History of Lindal & Marton

A village community at the heart of Furness


Parish Council

From tarn hamlet to green village…

Evening Mail, Friday October 6, 1972

In the first of a two-part series on the history of Lindal-in-Furness James Melville tells how it grew…

Although the name Lindal does not appear in the Domesday Survey of 1086 (both Marton and Pennington do) the village is a very old one. It would appear that at that time the area between Dalton and Ulverston to the west of Stainton and the east of Pennington was uncultivated moor.

The earliest date the name Lindal occurs (it was spelt Lindale) is in 1220, when it is listed as one of the Granges of Furness Abbey.

Professor Ekwall gives its origin as Lime Tree Valley. It stands in a hollow and there used to be a tarn in the centre of the village. The Furness Coucher Book, however, explains the name as “The division or portion of common land divided off for the purpose of growing Lin, Line or Flax.”

Beck in his Annals of Furness (1844) suggests that most of the Abbey Granges seemed to have had spacious buildings, one of them having a hall and accommodation for the persons attached to them, as they were run by Lay Brethren supervising the labourers.

Some of the Granges situated at a distance from the Abbey may have had a chapel in the principal building, although all were probably built of daub and wattle. Whether Lindal had such a chapel we do not know.

The number of tenements at Lindal must have been either 12 or 16, because, together with Marton and Scalebank, it had to provide six men ready for active service on the command of the Abbot. This was out of a total of 60 from the whole of the Abbey possessions in Furness, and only Dalton had to supply as many.

Although Pennington is a separate subject it is impossible to avoid making a brief reference to it now. William Pennington objected to give service to the Abbot of Furness, but in 1318 he was compelled to admit he held his Manor by a yearly rent of 30s, and, in addition, to maintain the service of sending for ever, one man or woman from every tenant’s house in his Manor, having a firehouse or hall, to reap one day at the Monastery’s Grange at Lindal, when called upon by the Abbot, on the understanding that “the Abbot shall find a meal for each of the said reapers on the said day.”

Also every tenant that had ploughs had to plough half an acre of land at Lindal, for each plough, every year. Again the Abbot had to provide a meal for the ploughmen.

Pennington did not always carry out this duty fully and on one occasion the Abbot impounded ten heifers and six cows belonging to Pennington in default.

As time went on the supply of lay-brethren was restricted, possibly due to the plagues, particularly the Black Death. Lindal, as well as some of the other Granges, was then let out to customary tenants, who paid rent each year.

To illustrate something of the importance of the village we note that in 1535, its rental was £12 12s. 1d per year. This was made up of £12 0s. 3d. in money, two stirks at 3s. 4d. each and 62 hens at one penny each. This rental was more than twice that of Salthouse and also more than that of North Scale which had 16 tenements.

When the dissolution of the Abbey came, the tenants at Lindal became virtually owners, they having to pay only a small Lord’s rent, but this state was not confirmed without a good deal of litigation and trouble with certain prominent people in London, who claimed ownership. Conditions, generally, however, were not very good as the demand for farm produce was considerably reduced, the Abbey no longer taking its large share.

In addition to the small Lord’s rent, the tenants had to pay tithes to the owners of the tithes of Dalton Church. These included corn and all produce and stock tithes, but instead of hay tithes each tenant paid twopence. Lindal Cote or Close, which was an entirely separate tenement was, for some reason, tithe free.

Apart from the foregoing there is scarcely anything recorded about Lindal until 1643. It was then, during the war between King and Parliament, that the Battle of Lindal Close, as it has been called (although it was only a skirmish) took place. The Parliamentarians won this affair rather easily and Hudleston of Millom Castle and others of the Royalists were taken prisoners.

Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660, and for his assistance in bringing this about, the Duke of Albermarle, formerly General Monk, was made Lord of the Manor and from him the estates came down to the Duke of Buccleuch. It was not very long after that time when the area around Lindal began to increase in value because of the prospects of profitable mining of iron ore.

There is, however, an interesting reference in Sarah Fell’s Household Account Book. Here we find the name of one of the farmers William Staunton (Stainton) of Lindal paid £9 15s. 6d. for a pair of oxen from Marsh Grange in 1674. The following year he was paid for making the assessment for the poor due from Marsh Grange. The name should be borne in mind.

Returning to mining, the earliest record I have found is in 1707 when the Duke of Montague (the son of Albemarle) gave leave to William Matson of Tytup, to mine for ore within the customary land he had, situate at Tytup and Lindal. Then follows a succession of licence grants from which we find the names of some of the farmers: Wm. Shaw, Richard Postlethwaite, Peter Richardson and Samuel Tyson.

The ownership of land and farms in Lindal then became a real investment. Some time before 1728 (it must have been after 1710) the churches of Drigg and Irton in West Cumberland, which were then under the one vicar as they are today, received £200 each from the commissioners of Queen Anne’s Bounty.

This was money which was provided to supplement the stipends of impoverished ministers. With the £400 they bought a farm at Lindal, having an area of about 40 acres and the income of £30 per year helped to pay the minister.

Why did they come to Lindal? I can only suggest that it was because the advowson of both those churches had come into the possession of Lord Muncaster who still owned estates at Pennington. This farm is still in existence and is called Drigg and Irton Church Farm.

I have not been able to find out when the churches sold the farm, but I think it would have been about the middle of the last century. It is most likely it was purchased by the Duke of Buccleuch, but whoever bought it, the sellers must have made a very handsome profit.

The company formed to manage the estates of the Duke of Buccleuch in Furness, the Boughton Estates Co., were the owners of this farm until this year. The dated stone over the doorway is marked S WA 1635 and I like to think that it was at this farm that the father of William Stainton who I previously mentioned as being listed from Sarah Fell’s book, was responsible for the erection of the building.

I have not been able to find any reference to this elsewhere, but William Stainton of Lindal married Agnes Askewe at Urswick, in January 1618. He was buried at Dalton in 1657 and his wife in 1661.

Another Lindal farm was purchased in 1743 by the Governors of Queen Anne’s Bounty for Pennington Church for £600. It was 90 acres and it became Pennington Church Farm. It is no longer functioning as such, but still bears the name. While it cost £600 in 1743 it was sold for £10,000, just over 100 years later, the land being bought for mining purposes. There was then no such thing as capital gains tax.

Stockdale in his Annals of Cartmel, states that his grandfather was the chief worker of Haematite Iron Ore in Furness after about 1765 at Whitriggs, Lindal Moor. This is a greatly exaggerated statement and is obviously incorrect. Lindal Cote was in operation before 1721 by the Backbarrow Iron Co. and then by James Stockdale, but that was only a small part of the mining operations in the neighbourhood.

In the present village are the buildings of what were five farms, all situated around the Green. They are: Pennington Church Farm; Low Farm; High Farm, which has a date stone at the front 1879, but carries one at the rear 1647; Lindal Moor Farm; and Drigg and Irton Church Farm.

They were all part of the Boughton Estates, and some have the initials on the front BQ for the Duke of Buccleuch and the Marquis of Queensbury. All are worthy of inspection from the outside, some still retaining their stone mullioned windows and old style chimneys.

Since compiling the above I have this week been examining some old documents connected with Tytup Hall. From two of these it is evident that a William Sanderson and Anne, his wife, were at a tenement in Lindal during the early part of the 17th century. It is possible that this William built the house now known as Drigg and Irton Farm.

When ore mining flourished in the village…

Evening Mail, Friday October 20, 1972

Concluding his history of Lindal-in-Furness JAMES MELVILLE tells of its growth – and decline…

Of the farmhouses listed in the previous article on Lindal-in-Furness, undoubtedly Drigg and Irton Church Farm is the most picturesque.

It is a fairly long, low building, the walls being covered with ivy which is kept clear of the numerous stone mullioned windows. The wooden door, solid and studded with black iron studs, is painted white and over the lintel is the date stone. It is not the oldest inhabited building in the district, but it is well worth a visit.

The Tarn, which used to be right in the centre of the village – in fact the village was built around it – was one of the principal features. It was the source of water supply for the cattle in days gone by and older residents speak of their fathers telling them that parts of the farmcarts were often backed into the water during dry hot seasons to swell the timber and so prevent the iron shoddings coming away from their fastenings.

In 1887 the Tarn, for some reason, was filled in. Perhaps by that time an adequate water supply was available for all the farms. If it was anything like the tarn at Leece had become some years ago perhaps it was a good thing to do for the enclosed village green is a splendid amenity, although it is fenced in and, until recent times was in private hands. Now I believe it is the property of the local authorities.

During the filling operations there was an accident. The material was obtained from a quarry belonging to the Duke of Buccleuch and in order to get the material from the quarry, a tramway was constructed.

For this to be made a portion of a wall fence of the quarry had to be pulled down. A lad seems to have got inside the wall and while playing about was run over by the tram wagons and such serious injury was sustained to his right arm that it had to be amputated at the shoulder joint.

The lad’s father brought an action for damages to the Lancaster Court. Although the defence was that the work was being done by contractors without the control or interference of the Duke or his agent, Mr Wadham, and that the boy was trespassing at the time, the jury awarded £350 damages and £29 for the doctor's and other expenses and expressed the opinion that the manning of the wagons was done under the control of the defendants and that the accident could have been avoided, even though the child had strayed onto the rails.

Another point of interest regarding Lindal concerns road transport in those days. It was not easy until the Kendal to Kirkby Ireleth Turnpike Road was constructed in 1763. In its progress it came past Lowfield where there was a Toll Gate, through Lindal Village and on to Ireleth, via Holmes Green where there was another Toll Gate.

This was a great improvement and was partly responsible for putting Lindal on the map. This was especially so when we realise that all the iron ore raised had to be conveyed by road to the small ports where boats carried it to other parts of the country by sea.

The area round Lindal became very valuable and all the land was worked by the mine owners. Messrs. Harrison, Ainslie and Co; Schneider and Hannay; the Kennedys; Thomas Fisher and others were all very successfully employed in this work, but the Duke of Buccleuch, who owned the royalty, was also very interested.

The village became a very thriving place, particularly in the second half of the last century after the Furness Railway was opened and thus easier transport became available. Many hundreds of men were employed at the pits and in the ancillary services.

The increase in population, for Lindal was no longer simply a farming village, called for homes for the miners and the miners settlements were built between 1850 and 1875. The principal mine owners, Messrs. Harrison Ainslie erected a school for the children in 1854, but it soon required considerable extensions as by 1860 over 240 scholars were in attendance.

The village was in the parish of Dalton, but some of the inhabitants went to Pennington Church as that was nearer their homes. Then Divine Services were held in the school, and although this was not altogether satisfactory, the numbers attending caused the authorities to form a separate Parish of Lindal and Marton in 1872.

It was three years later that the first church was erected. It was what was known as an “Iron” church, i.e. it was constructed of corrugated sheet iron, but it served its purpose for 11 years.

The present building was erected in 1886 at a cost of £4,166 and is dedicated to St. Peter. Finances to cover the cost were very largely contributed by the Duke of Devonshire, the Duke of Buccleuch and Messrs. Harrison, Ainslie and Co. A house, formerly called “Lindal Mount,” was purchased as a vicarage and this was the gift of Messrs. Schneider, Hannay and Co.

The church itself has nothing of antiquity in its construction but the coloured glass in the windows, deserve comment as they portray very clearly incidents, from the Bible, which tell their own story.

The Wesleyan Chapel was built before the “Iron” Church. It lies close to the main Dalton-Ulverston road, the foundation stone being laid in 1871. There was also a Christian Meeting Room erected in 1875 on the Marton Road, but it has been occupied as business premises for some years now.

Most of the local villages have, or had, their “houses of refreshment” and Lindal is no exception. The Anchor Inn really lies in the parish of Pennington although it is very close to Lindal. It was in existence before 1825 and would be one of the inns at which pack-horse trains in olden days would stop for rest and refreshment. The last court of the Manor of Pennington was held there in 1926.

A beerhouse stood on the site where the “Iron” Church was later erected. The Railway Inn came later, after the railway was opened and the number of miners in the village increased rapidly.

It may be a little surprising to a number of readers that the mining at Lindal ended somewhat suddenly. One of the biggest troubles against successful mining here, particularly when it had to be carried out at increased depths, was flooding.

The Lindal Moor Mines at Lowfield and Diamond Pits and the two Bercune Mines were originally very up-to-date, but they now began to prove insufficient and very expensive to work. The company decided to build an entirely new generating station at a point where sufficient water was available for condensing purposes.

This was inaugurated by Lord Muncaster in October, 1907, but matters did not work out as expected and miners were paid off in scores and ore was only won between the surface and the water level. Soon all was at a standstill, except for Pennington Pit.

In an effort to make the generating station worthwhile, the company in 1912 offered the Dalton and Ulverston Councils to light Dalton, Lindal, Swarthmoor and Ulverston with electricity generated at the power station, but it was just a year or so too early for the Councils and they declined. This may now seem to have been an unwise decision, in view of events that followed.

The war of 1914-18 broke out and the Government took an option on the station and would not allow the place to be disposed of. After the war the Government withdrew and the station was sold for £10,000 and the brickwork was later used as material for a number of houses in the vicinity. The machinery was sold.

Thus ended a period of anticipated prosperity, which never really materialised and with all the mines closed Lindal became, what it still largely is, apart from farming, a dormitory village for Barrow and Ulverston.

Nevertheless I consider Lindal to be one of the best villages in Furness, with its farms and some houses surrounding the Green. One thing which appeals to me is that the community spirit which developed during the last century has never been lost. This can be seen with the cricket club and also the Buccleuch Hall, which is run by a committee composed of one member of each of the village organisations.

I was very surprised recently when I took a party around the village and its Green, to find that quite a number did not know anything about it as they had always passed through on the main Dalton-Ulverston road and had not realised the calm, serene and peaceful atmosphere to be enjoyed at any time so close to and yet away from the rush of traffic.

We are grateful to Brian Edge for locating a copy of the original Evening Mail article, and we also thank Bill Myers of the Evening Mail for allowing us to reproduce it on this website.

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