CHURCH. Dating from 1745 (although only the lower part
of the tower is now original) St. Paul's church occupies a secluded
site on a knoll with a commanding view down the Rusland valley.
In the SE corner, under a Corsican pine, is the gravestone of
Arthur Ransome and his Russian (second) wife Evgenia. Electricity
didn't arrive here until 1965 so Rusland Church got its first
light bulb a mere 87 years after its invention!
TANNERY. Dating from about 1750 the tannery has recently
been restored by the LDNP. Hides from local farms and oak bark
from the woods were the main resource required. Note the interesting
curved front wall - this is an unusual feature and allowed horses
to walk in a circle inside the building while turning the grinding
stone that powdered the oak bark that was needed to make solutions
of tannin in which the hides were soaked.
ALE HOUSE, PENNY BRIDGE. This steep hill descending
to Penny Bridge was part of the 1763 turnpike road from Kendal
to Ireleth via Newby Bridge, Bouth and Ulverston - the Greenodd
crossing of the Crake wasn't built until about 1820. The bridge
(now much widened as can be seen by looking underneath!) and
this house are probably late Elizabethan. The mullion windows
at the near front of the house were uncovered during renovations
in the late 1980's. It was a welcome refreshment stop for the
stage coaches and waggons known as Ann Hodson's beer house.The
horses would need some sustenance too to tackle the steep hill
up to Tottlebank! On the roadside at the end of the garden wall
is a milestone which faintly reads " 17 ' ". This
marks the seventeen miles to Kendal.
SQUARE & TOWN HALL, BARROW-IN-FURNESS. Barrow nearly
didn't happen! Henry Schneider (statue) came to Furness in search
of iron ore. In 1850, after prospecting at Park he was running
out of money. His miners thought they were close to finding
a good seam and agreed to work for a week for nothing....and
then discovered what became the largest mine (and hole) in the
area and provided the profit on which Schneider built the town
of Barrow (then just a small village on the coast). He also
founded the steelworks (now closed) and the shipyard. The imposing
Victorian sandstone town hall is built in a Gothic style.
HALL.. The ancestral home of the Sandys family is located
at the centre of their 6000 acre estate on the west shore of
Windermere, south of Hawkshead. The centre part of the building
dates from around 1660 with later additions in the 18th and
19th centuries. St. Bees sandstone was used to reface the building
in 1890 and Thomas Mawson asked to relay the grounds in 1896
- they are open to the public in summer. For the full story
of the role played by the family in the history of Furness click
PLACE, ULVERSTON. Ulverston has had a Market Charter
since 1280. The old chemist's shop was a private residence in
the late 18th century but was later converted to a shop as the
area became commercialised. The centre of Market Place has at
various times been occupied by a stone obelisk, stocks, whipping
post, fish slabs, gas lights and, since 1921, the war memorial.
HALL. The Hall was built in 1580 by the le Fleming
family (who were granted much land in Furness just after the
Norman Conquest). It fell into disuse in the early 18th century
and later became a farmhouse. Since 1971 it has been owned by
the National Trust. In addition to the tall cylinder chimneys
("the most beautiful shape in which a chimney is ever seen"
according to Wordsworth), it has a ramp into a barn which was
once the Great Hall of Tudor times. This ramp is the oldest
dated example of this bank style barn - the foundation stone
for it was laid in 1688, by which time the Flemings had moved
to Rydal Hall and used Coniston Hall as a hunting lodge..
HOUSE This gorgeous old-style Lakeland farm building
is situated on the road between Finsthwaite and the delightfully
named Tulip Tree House (at least on the O.S. map although the
current owners seem to prefer Jolliver Tree House). Every implement
is neatly arranged to hand and all the door entrances white-washed!
BRIDGE, HARLOCK HILL. This very old pack horse bridge
stands alongside the road at Harlock Hill, just north of Ulverston.
This is an ancient pack horse route as, in 1318, William de
Pennington granted Furness Abbey “a certain way of the
breadth of 15 feet” across the moor to make a track that
ran from Marton to Lowick Bridge by way of the pack-horse bridge.
It was used to take the Abbey’s iron ore to the bloomeries
at Cunsey on Windermere and via Nibthwaite to those on Coniston
Water (where the Abbey had the right to use one boat!). The
modern road follows the same route and is a delight, offering
stunning views in places back across Barrow and the Duddon and
forwards to Coniston Water and the Fells.
BRIDGE - Crossing the River Leven shortly after it
leaves Lake Windermere this 16th century bridge was built with
V-shaped bays to allow pedestrians to dodge horse-drawn vehicles.
Seen here the River Leven has over-flowed it's banks after almost
5 inches of rain in one day.
COTTON MILL - This old slate building was put up in
the late 18th century as a cotton mill and achieved notoriety
because children as young as 7, from places like Liverpool and
London, worked as apprentices from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., six days
a week, with just two half -hour breaks. From the turn of the
century until the 1970's the building would have been covered
in blue powder (and was often surrounded by a smell of bad eggs)
as it was then used to make dolly-blue (whitening for clothes).
Now it is an upmarket time-share complex and hotel. The bridge
over the Leven has been in use as a crossing for centuries;
the stone pack-horse brige has been widened three times. The
river is only a few metres wide here but must be tremendously
deep to accommodate the volume of water.
PRIORY - Built of grey sandstone and started at the
end of the 12th century, Cartmel Priory has a mixture of Norman,
Early English and Perpendicular styles. Much of it was all but
destroyed after Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries,
including the stained glass of the Perpendicular style east
window, which now has much plain glass in its place. The 15th
century carvings on the screen, choir stalls and misericords
remain as a notable feature.
FACTORY & ULVERSTON CANAL - This major pharmaceutical
complex occupies the site of the old steel making plant next
to the Ulverston Canal. Reputed at the time to be the shortest,
widest, deepest and straightest canal in the world, it took
hundreds of navvies to dig it out before it opened in 1795.
It carried its last ship in 1916, but in truth its time was
over when the railway opened in1857 (not least because the six
arches of the railway bridge crossed it and stopped ships getting
to the head of the canal!). In its heyday, up to 40 vessels
per day travelled its length and it spawned numerous businesses
on land along its sides and head (no less than nine shipyards
for example), employing hundreds if not thousands of people.
Now the towpath is a pleasant place to walk with the possibility
of seeing Kingfishers and more recently an otter!