Broughton in Furness

From Mannex's directory of Furness and Cartmel, 1882.

Is a township and chapelry lying adjacent to the head of the Duddon estuary. Its superficial extent is 7,252 statute acres ; rateable value, £9,076, and gross rental £10,062. The population of the township undergoes but little change between one decennial census and another. In 1801 there were 1,005 souls ; in 1811, 966; in 1821, 1,253 ; in 1841, 1,286; in 1861, 1,183; and in 1881, 1,171. The village of the same name occupies a pleasant situation on the southern declivity of a gentle eminence, and nearly opposite the natural harbour of Borwick Rails in Cumberland. It stands about half-a-mile from the river Duddon, about ten miles from Ulverston, and about forty from Lancaster, and now enjoys the advantages of railway communication with all parts of the kingdom. It is nearly in the form of a square, and the houses being all built of stone, have a clean and respectable appearance. The Market Place forms a spacious square in the centre of the town, the ground for which was given by John Gilpin, Esq., whose widow erected the Obelisk which stands in the the centre of the square. The Market was formerly held on Friday, but was changed to Wednesday above fifty years ago. Fairs are held yearly on April 27th, August 1st, and October 6th, chiefly for sheep and cattle. The lord of the manor exercises his manorial rights over these fairs, and at the one held in August each year, the steward of the manor attended by his bailiff reads the following proclamation from the Market Cross :-

"O yes! O yes! O yes! The lord of tbe Manor of Broughton, and of this fair and market, strictly chargeth and commandeth, on her Majesty's behalf, that all manner of persons repairing to this fair and market, do keep her Majesty's peace, upon pain of £5 to be forfeited to her Majesty, and their bodies to be imprisoned during the lord's pleasure ; also that no manner of persons, within this fair or market, do bear any bill, battleaxe, or any such prohibited weapons, but such as be appointed by the lord's officers to keep this fair, or market, upon pain of forfeiture of all such weapons, and further imprisonment of their bodies. Also that no manner of persons do pick any quarrel, matter, or course, for any old grudge or malice, to make any perturbation or trouble within this present fair or market, upon pain of £5 to be forfeited to the lord, and their bodies to be imprisoned during the lord's pleasure. Also that none buy or sell in corners, backsides, or hidden places, but in open fair or market, upon pain of forfeiture of all such goods and merchandise so bought and sold, and their bodies to be imprisoned during the lord's pleasure. Also that no manner of persons shall sell any goods with unlawful mete or measure, yards or weights, but such as be lawful, end keep the true assize, upon pain of forfeiture of all such goods, and further imprisonment of their bodies. Lastly, if any manner of persona within this fair or market, do find themselves aggrieved, or have any injuries or wrong committed or done against them, let them repair to the lord or his officers, and there they shall be heard according to right, equity, and justice. God save the Queen and the Lord of the Manor !!"

Formerly a number of the inhabitants were employed in the spinning of woollen yarns in their own homes, which were supplied to the manufacturers of Yorkshire, but the establishment of the factory system has entirely destroyed this domestic branch of industry. The principal trade of the place now consists in the making of hoops and baskets (locally called swills), brushstocks and rake and fork shafts, the material being supplied from the coppice wood which abounds in the Furness fells. At Kepplewray and High Kepplewray, on the outskirts of the town, are two establishments for the prosecution of this industry, the former in the possession of Mr. George Barker, and the latter belonging to Mr. Wm. Battersby. The produce of these works is forwarded to the Liverpool, Glasgow, and Greenock markets. Broughton Mills is a small hamlet in close proximity to the town. It possess a corn mill and a general woodturning establishment, where hayrakes, scythe poles, and brushstocks are manufactured. It is worked by Mr. T. H. Simpson.

The town possesses two very good inns, the Old and the New King's Head - where excellent accommodation may be obtained ; and at Foxfield Junction there is another good hotel erectcd since the opening of the Furness and Whiteheaven line. In 1877 a limited liability company was formed with the object of holding regular sales for the disposal of farming stock. An auction is held on the first and third Wednesday of every month. The Brown Cow Institute and Reading Room, established about nine years ago, is a useful append age to the town where the studious may increase their knowledge and the inquisitive acquaint themselves with the local and general topics of the day.

Broughton Church, dedicated to St. Mary Magdalen, is of ancient foundation, but the precise period of its erection is unknown. Bishop Gastrell says that the " chapell and yard" were consecrated in 1547, by license of Archbishop Cranmer ; but there are indications which point to a much earlier date. In 1873 the Incorporated Society granted £100 towards the rebuilding, " on condition that all the seats should be for the free use of the parishioners according to law." The restoration was carried out in 1874, when another wing was added. The new portion is built of the slate stone of the district, with red sandstone facings. The old square castellated tower of the original edifice still remains, but it is to be rebuilt at an early date to correspond with the rest of the structure. The east end is enriched with a beautiful stained glass memorial window to the Lathom family, representing the Adoration of the Magi, the Crucifixion, and the Ascension. The glass in the old window having suffered much from the effects of the weather, the present one was substituted in the year 1875.

A tablet in the Church records that the living was endowed in 1766 with lands purchased with £400, whereof £200 was from Queen Anne's Bounty, and the other £200 was contributed by William Stratford and other benefactors. Another brass plate tells us that Jane Taylor, widow, daughter of the late John Dixon, of Croft End, beqeathed by will in trust to the minister and chapelwardens of Broughton for the time being £300, the legacy duty on which amounted to £30, leaving £270, one-third of the interest of which is to be paid for teaching poor scholars at Aulthurstside School, and the remaining two-thirds to be divided equally amongst poor householders belonging to the township of Broughton. Her sister Agnes conveyed to the same trustees the centre house on the north-east side of the square, in the town of Broughton, the rent of which is to be applied in the same manner as her sister's legacy, 1826. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of James Sawrey Cookson, Esq., J.P., and in the incumbency of the Rev. F. A. Malleson, M.A.

The School is endowed with £26 per annum, for which ten poor children are taught free. A new school-house was erected about sixteen years ago, on the site of the old building, at a cost of £450, which was raised by subscription, and will accommodate 113 children. The average attendance is about 95, and the master now in charge is Mr. G. Hy. Parkinson. The trustees are the Rev. F. A. Malleson, M.A., Sir R. A. Cross, Robert Rawlinson, Esq., the Rev. J. Postlethwaite, William Crowdson, Esq., W. Woodburne, Esq., and John Whineray. The School at Aulthurstside also possesses an endowment of about £10 a year, for which fourteen poor children receive gratuitous instruction. It was erected by subscription in 1828, the year in which an Act was obtained for the enclosure of Broughton Common.

The Wesleyan Chapel is a handsome edifice, of Kirkby stone, in the modified style of Early English architecture. It was built at a cost of £2,500 by the late Nathaniel Caine, Esq., of Liverpool and Broughton, and generously presented by him to the Wesleyan Methodists, though he himself was of the Baptist persuasion.

Between Foxfield and Broughton is Eccleriggs, the seat of Sir R. A. Cross, G.C.B. and M.P., built in 1865 of the slate stone of the neighbourhood, with Lancashire stone facings. It occupies an elevated position, and commands splendid views of the Cumbrian and Lancashire bills.

The township is generally of a mountainous character, and abounds with the usual productions of the Furness Fells- iron, copper, and slate. The air of the district is salubrious, and conducive to longevity. In the churchyard is shown a tombstone, under which repose the ashes of seven members of the same family, who attained respectively the patriarchal ages of 78, 80, 84, 92, 101, and 104 years.

The word Broughton may be derived from the Saxon words berg, a hill, and ton, a town or village. In Saxon times it gave name to a family that flourished here through the Norman Conquest, the struggles of the Barons, and the contests of the Houses of York and Lancaster, till Lambert Simnel, a youth of about sixteen, the son of a baker, landed at the Pile of Fouldrey, in 1487, to prosecute his fictitious claims to the crown of England under the assumed name of Richard Plantagenet. A moving spirit in this enterprise was the Duchess of Burgundy, sister to Richard III., who was slain at the battle of Bosworth Field. She aided Simnel with 2,000 men, under the command of Martin Swart. They encamped on a moor near Ulverston, since called Swartmoor, and here Sir Thomas Broughton, probably by pre-arrangement with the Duchess, joined the invaders. The insurgents were defeated at Stoke, near Coventry, and Sir Thomas, according to tradition, narrowly escaping with his life, found an asylum among his tenants at Witherslack, in Westmorland, where dying in seclusion in 1495, without issue, the family became extinct. " The fall of the enemies of Henry VII. served to enlarge the already extensive possessions of the house of Stanley, into whose hands the estates of Lord Viscount Lovell and Sir Thomas Broughton in the north of this county, and the more valuable domains of the Pilkingtons in the south, fell by the attainder of their respective proprietors. Another civil war so impaired the fortunes of the Knowsley family, that, in 1657, Charles, the 8th Earl of Derby, conveyed the manor of Broughton in fee to Edward Leigh, Esq., by whom it was conveyed to John Sawrey, Esq., who in 1688 settled the manor upon his only son. A marriage took place between the heir and a daughter of the Gilpins, of Scaleby Castle, Cumberland, the only issue of which was Richard Gilpin Sawrey, Esq., who, dying without issue, devised it to his relative, John Gilpin, Esq., who adopted the name of Sawrey, and from whom the late proprietor, John Sawrey, Esq., D.L. and J.P., was descended. The manor is now the property of James Sawrey Cookson, Esq., of Neasham Hall, near Darlington, to whom it was devised by the late owner, and who has assumed the name of Sawrey in addition to his own. Broughton Tower, for many generations the residence of the Sawrey family, is a fine old mansion, occupying an elevated situation a short distance from the town. It has been greatly modernised ; and considerable additions and improvements have been made in recent years, but the old tower still remains. The present owner resides at Neasham Hall, near Darlington.

The customs of the manor require that the tenant on his admission shall pay a twenty-penny fine to the lord, together with an ancient annual rent, and he shall render suit and service to the court. He is free to alienate or mortgage his estate, with the license of the lord, on payment of ten shillings. These customs are so favourable to the tenant, that they almost boast the privileges of freehold possession. A court-baron is held yearly at the King's Head, Broughton, and is presided over by Mr. T. Butler, solicitor, the steward of the manor.

The principal landowners of the township are James Sawrey Cookson, Esq., Broughton Tower, the Trustees of Major Rawlinson, the Rev. J. Postlethwaite, Sir R. A. Cross, G.C.B. and M.P., William Croudson, Greenslack, Mrs. Caine, the trustees of T. Williamson, William Barratt, T. B. Dixon, Standish School Trustees, H. Stilling Dixon, of Bootle, Mrs. Pullein, T. Relph Gawith, and a few resident yeomen.

Post, Telegraph, Money Order Office, and Savings Bank, at Mr. J. F. Dawson's, Princes street. Letters arrive via Carnforth at 6-25 a.m. and 3-7 p.m., and are despatched at 6-35 p.m. Delivery at 7-0 a.m. by messengers.