A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1914.
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Bulk lies on the north side of Lancaster town and is bounded on the west and north by the Lune. The ground slopes generally from south to north and from east to west, including low, level meadows beside the river and land from 280 ft. to 200 ft. above sea level on the eastern side; the boundary on this side is the brook called Denny Beck, running north to the Lune, which it enters opposite Halton. Newton Beck flows west to the river and shows the position of the former vill of Newton. Ridge is near the centre of the township, with Dolphinlee to the north of it; here there is a golf links. The area is 1,158½ acres. The population in 1901 was included in that of Lancaster and Quernmore. (fn. 1) The south-western portion has become a suburb of Lancaster.
The principal road leads from Lancaster to Caton, following the course of the Lune north and east; a minor road, Ridge Lane and Grimeshaw Lane, takes a more direct north-east course over the higher ground. In this lane is a 'plague stone.' There is a footpath by the Lune. The Midland Railway Company's line also runs along close to the Lune; and the Lancaster and Kendal Canal, going north, is carried by an embankment and an aqueduct of five arches of 70 ft. span across the valley and the river into Halton and Skerton. The aqueduct was built in 1797 from designs by John Rennie; it is over 50 ft. above the river, and there is a public path over it.
A silk mill was worked for many years, but closed about 1880. Just outside Lancaster, adjoining the railway, are the wagon works, recently closed. (fn. 2) Apart from these the land has been employed for agriculture. There are a few plantations.
Billards Meadow, Stoby Meadow and the pales of the Ridge are named in a rental of 1324. (fn. 3)
Earl Tostig held NEUTUN as two plough-lands in 1066, it being a member of his Halton fee. (fn. 4) The manor was afterwards held by Roger of Poitou, who gave it in alms to St. Martin of Sees, (fn. 5) and it formed part of the endowment of Lancaster Priory, and then of Syon Abbey. (fn. 6) On the Suppression it was retained by the Crown for a time, but sold in 1557–8 to Robert Dalton, (fn. 7) and has since descended with Thurnham. (fn. 8)
The name of Newton, now obsolete, continued to predominate for some time, but in 1318 Newton was described as only a hamlet of Bulk; it was decided that the men of Lancaster had no right of common therein. (fn. 9) This was a boundary dispute, and seems to have been renewed in 1339, when the Prior of Lancaster complained that a number of the townsmen had broken his closes at Newton, destroyed the palings and depastured his grass. (fn. 10) Other disputes concerned the fishery in the Lune. (fn. 11) A survey of the manor in 1510 shows that the Lune was washing away some of the land, and that the mill, formerly leased to John Gardiner, was not kept in due repair. There were two woods; that at the Ridge had young oaks in it, promising well, the other was almost destroyed. (fn. 12)
The custom of tenant right, said to prevail through the whole hundred of Lonsdale, was alleged in certain disputes as to Dolphinlee and other tenements in Bulk in the 16th century. From a testimonial by the mayor and twelve burgesses of Lancaster in 1512 it appears that William Wilson had been tenant of Dolphinlee for fifty years, and on the death of his son John five years later, without issue, it went to the daughters. The youngest of these, Grace, married Richard Copeland, her sisters having released their right to her; after which Richard and Grace were admitted tenants in open court at Aldcliffe. (fn. 15) Lawrence and John Copeland afterwards held it. (fn. 16) Margaret Ward, widow, in 1599 claimed, by descent from her grandfather William Singleton, a tenement held by a rent of £4 10s. 2d. and at the exchange of every lord and tenant a penny called the 'God's penny,' which she had paid on succeeding. (fn. 17) On the outbreak of the Civil War one Lawrence Copeland had two-thirds of his tenement in Dolphinlee sequestered for recusancy; he had a son Robert, who with Katherine his wife made petition for it in 1651. (fn. 18)