A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1914.
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Fornesium, 1157; Furnesium, c. 1160; Furneis, 1168; Fumes, 1172. The spelling Fudernesium appears in the 15th-century copy of the foundation charter (1127) in the Furness Coucher. The Latin form de Fornacibus (1227) is noteworthy.
The promontory of Furness is so well defined physically that it is in accordance with expectation to find its history to a great extent separate from that of the county in which it lies. Projecting into the Irish Sea between the sandy estuaries of the Duddon and the Leven to the west and east, it extends northwards into the mountainous country of the Lake District, having Thurston or Coniston Water in its centre and Windermere for an eastern boundary. The northern half is known as Furness Fells or High Furness, the southern half as Low or Plain Furness (fn. 1); the division between them is roughly a line from Broughton to the south end of Coniston Water and thence by the Crake to the sea. At the time of Domesday Book the Fells seem to have been a desolate No-man's-land, and the boundary between Furness and Kendal was settled about 1160 by an arbitration between the Abbot of Furness and William de Lancaster lord of Kendal. The partition began at Wrynose Haws, went down to Little Langden or Langdale and Elter Water, and by the Brathay to Windermere, thence by the Leven to the sea. (fn. 2) The western boundary does not seem to have been in dispute; an addendum to the award states that the division between Furness and Copeland began at Wrynose Haws, went thence to Trutehil or Troutal, and thence by the Duddon to the sea.
The Fells are divided into two groups by Coniston Water with its tributary Yewdale Beck and its outlet the Crake, which joins the Leven near the sea. The eastern group has two main chains, one overlooking Windermere and the other Coniston, with the plain country of Hawkshead and Esthwaite Water between them; the former chain rises to 803 ft. above the sea at Latter Barrow to the north and to 745 ft. at Great Greenhows to the south, while the other chain near the south end of Coniston Water attains 1,000 ft. The western group is distinguished by the mountainous range extending from Little Langdale Tarn on the Brathay south-west to the Duddon below Ulpha, having the peaks of Wetherlam (2,502 ft.), Carrs (2,525 ft.), Great How (2,625 ft.), Grey Friar (2,537 ft.), Coniston Old Man, the highest point in the county (2,633 ft.), Dow Crag (2,558 ft.), and Brown Pike (2,239 ft.) in the massive northern group, and the minor height named Caw (1,735 ft.) further south. The mountains embosom many small lakes or tarns; from the Coniston range Church Beck and Torver Beck flow south-east to Coniston Water and the Lickle south-west to join the Duddon. A lower chain of hills extends from Torver southwards nearly as far as Dalton; at one point, between Ulverston and Kirkby Ireleth, it attains over 1,000 ft. above sea level, and others of its hills rise to 800 ft. and more.
By contrast the greater part of the southern end of Furness is plain country; hence its distinguishing name. Off the coast Walney Island, over 9 miles from north to south, forms a natural breakwater for the harbour, at the head of which the town of Barrow has sprung into existence within the last sixty years; Piel Island guards the entrance.
The scenery of the Fell country is everywhere beautiful, with its commingling of lake and mountain and woodland; at the northern end it rises to grandeur. The ascent of the Crake valley, and then the passage up Coniston Water by boat, provide an introduction to the wilder beauties of the north, in the Fells of Coniston and Tilberthwaite and the upper parts of the Brathay and Duddon. The descent of the Duddon valley has been celebrated in Wordsworth's sonnets. The district is accessible by road (fn. 3) and rail.
The earlier history of the country is conjectural. The coast line has been altered from time to time by the sea's action. (fn. 4) There are numerous pre-Roman remains, of which an account has already been given, (fn. 5) and some doubtful traces of Roman occupation, such as a road from Conishead to Dalton. (fn. 6) It is possible that Furness may have been included in the gift of Cartmel to St. Cuthbert about 677. (fn. 7) Under the English rulers before the Conquest Furness and Cartmel together were assessed as exactly 100 ploughlands, the former portion having eighty-two. (fn. 8)
The greater part was in 1066 held by Earl Tostig, brother of King Harold, within his fee of Hougun, but Ernulf had six plough-lands and Turulf thirteen in Aldingham, Ulverston and Urswick. The whole was in the king's hands in 1086. (fn. 9) Afterwards the assessment of the district was reduced one-half, to forty-one plough-lands; of this a moiety, with the services of the free tenants already in possession of part, was in 1127 granted by Stephen when Count of Mortain to found the abbey of Furness, (fn. 10) the other moiety being then held by Michael le Fleming, otherwise called de Furness. (fn. 11) The story of the abbey has been told at length in a former part of this work, and all that is now required is to point out the growth and character of its secular lordship. Just a century after the foundation Henry III granted the homage and service of £10 a year due from the Fleming moiety to the abbot, who thus became the sole tenant in chief of Furness, all the others holding of him. (fn. 12) This act may have been done partly for administrative reasons; the abbot was to pay the £10 a year to the Crown, (fn. 13) and did so down to the Suppression. (fn. 14)
A further step was taken in 1336, when by grant of Henry Earl of Lancaster the sheriff's tourn for Furness was granted to the abbot at the nominal rent of 6s. 8d. yearly. (fn. 15) The same year free warren also was granted in the demesne lands of Hawkshead, Sawrey, Claife, Graythwaite, Satterthwaite, Grizedale, Finsthwaite, Haverthwaite, Rusland, Bouth, Colton, Nibthwaite, Monk Coniston, Scaithwaite, Lindal, Dalton, Killerwick, Marsh, Ireleth, 'Howehom' (High Haume), 'Soler,' Newton, Fermerbouth, Cocken, Sandscale, Barrow, Roose, Crivelton, Salthouse, Rampside, Walney and Angerton Moss. (fn. 16) In 1338 the abbot had licence to impark his woods at Rampside, Sowerby, Roanhead, Greenscoe, Hagg, Millwood, Claife and in the Fells. (fn. 17) In 1337 he obtained the right to appoint a coroner for Furness. (fn. 18)
Under the rule of the abbots the district appears to have been upon the whole orderly and peaceful. (fn. 19) The port of Furness is named in 1297 and again in 1323. (fn. 20) It was, somewhat later at least, at Piel. Sometimes the Scots came down, as in 1316 and 1322, carrying ruin with them; but in the latter year Robert Bruce was entertained at the abbey, and the violence of his men was to some extent restrained. (fn. 21) In 1323 a jury presented that John de Harrington had come from Andrew de Harcla Earl of Carlisle and seditiously caused many men of the parts of Furness— Sir Edmund de Nevill and Sir Baldwin de Gynes being named—to swear to maintain Harcla's enterprises, giving them to understand that it would be to the king's great honour. Harrington concealed himself for a time, and then obtained the king's pardon. (fn. 22) In 1327 the abbots were allowed to fortify Fouldray or Foudray Island to protect their commerce, (fn. 23) and thus it has obtained its name of Piel. The licence for the tower of Dalton does not seem to have been preserved. (fn. 24)
Of more local interest is a complaint by the abbot in 1336 that Alexander son of John de Kirkby and others were going about to kill him; they had seized sixteen horses bringing coal to the abbey while on the highway at Kirkby, and had entered his free chase at Ireleth and Dalton. (fn. 25) In 1348 the abbot's servants were violently assaulted at Ulverston, (fn. 26) while a much more serious matter came forward, John de Strickland and others being accused of maintaining a robber and molesting those who took part against him at the sheriff's tourn at Dalton. (fn. 27) A band of outlaws found a refuge in the Fells from 1346 to 1363 or later. (fn. 28) Such episodes may explain a complaint by the people in 1403 that the abbots had pulled down the Piel of Foudray, 'to the grave damage and terror of the whole country there.' (fn. 29)
The Wars of the Roses were marked in Furness as elsewhere by forfeitures and other penalties for the partisans of each side as the other obtained power, (fn. 30) and the district had a part in the closing incident. It was at the Piel of Foudray that Lambert Simnel and his forces landed on 4 June 1487, (fn. 31) and they are said to have rested on the moor near Ulverston; they were joined by one Furness magnate, Sir Thomas Broughton, whose estates were confiscated after the battle of Stoke and given to the Earl of Derby. (fn. 32) In 1513, according to the old ballad, 'fellows fierce from Furness Fells' behaved gallantly in the battle of Flodden.
The abbots, being great lords, took their part in national affairs, and having possessions in Ireland kept up intercourse with that country. (fn. 33) The existence of a certain amount of shipping under their control is proved by an order in 1386 that vessels should be found in Furness to aid in carrying the king's men over to Ireland. (fn. 34) Hospitality was maintained at the abbey, and a grammar and song school taught the boys of the country. The abbey appears to have declined somewhat in its later days alike in power and reputation, and the sympathy of the general body of the monks with the northern rebellion in 1536 brought about its fall. The abbot was induced to surrender the house to the king, being rewarded therefor, and the monks were dismissed with £2 each and a warning to remember those that had lately been hanged. (fn. 35) The church and buildings were then dismantled and left to ruin. (fn. 36)
In 1123, as already stated, a monastery was founded at Tulketh near Preston, as an offshoot of the Benedictine abbey of Savigny. In 1127 this colony was moved to Furness, and shortly after 1148 it was handed over, together with the mother abbey of Savigny, to the Cistercian order. The arrival in Furness had been immediately followed by the setting out of the buildings, and of this first work there are extensive remains. Of the cloister, part of the east side, the whole of the north wall and the foundations of the west side remain, but the south side is only to be traced underground, having been removed at the rebuilding of the frater in accordance with the Cistercian use.
The church of St. Mary, (fn. 37) which was begun in 1127, is represented by the four piers of the crossing, the lower parts of the west walls of the transepts and of the south wall of the nave, which was included in the first work so that the north side of the cloister might be built against it; there is no evidence that the nave was then further proceeded with.
The original transepts were a bay shorter than they are at present. The foundations of the north and south walls, together with those of two apsidal chapels on the east side of each transept, have been traced, showing that the plan of Furness Abbey as first laid out followed closely upon that of Savigny and that it was typically Benedictine. Thus this work must all be before 1147. The present south wall of the south transept is of the same date, but originally formed the south side of a slype opening from the cloister by the doorway which now opens directly into the transept on the west. The outer apsidal chapels were each 12 ft. long by 9 ft. 6 in. wide, while those next the presbytery on either side were 21 ft. long by 12 ft. 6 in. wide. The wall between each pair was 5 ft. thick.
Only the presbytery of the church can have been completed before 1147, but these chapels and the transepts, together with the cloister and the frater and kitchen on its south side, were set out, and probably the eastern range also, as the shell of its reredorter still remains. The western range was barely more than projected.
On the transference of the abbey to the Cistercians the buildings were completed, with some alterations on Cistercian lines. The nave and south aisle were first built, the south transept was next continued, the unfinished apsidal chapels were replaced by an eastern aisle and the south transept was extended one bay, absorbing the slype referred to above. The presbytery was then rebuilt, and the north transept was made to correspond with the south transept, the north aisle was built and vaulted and the vault of the south aisle added, and at the same time the crossing and the upper works of the transept were completed
The western range of the cloister may have been completed before the nave was built. The Benedictine frater, which formed the south range, was superseded by a new one built in the Cistercian fashion, running north and south, and abutting against the middle of the length of the old frater, which was then pulled down and its area included in the cloister. The great gate belongs to this second period also. Shortly afterwards the vaulting of the cellarium of the western range was completed, and the frater was again rebuilt on a large scale.
The third period of reconstruction opened with the lengthening of the eastern range and the rebuilding of the chapter-house and of the sub-vault to the south of it, together with the monks' dorter above. This sub-vault, of fourteen bays, is the longest in the country, the next being Ford, with thirteen bays. The ten southern bays were built first, with their upper floor. The chapter-house was next reconstructed and the sub-vault completed, and the upper story was then carried northward to the transept. The reredorter was at the same time lengthened at one or both ends.
Immediately after this, in the second quarter of the 1 3th century, the frater was again enlarged, and the monks' infirmary and that of the conversi or lay brothers were built.
Not until the end of the 13th century was any addition made to the monastic buildings. About that time, however, a new infirmary for the monks was built to the south of the main buildings; it consisted of a great hall with a chapel and other buildings at the east end. About the same time the small chapel extra portas was built. The old infirmary was shortly afterwards converted into a lodging for the abbot, its upper story was enlarged and additions were made to it.
In the 14th century the west gate-house and a large building in the outer court were added and an upper stage was built to the central tower of the church.
In the early part of the 15th century the presbytery and the transept aisles were rebuilt and enlarged. A sacristy was also added on the south side which absorbed the northernmost of the three transept chapels. About the same time were built a guest hall in the outer court, the porch between this court and the monks' cemetery, and a house at the southeast of the monks' dorter, perhaps for the visiting abbot.
About the middle of the century the central tower showed signs of weakness, and one of the piers was strengthened by buttressing and the adjoining arches were underbuilt, while the upper stages of both transepts were reconstructed.
Towards the end of the 15th century the frater was taken down and replaced by a much smaller building of two stories, of which the upper floor was the frater and the lower the misericorde. A chamber at the north-west of the infirmary hall is of the same date, and a large room to the west of the cellarium was rebuilt.
At the very end of the 15th or the beginning of the 16th century a tower was begun at the west end of the nave, but probably was never finished.
The principal entrance to the precinct, which includes about 70 acres, is now on the north, through a wide pointed archway, a modern erection made up of old fragments. A smaller archway to the south is of the same date, but erected on the plinths of an original 12th-century outer gate.
Immediately within the gate are the remains of a capella extra portas, a usual feature in Cistercian abbeys, for the use of women and others not admitted to the precinct; it is 49 ft. long by 28 ft. wide, and was of four vaulted bays. It is entered by a roundheaded west door, and has an east window of four lights, of which only the sill and jambs remain. This is not central, but set slightly to the south. The north wall, which is a part of the 12th-century precinct wall, has no openings, and has an inserted buttress at each end and one at the screen line. These buttresses, together with all the chapel except the north wall, are of the late 13th century. In the south wall are a wide canopied credence and a piscina with an octofoil bowl. Just to the west of the piscina is a floor drain with a circular bowl. Over these is a window of two lights with a quatrefoil in a circle over. To the west of these are three graduated sedilia between the first and second bays, under pointed arches with pinnacled canopies formerly supported by detached shafts. The second and third bays have windows like that in the first bay, and between them is a beam hole. The last bay has the remains of a round-headed low-side window, cut down to form a doorway. There are four buttresses against this wall, that against the back of the sedilia being broadened out to their full width at the base. There appears to have been a low screen immediately to the west of the sedilia, and to the west of it a low stone bench ran round the three walls. The altar platform was of two steps, of which the lower is returned westward as a platform for the sedilia.
In the north-east corner of the chapel is a base for a tomb, at first inclosed by a grate and later by a screen. In the north-east corner is a block of masonry which may have supported an image. In the string course under the windows are drilled holes, beginning at the tomb on the north and continuing along the east wall as far as the sedilia on the south. These were probably to hold hooks for hangings.
Outside the east wall the northern buttress was continued in a wall. The southern was like those of the south wall. At the west end of the south wall there was no buttress, but a 12th-century wall abutted on the chapel here and was continued southward to the great gate-house. On its western side were a stone bench and a pentice, the latter running across the west end of the chapel and continued along the whole length of the wall.
The great gate-house of the late 12th century opened to the north and south, and was about 170 ft. to the south of the chapel. It was met by the penticed wall immediately to the east of its opening archway. This archway and that on the southern side were of four orders, and the whole gate-house was about 80 ft. long. The width of the gate-house, all of which is now destroyed to the plinths, is uncertain, owing to the fact that the east side was destroyed to make room for the Furness Abbey Hotel. The passage from north to south was divided into an outer porch 38 ft. 3 in. long and 23 ft. 9 in. wide, vaulted in two bays, and the gate hall 26 ft. long and also vaulted; between them a large arch, with a smaller one to the east of it, formed the gateway proper.
Imbedded in the east wall of the passage are two piers carrying arches blocked by a thin stone partition, all standing on a stone bench. In the southern end of the porch were two doors, one on each side, each leading into a large chamber. The chamber on the west had a large fireplace in the west wall. The roofs of these rooms were probably of timber. There is a stone seat for the porter in the wall by the northeast corner of the hall, and the room behind was perhaps the porter's lodge. The gate-house probably had an upper story.
The western gateway was a small tower of the 14th century projecting slightly beyond the precinct wall. There was a segmental arch at each end of the passage, and the outer arch was closed by doors. The passage had a wooden ceiling, and a vice at the north-west angle led to the upper floor, of which only the south wall remains. This wall has a doorway to the bank, which overhangs the road at this point.
The configuration of the ground shows that the outer court must have been situated on the level area between the great gate-house and the church, but the manor-house of the Prestons, later converted into the hotel, has obliterated all traces of any building which may have stood immediately to the east of the great gateway.
In the garden of the hotel foundations are known to exist below the ground level, but their date and purpose are unknown. In the south-east corner of the garden is a short length of wall with an elaborate 15th-century doorway, which was that of some important building, probably a guest-house forming part of the east side of the court, of which only small traces remain. Further south is one end of a building 18 ft. wide, also running north and south, of 14th-century date. Only the south wall and a small adjoining portion of the east wall remain. In the former are two openings, one into a vice which projects southward from the building, and the other, a little east of the first, an external doorway. Adjoining this building at the south-west corner is a 15thcentury porch leading to the monks' cemetery from the outer court. On the court side it has a moulded arch, but that on the cemetery side is plain. On each side was a stone bench and on the east side a small loop splaying outwards. The porch had an upper story with a fireplace in the east wall. This upper stage was complete and occupied as late as 1774, but nothing now remains of it but the chimney corbels.
This porch was set in a wall running from an unknown point at the east to the north transept porch, a structure of the late 15th century which has only been destroyed within the last few years, and which had stone benches along the side walls. (fn. 38)
From the north outer court the church is entered by a door into the north transept within the porch just mentioned. This door is unusually rich for a Cistercian church, and was doubtless regarded as the principal entrance, and not merely, as was usual in this order, as the way from the church to the cemetery. It is round-headed and of four orders, with enriched mouldings. It appears from the cutting away of the plinth that this elaborate door replaces an earlier one of the usual simple type. To the east of this doorway is a blocked 12th-century window, and above them a wide 15th-century window of seven lights, from which all the mullions and tracery are gone.
Within the north door, to the east side of it was a holy water stoup. In the north-west corner is the entrance to a vice. All the north wall is of the second date. The floor of the transept was flagged, and fragments of the paving remain. The eastern aisle of the transept has an arcade of three bays of pointed arches on clustered columns, having capitals with simple foliation and square abaci. Cuts in the column bases indicate the position of image-stocks, and over the southernmost was a tall canopy, for which the arch mouldings have been cut away. Above the arcade is a triforium with three roundheaded openings, each containing a pair of trefoiled lights with circular central shafts and responds, having foliated capitals and square abaci. Over these lights, which were blocked till comparatively recently, are blind sunk roundels, and since they have been cleared the central shaft has fallen out of one of them. The original clearstory windows were plain round-headed lights, but were blocked in the 15th century and two three-light windows were substituted set rather towards the north. Some of the corbels of the wooden roof remain.
The transept aisle originally opened into the presbytery by a round-headed arch at the south end, but this was blocked in the 15th-century rebuilding of the presbytery, which involved that of the east side and north end of the aisle.
Little is left of the outer walls, but there are window jambs at the north and south ends of the east wall. Each bay of the aisle formed a chapel with an altar platform of two steps, tiled in the northernmost chapel but stone paved in the other two; the rest of the pavement in all three was of tiles. The bases of the altars remain, and have chamfered plinths and bevelled angle shafts. There is a floor drain in the northernmost chapel south of the altar. On the south side of the altar in the southernmost chapel, which had no end plinths, is a clustered pillar of the 13th century supporting a wall drain. The blocking of the arch to the presbytery is carried carefully over a plain tomb slab. The original aisle had a ribbed vault, but this was not renewed in the rebuilding, and the wooden roof was of sufficient pitch to include the triforium, which was eventually blocked when the roof was lowered and carried across the openings. The various roof lines can be seen on the presbytery wall, and the corbels in the transept are also indicative of the changes.
The west wall of the transept is for the southern two-thirds of its length of the first date, and retains part of a string course and a window jamb. The jambs of the arch to the north aisle are also original, but the arch itself together with the capitals and bases belong to the first Cistercian period. In the second stage of the wall are two wide round-headed windows which were made into two-light windows in the 15 th century by the insertion of a mullion and tracery. The clearstory originally consisted of three similar windows with a wall passage from the north-west vice to one ascending from above the crossing pier on the south, but in the 15th century the southernmost window was blocked and the other two were replaced by two three-light windows. In the north-east angle of the north-west crossing pier is a block of stone with five steps and a hole for a wooden newel. This stair probably led to a loft over a stone screen filling the north arch of the crossing, as at Fountains and St. Mary Overy, Southwark. The piers of the crossing are of the first date, but carried capitals and pointed arches of three orders of the second date. Only the eastern arch remains. The jambs of the eastern and western arches are corbelled off at about 12 ft. from the ground, but the shafts of the north and south arches start from the floor.
The latest presbytery was built about the beginning of the 15th century. It is 54 ft. by 27 ft. 6 in., and consists of three bays. Next the crossing on both sides are the blocked arches from the transept aisles. On the north the blocking is built over a plain tomb like that on the aisle side, but on the south side it contains a rich doorway of the early 15th century. The first and second bays on the north contain tall windows, each formerly of four lights, with an embattled transom. The east window was probably of eight lights, but only the jambs and the ends of the arch hood moulds remain, with crowned heads, possibly representing Henry IV and Joan of Navarre. There are angle buttresses to the east wall, and behind them are traces of the fastenings of rain pipes. The high altar stood against a screen, of which the position, about 6 ft. from the east wall, is marked by a cut in the string course on the south wall and by the base of the altar itself.
Behind this screen-line, in the south wall, is a square locker, grooved for a shelf, and with marks of hinges of a folding-shutter door. West of the screen the piscina and sedilia occupy 20 ft. of the south wall. The piscina has three niches at the back for cruets, &c, but the basin, which may have been of marble, has been torn out. On either side of the piscina are two tall niches with sloped bases and bearing the marks in the back of hooks for hanging towels. The four sedilia are all on one level. The whole range of niches, piscina and sedilia is beautifully canopied, with pinnacles between pairs of tall ogees rising in front of cinquefoil-headed panels, having a moulded cornice and very elongated 'Tudor-flower' cresting above. The partitions behind the shafts descending to the ground between the seats are pierced by moulded cinquefoil-headed openings. Three holes in the wall at the level of the cresting and just to the west of it were for the pulleys of the Lenten veil, which hung across the presbytery at this point. West of the sedilia is a length of wall of the second period of building, with a broad flat-headed ministerium locker having a relieving arch over the lintel; it is grooved for a shelf and bears the marks of hinges. There are two steps at the entrance to the presbytery, but these may not be original. There is also a chase cut for another in the step of the sedilia, and just to the east of them, and there were almost certainly two more steps to the west of them. Over the sedilia arc two windows like those in the north wall, but owing to the height of the south sacristy their sills are higher and they are of three lights only, without a transom.
Excavations have revealed features in the footing walls of the second period which point to an apsidal termination to the first Cistercian presbytery, with the simultaneous alteration of the aisle chapels from the apsidal to the square form, an arrangement for which analogies may be found both in England and on the Continent.
There is a mutilated effigy of a knight in mail in the centre of the presbytery, and to the north and west are arranged many grave slabs found during the excavations.
The sacristy on the south, which extends nearly as far east as the presbytery and is of the same date, opens from, it by a double door. It was of four bays with a wooden roof, and had a large four-light east window and two south window, of three lights each Nothing remains of the altar or its platform, but at the south end of the east wall are the remains of a canopied drain, and next to it is the plinth of a canopied tomb, once inclosed by a grate. To the west of the tomb an iron bar or partition crossed the vestry. Two large pinholes between the door from the presbytery and the arch from the transept, run in with lead, probably mark the position of a lavatory and basin for the use of ministers. The eastern end of this vestry was built over part of the cemetery, and there is a large deposit of bones under this portion. The western end occupied the space of the northernmost of the three eastern aisle chapels of the south transept. The other two chapels were rebuilt at the same time on the older plinth, but their east wall is not parallel with the transept. They were divided by a perpent wall, but there are no remains of the altars or their platform. Each chapel has an eastern window of three lights. On the south wall of the southern chapel are the remains of a drain and in the north wall of the north chapel is a small locker with pinholes to the east of it. The old vault of the aisle was replaced at the rebuilding by an almost flat wooden roof, but the pitch was increased later.
The east side of the south transept has an arcade of three arches like those in the north transept, opening into the sacristy and the two chapels, but there is no triforium, and the clearstory is of the 15th-century rebuilding. The roof was of wood, in five bays. Both the pillars of the arcade have small niches of the 14th century cut in their west faces with pinholes for sconces below, but after the building of the sacristy the northern image was replaced by a much larger one standing on a pedestal, under a tall spireshaped canopy, for which the hood mould of the arch has been cut away. In the south wall of the transept are two corbels, perhaps to support a clock gallery. The original south windows were high up, to clear the dorter roof, and were round-headed single lights, but were replaced in the 15th century, probably after a lowering of the dorter roof, by a single window of five lights. In the south wall, rather towards the west, is an inserted 13th-century door with its sill about 8 ft. from the floor of the transept, and a broad stair led up and through it, supported on corbels. This was the night stair to the dorter. At its foot is a fragment of a holy water stock in the wall. The lower part of the west wall and some height of the south wall are of the first (Benedictine) date. The old work of the west wall is partly refaced. This refacing marks the place of a large turret, like that on the north, projecting into the transept, the junction of the original transept with the extension (of the second date) and the blocking up of the doorway which opened from the cloister into the original slype outside its south wall. The absorption of this passage into the transept brought the chapterhouse immediately next to the transept. The upper stages of the west wall are like those in the north transept, but the lower windows are higher than in the other transept, to clear the cloister roof, and the clearstory was rebuilt in the 15th century with a different spacing of lights. The reason for this extensive rebuilding was the threatened collapse of the tower supports, consequent upon the addition of a stage in the 14th century, in contravention of the Cistercian rule against lofty towers, which had been adhered to in the original design. Furness and Fountains both afford examples of the same poetic justice. It is uncertain whether the central tower was eventually taken down or whether it stood to the last, pending the completion of the new western tower. The precautions taken for its preservation were extensive, and included the blocking of the two arches from the transept aisles to the presbytery, the addition of a large buttress to the eastern side, the blocking of all but a small doorway of the aisle arch on the southern side and the complete blocking of the easternmost arch of the nave arcade on the west side of the southwest crossing pier.
The nave is almost completely destroyed, only a portion of the blocked arch on the south of the crossing being still in position. The nave was of ten bays, of pointed arches carried on columns alternately round and clustered. The eastern responds with moulded bases of Norman character are of the first period, but the plinths are 13 in. below the later floor level. On the north side all the pier-bases remain, but on the south side the third to the sixth are missing. The ninth pier on each side stands to a greater height than the rest, owing to the new tower being built against them, while the last bay and the western responds were destroyed to make way for the tower, which stands partly within the church.
The piers were originally intended to have a wall 11 in. thick running from pillar to pillar built into them without bonding on the nave side, against which the base mouldings terminated. This device was found to weaken the piers and was abandoned. The first three piers on each side were left unaltered, but the rest were completed in ashlar and the base mouldings were carried round them. In the fourth, fifth and sixth north piers the work had reached some height before the alteration, but in the next three only the bases had been laid. The three last southern piers were carried up complete from the ground.
The north aisle is ruined to the plinths, which remain a few feet above ground for its whole length, save for a break between the sixth and seventh bays, probably made at the time of the destruction, for carting away stone. The aisle is entered from the transept by a pointed arch already described. Adjoining this arch is a jamb of an original window, refaced in the 14th century. Above it is a fragment of the quadripartite vaulting, springing from triple wall shafts between the bays. The first bay is flagged, but had neither altar nor screen between it and the transept. Here were found the effigies of a knight and a lady of the 13th century, now in the infirmary chapel. On the south side is a low stone wall with ten beautiful traceried square panels of the 14th century, which formed the base of a chapel under the easternmost arch of the nave arcade, approached from the aisle by a flight of three steps, and closed on the north by a wooden screen, and on the south by the quire stalls. A blocked niche in the face of the respond seems to indicate that an altar which stood against it was replaced by another when the chapel was made.
A screen probably crossed the aisle in the third bay immediately to the west of the vaulting shaft, where the north wall is notched. A chapel in the fourth bay was inclosed by east and south screens; the altar platform of two steps occupies most of the bay, and has a floor drain at its south-west corner. The western wooden screen was carried right across the nave and south aisle.
The north aisle is now terminated at the west by a wall built across it between the ninth and tenth bays when the last bay was destroyed to make way for the western tower. A broad flight of steps in the northwest angle led up to a doorway in the new wall, which was the only western entrance after the erection of the tower, and was approached by a gallery or bridge along the north side of the tower from the bank beyond. The lower part of the destroyed bay was left as a support, and the tower plinths are raised for the same purpose. The west tower was intended to be of a considerable height, for the thickness of its wall is 9 ft. at the sides and 11 ft. at the west end. The arch to the nave was lofty and of three orders with stilted bases, and the west window was of four lights with a transom, and had large square flowers and head set in the hollow of the outer jamb. There is a vice in the south-west corner. The buttresses, which are right-angled, project very boldly, and have tall niches with pillar pedestals below the first set-off. The moulded plinth is of considerable projection, and a string runs between the buttresses below the sill level of the west window. The present height of the tower is 58 ft., and it is doubtful, having regard to the thickness of the walls, whether it was ever completed.
The westernmost bay of the south aisle was destroyed to its lowest course when the aisle was shortened as on the north. In the new wall is a window from which the tracery is gone. The lower part of the south wall of the ninth bay is of the first date and contains a deep recess formed out of a wallstair which originally descended westwards from the upper stage of the western range. It was converted into a store-room in the course of the alterations made in the second period.
The eighth bay has traces internally of a wide doorway of the first period, which was subsequently blocked, and above it is a round-headed doorway of the second period opening from a stair from the lay brothers' dorter. The steps from this door to the aisle floor, which have long disappeared, descended westward along the aisle wall, and possibly had a landing midway in front of the recess in the ninth bay. The aisle vaulting above the stair was supported on carved corbels instead of shafts.
The rest of the aisle wall eastwards to the transept was refaced in the second period, to which the vaulting shafts also belong. There was a 15thcentury door in the seventh bay, for the entry of the Sunday procession, made when the door on the tenth bay was destroyed by the building of the west tower. The fourth bay contained a chapel like that in the corresponding bay of the north aisle. The first bay contains a doorway which was the ordinary entrance from the cloister. It is of the second period, and has a plain wide lancet of the same date. The vault of the aisle was pointed and had chamfered transverse and wall ribs and moulded diagonals. The vaulting shafts are semi-cylindrical, instead of being clustered as in the north aisle.
The arch from the transept to the south aisle is like that opposite, but was walled up for the support of the central tower and contains a doorway. Over it is a blocked round-headed opening, much distorted by the settlement of the south-west pier of the crossing before the arch was filled up.
The pulpitum, across the nave, was supported by two screens, the westernmost being in line with two screens closing the east end of the chapels in the fourth bay of each aisle. It was of the early 13th century, and had a central doorway flanked by niches and a chapel on either side, each with its altar, so that there were four altars in a row across the nave and aisles. The eastern screen was similar but plainer, and the space between them was floored over to form a loft, where the epistle and gospel were sung on festival days. The loft seems also to have extended across the north aisle, probably to provide a place for a pair of organs. The space of one bay beneath the pulpitum served as a lobby to the monks' quire, which was immediately east of it. The eastern and western arches of the crossing are corbelled off at some distance from the ground, as in the original arrangement the stalls were to have extended from the eastern arch of the crossing into the first bay of the nave. The ultimate arrangement, however, placed the stalls in the first two bays of the nave and halfway across the transepts; and later still, probably in the late 14th century, new stalls were fitted, occupying only the two eastern bays of the nave, and at the same time the transepts were closed by screens with doors in them, that on the north having a loft over it, probably for a pair of organs.
The western part of the nave contained the stalls of the lay brothers, and in the fifth bay was the retro-quire.
The cloister is entered from the church by the round-headed door at the east end of the south aisle, described above, replacing a similar but plainer and smaller door of the first period. There was no door from the west end of the aisle till the l5th century, and this is now blocked up.
The cloister was built against the south wall of the church, which forms the whole of its northern side. Its eastern side is formed by the south transept wall, the chapter-house with its flanking chambers, and at first two, then four, northernmost bays of the dorter sub-vault, which extends ten bays more to the south. Over the whole of this range from the south wall of the transept extended the monks' dorter. The Benedictine frater, running east and west, formed the original southern boundary of the cloister, which was planned to be 103 ft. square, but when the first Cistercian frater was built to the south of the old frater the area of the latter was thrown into the cloister, making it 103 ft. east to west by 135 ft. north to south.
The western side of the cloister consisted of (possibly) a calefactorium or warming-house, next the church, and a range of cellared buildings, interrupted by a passage from the cloister to a court and offices. The north alley of the cloister, which was 12 ft. 9 in. wide, served as a living room for the monks; there is a stone bench running the whole length of the wall. Fragments of the inner or garth wall remain on this side, which supported an open arcade on twin shafts with marble capitals and bases, running all round the garth. On the walls of the aisle and transept rafter-holes indicate the various levels of the cloister roof at different periods.
The whole of the original extent of the eastern side, apart from the transept wall, is taken up by five fine doorways, of which the three next the transept are grouped together and are identical in detail. They are of very late transitional type, being roundheaded, of five richly moulded orders, surrounded by a delicately dog-toothed hood mould, and supported on detached marble shafts, now lost, as is also the innermost order of each arch. The central arch opens to a vestibule having a trefoil-headed wall arcade running along each side, once supported on detached shafts. The top of the arches of this arcade are level with the spring of the entrance arch and the bases of the shafts rest on a continuous step. This vestibule still retains its 13th-century vaulting; the chapter-house, to which it leads, was also complete in this respect till late in the 18th century, when the vault fell. The flanking doorways open directly into a pair of chambers of the same size as the passage to the chapter-house, which were probably book stores. They have ashlar walls and rubble barrel vaults, that of the northern chamber being low and segmental, to clear the dorter stairs above, while the southern vault is high and pointed.
The chapter-house, opening from the vestibule, is expanded on the north and south to the width of the vestibule and chambers together. The arch from the vestibule is wide and pointed, of two orders, supported on detached marble shafts rising from a moulded plinth. The apex of the arch has a floreated finial of singularly Byzantine appearance carved on the wall above it. The chapter-house is of an unusual type, being a rectangle of four bays long divided into three alleys by clustered columns. A similar arrangement is traceable at Quarr, in the Isle of Wight. The walls to the sill level are of ashlar. Above this the wall ribs form an arcade, supported on clusters of three whole and two half shafts with foliated or moulded capitals, and resting on moulded corbels just above the sill, which is carried all round the wall as a string. In each arch of this arcade are two smaller pointed arches with rich mouldings, on detached shafts with moulded or foliated capitals and moulded bases resting on the sill. In the north-eastern, the three eastern and the two south-eastern bays these arches inclose lights. The rest are blind. In all the spandrels above the inner arches are blind circles variously moulded, containing elaborate wheel tracery. Between the three bays of the east wall the vaulting shafts die off into tapering corbels terminating about halfway between the springers and the sill. The columns of the vaulting complete the design of the half-shafts of the wall arcade. They are disposed in two rows of three, in line with the jambs of the western doorway. The north-eastern column is still standing to the abacus. The drums have a central perforation as if for a vertical tie rod. Between the columns and extending from them to the walls are broad sleeper walls, below the level of the destroyed floor.
Southward from the chapter-house the dorter subvault extends for 202 ft. 6 in. It is 30 ft. wide, and is vaulted in two rows of fourteen quadripartite bays with wall ribs, resting on corbels, the side walls, and a central row of octagonal columns. It is entered at the north-west end by two doorways, already mentioned, which are similar to the group of three opening to the chapter-house and book closets, but rather smaller in span. Their hood mould is continued northward to form a small pointed wall-arch connecting the two groups of doors. The northernmost of the two, which has a billet moulding on its outermost order, is distinctly earlier than the others, though both have the same bases and hood moulds, and is contemporary with the north doorway of the church. It must therefore have been originally intended for some other position than that which it now occupies, as there is no indication that it was set up earlier than those on either side of it. Each of these doors was the entrance to a separate apartment, the northern opening to a room formed by cutting off the northernmost bay of the dorter subvault by a thin wall, of which the base remains. The northernmost pair of corbels in the east and west walls are deeply cut to take the ends of this wall, which was thinned off as it approached the corbels and the central pillar, to avoid covering more than was absolutely necessary of their capitals, which were foliated, while the vaulting ribs were moulded. The room so formed was an apartment of two bays, and had a window at the east end. It was probably the parlour. The next bay, entered by the southern of the two doorways, was also partitioned off, for the ribs of the vault are moulded and the corbels are carved, whereas the transverses between the central pillar and the walls to the south of the entrance and the diagonals southward therefrom are plain.
This compartment has a doorway at the eastern end, which formerly opened into a gallery, shown on Beck's plan, (fn. 39) but now destroyed. The passage so formed doubtless led from the cloister to the cemetery. The third and fourth bays have deep pointed recesses in the west wall and pointed windows opposite. The ribs and corbels are plain in the east alley, but delicately moulded on the west of the central pillar. Beyond this bay is a break in the masonry, and the eastern wall increases to 5 ft. 7 in. from 4 ft. 1 in. thick, marking the northern extremity of the older work. The thickened portion of the eastern wall is nearly all ruined to the sills, and is stripped of its ashlar facing. The west wall is similarly stripped, but is otherwise nearly perfect. Its fifth, sixth and seventh bays are blank, owing to the dorter stair on the other side of the wall, but in each of the next five bays is a pointed window. In the east wall were similar windows in the sixth to the tenth and in the twelfth bays; in the fifth bay is a round-headed doorway, and in the eleventh was another doorway.
The thirteenth and fourteenth bays and the south wall had in them tall pointed doorways, of which five are 10 ft. wide and the sixth 8 ft. wide, but a battering plinth reduces these openings by 2 ft. at the ground level. Their object is uncertain, and they were walled up soon after being made, and a large fireplace was inserted in one of the eastern bays. All the remaining bases of the central pillars are of late 13th-century date, indicating that the sub-vault was not finished until then. The stripping of the ashlar from the side walls has obliterated any evidence of partitions apart from those mentioned, but it appears likely that the eastern alley was used as a thoroughfare, while the western may have been used as store-rooms at the northern end and the novices' department at the south. The south-east corner, with the fireplace, may have been the chamberlain's checker.
The monks' dorter covered the whole of the first floor of the east range from the transept wall to the end of the sub-vault. A staircase from the south-east corner of the cloister entered it at its south-west end, rising through an arch to a landing in front of the dorter doorway. It has a pointed barrel vault with transverse ribs springing from an ornamented string, and was lighted by a window on to the cloister. At the foot of the stair was a trefoiled niche for a light. The night stair, at the north end, opened into a lobby over the chapter-house vestibule and the book closets which was lighted by a pair of lancets in each bay; the two northernmost lights are 3 ft. taller than the rest, so as to light the descending stair beside them. The room over the chapter-house itself was open to the lobby, but its floor was 5 ft. higher than that of the dorter. It had pairs of lancets in each bay, lower than the rest of the dorter windows, so as to keep the roof down to a uniform level. The dorter itself was lighted from end to end by pairs of lancets like those in the lobby. On the cloister side the bays are marked externally by pilaster buttresses rising from a string, but on the east, and probably also on the west, south of the day stair, the buttresses rose from the ground. Only the southernmost portion of the dorter walls is now standing, but the west wall extends far enough northward to include one side of the day stair entrance. Beam holes internally between the bays indicate that the dorter was divided into cubicles.
The reredorter ran parallel with the dorter and 31 ft. to the east of it; it was approached by the upper floor of a two-storied building, now destroyed, which abutted on the fifth and sixth bays of the dorter. Only the lower part of the reredorter remains; it was a narrow building of the first date, originally at least 40 ft. long, divided longitudinally by a thin party wall, carried as high as the first floor to support a partition dividing two rows of seats back to back; when the dorter was enlarged, the reredorter was added to at each end, making it 97 ft. long, and the connecting building, now destroyed, was added; this was entered by a door at the dorter level and also by a door from the dorter sub-vault, which seems to have been partly overlapped by an added stair to the first floor. There was at least one window in the south wall, and in its lower part are two massive straight straining arches. An added wall against the southern end has a similar arch but segmental. The stream has been diverted, and the southern end of the reredorter has been destroyed to make the new channel. The buildings on the south side of the cloister are completely destroyed, nothing remaining above ground. The calefactorium was immediately to the west of the dorter day stair, and appears from the foundations to have been 40 ft. long from north to south and to have had at least one fireplace in the west wall. The width is uncertain, as there may have been a passage on the east side shut off from the rest of the room.
The frater (refectorium) was next to the west, and its puzzling foundations seem to indicate the sequence of building described above. The first frater, which stood east and west, was 26 ft. 6 in. wide and 55 ft. long. To the east of it was a passage through the range, and beyond this a room about 27 ft. 6 in. square, which may have been either the kitchen or the buttery and pantry, with the approach to the kitchen. Both these last probably had rooms over them, if the first building ever reached to the second stage.
The second (first Cistercian) frater was built abutting on the south wall of the old frater, about midway, and lay north and south, being 27 ft. 6 in. wide and 71 ft. long. The old frater was then pulled down, with the passage and room adjoining, and their site was thrown into the cloister area. The south wall of the new frater was carried westward and pierced with a doorway opening into the kitchen yard thus formed. Very shortly afterwards, about the time that the enlargement of the church was begun, this frater was taken down and replaced by one measuring 100 ft. by 40 ft., taking in about a third of the kitchen and its yard on the south. Early in the 13th century the frater was yet again rebuilt, and increased in length to 153 ft., but reduced in width to 37 ft. in order to make room for a new and larger kitchen on the west; a very large corbel of Purbeck marble, now lying on the bank west of the cellarium, probably formed part of the base of the pulpitum in this frater, and it and other fragments indicate that the work was of a rich character. Portions of the cornice which have been discovered have masses ol leaf-work set in a broad hollow. Fragments of a lavatory of the same date exist in the south alley of the cloister between the sites of the doorways to the old frater and kitchen.
Late in the 15th century a last rebuilding of the frater reduced it in size to 88 ft. by 32 ft. and placed it a little further west than its predecessors. It appears to have been of five bays, and a half bay at the north end for the screens. It was most likely of two stories, the lower being the misericorde and the upper the frater, as there is no indication of a misericorde elsewhere. A projecting foundation on the west is probably that of an external service stair to the frater, and the space between the warming-house and the frater on the east may have been for a staircase from the cloister.
Under the foundation of the first Cistercian frater at the southern end is the foundation of a building 30 ft. 6 in. wide, of uncertain purpose.
Nothing remains of the Benedictine kitchen. The first Cistercian kitchen was built to serve the frater of that date, probably between the frater and the cellarium and forming part of the south range of the cloister, from which it would be entered. Nothing is known of the 12th-century reconstruction. A new kitchen must have been made when the frater of the 13th century was built. When the two-storied frater was made one of the two kitchens to serve it may have been located in the cellarium basement. Of the site of the other nothing can be said with certainty, but it may have been formed by the retention of the southern end of the 13th-century frater.
The west range of the cloister was 223 ft. long by 29 ft. wide and was divided into two vaulted alleys, of fifteen bays and a half, by a central row of pillars, of which only a few bases and plinths remain; except at the north end, where the gable retains part of the upper story, the outer walls are ruined to the plinth.
The original range, of which nothing remains but the north end and the foundations of the east wall, was never completed, but was planned to be a twostoried building ten or more bays long and two bays wide, and was to have had a vaulted basement. The responds at the north end indicate, with some of the remaining bases, that the vaulting piers were cylindrical with four small detached shafts, all having square scalloped capitals and typical bases. In the first Cistercian period the range was extended and completed, and an external stair was built on the west side at the eighth to the tenth bay to give access to the upper story by day. This range was loosely known as the cellarium, but in fact constituted the quarters of the conversi, their frater and other offices being on the ground floor and their dorter above.
The ground story, however, was from the first divided into several chambers by added party walls. Thus the first two bays formed the outer parlour or receiving room, and had a doorway both in the east and in the west wall, the former opening to the cloister and the latter to the outer court.
Two more chambers, of two bays each, lay to the south of this with a thin wall between them, the first probably originally being a beer cellar and the second a buttery. Beyond this the seventh bay had a door at each end and formed the principal entrance passage to the cloister from without. Off it a doorway on the north opened to the buttery and cellar, and one on the south to the fratcr of the lay brothers, which occupied the remaining seven bays and a half and had an entrance from the cloister in the ninth bay. Of the upper stage, which was the dorter of the lay brothers, only the north gable with the later doorway leading to the stair to the church remains.
A wooden pentice originally ran along the west wall of the range from the foot of the outer stair to the door in the tenth bay of the church. In the 13th or possibly the 14th century this was replaced by a stone pentice opening by a doorway into the north wall of a porch at its south end, which covered the entrance to the seventh bay and stood in the angle formed by the range with a building of the second period projecting from it at the eighth and ninth bays. When the works of the new west tower were begun, the tenth bay of the church, with its entrance, being destroyed, the pentice became useless and was taken down, and the doorway from it to the porch was blocked up.
When, about the middle of the 14th century, the lay brotherhood died out their quarters were turned to other uses. A fireplace was inserted in the south wall of the parlour, and another, backing on to it in the next bay, shows that the former beer cellar was then made a habitable room. At the same time the entrance from the passage in the seventh bay to the buttery was walled up, as well as the opposite doorway to the frater of the lay brothers and that from the cloister in the ninth bay. A wide doorway was made in the east side of the eleventh bay, and a wall partition with two doorways was shortly afterwards built across the frater between this and the west bay. If the eighth to the eleventh bays formed the kitchen for the last frater of the monks this doorway was probably made to facilitate service. The last bay and a half of the range is divided longitudinally by a party wall of the same date, and may have been used, with the next three bays to the north, as cellarage.
The building projecting from the west at the eighth and ninth bays, already noticed as forming the angle in which the porch was set, probably led to the reredorter of the lay brothers. It was replaced, all but a portion of its west wall, in the 15th century by a building of similar size but uncertain purpose, now much ruined, having three windows on the north, two square-headed and one a small loop. The western wall of this building ran northwards against a bank forming the western limit of a courtyard apparently entered from without by a gateway just to the north of the building.
From the south side of the same building a wall, of which some 60 ft. of the foundations remain, ran southwards for 86 ft. and abutted against the north wall of a large building 90 ft. long from north to south and about 50 ft. wide, which adjoined the south-west corner of the cellarium, overlapping the last half bay on the west. This building was divided into a nave and east aisle, each 17 ft. wide, by a row of piers, and a narrower attached aisle or building on the west through which a water-course ran. With the communicating wall from the projecting building on the west of the cellarium, it is all of 13th-century date, and was almost certainly the infirmitorium or farmery of the lay brothers. Fragments of its north wall, nearly all of the west wall over the water-course, and the south-east angle within the area of a later building, remain, together with traces of a wall on the western side of the water-course. There was probably a kitchen in the north end of the central aisle, where there was a wide doorway. A long hall occupied the centre, and the western division formed the reredorter. With the exception of the north wall, probably with a gallery over from the upper stage of the cellarium, and the reredorter, the building seems to have been destroyed some time before the Suppression.
Extending east and west, and forming the southern limit of the precinct, was the monks' farmery with its chapel and offices, built in the latter part of the 14th century, when the old infirmary probably became the abbot's lodging. The new infirmary consisted of a great hall with a two-storied building at the west end and a chapel and buttery at the east end with rooms over them, and a bent passage leading from the north-east angle of the buttery to a detached octagonal kitchen of the early 13th century. From the north side of the building in the second bay a straight wall ran northward, midway between and parallel with the dorter sub-vault and the fratcr, to the south doorway of the warming-house, and had a pentice along its eastern side. The whole of the infirmary range excepting the kitchen dates from circa 1300.
The great hall was of five bays, and 126 ft. long by 47 ft. broad. Only the east wall now stands to any height, but has fragments of the north and south walls attached, rendering possible a conjectural reconstruction of the general arrangement.
The building was of two stories. The lower story was 14 ft. high, and appears to have had a continuous arcade of pointed arches on dividing piers, with triple shafts on their faces supporting a corresponding moulded arcade. In the angles the shafts were single. All the shafts have double plinths, and the whole arcade rests on a bench-table. On the east wall are seven such arches, of which five are wide, three being pierced with doorways, and two narrower at the ends, with locker recesses. Along each side wall were fifteen arches, three to a bay, and six at the west end. Of these, the middle recess of the second bay on the north contained the principal doorway opening to the pentice leading to the warming-house. The fourth from the north in the west wall also contained a doorway, and the last on the same side led to a vice in the south-west angle of the infirmary hall. The sixth and seventh arches from the east on the south side contained fireplaces. The remaining arches, fourteen on the north, four on the west and thirteen on the south, contained recesses 6 ft. 7 in. long, 3 ft. deep and 9 ft. high, lighted by low windows of two trefoiled lights, with a trefoil over and continuously moulded heads, jambs and mullions. The floors of the recesses, which probably contained beds, were level with the bench-table on which the arcade rested.
The upper story was at least 20 ft. high, and appears to have had a four-light window in each bay, with a pointed rear arch having an acutely pointed wall arch on either side. These arches and windows formed a continuous internal wall arcade carried on triple shafts. One wall arch with a jamb of the easternmost window on the north side remains. The arcade was returned, in the form of six blind arches of equal width, across the east and probably also across the west wall. The ceiling of the lower and roof of the upper story were probably supported by rows of wooden posts, which may have been set near enough to the side walls to allow of partitions being set between the bed recesses from the side walls to the posts.
The west end of the block consisted of a twostoried building with walls externally continuous with those of the infirmary hall, but nearly twice as thick. (fn. 40) The northern third of the ground stage was cut off by a cross wall with a narrow door in the west end. The portion so cut off has a stream below and may have contained the latrines. The larger chamber was entered by a door from the infirmary hall. Against the western wall are the lower parts of four chamfered piers at irregular intervals. In the wall behind them, towards the south, are two deep cupboard recesses contemporary with the building, but the piers are a later addition of uncertain purpose. Nothing is known of the use of the upper stage of the building. It was reached by the vice in the south-west corner of the infirmary hall.
Adjoining the north-west angle of the infirmary block are the remains of a roughly-built structure of the late 15th century, about 32 ft. from east to west by 15 ft. It overlies the south east corner of the old infirmary of the lay brothers, the angle of which remains under the flagged pavement. At the west end of the north wall is a doorway, and immediately within it in the north-west angle is an ascending stair.
In the southern end of the east wall of the infirmary hall is a doorway leading to the infirmary chapel, which is 42 ft. long by 25 ft. wide and is complete, retaining even its vaulting. The floor and fittings are gone, however, and the east windows have lost their tracery. A bench-table, on which the vaulting shafts stand, runs all round the walls. Above it is a belt of plain ashlar surmounted by a string. The west wall and the two western bays of the north side are also plain, but the north-east bay, the east end and the three south bays all contain windows. All have depressed heads. The east window was apparently of five lights, but the sill and nearly all the tracery are gone. The remainder were of two lights, though both those in the east bay have lost their tracery, which was doubtless of the same pattern as that remaining in the two south-west windows, which consist of two trefoiled lights with a small quatrefoil over and a cusped circle in the head. The mullions even of these windows are gone. The rear arches and the arches are richly moulded, and the former are carried on shafts.
In the sill of the first window on the south is a piscina consisting of a broad half-octagonal recess, which was originally surmounted by a groined canopy and was supported in the centre by a triple shaft. On each side of the recess was a small drain, in the top of a circular shaft, which flanked the central triplet. The vault of the chapel has transverse, diagonal and wall ribs, without bosses, and narrower longitudinal ribs along the junctions of the groins.
In the chapel are preserved the more important architectural fragments from various parts of the ruins, including some of the twin capitals and bases of the 13th-century cloister arcade and richly carved fragments of 14th-century screen work from the church. Here are also the fine late 13th-century effigies of a knight and lady, found in the north aisle, and two remarkable effigies of knights in flat-topped helms, from the presbytery, which are probably among the earliest sepulchral effigies in the kingdom.
The first-named effigies of a knight and lady are remarkably free in treatment. The knight is in chain mail with leather gauntlets and knee-caps. He is cross-legged, and the hauberk, which reaches to the knee, and surcoat, which is somewhat longer, are turned back from the knees. He carries a large heater shield apparently slung from a thin baldrick over his right shoulder, on his left arm, and his right hand, reversed, grasps the hilt of his sword, which is suspended from a broad leather girdle. Round his brow over the mail is a circlet with eight-foil flowers at the front and sides. A censing angel is by the right side of his head and his feet rest on a lion. The lady wears a full cloak caught under the right arm over her dress. Her hands are disposed in prayer. She wears a falling veil and a goffered headband and wimple, and her head rests on a pillow in the shape of a spherical triangle. At her feet are fragments of a dog.
The other two effigies are of a rather primitive type; they are of marble, and are clad in plain mail, with apparently two surcoats over the hauberk, the lower close-fitting and the upper full and divided in front from the waist, where it is gathered in by a girdle, downwards. They hold swords upright in their right hands, and have no scabbards. On their left arms are huge heater shields, one with a central ridge. The head of one rests on a pillow. On the feet of both are spur straps, and the feet rest on foliated balls. Both figures lie rather on the right side.
Next to them is the headless effigy, also in marble, of a deacon, in a girdled alb, a stole and fanon, and holding the textus.
To the north of the chapel doorway in the great hall is a double doorway entering a chamber of two bays about 25 ft. 6 in. long by 17 ft. 6 in. wide, with a plain quadripartite vault of two series, resting on corbels. It was originally divided lengthwise, each narrow section having its own door from the hall. At the east end of the southern section is a window of two trefoiled lights with a transom, which was glazed above and shuttered below. The south wall is plain, and from the cutting away of the vaulting corbel seems to have been fitted with a tall press; probably there was a similar press against the north partition wall. This room was probably the buttery.
The northern portion originally formed the entry to the kitchen. It has a door in the east wall, opposite that from the hall, and two in the north wall, of which the westernmost opens into a large circular vice to the upper story and the easternmost into the passage to the kitchen. This passage first runs north, then turns to the north-east, then to the east, and finally sharp to the south, and so to the kitchen. It is destroyed at the eastern end, which was over the stream, and nowhere remains to a greater height than 2 ft. It was about 11 ft. 6 in. wide.
The north wall of the kitchen entry is 9 ft. 6 in. thick. The pentice running from the warming-house to the infirmary turned eastward along the infirmary wall. At the end of this branch a small doorway, in the angle formed by the infirmary wall with the buttress lining with its eastern wall, opens to a stair in the thickness of the wall, rising first obliquely and then parallel with the wall faces, so as to clear the doorway from the kitchen entry to the passage, and joining the vice at the north-east angle. This vice opens into a narrow passage in the thickness of the same wall, running over the straight stair. Halfway along it, that is, immediately over the doorway from the entry to the passage is a wide doorway in its north side, opening most probably to a wooden gallery over the passage to the kitchen. Facing this doorway in the south half of the thickness of the wall a flight of eight steps rose southward to the rooms above the buttery, which are ruined beyond complete reconstruction. The room over the chapel, however, was subdivided between the first and second bays below by a broad low arch, of which the northern springer remains. It also had a garderobe, in the west end of which the shaft descends in the wall to the drain below. Thus there would appear to have been in the upper floor of this eastern end of the infirmary block a complete set of rooms, a living room and bedroom over the chapel, a servants' room and lobby over the buttery, and a gallery, and perhaps an oratory, over the kitchen passage. This set of rooms had its own independent approach from the cloister, and communicated directly with the kitchen. It is probable that it was the original camera of the visiting Abbot of Savigny or his deputy.
The kitchen passage led to the kitchen, a large octagonal building 37 ft. in diameter, whose remains are close to the north-east angle of the infirmary block. It is, however, earlier than this block, which was planned especially to avoid it. Its floor was flagged, and had several stone troughs in it, with a drain through the wall. The stream running under the building carried away all refuse. The fireplace stood in the angle of the south and south-west sides. Architectural fragments found on the site show that it had a ribbed vault and an octagonal louvre, all of stone. Portions of a hooded fireplace were also found. This kitchen either fell or was pulled down in the 15th century, when the infirmary was doubtless served by the new kitchen in the south end of the old frater. To the south-east of the kitchen are remains of several buildings of the same date. The nearest is a square chamber, probably a conduit built athwart the stream. It was originally vaulted, and a long narrow building extended westward from it, and a similar building ran eastward. In the north wall of the former is the base of a narrow window, and through its sill a leaden pipe passed in the direction of the kitchen. To the south-east of this group is another building about 16 ft. wide by at least 60 ft. long, with a door in the south and two windows in the north wall. Its west wall is set back parallel with the course of the stream. It was of two stories, and impinges upon the wide angle of a fragment of late 12th-century walling of good ashlar over 4 ft. thick. A dividing wall ran southward from the interior of this wide angle, but the purpose of the building is unknown.
The cottage to the south of the modern road, occupied by the abbey guide, is partly ancient and may have been one of the mills. Behind it is an arch 6 ft. 4 in. high and 21 ft. 9 in. in span, built of voussoirs 3 ft. 9 in. wide and 15 in. to 18 in. deep. It stands on a wall 18 in. high, parallel with and a few yards from the stream, but its purpose is unknown. A small rough arch spanning the stream 50 ft. or so further down probably formed part of a bridge.
The group of buildings to the north-east of the infirmary block constituted originally the infirmary, and later the abbot's lodging. It was built as an infirmary in the 13th century, and was converted by additions and rebuildings to its later use after the building of the great infirmary hall in the late 14th century, and was further extended and altered in the early part of the 15th century.
The original central block stands about north and south, close to the face of a low cliff, probably one of the quarries of the abbey. It consisted of an undercroft of five bays, 70 ft. long and 26 ft. wide, with a staircase block at the north-west angle to the upper floor, and a two-storied garderobe at the south end. It was to this block that the octagonal kitchen originally belonged. Another building lay to the north, of the same date. Both were probably connected with the main building by pentices. The upper floor is destroyed, and the west wall of the ground stage is nearly all gone. The hall on the ground stage was entered by a doorway in the west wall in the second bay from the north. Against the exterior of the first bay was the staircase block, but the third and remaining bays had windows like those remaining in the east wall, which are coupled lancets, carried down nearly to the ground, with seats in the sills. In the north end are a perfect window of the same type but with narrower lights, and a doorway from without, now blocked. The south end was like the north, but the window is cut away and the doorway mutilated. Immediately to the east of both the north and south doorways is a trefoil-headed aperture, right through the wall, a little over a foot high and wide. Its purpose is uncertain. In the east wall were an important central fireplace and at least three windows in the remaining bays. In the northernmost bay a doorway was cut at a later date.
Beneath the east side of the hall ran a branch of the drain in an arched tunnel 6 ft. wide. A few yards south of the point at which it emerged from beneath the hall this drain turned sharp to the west and ran beneath the end of the garderobe, which is built obliquely so as to afford the drain as wide a turn as possible. A wall runs south-westward from the south-west corner of the garderobe to the north-east corner of the vaulted building across the stream. The staircase block at the north-west contained a stair rising from north to south on piers and opening eastwards on to a landing at the level of the first stage. Below this landing was a small square room with a south door and west window, which may have been the prison. Later buildings destroyed the foot of the stair and closed the way from the hall to the building, to the north of which only a few fragments of foundations and some flagged pavement remain.
The 13th-century block just described was the infirmary, and was connected with the dorter sub-vault by a covered way leading to the foot of the stair. The lower story was the infirmary hall, and the upper would contain the chapel and 'ward.' When the new infirmary was built this block appears to have been converted into the abbot's lodging; the consequent alterations consist of the vaulting of the hall in ten compartments by the addition of a central row of four octagonal columns and of corbels in the walls, the widening of the upper stage westward by the erection of four massive piers, carrying arches, the resulting arrangement probably being a large hall with a western aisle, and a similar extension to the east resting on arches built into the face of the rock. This eastern addition appears to have been divided into three compartments: a large chamber, 40 ft. by 23 ft., probably the solar, running north and south at the north end; a chapel, about 38 ft. by 13 ft., standing east and west, and projecting to the east; and a bedroom, about 23 ft. by 14 ft., also standing east and west. The bedroom projected a little to the south of the hall to afford a way to the garderobe, probably by a wooden gallery. There appears to have been a fireplace in the east wall, and in the west wall of the solar there was probably another. The western part of the chapel was supported by joists, but the altar platform rested partly on masonry and partly on the rock. The east window must have been placed high to clear the rock.
Nothing is left of the western extension but the bases of three of the piers, but there are parts of the walls of the eastern extension both in and above the rock, and the springers in the rock, as well as the supports of the chapel floor on the hall wall, and the lower part of the vice at the north-west angle of the extension. Fragments show that the detail must have been very beautiful.
The changes made by these additions would have the effect of obscuring the side windows of the lower hall, which most likely was converted into a servants' hall or a cellar.
Early in the 15th century alterations at the north end destroyed the stair at the north-west angle of the block, and a new stair was built against the north door of the lower hall on a block of rough masonry. At the same time the spaces between the old stair piers were blocked and a large space between this block and the building to the north was inclosed. Whether it was also covered is uncertain, as only fragments of its western plinth and some rough flagging remain, together with the step of a doorway on the north. Two lengths of wall, running between the old stair-base and the new, are also of this date, and another wall running obliquely from the new stair-base to a step or slab about 26 ft. to the north indicates the extent of the new stair. When the new stair was built a new chamber was probably made to include the space of the old stair and its landing on the first stage.
Also of the early 15th century is a massive wall, 8 ft. thick and at least 36 ft. long, running north from the north-east angle of the 13th-century hall. This was the western wall of a continuation of the eastward extension, and has two two-light windows set at the outer ends of flat-silled tunnels with segmental heads. The building extended eastward nearly to the face of the rock, but only this western wall remains. To the south of the windows is a recess with a stone shelf and a drain in the lower part. In the thickness of the wall between the windows is a circular well-shaft, 4 ft. in diameter, of good masonry, descending to the stream level from the upper stage. At its edge are the marks of bucket ropes. Both stages thus appear to have been connected with the service, and the upper, from which the well-head opened, was probably the kitchen. A bridge, still existing, connected the upper stage with the new stair-head.
From the south end of the old infirmary block a high wall, 5 ft. 2 in. thick, extends south-westwards to the north-east corner of the new infirmary buildings. It is pierced midway by a wide pointed arch with a depressed head. It cuts clean across the site of the 13th-centmy kitchen, and is itself of late 15th-century date. It probably carried a gallery from the abbot's lodging to the rooms over the east end of the infirmary block, which, it is suggested above, were the quarters of the visiting abbot.
An early 15th-century building, lying close to the east side of the dorter sub-vault and between it and the old infirmary, may have been a later camera of the visiting abbot. It stood athwart the stream, which was covered, but is now open, and its remains are very fragmentary. It was quadrangular, with diagonal buttresses, measured externally 50 ft. east and west and 44 ft. north and south, and was divided into unequal portions by a longitudinal wall. The northern and larger portion had thick walls and a stone bench ran along the south wall, broken by a fireplace near the east end. A vice in the north-west angle led to an upper floor. The base of a wall or platform runs across the east end of the southern portion, but this part is too ruined for conjectural description. Against the outside of the north wall of the block is a short portion of a contemporary covered way or gallery, 5 ft. 3 in. wide, leading from the dorter sub-vault, and probably originally continued eastward to the abbot's lodging.
The 'Screpter' (scriptorium), mentioned in a suit in the Court of Augmentations in 1542, appears to have formed part of the bursar's checker, but there are no means of identifying its position. Similarly, we have no data for discovering where stood the house, directed by Edward III in Letters Close, 1 344, to be built by the abbot for the custody of the king's newly-granted tenths and fifteenths, or even whether it was ever built.
Though the lordship of the monks extended over the whole of Furness, the greater part had been granted out before the foundation of the abbey, so that the parishes of Dalton, Hawkshead and Colton were the only portions directly ruled by the monks. A moiety of Ulverston fell to them by escheat about 1360. The land was held by customary tenants, practically freeholders, whose services gradually became fixed instead of arbitrary. Disputes arose, and about 1520–5 were in Low Furness composed by agreement. The abbot and convent said that they had been accustomed to let their tenements outside the town of Dalton to one of the children of the deceased tenant, 'so that he was an able man to serve the king and the lord,' and double rent was paid as fine on entry. If a tenant found himself aggrieved he must refer his cause to the judgement of the abbot, the steward and twelve men chosen from the lordship. If a tenant at death left no 'able son to serve the king,' his daughter should succeed, provided that she did not bring in any person but such as the abbot approved. The tenants were obliged to sell to the abbot any wheat he might require at 1d. per strike less than the Dalton market price. Every tenant having a 'whole tenement' must provide horse and harness 'to serve the king against his ancient enemies the Scots,' according to the following scale:—The Marsh, 1; Ireleth, 4; Solergarth with Sowerby Lodge, 5; Cotes, 1; Lindal, Scalebank and Marton, 6; Roanhead, 1; Bouth, 1; Sandscale, 1; Cocken, 1; Barrowhead, 1; Barrow, 2; Old Barrow, 1; Salthouse, 1; Roose, 1; Roosecote, 1; Rampside, 3; Newtown, 1; Peaseholme, Robert Leache and Richard Piper, 1; Stanke, Yarlside Cote, 3; Newton and Billingcote, 4; Waltoncote and Parkhouse, 1; Killerwick and Mousell, 1; Northend, 1; Northscale with Idelcote, 3; Biggar, 5; Southend, 1; Millwood, 1. (fn. 41)
Another agreement, made in 1525–6, applied more particularly to the copyholders or burgesses of Dalton. At exchange or succession, after surrender made in the leet, fines should be paid at the rate of 3s. 4d. for a burgage, with 4d. for the making of each copy. Such of the tenants as had paid their tithes in money in the rent were to continue to do so; sixty other men were to be furnished armed for the king's service; housebote and ploughbote from the lord's woods were allowed to the tenants, who were bound to maintain their houses in proper condition 'with thack and wall.' (fn. 42) The tenants, in addition to money rents, had to supply the abbey with certain provisions, but after the surrender a commutation was allowed into money. (fn. 43)
The customs of Furness Fells were settled in 1509 so far as regarded inclosures by the tenants; to each 6s. 8d. of yearly rental, which paid also 4d. for 'bounding,' the abbot allowed 1½ acres of 'such ground as hath been of the common pasture within the time of man's mind,' the tenants agreeing not to improve more largely. Such improvements were to be hedged with dyke or wall. (fn. 44)
The customs enforced by the lay lords were probably much more onerous than those of the monks, and in the Pilgrimage of Grace, in 1536, one of the points of the petition was that the tenure of lands in Furness should be by tenant right, with two years' rent as a gressom. (fn. 45) This was the Dalton rule, as above stated. The people of Furness probably sympathized with the rising, just as did the monks. The proclamation addressed to the commons of Hawkshead has been preserved; it commanded them in the name of Brother Poverty and Brother Roger to meet at the Stoke Green by Hawkshead Church on 28 October in their best array. (fn. 46)
From 1537 the lordship of Furness was retained by the Crown as an appurtenance of the duchy, (fn. 47) but the site of the monastery and divers portions of the estates, such as Colton, were from time to time granted out to various persons. There were a number of complaints by the tenants as to encroachments on their rights, (fn. 48) but the customs as described above were confirmed by Elizabeth in 1564 for Low Furness (fn. 49) and in 1586 for the Fells. The latter decree formed a code of laws for the district, regulating its government by means of the court both as regarded the succession to lands and the general conduct of the people. In particular the subdivision of tenements was forbidden beneath the limit of 6s. 8d. ancient rent, it having been found that unrestricted dividing had been 'a great decay and impoverishment to this lordship, in hindering of the service to her highness for horses,' and 'the only occasion and cause of making a great number of poor people within the said lordship, to the great loss and hindrance of her highness' tenants.' (fn. 50) The general effect of the changes was to confirm the independence of the 'statesmen' or yeomen of the district; in only a few of the minor manors, such as Kirkby Ireleth or Lowick, were there resident lords, so that to the dalesman all were his equals, no more and no less. In the time of James I it was ordered that the timber in Sowerby Woods should for ever be preserved for the tenants of Low Furness. (fn. 51)
A full survey of the manor was made in 1649 or 1650, (fn. 52) after the execution of Charles I, from which it appears that the rents of the freeholders within the township of Dalton amounted to £7 3s., and those of the copyholders and customary tenants there to £275 2s. 8½d. There were some small rents also payable: Greenhew rent (fn. 53) from most of the township, Goldmire rent (fn. 54) from Newton, Osleybanks rent from Newbarns, Byfiers rent from various tenants. From High Furness a Wood rent or Bloomsmithy rent (fn. 55) was due from the customary tenants and from other tenants in Colton and Satterthwaite.
After the restoration of Charles II General Monk was created Duke of Albemarle for his success in bringing that event about, and was endowed with the lordships of Clitheroe and Furness (fn. 56) in Lancashire; Hawkshead (fn. 57) was added in 1666. The lordship descended much the same as Clitheroe till 1884, and was held by the present Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, (fn. 58) until in December 1910 he transferred his Furness estate to his eldest son, the Earl of Dalkeith, who is now lord of Furness. Courts are held yearly in October for the liberty of Furness and twice a year for the manors of Plain Furness and Dalton, in the ancient court-house at Dalton. The coroner for the liberty is appointed by the duke. The court rolls as far back as 1740 are in the hands of the steward of the manor; earlier ones are preserved at Montagu House, London. (fn. 59)
The moiety of Furness at first excepted from the grant to the abbey is now known as the manor or lordship of MUCHLAND (fn. 60); formerly it was called Aldingham from its principal seat. Michael le Fleming was, as already stated, the lord of it in 1127. (fn. 61) He is called Michael de Furness about 1160, (fn. 62) when he was a juror on the division of the Fells, and later in the Pipe Rolls from 1168 to 1176. (fn. 63) In 1153 he gave Fordbootle to Furness Abbey, and a few years later exchanged Roose and Crivelton for Bardsea and Little Urswick and Foss in Copeland; thus obtaining the whole parish of Urswick and relinquishing what he held in Dalton. (fn. 64)
William son and heir of Michael le Fleming attested a charter about 1157, (fn. 65) and had succeeded his father before 1186. (fn. 66) About 1190, as William son of Michael de Furness, he obtained a grant of various liberties, including gallows, judgement by iron and water and duel, undertaking to pay a rent of £10 yearly, and this was confirmed by the grantor, John Count of Mortain, after he became king. (fn. 67) In the meantime William de Furness had had to give Richard I 10 marks for obtaining his goodwill after taking part in Count John's rebellion. (fn. 68) William's name occurs in the Pipe Rolls of 1202–4, (fn. 69) but he must have died about 1203, for in the 1203–4 roll Alice (or Aline) his widow is recorded to have paid part of the 50 marks and two palfreys she had proffered for having her dower and liberty to marry as she pleased, (fn. 70) and Henry son of Hervey also had paid a share of the £200 he offered for having the custody of the lands and heirs (under age) of William de Furness. (fn. 71)
The heir paid 10 marks in 1205–6. (fn. 72) In 1212 the heir of William son of Michael de Furness, still unnamed, was found to hold of the king in chief twenty and a half plough-lands, rendering £10 a year, but several grants and exchanges had been made. (fn. 73) A charter of King John's time has been preserved showing the heir was named Michael, for as son of William son of Michael le Fleming he confirmed the grant of Fordbootle made by his grandfather Michael in 1153. (fn. 74) Michael 'de Furness' occurs in 1219, (fn. 75) but in the grant of his homage and service to the abbey, as already cited, he is called Michael 'le Fleming.' (fn. 76) Michael left a son William, four of whose children are named—two sons who died without issue and two daughters. The sons were Michael, who was drowned while crossing the Leven Sands, from Cartmel Priory to Aldingham, on 21 March 1268–9, (fn. 77) and William, who may be the contemporary William de Furness who was rector of Aldingham. The daughters were Aline, who married Richard de Cansfield, and Margery, who married Henry de Clifton. (fn. 78)
In 1284 the Abbot of Furness acknowledged that Aline de Cansfield deceased, mother of John de Cansfield, then under age, held of him the manor of Aldingham by homage, suit at Dalton court, and £10 rent; but he claimed the custody of the heir, which the Cansfields refused on the ground that the tenure was not by knight's service. The descent was traced from Michael de Furness, great-grandfather of John, the abbot alleging that Michael's son and heir William was left a minor and that the then abbot had had his wardship and marriage. (fn. 79) Aline on succeeding had paid a double rent, £20, as relief. (fn. 80) The dispute was not decided at once apparently, though the abbot retained possession, and it is supposed to have occasioned the violent death of one of the monks at Aldingham in 1288, (fn. 81) in which year the abbot complained that he had been forcibly ejected from his custody of the manor by William brother and heir of John de Cansfield, Robert de Harrington and others. (fn. 82) At last in 1290 William son of Richard de Cansfield made agreement with the abbot, acknowledging explicitly that he held by knight's service, viz. by the fortieth part of a fee; the abbot on his part renounced all claim to damages. (fn. 83)
Aline's issue retained the lordship, for, though her sons failed, her daughter Agnes by her husband Robert de Harrington, lord of Harrington in Cumberland, (fn. 84) left a son John, afterwards known as John de Harrington of Aldingham. In 1306–7 John son of Robert de Harrington called upon the abbot as mesne lord to acquit him of the services demanded for Aldingham by the Earl of Lancaster, viz. suit at the county court of Lancaster from six weeks to six weeks and at the wapentake court from three weeks to three weeks. The abbot had formerly agreed to acquit William son of Michael de Furness of those services. (fn. 85) John was summoned to Parliament in 1324 as Lord Harrington. (fn. 86) A settlement of the manors, &c., was made by Sir John de Harrington and Joan his wife in 1336; the remainders were to John and Robert sons of Robert de Harrington—so that this lastnamed Robert must then have been dead—and then to John, Thomas and Michael, sons of Sir John. (fn. 87) Lord Harrington, known as Sir John de Harrington the elder, died in possession in 1347, and he was succeeded by his grandson John son of Sir Robert, then nineteen years of age. In addition to Aldingham he held the manor of Thurnham, a moiety of the manor of Ulverston and land at Roshead, and a close called Torver. (fn. 88)
The heir, Sir John de Harrington, died at Gleaston Hall in 1363 holding the manor of Aldingham and other manors and lands. (fn. 89) His son and heir Robert, then six years old, proved his age in 1377, when it was stated that he was born at Gleaston and baptized at Aldingham on 28 March 1356. (fn. 90) He was made a Knight of the Bath in 1377 at the coronation of Richard II, and was engaged in the king's service near Calais. (fn. 91) Sir Robert and his wife Isabel held the Aldingham manors in 1389, (fn. 92) and he died in 1406, leaving a son and heir, Sir John Harrington, aged twenty-two. (fn. 93) This Sir John and his brother Sir William fought at Agincourt (fn. 94) and took part in the French wars of the time, (fn. 95) and on Sir John's death in 1418 (fn. 96) his brother succeeded. Sir William and his wife Margaret (fn. 97) had a dispute with the Abbot of Furness in 1433, (fn. 98) and a settlement of the Aldingham manors was made in 1450. (fn. 99)
Sir William died in 1458. (fn. 100) His only daughter Elizabeth, who died before him, married William son and heir-apparent of William Lord Bonville of Chuton, and their son William Bonville became Lord Harrington in 1458. Both he and his father were killed at the battle of Wakefield in 1460, fighting on the Yorkist side, and the aged Lord Bonville himself was executed after the Lancastrian victory at St. Albans in 1461. (fn. 101)
The Harrington heiress was an infant daughter Cecily, who was in 1474 contracted to marry Thomas Grey Marquess of Dorset, the queen's son. (fn. 102) Their son and heir, also Thomas Grey, Marquess of Dorset, died in 1530 holding the manor and lordship of ' Michelland ' in Furness, &c.; the manors of Michelland and Aldingham were held of the Abbot of Furness by homage and the rent of £10 yearly, and had been assigned to the use of his wife Margaret during her life. Henry Grey, the son and heir, was thirteen years old. (fn. 103)
Henry Grey was created Duke of Suffolk in 1551. He joined in the attempt to place his daughter Lady Jane Grey on the throne in 1553, but was pardoned; then he joined in Wyatt's plot and was executed 23 February 1553–4, his daughter sharing in his ruin. (fn. 104) Being attainted of high treason his honours and estates were all forfeit, and thus the lordship of Muchland and Aldingham reverted to the Crown. In the Crown it has since remained. Parts of the lands have been alienated, (fn. 105) and leases of the lordship have been granted from time to time, (fn. 106) including those by Charles I (fn. 107) and Charles II (fn. 108) in favour of their queens. (fn. 109) There are court rolls from the time of Elizabeth in the Public Record Office, London. (fn. 110) Courts are held yearly in October at Bardsea.
The tenure is called copyhold. The customs of the manor were confirmed by Elizabeth in 1567. A tenant had on admission to pay two years' rent; each old tenant paid a gressom of a year's rent on the death of the lord, and each new tenant paid two years' rent to the next heir. Tenants were bound also to provide horses and men for the king's service. If a tenement were not presented within a year and a day after the death of a tenant, or if it were sold or let without paying the fine, the lord might take it as forfeit, unless there were good distress upon the grounds. (fn. 111)
In 1485 Richard III ordered payment to be made out of the farm of the manor of Aldingham towards the maintenance of a hundred priests at York Minster. (fn. 112)
Having thus traced the history of Furness during the middle ages, and the descent of the two great lordships which were appropriated by the Crown 1537–54, it remains only to give an outline of the more recent story. As stated above, the district was largely in the hands of customary tenants or yeomen. The list of freeholders in 1600 includes twenty-three names, to which the title of 'esquire' is appended in four cases only—Thomas Preston, Miles Dodding. Roger Kirkby and William Fleming (fn. 113); Preston and Dodding were new-comers, holding parts of the Furness Abbey and Conishead estates. Those who declined knighthood at the accession of Charles I and compounded in 1631 numbered fourteen, of whom only two paid more than the usual £10, viz. John Preston and Roger Kirkby. (fn. 114) With such a population inhabiting a district remote and difficult of access, there are naturally few events of special interest to narrate. The development of the iron mines in the last century and the opening up of the country by road and rail have made a great revolution. The changes of industry have ousted the old statesmen, and at Barrow a new manufacturing and shipping town has been created.
At the beginning of the modern period the religious changes made by Elizabeth do not appear to have met with much open resistance in Furness, though some of the leading families secretly or openly remained Roman Catholic for a time. (fn. 115) A visitation by the Bishop of Chester seems to have been a rare occurrence and little of importance was complained of. (fn. 116) In 1630–1 only three persons are stated to have compounded for the two-thirds of their estates liable to sequestration for recusancy, viz. John Preston of the Manor, £80 a year; Bridget Bushel of Ulverston, £10; and Robert Rawlinson of Marsh Grange, £8. (fn. 117)
Outbreaks of plague are recorded at Ulverston in 1551, (fn. 118) Hawkshead in 1577 (fn. 119) and Dalton in 1631; here 360 are stated to have died, in addition to 120 in Walney. (fn. 120)
In the Civil War the greater resident squires, Kirkby and Preston, took the king's side, but the minor gentry were divided, and several, as Dodding, Sawrey and Rawlinson of Graythwaite, were zealous Parliamentarians. Furness had experience of war. A large Royalist force under Lord Molyneux and others occupied and plundered Furness in May 1643. (fn. 121) While Colonel Rigby was besieging Thurland Castle in August and September 1643, the Royalists assembled their forces in Furness and Cartmel, with the design of relieving the place; but Rigby took some of his men, and by a hasty march over the hills and across the sands came upon his enemy near Lindal on Sunday, 1 October. Though the king's men were well posted they appear to have made no serious resistance, the horse giving way at the first attack and the foot then dispersing and taking to flight. A few were slain; several of the leaders and some 300 men were taken prisoners; arms, colours and ammunition were captured. Rigby's men plundered Dalton and the neighbourhood, and returned the same night to Cartmel. (fn. 122)
The diary of Sir Henry Slingsby shows that in the summer of 1644 the Royalists had much their own way in Furness. Sir John Maney, with a brigade of horse of broken, shattered regiments (including Sir John Preston's), and Major Palmer with some foot soldiers, took possession, but found the country people hostile. Help from the Parliament's vessels at Piel supported the resistance which was attempted, but after a fight near Hawcoat (fn. 123) and the burning of Northscales in Walney opposition ceased, men came in, and the king's rents were collected. At the place of muster Sir John Maney 'had an old parson that had in former times been a priest of the Roman church to preach unto them, and his sermon was to dehort them from rebellion. His pulpit was a large stone which he leaned upon, the countrymen standing round about him, very attentive to hear.'The Parliamentary ships sailed away to Liverpool to aid the siege then being prosecuted by Sir John Meldrum, while the Royalists moved forward into Cartmel, where Mr. Preston (says Sir Henry) gave them 'extreme good entertainment, a house free for all comers, and no grudging at any cost, though we ate him up at his table; and the troopers in the field stealing his sheep and not sparing his corn that stood in the field. And here we took our pastime and would go out to hunt and course the deer; until Dodding on Lancaster side and the Scots on Westmorland side made us look about us how to secure ourselves.' (fn. 124)
The Restoration appears to have been accepted as loyally as in the rest of England; but there were a few malcontents, and in 1664 Colonel Sawrey (Sawrall) of Furness was supposed to be implicated in some design for a rising. (fn. 125) A letter dated 24 June 1664 shows that the Nonconformists were greatly discontented. Their churches had had a meeting in Furness and were resolved to meet again, 'otherwise (they) would have no means of coming together without suspicion.' They were in correspondence with the Fifth Monarchy men, the Anabaptists and the Quakers. (fn. 126) In 1667 a proposal was made to utilize Piel Island as a royal shipbuilding yard; it was thought that small frigates might be built there. (fn. 127) The Revolution and the Jacobite risings of 1715 and 1745 passed over without any disturbance of the peace and without forfeitures and executions. About 1800 there were bread riots, the quarrymen of North Furness marching through the Ulverston district and compelling the millers to dispose of their stocks. A little later the same men resisted the service in the militia, destroying the ballot papers at Ulverston. (fn. 128)
Fr. West, a stranger residing in Low Furness about 1770, gives a very favourable account of the people, praising their'universal civility and good manners. . . . At church and market their appearance is decent, and sobriety is a general virtue. Quarrels and affrays are seldom heard of at fairs and public meetings. The modesty of the female sex and sobriety of the men prevent irregularities before marriage and secure conjugal love and affection through life.' (fn. 129) The popular sports were wrestling, fox-hunting and cockfighting. (fn. 130) A number of works have been published illustrating the dialect of Furness. (fn. 131)
In general the manor courts are held still throughout the district, and the ancient tenures observed with but little modification.
The iron mines of the country have been worked from time immemorial. (fn. 132) There are various allusions to them in the Furness Coucher, where the local saltmaking is also referred to. (fn. 133) In the latter part of the 18th century the ores were exported for the use of furnaces established in neighbouring places. In this way Barrow by degrees became a shipping port. (fn. 134)
The increasing demand for ore led to the formation of the Furness railway line in 1844–5. (fn. 135) During 1846 the line was opened from Barrow to Dalton and then to Kirkby Ireleth. In the next year it was extended north to Broughton, and in 1850 carried across the Duddon from Foxfield to form the Whitehaven line. Powers were obtained to form a branch to Ulverston, which was opened in 1855, and also to construct a railway from Ulverston across Cartmel to Carnforth, to effect a junction with the line from Carlisle to London, and this was accomplished in 1857. An extension from Broughton to Coniston was made in 1859–60, and in 1882 the present line from Barrow by Sandscale to Askam was opened. The different lines were amalgamated in 1862–6. In 1863 the railway company purchased the undertakings of the Barrow Harbour Commissioners, and, having also acquired Old Barrow Island, began the construction of the docks. (fn. 136) In addition to the main line of the railway, there are from Barrow branches to the docks and Roa Island, and from Ulverston to Lake Side at the south end of Windermere (1869) and to Conishead. The railway company also maintains a steamboat service on Windermere and another in the summer on Coniston Water.
The copper mines at Coniston are worked, and the slate quarries there and at Kirkby. The furnaces and other manufactures are chiefly at Barrow, but there are some at Ulverston, and the charcoal furnace established at Backbarrow in 1710 is still at work. Round the coast are fisheries, and inland the agricultural land is thus occupied: arable land, 11,506 acres; permanent grass, 52,769 acres; woods and plantations, 14,244 acres. (fn. 137)
Ecclesiastically Furness gave title to a rural deanery in the archdeaconry of Richmond (fn. 138); the jurisdiction embraced Cartmel also. The Archdeacon of Richmond formerly received the following annual dues from its churches (fn. 139) :—