A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1914.
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Lech, Dom. Bk.; Lecke, 1212; Lec, 1251; Leck, Leke, 1346.
The western boundary of the township is termed by the Roman road going north to Carlisle, which here is about 200 ft. above sea level. From it the surface gradually rises by successive undulations till the foot of the fell is reached, and then it ascends steeply by Leck Fell and Greygarth Fell till a height of 2,000 ft. is reached at the meeting point of Lancashire, Westmorland and Yorkshire. The area is 4,636½ acres, (fn. 1) and in 1901 the population numbered 211.
The principal road is that from Settle to Kirkby Lonsdale, which crosses the lower end of the township and has a branch north-east to the village of Leck and then up the fell side. Close to the main road the London and North-Western Railway Company's Ingleton branch runs through, but has no station.
In 1066 LECK, as three ploughlands, was a member of Earl Tostig's Whittington lordship, (fn. 2) and later was like Burrow granted to the Forester of Lancaster, and descended with Halton. (fn. 3) Two plough-lands in it were granted to the Gernets of Caton and Burrow, (fn. 4) and these appear to have formed the manor of Leck, afterwards held with Burrow by the Tunstall family, (fn. 5) and reckoned as three—Over Leck, Nether Leck and Todgill. (fn. 6) Gifts were made to Cockersand Abbey, (fn. 7) and these were transferred to Croxton Abbey, (fn. 8) which held other lands, (fn. 9) and this estate also was called a manor. (fn. 10)
The Tunstalls' part of Leck descended like Thurland till the 17th century. An estate in Leck was purchased from — Robinson by Robert Welch of Caton, who acquired Thurland in 1771. The Leck Hall estate has continued to descend in his family, (fn. 11) but no manor is claimed.
There is little about the township in the records, but families surnamed Leck (fn. 12) and Fairthwaite (fn. 13) occur in earlier times and Edmundson and others later. (fn. 14) About 1555 there was a dispute concerning Loglands pasture. (fn. 15)
The origin of the chapel of Leck is unknown. Before the Reformation it was probably served by the canons of Croxton, either in person or by a chaplain. Its fate after the destruction of the abbey is uncertain. The chapel is not mentioned in the list of 1610 or in the clerical subsidies of Charles I, and even in 1650 it had neither maintenance nor minister, though there was a congregation desiring to have it made parochial. (fn. 16) Nothing seems to have been done, and in 1717 it was recorded to be 'uncertainly served,' though a curate had been licensed in 1695. The vicar of Tunstall preached there four times a year and read prayers sometimes. (fn. 17) The certified income was only £2 18s. a year. Augmentations have been secured, and the net value is now stated as £196 a year. (fn. 18) A district chapelry was formed in 1859. (fn. 19) The present church of St. Peter was built in 1879. In 1691 the inhabitants elected Thomas Hunter, the schoolmaster, to be reader at Leek Chapel, (fn. 20) but in 1725 the vicar of Tunstall nominated, as he did till 1899, when the patronage was transferred to the Welch family, and Mr. H. E. P. Welch is now patron.
The following have been curates and vicars (fn. 21) :—
|1823||Samuel Blyth (fn. 22)|
|1825||John Merry, B.A.|
|1827||Edward Thurtell (fn. 23)|
|1837||Robert Dunderdale, M.A. (fn. 24) (St. John's Coll., Camb.)|
|1870||Humphrey Edward Owen, M.A. (Hertford Coll., Oxf.)|
|1874||George Turner Tatham, M.A. (St. John's Coll., Camb.)|
|1893||Josiah Brown Pearson, D.D. (fn. 25) (St. John's Coll., Camb.)|
|1895||William Armstrong Buck, M.A. (Peterhouse, Camb.)|
|1896||Charles Coverdale Tancock, M.A. (Exeter Coll., Oxf.)|
|1899||Francis Hanmer Webb-Peploe, M.A. (fn. 26) (Pembroke Coll., Camb.)|
|1904||Thomas Simcox Lea, B.D. (fn. 27) (Hertford Coll., Oxf.)|
|1907||James Turner, M.A. (fn. 28) (Gonville and Caius Coll., Camb.)|
There is a Wesleyan Methodist chapel at Cowan Bridge.