Townships: Silverdale

Pages 180-182

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

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In this section


Selredal, 1246; Syluerdale, 1292.

The hilly ground of Lindeth gradually falls away to the north, and then there is another rise to Castlebarrow, some 300 ft. above sea level, the northern limit of Silverdale. This dale, going up from the Cove on the coast of Morecambe Bay to the eastern side of the township, joins a more extensive tract of level country extending from Leighton Moss on the south to Silverdale Moss on the northern boundary. On this side of the township are Challen Hall and Hawes Water. (fn. 1) Near Challen Hall is a large boulder poised on another rock. On the eastern boundary the land again reaches 200 ft. above sea level. The area measures 1,168 acres (fn. 2); in 1901 the population was 582.

From the Cove a road goes east through the dale; then, dividing, goes north-east towards Beetham and south towards Carnforth. A branch of the latter turns west along the Lindeth boundary, ascending the hill, and then goes north to join the firstnamed road. From the Cove there is also a road to Arnside. The roadsides are variegated by ferns and many species of wild plants; there are numerous plantations, and the whole district is very picturesque.

Limestone underlies the surface soil everywhere except in the Moss, which is clayey. Oats, barley, turnips, &c., are grown. There are lime works and quarries, and hematite ore is found.

The township has a parish council.

Hawes Tarn is said to have been the haunt of a huge water serpent, which used to coil itself round a neighbouring rock waiting to seize some unwary sheep. At last it was killed, a pack of wool being found in one of its hollow teeth.


SILVERDALE was originally, it would seem, part of Yealand, (fn. 3) but was called a manor in the 16th century. By the gift of Henry de Redmayne and grant of the Prioress of Farewell in Staffordshire one moiety, with appurtenances, fishery, saltcotes and iron mines, was granted to Cartmel Priory. (fn. 4) After the Dissolution this remained with the Crown until 1605, when it was sold to Edward Lord Zouche and others. (fn. 5) The other moiety appears to have been acquired by the Crofts (fn. 6) and to have passed, like Tewitfield, to the Washington family. (fn. 7) Robert Washington in 1483 held lands, &c, in Silverdale—no manor being mentioned—of the king as duke by knight's service and the payment of 2½d. a year for castle ward. (fn. 8) Afterwards the estate, or part of it, was held by Thomas Kitson and Elizabeth his wife, who in 1569 sold a moiety of the manor and various lands there to Thomas Bradley. (fn. 9) He died in 1586 holding sixteen messuages, half a windmill, &c, in Silverdale of the queen as of her duchy by the twentieth part of a knight's fee. His heir was a son William, aged thirteen. (fn. 10) William Bradley died in 1605 holding similarly; his heir was his son William, aged fifteen. (fn. 11) He held it in 1615, (fn. 12) but in 1635 William Atkinson and Alice his wife sold it to William Wright. (fn. 13) No manor is known at present, though Sir Maurice BromleyWilson, bart., of Dallam Tower, is sometimes called lord of the manor.

In a dispute in 1595 Robert Kenney alleged that in the manor of Silverdale were customary tenants holding of the lord according to the ancient and laudable custom of tenant right, and he claimed a tenement accordingly under the will of a grandfather. John Bisbrowne, the occupier, alleged that by the custom of the manor anyone convicted of felony forfeited his tenement absolutely; that Kenney had burglariously broken into a mansion-house at Silverdale and taken a brass pot; and that in 1582 he was convicted of the same, whereupon Thomas Bradley, a justice of the peace and then lord of the manor, had given the forfeited tenement to Bisbrowne. (fn. 14)

Richard Bellingham and Anne his wife in 1508 had an estate in Silverdale. (fn. 15) Lancelot Lawrence of Yealand Redmayne died in 1534 holding lands, &c., in Silverdale by services unknown. (fn. 16) The estate appears to have gone to the Middletons. (fn. 17) In 1678 Lady Anne Middleton and Elizabeth West, both widows, of Silverdale were indicted of recusancy. (fn. 18)

There was a family surnamed Noble in Silverdale. (fn. 19) In 1664 Thomas Hadwen owned an estate called Redbridge, which in 1704 was sold to James Atkinson the schoolmaster. William Atkinson in 1772 conveyed it to James Hoggart of Challen Hall, and he left it in 1783 to his son George, Challen Hall going to another son James. Hill House estate, formerly owned by an Inman family, was in 1851 sold to John Hughes of Manchester.


Before the Reformation there was a chapel at Silverdale described as a chantry. (fn. 20) It does not seem to have had any endowment, and probably ceased to be used regularly after the Reformation. (fn. 21) During the Commonwealth period the ' poor inhabitants (were) forced to hire a poor minister for 20 nobles per annum,' (fn. 22) but a stipend of £40 was afterwards assigned to the minister, Samuel Harrison, (fn. 23) out of the rectory of Warton, belonging to the suppressed chapter of Worcester. (fn. 24) This grant would cease at the Restoration, but in 1680 the chapel was built on the old foundations, (fn. 25) and soon afterwards a schoolmastercurate seems to have been appointed. (fn. 26) The district was described as 'bigoted to Quakerism.' (fn. 27) A stipend of £3 3s. 4d. was given by the vicar and others for reading prayers every Sunday afternoon, and soon afterwards the Dean and chapter of Worcester, on increasing the vicar's stipend, required £5 to be given to maintain some kind of service at Silverdale 'to keep out dissenters from entering upon the said chapel.' (fn. 28) The vicar seems to have grudged this payment to a curate, and preached there himself once a month. (fn. 29) In 1738 Silverdale was 'supplied by a curate; sermon and prayer there once a month.' (fn. 30) Later an endowment was secured, and from 1756 there seem to have been regular ministrations. (fn. 31) The chapel was rebuilt in 1 829. (fn. 32) A separate district was assigned to it in 1871. (fn. 33) The present church of St. John was built in 1886, the old one being used as a mortuary chapel. The net annual value is £297. (fn. 34) The vicars are nominated by the vicars of Warton.

The following have been curates and vicars (fn. 35) :—

1756 Francis Haygarth (fn. 36)
1758 Thomas Turner (fn. 37)
1765 Richard Bailey (fn. 38)
1766 Thomas Hest (fn. 39)
1770 William Geldart
1807 Richard Knagg (fn. 40)
1820 James Barns (fn. 41)
1828 Thomas Whinerey
1837 Thomas Smyth
1850 Alfred Hadfield, M.A. (fn. 42) (St. Mary Hall, Oxf.)
1877 John Lloyd Pain.M.A. (fn. 43) (Brasenose Coll., Oxf.)
1893 William Sleigh, B.A. (T.C.D.)

A Wesleyan Methodist chapel was opened in 1859.


  • 1. Hawes Water is mentioned in King John's confirmation of the gift to Cartmel made by Henry de Redmayne.
  • 2. The Census Rep. 1901 gives 1,461 acres, including 15 of inland water. There are also 86 acres of tidal water and 1,629 of foreshore. For the attempts to reclaim Kent sands see Westmorland Note-bk. 113, quoting Gent. Mag. 1786.
  • 3. Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 107–8.
  • 4. Harl. Chart. 51 H 2. At the Dissolution the rents from Silverdale, Bolton and Hest amounted to 77s.; Duchy of Lanc. Rentals and Surv. bdle. 5, no. 2, m. 7. A draft of a lease after the Dissolution includes half the profits of the perquisites of courts there, estimated at 12d. a year. There were three saltcotes, but one was waste, and the others produced no rent. There was a certain ancient fine or gressum called the Knowings, being 10s. 6d. payable each 2½ years; Duchy of Lanc. Draft of Leases, bdle. 55, no. 54.
  • 5. Pat. 3 Jas. I, pt. xxii.
  • 6. In 1346 Margery de Croft held half a plough-land in Silverdale by a rent of 2½d.; Surv. of 1346 (Chet. Soc), 82.
  • 7. John de Washington and Joan his wife (in her right) had land in Silverdale in 1382; Final Conc. iii, 15. See the account of Tewitfield in Warton.
  • 8. Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc), ii, 116. The estate is not called a manor.
  • 9. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 31, m. 95. The lands herein described seem to be a moiety of the estate held by Richard Washington in 1539; ibid. 11, m. 24. From pleadings of 1594. and later it seems that Thomas was a brother of John Bradley of Bradley in Thornley and of Beetham. In addition to his son William (who married a daughter of George Middleton) Thomas had daughters Grace wife of Edward Singleton of Broughton, near Preston, and Ellen; Westmorland Note-bk. i, 325.
  • 10. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xiv, no. 51. Thomas Bradley also held lands in Priest Hutton and Bolton-le-Sands in Lancashire, together with the manor of Heversham and various lands in Westmorland. William Bradley of Arnside sold Heversham to James Bellingham in 1597; Levens Hall D.
  • 11. Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 39.
  • 12. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. S4, no. 18.
  • 13. Ibid. bdle. 125, no. 39. It was probably acquired by the Middletons of Leighton, as a manor of Silverdale occurs in family settlements in 1654 and 1711; ibid. bdle. 156, m. 135; 267, m. 27.
  • 14. Duchy of Lanc. Plead. Eliz. clxxxiii, K 6. Kenney denied both the burglary and the alleged custom.
  • 15. Final Conc. iii, 163.
  • 16. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vi, no. 41; vii, no. 36; x, no. 38. Part of the lame estate seems to have been held by Thomas Rigmaiden in 1520; ibid, v, no. 65.
  • 17. Ibid, xvii, no. 51; xxix, no. 64. No tenures are recorded. In the time of Henry VIII Gervasc Middleton had a dispute with Peter Wawen as to lands and pasture in Silverdale; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), i, 210.
  • 18. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 109.
  • 19. In 1421 John Noble of Silverdale gave Richard Noble his son (for grantor's life) a messuage called Dykeland in Lindeth; Sizergh D.
  • 20. The evidence is very slight. On a draft of a lease of part of the possessions of Cartmel Priory above referred to is the endorsement ' Lanc'. Cantar'. Sylverdale, Boulton and Hest,' but nothing is said in the document itself of a chantry at any of these places. There was, however, a chapel at Silverdale, and some slight tokens remain of chapels at Bolton and Hest, so that the endorsement may be correct. It has been suggested above that these chapels were oratories for the use of those crossing the sands. The canons of Cartmel had custody of the passage.
  • 21. It is not mentioned at all in the list from the Kenyon MSS. in Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 7, nor in the contributions to clerical subsidies in 1622–39.
  • 22. Commonw. Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 121. The minister's name is not recorded, but in a letter from James Atkinson (1691) it is stated that Mr. Walker while vicar of Warton allowed £5 a year 'to one Mr. Broadley then minister at Silverdale'; Church Papers at Chester Dioc. Reg.
  • 23. He was appointed in 1657; Plund. Mins. Accts. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 231; ii, 201.
  • 24. Ibid. 205, 289.
  • 25. Gastrell, Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 564. There was no chapel-warden.
  • 26. James Atkinson was licensed to be schoolmaster in 1683 and ordained deacon in 1686; Stratford's Visit. List at Chester. He is probably the curate licensed in 1691; Gastrell, loc. cit.
  • 27. This is stated in a letter from Mr. Atkinson (about 1715) printed in Gastrell, loc. cit. The letter states that the ' ancient way' from Silverdale to Warton had become impassable through the action of the sea. The correspondence is printed in Local Glean. Lancs. and Ches. ii, 12.
  • 28. Church Papers at Chester.
  • 29. Gastrell, loc. cit.
  • 30. Churchwardens' replies at the visitation.
  • 31. In 1758 a curate was licensed to the 'augmented chapel' of Silverdale.
  • 32. It was consecrated as St. John's in 1829; Church Papers at Chester.
  • 33. Lond. Gaz. 22 Aug. 1871.
  • 34. Manch. Dioc. Dir.
  • 35. From the Church Papers at Chester, &c.
  • 36. Schoolmaster of Over Kellet.
  • 37. Also master of Over Kellet.
  • 38. Lately master of Beetham School.
  • 39. Afterwards vicar of Warton.
  • 40. Master of Warton School. Afterwards (1828) incumbent of Lunds in Aysgarth.
  • 41. Afterwards vicar of Warton; he retained the perpetual curacy till 1828.
  • 42. Previously incumbent of Trinity Church, Bolton-le-Moors. He died in 1879.
  • 43. Vicar of Holme, Westmorland, 1876–7.