button to main menu  Camden's Britannia, edn 1789

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Page 142:-
  Skerton Bridge
  Lancaster, quay

and a new bridge built by act of parliament over the river Lune or Lon. It has a considerable trade particularly to the West-Indies, and a fine quay on the river Lune: the river navigable to the bridge for ships of 250 tons. The custom-house is a handsome building.
  Morecambe Bay
Mr. Camden speaks of Furness as almost separated from Lancashire by the encroachment of the sea. He might have affirmed that it is no where else connected with any part of the county. Ptolemy's MORICAMBE (sic) is Cartmel bay, perhaps from British Moreb, a haven and Cain white or beautiful, from the white rocks on this coast [h]. A Roman road runs through Furness from Conished to Dalton, near which last place is a ditch and rampart on the east side of the church-yard [i]. Cartmel is the only town near Furness that retains a British name, and Bardsey the only village in it that retains a British sound [k].
  iron ore
The low or plain part of Furness, which is so called to distinguish it from the woody or mountainous part, produces all sorts of grain, but principally oats, whereof the bread eaten in this country is generally made; and there are found here veins of a very rich iron ore, which is not only melted and wrought here, but great quantities are exported to other parts to mix with poorer ores.
In the mountainous parts of this country are found quarries of a fine durable blue slate to cover buildings with, which are made use of in many other parts of the kingdom; and here are several cotton-mills lately erected; and if fuel for fire were more plentiful, the trade in this country would much increase; but there being no coals nearer than Wigan or Whitehaven, and the coast duties high, firing is rather scarce, the country people using only turf or peat, and that begins to be more scarce than formerly.
Bishop Gibson derives the name of Fourness from the numerous furnaces there antiently, whose rents and services called Bloomsmithy rent are still annually paid.

In the mosses of Furness much fir is found, but more oak: the trunks in general lie with their heads to the east, the high winds having been from the west [l]. High Furness has ever had great quantities of sheep which browse upon the hollies left in great numbers for them; and produces charcoal for melting iron ore, and oak bark for tanners' use in great abundance. Low Furness was applied to the uses of agriculture [m]. The forests abounded with deer and wild boars, and the legh or scofe or large stags, whose horns are frequently found underground here.
  sands roads
  sands guide

The three sands mentioned by Mr. Camden are very dangerous to travellers by the tides and the many quicksands. There is a guide on horseback appointed to Ken or Lancaster sand at £.10. per ann. to Leven at £.6. per ann. out of public revenue, but to Dudden, which are most dangerous, none; and it is no uncommon thing for persons to pass over in parties of 100 at a time like caravans, under the direction of the carriers, who go to or fro every day. The sands are less dangerous than formerly, being more used and better known, and travellers never going without the carriers or guides.
Plumpton was famous 500 years ago for its iron mines [n], and much is still found at Whitrigs [o], and other parts of Plain Furness.
Mr. Camden in Caernarvonshire had placed the Setantiorum λιμην of Ptolemy on the river Secont near Caernarvon, but allows that other copies remove it further off. Baxter puts it at the mouth of Mersey, Stukeley of Lune, Ward in Horsley and Whitaker of Ribble [p].
  Cartmel Priory

Cartmell was a priory of Austin canons, founded 1188, valued at £.91. [q]. The gate still remains. The large and handsome church was purchased by the parishioners at the dissolution; the choir adorned with curious carving of the passion, by George Preston of this place 1640, who repaired in the antient style [r]. The town is small and has very irregular streets lying in a vale surrounded by high hills. The market which the priory had at Flookborough adjoining is now removed to Cartmel [s].
  Holker mount.
  Holker Hall
Holker mount, once the seat of the Prestons, since the property of the Lowthers, and now of lord George Cavendish, is a large irregular house in a pretty park well wooded [t].
Near Wraysholme tower is a brackish medical spring much used for arthritic and cutaneous disorders [u].

Ulverston, the key and mart of Furness, has a good market, and fits out 70 ships for the coasting trade [x]. The steeple was built by a private person from the ground to the height of the church roof, and was finished by the inhabitants [y].
Dalton, antiently the principal town, now decayed, though pleasantly situated, has an old castle or tower, lately a gaol for debtors [z],
  Furnes ab.
  Furness Abbey
"Furnis abbay up in the mountains [a]," was begun at Tulket in Amounderness 1124, for the monks of Savigni in France, and three years after removed to this valley, then called Bekangesgill or the vale of Nightshade. It was of the Cistercian order, endowed with above £.800. per ann [b].
Some ruins and part of the fosse which surrounded the monastery are still to be seen at Tulket [c]. The remains at Furness breathe that plain simplicity of the Cistercian abbies; the chapter-house was the only piece of elegant Gothic about it, and its roof has lately fallen in. Part of the painted glass from the east window representing the crucifixion, &c. is preserved at Winder mere church in Bowness c. Westmorland. The church (except the north side of the nave), the chapter-house, refectory, &c. remain only unroofed [d].
  Walney isle
  Walney Island
  Piel Castle

Walney isle at the extremity of Fourness has been lately improved by spreading sea-sand on the land, and now produces plentiful crops of wheat and other grain. The strong castle of the pile of Foudrey stands on another island at its southern extremity [e].
The murder ascribed to Ethred in Wornvaldremere A.D. 791, is doubted, because he was himself one of king Elfwold's sons [6].
Great part of Aldingham parish has been swept away by the tides [f].
[h] West's Hist. of Furness, p.v.
[i] Ib. p.ix.
[k] Ib. xii.
[l] Ib. xliv.
[m] Ib. xlv.
[n] Ib. xv.
[o] Pennant, 26. West, xvii.
[p] I. 125.
[q] Lel. V. 85. Tan. 231.
[r] West, xiv. 261. Penn. 23.
[s] West, ib.
[t] Penn. 24.
[u] West, ib.
[x] Ib. xvi. P. 25.
[y] Inscription in the tower.
[z] West, xviii.
[a] Lel. V. 85.
[b] Tan. 230.
[c] West, 2.
[d] Ib. 94.
[e] West, xix. Pennant, 27.
[6] G.
[f] West, xxi.
gazetteer links
button -- Aldingham
button -- Bardsea
button -- "Cartmell Priory" -- Cartmel Priory
button -- Cartmel
button -- Dalton Castle
button -- "Dalton" -- Dalton-in-Furness
button -- "Flookborough" -- Flookburgh
button -- Furness Abbey
button -- Furness
button -- "Holker Mount" -- Holker Hall
button -- Holy Well
button -- Lancaster
button -- "Cartmel Bay" -- Morecambe Bay
button -- (roman road, Furness)
button -- (sands road, Lancaster Sands)
button -- St Mary and Holy Trinity Church
button -- Ulverston
button -- Walney Island
button -- Windermere
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