Dr Alan Crosby – Cartmel Parish in a changing world 1550 to 1800: 5 March 2020

 

The changing world from the reformation and dissolution of the monasteries to the beginning of the 19th century was described through the superb maps available for the Peninsula, from the County Palatine Map of Christopher Saxton in 1577 to the first OS map in 1850. Saxton’s map was decorative, and attempted to show topography. The coastline was taken at low tide, indicating the sands crossing route. At that time there was little woodland in our area, in contrast to the extensive woodland to the north where there was a charcoal industry. Subsequent maps for a while tended to copy Saxton, eg John Speed. Around 1665, John Bleau published a map in Amsterdam, with some peculiar spelling eg Flokesbarro, and with the locations of Cart Lane Village, Gowborn Head (Humphrey Head), Waysholm towre, Wynder, Howker and Hamfeld Hall.

 

Yates’s 1786 prize-winning map is the first ‘proper’ map (1” to the mile). It was more effective in showing different aspects of the landscape (mosses, small patches of woodland and enclosures) and the townships with Cartmel, the market town, at the centre. Sponsors were named eg John Wilkinson’s improved moss. Even by this time Cartmel was still relatively cut off, until the turnpike road and railway were completed by the middle of the 19th century.

 

Richard Keurden produced very detailed maps in 1684 of the main routes in Lancashire, including the area north of the sands which were never printed or published. His survey of the main roads showed properties and distances in furlongs. Alan showed the map from Sandgate and Flookburgh to Allithwaite past Utterthwaite Hall.

 

The importance of Cartmel for travellers and as a market town was demonstrated in a survey by the War Office in 1686 of guest beds and stables, Cartmel being the 12th in the ranking for Lancashire with 26 guest bed and 57 stable places, ahead of Ulverston in 17th place.

 

The relative importance between Flookburgh and Cartmel Markets was discussed. It is known that William Marshall prescribed Cartmel for markets in 1292, Flookburgh’s charter was originally granted in 1412 and regranted for a second time in 1663, but still it appears that it was unsuccessful. There were disputes between the two settlements, the claim of Churchtown in 1690 of weekly markets beyond the memory of man was disputed by the residents of Flookburgh. Similarly, in 1721, Flookburgh claimed market affairs were held since time began! In 1725 the Bishop of Chester reported that Flookburgh had neither maintained a market or fair. In 1731, Sir Thomas Lowther granted Cartmel its only market charter.

 

Alan showed Paul Hindle’s map of developing routes, including the cross sands route and the turnpike road up to Kendale and across to Crosthwaite and down to Newby Bridge. Despite the turnpike route being safer the dangerous cross sands route remained well used because it was shorter and importantly it was free.

 

In the 18th century, industry started to appear on maps, eg on Yates’s map, there were details of the extensive iron works and other industries at Backbarrow. Alan showed an Indenture dated 1709 from Elizabeth Preston to Maychell for charcoal fired forges at Cartmel and Backbarrow and the right to explore for iron ore for a yearly rent of £28. She agreed to supply 300 loads of charcoal to Maychell. This was a renewal of the first agreement dated 1691. Iron Ore was not found in quantity in the Peninsula which saved the area’s landscape. In 1796, at the time of the enclosures the new land owners were granted mineral rights as an encouragement for the tenants to occupy the poorest land.

Alan concluded by showing a plan of the sea embankments of 1797, 1807 and 1828, and his lovely map showing the original coastline before the establishment and drainage of the marshes overlaid onto a modern map. Notably Humphrey head was an island! And then he presented data from the Agriculture Board Returns of crops showing a time-honoured diet (in acres): Oats 1586, Barley 659, Wheat 382, Potatoes 167, Rape 58, Peas 23 & Beans 7 from a total of 8000 acres.

Phil Rowland March 2020

 

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