bardsea Road near Dragley Beck, and was opened for interments, May 4th, 1878. There are three mortuary chapels, appropriated respectively to thue Church of England, the Dissenters, and the Catholics. It covers an area of about five acres, having a gentle slope towards the Bardsea Road, and is tastefully laid out. The cemetery is approached through a very pretty gateway, near which stands the Curator's Lodge built in the Gothic style from the designs of Mr. Grundy, architect, of Ulverston, whose plans were selected in open competition.
CHURCHES CHAPELS, AND SCHOOLS.
Of the origin of the Parish Church, dedicated to St. Mary, there is no written evidence. Tradition only has preserved the date of its erection (A.D. 1111), " the four ones," and the few remains of the original fabric, which have been retained in the present edifice, clearly indicate the style of architecture prevalent at that period. According to the earliest records, the Church of Ulverston seems to have been dependent on Urswick, and to have formed part of the Parish of Dalton. In 1200 it led to a dispute between the Abbot of Furness and the Prior of Conishead. The Abbot claimed jurisdiction over it, as included in the grant of Stephen, whilst the Prior advanced a counter claim, affirming that the church was included in the charter of foundation by William Taillebois, baron of Kendal. The matter was settled by an ecclesiastical commission which allotted the tithes of Ulverston to the Canons of Conishead; and it was further decreed, that the Abbot should receive from the Priory a yearly payment of 50s. "for the sake of peace." Being in possession of the revenues the canons deputed one or two of their own body to officiate in the church. Thus no vicarage was ever endowed, and to this day the minister of this large parish continues to be a perpetual curate only.
The church appears to have been rebuilt in the reign of Henry VIII., and again in 1804. It was restored in 1865-6 at a cost of over Â£6,000, and in a manner which is creditable to the taste and genius of the architect, Mr. Paley, of Lancaster. In the restoration he has preserved as far as possible the original character of the building. The semicircular arch of the south-door, with its double recessed chevron moulding, he has left untouched. The tower, which was built during the latter part of the 16th century, seems to have been intended to withstand the ravages of time. It is a massive piece of masonry, with walls six feet thick, of the Tudor style, but possessing little ornamentation. At a considerable distance from the ground, a stone has been inserted, bearing a much defaced inscription, with the figures 1164, but this date is evidently incorrect, and is probably an error of the copyist. The inscription accompanying the date reads thus:
"PRAY . FOR . THE . SOWLE
OF . WILLM. . DOBSON . GEN.
VSHER . TO . QUEN . ELH. . WEH.
GAVE . INTO . THIS . WORKE......"
which is conjectured to mean, "Pray for the soul of William Dobson, Gentleman Usher to Queen Elizabeth, who gave unto this work * *" The sum given is quite illegible. Previous to the restoration of the church a beautiful altar-piece adorned the east end; it was a copy from Vandyke by Ghirardi, representing the "Entombment of Christ." The original is in the Borghese Palace at Rome. The painting was presented by the late T. R. G. Braddyll, Esq., and is now in the vestry. The walls of the chancel have just been decorated by Messrs. Park & Co., of Preston. The colouring is exceedingly chaste, and the designs highly characteristic. The reredos has also been extended by two additions of beautifully-carved oak-work, from the designs of Mr. Farmer, architect, Ulverston. The whole expense of the latter has been borne by John Fell, Esq., Dane Ghyll, in memory of his daughter. Amongst the monuments and mural tablets in the church is an altar-tomb, with an effigy in Elizabethan armour, to the memory of William Sandys, Esq., of Conishead Priory, who died in 1559. A marble tablet, with brass-plate inlaid, on which are engraved full. length figures of Myles Dodding and Margaret, his wife, in the costume of the age, records their death in 1606. There is also a mural tablet to the memory of Sir John Barrow, Bart., a sketch of whose life we have given in a former page. The church contains a number of memorial windows, and is capacious enough to seat 1450 persons. The entire ecclesiastical district of St. Mary's covers an area of 5,615 acres, and includes the chapels of St. Jude, Ulverston, and St. John, Osmotherley. The patronage of the living, which is worth Â£260, is vested in five trustees, and the Rev. C. W. Bardsley, M.A., Oxon., is the present vicar. St. Jude's Church is a corrugated iron structure, erected in 1867, and capable of accommodating 265 persons. The curate-in-charge is the Rev. Charles Baker.
Holy Trinity Church is an elegant yet substantial building in the early English style of architecture, with a spiral tower. It was erected in 1832 by public subscription, aided by a grant from the Parliamentary Commissioners. The altar-piece is a copy of Guido's Crucifixion, by Ghirardi, from the original in the church of Lorenzo di Luciana, in Rome, and was presented by the late Colonel Braddyll. The church was restored and enlarged in 1881, and will now accommodate 780 persons. The organ also was rebuilt, and greatly improved in size and tone, at a cost of Â£600. There is a beautiful stained glass window to the memory of the late Charles Kennedy, Esq., and two others were added in 1881, by Mr. Kennedy, of Stone Cross. The appearance of the interior of the church is now (June, 1882) being still further improved by the addition of a beautiful marble reredos from the studio of Messrs. Miles & Affleck, sculptors and monumental masons, Ulverston. The stipend, worth Â£180 net, is derived from fees and pew-rents, and the living is in the same patronage as St. Mary's. The benefice is styled a vicarage, and is now held by the Rev. L. R. Ayre, M.A., Cantab.
The Catholic Church, under the invocation of the Blessed Virgin, patroness of Furness, is a narrow, plain Gothic edifice, at the corner of Fountain Street. The foundation stone, which was taken from Furness Abbey, was laid on the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul, June 29th, 1822. From the period of the Reformation to the erection of this church, the Catholics of Furness had no ecclesiastical edifice, and the few scattered members of the old creed must have had long distances to travel to fulfil the obligations of their faith. The first priest of the mission was the Rev. B. M'Hugh, who, in conjunction with the Rev. Dr. Everard, afterwards Archbishop of Cashel, received a few gentlemen boarders into their house for the purpose of completing their education. In 1832, the small tower at the east end was erected. The chancel is the only portion of the church which has received any ornamentation; the window, by which it is lighted, is filled with stained glass, representing the Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension of Christ, and the Descent of the Holy Ghost in the central compartments, and the twelve apostles in the others.
After the death of the Rev. B. M'Hugh, the mission was placed under the care of the Jesuit fathers, and upon their resignation of the charge, Father Laverty entered upon the mission, where he laboured most assiduously among his poor flock until the infirmities of age compelled his retirement from active service. The church is much too small for the congregation, and it is intended to build a new one, and also presbytery and school, towards the cost of which Â£1,400 has already been subscribed. The present pastor is the Rev. William Massey. Near the church is the school, attended by about 105 children. It is under the care of the Misses Potter.
The earliest Nonconformist Chapel in the parish was the Friends' Meeting House, erected at Swarthmoor in 1688, by George Fox, which has been noticed at length in the description of Swarthmoor Hall. The Independent Chapel, in Soutergate, was built in 1778, and enlarged in 1848. It is a large and substantial structure, with very little of the ornamental about it. It has sitting accomodation for 600 worshippers, and is under the ministry of the Rev. J. B. Bell. The Wesleyan Chapel in the Ellers was built in 1814, and has a large school attached to it. This chapel is the basis of the Ulverston circuit, which includes Dalton, Millom, and Broughton. Minister, the Rev. R. Roberts. The Baptists have a Chapel in Fountain Street. The Free Church of England holds its service in the Mission Room in Burlington Street, and is under the ministry of Mr. W. Troughton.
The Grammar School is a plain stone building situated at Townbank. It was in this school where Sir John Barrow received his education. It has recently been reorganized under the Charity Commissioners, and is now under the management of ten governors. The school was in existence in the early part of the last century, but the date of its establishment is not known. There are several endowments amounting to about Â£40, for which, under the old scheme, six free scholars were taught from the late Judge Fell's charity. There are two free scholarships, open to boys who have been for three years in one of the public elementary schools of thee parish. The present master is Mr. James Scotson.
The National Schools were erected by public subscription in 1834, aided by grants from the National Society and the Committee of Council on Education. They are large and spacious premises containing two apartments, the respective teachers of which are Mr. J. M. Schofield and Miss Taylor. The Ulverston Infant School, Church Walk, a handsome and spacious building in the early English style, was erected in 1854 by public subscription, at a cost of upwards of Â£1,000. Miss Brocklebank principal teacher. The Wesleyan School in Neville Street is a neat Gothic structure, erected about eighteen years ago. This school is a mixed one, and is under the care of Mr. J. S. Witham.
The Board School for the united district of Ulverston and Mansriggs is a spacious and well-ventilated building situated in Dale Street. The internal arrangements are very convenient, and the exterior presents an attractive appearance. The school was opened on the 8th January, 1877, and has accommodation for about 500 children. Mr. Jenkins head master.
Neville Hall Manor, which is within the manor of Ulverston, has its own privileges and bye-laws. It was originated by the third William de Lancaster about the time of King John, and was afterwards conveyed from Lawrence de Cornwall to Edmund de Neville, by whom Neville Hall was erected on the eastern side of the town of Ulverston. The manor continued in the Neville family till the reign of Elizabeth, when it was forfeited by the rebellion of Sir John Neville, who joined his kinsman, Charles Neville, Earl of Westmorland, and Thomas Percy, Earl of Northumberland, in their attempted insurrection. Among the customs of the manor we may mention the following. Tenants on their admission pay a fine of two years' rent; and the heriot on the change of lord is half a year's rent. "The running gressom, or town term, is half a year's rent every seventh year. The widow, if the first wife, is to have half the tenement; but a later wife only one-third. A tenant may, whenever he pleases, give his tenement to any of his sons; and in default of sons, to any of his daughters, as he thinks fit. A tenant may let or mortgage any tenement, or part of it, for a year, without license ; and may sell his whole tenant-right, or any part of it, with license from the lord." The Police Station and the superintendent's residence now occupy the site of the old hall.
This superb mansion, acknowledged as one of the finest in the North of England, stands on a beautiful and well-wooded knoll, partly on the site of the old Priory, and about 1.5 miles from Ulverston. It commands beautiful views of Morecambe Bay and the surrounding mountain scenery, and has been aptly described as the "Paradise of Furness and Mount Edgecombe in miniature." It was erected in 1824 by Thomas Gale Braddyll, Esq., at a cost of Â£l40,000. The prevailing style of its architecture is the English Gothic, but whilst this has been adopted throughout as the leading feature, other styles have been so charmingly incorporated as to add a pleasing variety and richness to its appearance. The main entrance is flanked by two minaret towers, rising to the height of 100 feet, and over the doorway is a fine traceried window, surmounted by a Catherine wheel. On the east front is a noble terraced promenade, with flower gardens, fountains, and vases. The rooms are on an extensive scale, and many of them ornamented with most elaborate oak carvings.
About three years ago the mansion was purchased by a Limited Liability Company, and converted into a Hydropathic Sanatorium. The extreme salubrity of the atmosphere, the sheltered situation of the Priory, and the beautiful walks and drives in the vicinity render it peculiarly adapted for such an establishment. The grounds in connection with the Priory extend to 150 acres, about 16 of which are beautifully laid out in gardens and shrubbery, and include excellent croquet and tennis lawns and a fine bowling green. In the park are some of the finest trees in the North of England. The grounds extend to the bay, where a fine stretch of beach forms a pleasant sea-promenade. The establishment at present is only fitted for the accommodation of 150 visitors, but is capable of adaptation for double that number. There are all the usual appliances for Hydropathic treatment-Turkish, Douche, Spray, Plunge, and Sitz baths, with the advantage of a copious supply of fresh and salt water.
The Priory was originally a hospital founded by Gabriel de Pennington, Knight, for the relief of poor, decrepid, indigent persons and lepers, and was dedicated to God and the Blessed Virgin. The endowment consisted of "all the lands on both sides of the road which heads from Bardsea to Ulverston, and from the great road to Trinkeld to the sea banks, together with the church of Ulverston, and its appurtenances, a salt works between Conishead and Ulverston, and divers others possessions and immunities," but the hospital was soon afterwards converted into a priory, after which it was further endowed by William of Lancaster and other benefactors. The brotherhood professed the Augustinian rule, and at the Dissolution, numbered one prior, seven canons, and forty-eight lay members. They had the care of the sick in Furness, and also served the Leper Lodge of St. Leonard's at Kendal. "Many a shivering and half-drowned adventurer over the sands," says Dr. Whitaker, " would mourn the time when these hospitable doors were closed for ever against distress and want." Such an establishment, in such a place, he tells us, must have been an inestimable boon not only to the poor of the district, but also to the wayworn traveller whose path lay over the dangerous sands of Morecambe Bay. The Priory was anciently charged with the cost of guides across this estuary, and so dangerous were the sands considered that the priors built, on Chapel Island, a small chapel, for the use of mariners and parties who crossed the sands with the morning tide, and
" Where tapers day and night on the dim altar burned continually
In token that the House wins evermore watching unto God." - Wordsworth.
The Priory was dissolved 27th Henry VIII., and the timber, lead, chattels, and other effects were sold for Â£333 6s. 3.5d., a sum equal to above Â£6,000 of the present money. Three years after, the manorial privileges of the hospice were leased to Thomas, second Lord Monteagle; but, in the first year of his reign, Edward VI. conveyed them to the Right Hon. William Paget and his heir to be held of the King by military service - thus were the intentions of the pious founders violated, and the King and his minions enriched at the expense of the poor. Paget transferred his lease to John Machell, of Crackenthorpe, Westmorland, who, the following year, sold the site of the priory to William Sandys, of Cotton Hall. Margaret Sandys, daughter of the above, conveyed Conishead by marriage to Myles Dodding, Esq., of Kendal, who came to reside at the Priory. Some years later the estates passed to John Braddyll, Esq., of Portfield, descended from an ancient Lancashire family. In 1776, Thomas Braddyll, dying without issue, devised the estates to his cousin, Wilson Gale, Esq., who assumed by Royal license the name and arms of Braddyll. He was succeeded by his son, Thomas Richmond Gale Braddyll, who subsequently sold the estate to Henry William Askew, Esq. No vestige of the ancient structure now remains, but its memory will ever live in the name of Conishead Priory.
Chapel Island is a picturesque object in Morecambe Bay, about a mile from the Conishead bank. On the island, almost hidden among trees, are the ruins of an old chapel, where in monastic ages a priest was stationed, who poured forth his orisons to the throne of grace for the safety of those who crossed the treacherous sands. A fisherman's cottage has been fashioned out of the ruins, but the little isle is now more sacred to pleasure than devotion. It is surrounded by most picturesque scenery -
" But hushed is now the strain that rose,
And naught breaks there the night's repose."
Resident Magistrates: M. Kennedy, Stone Cross; John Cranke, Ulverston.
Petty Sessions, held at the Police Court, Neville Street, every Thursday at 11 a.m. Clerk, S. E. Major, Union Street.
Police Station and Offices, Neville Street; T. Whiteside, superintendent.
Guardians, meet every Thursday, 1-80 p.m., at the Board Room, Union Workhouse, Stanley Street; Clerk, J. S. Sykes, Beech Grove; Relieving Officer, J. Riley, Sun Street; Auditor, E. P. Burd; Treasurer, John Gelderd, Lancaster Bank.
School Board for the United District of Ulverston and Mansriggs: Chairman, Rev. L. R. Ayre; Clerk, John Poole, solicitor; Attendance Officer, John Thompson; Board School, Dale Street; Master, John Jenkins. Board Meetings on the second Friday in each month, at 2 pm.
Ulverston Burial Board: Chairman, Thomas Ashburner; Clerk, William Postlethwaite, solicitor.
Coroner for the Liberty of Furness: J. Poole, solicitor, Ulverston.
Assistant Overseer : R. Pearson, Parish Offices, the Gill.
Fire Engine House, Ellers; Key kept by E. Scrogham, Ellers.
Dock Master, J. Wilson, Canal Foot.
Stamp Office, Market Street; Mrs. Stones, sub-distributor.
Inspector of Weights and Measures: Superintendent Whiteside, Neville Street. Attendance every week-day at the Police Station from 9 a.m. till 3 pm.
County Court: Judge, T. H. Ingham, Marton House, near Skipton, Yorkshire ; High Bailiff, H. Crook, Ulverston ; Registrar T. Postlethwaite, Union Street ; Court held every alternate month at the Temperance Hall, at 9-30 a.m.
10th Royal Lancashire Volunteers, Drill Hall : Captain Malby E. Crofton, Adjutant; Drill Instructor, Sergt.-Major Paxton.
Post, Money Order, Telegraph, and Savings Bank, New Market street ; Robert Hornsby, postmaster. Letters are despatched five times a day, and once on Sundays to all parts. Deliveries 7 a.m. and 2-38 p.m. The wall letter box (Canal Head) cleared at 11 a.m. and 7-10 p.m.; Sundays, 2-30 p.m. The wall letter box (Church Walk) cleared at 11-15 a.m. and 6-30 p.m.; Sundays, 2-30 p.m.