Townships: Egton with Newland

Pages 358-360

A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1914.

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Eggettane in Schathwyk, 1277; Egton, c. 1410. Nyweland, 1346.

Newland is the southern and larger part, Egton the northern, having a small outlying piece in Lowick. The respective areas are 2,136 and 1,524½ acres, or 3,660½ in all. (fn. 1) The Leven and Crake form the eastern boundary; the western is formed in part by Newland Beck, which at the hamlet of Newland, on the northeast border of Ulverston, turns to wind eastward through the plain country towards Leven. This beck, which may be said to bisect Newland, divides the more level country on the south, called Plumpton towards the east, from the hilly country on the north, which attains 536 ft. above sea level in Newland and 607 ft. in Egton. There is no hamlet called Egton, the chief clusters of dwellings in this division being Penny Bridge and Spark Bridge, situated a mile apart on the banks of the Crake. High and Low Scathwaite and Nettleslaclc are other hamlets. In 1901 the population numbered 934.

The principal road is that between Ulverston and Coniston, along the right bank of the Crake, passing through Newland, Arrad Foot, Greenodd, Penny Bridge and Spark Bridge, with roads leading east into Cartmel and Colton at each of the three last-named hamlets. Another road from Ulverston crosses the township from Bowstead Gates on the west to Penny Bridge. The Furness railway crosses the southern end of the township, and has a branch north to Greenodd, then turning eastward to go up the Leven to Windermere.

Greenodd, the highest point to which the Leven was navigable, was formerly a creek in the port of Lancaster, from which the slate, iron bars, copper ore, gunpowder and other products of the district were shipped to Liverpool and Glasgow. (fn. 2) There was a cotton mill at Spark Bridge until 1860, (fn. 3) and still there are bobbin mills. The forge at Newland was founded in 1747, and continued in work till 1890; the company owning it worked also other forges in the district. (fn. 4)

The soil is loamy, overlying gravel. Wheat and oats are grown.

The township is governed by a parish council of six members. A school board was formed in 1875. (fn. 5)


William de Lancaster III gave EGTON and Scathwaite to Furness Abbey with his body. (fn. 6) In 1535 the abbey had a rent of £8 2s. 4d. from Egton and £2 from Scathwaite, (fn. 7) and in 1649 it was reported that a court baron was held there in January or February each year. (fn. 8) The Earl of Dalkeith, son of the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, is lord of the manor, and courts are held. (fn. 9)

The abbey received other grants of land in Egton, (fn. 10) including Rosthwaite (fn. 11) and Norman lands. (fn. 12)

NEWLAND, which is joined with Egton in the title of manor (fn. 13) and township, was at least in part in the possession of Roger de Lancaster in 1276. (fn. 14) The mill of Newland paid 7s. 6d. rent to the abbey in 1535. (fn. 15)

PLUMPTON, (fn. 16) sometimes called a manor, was shared by different owners, (fn. 17) but the Harrington part seems to have been the principal one. (fn. 18) After the Suffolk forfeiture in 1554 it was acquired by John Sawrey, of the Graythwaite family, (fn. 19) whose descendants continued to own it till the beginning of the last century. (fn. 20) The most noteworthy of the line was John Sawrey, the Puritan justice (fn. 21) who showed himself a bitter opponent of George Fox and the Quakers from the first, (fn. 22) and was drowned on crossing the Leven Sands in 1665. (fn. 23) His grandson Roger Sawrey, founder of the Bible charity still in operation, had a niece Anne, who married Bacon Morritt (fn. 24) of York; their grandson, John Bacon Sawrey Morritt of Rokeby, was a friend of Sir Walter Scott's. He and his brother occasionally lived at Plumpton, but the estate was sold about 1807 to — Whitwell of Kendal. (fn. 25)

Sawrey of Plumpton. Argent on a bend engrailed between six lions rampant gules a rose of the field between two arrows proper.

Morritt of Rokeby. Argent a cross azure between four billets sable, on a chief of the second a rose of the field barbed or between two fleurs de lis of the last.

PLUMPTON HALL stands close to the shore 1½ miles to the east of Ulverston and about half a mile to the north of the canal foot, but is of little architectural interest. It consists of two wings at right angles, the walls rough-cast and the roofs covered with blue slates, and appears to be a 17thcentury building subsequently altered and modernized. The house is said to have been originally of three stories, the upper one of which was pulled down about 1785, (fn. 26) when the building no doubt underwent a good deal of change and assumed more or less its present appearance. The north wing has square-headed sash windows and has been almost entirely reconstructed, with the exception of the doorway, which retains a good ornamental head. The chimneys of the west wing are of the cylindrical type common in the district, and there is a good oak staircase with turned balusters and square newels. An old brass lantern kept in the house is credited with supernatural powers; to whatever distance it is carried it is said to return to the house of its own accord. The hall is now a farm-house.

PENNY BRIDGE takes its name from the family of Penny, (fn. 27) descended from Richard Penny of Crake Side, who about 1587 settled near the old ford of the Crake called Tunwath. When the bridge was built not long afterwards it became known as Crake Bridge or Penny Bridge. (fn. 28) The family were benefactors of the churches and poor of the neighbourhood. The estate came to an heiress, Isabel daughter of William Penny, who in 1767 married John Machell of Hollow Oak in Colton, from whom it descended to the late Miss Justina Madeline Machell, who died in 1900, and is now held by Major Edward John Machell.

Machell. Sable three greyhounds courant in pale argent collared or.

NETTLESLACK (fn. 29) gave a name to its former owners. (fn. 30) In 1346 Thomas de Nettleslack held the third part of a plough-land in the Coucy part of Ulverston by knight's service. (fn. 31) His inheritance went to four co-heirs. (fn. 32) Thomas Levens died in 1540 holding a tenement in Nettleslack of the king as of his barony of Ulverston by knight's service and 5s. 8d. rent. (fn. 33) Stainton, not far away, also occurs as a surname. (fn. 34)

The estate called Bowstead Yeats (or Gates) was bought for the endowment of Ulverston Church in 1795. It had belonged to the Sawreys of Plumpton. (fn. 35)

In the time of Charles I a decree was made concerning the inclosure of Crake Moss and Addison Green in the manors of Egton and Newland. (fn. 36) There are scarcely any references to the place in the records. (fn. 37)

There is said to have been a chapel at Newland in 1577, (fn. 38) and in 1717 Bishop Gastrell inserts Egton with Newland as a chapelry, (fn. 39) but nothing is known to confirm this. The present Anglican church of St. Mary at Egton was built and endowed by William Penny (d. 1788) and consecrated in 1791. (fn. 40) It has several times been enlarged. The patron is Major E. J. Machell.

The Wesleyan Methodists have a chapel at Spark Bridge, opened in 1864.


  • 1. 3,704 acres, including 12 of inland water; Census Rep. 1901. There are also 169 acres of tidal water and 427 of foreshore.
  • 2. Baines, Lancs. Dir. 1825, ii, 657.
  • 3. H. S. Cowper, Hawkshead, 270.
  • 4. A. Fell, Early Iron Industry of Furness, 217.
  • 5. Lond. Gaz. 26 Mar. 1875.
  • 6. Furness Couch. (Chet. Soc), i, 52; ii, 348. The bounds of the land began at the great ford of the Crake, known as Tunwath, went by the hedge of William de Donnington as far as Broughton Beck, thence up the beck and by the bounds of Alan de Stainton and William de Towers to the Crake. Margaret widow of Robert de Ros, one of the heirs, afterwards released all claim to William's grant in Scathwaite and Egton; ibid, ii, 378. The common fields in these places were included in an agreement as to inclosures made in 1276 with Roger de Lancaster of Ulverston; ibid, ii, 385. About 1320 Sir John de Harrington and Christiana de Gynes attempted to exercise jurisdiction over the abbot's tenants in Egton and Scathwaite, but the abbot showed that these were parts of Furness Fells and had never been within the vill of Ulverston; ibid. 406.
  • 7. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v, 269.
  • 8. West, Furness (ed. 1774.), 181.
  • 9. See the account of Furness.
  • 10. William de Cockerham, vicar of Dalton, in 1320 acquired from John son of Robert de Harrington lands in Egton which had belonged to William Purcell; Furness Couth, ii, 413. John Meignour in 1319 gave 5 acres in the field of Scathwaite to Furneu Abbey; they lay between the torrent of Broughton Beck on the east and the monks' land on the west and had belonged to Robert Grim; ibid. 411, 414–15. The terms east and west should be noticed. Alan de Stainton gave a release of his claim in 20 acres between Stainton and the Crake; ibid. 417.
  • 11. Ibid. 414; it was given by Walter de Donnington.
  • 12. Ibid. 416; the gift of Gilbert de Asmunderlaw, in exchange for 17 acres in Marton, dated 1266.
  • 13. Sometimes they are spoken of as separate manors.
  • 14. Furness Couch. ii, 385. Roger perhaps held it on lease, for afterwards Newland (or a moiety thereof) appears in the Coucy part of Ulverston, being held of William de Coucy by a number of tenants at will. The land had never been measured; its value was 44s. 5½d. The moiety of the mill there was worth 18s. a year; Inq. p.m. 20 Edw. III (2nd nos.), no. 63.
  • 15. Valor Eccl. ut sup.
  • 16. Plumbtun, 1180.
  • 17. William de Lancaster II about 1180 granted certain common rights in Plumpton to Conishead Priory; Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 357, 359. A later William granted an (iron) mine there; Dugdale, Mon. vi, 557. About a century later the right was disputed by the lords of Ulverston, Sir John de Lancaster, Ingram de Gynes and Christiana his wife, but was confirmed to the priory; Furness Couch. ii, 421. William de Coucy had a tenement in Plumpton worth 4s. a year; Inq. p.m. 20 Edw. III (2nd nos.), no. 63. The marsh by Conishead and Plumpton was in 1592 sold to William Tipper and another, a rent of 2s. was to be paid; Pat. 34 Eliz. pt. iv. It was sold to Miles Dodding in the next year; note by Mr. Gaythorpe.
  • 18. Roger de Lancaster's 'hey of Plumpton' is mentioned in the above-cited agreement of 1276; Furness Couch. ii, 385.
  • 19. The forfeited estate was rated for John Sawrey in 1557; West, op. cit. 285. A partition into moieties, for the queen and for John Sawrey, was made in 1566; Duchy of Lanc. Spec. Com. 145; see also ibid. 488. A moiety of certain messuages, &c., in Plumpton was included in the sale of the Suffolk manor of Ulverston to Whitmore and others in 1613; Pat. 10 Jas. I, pt. xxi. Other lands in Plumpton and a moiety of Newland Mill sold at the same time seem to have belonged to the Nevill manor; ibid.
  • 20. West, loc. cit. A pedigree was recorded in 1665, showing the descent thus: John Sawrey (d. 1580) -s. John -s. Anthony (d. c. 1622) -s. John (d. 1665) -s. Anthony (aged thirty-three) -s. John (aged nine) and William; Dugdale, Visit. (Chet. Soc), 255. William Sawrey, vicar of Preston, &c., was of this family.
  • 21. He was a member of the Presbyterian Classis in 1646, and frequently occurs in the Commonw. Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc).
  • 22. Fox calls him 'the first stirrer-up of cruel persecution in the north'; Journ. (ed. 1765), 78. See his letter to Sawrey, ibid. 67–8.
  • 23. The printed registers give the date as 30 Jan. 1665–6, and his will was proved in 1666; but the visitation gives 1664.
  • 24. There was a settlement of the manor of Plumpton in 1763 by Bacon Morritt and Anne his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 602, m. 2 d.
  • 25. Bardsley, Chron. of Ulverston, 85–7. J. B. Sawrey Morritt died in 1843, and was succeeded by a nephew, William John Sawrey Morritt (son of Robert), who died in 1874; Burke, Landed Gentry.
  • 26. Bardsley, op. cit. 88.
  • 27. The account in the text is from West (Furness, 251) and C. W. Bardsley, op. cit. 114–23. The outline of the descent is: Richard Penny (oc. 1558) -s. James, d. 1636 -s. William, d. 1640 -nephew William, d. 1677 -bro. James, d. 1682 -nephew William (s. of John), d. 1687 -bro. James, d. 1732 -s. William, d. 1788 -da. Isabel (d. 1827), who married John Machell, d. 1820 -s. James Penny, high sheriff in 1826, d. 1854 -s. John Penny, d. 1884 -da. Justina Madeline, b. 1838, d. 1900. Isabel Machell (above) was the youngest daughter of William Penny. Her sister Mary in 1764 married Richard Townley of Belfield, Rochdale, and their share of the estate was sold to James Machell; Raines in Notitia Cestr. ii, 537.
  • 28. In 1612 James Penny, 'of the old ford of Crake,' purchased land formerly of Furness Abbey; in 1623 there was a James Penny of Crake Bridge; Bardsley, op. cit. 114.
  • 29. Netleslake, 1314. There is another place of the name in Seathwaite.
  • 30. Adam de Nettleslack occurs about 1300; Furness Couch. ii, 414. Alice widow of Alan de Stainton claimed dower against Richard de Nettleslack in 1314 in respect of messuages, a plough-land, &c., in Ulyerston; De Banco R. 204, m. 199.
  • 31. Inq. p.m. 20 Edw. III (2nd nos.), no. 63 (Coucy).
  • 32. Thomas de Nettleslack died in 1349 holding his lands of the king in chief (lately William de Coucy) and of John de Towers; also in Dalton of the Abbot of Furness. His heirs in 1367 were Alice daughter of Robert Couherde (Coward), aged fifty; John son of John Wankayn, aged forty; John de Lyndesby son of Roger Whyte, aged twenty-two; and Aline daughter of Robert de Stainton, aged twenty-four; Chan. Inq. p.m. 41 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 46. The relationship of the heirs to Thomas is not recorded. Coward was a common surname locally.
  • 33. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vii, no. 35. His son and heir Thomas Levens was aged eighteen in 1543. The estate occurs in a fine of 1530, Thomas Levens being deforciant; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 11, m. 142. Nettleslack occurs again in 1587; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), iii, 220.
  • 34. Furness Couch. ii, 417. Stainton was joined with Nettleslack in 1346.
  • 35. C. W. Bardsley, op. cit. 87.
  • 36. Lancs, and Ches. Rec. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), ii, 262, 294. See also Duchy of Lanc. Spec. Com. no. 1152.
  • 37. Crakeside is named in disputes of the time of Henry VIII and Elizabeth; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), i, 152; iii, 332 (Hundesbarrow).
  • 38. Raines in Gastrell's Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc), ii, 543. It is not named in the Commonwealth Survey of 1650, and may be an error.
  • 39. Ibid.; only the name is recorded.
  • 40. Ibid.