Townships: Lowick

Pages 360-362

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


In this section


Lofwick, 1202; Lowyk, 1256.

Lowick extends across the parish from the hills which bound it on the west to the Crake on the east. It is divided into two main portions, Upper and Lower, with Lowick Common in the centre. The respective areas are 1,412½, 543½ and 305 acres— 2,261 in all. (fn. 1) The common occupies a hill which rises to 684 ft. above sea level, and is crowned by a cairn. Lower Lowick extends along the bank of the Crake, with Lowick Green in the centre and Lowick Bridge near the north end. Upper Lowick has two parts; that to the north of the common contains the hall, and occupies the higher land above it, that to the south occupies the valley west of the common and the hill-side beyond, where a height of 1,092 ft. is attained at the boundary. Hawkswell lies at the southern end of the valley named. The population in 1901 numbered 279.

The principal road is that up the Crake valley; at Lowick Green it is joined by two, from Ulverston by Broughton Beck and from Broughton by the Duddon. Another road goes north through the western valley, by Hawkswell and Lowick Hall to Lowick Bridge, where the Crake may be crossed. From the bridge there is a good view northward over Coniston Water to the lofty Fells beyond.

The soil is loamy, overlying gravel. A large part of the area is used for pasturage, but barley and oats are grown. An agricultural show was held from 1857 to 1884 and revived in 1896.

The township has a parish council of five members.


William de Lancaster (II) is recorded to have granted LOWICK to one Robert de Turribus or Towers in the 12th century. (fn. 2) At that time, therefore, Lowick was in the lordship of Ulverston. William de Lowick son of Robert de Towers granted to the monks of Furness a rent of 6s. from Lowick for the benefit of his father Robert and mother Avice. (fn. 3) William was perhaps a younger son, for in 1202 he acknowledged his plough-land in Lowick and Ulverston to be the right of one Gilbert de Towers, receiving it from him to be held by a rent of 20s. yearly, payable to Gilbert and his heirs at Hutton Rocelin. (fn. 4) William de Towers in 1246 withdrew a claim he had made against William de Lancaster respecting a tenement in Lowick and Stannerley. (fn. 5) Ten years later Alan de Towers was in possession, and made an agreement with Alan de Stainton respecting the common of pasture which the latter claimed in Lowick. (fn. 6) Alan occurs also in 1292, (fn. 7) but was followed by William de Towers, who occurs from 1300 to 1320. (fn. 8) John his son married Joan Fleming in 1333, (fn. 9) and is named in 1367. (fn. 10)

In the time of Henry VI it is said that John Ambrose (fn. 11) married Isabel daughter and heir of William Towers. (fn. 12) Joan widow of Robert Ambrose in 1500 recovered the custody of Robert's land and heir and her dower in Lowick against Thomas Marquess of Dorset and Anne his wife. (fn. 13) In 1517 it was found that Lowick was held of Henry Earl of Wiltshire, in right of Cecily his wife, by Elizabeth widow of John Ambrose and his son Richard Ambrose; Richard died that year, leaving a son and heir Henry, one year old. (fn. 14) Henry Ambrose died in 1555 holding the manor of Lowick of the king and queen by reason of the attainder of the late Duke of Suffolk, as of the manor of Aldingham, by the twenty-fourth part of a knight's fee and a rent of 18d.; his son and heir James was nineteen years of age. (fn. 15) James Ambrose made a settlement of the manor, with two water mills, dovecote, &c., in 1576. (fn. 16) He died in 1591, holding as before, and leaving a son John, aged twenty-four. (fn. 17) John, having refused knighthood, paid £10 in 1631 as composition. (fn. 18) He died in 1638 holding the manor of Lowick, (fn. 19) and was succeeded by his eldest son William, who at the outbreak of the Civil War took part with the king, but surrendered to the Parliament very soon (in 1644), and afterwards took the National Covenant and Negative Oath. (fn. 20) William was still living in 1665, when a pedigree was recorded, (fn. 21) but was the next year succeeded by a younger brother John, a senior fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, and rector of Grasmere. He died in 1684, (fn. 22) having conveyed the manor to his nephew John Latus of Millom. (fn. 23) By a granddaughter it was conveyed in marriage to the Blencowe family, and afterwards descended to the Everards, James Everard being lord in 1842. (fn. 24) Miss Everard married the Rev. Isaac Gaskarth, incumbent of Lowick, and was eventually succeeded by the late Colonel I. V. H. Montagu. The trustees are at present in possession; Mr. Arthur Montagu, son of the Colonel, and Miss C. E. Montagu of Lowick Hall are tenants for life in equal moieties.

Ambrose of Woodplumpton. Or three dicesable, each charged with an annulet argent.

The customs of the manor were in 1774 similar to those of Kirkby Ireleth, where twenty years' quitrent was paid to the lord by a tenant on his admission. There was a running gressom or town term of a year's rent due to the lord every seventh year. There were four house-lookers annually appointed for reviewing and assigning timber for necessary repairs. (fn. 25) Most of the old customs remain in force, and courts are regularly held. (fn. 26)

HAWKSWELL, (fn. 27) an old estate in Lowick, was the home of the Fells before they settled at Swarthmoor. (fn. 28) Conishead Priory had mills and land in Lowick. (fn. 29) Leonard Askew died in 1625 holding two messuages, &c., in Lowick of John Ambrose as of his manor of Lowick by the rent of half a rose yearly. His heir was a grandson Hugh, who in 1626 sold the estate to Peter Briggs. (fn. 30) Two mills on the Crake in the lordship of Lowick were among the appurtenances of Nevill Hall Manor in Ulverston, forfeited in 1569, and were sold by the Crown in 1610. (fn. 31) This may be another indication that Lowick originally belonged to the barony of Ulverston and not to the lordship of Aldingham or Muchland, as recorded in the 16th-century inquisitions.


Alan de Towers in 1292 alleged that he was wont to find his own chaplain to celebrate divine service daily in his chapel of St. Andrew in Lowick, the chaplain receiving the oblations and the candles given at the baptism of children and churching of women in return for 12 acres of land which the Prior of Conishead held of the grant of Alan's ancestors; the prior on the other hand alleged that the chapel belonged to his church of Ulverston, and the profits should go to him and not to Alan, a layman, and the jury decided in his favour. (fn. 32) The chapel probably remained in use till the Reformation, but it is difficult to say what happened after the fall of Conishead and the rapid changes of religion under Edward VI, Mary and Elizabeth. In 1626 the 'reader' in possession appointed and paid by the inhabitants claimed that he had been ejected with violence by John Askew and others. (fn. 33) In 1650 the minister had an allowance of £5 a year from the people. (fn. 34) The income was under £10 a year in 1717, partly derived from the gift of £200 by John Ambrose, 1684. (fn. 35) The chapel was rebuilt in 1817, (fn. 36) and this was replaced by the present St. Luke's, built on the old site in 1885. The parochial chapelry was made into a district chapelry in 1866. (fn. 37) The lords of the manor have for a long time presented the incumbents; the net value is given as £165 a year.

The following have been curates and (since 1856) vicars:—

1674 James Fell (fn. 38)
1682 James Pickstall (fn. 39)
1693 James Moore
1696 John Sawrey
1703 James Watterson (fn. 40)
1754 Christopher Moor
1756 Matthias Forrest (fn. 41)
1786 John Borrowdale (fn. 42)
1831 Thomas Hartley (fn. 43)
1846 Isaac Gaskarth (fn. 44)
1873 Richard Rogers
1904 John Piper (fn. 45)


  • 1. 2,271 acres, including 9 of inland water; Census Rep. 1901.
  • 2. West, Furness (ed. 1774), p. xxviii, from deeds then at Lowick Hall.
  • 3. Furness Couch. (Chet. Soc), ii, 436. This benefactor is otherwise called William de Towers (Turs), lord of Lowick; ibid.
  • 4. Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 10. Hutton Rocelin is perhaps Hutton Roof which William son of Robert released at the same time to Gilbert de Towers; ibid. 19.
  • 5. Assize R. 404, m. 11 d.
  • 6. Final Conc. i, 124. It was agreed that Alan de Stainton should have common of pasture in Lowick and housebote and heybote in the woods, with freedom from pannage for the pigs feeding there; 12d. a year was to be paid as an acknowledgement, and Alan de Towers should have common of pasture in Stainton and Formethwaite. Further, the tenants of these places were to grind their corn at the Towers mill in Lowick to the sixteenth measure, and give every tenth pig of those they might agist in the Lowick woods.
  • 7. Assize R. 408, m. 41 d.
  • 8. Furness Couch. ii, 524, 413. In a pleading of 1348 respecting land in Ulverston (probably at Roshead) it was stated that Alan de Towers in the time of Edward I granted the land to William de Towers and Maud his wife and their issue. They had daughters Isabel and Joan, of whom the former left a son Henry (s.p.) and the latter a son Roger Bell, the claimant; De Banco R. 354, m. 136.
  • 9. D. at Rydal cited by West, op. cit. 220.
  • 10. Furness Couch. ii, 430.
  • 11. The Ambrose family occurs also in Amounderness.
  • 12. West, op. cit. 204–5. William Ambrose, probably their son, occurs as plaintiff in 1441; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 3, m. 14b; 4, m. 14b.
  • 13. Pal. of Lanc. Writs Prothon. 15 Hen. VII.
  • 14. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iv, no. 88. The tenure was by knight's service. There were two water mills and a fulling mill.
  • 15. Ibid, x, no. 9; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), i, 284. Livery was granted to James Ambrose in 1564; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxix, App. 549; Duchy of Lanc. Misc. Bks. xxiii, 263.
  • 16. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 38, m. 77.
  • 17. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xvi, no. 39. For claims in 1592 by Alice the widow of James Ambrose and by Richard Ambrose see Ducatus Lanc. iii, 292, 267.
  • 18. Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 220.
  • 19. Towneley MS. C 8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), 6. The tenure was recorded as before, viz. of the king as of the manor of Aldingham by the twenty-fourth part of a knight's fee; the rent was 12s. The estate included also eight messuages, a fulling mill, fishery in Thurston Water and water-course of the Crake in Lowick and Blawith lately purchased from John Fleming and Miles Dodding, and held of the king as of his manor of Enfield. William Ambrose, the son and heir, was forty years old. John Ambrose had twenty children in all, of whom eleven were sons, yet the male line ends with these sons.
  • 20. Royalist Comp. Papers (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 35. The fine was £129.
  • 21. Dugdale, Visit. (Chet. Soc.), 3.
  • 22. See his monumental inscription in C. W. Bardsley, Chron. of Ulverston, 79. He was a benefactor of his college, parish and chapelry.
  • 23. According to the pedigrees, Agnes sister of the last-named John Ambrose had married William Latus of the Beck, Millom; they had a son John, who succeeded his uncle and left a son Ferdinando; his heir was a daughter Elizabeth, who left issue by her second husband William Blencowe (d. 1769). A younger son William Ferdinando Blencowe, M.D., succeeded, and was in possession in 1794; Hutchinson, Cumberland, i, 530; West, op. cit. p. xxix. The manor of Lowick was the subject of fines in 1742 (William Blencowe and Elizabeth his wife, deforciants) and 1755 (William Blencowe); Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 329, m. 83; 355, m. 45.
  • 24. Evans, Furness, 102.
  • 25. West, op. cit. 169. Disputes broke out as to the customs of the manor about 1598 and a decree was made in the time of James I; Ducatus Lanc. iii, 428, &c.; Lancs. and Ches. Rec. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 286, 287.
  • 26. Information of Messrs. Hart Jackson & Son, stewards of the manor.
  • 27. Two messuages, &c., at Hawkswell were in 1566 held by Robert Coward and Katherine his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 28, m. 158. A dispute, Garnet v. Coward, occurred in 1561 and later respecting the moiety of Hawkswell; Ducatus Lanc. ii, 243; iii, 55, 93. Katherine widow of John Kirkby in 1554 claimed land, &c., in Hawkswell against Richard Seele; ibid, ii, 186. Richard Seele of Hawkswell was a freeholder in 1600; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 231.
  • 28. Bardsley, op. cit. 65, 72.
  • 29. Lancs. and Ches. Rec. i, 94. Peter de Lowick gave the canons a rent from lands there, and William de Towers gave land by Stainton Beck, extending from the Crake as far as the road to Routand Beck; Dugdale, Mon. vi, 556–7. John Penny in 1517 paid the canons £2 6s. 8d. as fine on entering the tenement in Lowick his father had held of them; Duchy of Lanc. Rentals and Surv. bdle. 4, no. 4. The Conishead rental of 1536 shows that Rowland Pennington had a mill on the Crake at a rent of 36s. 8d., and William Holme a fulling mill, &c., at 10s. rent. John Penny and others had lands. The total rental was 56s. 4d.; ibid. bdle. 5, no. 11. In 1556 there was a dispute in the Penny family as to the Conishead lands; Ducatus Lanc. i, 303; ii,172. There are later references to the Pennys of Lowick; ibid, iii, 293, &c.
  • 30. Towneley MS. C 8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), 6. The estate appears to have been bought from John Billing and Richard his son in 15 91 by Leonard Askew the elder and Leonard Askew the younger; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 53, m. 174. Hugh Askew, the heir named in the text, was son of James son of Leonard, and thirty-two years old in 1630. He appears to have married Dorothy, one of the sisters of the last John Ambrose, and died in 1673, being described as 'of Lowick Hall'; Bardsley, op. cit. 78.
  • 31. Pat. 7 Jas. I, pt. xxxiii; to Edward Ferrers and Francis Phelipps.
  • 32. Assize R. 408, m. 41 d.
  • 33. Consistory Ct. Rec. at Chester. The reader's name was Leonard Fell. He had been 'hired by the inhabitants' and served the chapel from March 1623. On Sunday 26 Mar. 1626 he found another reader, John Fell, in possession. Afterwards 'John Fell did read prayers in the chapel yard under an oak tree, when as I Leonard Fell according to my office and place did read prayers within the chapel, few being there, to my great discouragement.'
  • 34. Commonw. Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 141. 'Sir John Pennington' was the preaching minister.
  • 35. Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc), ii, 540. The people paid something over £4 a year. 'The chapelry is but part of a township, but contains two constablewicks and more. The inhabitants, and especially those called the Twelve, and the feoffees of the chapel, pretend a right to choose the curate.' Subberthwaite was within the chapelry. There was a chapelwarden, chosen by the joint consent of curate and sidesmen.
  • 36. From the chapelwarden's replies to the visitation inquiries it appears that considerable repairs were made about 1700, though then 'lately old and ruinous.' There was no font in 1707, though there were a communion table (not railed) and a bell. A stone font is named in 1729. In 1738 the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was administered twice a year in the chapel.
  • 37. Lond. Gaz. 6 Feb. 1866.
  • 38. Visit. List at Chester.
  • 39. Visit. List of 1691; he was in deacon's orders. The curate was 'conformable' in 1689; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 229. He was schoolmaster also, and Bishop Gastrell in 1717 remarked: 'The curate teaches school'; Notitia, loc. cit. The name is also spelt Pickthall, and a James Pickthall of Lowick was buried at Ulverston 18 Oct. 1709;Reg.
  • 40. He was not in holy orders in 1703 and not qualified to baptize for want of age, but was in deacon's orders in 1717, when the chapel was said to be 'very well served.'
  • 41. End. Char. Rep. He was also incumbent of Blawith 1764–86.
  • 42. End. Char. Rep.
  • 43. Also incumbent of Blawith.
  • 44. Incumbent of Haverthwaite 1839.
  • 45. The list in the text is the copy of one which Mr. Piper has prepared and set up on a tablet in the church.