Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archæol.

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the west end had been built in 1767, and affords evidence
of the growing want of church accommodation for the
population at that date. The cost of this structure
amounted to no more than £52 10s., yet it is rather remark-
able that the builders came from Lancaster, indicating
that there were no persons in the locality at the time
capable of executing such a work. A faculty had been
obtained for this gallery, and as was not exceptional in
that degenerate period of our church history, the pews it
contained were sold, and realized £104 7s., leaving a sub-
stantial profit on the operation. In 1788 there still re-
mained in use a number of open-backed and open-ended
seats of oak, grown black with age, and at that period
the railings enclosing the communion table were also of
ancient oak. I am informed that, until 1825, tri e floor of
the church was simply of earth, and that it was the custom
to have it covered once a year with the long white bent
grass, which is common on the neighbouring sandhills
of Roanhead and Sandscale. Possibly in primitive times
a ceremony analogous to the rush-bearing at Ambleside
and elsewhere took place, when this simple cover to the
rude floor of earth was renewed ; of this however there is no

In 1788, the church consisted of a nave and south
aisle only, which was quaintly described as the " Knave

In 1789, several additional pews were constructed in
the place of the old open seats, and in this year a sub-
scription was entered into "for the purpose of purchasing
a barrel organ to be set up in the church." It contained
three barrels with ten tunes in each, and a fourth was
subsequently added. The cost was as follows : —



£ s. d.

Organ - - - - 84 o o

Extra barrel - - - 10 10 6

Gallery - - - - 12 o o

Sundries - - - - 5 1 11









1 1















£m « 5
There are some entries at this date in the parish accounts,
which may net be uninteresting;

Rec d for a Burial within Church -
18 Quindams* at £1 4s. 6d. each -
The Parishing Rentsf
Payments : —

Ringer's Salary and taking up Bells

Singers' Salary ....

Organist Do. h year -

Sexton - ....

Cleaning Church ... -

6 Strange Ministers

Killing 1 old Fox and 3 young ones

Washing Church Linen -

In the following year, 1790, which seems to close a period
of active revival among the parishioners of Dalton, a
" Ring of Bells " was purchased, which was the " ring of
three," remaining until they were superseded by the peal
of six bells in 1865.

Nothing of importance appears to have occured in the
history of Dalton Church, until Mr. Michaelson, the
owner of Old Barrow Island, obtained in 1815 a faculty,
which enabled him to build an offset to the church on the
north side, and place two or three pews in it for the con-

* Ouindam, i. c, quindecem, a fifteenth. This is one of the oldest taxes of
Furness. The poor rate was laid by it in the last century.

f I have endeavoured to ascertain what this term " Parishing Rents" applied
to. It is supposed they were rents colli. cted on the church account for the use of
some open spaces within the parish. The Duke of Buccleuch as Lord of the Manor
of Dalton collects some similar rents Houses had been built on portions of these
open spaces and a species of ground rent was paid which entered into the Parish-
ing Rents. Some spaces remained open till recently, but the collection of these
rents has ceased for a considerable period, and all rights in connexion with them
are probably lost.



venience of his family and tenants. This extension was
followed by and absorbed in an enlargement of the whole
of the north side of the church, by the erection in 1825 of
a north aisle, with pews and a vestry, at a cost of £"1500.
The sale of the new pews proved ample to cover the
expenditure upon this enlargement. At this date all the
open-backed oak seats were finally discarded, and the
earthen floor which had been hitherto covered with bent
grass was replaced by a suitable new floor, partly flagged
and partly boarded. In 1833, the south aisle received a
new roof, and in 1865 a new organ was purchased.* At
a more recent date the church was further improved by
the whole of the south aisle windows being renewed in
stone work, of good design, with stained glass, the gift of
Mr. Baldwin of Dalton, the Duke of Devonshire, and the
parishioners. The east window was also rebuilt, and filled
with stained glass by Mr. Schneider.

Improved even as it had been, the Parish Church of
Dalton remained a poor ecclesiastical edifice, and it may be
regarded as a satisfactory feature of the present age, that
the means have been provided to rebuild it entirely, and to
erect a structure which is worthy of the site. This re-
markable position seemed to demand such an effort, and
as it is the site of an ancient Christian church, it may not
be unacceptable to gather together for these notes, such
facts as survive the lapse of time.

Mr. West, in his Antiquities of Furness, of which rich
district Dalton claims to be the ancient capital, says :

It is but reasonable to conclude that Agricola acted upon the same
principle in Furness as in other parts of Lancashire, and for its
security erected a castellum at Dalton the same year that he con-
quered or received the surrender of its inhabitants. The area of the
castellum has probably been all the churchyard, the ground on which
the present castle stands, and from that to the precipice on the

* In this year also the " Ring of Bells" of 1790 gave way to a fine peal of six.



western side * * * Steep rocks on the south and a precipice on the
western side, with a rampart- and ditch on the east secured the
fort from surprise ; and a brook, which flows in the valley below, pro-
vided the garrison with plenty of water.f

Upon the southern portion of this remarkable and pictur-
esque position a Christian church has stood from a very
remote period. It is somewhat remarkable that Stephen
Count of Boulogne and Mortaigne, afterwards king of Eng-
land, makes two grants of Furness to the Cistercians.
The first in 1126, by which he gave " to God, Saint Mary
of Furness, and the Abbots of this house " (Furness
Abbey), the Furness district. The second grant is dated
A.D. 1127, and Mr. Beck, in his Annals of Furness, claims
to be the first person to publish it. Dalton is specially
mentioned in both the grants, and in the following terms in
the second :

Reddo dono et concedo Deo Omnipotenti et Sanctse Trinitati de
Savignao et abbati illius loci totam forestam meam de Fudernesio
et Wagneia cum omne venatione quas in eis est — et Daltonam — et
omne dominicum meum infra Fudernesium.J

To many readers of this paper it is probably necessary to
explain that Dalton is distant about a mile from Furness
Abbey. The beautiful valley of Nightshade in which the
abbey lies, is divided about half a mile to the north of
it, one fork proceeding in a northerly direction towards the
estuary of the Duddon, and the other in an easterly di-
rection. This branch of the valley passes beneath the bold
escarpment of limestone rock, upon which, according to
Mr. West, Agricola's castellum was probably built, and
upon a portion of which the Parish Church of Dalton

* The present vicar of Dalton, the Rev. J. M. Morgan, informs me, upon a tra-
dition going back about 75 years, that in altering and levelling the vicarage garden
which is adjacent to the church-yard, it is believed that a portion of the ramparts
of the Roman Camp at Dalton was discovered, but in the carelessness of the
period every trace was removed to carry out and complete the improvement of the

t West's Antiquities of Furness, second edition, 1S04, p. II.

% It may not be uninteresting to note that in 1134, when Calder Abbey was
founded, among the twelve companions selected from the monks of Furness to
accompany the first abbot, the name of Theodoric of Dalton occurs.



stood anciently and now stands. The first direct allusions
I find to Dalton again in the authorities to which I have
access, is in the Bull of Pope Eugenius III., a.d. 1153. It
is quoted by Beck, and mentions Dalton in the following
terms :

Daltonam cum omni dominico ejus infra Furnesium et omnibus
pertinenciis suis.

But although Dalton is mentioned in these ancient docu-
ments, I can find no allusion in any of them to its church
at this period. It undoubtedly existed, for in the grant of
lands made by Waltheof Fitz-Edmond, in Yorkshire,
to the Abbey of Furness, in the latter half of the 12th
century, the name " Gilberto persona de Dalton " appears
as one of the witnesses to the charter. Somewhere about
this period the contentions commenced between the abbot
and the parson of Dalton, for the surrender to the former,
of the entire ecclesiastical patronage and control of the
parishes of Dalton and Urswick, which are adjacent to
each other. According to the Bull of Pope Celestine III.,
a.d. 1194, both these parishes are handed over by the
papal authority to the abbot, and in the following terms :

Etecclesiasde Dalton etde Urswiccum capellis et omnibus pertinenciis
earum et libertatibus cum decimis et obventionibus ad domus vestrse
paupertatem relevenandam et conventum in servitio Dei perpetuo
sustendandum vobis auctoritate apostolica connrmamus, etc.

This Bull does not however appear to have given to the
abbot the absolute control, which its language implies.
There seems to be no record of any appeal against it, and
yet I am inclined to think there must have been something
of the kind, as in a.d. 1200, its action and power was
evidently not absolute, inasmuch as Honorius, then Arch-
deacon of Richmond, intervenes and sanctions a special
deprivation of part of the stipends of the rectors or vicars
of Dalton and Urswick, upon the plea, that there was a



lack of grain for the brethren at the abbey,* as if, says

The incumbents of these churches would not suffer equally with
others in times of scarcity.

The Archdeacon of Richmond in his mandate has the
following somewhat singular passage :

Cum ab antiquis temporibus Ecclesias de Dalton et de Urswic ad
monasterium de Furnesio noscuntur pertinere.

According to Mr. West, who cites as his authority the
Archiepiscopal Register of York, it was not until the
month of May, a.d. 1228, that the entire patronage and
absolute control of the church of Dalton was finally
handed over to the monastery of Furness. In the pre-
vious year some direct communication had taken place
with the papal authorities, for in a Bull of Pope Hono-
rius III., a.d. 1227, the vicar of Dalton is exempted from
the payment of procuration money to the diocesan and
his officials, if they failed to visit his church. Even in the
settlement of 1228, the rights of "William, the vicar " of
Dalton are guarded by a reservation, whereby he and his
successors have forty marks per annum secured to them
as a stipend. Apart from other questions affecting this
large and important parish, these relics of information
prove, that up to the early part of the 13th century, the
vicar of Dalton occupied an independent and important

Among the contentions connected with the efforts to
absorb Dalton in the ecclesiastical properties of the Abbey
of Furness, that of the area of the parish seems to have
been prominent. There was undoubtedly good reason to
promote some division, as the parish up to a.d. 1219, was
unwieldly and comprised the greater part of Lonsdale
north of Sands, excepting the Cartmel district. In this

* Beck, p. 166.



year the abbot succeeded in breaking it up, diminishing
the ancient parochial boundaries, by detaching from them
the large district which formed, anciently, the chapelry of
Hawkshead, but which has now been much divided by the
creation of the extensive chapelry of Colton and other
minor chapelries. Still it seems quite clear from the fol-
lowing letter which Mr. Beck quotes, addressed by Roger
Pele, the last abbot of Furness, to Thomas Cromwell, that
even up to the dissolution of the monasteries, Hawkshead
was only a chapel of ease of Dalton.

Sir in most hertye and humble wyse I desyre you to be mine es-
pecialle goode master as ye ever have bene a certifying unto you that
ye said Hawkshed never was any personage nor benefice butt of long
tyme haith bene one chapelle of ease within the parochene of Daltone.

The abbot had strong reasons for promoting the division
of this great parish. The conveyance of the dead alone
from such remote districts as the confines of Langdale, a
distance of about 25 miles, to be interred at Dalton, invol-
ved a most serious and' objectionable undertaking. To
anyone familiar with the hilly and mountainous portions
of Lonsdale North of the Sands, it seems almost incredible
how the dead could be conveyed such distances in an age
which was destitute of roads and bridges. It is said
that this formidable difficulty of distance and transport
over a rugged country, was overcome by the corpse being
deposited in a wicker basket, which was slung from two
horses, and carried between them. But we who live in an
age of convenient churchyards and cemeteries, can with
difficulty imagine the proceedings of a funeral in those
primitive times. Whether the body of a deceased person
came with attendants merely, and without the escort of
relations and friends for its interment, may remain possibly
in final obscurity, but if accompanied by those who, of old
as now, were attached to each other, the conveyance of
the dead for interment at Dalton, from the Hawkshead



district, must have been both a difficult and painful under-
taking.* The vicar of Dalton for a time resisted the
division of his parish, and appealed to the papal authority
against the proposed action of the abbot in diminishing it,
and it was not until after formal enquiry in the 13th cen-
tury, that this terrible hardship was finally overcome, and
the parish actually divided for ecclesiastical purposes.

In 1291, the crusade of Edward I. led to a tax on the
church property to make provision for the cost. The
tenths of England, Scotiand, and Wales were granted by
Pope Nicholas IV. for this purpose, and there is an entry
in the " Taxacio bonorum spiritualium," showing that
the Church of Dalton bore its share.

Ecclesia de Dalton. xij marcas decima sexdecim solidos.

In the reign of Edward II., a.d. 1316, Furness seems to
have suffered heavily from a devastating invasion of the
Scots, and Dalton is called upon as a contributor to aid in
repairing the damages caused by it. An entry occurs in

* The custom of holding an " Arvel " at funerals prevailed at Dalton till quite
recent times. Brockett, in his Glossary of North Country Words, says, in speak-
ing of an Arvel, " With us it was anciently a solemn festival made at the time of
publicly exposing- the corpse to exculpate the heir and those entitled to the effects
from fines and mulcts and from accusations of having used violence." In Oalton
the custom of the arvel was for the persons attending a funeral to divide them-
selves into parties of four each. The parish clerk having given notice in the
churchyard at what hour and place the arvel would be given, the guests then
assembled in their respective parties, a cake of the same description as that known
now as a fair cake, but called the arvel cake, was given to each person, and a
quart of ale was provided for the four. It was however by custom incumbent
upon each party at the arvel festival to order another quart of ale to be paid for
by the four to recompense the innkeeper for the use of the room, fire, or stabling
provided for the convenience of the mourners or guests at the funeral. Before
the days of hearses and mourning coaches the coffin was carried to within a mile
or two of the church in a long cart ; it was then taken out and borne on the shoulders
of friends of the decease for some distance to the church. I am inclined to think
the festival of the arvel arose out of the long distance over which the dead were tran-
sported and the necessity of refreshment. It is somewhat difficult foralccal per-
son to understand why the dead were conveyed beyond Ulverston from Hawkshead.
A church existed there in the nth century, if not earlier, and it would have
saved five miles in distance. Xo doubt Hawkshead was not within the parish
of Ulverston, but the convenience of the burying ground is so obvious in com-
parison with that of Dalton, that there must have existed very strong and ancient
ties from a very remote period bringing the Hawkshead parishioners to their old
parish and its burying ground, until the action of the Abbot of Furness in 1219
effected ecclesiastical severance.



the levy made by the abbot, showing the contribution
claimed from Dalton :

Ecclesia de Dalton ad. xl. s
Decima. iiij. s

A transaction of an important character, affecting the
possessions of the vicars of Dalton is recorded by Beck
to have taken place in the reign of Edward III., and it
implies a large surrender of land. In 1331, it appears
that permission was asked to carry out the transaction,
and a license was granted to William Cockerham, the vicar,
to make over to the abbey one messuage, forty acres of
land; three acres of meadow, two acres of wood, and one
hundred acres of heath in Broughton and Little Marten.

For the purpose of providing a lamp to burn forever before the high
altar (Furness Abbey) at high mass.

So far as I can learn there is no knowledge now of the
precise portions of land which were embraced in this
endowment, but it would seem to involve a considerable
impoverishment of the benefice of Dalton-in-Furness.

From this period, and for nearly a century, I find in the
authorities I have had the opportunity to examine, no
mention of nor incident connected with the Church of
Dalton or its vicars. But further dissensions appear to
have arisen between the abbots of Furness and vicars of
Dalton, as to their respective rights to the greater and
smaller tithes arising out of the parish. In a.d. 1423,
this dispute was referred by Robert, abbot of Furness,
and Richard Spoforth, vicar of Dalton, to Bowet, arch-
deacon of Richmond, for arbitration, and his award is
published at length by Mr. West and by Mr. Beck. Ex-
tracts from this document may not be uninteresting in
connexion with this account of Dalton Church. The
parties to the award are thus described :

Robert Abbot and the Convent of the Monastery of the Blessed Virgin
Mary of Furness regularly possessing the parsonage or rectory of



Dalton to their own proper use, with all its rights and appurtenances
whatsoever, with the rights of presenting to the vicarage of Dalton,


the discreet man Richard Spoforth perpetual vicar in the Church of
Dalton aforesaid.

The award then proceeds to confirm to the abbot all the
tithes and emoluments of the living,

except such gifts and legacies as shall hereafter be left to the said
vicar or his successors in personal legacies. The mansion house
with appurtenances shall be repaired by the said vicar and his suc-
cessors, perpetual vicars, reserving also the accustomed tithes of
bread and ale in the town of Daltcn with candles that hereafter shall
be offered in the Church of Dalton at the Feast of the Purification
of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the said vicar and his successors for-
ever. And the Abbot and his successors and convent shall pay and
cause to be paid for the time to ccme yearly forever by equal pay-
ments, as a total and sufficient endowment indemnification allowance
and appointment for the said perpetual vicar over and above the
aforesaid premises limited as aforesaid to the said present vicar and
his successors for the time being the yearly pension of twenty six
marks of good and lawful money of England in the aforesaid Church
of Dalton at the Feasts of the Nativity of our Lord, Easter, St. John
the Baptist and St. Michael the Archangel.

This award may be regarded as the final settlement be-
tween the abbot of Furness and the vicar of Dalton of
contentions and struggles extending over 200 years. It is
remarkable that no allusion is made in this document in
fixing the stipend of the vicar, to the prior settlement of
1228, by which William, the vicar, was to receive an
annual payment of forty marks. How long this ancient
arrangement continued is unknown, but the award of the
Archdeacon of Richmond in 1423 was, according to Mr.
West, made in the reign of Elizabeth, " the rule for
endowing the vicarage."

In the survey, taken under an Act of Parliament (26
Henry VIII), of the possessions of the Abbey of Furness,
under the heading " Ecclesiastical Rents of Lancashire,"

the rectory of Dalton is valued as follows :



Tithes of the Rectory of Dalton.

Of Barley and Oats - - 13/. i3s. Sd.

Of Lambs - - - 3/. os. Sd.

Of Wool - - - - zl. 13s. id.

Lent oblations and fines - 13/. 6s. Sd.

In all - - 33^ 19s. qd.

According to Mr. West, the final agreement as to the
stipend of the perpetual vicar of Dalton, was settled in
1577, in the nineteenth year of the reign of Elizabeth.
He writes :

upon this agreement the stipend for the perpetual vicar of Dalton
was regulated to be paid out of the issues and profits of the rectory
of Dalton, which the said rectors in the rectory house have and now
do pay.

A later survey taken by Parliament, in 1649, nas tne
following entry :

Rectory of Dalton.
The Rectory of Dalton is per annum £31 gs. 2d.

Memorandum. — The said Rectory is in fee farm to Sir John Preston,
of the Abbey of Furness, as we are certified, but no such grant was
produced to us, though desired.

Upon a stone in the church an augmentation of the
living is recorded in 1760.

a.d. 1760.

This V. of Dalton was augmen d

And a d 1764 lands purchas d with £400

Whereof given by

Q n Anne t s Bounty - - - 200

By L d Cha s Cavendish - - 100

By Exec ra of W m Stratford, LLD. too

After the dissolution of the monasteries, Roger Pele, the
last abbot of Furness, was presented to the rectory of
Dalton, and a touching letter written by him to Cromwell
has been preserved. The poor abbot prays to be permitted
to retain his living in peace, for he pleads,

I have nothinge elles for my whole lyvying.



He further says he has sent

unto your Lordship for a smalle token fforty shillings in golde and
that it may pleas your goodness that I may have ffavourable lettres to
be in quiett and peas wyth my saide benefice wythout ffurther suete
for the same to be made.

So ended the connexion between the abbots of Furness
and the Church of Dalton. The patronage of the living
was vested in the crown, the lay rectory remaining in
the hands of the family cf Preston, to whom the Abbey of
Furness was granted after the dissolution, and eventually
passing to the Duke of Devonshire, with the estates of
the Prestons of Holker Hall. The lay rector has still
ancient customs to fulfil, for he is bound to provide the
wine for sacramental use at Easter. The vicar of Dalton
has also to provide for the old chapelries of Walney, Ire-
leth, and Rampside, the wine for the Easter communion.
Since the dissolution of the monasteries, the history of
Dalton Church has been comparatively uneventful. The
parish registers date from May, 1565, or about that period.
They may be a little older, but a portion of them has at
some time been injured by fire, and it is not possible
to determine the earliest date in consequence. As is
usual, the earlier registers are on vellum. The original
parish of Dalton was much reduced by the severance of
Hawkshead, and the large district attached to that ancient
chapel of ease has been gradually subdivided by the
construction of the chapelry of Colton, and the minor
chapelries within it, of Finsthwaite, Rusland, and Haver-
thwaite, while the parish of Hawkshead after this reduction
has been further eased by the formation of the chapelry
of Satterthwaite, and the erection of churches at Sawrey,

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