Author Archives: philrowland414

The Lucks of Cumbria by Andrew Musgrave March 2022

We opened our 2022 season at Cartmel Village Hall recently when 30 members who attended the March lecture were welcomed back after two years without f2f meetings. We heard about the Lucks of Cumbria, an entertaining talk, given by local author Andrew Musgrave. We learned that he had investigated eleven Lucks, a project started during lockdown that resulted in the publication of his book recently. He described the precious talisman heirlooms that were presented to the owners of county houses that were supposed to ensure the protection of the house or the continuation of the family line by a male heir. He told the stories he had discovered about how and when the lucks had arrived at each house or been given to the family. He also commented on how many connections he had found between the Lucks across Cumbria and the Musgrave family who had received the first known Luck in the county at their then home at Edenhall. He ended by investigating if the Lucks had been successful. 

Pat Rowland March 2022

The History of Swarthmoor Hall & the Meeting Halls of Cartmel and Furness Peninsulas by David Olver May 2020

The Society welcomed David Olver to their meeting on 12th May, who provided a fascinating talk about Swarthmoor Hall and the history of the Society of Friends.

The Hall was built in the late 16th/early 17th Century at Swartmore (Old English for black moor) by George Fell.  George’s son Thomas (1598–1658) was a Barrister, Judge and MP.  Thomas married Margaret Askew (1614 – 1702) in 1632 and they had 7 daughters and one son.  Thomas and Margaret Fell met George Fell (1624 – 1691), the founder of Quakerism, in 1652 and Margaret was one of his earliest converts.  

George Fox was the founder of a movement originally called ‘Friends of Truth’, ‘Children of the Light’, later the ‘Society of Friends’ and internally call their members ‘Friends’.  George Fox was an itinerant preacher who travelled extensively both in this country, in Europe and America.  In the Spring of 1852 he spoke to a large gathering of over 1,000 on Firbank Fell.  Quakers believe that all are equal and men and women are George Fox renounced his wife’s property on marriage.  Swarthmoor Hall became the first headquarters of the Society  and Margaret Fell, together with her daughters but not her son, raised funds to support a travelling fund.  The daughters all married Quakers, but the son turned against her.

Margaret is known as the Nursing Mother of Quakerism.    Prior to the 1689 Toleration Act Quakers  suffered persecution for their beliefs and Margaret was imprisoned for 4 years from 1664 in Lancaster Castle.   During her imprisonment her Thomas son took her properties but she later recovered them following his death.  Following Judge Fell’s death Margaret Fell married George Fox in 1669 and continued to be a lifelong promotor and supported of the Society of Friends after George’s death. 

Swarthmoor Hall was left to Margaret’s youngest daughter but was later sold by a grandchild to clear debts.  It was then owned by distant landlords and occupied by tenant farmers and fell into disrepair.  Eventually it was bought by a descendant of Margaret Fell (Emma Clarke Abraham) and extensive renovations have taken place, partly funded by the Society of Friends.  In 1954 the Hall was bought by the National Quakers and they developed the historic house, museum, retreat, conference centre and café.  The Hall is currently closed for a major refurbishment, including removing rendering, adding a new car park, a new museum and interpretation as well as enhanced facilities and is to be re-opened in 2023.

David Olver then highlighted some of the many Meeting Houses in the local area.  One of the earliest was The Height (originally called Cartmel Height) which cost £106 9s 7d to build in 1677, the majority of the cost being for the wood.  It was active until 1910, then sold in 1922.  Swarthmoor Meeting House was built in 1687 and its burial ground opened in 1702.  Colthouse Meeting House was built in 1688 with a detached burial ground opened in 1658.  Rockhouse Meeting House was built in 1725 and is now managed by an independent charity as a meeting place and bunkhouse accommodation. Cartmel Meeting House was built much later in 1859, designed by architect Alfred Waterhouse.

Lyn Prescott May 2022

History of Stained Glass in South Lakeland: Sarah Lace April 2022

Sarah Lace gave a talk on the history of stained glass in South Lakeland and began by pointing out what makes stained glass special.   Questions asked are what is the architectural aspect of the glass, why it is a particular size and where is it situated.   The translucence of the glass allows light to pass through it in the daytime.  The images, especially of the biblical characters and stories, allowed people who could not read, to understand those stories and in the 12th century the church windows were particularly large for this purpose.

Stained glass has a timeline of periods running from Norman and Romanesque (1000 – 1300 AD) through the Gothic (1300 – 1700AD) to the innovative period in Victorian Britain from 1850 to the 1890s.  

Sarah continued to give 5 specific examples of stained glass in churches in South Lakeland.

The first was St Mary and St. Michael’s at Great Urswick, which is one of the oldest churches in the area and the East window has stained glass showing the coats of arms of the then local major landholders in the area.

The second church is St. Martin’s church in Bowness-on-Windermere, built in 1203, burnt down in 1480 and restored in 1870 by Paley and Austin. Decorative murals on the walls were discovered and the east window contains stained glass from many periods, some believed to come from old abbeys, including Furness Abbey and Cartmel Priory. Henry Hughes of London restored the east window in about 1870.

St. Oswald’s church in Grasmere is the third church and the earliest date was 1250. There is medieval stained glass in windows on the south side of the chancel. The windows on the south side were by Henry Holiday in the 1890s and a window on the north side is by Shrigley and Hunt in 1926.

The fourth church is Jesus church in Troutbeck and there was a church here from 1506 but the current church was built in 1736. The east window is dated 1873 and was designed by William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones and Ford Madox Brown.

Finally the fifth church highlighted was St. James church in Staveley in Kendal. In 1860 the 14th century church was replaced with a new church and the east window is pre-raphaelite glass made by Morris and Co, designed by Edward Burne-Jones.

Sarah also designs and makes stained glass and brought with her the tools, designs and books related to her trade. She also asked questions from the audience about her subject and its history.

Barbara Copeland

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


Hiatory of Lancaster Castle by Dr Colin Penny Feb 2020

Dr Colin Penny, the museum manager of Lancaster Castle, gave a fascinating talk on the history of the castle. The talk included the history of the buildings and the medieval kings, the small part it played in civil wars and the prominence of the castle in law and order through the centuries. In addition Dr Penny talked about the people associated with the castle and provided many anecdotes relating to the castle.

Due to the strategic point of castle hill, the Romans had a fort there in AD74 and the Normans built the first castle in 1093. The Duchy of Lancaster, including Lancaster Castle continues to belong to the reigning monarch.

In 1166, under Henry 11 the castle became the centre of an area from Liverpool to Furness where judges took trials every March and August. The castle thus became a prison where people were held until trial. Dr Penny described how the prison system changed over time and the prison closed in 2011, the oldest continually used prison in Europe.

Dr Penny also touched on the Pendle witches and the Peterloo organiser Henry Hunt who were all tried at Lancaster Castle.

Barbara Copeland

Cattle Droving through Cumbria 1600-1900 : Peter Roebuck Oct 2019

Peter Roebuck gave a superb talk on “Cattle Droving through Cumbria 1600-1900”.  He explained why they were driven (because they were too big to be carried), and their value.  Cattle provided materials for making leather, glue and tallow, as well as meat and dairy products.  Organised droving could only begin once reiving had been almost eliminated in the early 1600s.

Most cattle came from Galloway and were driven about 60-100 miles then sold on as most drovers only knew the routes, inns etc in their local area.   Strenuous days were followed by easy days to allow cattle to recover, and the outer parts of their hooves were shod.

During the C17 the trade was bolstered by supplying the armed forces who required beef rations for the men as well as huge quantities of shoe leather. The Navy carried live cattle. This booming trade helped businesses such as banks to be set up.  When an outbreak of Rinderpest broke out in 1745 it did not reach Cumberland so that even more cattle were sold from this area.

Cattle droving declined with the growth of canals and railways from 1850s onwards.

Catherine Bottomley

The Corpse roads of Cumbria : Alan & Leslie Cleaver Sept 2019

We had a fascinating and light-hearted talk on what appears to be a rich regional heritage. Cumbria has many words such as bier roads, lyke roads, coffin lines, lych ways and corpse roads which have been used to describe more than 25 paths in Cumbria which were used in medieval times to transport the dead either in coffins or shrouds from their remote rural homes and parishes to the mother church of the parish. It was the mother church of the parish which had the right to bury the dead in consecrated land and they fought hard to keep this financial advantage but by the late sixteenth century parishes won the right to bury their dead themselves claiming the journey and the often harsh weather made transportation very difficult. The paths sometimes covering a distance of  20 miles had features along the way such as coffin rests and coffin crosses where the cortège would stop to read a prayer. The Victorian fascination of the supernatural popularised the many ghosts stories of the corpse roads that abounded at that time. Today they are quiet byways.


From Bones to Burial Urns: Allithwaite Archaeology. May 2019


Dan Elsworth of Greenlane Archaeology gave a very interesting talk on his involvement with two archaeological excavations which took place in Allithwaite in 2001 and in 2015. He began bydrawing our attention to previous references and finds mentioned in Stockdale’s Annals of Cartmel. This find was at the time thought to be Roman and was described as having zig zag patterning and was attributed to a location on Aysome road, Cartmel near a Yew Tree. However, later writings by Watkins may have led to a certain amount of confusion to the precise location of the earlier discoveries and as a result the Parish of Allithwaite became Allithwaite village. In this way Allithwaite village became a site of archaeological significance.

Dan explained that the standard practice when a planning application has been submitted in an area known to have a history of archaeological artefacts, is to carry out archaeological excavations before building work takes place. Thus two sites : one in Church Road (2001) and the other in Jack Hill (2015) have been successfully excavated but several Bronze Age and not Roman urns ( also with zig zag patterning resembling the description by Stockdale of the earlier find) of differing sizes and conditions along with some flints were excavated and are presently with Kendal Museum awaiting display.

Dan explained how a number of random trenches are dug in order to sample a site and in both the Allithwaite diggings the first trench dug successfully revealed urn cremations which had in some cases used the natural hollows in the limestone. The bones found were able to indicate gender, age and bone diseases such as osteoporosis. With the aid of cling film and plaster of Paris bandages, the urns were removed from the ground and ready for further specialised investigation. The two sites resulted in artefacts from as early as 2020 BC in the Church road site and 1800 BC in the Jack Hill site and Allithwaite is the only place to have two sites of Bronze Age artefacts in Cumbria.

Arnside Maritime Heritage – April 2019 lecture


Mary Hamilton (Arnside Archive) and Alistair Simpson (Arnside Sailing Club) shared the story of over 150 years of boat building by the Crossfield family and their successors in Arnside with Society members and visitors.  The Archive and the Sailing Club worked together on research and a joint exhibition in July 2018 celebrating Arnside’s maritime heritage.

When carpenter John Crossfield moved to Arnside in the 1810s it was a small village and by 1841 there were still only 20 dwellings.    John and his sons established a boat yard and over the years they and their descendants designed & built a range of boats including Nobbies (Morecambe Bay Prawners), Bay boats (for boat trips), a pleasure steamer for Lake Windermere, yachts, dinghies,  rowing boats and Arthur Ransome’s Swallow.    Some of their boats have been restored and still sail including Bonita (built in 1888 and sailed round Britain in 2013), Ziska (built in 1903, now in America) and Moya (built in 1910 and now in Greece).  The Arnside Sailing Club, with the assistance of lottery funding, bought and restored the Severn (originally built by Crossfields in 1912) and returned it to Arnside.