The parish of Burton in Kendal: Dalton

Pages 183-185

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

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DALTON (fn. 1)

Daltun, Dom. Bk.; Dalton, 1212.

The parish of Burton lies entirely within Westmorland with the exception of Dalton, which belongs historically to Lancashire. Dalton occupies the south-western side of Hutton Roof Crag, a height of about 850 ft. above sea level being attained on the boundary, while on the south-west edge less than 100 ft. is recorded. There is a fine view from the fell side. The eastern side of the township, overlooking the Keer, which forms the boundary, has for the most part an elevation of from 400 to 500 ft. The area of the township is 2,167 acres, and in 1901 the population numbered 106.

The chief road goes eastward through the centre of the township, connecting Burton and Kirkby Lonsdale. Dalton Hall lies to the south of it, in a park of 150 acres. This road is crossed, just outside the boundary, by that branch of the Lancaster and Kendal road which goes through Burton; Deerslet or Deerslack, the ancient Durslet, is on its western side, on rising ground. The Carnforth and Wennington railway crosses the extreme south-east corner of the township.

There is now nothing that can be called a village, but traces of a former one, said to have been depopulated by plague, are noticeable near the hall.

There are considerable tracts of woodland, as will be seen from the estimate of the use of the land in the township, viz.: arable land, 261½ acres; permanent grass, 884; woods and plantations, 487½. (fn. 2) The soil is limestone.

In 1888 it was recommended by the Boundary Commissioners that Dalton should be transferred from Lancashire to Westmorland, and in 1894 the change was made in accordance with the unanimous desire of the inhabitants. (fn. 3)


In 1066 DALTON was one of the manors which Gillemichael held in Strickland. (fn. 4) Afterwards it was held in thegnage of the honour of Lancaster by a rent of 10s. a year; the assessment was two plough-lands. About the time of Henry II it was held by Roger de Croft, the surname being derived from Croft in Win wick, who granted 15 acres in Dalton in marriage with his daughter, and gave 40 acres to Gospatrick Prat for a rent of 12d. (fn. 5) Before 1194 he was succeeded by his son Gilbert, (fn. 6) who was the tenant at the survey in 1212, (fn. 7) and was stilllivingin 1235. (fn. 8) Hegaveland toCockersand Abbey. (fn. 9) He was succeeded by his son Henry, (fn. 10) who died in or before 1243 holding of the king the two plough-lands by 10s. rent; he retained 5 oxgangs of land in demesne and the remainder was in service, rendering 6s. 6d. yearly. There was a mill. (fn. 11) Roger his son succeeded, (fn. 12) and held lands in Dalton, Claughton and Over Kellet at his death in 1255; his son and heir Henry was sixteen years of age. (fn. 13)

Croft of Dalton. Lozengy argent and sable.

Of Henry de Croft little is known. (fn. 14) He had two sons, Roger and John, the former of whom had possession of the manor before 1288. (fn. 15) He was in 1297 found to hold the two plough-lands by the ancient services. (fn. 16) He obtained a charter of free warren in Dalton in 1304. (fn. 17) His son Henry (fn. 18) and grandson John (fn. 19) were the tenants in 1324 and 1346 respectively. John's son John occurs from 1371 onward. (fn. 20) As Sir John de Croft, chivaler, he made a settlement of his estate in 1396 on his son Nicholas's marriage with Ellen daughter and heir of John Boteler of Marton. (fn. 21) He died on 31 December 1419 holding the manors of Dalton and Leighton, a fourth part of Over Kellet, the advowson of Claughton Church and various lands in Yealand Conyers and Farleton in Westmorland. (fn. 22) His son Nicholas, then thirty years of age, succeeded, (fn. 23) and was followed by his son James, (fn. 24) who died in or before 1457, (fn. 25) leaving two daughters as co-heirs— Mabel, who married Piers Legh of Lyme, and Alison, who married Geoffrey Middleton. (fn. 26)

A division of the Croft inheritance was agreed upon in 1489, the manor of Dalton being assigned to Piers Legh. (fn. 27) It descended, like his other estates, without any special incident (fn. 28) until the death of Peter Thomas Legh in 1797, when it went to his sisters. It was sold by them to the Rev. Geoffrey Hornby in 1803, (fn. 29) and has descended to the present owner, Major E. G. S. Hornby. (fn. 30)

Legh of Lyme. Gules a cross engrailed argent.

Hornby of Dalton. Or a cheveron between three bugle-horns sable.

DURSLET (fn. 31) was the seat of a junior branch of the Croft family, (fn. 32) and passed, like Tewitfield, to the Middletons of Leighton. (fn. 33) It is now the property of Mr. Alfred Atkinson, lord of the adjacent manor of Burton. (fn. 34) Apart from these estates there is little on record about the township. (fn. 35)

Tenant right in Durslet was the subject of a dispute in 1596. Timothy Knipe and Miles Hutton complained that George Middleton, lord of the manor of Yealand, refused to accept them as tenants. One John Thompson had in 1585 conveyed his messuage at Durslet according to the custom of the manor to Arthur Wilson of Helsington, who had paid his fine to Thomas Middleton, then lord, and had been admitted. He about 1595 sold to Timothy Knipe. Richard Hutton died in 1595, and Miles, under age, was his son and heir. (fn. 36) George Middleton having replied, the plaintiffs reiterated that their tenements had always been customary lands and held of the manor of Yealand, though lying in the parish of Burton; they were divided from Westmorland in three places, by a hedge, by a little brook, and by 'a great stone called the Catstone.' The reply was that John Thompson and Richard Hutton had never been in seisin of the tenements in dispute. (fn. 37)

The ninth of the sheaves, wool, &c, in Dalton was valued at 26s. 8d. in 1 341 . (fn. 38)


  • 1. For parish map see Warton, ante.
  • 2. a Statistics from Bd. of Agric. (1905).
  • 3. Information of Mr. Harcourt E. Clare.
  • 4. a V.C.H. Lancs. i, 272. The separate assessment of Dalton is not recorded.
  • 5. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 90. The marriage of Roger's daughter is probably referred to in a pleading of 1292, when Roger de Burton claimed estovers of housebote and heybote in 600 acres of wood in Dalton against Roger son of Henry de Croft and others. The jury found it proved that about the time of King Richard the lord of Dalton married his daughter to the lord of Burton, who afterwards had several children. The said lord of Dalton once went to Burton and found his daughter and her children without any fire, and when he asked the reason she said she had nothing to burn, whereupon he allowed the estovers sought. The plaintiff in 1292 withdrew his claim, but Roger de Croft allowed him and his heirs to take fifteen cartloads of dry wood yearly; Assize R. 408, m. 40.
  • 6. Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 77, &c. See also the account of Southworth with Croft.
  • 7. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 90, 141. Gilbert de Croft gave land in Dalton to Lulbetta his niece; Raines MSS. (Chet. Lib.), xxxviii, 565, from the Legh of Lyme deeds.
  • 8. Gilbert son of Roger and Henry his son occur in an agreement of 1228; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 54. In 1235 William de Preese released his right in two plough-lands in Dalton to Gilbert de Croft; ibid. 70.
  • 9. For the good of the souls of himself, hit wife, his father Roger and his brother Roger, Gilbert granted the canons 12 acres of his land next the boundaries of Burton and Yealand in pure alms; Cocker sand Chartul. (Chet. Soc), iii, 1009. By the fine of 1228 already referred to William son of Henry obtained 10 acres in Dalton (out of half a ploughland claimed) lying between Arklesthorn and Soudhusthorn and extending to the highway which was the boundary between Dalton and Burton; he was to pay 2s. 6d. yearly. He and his men of Burton were to have housebote and heybote and common of pasture in Dalton. The land so obtained was immediately given to Cockersand Abbey by William de Hothwaite; Chartul. iii, 1010. William son of Henry de Hothwaite's release of half a ploughland to Gilbert de Croft is in Raines MSS. loc. cit.
  • 10. Gilbert de Croft and Henry his son attested a Burton charter; Cockersand Chartul. iii, 1005. Henry married Alice sister and eventually heir of William de Kellet of Over Kellet.
  • 11. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 158.
  • 12. He paid 10s. for his relief and had livery 29 Oct. 1243; Excerpta e Rot. Fin. (Rec. Com.), i, 408. Eva daughter of Gilbert Prat of Dalton in 1247 released to Roger de Croft her lord all her land in the township, in return for 3 marks which he had given her in her great need; Raines MSS. xxxviii, 567.
  • 13. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 199; Henry had been espoused in marriage five years before his father's death.
  • 14. In 1269 there was a dispute over the wardship of Roger son and heir of Henry de Croft of Dalton, which the king had given to Roger de Lancaster; Curia Regis R. 195, m. 16. In 1276 it was stated that Roger son of Henry de Croft was in ward to Geoffrey de Nevill and Margaret his wife; De Banco R. 14, m. 70. Henry's younger sons John and Henry appear to be the ancestors of the Crofts of Durslet and Claughton respectively.
  • 15. Roger de Burton in 1288 complained that Roger son of Henry de Croft and Ralph son of Ralph de Dalton had deprived him of estovers in 100 acres in Dalton appertaining to his manor of Burton; Assize R. 1277, m. 32a d. In 1278 he had made a similar complaint against John de Croft; De Banco R. 27, m. 119. Adam de Burton granted land in Dry Burlon in the vill of Dalton to Roger son of Henry de Croft his lord, and Alan son of Alexander de Kirkby Ireleth (Yi'laus) also granted him land there; Raines MSS. xxxviii, 565. John son of Adam de Burton granted the same Roger land between the road from Clerkthorp through the vill of Burton to the vineyard (vinarium) of Dalton, and the moss of Hilderstone; ibid. 577. John son of Adam de Dry Burton was plaintiff in 1292; Assize R. 408, m. 42.
  • 16. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 292. In 1292 he had a dispute with Margaret widow of Geoffrey de Genevill as to right of common in Dalton by Hutton; Assize R. 408, m. 4. He had also a dispute with the three daughters and heirs of Roger Sely—Agnes wife of Thomas de Brunhow, Ellen and Margery—who recovered their father's land; ibid. m. 17. This case occurs later; Assize R. 1299, m. 14 d.; 1306, m. 20, 20 d.
  • 17. Chart. R. 97 (32 Edw. I), m. 2, no. 27.
  • 18. Henry son of Roger de Croft was in 1313–14 defendant to a claim by Henry son of Henry de Croft; Assize R. 424, m. 4, 10. He obtained land in Dry Burton in Dalton from Ralph son of John de Dry Burton in 1312; Raines MSS. xxxviii, 567. Henry and Agnes his wife in 1310 and 1316 obtained lands in Priest Hutton, called Quenildtoft, &c, from Alice widow of William Scot and others; ibid. 581. In 1324 Henry son of Roger de Croft was recorded to hold the manor of Dalton by a rent of 10s., doing suit to county and wapentake courts; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, ii, 118, 170. In addition to Dalton Henry de Croft held the manor of Leighton Conyers. Of both of them he made a settlement in 1325, recorded in 1328, by which Leighton was granted to his son John, who had married Alina; Final Conc. ii, 70. The wife's name is given as Alice in the licence to Henry de Croft to make the enfeoffment; Cal. Pat. 1324–7, p. 125.
  • 19. Surv. of 1346 (Chet. Soc), 68; John de Croft held a plough-land and a half by the rent of 10s., doing suit to county and wapentake and rendering puture. He rendered the full service, though half a plough-land had been alienated. John de Croft appears as plaintiff or defendant in 1355–6; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 4, m. 21 d.; 5, m. 7. Richard son of John de Croft of Dalton obtained a pardon in 1394; Cal. Pat. 1391–6, p. 388. He had had lands in Durslet and Bowerland from his father in 1359; Dods. MSS. cviii, fol. 114b. His son Peter is named in 1410; ibid.
  • 20. As there were two Johns in succession, it is difficult to distinguish them. In 1368–75 John de Croft complained that various persons had been hunting in his free warren at Dalton; De Banco R. 432, m. 284; 452, m. 113; 458, m. 53. In 1371 John son of John de Croft purchased a small estate in Dalton from Adam de Torbock, Alice his wife, William Erie and Agnes his wife, all of Burrow, being the inheritance of Alice and Agnes; Final Conc. ii, 179. John de Croft of Dalton had licence to impark 300 acres of wood and 200 acres of arable in 1372; Rot. Lit. Pat. (Rec. Com.), 188. This was perhaps the younger John, who is styled knight in 1384 and chivaler in 1386 and later; Cal. Pat. 1381–5, p. 482; Dods. MSS. cviii, fol. 113b, 114.
  • 21. There are deeds relating to this marriage in Raines, op. cit, and Dods. MSS.
  • 22. Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc), i, 140; the manor of Dalton was held by the ancient services. Sir John's seal, showing the coat lozengy, is appended to several of the Legh of Lyme deeds; Raines MSS. xxxviii, 585, &c. His widow was named Joan (ibid. 589), but about 1398 he had a wife Mabel and sons John and Peter; ibid. 569; Dods. MSS. cviii, fol. 112, 114b. A daughter Ellen married Thomas de Dacre c. 1386; ibid. fol. 113b.
  • 23. In 1429 Nicholas Croft obtained a lease of the rectory of Hornsea from St. Mary's Abbey, York; Raines MSS. xxxviii, 569. In 1439 he made a feoffment of the mill of Dalton and various lands; ibid. Nicholas was living in 1442–3, when he made a settlement of his manors of Dalton, Yealand Conyers, &c.; Dods. MSS. cviii, fol. m. He had a daughter Agnes, married to Robert son of Sir Robert Lawrence; ibid. fol. 112b.
  • 24. Nicholas Croft in 1428 granted the manor of Dalton to his son James; Raines MSS. xxxviii, 569. In 1438 he demised Dalton Hall to James for eleven years; ibid. 589. James Crolt was a trustee for Robert Washington in 1437; Dods. MSS. cviii, fol. 113. About the same time he obtained a lease of a lead mine in Bowland; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xl, App. 535. James Croft of Dalton the elder was defendant in 1448; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 11, m. 1.
  • 25. The writ of diem cl. extr. was issued 8 Apr. 1457; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxvii, App. 175.
  • 26. The articles of marriage between Alison daughter of James son of Nicholas Croft and Geoffrey Middleton are dated 1438–9; Dods. MSS. cxlix, fol. 149. Mabel is said to have married Piers son of Sir Piers Legh about 1455; her husband died in 1468, ten years before his father, but Mabel lived till 1475; Earwaker, East Ches. ii, 294, 303. Her will is in Raines MSS. xxxviii, 573. An ancient but erroneous version of the descent may be added, as it gives an additional detail: Sir William Harrington -da. Alice, w. of Sir Nicholas Croft -s. John -da. Ellen, w. of Piers Legh -da. Margery -s. Robert Orrell; Pal. of Lanc. Sess. Papers, bdle. 2.
  • 27. Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 68, m. 7; Raines MSS. xxxviii, 569, 573.
  • 28. Sir Piers Legh was in 1498 called upon to prove his right to free warren and park at Dalton; Pal. of Lanc. Writs Prothon. 13 Hen. VII. Lands in Dalton were in 1539 assigned for the maintenance of a chaplain in Winwick Church; Raines MSS. xxxviii, 591; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), ii, 198. A rent from Dalton was payable to a chantry at Disley in Cheshire; Lancs. and Ches. Rec. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 1, 113. The manor is named regularly in the Legh inquisitions. Sir Piers Legh, kt. and priest, died in 1527 holding it, with land in Dalton and Aykbank, of the king as of his duchy by a rent of 10s; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vi, no. 63. This statement of tenure was repeated in 1636; ibid, xxviii, no. 32. Sir Piers Legh made a feoffment of this manor in 1615; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 84, no. 51. It occurs later in settlements of the Legh estates, e.g. in 1724; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 518, m. 5.
  • 29. Pal. of Lanc. Aug. Assizes, 43 Geo. III (fines). The deforciants were Thomas Lord Lilford and wife, George Anthony Legh Keck and wife, James John Hornby and wife. Geoffrey and Edmund Hornby were vouchees in a recovery of the manors of Dalton and Pilling in 1810; ibid. Lent Assizes, 50 Geo. III, rot. 6.
  • 30. The pedigree is thus given in Burke's Landed Gentry: (Rev.) Geoffrey Hornby, d. 1812 -s. Edmund, d. 1857 -s. Edmund George, d. 1865 -s. Edmund Geoffrey Stanley.
  • 31. The name has many forms, including Duresflat, Dorselett, Duorslacke, Deerslack and Deerslet.
  • 32. John son of Henry de Croft occurs with Roger son of Henry in 1293; Coram Rege R. 137, m. 3 d. John had two sons, John and Roger. Roger son of Henry de Croft granted land in Dalton to John son of John de Croft at 1d. rent; Raines MSS. xxxviii, 565. Roger son of John de Croft granted land in Bowerland in Dalton to his brother John; ibid. 577. In 1316–17 and 1322–3 John de Croft of Durslet gave his lands to Henry son of Roger de Croft; ibid. 567, 581. Roger retained his lands. In 1311–12 Henry de Croft allowed an approvement in Swynesterig in Dalton made by Roger; ibid. 579. In addition to Durslet he had land in Kellet; his son was named Adam; Dods. MSS. cviii, fol. 112. He had other sons, Henry and Thomas; ibid. fol. 112b. These were probably the Henry and Thomas de Durslet who in 1336 became bound to Roger their father; Raines MSS. xxxviii, 567. John de Croft died in 1347, leaving as heir his grandson John (son of Adam), then five years old. He had lands in Tewitfield, Kellet and Priest Hutton; in Dalton he held a messuage and oxgang of land of John de Croft of Dalton by the service of a rose yearly; Inq. p.m. 21 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 42. Henry de Haydock (? 1356) had custody of the land and heir of John de Croft, who was son of Adam and left a daughter and heir named Joan; Dods. MSS. cviii, fol, 111. But in 1360 Sir William de Hesketh was executor of Margery widow of Adam son of John de Croft, and sold the wardship of Adam's land to Henry de Haydock, John the son and heir of Adam de Croft being a minor; ibid, cxlix, fol. 145.
  • 33. See the accounts of Tewitfield in Warton and Yealand Conyers. Thomas Middleton died in 1517 holding a messuage, &c, called Durslet and land in Dalton of the king as duke by the ninth part of a knight's fee; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iv, no. 97. The same tenure is recorded in later inquisitions, e.g. in 1641; ibid, xxix, no. 64.
  • 34. Information of Mr. Hornby.
  • 35. The Rev. Geoffrey Hornby in 1797 obtained part of the manor of Dalton and land there from Bathurst Pye; Pal. of Lanc. Lent Assizes, 37 Geo. III. In 1278 Benedict Gernet in right of Margaret his wife held land in Dalton which had belonged to Hugh de Dalton, whose son Thomas was claiming; Assize R. 1238, m. 33 d. In 1371 John son of Robert Gernet released to Sir John de Nevill his claim in his father's land in Dalton; Exch. Aug. Off. Misc. Bks. xxxviii, no. 49. Robert son of Henry de Hest in 1292 released to Rogerson of Rogerde Lancaster land in Dalton; Assize R. 408, m. 71 d. John de Washington of Caton and Alice his wife claimed dower in ten messuages, &c, in Dalton against Alice de Rydal in 1366; De Banco R. 421, m. 383 d. Thomas Osbaldeston in 1611 had land in Durslet as of the inheritance of John Bradley of Beetham; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 179.
  • 36. Duchy of Lane. Plead. Eliz. clxxiii, K 1.
  • 37. Ibid, clxxvii, K 7; clxxxiii, K 7.
  • 38. Inq. Nonarum (Rec. Com.), 36.