History of Lindal & Marton
|A village community at the heart of Furness|
Once the ancient capital of Furness, Dalton is a close neighbour to Lindal and Marton. Dalton was mentioned in the Domesday Book as Daltune. It was situated on a hilltop in a predominantly agricultural area, far enough from the sea to be protected from pirates.
Dalton became prosperous in the 1100s, thanks to the wealth and modernising influence of the Cistercian monks of Furness Abbey. Dalton gained its Royal Charter in 1239, which enabled it to hold a weekly market and annual fair. Dalton's fortunes declined dramatically after the dissolution of Furness Abbey in 1537.
Dalton was revived by the growth of the iron-mining industry in the 1800s. Iron ore pits were developed at several locations including Tytup and Crossgates. Around the same time, both Ulverston and Barrow expanded, so Dalton's relative importance in the area was diminished. Nevertheless, the continued growth of mining activities and the development of the Furness Railway were highly beneficial for Dalton. The town was encircled by mining works at Roanhead, Elliscales, Butts Beck, Longlands, Mouzell, Park Mines, and many other locations. Iron-ore storage yards were built next to the Furness Railway, connected to the mines by a network of narrow-gauge and standard-gauge tramways. There were also limestone and sandstone quarries, and a brickworks.
Nowadays, the stone quarries and brickworks remain in production, but the iron mines are all closed, and physical evidence of the iron-mining is increasingly hard to find. The town is largely residential, and has many thriving shops, pubs, and small businesses.
Dalton Castle is a 14th Century pele tower, situated on a hill overlooking the Dalton area and Furness Abbey. It was probably built by the Abbot of Furness Abbey as a defence against Scots raiders, and was used for holding courts and running civil administration.
Market Place, in front of the castle, was the original site of the town market. You can still see the curved stone slabs where fish were laid out in the sun to dry. Nearby is an ornate fluted wrought iron drinking fountain, installed in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria's jubilee.
The Church of St Mary stands in an elevated position near Dalton Castle. It was designed and built in the 1880s by the renowned architects Austin and Paley. In the churchyard is a plaque marking the mass grave containing the remains of more than half the town's population who perished in the Bubonic Plague of 1631-32.
Down Market Street is Tudor Square, which in the 16th century was known as "Town End", and was the centre of a separate village with its own green and several farms. It changed its name to Tudor Square in 1886, and became a watering place for the horses drawing carts of iron ore to the Barrow docks.
There are many rows of terraced houses in the town centre area, similar in style to those in Barrow-in-Furness. These were built to house mine workers and their families.
North of the town centre is Dowdales School, formerly a mansion house built for George Ashburner, who owned the Elliscales estate. It was converted to a school in 1928. The original mansion house still lies at the heart of a conglomeration of modern school buildings.
1. Dalton-in-Furness, Mediaeval Capital to Mining Community. Rock Battye. 2006. Cumbrian Railways Association. ISBN 0-9540232-4-2.
2. Barrow and District. F Barnes. 1968 (reprinted 1978). Barrow-in-Furness Corporation.
3. Lake District Life. Discovering Dalton article. Amanda Griffiths. Nov/Dec 2005. Archant Life.