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Title: The Book of Coniston
Author: Collingwood, W. G. (William Gershom), 1854-1932
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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    W. G. COLLINGWOOD, M.A., F.S.A.,
    _Editor to the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and
    Archæological Society;
    Author of "The Life of John Ruskin," etc._


    Titus Wilson, Publisher.



    "A capital little guide book."--_Daily News._

    "It is an interesting little volume."--_Manchester Guardian._

    "The ideal of a guide book."--_Carlisle Patriot._

    "An excellent guide."--_Carlisle Journal._

    "Confidently recommended."--_Ulverston Advertiser._


    I.--THE OLD MAN                                 1

    II.--THE LAKE                                   8

          SETTLEMENTS                              14

        1.--The Blawith and Kirkby Moors           15
        2.--Bethecar and Monk Coniston Moors       17
        3.--Banniside and Torver Moors             18


        Roman period                               22
        British period                             23
        Anglian period                             23
        Norse period                               26
        Norman period                              28

    V.--MONK CONISTON                             31




        Copper                                    58
        Iron                                      62
        Slate                                     65
        Wood                                      68

    IX.--OLD CONISTON                             71

    INDEX                                         87


Our first walk is naturally to climb the Coniston Old Man. By the
easiest route, which fortunately is the most interesting, there is
a path to the top; good as paths go on mountains--that is, plain
to find--and by its very steepness and stoniness all the more of a
change from the town pavement and the hard high road. It is quite
worth while making the ascent on a cloudy day. The loss of the
panorama is amply compensated by the increased grandeur of the
effects of gloom and mystery on the higher crags, and with care
and attention to directions there need be no fear of losing the

About an hour and a half, not counting rests, is enough for the
climb; and rather more than an hour for the descent. From the
village, for the first ten minutes, we can take two alternative
routes. Leaving the Black Bull on the left, one road goes up past
a wooden bridge which leads to the Old Forge, and by Holywath
Cottage and the gate of Holywath (J. W. H. Barratt, Esq., J.P.)
and the cottages of Silverbank, through a gate opening upon the
fell. Turn to the left, past sandpits in a fragment of moraine
left by the ancient glacier which, at the end of the Ice Age, must
once have filled the copper-mines valley and broken off here,
with toppling pinnacles and blue cavern, just like a glacier in
Switzerland. Note an ice-smoothed rock on the right, showing
basalt in section. Among the crannies of Lang Crags, which tower
above, broken hexagonal pillars of basalt may be found in the
screes, not too large to carry off as specimens. In ten minutes
the miniature Alpine road, high above a deep ravine, leads to the
Gillhead Waterfall and Bridge.

An alternative start may be made to the right of the Post Office,
and up the lane to left of the Sun Hotel; through the gate at
Dixon Ground, and over a wooden bridge beneath the mineral siding
which forms the actual terminus of the railway. Another wooden
bridge leads only to the grounds of Holywath, but affords a fine
sight of the rocky torrent bed with Coniston limestone exposed on
the Holywath side. The Coniston limestone is a narrow band of dark
blue rock, with black holes in it, made by the weathering-out of
nodules. It lies between the softer blue clay-slates we have left,
which form the lower undulating hills and moorlands, and the hard
volcanic rocks which form the higher crags and mountains.

The cartroad to the right, over the Gillhead Bridge, leads to the
copper mines and up to Leverswater, from which the Old Man can be
climbed, but by a much longer route. We take the gate and rough
path to the left, after a look at the fine glaciated rocks across
the bridge, apparently fresh from the chisel of the sculpturing
ice; the long grooves betray the direction in which the glacier
slid over them in its fall down the ravine. From a stile over the
wall the copper mines become visible above the flat valley-bottom,
filled with sand from the crushing of the ore. The path leads up
to the back of the Scrow among parsley fern and club moss, and
fifteen minutes from the bridge bring us through a sheepfold to
another stile from which Weatherlam is finely seen on the right,
and on the left the tall cascade from Lowwater. A short ten
minutes more, and we reach the hause (_háls_ or neck) joining the
crag of the Bell (to the left) with the ridge of the Old Man up
which our way winds.

Here we strike the quarry road leading from the Railway Station
over Banniside Moor, a smoother route, practicable (as ours
is not) for ponies, but longer. Here are slate-sheds, and the
_step_ where the sledges that come down the steep upper road are
slid upon wheels. The sledge-road winds round the trap rocks of
Crowberry haws (the grass-grown old road rejoins it a little
higher) and affords views, looking backwards, of Coniston Hall
and the lake behind. Five minutes above the slate-sheds the road
finally crosses Crowberry haws, and Lowwater Fall comes into
view--a broken gush of foam down a cleft 500 feet from brow to

A shepherd's track leads to the foot of the fall and to the
Pudding Stone, a huge boulder--not unlike the famous Bowder Stone
of Borrowdale--a fragment from the "hard breccia" cliffs rising
behind it, namely, Raven Tor high above; Grey Crag beneath,
with the disused millrace along its flank; and Kernel Crag, the
lion-like rock over the copper mines. Dr. Gibson, the author of
_The Old Man, or Ravings and Ramblings round Conistone_, writing
half-a-century ago, says:--"On this crag, probably for ages, a
pair of ravens have annually had their nest, and though their
young have again and again been destroyed by the shepherds they
always return to the favourite spot." He goes on to tell that
once, when the parent birds were shot, a couple of strange ravens
attended to the wants of the orphan brood, until they were fit to
forage for themselves. On this suggestion, Dr. John Pagen White
has written his poem in _Lays and Legends of the English Lake
Country_, fancifully describing the raven on Kernel Crag watching
from prehistoric antiquity the changes of the world around it,
through past, present and future, to the crack of doom!

From the Pudding Stone experienced climbers can find their way up
the ledges of Raven Tor to the top of Lowwater Fall. We follow the
sledge road, and in five minutes reach Saddlestones Quarry, with
its tram-lines and tunnelled level, and continually increasing
platform of "rid" or débris.

Ten minutes' walk from the quarries brings us to Lowwater, with
glimpses of Windermere in the distance, and Leverswater nearer at
hand under the summit of Weatherlam. It is worth while turning off
to the right hand to see the great blocks of stone that lie in the
margin of the tarn, and at the head of the fall.

As we climb the zigzags to the highest quarries, over the slate
which stands out in slabs from the sward, the crags of Brimfell
and Buckbarrow opposite seem to rise with us. It is here, on a
cloudy day when the tops are covered, that the finest impressions
of mountain gloom may be found; under the cloud and the precipices
a dark green tarn, savage rocks, and tumbling streams; and out,
beyond, the tossing sea of mountain forms.

From the platform of the highest quarry, reached in ten minutes
from the tarn, a rough and steep path to the left leads in five
minutes more to the ridge, and the view of the lowland bursts
upon us with the Westmorland and Yorkshire hills in the distance.
Below, as Ruskin wrote when he first climbed here in 1867, "the
two lakes of Coniston and Windermere, lying in the vastest space
of sweet cultivated country I have ever looked over,--a great part
of the view from the Rigi being merely over black pine-forest,
even on the plains."

Fifteen minutes more take us up this steep arête to the top, 2626
feet above the sea.

There used to be three ancient cairns--the "Old Man" himself, his
"Wife" and his "Son":--_man_, the Celtic _maen_, being the local
name for a pile of stones, and the _Old Man_ simply the name of
the cairn, not of the whole mountain. These were destroyed to
build the present landmark. The circle of stones we have passed
marks the place of the Jubilee bonfire of 1887; the flare-lights
of King Edward's coronation were shown from the top of the cairn,
where in the days of fire signals was a regular beacon station.

The view on a clear day commands Ingleborough to the east,
Snowdon to the south, the Isle of Man to the west, and to the
north, Scafell and Bowfell, Glaramara and Skiddaw, Blencathra
and Helvellyn: and beneath these all the country spread out like
a raised model, with toy hills and lakes and villages. It is so
easy to identify the different points with the help of the map,
that it is hardly necessary to name them in detail. Under the
distant Pennines of Yorkshire lie Windermere, Esthwaite Water, and
Coniston with Monk Coniston Tarns at its head. Southward,--over
Walney Scar, Blind Tarn and Dow Crags close at hand,--are the
shores of Morecambe Bay and the Duddon Estuary, with Black Combe
rising dark against the sea. Westward, across the Duddon Valley,
the steep rocky summits of Harter Fell and Hard Knott. The group
close under our feet to the north includes Brimfell, Woolcrags,
and the Carrs, with Grey Friar on the left and Weatherlam on the
right, and in their hollows Lowwater and Leverswater. To the east
of Helvellyn are Fairfield, Red Screes and Ill Bell, above the
russet sides of Loughrigg and the distant detail of Ambleside.

At any time it is a fine panorama; but for grandeur of mountain
line Weatherlam is the better standpoint. To walk along the
ridge over springy turf is easy and exhilarating after the toil
of the stony climb; and the excursion is often made. A mile to
the depression of Levers Hause, another mile past Wool Crags and
the Carrs, down Prison Band (the arête running eastward from the
nearer side of the Carrs) to the dip at Swirl Hause; and a third
mile over Blacksail, would bring you to Weatherlam Cairn. And a
red sunset there, with a full moon to light you down the ridge
to Hole Rake and the copper mines and home, is an experience to

But for most of us enough is as good as a feast; and Weatherlam
deserves a day to itself, and respectful approach by Tilberthwaite
Gill. This walk leads from the village past Far End up Yewdale,
turning to left at the sign post, and up between Raven Crag,
opposite, and Yewdale Crag. At the next sign post turn up the
path to the left, passing Pennyrigg Quarries, and then keep the
path down into the Gill. The bridges, put up by Mr. Marshall, and
kept in repair by the Lake District Association, lead through the
ravine to the force at its head. Thence Weatherlam can be ascended
either by Steel Edge, the ridge to the left, or breasting the
steep slope from the hollow of the cove.

From the top of the Old Man we have choice of many descents. By
Levers Hause we can scramble down--it looks perilous but is easy
to a wary walker,--to Leverswater; and thence by a stony road to
the copper mines and civilization.

By Gaits Hause, a little to the west of the Old Man, we can reach
Gaits Water, and so across Banniside Moor to the village: or we
can take the grassy ridge and conquer Dow Crags with a cheap
victory, which the ardent climber will scorn. He will attack the
crags from below, finding his own way up the great screes that
border the tarn, and attack the couloirs,--those great chasms that
furrow the precipice. Only, he should not go alone. Here and there
the chimney is barred by boulders wedged into its narrow gorge:
which to surmount needs either a "leg up," or risky scrambling and
some nasty jumps to evade them. These chimneys are described with
due detail in the books on rock-climbing, but should not be rashly
attempted by inexperienced tourists.

The simplest way down is along Little Arrow Edge. The route can be
found, even if clouds blot out bearings and landmarks, thus. In
the cairn on the top of the Old Man there is a kind of doorway.
You leave that doorway square behind you, and walk as straight
as you can forward into the fog--not rapidly enough to go over
the edge by mistake, but confidently. Your natural instincts will
make you trend a trifle to the left, which is right and proper.
It you have a compass, steer south south-east. In five minutes
by the watch you will be well on the grass-grown arête, thinly
set with slate-slabs, but affording easy walking. Keep the grass
on a slightly increasing downward slope; do not go down steep
places either to right or to left, and in ten minutes more you
will strike a ledge or shelf which runs all across the breast of
the Old Man mountain, with a boggy stream running through it--not
straight down the mountain, but across it. If you strike this
shelf at its highest point, where there is no definite stream but
only a narrow bit of bog from which the stream flows, you are
right. If you find the stream flowing to your right hand, bear
more to the left after crossing it. Five minutes more of jolting
down over grass, among rough rocks which can easily be avoided,
and you see Bursting Stone Quarry--into which there is no fear of
falling if you keep your eyes open and note the time. By the watch
you should be twenty minutes--a little more if you have hesitated
or rested--from the top. Long before this the ordinary cloud-cap
has been left aloft, and you see your way, even by moonlight,
without the least difficulty towards the village; but though mist
may settle down, from this quarry a distinct though disused road
leads you safe home.

In ten minutes from the quarry the road brings you to Booth Tarn,
through some extremely picturesque broken ground, from which under
an ordinary sunset the views of the nearer hills are fine, with
grand foreground. Booth Crag itself stands over the tarn, probably
named from a little bield or shelter in ruins in a nook beneath
it; and where the quarry road comes out upon Banniside Moss, the
Coniston limestone appears, easily recognisable with its pitted
and curved bands, contrasting with the bulkier volcanic breccia
just above.

Beyond the tarn to the right are the volunteers' rifle-butts with
their flagstaff. Take the path to the left, and in five minutes
reach the gate of the intake, with lovely sunset and moonlight
views of the Bell and the Scrow to the left, and Yewdale beyond;
Red Screes and Ill Bell in the distance. Hence the road is plain,
and twenty minutes more bring you past the Railway Station to
Coniston village.

To give a good idea of the lie of the land there is nothing
like a raised map. A careful and detailed coloured model of the
neighbourhood (six inches to the mile, with the same vertical
scale, so that the slopes and heights are not exaggerated, but
true to nature) was made in 1882 under the direction of Professor
Ruskin, who presented it to the Coniston Institute, where it has
been placed in the Museum.


Coniston Water it is called by the public now-a-days, but its
proper name is Thurston Water. So it is written in all old
documents, maps, and books up to the modern tourist period. In
the deed of 1196 setting forth the boundaries of Furness Fells it
is called _Thorstanes Watter_, and in lawyer's Latin _Turstini
Watra_, which proves that the lake got its title from some early
owner whose Norse name was Thorstein; in Latin, Turstinus; in
English, Thurston. In the same way Ullswater was Ulf's water, and
Thirlmere was Thorolf's mere, renamed in later times from a new
owner Leathes water--though in the end the older title finally

As a first rough survey it will be convenient to take the steam
gondola, and check off the landmarks seen on her trip, an all too
short half-hour, down to the waterfoot.

The start is from the pier near the head of the lake, at the
quaint boathouse built seventy years ago, in what was then called
the Gothic style, for the late Mr. John Beever of the Thwaite--the
house on the slope of the Guards Wood above the Waterhead Hotel.
The boathouse stands on a promontory made by Yewdale Beck, which
falls into the lake close at hand, and brings down with every
flood fresh material to build its embankment farther and farther
into the lake. So rapidly is its work done that a boulder is
pointed out, twenty yards inland, which was always surrounded by
water twenty or thirty years ago.

Another cause helps to hasten their work, for it is in this part
that the waves under the prevailing south-west winds attain their
greatest size and strength. The steamer captain who lives here
says that he has measured waves 65 feet long from crest to crest,
five feet high from trough to crest. These great waves dash back
the stones and gravel brought down by the becks and spread it
northwards, embanking it in a ridge under the water from this
point to Fir Point opposite. Dr. H. R. Mill, by his soundings in
1893, found the deepest part of the little northern reach to be
hardly more than 25 feet; this was close to the actual head of the
water, showing that it is the débris brought down by the Yewdale
and Church Becks which is silting up the bed.

Looking round this northern reach, which the gondola does not
traverse in her voyage, opposite is Fir Point, with the boathouse
of Low Bank; a little higher up in a bay, the twin boathouses of
Lanehead and Bank Ground; then the landings for Tent Lodge and
Tent Cottage, and the bathing house and boathouse belonging to
Victor Marshall, Esq., of Monk Coniston Hall, in the woods at
the head of the lake. At the true waterhead, where the road from
Hawkshead joins the road round the lake, used to stand the Old
Waterhead Inn. Nearer us are the boathouses at Kirkby Quay, and
the pier of the (new) Waterhead Hotel.

Leaving the steamer pier we are at once in deep water. The
soundings increase rapidly off the mouth of Church Beck, just
below Mason and Thwaites' boathouse; the bottom, gently shelving
for a few yards out, suddenly goes over a bank, and down at a
steep angle to a depth of 125 feet. On the evening of August
5th, 1896, a boy named George Gill sank there out of reach of
his companion, and was drowned before help could be got. At the
very moment the Parish Council in the village was discussing
regulations for boating and bathing. The sad news brought the
members down to the waterside for a painful object-lesson in the
necessity of life-saving apparatus. By private effort, in the
absence of public authority, life buoys and lines have now been
provided at the boathouses and piers, and it is hoped that all
will co-operate in the proper use of such means in case of need.

We have now passed the boathouse of Coniston Bank on the left, and
Coniston Hall on the right. Between the two the lake is at its
broadest--nearly half-a-mile. Land's Point on the right narrows
the lake to a third of a mile. Looking back, Yewdale Crag stands
finely over the waterhead; Brantwood is opposite. Between Coniston
Bank and Brantwood (fishermen and boat sailors may note) there is
a shoal nearly rising to the surface in low water--a bank of stiff
clay, about 50 yards off the east shore. On the right hand, in
the second field below Land's Point, the dark-looking bank just
above the foreshore is a mass of slag, the remains of an ancient
bloomery or smelting furnace; and in the next field called the
"Springs," half a mile below Land Point, there is another bloomery
site, marked by a tree-grown hillock. Behind these, plantations
cover the site of the ancient deer park of Coniston Hall. Exactly
opposite the "Springs" bloomery is a promontory formed by Beck
Leven, on which Ruskin's seat marks a favourite point of view
embracing the whole of the waterhead and the crags around. Across
the road from this seat and close to the beck are the slag mounds
of another bloomery.

We are now crossing the deepest part of the northern basin of the
lake, where Dr. Mill found over 150 feet of water. The bottom
rises, when we pass Hoathwaite boathouse on the right, to little
more than 125 feet, and off Fir Island deepens again, attaining
184 feet half a mile farther down--making this the deepest of
the lakes after Wastwater, Windermere, and Ullswater, as its
5-1/2 miles of length makes it the longest except Windermere and
Ullswater. Its normal level is 143 feet above the sea, though it
rises and falls in drought and damp weather as much as six feet.
Of the form of its bed Dr. Mill says:--"If the water were reduced
to sea level, there would remain two small lakes, the southern
measuring one mile and a half in length, and a quarter of a mile
in breadth, and having a maximum depth of 42 feet; the northern
one, separated by a quarter of a mile, being only 9 feet deep,
three-quarters of a mile long, and perhaps 200 yards wide at the
most. Quite possibly the two might be connected by a channel, and
give a long shallow lake of two and a half miles" (_Bathymetrical
Survey of the English Lakes_, p. 39). This bank or dam between the
two deeps is not caused by filling up from any stream like that at
the steamer pier; it points to the fact, more strikingly seen in
Windermere, that these long lakes, like most of the long valleys,
are not mere troughs or grooves ploughed in the rock, but a series
of basins, partly filled up with glacial débris, and partly joined
together by glacial erosion, which broke and planed away the
dividing barriers.

Fir Island (formerly from its owner called Knott Island, now
the property of Arthur Severn, Esq., R.I., J.P.) is low and
close to the water's edge, hardly distinguishable except by its
grove of Scotch firs from the rest of the coast. In very dry
weather it becomes a peninsula, but usually a boat can make the
circumnavigation, though there is risk of shipwreck on the sharp
rocks to the landward side. Near it, beyond the road which winds
prettily along the uneven and craggy shore, are the ruins of
Copland's Barn; and above it the great larch woods of the Heald,
on a noble slope of nearly 700 feet from the brow of the fell to
the lake. The western shore is formed by the long and varied slope
of Torver Common, down which runs the Moor Gill. At its foot,
exactly opposite Copland's Barn, is the most extensive of the
bloomeries, with the ruins of an old hearth still to be found.

At last the continuous skylines are broken. On the left, a steep
dingle runs up among rocks and woods to Parkamoor, a lonely farm
on a bleak brow top; and on the right, the valley of Torver begins
to open out, with glimpses of Dow Crags and the Old Man in a new
aspect, showing their precipices boldly against the sky, and
beneath them Sunny Bank and Oxness at the mouth of Torver Beck.

Peel Island is now before us, a crag standing romantically out of
the water, and rich with varied foliage. From its western brink
the bed of the lake runs rapidly down to a depth of more than 100

The island itself was for a while known as Montague Island, from
its owner. It was sometimes called the "Gridiron," for it is made
up of a series of bars of rock, so to say, with a long projecting
"calf rock" that stood for the handle. It might as well be called
the ship, with the cockboat astern. But the old original name was
Peel Island, which to a student of place-names indicated that it
once was used as a fortress; and permission being asked from the
agent of the owner, the Duke of Buccleugh, some little excavations
were made, which revealed ancient buildings and walls, with
pottery of an early mediæval type and other remains, which can be
seen in the Coniston Museum. But Peel Island is such a jewel of
natural beauty that antiquarian curiosity hardly justified more
than the most respectful disturbance of its bluebells and heather.

Below this, the shores become more indented and more picturesque;
the hills around do not fall off into tameness, as at the feet
of some of the lakes. On the right is the Beacon, with its cairn
conspicuous at 835 feet above sea; on the left, Selside rises to
1,015 feet. Opposite is Brown How, or Brown Hall, prettily built
at the water's edge; and on the long nab that stretches half-way
across the lake is the old mansion of Water Park (A. P. Bridson,

The gondola slows down and rounds to the little pier, on one of
the loveliest bits of all our lakeland scenery. Five minutes' walk
takes you up to the Lakebank Hotel, and from its terrace--still
better from the knoll above it when the surrounding trees are bare
or lopped--the view embraces (beginning from the left) the Beacon,
Dow Crags, the Old Man, and Weatherlam; Helvellyn, with Yewdale
Crag and Raven Crag beneath; Fairfield and Scandale Head, with
Loughrigg below (Red Screes and Ill Bell are not visible), and
the lake's whole length with all its wooded promontories. To the
right, across the water, the village of Nibthwaite, with cottages
nestling under the steep and rocky mountain edge, and ruined quay
which formed, before the railway tapped the traffic of Coniston,
the terminus of its ancient waterway.

Formerly this lake, like Derwentwater, boasted a floating
island--a mass of weeds and water plants detached from the bottom,
and carrying enough solid matter to make it a kind of natural
raft. In the floods and storms of October, 1846, it was stranded
near Nibthwaite, and remained thenceforward indistinguishable from
the rest of the shore.

Thurston Water used to be famous for its char, which were thought
to be even finer and better than those of Windermere. Sir Daniel
Fleming of Rydal notes in his account book, under the date
February 19th, 1662 (1663, new style):--"Given unto Adam Fleming
for bringing eleven dozen of charres from Conistone, for four pies
1s. 6d.;" and he used to send presents of Coniston char pies, as
the most acceptable of delicacies, to his distinguished friends in
London. In the middle part of the nineteenth century the turbid
or poisonous matter washed into the lake by the streams from the
copper mines, then in full work, is said to have killed off both
char and trout; but it is an ill-wind that blows nobody good, and
the cessation of copper mining has left the water pure again. The
Angling Association has restocked the lake from Windermere, and is
breeding fish by thousands from spawn in its pond near Coniston
Hall. Both the red char (the larger sort, with red bellies and red
pectoral fins) and the silver char (with silvery backs and orange
bellies) are now caught, and opportunities for fishermen are
increasing with every year.

Pike, the natural enemies of char and trout, are kept down by
netting, but are often taken with the line; for example, two of
16 lbs. each were caught by Mr. Rylands in August and September,
1897, with yellow phantom and red wagtail. Perch abound, and
afford exciting sport to less ambitious amateurs of the gentle
craft. There are eels, too, and minnows in abundance, and an
occasional stray salmon. Otters are hunted in the summer. Along
the shore a quiet observer may sometimes startle one from his
repose, and in bowery nooks or up the mouths of the becks may note
the blue gleam of the flitting kingfisher.


The moors around Coniston are full of curious and interesting
remains--cairns, circles, camps and settlements--of the remotest
age in which this country was inhabited. Lying away from the high
roads they are comparatively little known, but can easily be
reached in the course of a day's walk or on horseback, or else by
cycling--so far as the cycle will go, which is usually within a
short distance of the spots to be sought--and leaving the cycle to
the honesty of the country folk.

These remains are described by Mr. H. Swainson Cowper, F.S.A., in
"The Ancient Settlements, Cemeteries, and Earthworks of Furness"
(_Archæologia_, vol. liii., 1893, with plans), and some of them
have passing notice in books relating to the district. Their
very rudeness is a source of interest, and the mystery of their
origin offers a fresh field for antiquarian research. To the
unlearned visitor they are no less interesting--if he can throw
his imagination back to wild days of ancient Britain, and repeople
the heather and rocks with Children of the Mist. In their day the
valleys were choked with matted forest or undrained swamp; the
moorlands alone were healthy and habitable; not so bare and bleak
as now, but partly sheltered, in their hollows and watercourses,
by groves of rowan and birch, holly and yew, and the native forest
trees of the north. Around these settlements the wilderness
swarmed with red deer and roe, wild swine and cattle, capercailzie
and moor fowl of every kind--good hunting, with only the wolf pack
to dispute the spoil; for there is no reason to suppose that war,
in our sense of the word, has ever invaded these homesteads and
cattle-garths of primitive hunting and pastoral folk, whose chief
foes were the wild beasts of the fells. Nor should we suppose
that the circles are Druid temples where human sacrifices were
offered. Some are the fences built around graves, and others are
the foundations of round houses like the huts which wood-cutters
still make for their temporary lodging when they are at work in a
coppice. Others may have been sacred places; but let us withhold
our fancies until we have seen the facts.


The Beacon of Blawith, already noticed, can be climbed in about
half-an-hour from Lakebank Hotel. South of the cairn on the top is
Beacon Tarn, and two miles south-west over the heather (in which
are various unimportant cairns and platforms, perhaps ancient,
but more probably "tries" for slate) rises Blawith Knott, and
beyond, at its foot where four roads meet, the Giant's Grave. The
Giant's Grave can be easily reached by road; 2-1/2 miles from
Woodland Station, or 4 miles (_via_ Blawith and Subberthwaite)
from Lakebank. This walk, as described, is well under 10 miles by
cross roads. The story, still current in the neighbourhood, tells
that in the Heathwaite "British settlement" (half a mile south
of the cross roads) lived a race of giants, of whom the last was
shot with an arrow on the Knott and buried in the grave; and,
on opening it, the Rev. Francis Evans found calcined bones and

The Heathwaite settlement consists of the foundations of ancient
dwellings, just to the north of Pewit Tarn, and surrounded by
extensive ruined stone walls, and a great number of cairns. Many
of these are mere heaps of stones thrown together by the farmers
to clear the land, in order to mow the bracken which they carry
away for litter. Some of the cairns and walls, however, appear to
be ancient.

A mile and a half south of this, on the headland to the right-hand
side of the road, just before we reach Burney Farm, is the ruined
enclosure, roughly square, with a party wall across the middle
of it, known as the "Stone Rings." The walls are of a type seen
in the British settlement near High Borrans, Windermere, and at
Urswick Stone Walls--that is to say, flanked by big slabs set on
edge, as though the builders were rudely trying to imitate the
Roman walls of rubble thrown into an outer casing of masonry.

Following the road for a mile to south-east, shortly before coming
to the Goathwaite Quarries, in the heather on the left may be
found a small ring embankment; and about a mile as the crow flies
south-east of this, across a little valley and only to be reached
by a somewhat roundabout road, is the remnant of what was once a
fine stone circle (quarter of a mile north of Knapperthaw).

Looking south-west from here we see a pass across Kirkby Moor, to
the left of the rounded summit (over 1,000 feet) opposite. From
the top of that pass, a short mile to the west, is a conspicuous
grey cairn of loose stones, which was opened by Mr. Jopling
(author of _A Sketch of Furness and Cartmel_, 1843), and found to
contain burnt bones in a prehistoric "kist" of flagstones.

Turning south from this, by a grassy track through the heather,
five minutes' walk brings us to the "Kirk," a ring embankment
on the brink of the gill which encloses the site on two sides,
probably sepulchral, and perhaps connected with the great cairn,
as there are the remains of an avenue of standing stones leading
in that direction. A field near this is called "Kirk Sinkings,"
with which compare "Kirk Sunken," the name of the Swinside Circle,
and of other similar sites. _Kirk_ or _Currock_ does not imply
a consecrated spot, but is the common word (surviving from the
"Cumbrian" or Welsh) for stone monuments.

From this, twenty minutes westward down a steep road through the
picturesque gill brings us to Kirkby Watermill and Church (Norman
door and font, and a tombstone in the chancel which combines the
simple cross with rudimentary effigy). Kirkby Hall, a mile to
the north, is a fine specimen of the ancient manor house. Another
mile northward is Grizebeck, with remains of a ring embankment,
unimportant, behind the cottages. Hence it is a little over two
miles to Foxfield, or three to Broughton; or, omitting Grizebeck,
from Kirkby Church ten minutes' walk brings us down to Kirkby


South of Lakebank, turning to left down a narrow lane through the
hamlet of Water Yeat, we reach Bouthray (Bouldery) Bridge over the
Crake, and see, half a mile further down, the new Blawith Church
on the site of an old Elizabethan chapel. Opposite it, across
the river by a footbridge, is Low Nibthwaite bobbin mill--in the
eighteenth century an important "forge" where iron was smelted
with charcoal.

Crossing the bridge, and leaving Arklid Farm on the right, 1-1/2
mile from Lakebank brings us to Nibthwaite, whence the lakeside
road leads in about 7-1/2 miles to Coniston Church, past Brantwood
and Waterhead; the path to the moors strikes up to the right hand
and across the breast of Selside. Another path leads to the Top of
Selside, 1,015 feet, with Arnsbarrow Tarn and Bell Beck descending
from it, to the south-west, with several good waterfalls. Bethecar
Moor is between Bell Beck and Nibthwaite--fine broken ground,
which seems to have been less inhabited than the other moors, for
no remains except a cairn (1-1/4 mile due west of Waterpark) have
been reported.

Two miles north of Nibthwaite is Parkamoor, which in the Middle
Ages was a sheep cote belonging to Furness Abbey. Recently, walled
up in an outbuilding, on a deserted farm near at hand, part of a
woman's skeleton was found. There is an obscure story of an old
lady who disappeared after residence at Parkamoor some generations
ago, but nothing has been proved as to the supposed murder; nor is
there any reason to connect this with an alleged ghost at Coniston
Bank, several miles distant.

Hence the path to the right goes to Satterthwaite, down Farragrain
Gill; northward, a track leads over the Heald, with magnificent
views, to the lonely hill farm of Lawson Park, another Furness
Abbey sheep cote (2-1/2 miles), and down to Lanehead and Coniston
(3-1/4 miles); or by a cart track met 1/4 mile above Lawson Park,
and leading upward and northward, we can traverse Monk Coniston
Moor, and descend to civilisation by the lane that crosses from
Grizedale to Lanehead. Along the ridge which forms the boundary
between Monk Coniston and Hawkshead is High Man (922 feet), where
in a cairn is a stone with the initials "J. W., 1771" and "E. D.,
1817," and on the west side of the stone "T. F., 1817"--evidently
a _merestone_ or boundary mark. A circle and other cairns have
been noted near this summit; the circle may be comparatively
modern, the ruins of a hut such as charcoal-burners make for
temporary lodgings in the woods.

High Cross, where the Coniston, Ambleside, and Hawkshead roads
meet, is close at hand, 2-1/2 miles from Coniston Church.


Up the road behind the Railway Station, in twenty-five minutes you
reach the gate of Banniside Moor, which we passed in descending
the Old Man. Along the quarry road to the right towards Crowberry
Haws, about a third of a mile from the gate, below you on the
right-hand side is an ancient garth of irregular rectangular
shape, with a circular dwelling in the middle of the highest side.
A small outlying building is just to the south-east. This seems
more modern in type than some of the remains we find in the moors,
but it is difficult to classify and impossible to date.

Returning to the gate, follow the Walna Scar path over Banniside
to the south-west for ten minutes; 300 yards west of the flagstaff
is a ring-mound on a levelled platform at the edge of Banniside
Mire, formerly a tarn, but now almost peated up.

Rather more than half a mile south-west of the flagstaff you
strike Torver Beck, after passing many clearing-heaps among the
bracken beds--the subject of Dr. Gibson's dialect sketch of
"Bannasyde Cairns" in _The Folk-speech of Cumberland_.

Clearings and tries for slate, old limekilns and pitsteads and
sheepfolds and so forth, are traps for the amateur antiquary.
But in many cases, as we have seen, and shall find in the course
of our day's walk, digging has proved that the cairns on these
moors were actually the graves of prehistoric people, or forgotten
sites of ancient habitation. Much remains to be explored; and the
"enclosure" we come to, a few steps down Torver Beck, is a case in

It is a ruined stone wall forming an irregular quadrangle, through
which a cart-track now runs. Within it is what looks like a hut
circle on the brink of the ravine, from which water could be got
by simply letting a backet down into the stream beneath. Across
the beck, about 100 yards to the south-west, Mr. Cowper notes
another ring-mound "badly preserved, without entrance or trenches."

Going due south to the footbridge across Tranearth Beck (or the
Black Beck of Torver), and then striking up Hare Crags to the
south-east (about two-thirds of a mile from the last), we come to
a large ring-mound with double ditch, intrenching the top of the
hill. From this, descending to the south-west and crossing the
beck by another footbridge, we strike a path leading north-west in
half a mile to Ashgill Bridge and Quarry.

Along the ridge of Bleaberry Haws (1/4 mile south-west) is yet
another ring-mound on the edge of a lake basin, now peat moss; and
200 yards farther we find the northern angle of the Bleaberry Haws
dyke, a more important example of the kind seen on Hawkshead Moor.

Following the dyke to the south-west and turning to the left
where it disappears, we find a circle of seven stones, into which
Mr. Cowper dug, and found a rough pavement of cobble-stones at a
depth of two to three feet resting upon the natural rock. Many
cairns are passed on going a few steps eastward to strike the
main line of the dyke, which runs down into Bull Haw Moss, making
a curious fold or fork at the farther side of the valley, and
then climbing the steep bank and running over the top due south,
until it loses itself among a group of cairns in which Mr. Cowper
found prehistoric interments. The dyke is altogether over a mile
long, partly a stone wall, partly an earthwork. Antiquaries have
been much divided over its possible use and object; the late W.
Jackson, F.S.A., thought it might be a kind of deer trap. The deer
would be driven from the south-west along the moorland valley, and
_cornered_ in the fork of the wall.

From the southern extremity of the dyke a path leads down to the
road from Broughton Mills to Torver. Two miles south-west along
this road, and between it and Appletreeworth Beck, Dr. Kendall of
Coniston has noticed a similar dyke. The name of a neighbouring
farm, Burnmoor, suggests the recognition of "borrans" or stone
heaps of more than usual importance. In the Burnmoor above Eskdale
are important stone circles.

Torver Station is rather more than a mile from the point where we
struck this road, and Coniston 2-1/2 miles more by road or rail.

       *       *       *       *       *

Coniston is a good centre for further excursions in search of
moorland antiquities. From Woodland station a day's round might be
made by Broughton Mills to the cairns and enclosures on the south
side of Stickle Pike and above Stonestar; across the Duddon to
the ruins of Ulpha Old Hall, Seathwaite, the home of "Wonderful
Walker" (born at Undercrag, 1709; died at Seathwaite, 1802, in the
67th year of his curacy there); then back by Walna Scar, passing
ancient remains of undetermined age. The first group is found
by turning to the right below the intake wall until a stile is
reached, below which, and beyond, are traces of rude building. On
rejoining the road up Walna Scar, a gate is seen across the beck;
through it and about a quarter of a mile horizontally along the
breast of the hill are extensive ruined walls, and many outlying
remains on a shelf of the mountains about 1,000 feet above the
sea. Hence the way to the top of the Scar is plain, and Coniston
is about an hour's easy walking by a well-marked path from the

Swinside Circle is about 4-1/2 miles from Broughton station, and
is little inferior to the great circle near Keswick. On digging it
we found nothing at all; we learnt, however, that the place was
not used for interments or sacrifices, and its origin remains a

Other prehistoric sites within reach of Coniston are Barnscar and
Burnmoor (by the Eskdale railway); Urswick Stone Walls, Foula,
Sunbrick Circle and Appleby Slack, Pennington Castle Hill and
Ellabarrow in Low Furness; and Hugill British Settlement near
Windermere station.



There are no Roman remains at Coniston; but a great Roman road
passed just to the north of the township from the camp, still
visible, at Ambleside, through Little Langdale, over Wrynose and
Hardknott to the camp at Hardknott Castle, and so down Eskdale
to the port of Ravenglass, where at Walls Castle there are the
site of a camp and the ruin of a Roman villa. It is possible that
a trackway used in Roman times passed through Hawkshead, for
fragments of Roman brick have been found at Hawkshead Hall and
a coin at Colthouse (see Mrs. H. S. Cowper's _Hawkshead and its
Neighbourhood_: Titus Wilson, Kendal, sixpence).

There is a tradition that the Coniston coppermines were worked
by the Romans; but there is no evidence to prove it. One point
that tends to suggest the possibility of such a belief is that
about the year 85 A.D., soon after Agricola had overcome all
this part of the country, a certain savant, Demetrius of Tarsus,
fellow-townsman of St. Paul and not much his junior, was sent by
the Emperor Domitian to Britain, it would seem for the purpose of
enquiring into its products, especially in metals (Canon Raine,
_York_, p. 17). Two bronze tablets, dedicated by this Demetrius
to the gods Oceanus and Tethys, were found at York, and are now
in the museum there; and on his return from these savage regions
he went to Delphi and told his traveller's tales to Plutarch, who
mentions the fact in his treatise _On the Cessation of Oracles_.
It might be said that these rich copper mines could hardly fail to
attract the notice of the conquerors; of whom their own Tacitus
says, speaking of their disappointment in the pearl fishery of
Britain--"I could more easily believe that the pearls are amiss,
than that we Romans are wanting in 'commercial enterprise.'"
_Avaritia_ is the old cynic's word, in the life of Agricola, chap.


After the Romans left, until the middle of the seventh century
this district remained in the hands of the Cumbri or Welsh, who
probably dwelt in some of the ancient moorland settlements we have
already visited. They have perhaps left traces in the language,
but less than is often asserted.

Some have thought "Old Man" to be a corruption of the Welsh _Allt
Maen_, "high stone" or "stone of the slope." But even if it be
more reasonably explained as we have suggested, the word "man"
for a stone or cairn is Welsh. Dow Crags are sometimes dignified
into Dhu Crags; but though both "dow" and "crag" have passed into
our dialect, both are of Celtic origin. The mountain crest over
Greenburn called Carrs cannot be explained as Norse _Kjarr_, a
"wood;" but being castle-like rocks, may be from the Welsh _caer_.
There are many "combes" and "tors," "pens" and "benns" (the last
Gaelic, for some of the hill tribes may well have been survivors
of the kindred race of Celts). Of the rivers hereabouts--Kent,
Leven, Duddon, Esk, and perhaps Crake are Celtic.


When the Angles or English settled in the country, as they did
in the seventh century, they came in by two routes, which can be
traced by their place-names and their grave monuments. One was
by Stainmoor and the Cumberland coast, round to Ravenglass; and
the other by Craven to the coast of Morecambe Bay. There is no
evidence of their settlement in the Lake District fells, except in
the Keswick neighbourhood, where the story of St. Herbert gives us
a hint that though the fell country might not be fully occupied,
it was not unexplored in the seventh century. The mention of
the murder of Alf and Alfwine, sons of King Alfwald, in 789 at
Wonwaldremere cannot be located at Windermere with any certainty;
but still it is possible that the Angles penetrated to Coniston.

The Anglian settlements are known by their names--Pennington,
the _tun_ of the Pennings in Furness; Workington, the _tun_ of
the Weorcingas, and so on. Among the mountains there is only
one _ton_--Coniston, or as it was anciently spelt Cuninges-tun,
Koninges-ton. Conishead in Low Furness was Cunninges-heved, the
headland of the King, where perhaps Ecgfrith or his successors
had a customs-house to take toll of the traders crossing the
sands to the iron mines. So Cynings-tun (the y pronounced like a
French u, and making in later English Cunnings-tun) might mean
King's-town; in Norse, Konungs-tun, whence we get the alternative
pronunciations of the modern spelling, Coniston or Cuniston. What
the Norse had to do with it we shall soon see.

Now it is unlikely that kings lived in so out-of-the-way a place;
but possible that they appropriated the copper mines. The ancient
claim of kings to all minerals is still kept in mind by the word
"royalty." And if the king's miners lived here under his reeve
or officer, their stockaded village would be rightly known as
Cynings-tun, the King's-town.

It is right to add that some antiquaries make the names beginning
with Coning-or Coni-to mean the Rabbits'-town, Rabbits'-head,
Rabbits'-garth, and so forth, and yet even in Iceland, which was
always republican, there is a Kongsbakki, King's-bank, at which
no king ever lived. In ancient times, as now, sentiment counted
for something in the naming of places; and many names, otherwise
without meaning, may have been simply given by the settler in
remembrance of his old home. We cannot say for certain that
Coniston was not so called by an immigrant of the Viking Age, much
later than the invasion of the Angles; possibly he came from a
place of similar name in Craven or Holderness or elsewhere and
brought the name with him.

The Welsh appear to have remained under Teutonic (or later,
Scandinavian) masters, and one relic of their tongue seems to
show how they were treated. They seem to have been employed as
shepherds, and they counted their flocks:--

    Un, dau, tri, y pedwar, y pimp;
    Chwech, y saith, y wyth, y nau, y dec;
    Un-ar-dec, deu-ar-dec, tri-ar-dec, pedwar-ar-dec, pemthec;
    Un-ar-pymthec, deu-ar-pymthec, tri-ar-pymthec, pedwar-ar-pymthec,

or in the ancient equivalent form of these Welsh numerals, which
their masters learned from them, and used ever after in a garbled
form as the right way to count sheep. The Coniston count-out runs--

    Yan, taen, tedderte, medderte, pimp;
    Sethera, lethera, hovera, dovera, dick;
    Yan-a-dick, taen-a-dick, tedder-a-dick, medder-a-dick, mimph;
    Yan-a-mimph, taen-a-mimph, tedder-a-mimph, medder-a-mimph,

And from these north-country dales the Anglo-Cymric score has
spread, with their roaming sons and daughters, pretty nearly all
the world over. (See the Rev. T. Ellwood's papers on the subject
in Cumb. and West. Antiq. Soc. _Transactions_, vol. iii.)

During the ninth century the Anglian power declined. Welsh Cumbria
regained some measure of independence with kings or kinglets of
its own, under the dominant over-lordship of the Scottish crown.
But the Anglian settlers still held their tuns, though their
influence and interests so diminished that it was impossible for
them to continue and complete the colonization of Lakeland. It
remained a no-man's-land, a debateable border country, hardly
inhabited and quite uncivilised.


Who then settled the dales, cleared the forest, drained the
swamps, and made the wilderness into fields and farms?

Let us walk to-day through the valleys to the north of the
village, and ask by the way what the country can tell us of its

Leaving the church we come in a few minutes to Yewdale Beck. Why
"beck?" Nobody here calls it "brook," as in the Saxon south,
nor "burn," as in the Anglian north. In the twelfth century, as
now, the name was "Ywedallbec," showing that it had been named
neither in Anglian nor in Saxon, but by inhabitants who talked the
language of the Vikings.

The house on the hill before us, above fields sloping to the
flats, is the Thwaite house. _Thveit_ in Iceland, which the
Norsemen colonized, means a field sloping to a flat. On the
wooded hill behind it are enclosures called the high and low
Guards--"yard" would be the Saxon word; _gardhr_ is the Norse,
becoming in our dialect sometimes "garth" and sometimes "gard" or

At the Waterhead the signpost tells us to follow the road to
Hawkshead, anciently Hawkens-heved or Hawkenside--_Hauk's_ or
_Hákon's_ headland or seat.

Taking the second turn to the left we go up the ravine of Tarn Hows
Gill (_Tjarn-haugs-gil_), and reach a favourite spot for mountain
views. Above and around the moorland lake rise the Langdale Pikes
(_Langidalr_ there is also in Iceland), Lingmoor (_lyng-mor_),
Silver How (_Sölva-haugr_), Loughrigg (_loch-hryggr_), Fairfield
(_fær-fjall_), Red Screes (_raud-skridhur_), and on the left Weatherlam
(_vedhr-hjalmr_) and all the _fells_ and _dales_, _moors_ and _meres_,
which cannot be named without talking Norse.

Descending to the weir which was built by the late Mr. Marshall,
to throw into one the three Monk Coniston Tarns, as the sheet
of water is still called, a broken path leads us down past the
waterfall of Tom or Tarn Gill, romantically renamed Glen Mary,
and now even "St. Mary's Glen," and out upon the road opposite
Yewtree House, behind which stood the famous old yew blown down
in the storm of 22nd December, 1894. Turning to the right, we
pass Arnside (_Arna-sidha_ or _setr_, Ami's fellside or dairy)
and Oxenfell (_öxna-fell_), and soon look down upon Colwith
(_Koll-vidhr_, "peak-wood" from the peaked rocks rising to the
left above it; or _Kol-vidhr_, wood in which charcoal was made).
We quit the road to Skelwith (_skál-vidhr_, the wood of the scale
or shed) and descend to Colwith Feet (_fit_, meadow on the bank
of a river or lake), and ascend again to Colwith Force (_fors_,
waterfall), and pass the _Tarn to Fell Foot_, an old manor house,
bought in 1707 by Sir Daniel Fleming's youngest son Fletcher,
ancestor of the Flemings of Rayrigg, who placed his coat of arms
over the door (as Mr. George Browne of Troutbeck says--Cumb. and
West. Antiq. Soc. _Transactions_, vol. xi., p. 5).

Permission is readily given to view the terraced mound behind the
house, in which Dr. Gibson and Mr. H. S. Cowper have recognized a
Thingmount such as the Vikings used for the ceremonies of their
Thing or Parliament. There was one in Dublin, the Thingmote;
the Manx Tynwald is still in use; and the name _Thingvöllr_
(thing-field) survives at Thingwall in Cheshire, South Lancashire,
and Dumfriesshire. On the steps of the mound the people stood in
their various ranks while the Law-speaker proclaimed from the top
the laws or judgments decreed by the Council. Eastward from the
mount, to make the site complete, a straight path should lead (as
in the Isle of Man) to a temple by a stream or well; and around
should be flat ground enough for the people to camp out, for they
met at midsummer and spent several days in passing laws, trying
suits, talking gossip, driving bargains, and holding games--as if
it were Grasmere Sports and Wakefield Competition, hiring fair and
cattle market, County Council and Assizes, all rolled into one.
These requirements are perfectly met by this site, which is also
in a conveniently central position, with Roman roads and ancient
paths leading to it in all directions through Lakeland.

From other sources than place-names--from Norse words in the
present dialect as analysed by Mr. Ellwood, we learn that the
Vikings settled here as farmers. The words they have handed
down to their descendants are not fighting words, but farming
words--names of agricultural tools and usages, and the homely
objects of domestic life.

The Norse settlement appears, therefore, to be an immigration, not
of invaders, but of refugees; and the event which first caused it
was perhaps the raid of King Harald Fairhair, about 880-890, on
the Vikings of the Hebrides, Galloway, and the Isle of Man.

Gradually they spread from the coast into the fells, until they
had filled all the hill country; and if we set down their first
arrival as about 890, we find that for no less than three hundred
years they were left in possession of the lands they settled, and
in enjoyment of liberty to make their own laws and to rule their
own commonwealth at the Thingmount on which we are standing.


The Norman Conquest, it must be understood, did not touch the
Lake District. William the Conqueror and his men never entered
Cumbria, nor even High Furness. The dales are not surveyed in
_Domesday_, and the few landowners mentioned on the fringe of
the fells are obviously of Norse or Celtic origin--Duvan and
Thorolf, and Ornulf and Orm, Gospatric and Gillemichael. After
William Rufus had seized Carlisle, the territory of Cumbria and
Westmorland was granted to various lords; but the dales were the
_hinterland_ of their claim. In the _Pipe Rolls_ we have full
accounts of the inhabitants and proceedings of the lowlands during
the twelfth century, but not a word about the Lakeland. And in
the disturbed and disputed condition of affairs--the lordship was
even in the hands of the King of Scots from 1135 to 1157--it is
easy to understand that it was worth nobody's while to attempt
the difficult task of reducing to servitude a body of hardy
freeholders, secure in their mountain fastnesses.

In the later part of the twelfth century, the baron of Kendal and
the abbot of Furness began to take steps towards asserting their

Thirty men, for the most part residents in the surrounding
lowlands and already retainers of the abbot and the baron, were
sworn in to survey the debateable ground. Half of these men, to
judge by their names or pedigrees, were of Viking origin. In the
list are Swein, Ravenkell, Frostolf, Siward (Sigurd), Bernulf
(Brynjolf), Ketel, and several Dolfins, Ulfs and Orms, with the
Irish Gospatrick and Gillemichael. Of the other half, several are
Anglo-Saxon and the rest Norman.

Their starting-point, in beating the boundaries, was Little
Langdale--as if they had met, by old use and wont of the
countryside, at the Thingmount; and they enclosed the district
by Brathay, Windermere, and Leven, eastward; Wrynose and Duddon,
westward; and then halved it by a line, along which we may follow
them, to Tilberthwaite and by Yewdale Beck to Thurston Water.
Thence their division line ran along the shore of the lake to the
Waterhead and down the eastern side, and so along the Crake to

The western half was taken by the baron of Kendal to hold of
the abbot by paying a rent of 20s. yearly on the Vigil of the
Assumption (old Lammas Day). The baron also got right of way and
of hunting and hawking through the abbey's lands, thence called
Furness Fells. The valley of Coniston was thus divided into two
separate parts--the eastern side, but including the Guards, was
Monk Coniston; and the western side, including also the lake,
became known from the village church as Church Coniston.

Though this arrangement was proposed about 1160, it was not
finally settled until 1196; after which the two owners could
proceed to reduce the old Norse freeholders to the condition of
feudal tenants. A charter of John, afterwards king, at the end
of the twelfth century, directs the removal of all tenants in
Furness Fells who have not rendered due fealty to the abbot. By
what threats or promises or actual violence this was accomplished
we have no record; but we can see that it was a slow process, and
we can infer that it was not done by way of extermination. For
the Norse families, with their language and customs, remained
in Coniston. They were a canny race, and knew how to adapt
themselves to circumstances. Throughout Lakeland they evidently
made good terms with the Norman lords, and kept a degree of
independence which was afterwards explained away as the border
tenant-right--but really must have been in its origin nothing
less than a compromise between nominal feudalism and a proud
reminiscence of their Norse allodial practice--the free ownership
of the soil they had taken, and reclaimed, and inhabited for three
centuries of liberty.


The Furness monks were of the Cistercian order; which is to say,
they were farmers rather than scholars or mere recluses and
devotees. To understand them in the days of their power, we must
put aside all the vulgar nonsense about fat friars or visionary
fakirs, and see them as a company of shareholders or college of
gentlemen from the best landowning families, whose object in their
association was, of course, the service of God in their abbey
church; but, outside of it, the development of agriculture and
industries. They devoted their property and their lives to the
work, getting nothing in return except mere board and lodging,
and--for interest on their capital--the means of grace and the
hope of glory.

Some of the brothers lived continually at the abbey, fully
occupied in the service of the household, in hospitality to the
poor and to travellers, in teaching the school, in various arts
and crafts, and especially in the office work necessary for the
management of their estates. Their method was to acquire land,
sometimes by purchase or exchange, more often by gift from those
who had entered the community, or had received services from them;
and then to improve these lands, which were generally of the
poorest when they came into the abbey's possession. As the plots
were widely scattered over Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Cumberland,
it must have been no light labour to manage them. For this purpose
a brother was sent to act as steward or bailiff at a grange or
cell on the outlying estate.

One such manor house of the monks we may see at Hawkshead Old Hall
(see the sixpenny _Guide to Hawkshead_, by Mr. H. S. Cowper).
This was built more than two centuries later than the division of
High Furness; and though there was probably an earlier building,
the list of abbey possessions in 1292 makes no mention of it. The
monks, energetic as they were, had plenty to do in improving their
lands in Low Furness, and made little impression at first upon
the wild woods and moors of the fells, thinly dotted with the old
Norse thwaites and steads.

On the other hand, they provided almost immediately for the
spiritual needs of their new flock. There was already a chapel at
Hawkshead, which is mentioned in 1200, but no consecrated burial
ground; and if anyone wished for Christian burial, his body had
to be carried on horseback or on a sledge some twenty miles to
Dalton. In 1219 the monks amended this by making Hawkshead Chapel
into a parish church, greatly against the will of the vicar of
Dalton, who was the loser by the reform; and Monk Coniston has
ever since been in the ecclesiastical parish of Hawkshead.

Church Coniston got no share in this advantage. Up to the time
of Elizabeth, its people had to take their dead to Ulverston. As
you go through the village, just beyond the Baptist Chapel, is a
stream known as Jenkin Syke; and the story goes than a Jenkins
of Yewdale or Tilberthwaite was being carried, uncoffined, on a
sledge to Dalton or Ulverston for burial, but when the procession
reached Torver they found that the body was gone. They tried back,
and discovered it in the beck, which bears the name to this day.

The first and most obvious use of the fells to the monks was as
a forest of unlimited timber. One purpose for which they wanted
this was for charcoal to smelt the iron ore of the mines in Low
Furness. They needed the waterway of the lake, which was the
baron's, who, in 1240, allowed them to have "one boat competent
to carry what might be necessary upon the lake of Thurstainwater,
and another moderate sized boat for fishing in it, at their will,
with 20 nets," and a similar privilege on Windermere. The baron
bargained that if any of the monks' men damaged his property it
should be "reasonably amended"--as much as to say there was really
nothing of value along the western side of our lake in 1240.

Now that the monks had the waterway and could get at their
forests, they pushed the industry. By the end of the century
(1292) they could return a considerable income from their
ironworks, while making nothing out of the agriculture of High

There was good hunting, however, and in 1281 the abbot got free
warren in Haukesheved, Satirthwait, Grisedale, Neburthwaite,
(Monk) Kunyngeston, and other parts of the fells--the old
Norse names alone are mentioned. But in 1338 he was allowed
by Government to impark woods in Fournes fells; not to create
deer parks in a cultivated country, for that was not done until
much later, when the bad Abbot Banks in 1516 "of the tenements
of Richard Myellner and others at a place called Gryesdale in
Furness fells made another park" (beside those he had just made
in Low Furness) "to put deer into, which park is about five miles
in compass" (_Pleadings and Depositions_, Duchy of Lancaster,
quoted by Dr. T. K. Fell; Mr. H. S. Cowper supposes this site to
have been Dale Park.) These fourteenth century parks or parrocks
were simply enclosures from the wild woods, and among them were
Waterpark, Parkamoor, and Lawson Park which we have passed. So it
was a century and a half before the monks got their woods cleared
enough to settle their shepherds on the lands given them by the
thirty sworn men's division.

Even then it was notoriously a wild place. In 1346 (as we gather
from a ballad and pedigrees printed in Whitaker's _Loidis and
Elmete_, 1816, vol. ii., p. 396) it was, like Sherwood and
Inglewood, the resort of outlaws. Adam of Beaumont (near Leeds)
with his brother, and Will Lockwood, Lacy, Dawson and Haigh, came
hither after slaying Sir John Elland in revenge for the murder of
Sir Robert Beaumont.

    In Furness Fells long time they were
      Boasting of their misdeed,
    In more mischief contriving there
      How they might yet proceed.

They seem to have been here until 1363 or later--a gang of
brigands; which shows how little grip the abbey had so far laid
upon its _hinterland_.

But gradually new farms were created and held by native families
who acknowledged the abbot as their lord, and provided men for
military duty or for various "boons," such as a day's work in
harvest. These new farms are now known as "grounds." In Monk
Coniston we find Rawlinson, Atkinson, Knipe, Bank, and Holme
Grounds; and in the list of abbey "tenants" of 1532, "from the
Ravenstie upwards" (the path from Dale Park by Ravencrag to
Hawkshead), are Robert Atkyns, Robert Knype, Robert Bank, Rainold
and Robert Holme. The Kirkbys of the Thwaite and the Pennys of
Penny House also signed. Rawlinson is not on this list, but on
that of 1509 giving the "tenants" "from the Ravenstie downwards,"
_i. e_., south part of High Furness. The lists do not state that,
for example, the Bankes lived at Bank Ground, but prove that the
families were then in the immediate neighbourhood.

At Bank Ground are the ruins of a house which was of some
pretentions, judging from carved stones lying there. Local
tradition makes it the site of a religious house, with a healing
well. Dr. Gibson supplies a monk, "Father Brian," and tells a
tradition of a witch living opposite (where the gondola station
is) who came to the monk and confessed that she had sold herself
to the devil. The monk set her a penance, and promised absolution.
So when the devil came to claim his own she fled up Yewdale Beck,
calling on "Father Brian and St. Herbert," and the devil's hoof
stuck fast in the Bannockstone, a rock below the wooden bridge in
Mr. George Fleming's field. The hole is there. Many rocks have
such holes, from the weathering out of nodules. Mediævals may
have called them devil's footprints; moderns often call them
"cup-markings," in equal error.

It may be that a hermit lived where the Bankes afterwards built
their homestead; it is possible that there was a "cell" for the
abbey's Monk Coniston representative at the Waterhead. But the
final list of abbey estates (1535), while mentioning Watsyde
Parke, Lawson Parke, and Parkamore among granges and parks, puts
"Watterhed et (Monk) Connyngston, £10-19-5-1/4" in the rental of
tenants, as if the farm were then let to a tenant, as Hawkshead
Hall was in 1512. The old Waterhead mansion, however, is known as
Monk Coniston _par excellence_, and behind the modern Gothic front
are ancient rooms with thick walls and massive beams, said by Mr.
Marshall, the owner, to be part of the original monks' house.

There are few actual relics of this period in the way of
archæological finds, so that the discovery of a tiny key of lead,
with trefles on the ring, cast in a double mould, at Tent Cottage,
where it was found under a stone, is worth remark. Mr. H. S.
Cowper thought it a pilgrim's badge of the fourteenth or fifteenth
century, and the site was one of the "grounds" of the abbey

The list of "tenants" referred to is in an agreement of 1532 to
prevent "improvement." They had "inclosed common pasture more
largelie than they ought to doe, under the colour of one bargaine
called Bounding of the pasture," and this sort of "improvement"
was thenceforth forbidden. But five years later the abbey was
dissolved, to the great harm and regret of the country side.
Though a bad abbot did, for a time, give trouble by making deer
parks, the abbey rule, on the whole, was good. Monk Coniston made
slow but sure progress, and reached a point beyond which it did
not advance for the next three hundred years.

What it was like when the abbey gave it up may be gathered from
the report of Henry VIII.'s commissioners:--"There is moche wood
growing in Furneysfelles in the mounteynes there, as Byrk, Holey,
Asshe, Ellers, Lyng, lytell short Okes, and other Undrewood, but
no Tymber of any valewe;" they mention also "Hasells." That there
_had_ been timber is proved by the massive oak beams of many a
farmhouse and old hall, but the forests were all by this time
cleared, and coppice had taken their place. "There is another
yerely profytte comming and growing of the said woods, called
Grenehewe, Bastyng, Bleching, bynding, making of Sadeltrees,
Cartwheles, cuppes, disshes, and many other thynges wrought
by Cowpers and Turners" (the beginning of well-known local
industries) "with making of Coles (charcoal) and pannage of Hoggs."

After the dissolution the manor remained in the Crown until 1662,
when Charles II. granted it to General Monk, Duke of Albemarle,
whose descendant Elizabeth, daughter of George, Duke of Montague
(whence the other name of Peel Island), married Henry, third Duke
of Buccleugh, whose representative is now lord of the manor.

Monk Coniston remained separate from Church Coniston, both
ecclesiastically and politically, until the Local Government Act
of 1894 establishing Parish Councils gave occasion for the union
of the two shores of the lake into one civil parish. But Monk
Coniston is still in the ecclesiastical parish of Hawkshead.


In 1196 the baron of Kendal was Gilbert fitz Roger fitz Reinfrid,
who had got his lordship by marriage with Heloise, granddaughter
of William I. de Lancaster. In her right he claimed Furness as
well. So did the abbey, and the result of this dispute we have
seen in the division of the fells.

There was a family at Urswick who, to judge by their name, might
have been descendants of the old Norse settlers. Adam fitz Bernulf
held land there of Sir Michael le Fleming about 1150; Orm fitz
Bernulf was one of the thirty sworn men; Stephen of Urswick was
another. Stephen was doubtless christened after the king, who had
founded the abbey; for fashions in names followed royalty then as
now. Gilbert fitz Bernulf was another of the family--a Normanised
Norseman, it would seem. To him Coniston was let or assigned by
Baron Gilbert of Kendal.

His son Adam was living in 1227. Adam's daughter Elizabeth was his
heiress, and married Sir Richard le Fleming.

Le Fleming, or _the_ Fleming, meant simply "the man from
Flanders." William Rufus had invited many Flemings to settle as
"buffer" colonies in Cumberland and Wales, and Sir Richard's
ancestor Michael had received Aldingham in Low Furness. Sir
Richard's grandfather, being a younger son, had got a Cumbrian
estate with headquarters at a place called by the Cumbrian-Welsh
Caernarvon. _Ar mhon_ (arfon) means "over against Mona;" in Wales
_Caer-n-arfon_ is "the castle over against Anglesey (Mona);" in
Cumbria the same name had been given to the castle over against
Man (Mona). It was an oblong base-court with a ditch, and a round
artificial hill (later known as Coney-garth or King's-garth, cop)
exactly like the Mote at Aldingham. There Sir Richard's father
lived, and dying was buried at Calder Abbey.

But when Sir Richard married Elizabeth of Urswick, and got with
her the manors of Urswick, Coniston, Carnforth, and Claughton,
they chose to live at Coniston; and being wealthy, they probably
built a mansion which, rebuilt two hundred years later, became the
Coniston Hall we now see. Their settlement here would be about
1250 or later.

Sir Richard, being a knight, must have brought his men with him,
and let them have farms near at hand on condition of following
him to the wars. No doubt he turned out the Norse holders of
Heathwaite and Bleathwaite, Little Arrow (Ayrey, "moor") and
Yewdale, or took on them as his men. Billmen and bowmen he would
need, and we find a Bowmanstead in the village.

These tenants followed his son, Sir John, to Scotland in
1299 to fight Wallace; and got, with him, special protection
and privileges from Edward I. for bravery at the siege of
Caerlaverock. John's son, Sir Rayner, was in favour at Court, and
held the office of King's Steward, _Dapifer_, for these parts, in
the beginning of the fourteenth century. So West says.

His son, Sir John, had three children. The daughter Joan married
John le Towers of Lowick; his eldest son William died without
children; and so Coniston Hall fell to the younger brother,
Sir John, who lived there in Edward III.'s time, while Adam of
Beaumont and his fellows were outlaws in the fells, and doubtless
shot the Coniston deer. Sir John died in 1353, and was succeeded
by Sir Richard, who married Catharine of Kirkby, and died about
1392. Of his three sons, Sir Thomas, the eldest, succeeded him. He
married (1371) Margaret of Bardsey, then Elayn Laybourn (1390),
and then his deceased wife's sister Isabel (1396). His elder son
was Thomas, for whom in his childhood his father arranged a
marriage with an heiress, Isabel de Lancaster. She brought Rydal
into the family.

Up to this time the knights "le Fleming" had lived for 150 years
at old Coniston Hall; during Sir Thomas' life (he died about 1481)
the Hall seems to have been rebuilt, so far as can be gathered
from the architecture of the remains. Part of his time he spent at
Rydal, perhaps while rebuilding Coniston Hall.

After him there are no more knights "le Fleming," but a series of
Squires Fleming, keeping up both the Coniston and Rydal Halls.

Squire John, son of Sir Thomas, was a retainer of the lord of
Greystoke, a fighting man in the wars of the Roses. He married
Joan Broughton, and his son John in 1484-5 moved to Rydal, leaving
Coniston Hall as dower-house for his stepmother Anne. He died
about 1532. His son Hugh lived at Coniston, and married Jane
Huddleston of Millom Castle. He died in 1557, and his son Anthony
died young; and so his grandson William succeeded him in the last
year of Queen Mary.

West says:--"This William Fleming resided at Coniston Hall, which
he enlarged and repaired, as some of the carving, bearing the date
and initial letters of his and his lady's name, plainly shows;
he died about 40 Elizabeth (1598), and was buried in Grasmere
Church. The said William Fleming was a gentleman of great pomp and
expence, by which he injured an opulent fortune; but his widow
Agnes (a Bindloss of Borwick) surviving him about 33 years, and
being a lady of extraordinary spirit and conduct, so much improved
and advanced her family affairs, that she not only provided for,
and married well, all her daughters, but also repurchased many
things that had been sold off.... This Agnes established a younger
branch of the family in the person of Daniel, her then second
son. When her son John married and resided at Coniston Hall,
she retired to Rydal Hall, where she died 16 August, 7 Car. I.

There is a tradition that Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586) visited at
Coniston Hall. There used to be an old book with his name in it
and "Fulke Greville is a good boy" scribbled in an antique hand
on a fly-leaf. It is probable that Squire William, the "gentleman
of great pomp," invited many visitors, especially young men of
distinction, for hunting parties in his deer park; and Sidney is
said to have stayed at Brougham Castle, so that he may well have
been, once in a while, in the Lake District.

Dr. Gibson tells a legend, which he says he collected at Coniston,
of Girt Will o' t' Tarns--"one of the Troutbeck giants." (Hugh
Hird, the chief of them, flourished in this period.) Girt Will
is represented as carrying off "the Lady Eva's" bowermaiden, and
being caught and killed at Caldron Dub on Yewdale Beck (a little
above the sawmills), where his grave was shown, still haunted,
they said. There is no "Lady Eva" in the records, but (allowing
for distortion) there may be a grain of truth in the story, if it
really was a tradition.

Squire John lived at Coniston. He was twenty-three at his father's
death. His first wife was Alice Duckett of Grayrigg (died 1617);
his second, the widow of Sir Thomas Bold, and daughter of Sir
William Norris of Speke, the famous old timbered hall near
Liverpool. She died at Coniston Hall, and was buried in Coniston
Church, which Squire William had built. His third was Dorothy
Strickland of Sizergh, for whose sake he became a Roman Catholic
at a time when Roman Catholics were persecuted; and consequently,
after being J.P. and High Sheriff, he was heavily fined, and had
to get a special licence to travel five miles from home. He had a
turn for literature; we find in the Rydal letters one enclosing
the latest playbook and (Massinger's new work) the _Virgin Martir_.

His son William was only fourteen at his father's death in 1643,
and soon afterwards died of smallpox in London. Consequently
the Hall went to his cousin William (son of the Daniel before
mentioned), born there in 1610, and educated at St. John's
College, Cambridge. He was one of Charles I.'s cavaliers, and
suffered severely in pocket for his loyalty. He married Alice
Kirkby in 1632, and died at the hall in 1653.

His eldest son Daniel, born in 1633, studied at Queen's College,
Oxford, and Gray's Inn. He married, in 1655, Barbara Fletcher of
Hutton (who died 1670), and they had a large family. He was a
cavalier, heavily fined by Cromwell's sequestrators, and living
in retirement until the Restoration, busied in improving his
estates and his mind. He became a famous scholar and antiquary,
corresponding with many learned men, and distinguished, among
other things, for his knowledge of Runic inscriptions. Under
Charles II. he took a very active share in public business; was
knighted at Windsor in 1681, and elected M.P. for Cockermouth,
1685. He died 1701.

This Sir Daniel finally forsook Coniston for Rydal. In his
lifetime the Hall was held by his bachelor brothers, Roger and
William, lieut.-colonel of cavalry and D.L. for Lancashire. In the
Rydal MSS. there are many letters to and from them; for instance,
Major W. Fleming writes (July 1st, 1674) to the constables of
Coniston about arming the men of Colonel Kirkby's regiment--the
pikemen to have an ashen pike not under sixteen feet in length,
the musketeers to have a well-fixed "musquet" with a barrel not
under three feet in length, and a bore for twelve bullets to the
pound, with "collar of bandeleers" and a good sword and belt.

Other relatives of the family lived at the Hall, which was kept up
as a sort of general establishment. In September, 1680, Sir Daniel
notes that his bachelor uncle, John Kirkby, "did fall sick Sept.
15, and he died at Coniston Hall, Sept. 28. I had not the happ
to see him dureing his sickness." But Sir Daniel was sometimes
there, and speaking of one visit, he says (December 14th, 1680),
"my tenants there and I did see a blazing starr with a very long
tail--reaching almost to the middle of the sky from the place of
the sun setting--a little after the sun setting, near the place
where the sun did set. Lord, have mercy upon us, pardon all our
sins, and bless the King and these Kingdomes." He got over it by
Christmas, and "paid the Applethwait players for acting here, Dec.
27th 00-05-00" (5s).

On February 26th, 1681, his mother died at Coniston Hall, and
was buried in Lady Bold's grave, close by her brother, John
Kirkby--"Mr. John Braithwait preaching her funeral sermon upon 1
Tim. 5, 9, and 10, and applying it very well to her." Her three
sons put up the brass in the church to her memory.

There was no intention then of letting the Hall go to ruin. Sir
Daniel notes (March 20th, 1688), "This day was laid the foundation
of the great barn at Coniston Hall"--not the new barn to the south
of it, which is a much later building.

We get a glimpse of the friendly relations of hall and village in
a letter of November 16th, 1689, from George Holmes at Strabane to
the colonel at the Hall, describing the famous siege of Derry, and
adding--"Pray do me the favour to present my humble service to Mr.
Rodger and all the good familie, to the everlasting constable, and
to my noble friend the vitlar."

Dr. Gibson, about 1845, was told by an aged inhabitant of Haws
Bank that one of the cottages in that hamlet (pulled down to
build Mr. John Bell's house) was formerly an alehouse, and that a
neighbour who died at a great age when the doctor's informant was
a boy, used to relate that he remembered having seen two brothers
of the Fleming family, who were staying at the Hall, go there for
ale, and make a scramble with their change amongst the children
round the door, of whom the relater was one. The names of the
brothers, he stated, were "Major and Roger."

This must have been in Queen Anne's days, when perhaps Colonel
William and his brother Roger were gone. But of Sir Daniel's sons,
one was Major Michael, M.P. for Westmorland in 1706, died before
George I. (his daughter married Michael Knott, Esq., of Rydal,
whose family afterwards came to Coniston Waterhead); and another
was Roger, afterwards vicar of Brigham.

So we bring "the good familie" at the Hall down to the second
decade of the eighteenth century, after which they seem to have
deserted Coniston and left it to decay. Fifty years later it was
an ivy-covered ruin.

A novel by the Rev. W. Gresley, M.A., Prebendary of Lichfield,
called _Coniston Hall: or, The Jacobites_ (1846), professes to
recount the fortunes of "Sir Charles Dalton" of the hall, in
the rising of 1715. But the local colour is inaccurate, and the
circumstances impossible.

About 1815 it was patched up into a farmhouse; the ruined wing
was left to the ivy, and an inclined way was built up to the old
oriel window of the dining-hall to make it into a barn. Later,
the old oak was carried off. Quite recently the dwelling-house
and the chimneys have been newly cemented, which, necessary as it
was, takes away from the picturesqueness. The main features of
the interior can be traced; we can make out the daïs, the great
fireplace, the carved screen through which doors led to the stairs
going down to buttery and kitchen, and the fine old roof with its
great oak beams. From the middle beam, in which the grooves for
planking are still seen, a wainscot partition was fixed to the
back of the daïs, and behind it was the withdrawing room. There
you see its large fireplace and windows on both sides, and in the
corner is a spiral staircase, leading down to a door opening on
the garden, and up to the loft or solar, in mediæval times the
best bedroom, of which we can see the footing of the flooring
joists up in the wall, and the little window looking east to catch
the morning sun. That was no drawback; folk were early risers when
they had only candles to sit up by.

In its old state the Hall must have been a fine place on a fine
site; damp, it might be thought, but you note that its dwelling
rooms are not on the ground floor, and in those big fireplaces
you can imagine the roaring fires that were kept when wood was
plentiful. The lake is close at hand for fishing, and along the
shore towards Torver extended the deer park, still a lovely bit
of park scenery. That they kept deer even after the head of the
family had settled at Rydal, Sir Daniel's accounts testify. On
December 22nd, 1659, he notes, "given unto George Fleming's boy
for bringing a doe from Coniston, 2s.;" and on Christmas Day,
"given unto Thomas Brockbanck for killing the doe at Coniston,
1s. 6d." It was not only at Christmas that they indulged in
venison. On July 11th, 1660 (King Charles had just come home,
so cavaliers could feast), George Fleming brought two deer from
Coniston to Rydal, and got 2s.; and on September 11th, 1661, Sir
Daniel treated his brother-in-law, Sir George Fletcher, to a hunt,
and gave the tenants 1s. for drinks, "and next day more for the
hunters to drink, 2s. 6d." It sounds little, but money was more
valuable then, and he did not always kill a deer so cheaply. On
July 27th, 1672, "paid my brother Roger which had spent in killing
the buck at Coniston, 6s. 6d.;" and August 12th, 1677, "delivered
to my son William when he went to Coniston to kill a buck, 5s."

       *       *       *       *       *

The following useful bit of topography is taken from the old copy
kindly lent by Dr. Kendall:--

"The ancient bounds of the manor of Coniston, besides the Water or
Lake of Coniston, and certain tenements in Torver, Blawith, and
Woodland thereunto belonging, are in these terms, namely:--

"Beginning at Coniston otherwise Thurston Water and so by the
Eastern bank of Yewdale Beck up the same on to the low end of the
close called the Stubbing and so upwards round the said close by
the hedge that parts it from Waters Head Grounds into Yewdale
Beck, and so up Yewdale Beck into the foot of Yewdale Field and so
upwards by the hedge which parts the several Allans[A] belonging
to Yewdale from Furness Fell grounds unto Yewdale Beck and so up
Yewdale Beck unto the foot of a close called Linegards (otherwise
Lang Gards) and so upwards round the said close by the hedge
thereof betwixt it and Holme Ground unto Yewdale Beck and so up
the said beck unto Mickle Gill head, and from thence ascending to
the height of Dry Cove over against Green Burn and from thence by
the Lile Wall to the height between Levers Water and Green Burn
and so to the head of Green Burn and from thence by the Rear or
Ray Cragg[B] and Bounders of Seathwaite unto Gaites Hause and so
by the south side of Gaites Water and so down by Torver Beck to
the foot of Fittess,[C] and so straight over to Brighouse Crag
Yate and from thence to the Moss Yate and so down by a little Syke
unto Brundale Beck and so down to the Broadmyre Beck and so down
the same to Coniston Water aforesaid."

  [A] _Allans_, land bordering water, like _holme_; and supposed to
  be from the Celtic _Eilean_, island.

  [B] _Rear_ or _Ray Crag_, like _Rear_ or _Ray Cross_ upon
  Stainmoor, from the old Norse _Rá_, "boundary."

  [C] _Fittess_, like _Fitz_ at Keswick, Colwith _Feet_,
  Mint's _Feet_, &c., seems to be akin to the Icelandic _Fit_
  (plu. _fitjar_), "meadow near a river or lake;" not found in


There was probably no church at Coniston before the time of Queen
Elizabeth, though services may have been held by the squire's
chaplain. Monk Coniston was, and still is ecclesiastically, in the
parish of Hawkshead.

Coniston Church was built in 1586 by William Fleming, the
"gentleman of great pomp and expence." It was consecrated and made
parochial by Bishop Chaderton; the original dedication is not
known. In 1650 the Parliamentary enquiry shows that there was no
maintenance but the £1 19s. 10d. which the people raised for their
"reader," Sir Richard Roule--"Sir" meaning "Rev." in those days.
With liberal squires at the Hall, no doubt the "priest," as they
called him, was not badly off, though Colonel Fleming, writing to
his brother (November 27th, 1688), says:--"Tell the constable the
same hearth man (hearth-tax collector) is coming again. Tell him
to be as kind as his conscience will permit to his neighbours,
and play the fool no more. The priest and he doth not know how
happy they are." The income was eked out by the old custom of
"whittlegate," right to have his meals at various houses in turn;
and it is said that the Priest Stile opposite Mount Cottage was so
called because he was so often seen crossing it on the way to his
accustomed seat at the squire's table.

Until the end of the eighteenth century the curate was also
schoolmaster, and as late as 1761 was nominated to the dual
office by the six men or sidesmen representing the inhabitants.
The patronage was afterwards in the hands of the Braddylls of
Conishead Priory; eventually it passed into the possession of the
Rev. A. Peache, and the living is now in the gift of the Peache
trustees. Its net value is £220.

The original church, for we do not know that it was rebuilt
between 1586 and 1818, was a small oblong structure with lattice
windows and a western belfry tower.

In the Coniston Museum there is a mutilated document (found by Mr.
Herbert Bownass among some old deeds) which not only shows the
quaint arrangement of seats in the church separating the sexes,
but also gives what is practically a directory of the parish in
the time of Charles II.

   Coniston    A Devision of men's and women's fforms made by the
   Church.     Minister, six men & churchwardens in the year of our
               Lord 1684.

   Imp^s Seats in the Quier:

     In the seat with the Minister, one for Silverbank & one for ffarr

   2 The next seat above:

     One for Silverbank for Robert Vickers, for Robert Dixon Bridge End
     & Jno. Atkinson de Catbank & for Holywarth.

   3 The second fform above:

     Edward Tyson, Rich. Hodgson, John Holms, Wm. Hobson de Huthw^t,
     Wm. Atkinson de Gateside.

     The third fform above: Wm. ffleming jun^r de Littlearrow, Jam.
     Robinson, Tho. Cowerd, Park Yeat.

     The fourth fform above: Tho. Dixon de Littlearrow, Mich. Atkinson,
     Huthw^t, Geo. Towers, Hows bank.

     The fform next the wall or the highest fform: David Tyson de
     Tilb^rthw^t, Wm. ffleming de Catbank, one for ffar end.

     The back fform next Quier door: Jo. ffleming, Low Littlearrow,
     Henry Dover de Brow, Wm. Harrison de Holywarth, Wm. Atkinson,
     Above beck, Myles Dixon & Robt. Dixon de Tilb^rthwaite.

     The fform above it: Wm. ffleming de Park Yeat, Geo

     The fform under the Pulpit: Jo. Harrison de Bowmansteads

     Men's fforms ith church: ffirst Jo. Dixon, Wm. Dixon, Tho. Dix
     ffleming of Bowmansteads.

     The second fform beneath: One seat for ffarr end, Wm. Towers

     The third fform Smartfield, Jo. Tyson, Low House Low Udale, Wm.

     The ffourth fform: One for Silverbank, Rob. Walker Parks.

   Womens} The Highest ith Church:
   fforms} Wm ffleming wife de Upper
     Sam^{s}. Henry Dover wife de Brow
     Hallgarth and Myles Dixon wi[fe]

   2 The second fform Beneath: David Tyson wife de Tilberthw^{t}
     wife, Dixon Ground, Wm. Dixon, Geo

   3 The third fform: Outrake, Gill, Howsbank wives, Jo. ffleming
     wife, Low Littlearrow, & Park Yeat.

   4 The ffourth form: Silverbank, ffarr end, Ed. Tyson de Nook, Tho.
     Dixon de Littlearrow, Wm. Atkinson, Above beck, their wives.

   5 The ffifth fform: Smartfield, Wm. Atkinson, Wm. Cowerd, Wm.
     Hobson de Huthw^{t}, Jo. Atkinson and Wm. Atkinson, Catbank, their

   6 The sixth fform: Jo. Harrison & Tho. ffleming de Bowmanstead,
     [----] Dixon ground, Ed. Park, Wm Denison, Upper Udale, their

   7 The seventh fform: Myles Dixon, Upper Udale, Rob. Walker & Wm.
     Addison, Low Udale, Wm. Walker, Wm. Harrison & Elizabeth Parks.

     To this devision we the Minister, six men and churchwardens have
     set our hands the year ffirst written, Anno Dnî 1684

                     Jo. Birkett cur.
                     Wm. ffleming   }
                     Wm. ffleming   }
                     Christo. Dixon } Sidemen
                     Wm. Harrison   }
                     Wm. ffleming   }
                     Myles Dixon    }

                     Mich. Atkinson } Churchwardens
                     Myles Dixon    }

In 1817 the curate in charge, John Douglas, and the churchwardens,
Joseph Barrow and William Townson, obtained a faculty to rebuild
the church. A sum of £325 was raised by subscription, a further
sum by assessment, and the Incorporated Church Building Society
made a grant of £125. The new church was consecrated by the Bishop
of Chester on November 20th, 1819--Coniston being still within the
diocese of Chester, not yet transferred to that of Carlisle.

In 1835 a faculty of confirmation was issued from the Consistory
Court of Chester by which pews were assigned to the contributors
of the building fund and other parishioners. In 1849, Dr. Gibson
described the building as "oblong and barn-like, with a few
blunt-arched windows in its dirty yellow walls, and overtopped
at its western extremity by an unsightly black superstructure of
rough stone, which some might call a small square tower badly
proportioned, and others, with apparently equal correctness, the
stump of a large square chimney."

In 1866 the same writer, in a paper read to the Historic Society
of Lancashire and Cheshire, said:--"The church of Coniston, which
occupies a position central to the village, is a chapel of ease
under Ulverston, with a stipend of £146, recently augmented,
derived from land, houses, bounty, dividends and fees. It was
rebuilt in 1819 on the site of an older edifice. The only part of
the former church that remains is the belfry tower, which, being
out of keeping and small in proportion to the body of the present
building, confers but little ecclesiastical and no architectural
distinction upon it."

The late Mr. Roger Bownass, in marginal pencillings on this paper,
noted:--"This is an error. The Belfry Tower was wholly rebuilt at
the same time as the church, i.e., in 1818-19; the writer of this
note having seen the old Tower pulled down, and new Foundations
laid; One reason for the Landowners rebuilding the Church (which
they did chiefly at their own expense) being the alleged state of
the old Tower, the Bells of which, the Sexton pretended he durst
not ring for fear he should bring the Tower down about his ears,
though it was so difficult to get it down. So strongly was it
built and cemented together that it had to be cut through nearly,
near its base, before it could be brought down." Mr. Bownass goes
on to say that his father, as one of the guarantees, contributed
nearly £50, "which his widow had to pay, he himself dying before
it was finished, and was the first person carried into the Church
while the shavings, etc., lay on the floor, as the writer, his
son, of 6 years of age, can well remember."

To resume Dr. Gibson's account:--"The new building is plain
even to meanness; but being now well screened by trees and
flourishing evergreens--and I may state that evergreens grow here
with a luxuriance that I have not seen elsewhere--it is not so
offensive to the eye as formerly. The interior has been greatly
beautified by improvements made in 1857, the cost being defrayed
by subscription. The addition of a reading desk, pulpit, reredos
and altar rail in handsomely carved oak, the painting of what used
to be an unsightly expanse of white ceiling, in imitation of oak
panelling, and the spare but tasteful introduction of tinted glass
into the windows, have made the inside as handsome as it is likely
to be whilst the pews are allowed to remain. The parish register
dates back to 1594. In the vestry is stored a library, chiefly
of works in divinity, sermons, etc., which have been purchased
from time to time with the interest of different sums left by
the Fleming family, commencing with £5 under the will of Roger
Fleming of Coniston, dated February, 1699. In the vestibule of the
southern entrance to the church is kept one of those curious old
chests, made from a solid block of oak, like that containing the
muniments of the Grammar School at Hawkshead. The only contents
of this are a number of slips of paper, each bearing the almost
illegible affidavit of two women that the corpse of each person
interred was shrouded in cloth only made of woollen material.
These worn and fragile evidences of a curious old protective
law--for I infer it could only be enacted to support the landed
interest--serve, if they do nothing else, to explain the line in
Pope which has puzzled many modern readers--

    Odious!--in woollen!--'twould a saint provoke.

The following is a copy of one of the most legible of these
fugitive records:--

  Lancr.                        P.ociall Cappell de Coniston.

  We Jennet Dickson wife of Thomas Dickson and Isabell Fleming
  widow--doe severally make oath that the Corps of Isabel Dickson
  widow was buryed March y^e 15^{th} An^o Dmj 1692. And was not putt
  in, wrapt or wound up in any Shirt, Shift, Sheet or Shroud, Made
  or mingled w^{th} fflax, Hemp, Hair, Gold or Silver, etc: nor in
  any coffin lined or faced w^{th} cloath etc: nor in any other
  material but sheeps wooll onely According to Act of Parlyment. In
  Testimony whereof we y^e s^d Jennet Dickson and Isabel Fleming
  have hereunto putt our Hands and Seales the 15^{th} day of March,
  An^o Dmj 1692.

    Cap^t et Jur^t coram me               Jennet Dickson
    Henri Mattinson Cur^t                    her x m^k
    de Torver decimo nono                 Isabel Fleming
    die Martij Anno dom 1693                 her x m^k

So far Dr. Gibson on the "new" church, now the "old" church, and
already of the past.

On November 17th, 1891, the church was reopened by Bishop Goodwin
after a "restoration" which almost amounted to renovation. The
Rev. C. Chapman, in his pamphlet on _The ancient Parochial Church
of Coniston_, 1888, had already been able to announce that £600
had been gathered for the Building Fund, beside about the same
amount spent in buying the old schoolhouse and playground in order
to improve the site. But the money did not suffice for entire
rebuilding; the ceiling and pews were removed, a chancel and
vestry added, a clock placed in the tower, the roughcast of the
exterior was cleared away, and stained glass windows have since
been inserted, of which the best is the little west window by
Kempe to the memory of the Beevers of the Thwaite. But few objects
of antiquarian interest remain. The old oak chest with a curious
padlock, the parish registers beginning 1594 and recommencing
1695, the old library, and the little brass on the south wall are
all that is left to record the ancient family of the Hall. The
brass is inscribed:--

   To the Liveing Memory of ALICE FLEMING of Coningston-Hall in the
   County Palatine of Lancaster Widow (late Wife of William Fleming
   of Coningston-Hall aforesaid Esq^r; and eldest daughter of Roger
   Kirkby of Kirkby in the said County Esq^{re}) and of John Kirkby
   Gentleman her second brother was this Monument by her three
   sorrowful sons S^r Daniel Fleming Knight Roger Fleming and William
   Fleming gentlemen, for their dear Mother and Uncle here erected.
   The said John Kirkby (having lived above 30 yeares with his sister
   aforesaid, and having given to the Churches and Poor of Kirkby
   and Coningston aforesaid 150£) died a Bachelor at Coningston-Hall
   aforementioned September 28 A.D. 1680, and was buried near unto
   this place the next day: And the said Alice Fleming died also
   (having outlived her late Husband above 27 yeares and suruiued
   5 of her 8 children) at Coningston-Hall aforesaid Febry 28 A.D.
   1680, and was buried in this Church, close by her said Brother
   Febr 28, 1680, in the same Grave where ye Lady Bold (second wife
   of John Fleming Esq^{re} deceased, uncle to ye said William
   Fleming Esq^r) had about 55 yeares before been interred.


     Spectator stay, and view this sacred ground
     See it contains such Loue, on Earth scarce found,
     A BROTHER and a SISTER, and you see
     She seeks to find him in Mortality--
     First he did leave us; then she stay'd & try'd
     To live without him, lik'd it not and dy'd
     Here they ly buried, whose Religious Zeal
     Appeard sincere to Prince, Church, Commonweal;
     Kind to their Kindred, Faithful to their Friends,
     Clear in their Lives and Chearful to their ends.
     They both were Dear to them whose good intent
     Makes them both liue in this one Monument.
     So Dear in Cordial Loue, tho' th' outward part.
     Turne Dust it holds impression to the Heart.

The churchyard is first mentioned as a burying ground in 1594, and
until 1841 was very small: indeed, the population it had to serve
was small up to the nineteenth century. But by 1841 the population
of the parish had grown, and Lady le Fleming made an addition to
the churchyard. Subsequent additions were made in 1845, 1865, and
1878, the last by the removal of the old Institute, formerly the
Boys' School. This used to stand between the church and the road,
as shown in the photograph exhibited, with other views and relics
of the neighbourhood, in the museum at the Coniston Institute.

In Coniston Churchyard the centre of general interest is Ruskin's
grave, marked by the tall sculptured cross of gray Tilberthwaite
stone, which stands under the fir trees near the wall separating
the churchyard from the schoolyard. Near it are the white crosses
of the Beevers, and the railed-in space is reserved for the family
of Brantwood. The sculptures on the east face are intended to
suggest Ruskin's earlier writings--the lower panel his juvenile
poems; above, the young artist with a hint of sunrise over Mont
Blanc in the background, for "Modern Painters;" the Lion of
St. Mark, for "Stones of Venice," and the candlestick of the
Tabernacle for "Seven Lamps." On the west face below is the
parable of the labourers in the vineyard--"Unto this Last," then
"Sesame and Lilies," the Angel of Fate with club, key and nail
for "Fors Clavigera," the "Crown of Wild Olive," and St. George,
symbolizing his later work. On the south edge are the Squirrel,
the Robin and the Kingfisher in a scroll of wild rose to suggest
Ruskin's favourite studies in natural history. On the north edge
is a simple interlaced plait. The cross was carved by the late H.
T. Miles of Ulverston from designs by W. G. Collingwood.

Since the restoration the clergymen have been:--

     Richard Rawling    May,  1676  d. June, 1682
     John Birkett       June, 1683  d. Feb., 1716
     John Stoup               1716  d. Oct., 1760
     John Strickland          1761  d. Sep., 1796

There seems then to have been an interregnum until William Tyson
is recorded as assistant curate in 1805. The incumbent in 1809 was
Jonas Lindow, who died 1826, under whom officiated as assistant

     John Hodgson, June, 1809.

     John Kendal (occasional).

     Matthew Inman Carter, of Torver (occasional).

     John Douglas, May, 1816, to November, 1821.

     W. T. Sandys, February, 1825 (afterwards incumbent, assisted by P.

     H. Siree, February, 1835, to April, 1837 (assistant or incumbent?).

     J. W. Harden, incumbent, 1837 to November, 1839 (to whom S.
     Boutflower, afterwards archdeacon of Carlisle, was assistant).

     Thomas Tolming, incumbent, December, 1839; resigned April, 1870.

     Charles Chapman, incumbent, 1870; died 1905.

     H. E. Wood, curate in charge, 1905 to April, 1906.

     F. T. Wilcox, incumbent, April, 1906.

The school used to be held in the church, an arrangement common
in this district when the clergyman was also schoolmaster. Later,
a small building was put up, within the area of the present
churchyard; this was turned into a Mechanics' Institute in
1854, as already noted, when new schools were built. The site
of the Boys' School and master's house, with adjacent ground,
was conveyed by a deed dated December 6th, 1853, from Lady Le
Fleming to the incumbent and chapel-wardens of Coniston and
their successors. The buildings were to be erected as approved by
Lady Le Fleming, and the school was always to be conducted on the
principles of the Established Church of England. There is no deed
extant for the Girls' (now the Infants') School. It was probably
built at the same time as the old Boys' School, being similar in
construction, especially in the chimneys (as Mr. Herbert Bownass
notes). Dr. Gibson says in _The Old Man_ (1849) that both schools
had been conducted for the previous three or four years on the
Home and Colonial School system.

The schoolmasters since the building of the new schools have

     Mr. Diddams, 1854-1858.
     Mr. Ryder, 1858-1859.
     S. K. Thompson, 1859-1864.
     W. Brocklebank, 1864-1887.
     C. J. Fox, 1887-1891.
     John Morris, 1891-1902.
     W. J. Rich, 1902.

The mistress of the Infants' School since 1876 has been Miss Agnes

The Mechanics' Institute in 1877 was found to be inadequate and
inconvenient, and in 1878 a new building was made on the Yewdale
road. This in its turn was outgrown, and in 1896 the committee,
under the presidency of Dr. Kendall, resolved to enlarge it. A
library and reading room, billiard and recreation rooms, room for
meetings and classes, bath, museum, concert hall and caretaker's
house were planned, and built in 1897 with the proceeds of various
exhibitions and bazaars, added to private subscriptions. This
enlarged Institute or village clubhouse was opened by Mrs. Arthur
Severn on April 15th, 1896.

In 1900 an exhibition of drawings by the late Prof. Ruskin was
held, and visited by over 10,000 people. From the proceeds of
this a room for a museum was added, to supersede the little
room formerly allotted for the purpose; and the Ruskin Museum
was opened in August, 1901, Canon Rawnsley giving the inaugural
address. The collection shown in the Museum is confined under
two headings--"Ruskin" and "Coniston." It comprises (_a_) local
history and antiquities, with a few illustrative specimens
of general antiquities; (_b_) local minerals, to which it is
hoped some day to add other branches of the natural history of
Coniston: of this division Mr. Ruskin laid the foundation by his
gift in 1884 of a collection of minerals and the model of the
neighbourhood; (_c_) Ruskin drawings and relics, given or lent
by Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Severn; (_d_) books by and about Ruskin,
with autographs, etc., in illustration; (_e_) engravings after
Ruskin's drawings, and portraits of him; (_f_) copies and prints
from pictures which have formed the subject of his writing. The
collection is still growing, and an enlarged edition of the
Catalogue (3d.) was brought out at Easter, 1906; copies can be
had of the caretaker at the Institute. The Museum is open every
week-day from 10 till dusk, admission one penny in the slot of the
turnstile. Eight to ten thousand pennies have been taken yearly
since the opening. The hon. curator is Mr. Herbert Bownass.

In the summer an exhibition, usually of pictures, is held during
August and September in the large hall adjoining. Since the new
Museum was built, the room formerly occupied by the collections
has been used as a Ladies' Reading Room; and in 1905 a workshop
for wood carving and other art crafts was added to the premises.
The subscription to the Institute for residents over 16 years of
age is 1s. 3d. a quarter; for boys, 9d.; for visitors 1s. a week,
or 2s. 6d. a month. The management is in the hands of a committee
elected by the members, non-sectarian and non-political; Dr.
Kendall has been president since 1884, and Mr. Edmund Todd hon.
secretary since 1902.

The Baptist Chapel was built in 1837, the youngest of many chapels
described in a booklet entitled _Old Baptist Meeting-houses in
Furness_, by F. N. Richardson (1904). Tottlebank, the oldest,
was founded in 1669. Sunnybank, in Torver, 1678, and Hawkshead
Hill, founded a few years later, no doubt took the early Baptists
of Coniston; one of whom, William Atkinson of Monk Coniston,
tanner, was fined in 1683 for attending a conventicle. These three
chapels are now open, though Sunnybank and Hawkshead Hill were
closed for some years before 1905. The seventeenth century chapel
at Scroggs, between Broughton and Coniston, was dilapidated in
1842, and is now a cattle shed. The Coniston Chapel ministers
were Mr. Kirkbride, Mr. Myers, and then for twenty-one years from
about 1865 the Rev. George Howells; he was succeeded by Rev.
Arthur Johnson. For nine years before 1904 there was no Baptist
congregation, and the chapel was let to the "Brethren," who built
a place of worship for themselves and opened it 1903. The Baptist
Sunday School had been carried on all the while by Mr. William
Shaw, and on regaining possession of the chapel a congregation was
once more formed with Rev. R. Jardine as pastor.

A Primitive Methodist Chapel was built in 1859, but some years ago
was converted into a Masonic Hall. A Wesleyan Chapel was built in
1875, but there is no settled minister.

The Roman Catholic Chapel was built in 1872 by Miss Aglionby of
Wigton; Prof. Ruskin gave a window to this chapel. It was served
for many years by Father Gibson; on his removal he was succeeded
by Father Laverty, at whose death in 1905 Father Bradshaw was
appointed to the cure.



That the copper mines were worked by the Romans and the Saxons
is only a surmise. Dr. A. C. Gibson, F.S.A., writing in 1866,
said:--"Recent operations have from time to time disclosed old
workings which have obviously been made at a very early period,
by the primitive method of lighting great fires upon the veins
containing ore and, when sufficiently heated, pouring cold water
upon the rock, and so, by the sudden abstraction of caloric,
rending, cracking and making a circumscribed portion workable by
the rude implements then in use, specimens of which are still
found occasionally in the very ancient parts of the mines,
especially small quadrangular wedges perforated for the reception
of a handle."

The mines of Cumberland were worked throughout the Middle Ages,
and it is not impossible that these rich veins in the Coniston
Fells were tried for ore; but we have no proof of the local
assertion that they have been worked continuously since the days
of the Romans. On the contrary, there seem to have been only two
periods, of about a century each, during which mining was actively
pushed. In the time of Queen Elizabeth we reach firm ground of

In 1561 a company was formed by several lords and London merchants
to work the minerals of the kingdom under a patent from the
Crown. They invited two German mining experts, Thomas Thurland
and Daniel Hechstetter, who coming to England opened mines, and
built smelting works at Keswick in 1565; and in spite of strong
local opposition soon made a great success. (Their proceedings
are described in a paper by J. Fisher Crosthwaite, F.S.A., in
_Transactions_ of the now defunct Cumberland Association, viii.)

They also took over the Coniston mines, and worked them with
energy and profit. They opened out no less than nine new workings
beside the old mine--the New or White Work, Tongue Brow (in
Front of Kernel Crag), Thurlhead, Hencrag, Semy Work, Brimfell,
Gray Crag, the Wide Work, and the Three Kings in Tilberthwaite;
employing about 140 men. The ore was raised at a cost of 2s. 6d.
to 8s. a kibble, each kibble being about a horse load, for it was
carried on pack-horses to Keswick for smelting. To avoid this they
proposed building a smelting house at Coniston, which was, they
said, well supplied with wood and peat, and an iron forge was
already there. It would be easy to boat the manufactured copper
down the water, and ship it at Penny Bridge.

But in the civil wars the Corporation of "Governors, Assistants,
and Commonalty of the Mines Royal" came to an end. The Parliament
soldiers wrecked the works at Keswick, and operations at Coniston
were stopped.

After the civil wars, Sir Daniel Fleming was several times
approached on the subject of reopening the mines. He seems to
have been willing. He notes on January 21st, 1658, "given unto
the miller of Conistone for going along with me on to the fell,
1s.;" and on March 22nd, "given to Parce Corratts when hee came
to looke at the blacke lead mine at Conistone, 2/6." This turned
out a disappointment, for on May 2nd, 1665, he says, "given unto
a Newlands man who came to look at the _supposed_ wadd-mine at
Coniston, 5/-." And so nothing seems to have been done.

In 1684 Roger Fleming at the Hall sent his brother, Sir Daniel,
a report of the mines "which were first wrought by the Dutchmen"
(Keswick Germans) and others discovered more recently. Only three
of the old workmen were living, but from their evidence we get
the details given above. On May 25th, 1686, John Blackwall wrote
from Patterdale to Sir Daniel that he had examined the ground at
Coniston and studied the evidence of the three old miners, and
was prepared with a company to open the mines, if they could agree
upon terms.

Sir Daniel died in 1701; and the Rev. Thomas Robinson's _Natural
History of Cumberland_, &c., published in 1709, mentions that
copper had been formerly got at Cunningston, by the Germans,
and taken to Keswick, but says nothing about a revival of the
industry. It was, however, prosecuted in a small way throughout
the eighteenth century. A Company of Miners at Ulpha is mentioned
in George Bownass' account for tools in 1772. West says, in 1774,
merely, "the fells of Coniston have produced great quantities
of copper ore," nothing of mining in his time; and the smith's
accounts from 1770 to 1774 do not mention it. There must have
been a revival shortly afterwards. Captain Budworth, about 1790,
tells the story of the devil and the miner, retold by Dr. Gibson
from local tradition, to the effect that Simon the miner found
a paying vein in the crag--it is called Simon Nick to this day,
and the cleft he made is seen yet on the left hand as you go up
to Leverswater; but one night at the Black Bull he boasted of his
luck, and said the fairies, or the devil, were his partners, upon
which he found no more copper, and lost his life soon after in

In 1802 the mines were going. In 1820 the _Lonsdale Magazine_ says
that they had been worked at intervals for many centuries, and had
lately been in the hands of "spirited adventurers," but were then

About 1835 a new era of prosperity began, in which Mr. John
Barratt became the leader. His skill and energy brought about such
success that in 1849 they employed 400 men, and yielded 250 tons
of ore monthly. In 1855 the monthly wage list amounted to £2,000.
In 1866 Dr. Gibson said:--"For many years their shipments averaged
300 tons per month, and employed from five to six hundred people,"
but "the number of hands employed do not now exceed two hundred."

Up to this time the ore had been boated down the lake, and carted
to Greenodd. Now the Coppermining Company promoted a railway
connecting Coniston with Broughton and the Furness line. It was a
separate concern when it was opened in 1859, but absorbed into the
Furness system in 1862.

The mines, as they were in his days, are described at length
by Dr. Gibson in _The Old Man, or Ravings and Ramblings around
Conistone_. Alexander Craig Gibson, M.R.C.S., F.S.A., was born at
Harrington, 1813, the son of a ship's captain, who died early.
He was taken by his mother to her home at Lockerbie, and brought
up there; afterwards apprenticed to a surgeon at Whitehaven. In
1844 he came to Coniston as medical officer to the mining company,
and lived for seven years at Yewdale Bridge, where he wrote his
"Ravings and Ramblings" as articles for the _Kendal Mercury_,
afterwards collected into a volume, and subsequently republished
with considerable revision. He left Coniston in January, 1851, and
remained at Hawkshead for some years; then removed southward, and
finally settled at Bebington in Cheshire, where he died in 1874.
A collection of sketches in prose and verse, _The Folk-speech of
Cumberland_, &c. (Coward, Carlisle, 1869; ed. ii., 1872), shows
him to be master of the dialect of the north-west in various
forms--Furness, Cumbrian, and Dumfriesshire; and his book on
Coniston remains a valuable contribution to local anecdote. (I owe
the data of his life to the Rev. T. Ellwood.)

After the middle of the nineteenth century the copper mines
became less and less profitable, owing to the competition of
foreign imports. During the "eighties," they were only just kept
open, until the Coniston Mining Syndicate, under the energetic
management of Mr. Thomas Warsop, tried to put new life into the
old business. Mr. Warsop attempted to introduce a new system of
smelting, but this smelting house was blown away by the storm of
December 22nd, 1894. He took the watercourse from Leverswater to
work a turbine, which superseded the old waterwheels for pumping,
and also supplied power for boring in the mines, and for crushing
and mixing the material from the old rubbish heaps, with which he
made excellent concrete slabs, much in demand for pavements. But
the development came to an end with Mr. Warsop's removal in 1905,
and when the mines were offered for sale there was no purchaser.


In our tour of the lake we have noticed that there are remains of
old iron works along its margin, now difficult to trace.

In High Furness, the district of which Coniston Lake is the
centre, and the most northern part of Lancashire, there are about
thirty known sites where iron was smelted in the ancient way with
charcoal, producing a _bloom_--the lump of metal made by _blowing_
in the furnace--whence the name _bloomeries_. Of these sites about
half are in the valley of Coniston, and eight are actually on the
shore of the lake:--

     Beck-leven (below Brantwood)              East side.
     Parkamoor Beck (below Fir Island)             "
     Selside Beck (below Peel Island)              "
     Moor-gill (above Sunny-bank)              West side.
     Harrison Coppice (opposite Fir Island)        "
     Knapping-tree (opposite Fir Island)           "
     Springs (opposite Beck-leven)                 "
     Waterpark (below Coniston Hall)               "

All these have been bloomeries of a somewhat similar kind,
and on Peel Island some iron works have been carried on of a
rather different type, and perhaps at a different period. Small
bloomeries have also been in blast at Tom-gill (the beck coming
down from the Monk Coniston Tarns, often called Glen Mary), and
at Stable Harvey in Blawith. One is said to be at the limekiln in
Yewdale. There were two bloomeries of the later and larger type at
Coniston Forge (up stream from the church) and at Low Nibthwaite,
and two others further down the Crake, making sixteen in all the
valley now known. There are, of course, many beside in the Lake
District, as in other parts of the country.

That there were iron works before the Conquest in Furness appears
from the place-name of "Ouregrave" in _Domesday_, which must be
identical with Orgrave. At this place, early in the thirteenth
century, Roger of Orgrave gave Furness Abbey the mine "cum ...
aquæ cursu ad illam scil. mineriam lavandum," a grant confirmed by
his son Hamo in 1235 (_Coucher Book of Furness_, p. 229). About
1230 Thomas le Fleming gave them iron mines in Elliscales. By 1292
a great part of their income was derived from iron works.

Canon Atkinson, in his introduction to the _Coucher Book of
Furness_, c. xviii., reckoned that they must have had some forty
hearths to produce the iron they made. When the wood near the
mines was exhausted, it became easier to carry the ore to the
place where charcoal was burned than to bring the charcoal--so
much greater in bulk--to the ore. An acre of forest was not enough
to supply charcoal for smelting two tons of metal, and so the
woods were gradually devastated over a wider and wider area.

In 1240 the abbey, which owned the eastern side of the lake,
but not the lake itself, got leave from the baron of Kendal to
put boats on the lake of Coniston for fishing and carrying. The
carrying was chiefly of timber for building, but the tops and
branches were no doubt used for charcoal. That on the other shore
the smelting works were creeping up the valley is seen from the
grant, before 1282, of William de Lancaster to Conishead Priory
of the dead wood in Blawith for charcoal to supply the canons'
bloomeries--for it was not only Furness Abbey that dealt in iron;
and, indeed, more bloomeries exist on the side that did not belong
to the abbey than on the shore that did. Thus in the thirteenth
century we infer that smelting went on by Coniston Lake shore well
up the west side.

On the east side there is a remarkable coincidence between the
sites of Furness Abbey "parks" (or early clearings for sheep
farms) and the bloomeries we find there. Near Selside Beck, where
slag has been found, is Waterpark--anciently Water-side-park,
apparently the earliest of the abbey sheep farms. Above Parkamoor
Beck bloomery is Parkamoor--the sheep farm on the moor. Above
Beck-leven bloomery is Lawson Park, the latest of the Furness
Abbey sheep farms. I think the inference is that when the land was
cleared they put sheep on it, and went up the lake to the next
beck for the site of their bloomery. What we know for certain is
that in early times the valley of Coniston was thickly wooded, but
by the time of the dissolution of the monastery, High Furness had
been nearly denuded of timber.

After the dissolution of the monastery, the commissioners of Henry
VIII. let part of the woods of Furness Fells to William Sandys
and John Sawrey, to maintain three smithies, or combined smelting
and hammering works, for which the rent was £20. Less than thirty
years later, in 1564-5, these were suppressed, because it was
represented that the woods were being wasted, and the £20 rent
was thenceforward paid to the lord of the manor by the customary
tenants as "bloomsmithy rent."

The tenants of High Furness were allowed to make iron for
themselves with the loppings and underwood, which may account for
some of the small bloomeries. But by this time an improved and
larger furnace was beginning to come into fashion, and in the
seventeenth century we find that one such existed at Coniston
at the Forge, between the Black Bull and Dixon Ground. It is
mentioned in 1650 by the German miners, and by Sir Daniel Fleming
in 1675. In 1750 it was turning out eighty tons of bar iron a
year, and in 1771 Thomas Tyson is mentioned as the ironmaster
(George Bownass' accounts). This would suffice for the needs of
the neighbourhood, while at the same time the Deerpark, which
we know was stocked in the seventeenth century and probably was
preserved in the sixteenth, would make impossible the carrying
on of smelting at Waterpark bloomery, which is within it, and
at Springs, close to it. The relics from Peel Island, associated
with iron works, seem to be mediæval, and the isolation of a forge
on an island, as at Rampsholme in Derwentwater, implies that
protection was sought, which would hardly be needed in Elizabethan
and later times hereabouts. The conclusion seems to be that many
of the little bloomeries are mediæval; that at Stable Harvey,
perhaps the work of Conishead Priory after the grant of 1282, and
those in Monk Coniston, the work of Furness Abbey.

The iron ore came from Low Furness, but there was an iron mine at
the Red-dell head under Weatherlam. The Rev. Thomas Robinson, in
his _Natural History of Westmorland and Cumberland_, 1709, says
"Langdale & Cunningston mountains do abound most with iron veins;
which supplies with Ore & keeps constantly going a Furnace in
Langdale, where great plenty of good and malleable iron is made,
not much inferior to that of Dantzick."


Roofing slabs have been found in the ruins of Calder Abbey and the
Well Chapel at Gosforth, both mediæval; in the mansion on Lord's
Island, Derwentwater, destroyed before the end of the seventeenth
century, we found green Borrowdale roofing slates. Purple Skiddaw
roofing slates were also found in the ruins of a seventeenth and
eighteenth century cottage at Causeway Head near Keswick. But
it was not until the eighteenth century that quarrying began to
develop. Mr. H. S. Cowper, in his _History of Hawkshead_, says
that the Swainsons, from about 1720, worked a quarry in the
Coniston flag formation near the Monk Coniston Tarns, and sent
out their flags even as far as Ulverston Church. Fifty years
later George Bownass, the Coniston blacksmith, was the great
purveyor and repairer of tools, and from his ledger the names of
his customers, gathered by Mr. Herbert Bownass, throw light on
the history of the industry in the second half of the eighteenth

In 1770 appear William Jackson & Co. and Edward Jackson, no
doubt of Tilberthwaite. In 1771, the Company of Slate-getters at
Pennyrigg, Saddlestones, Cove and Hodge Close; Zachias Walker
& Co., at Cove; George Tyson & Co., quarry owners; William
Atkinson & Co., at Scoadcop Quarry; John Masacks & Co., at Cove;
John Atkinson, slate merchant, Torver Fell Quarry; Wm. Fleming
and Thomas Callan, Stang End Quarry; Matthew Carter, Stang End
Quarry; also George Thompson and Wm. Vickers at a quarry with an
unreadable name, and John Johnson, Jonathan Youdale, Wm. Wilson,
Anthony Rigg and Wm. Stopart, slate-getters. In 1772, William
Atkinson, Broadscop Quarry; John Speding & Co., quarry owners;
slate-getters at Bove Beck or Gatecrag Quarries; Wm. Parker, slate
merchant, Langdale; Wm. Fleming, Bessy Crag Quarry; Wm. Johnson,
Pennyrigg Quarry; and John Vickers, Thomas and Rowland Wilson,
John Casson, and George Bownass, slate-getters.

Of the quarries here mentioned as working 130 years ago Stang End
and Bessy Crag are in Little Langdale, Pennyrigg and Hodge Close
on opposite sides of the Tilberthwaite valley; Cove is on the
flank of the Old Man above Gaitswater; Scoadcop and Broadscop look
like variants of the name Goldscope, the quarry opposite Cove,
and near Blind Tarn, to the right hand as you go up Walna Scar;
Torverfell Quarry may be Ashgill; Saddlestones is the quarry seen
on the way up the Old Man (page 3).

Father West in 1774 said that "the most considerable slate
quarries in the kingdom" were in the Coniston Fells; the slate was
shipped from Penny Bridge "for differents parts of the kingdom."
In 1780, Green saw the quarry near the top of the Old Man "in
high working condition." W. Rigge & Son of Hawkshead, who worked
some of them, exported 1,100 tons and upward a year, and the
carriage to Penny Bridge was 6s. 10d. to 7s. 10d. a ton. The slate
was shipped at Kirkby Quay upon sailing boats, of which there
were enough upon the water in 1819 to furnish the subject of a
paragraph in Green's _Guide_ describing a scene of "bustle and

From papers given by Mr. John Gunson of Ulpha to the Coniston
Museum, we can gather a few particulars of the slate trade in the
early part of the nineteenth century. John Atkinson of Ivytree,
Blawith, in 1803 was interested in the Tilberthwaite Quarries, and
in 1804 applied for leave to redeem the Land Tax on the ground
they covered, the annual sum being £2 13s. 4d. From 1820 we find
John Atkinson & Co. working seven quarries--Ashgill (to the left
hand as you go up Walna Scar) the most important, occupying
usually about a dozen men, and worked at considerable profit until
1830, when it began to show a deficit; Tilberthwaite, after 1820
giving employment to about seven men, with fair profit until 1826,
when the men seem to have been withdrawn to work a quarry at Wood
in Tilberthwaite for a year and a half; Goldscope, employing from
nine to fifteen men between 1821 and 1826, when the Cove Quarry
seems to have been run with no great profit or energy until 1832;
and Mosshead, on the north-east side of the Old Man, at the head
of Scrow Moss, was worked in 1829 and at a loss. The Outcast
Quarry, near Slater's Bridge (now Little Langdale Quarries), is
mentioned only in 1830. The best workmen were paid 3s. 6d. a day;
lads seem to have started at 6d. There are notes of indentures,
in Atkinson's account-book, from which it seems that apprentices
at the riving and dressing began at 1s. or 1s. 6d., with a yearly
rise to 2s. 6d., before they were out of their time. The profits
were fluctuating--Goldscope in two years (1821-23) produced £1,072
17s. worth of slates, and paid £719 18s. 10d. in wages; Ashgill in
1826 made £381 less powder, tools, candles, &c.; but these were
good years. The royalties to Lady le Fleming on Cove and Mosshead
for 1827-32 amounted to £33 6s.

Tilberthwaite was the old possession of the Jacksons. Their
ancestor had come from Gosforth, Cumberland, about 1690, and is
said to have acquired it by marriage from the Walkers, who held
the land in freehold, not, as usual hereabouts, in customary
tenure under a lord of the manor. The Jacksons held most of
Tilberthwaite, Holm Ground, and Yewdale until their estates were
bought by Mr. James Garth Marshall, and it was by marriage with
an Elizabeth Jackson that John Woodburn of Kirkby Quarries came
to have an interest in the slate trade here. His name appears in
John Atkinson's account books after 1832, and he seems to have
taken over the actual working of the quarries. In 1904 the total
output of the Coniston quarries (Cove, High Fellside, Mossrigg and
Klondyke, Parrock, Saddlestone, and Walna Scar) was 3438 tons;
value at the quarries, £12,251.


In spite of local production, iron was not plentiful in the
eighteenth century. Iron nails were too valuable for common use,
though they are found in quantities at the old furnaces on Peel
Island and elsewhere, which must date from an earlier period.
Wooden pegs were substituted in making kists and other furniture,
house roofs, doors and boats. The trade in woodwork of many kinds
flourished in Coniston and its neighbourhood.

We have already mentioned the sixteenth century "Cowpers and
Turners, with makyng of Coles," and the Baptist tanner of Monk
Coniston in the seventeenth century; his tannery was, no doubt,
that at Bank Ground. Another old tannery was at Dixon Ground in
Church Coniston. Bark peeling and charcoal burning are among the
most ancient and continuous industries; the round huts of the
charcoal burners and their circular pitsteads can be traced,
though overgrown and so nearly obliterated as to resemble
prehistoric remains, in many of the woods, or places which once
were wooded.

In George Bownass' ledger, already quoted, John Bell & Co. are
named as wood-mongers in 1771, and in 1772 the same smith repaired
the "coal boate" owned by the executors of William Ford.

In 1820 the old _Lonsdale Magazine_ says that the woods were cut
every fifteen or sixteen years, and brought in the same value as
if the land had been under cultivation. The wood was used for
charcoal in smelting (and later in gunpowder making), for poles,
hoops, and birch besoms; bird-lime was made from the bark of the
holly, and exported to the West Indies.

As the Lancashire spinning increased there was a great demand for
bobbins, and large quantities of small copse wood went to the
turning mills. There was one near the Forge at Coniston, and a
later bobbin mill farther down stream at Low Beck. Others were
worked at Hawkshead Hill by W. F. Walker, and more recently at
Sunnybank in Torver. But this industry has now died out.

An agreement in possession of Mr. H. Bownass, dated February 13th,
1798, between John Jackson of Bank Ground, gent. (landlord), and
Robert Townson of the Gill, yeoman (tenant), of the one part, and
T. Mackreth of Bank Ground, tanner, and John Gaskerth of Mattson
Ground, Windermere, woollen manufacturer, of the other, authorises
the building of a watermill for spinning and carding on the land
called the Becks and Lowlands in Church Coniston. The carding mill
near Holywath was owned early in the nineteenth century by Mr.
Gandy of Kendal, and managed by Mrs. Robinson of the Black Bull.

       *       *       *       *       *

The rise of Coniston trade is shown pretty accurately by the
returns of population in this period. In 1801 Church Coniston
contained 338 persons; in 1811, 460; in 1821, 566; and in 1831,
587. At this last date there were 101 houses inhabited and 9
empty, none building; and there were 102 families of which 25 were
employed in agriculture, 65 in trade, mining, &c., and 12 beside.
In Monk Coniston with Skelwith the population in 1801 was 286; in
1811, 386; in 1821, 426; and in 1831 it had dropped to 397. There
were then 78 houses occupied and 12 empty; 36 families lived by
agriculture, 2 by trade or manufacture, and 41 otherwise. This
means that the village was always the home of the miners and
quarrymen, while "at the back of the water" there was a gradually
increasing settlement of gentlefolk attracted to the place by
its scenery. In the later half of the century the population of
Church Coniston, after reaching 1324 in 1861, fell to 1106 in
1871, 965 in 1881, and 964 in 1891; showing the decline of the
once flourishing industrial enterprises. During the next decade
the slate trade increased, and in 1901 the population had risen
to 1111, whence the new rows of houses which, if not picturesque,
were much needed. It is no longer possible to crowd the cottages
as in mid-Victorian days when, it is said, the miners coming down
from their work took the beds _warm_ from the men on the other
shift. And yet, granting the necessity, one cannot help regretting
the meanness and ugliness of much recent building in the village.
A pleasant exception is the new office for the Bank of Liverpool
at the bridge, which is a clever adaptation of the old cottage,
making a pretty effect without pretentiousness; and perhaps, with
this example, local enterprise may still create--what is far
from impossible--a little town among the mountains worthy of its


The poet Gray, author of _The Elegy in a Country Churchyard_,
in his tour of 1769, and Gilpin, in search of the picturesque,
in 1772, did not seem to hear of Coniston as worth seeing. The
earliest literary description is that of Thomas West, the Scotch
Roman-Catholic priest, who wrote the _Antiquities of Furness_
in 1774. He illustrated his book with a map "As Survey'd by Wm.
Brasier 1745," in which are marked Coniston Kirk, Hall, Waterhead,
Townend, Thurston Water, Piel I., Nibthwaite, Furnace, Nibthwaite
Grange, Blawith Chap., Waterycot (by obvious error for "yeat"),
Oxenhouse, Torver Kirk, Torver Wood (Hoathwaite), New Brig (the
old pack-horse bridge), White Maidens, Blind Tarn, Goat's Tarn,
Low Water, Lever Water, and so on, giving names in use 150 years

West says:--"The village of Coniston consists of scattered houses;
many of them have a most romantic appearance owing to the ground
they stand on being extremely steep." Later editions add:--"Some
are snow white, others grey ... they are all neatly covered
with blue slate, the produce of the mountains, beautified with
ornamental yews, hollies, and tall pines or firs."

Mrs. Ann Radcliffe, author of the _Mysteries of Udolpho_ and
other romantic novels, came here in 1794 or earlier; and after
describing the Rhine, and all the other lakes, found Thurston Lake
"one of the most interesting, and perhaps the most beautiful,"
though she took the Hall for a Priory, and sentimentalised about
the "solemn vesper that once swelled along the lake from these
consecrated walls, and awakened, perhaps, the enthusiasm of the
voyager, while evening stole upon the scene." Conishead, not
Coniston, was the Priory; the confusion between the two has been
often made.

With fuller knowledge and from no hasty glance, Wordsworth soon
afterwards described the same spot (_Prelude_, VIII.):--

          A grove there is whose boughs
    Stretch from the western marge of Thurston mere
    With length of shade so thick that whoso glides
    Along the line of low-roofed water, moves
    As in a cloister. Once--while in that shade
    Loitering I watched the golden beams of light
    Flung from the setting sun, as they reposed
    In silent beauty on the naked ridge
    Of a high eastern hill--thus flowed my thoughts
    In a pure stream of words fresh from the heart:
    Dear native regions, wheresoe'er shall close
    My mortal course, there will I think on you....

Need I quote farther the famous outburst of patriotism?--it was
our lake that roused it. And another great enthusiasm was stirred
by our Coniston Fells.

In 1797 the landscape painter Turner came here as a youth of 23
on his first tour through the north. After his pilgrimage among
the Yorkshire abbeys, so finely described by Ruskin in _Modern
Painters_, vol. v., the young artist seems to have arrived among
the fells one autumn evening, and sketched the Old Man from the
Half-penny Alehouse. Then--I piece this together from the drawings
and circumstances--he went round to spend the night at the Black
Bull with old Tom Robinson and his wife, the daughter of Wonderful
Walker. She was a wonderful woman herself; had been first a
miner's wife, helping him to rise to a clerkship at the Leadhill
Mines in Dumfriesshire, and on his death returning to Seathwaite;
then, sorely against her old father's will, taking up with Tom,
and settling at Townend to farm; afterwards for many years at the
Black Bull, keeping the inn, managing the carding mill, and acting
as parish officer in her turn; a notable figure, in mob cap and
bedgown and brat; sharp tongued and shrewd of judgment. What
did she make, I wonder, of the sunburnt, broad-shouldered lile
cockney, with his long brown curls, his big nose and eagle eyes,
and his sketch-book, "spying fancies?" Early in the morning he
was out and scrambling up Lang Crags. It was one of the magical,
misty autumnal sunrises we know so well. There had been rain, and
Whitegill was full, thundering down the precipice at his feet.
The fog was breaking away from the valley beneath, and rising in
drifts and swirls among the clefts of Raven Crag, and the woods
of Tilberthwaite. Far away, serene in the morning light, stood
Helvellyn. It was his earliest sight of the mountain glory; the
thrill of emotions never to be forgotten. Going home to London,
he painted his first great mountain subject, afterwards in the
National Gallery--the first picture for which he was moved to
quote poetry in the Academy catalogue, and this from _Paradise
Lost_--"Morning on Coniston Fells:--

    Ye mists and exhalations that now rise
    From hill or streaming lake, dusky or grey,
    Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold
    In honour to the world's Great Author rise."

By this time the fashion of visiting the lakes was coming in,
enough to give employment to a guide--Creighton, whom Captain
Budworth, about 1790, described as a self-taught scholar, claiming
descent from a noble family in Scotland, and fond of bragging
about the nobility he had taken up the fells. His son William
was something of a genius; he was found here by John Southern
of Soho drawing a map of the world with home-made mathematical
instruments, but using them with immense skill. Mr. Southern took
him into his drawing office, and young Creighton, by hard study,
became a considerable linguist, astronomer, and cartographer.

To the old Black Bull, De Quincey came from Oxford in 1806 to see
Wordsworth. Next year William Green, the artist and guide-book
writer, was there, and went up Walna Scar with Robinson. Mrs.
Robinson died in extreme old age, and afterwards Adam Bell was
landlord (1849); in 1855, Edward Barrow.

The tourist business made more hotels necessary. In 1819 the old
Waterhead Inn was called the New Inn as distinguished from the
Black Bull. It stood at the head of the lake, where now is the
plantation between the letter-box and the sign-post. In Holland's
aquatint view (1792), a rambling farmhouse is shown there, but
not called an inn. This became a favourite stopping place for
tourists. John Ruskin's father was fond of it, and often stayed
there alone or with his family. But John Ruskin, returning in
1867, wrote--"Our old Waterhead Inn, where I was so happy playing
in the boats, _exists_ no more." The present hotel was built by
Mr. Marshall in 1848-49, and tenanted by Mr. Atkinson, afterwards
by Mr. and Mrs. Sly, and now by Mr. Joseph Tyson.

In 1849 the landlord of the Crown was Isaac Massicks. The Ship, in
1849, was kept by John Aitkin; the Rising Sun, in 1855, by James
Harker. The old Half-penny Alehouse was pulled down in 1848 to
build Lanehead.

To tell the story of the many "worthies" of Coniston, and to trace
the fortunes of 'statesman families often wandering far into the
world, and winning a fair share of renown, would need a volume
to itself. One or two names we can hardly omit--such as Lieut.
Oldfield of Haws Bank, who piloted the fleet into Copenhagen, and
received his commission from Nelson for that deed; and Sailor
Dixon, who fought under Howe on the first of June and under
Duncan at Camperdown; twice taken prisoner, once retaken and once
escaping from Dunkirk; implicated in the great mutiny of 1797, and
yet acquitted by court martial, he lived at Coniston to the age of

With these might be mentioned the soldier John Jackson, whose
records of foreign service in the Crimea and elsewhere are still
extant. His cousin, the late Roger Bownass, left many papers of
interest to the student of Old Coniston. The first of his family
came in 1710 from Little Langdale, and bought from William Fleming
of Catbank for thirteen pounds odd the smith's shop at the place
called Chapel Syke, _i.e._, where the Crown Inn bar is now; a
stream rising above the Parsonage used to cross the road there,
whence the name. He bought also the old Catbank Farmhouse and
its land now covered with cottages. His son was about twelve or
fourteen in 1745, and told the writer of the manuscript history of
the family that he remembered taking a cartload of cannon balls,
forged at the smithy, to Kendal for the Duke of Cumberland's army.

By 1773 a new site was needed for the smithy, and it was moved to
Bridge End, where the Post Office now stands, on land bought from
William Pennington of Kendal, wool comber, by George Bownass, son
of the original blacksmith who by this time had died at the age
of 87. Here a large business was carried on in quarry and edge
tools, employing a number of men and apprentices; and profitable
enough to enable the owner to buy many plots of land round about,
to which his son William, who inherited the business, added
other purchases, and still managed to save £100 a year. William
Bownass died in 1818, and was the first person buried after the
rebuilding of the church; of his seven children, Isaac, of Queen's
College, Cambridge, became a successful schoolmaster, but died at
the age of 28, and Roger, for 45 years postmaster at Coniston,
died in 1889. Old George Bownass, the second of the name, died
a year later than his son William; one of his daughters married
a Coniston man, William Gelderd, who became the first mayor of
Kendal after the passing of the new Municipal Act.

In the Christmas number, 1864, of the old Liverpool _Porcupine_
is a short story by Dr. Gibson which, if we read _Bownass_
for "Forness," _Spedding_ for "Pedder," and _Coniston_ for
"Odinsmere," as the writer certainly intended, becomes a very
vivid and interesting picture of Coniston folk and their
surroundings at the beginning of the last century. It describes
the smith "George Forness" as the well-to-do and industrious
craftsman, in his busy workshop, surrounded by the village gossips
at Candlemas. To him enters "old Matthew Pedder," bound next
morning for Ulverston, to settle accounts. The smith entrusts him
with money to pay his iron bill at Newlands, and save himself
a journey. The next scene shows us a lane through the deerpark
before dawn; Matthew on his half-broken mare attacked by a wastrel
who has overheard the conversation, and now tries his unaccustomed
hand at highway robbery. The mare throws him down, and Matthew
gallops away believing his unknown assailant to be dead. Ten
months later Matthew is called from his house in Tilberthwaite to
the death-bed of Tom Bratton, and comes back subdued and silent.
"What did he want wi' yee?" his family clamoured. "To ex me to
forgive him." "Then it _was_ him 'at tried to rob ye?" "Niver ye
mind wha tried to rob me--neahbody _did_ rob me!" "And what did
ye say till him?" "I ext him to forgive me, and we yan forgev

The slackness of anything like police in those days is illustrated
by a document in possession of Mr. John Bell, which is an
agreement dated 1791 on the part of leading villagers to form a
sort of Trades Defence Association to preserve their property from
"the Depredation of Highwaymen, Robbers, Housebreakers and other
Offenders." It is signed by Edward Jackson, Isaac Tubman, Geo.
Bownas (the smith), James Robinson, George Dixon, John Gelderd,
David Kirkby, John Dawson, and by Thomas Dixon for Mr. John
Armstrong, each of whom subscribed eighteen pence to found the
association, and resolves in strictly legal form to stand by his
neighbours in all manner of eventualities.

The smith's ledger, already quoted, gives also a number of
farmer's names in 1770-74, which may be worth recording as a
contribution to the history of Coniston folk. At Littlearrow lived
John Fleming and Wm. Ion; at Spone How (Spoon Hall), Geo. Dixon;
at Heathwaite, John Fleming; at Bowmanstead, T. Dixon and T.
Parke; at Dixon Ground, John Ashburner; at Catbank, Roger Tyson;
at Brow, T. Bainbridge; at Bove Beck, Wm. Dixon; at Far End, Wm.
Parke; at Tarnhouse (Tarn Hows), John Johnson; at "Utree," Geo.
Walker; at Oxenfell, Christopher Huertson; at Tilberthwaite,
John Jackson; at Holme Ground, Wm. Jackson; at Lane End, Henry
Dawson; at Waterhead, Anthony Sawrey; at Hollin Bank, John Suert;
at Bank Ground, John Wilson; at Howhead, Eliz. Harrison; at Town
End (Coniston Bank), Ed. Barrow and Wm. Edrington; at Lowsanparke
(Lawson Park), Wm. Adinson. Other well-known names are Adam Bell
(Black Bull), John Bell, John Geldart, T. Gasketh, G. Knott, David
Kirkby, Matthew Spedding, T. and W. Towers. Many of these names
are still represented in the neighbourhood, but the old 'statesman
holdings have nearly all passed into alien hands.

A list dated between 1830 and 1840 enumerates the acreage of
fifty-three separate estates in Church Coniston, ranging from
the Hall (Lady le Fleming's), over 397 acres, and Tilberthwaite
(John Jackson's), over 135 acres, to Henry Braithwaite's plot
of 15 perches. But of the whole number only twenty-five, or
less than half, are smaller than ten acres. In 1841 the list of
Parliamentary voters for Church Coniston gives twenty owners of
house and land in their own occupation out of forty-six voters. In
this list, James Garth Marshall of Leeds appears as owner of High
Yewdale, occupied--no longer owned--by a Jackson; but there are
very few non-resident landlords on the list.

So late as 1849 the directory mentions as 'statesmen owning their
farms in Monk Coniston and Skelwith, Matthew Wilson of Hollin
Bank, John Creighton of Low Park, and William Burns of Hodge
Close; in Church Coniston, William Barrow of Little Arrow, William
Dixon of Dixon Ground, Benjamin Dixon of Spoonhall, James Sanders
of Outhwaite, and William Wilson of Low Beck.

But after the "discovery" of the lakes, in the last quarter of the
eighteenth century, Coniston began to be the resort of strangers
in search of retirement and scenery.

In 1801, Colonel George Smith, after losing a fortune in a bank
failure, settled at Townson Ground, and some years later built
Tent Lodge, so called from the tent his family had pitched on the
spot before the house was built, as a kind of "station," as it
was then called, for admiring the view. Here in the tent, they
say, his daughter used to sit, dying of consumption, and looking
her last on the favourite scene. Elizabeth Smith was a girl of
great charm and unusual genius. Born in 1776, at thirteen she had
learnt French, Italian, and mathematics; at fifteen, she taught
herself German; at seventeen, she studied Arabic, Persian, and
Spanish; and at eighteen, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. While living
here she wrote much verse and many translations, of which her
_Book of Job_ was highly commended by scholars; the manuscript in
her handwriting, with a copy of her portrait, may be seen in the
Coniston Museum. She died in 1806, and is buried at Hawkshead.

After the death of Mrs. Smith, Tent Lodge was bought by Mr.
Marshall, and occupied by Tennyson the poet on his honeymoon.
His favourite point of view is still marked in the wood above
by a seat now hidden among the trees. Later, the Misses Romney,
descendants of the famous painter, lived at Tent Lodge; then it
was taken by the late George Holt, Esq., of Liverpool.

At Colonel Smith's removal to the Lodge, Tent Cottage, as it is
now called, was taken by Mrs. Fletcher, one of whose daughters
became Lady Richardson and another married Dr. Davy, brother of
Sir Humphrey Davy. Dr. Townson succeeded them at the Cottage;
then Mr. Oxley of the sawmills; then the Gasgarths, on their
removal from the Hall; then Mr. Evennett, agent to Mr. Marshall.
Afterwards it was taken by Mr. Laurence Jermyn Hilliard, secretary
to Mr. Ruskin. Mr. Hilliard died in 1887 just as he was beginning
to be well known as an artist; he is commemorated in a brass
tablet in the church, and some examples of his work are to be seen
in the Museum. Since his death Tent Cottage has been tenanted by
his brother and sister.

In 1819 Mr. Thomas Woodville bought from Sir D. Fleming a house
called Yewdale Grove at Yewdale Bridge. In 1821 Mr. Binns of
Bristol built the Thwaite House, and let it in 1827 to Mr.
William Beever, a Manchester merchant, who died four years later,
leaving two sons and four daughters, whose memory is very closely
associated with Coniston. John, the eldest son, was a sportsman
and naturalist; the author of a little volume entitled _Practical
Fly-fishing_, published in 1849, and republished 1893, a memoir
of the author (now again out of print). The pond behind the
Thwaite was made by him, and stocked with fish; once a year he
used to catch every member of his water colony, and examine it
to note its growth. The picturesque "Gothic" boat house, now the
gondola house, was built for his use. One of his hobbies was the
improvement of fishing-rods, and Mr. William Bell (afterwards J.P.
of Hawes Bank, who died in 1896) remembered helping Mr. Beever
in this and other carpentering, turning, carving, and mosaic
works, and in the construction of the printing press used for his
sister's little books. John Beever died in 1859, aged 64. His
brother Henry was a Manchester lawyer, and died 1840.

Of the four ladies of the Thwaite, Miss Anne Beever died in 1858,
and is buried with her brothers at Hawkshead. Miss Margaret (d.
1874), Miss Mary (d. 1883), and Miss Susanna (d. 1893) are buried
at Coniston; their graves are marked by white marble crosses
close to Ruskin's. Indeed, though their local influence and
studies, especially in botany (see, for example, Baxter's _British
Flowering Plants_ and Baker's _Flora of the Lake District_, to
which they contributed, and the Rev. W. Tuckwell's _Tongues in
Trees and Sermons in Stones_, describing their home), give them
a claim to remembrance, their name is most widely known through
Miss Susanna Beever's popular _Frondes Agrestes, readings in
"Modern Painters,"_ and through the correspondence of Ruskin
with Miss Mary and Miss Susanna published as _Hortus Inclusus_.
In his preface to the last he spoke of them as "at once sources
and loadstones of all good to the village in which they had their
home, and to all loving people who cared for the village and its
vale and secluded lake, and whatever remained in them, or around,
of the former peace, beauty, and pride of English Shepherd Land."

The old Thwaite Cottage, below the house, was tenanted by the
Gaskarths after the death of David Kirkby, Esq., the last of the
former owners, in 1814; and then for many years it was the home
of Miss Harriette S. Rigbye, daughter of Major E. W. Rigbye of
Bank Ground, and an accomplished amateur of landscape painting.
She died in 1894, aged 82, and is buried beside her friends the
Beevers in Coniston Churchyard. The Thwaite Cottage was then let
to Professor J. B. Cohen of the Leeds University, whose works on
organic chemistry are well known.

The Waterhead estate was bought in the eighteenth century from the
Thompsons by William Ford of Monk Coniston (see Mr. H. S. Cowper's
_History of Hawkshead_, p. xvi.), and came to George Knott (d.
1784) by marriage with a Miss Ford. Mr. Knott was mentioned by
Father West as having "made many beautiful improvements on his
estate." In 1822 a view of the modern "Gothic" front of the
house, now called Monk Coniston Hall, was given in the _Lonsdale
Magazine_. The poet Wordsworth is said to have advised in the
laying out of the gardens. From Mr. Michael Knott the place was
bought by James Garth Marshall, Esq., M.P. for Leeds, whose son,
Victor Marshall, Esq., J.P., still holds it.

Holywath was built by Mr. John Barratt, the manager of the mines
in their prosperous days, and afterwards held by his daughter,
the wife of Colonel Bousfield. Mr. William Barratt, his cousin,
built Holly How on the site of an old cottage; it was afterwards
tenanted by Mrs. Benson, and is now occupied by Mrs. Kennington.
Mr. William Barratt's son, James W. H. Barratt, Esq., J.P., now
lives at Holywath.

In 1848 Miss Creighton of Bank Ground built Lanehead, on the site
of the old Half-penny Alehouse, for Dr. Bywater, who tenanted it
for many years. Miss Creighton left the estate to the Rev. H. A.
Starkie; the house was occupied later by Mrs. Melly, and since
1892 by W. G. Collingwood.

Coniston Bank replaces the old homestead of Townend. It was held
in 1819 by Thomas North, Esq.; in 1849, by Henry Smith, Esq.; in
1855, by Wordsworth Smith, Esq.; subsequently by Major Benson
Harrison, who let it for a time to George W. Goodison, Esq., C.E.,
J.P., and then to Thomas Docksey, Esq. In 1897 it was sold to Mrs.
Arthur Severn, who sold it to its present occupant, H. P. Kershaw,

Brantwood, that is to say the nucleus of the present house, was
built at the end of the eighteenth century by Mr. Woodville on
a site bought from the Gaskarths. It was sold to Edward Copley,
Esq., of Doncaster, whose widow died there in 1830. In 1849 it
was in the occupation of Josiah Hudson, Esq., and the early home
of his son, the Rev. Charles Hudson, a founder of the Alpine
Club, and one of the party of young Englishmen who first climbed
Mont Blanc without guides. He joined in the first ascent of the
Matterhorn, 1865, and was killed in the accident on the descent.

The next resident was an artist, poet, and politician. Mr. William
James Linton was born at Mile-End Road in the east of London in
1812; his father was of Scotch extraction. After apprenticeship
to a wood engraver at Kennington, he worked for the _Illustrated
London News_, and mixed with artists and authors of the Liberal
and advanced party, becoming known as a writer, editor, and
lecturer of much energy on the Radical side. In 1849 he left
London for Miteside in West Cumberland, and in May, 1852, moved
to Brantwood; after a year's tenancy he bought the little house
and estate of ten acres, to which on the enclosure of the common
six acres more were added. At Brantwood he also rented the garden
and field between the house and the lake, and kept cows, sheep,
and poultry; he anticipated Ruskin in clearing part of the land
and cultivating it; in his volume of _Memories_ (Lawrence &
Bullen, 1895) he records the pleasures of his country life, as
well as some of the trials of that period. He had been editing,
and publishing at his own expense, a monthly magazine called
_The English Republic_, and this was taken up again in 1854.
Two young printers and a gardener came to Brantwood and offered
their services, as assistants in this work; and with their help
the magazine was printed in the outhouse, which he decorated
with mottoes, such as "God and the People"--still to be traced
in the roughcast on the wall. But its cost, however economically
produced, was more than he could afford, and the magazine was
dropped in April, 1855, after which he was employed on the
woodcuts for the edition of Tennyson's poems illustrated by
Rossetti, Millais, and other artists of the period. He tells how
Moxon came to call on him and hasten the work, but could not be
received into the house owing to serious illness; and how thankful
he was for a ten-pound note put into his hand by the considerate
publisher as they stood at the gate. At Brantwood Miss Eliza Lynn
came to nurse the first Mrs. Linton in her fatal illness, and
married Mr. Linton in 1858. At Brantwood she wrote her novels
_Lizzie Lorton_, _Sowing the Wind_, and _Grasp your Nettle_;
also _The Lake Country_, published in 1864. Mr. Linton, in 1865,
published _The Ferns of the Lake Country_, but for some years he
had not lived continuously at Brantwood, and in 1866 he went to
America, where he died in 1898. Mrs. Lynn Linton's best known work
was _Joshua Davidson_, written later than her Coniston period; she
died in London in 1898, and was buried at Crosthwaite, Keswick.
Portraits and relics of the Lintons are to be seen in the Museum
at Coniston.

Another poet, Gerald Massey, lived for a time at Brantwood, and
dated the dedication of a volume of his poems from that address
in May, 1860. He, like Linton, is known for his advocacy of
democratic opinions; indeed, it is said that George Eliot took him
for model in _Felix Holt the Radical_.

During the later years of Mr. Linton's ownership, Brantwood was
taken for the summer by the Rev. G. W. Kitchin, now Dean of
Durham. In 1871, however, Mr. Linton sold the house to Prof.

Ruskin as a child often visited Coniston, and in 1830 at the age
of eleven made his first written mention of the place in a MS.
journal now in the Museum. In his _Iteriad_, a rhymed description
of the tour of that date, he gave the first hint of his wish to
live in the Lake District, and in the winter of 1832-33, at the
age of nearly fourteen, he wrote the well-known verses which stood
first in the earliest collection of his poems:--

    I weary for the torrent foaming,
      For shady holm and hill;
    My mind is on the mountain roaming,
      My spirit's voice is still.
    The crags are lone on Coniston ...

remembering first and foremost, not Snowdon or Scotland, but
Coniston. In 1837, as an Oxford man, he was here again, making
notes for his earliest prose work, _The Poetry of Architecture_;
and one of the illustrations was a sketch of the Old Hall from
the water, the view which became so familiar afterwards from his
windows at Brantwood.

Then for a while his interests turned to the cathedrals of France,
the palaces and pictures of Italy, and to the loftier scenery of
the Alps; but curiously enough he did not like the Matterhorn at
first--it was too unlike "Cumberland," he said. In 1847, already
a well-known author, he was looking out for a house in the Lake
District, and staying at Ambleside. But the March weather was
dull, and he had many causes for depression. As he rowed on
Windermere he pined for the light and colour of southern skies.
"The lake," he wrote home, "when it is quite calm, is wonderfully
sad and quiet; no bright colour, no snowy peaks. Black water, as
still as death; lonely, rocky islets; leafless woods, or worse
than leafless; the brown oak foliage hanging dead upon them; gray
sky; far-off, wild, dark, dismal moorlands; no sound except the
rustling of the boat among the reeds." Next year he revisited the
lakes in spring, and wrote soon after about a wild place he had
found:--"Ever since I passed Shap Fells, when a child, I have had
an excessive love for this kind of desolation."

It was not, however, until 1867 that he revisited the Lakes. He
came to Coniston on August 10th and went up the Old Man, delighted
with the ascent. We have already quoted his description of the

At last (it was in 1871, at the age of 52, being then Slade
Professor at Oxford) he fell into a dangerous illness, and lay
between life and death at Matlock. He was heard to say and
repeat:--"If only I could lie down beneath the crags of Coniston!"

Before he was fairly well again he heard through his old friend,
Mr. T. Richmond, that a house and land at Coniston were for
sale. The owner, W. J. Linton, asked £1,500 for the estate, and
he bought it at once. In September he travelled here to see his
bargain and found the cottage, as it then was, in poor condition;
but, as he wrote, some acres "of rock and moor and streamlet, and,
I think, the finest view I know in Cumberland--or Lancashire, with
the sunset visible over the same."

Next summer the house was ready for him, and thenceforward became
his headquarters. From June, 1889, till his death he never left it
for a night; indeed, the last time he went so far as the village
was on April 7th, 1893, when he attended our Choral Society's

It is needless to tell over again the story of his life at
Brantwood; to describe the house that he found a rickety cottage,
and left a mansion and a museum of treasures; the gardens, woods,
and moor he tended; the surroundings of mountain and streamlet,
bird and beast, child-pet and peasant acquaintance, now familiar
to the readers of his later books and of the many books that have
been written about him. But here it must not be left unsaid that
Coniston folk knew him less as the famous author than as the kind
and generous friend; eccentric and not easily understood, but
always to be trusted for help; giving with equal readiness to all
the churches, to the schools and Institute; and to these last
giving not only his money, but his strength and sympathy. It was
he who started the first carving classes, and promoted the linen
industry; he lectured in the village (December, 1883) for local
charities, and--what was perhaps most effective of all--carried
out in practice his principle of employing neighbours rather than
strangers, of giving the tradesfolk and labourers of the valley
a share in his fortunes and interests. And perhaps in his death
he did them almost a greater service. It was in obedience to
his wishes that the offer of a funeral in Westminster Abbey was
refused, and he was laid to rest--January 25th, 1900--"beneath the
crags of Coniston," so linking his name for ever with the place he


  Above beck, 47, 48;
    Bovebeck, 77.

  ADDISON of Coniston, 48;
    Adinson, 77.

  "Allans," 44, 45.

  Anglian settlement, 23.

  Angling Association, 13.

  Anglo-Cymric score, 25.

  Arnside, 27.

  ASHBURNER of Coniston, 77.

  Ashgill quarry, 19, 66, 67.

  ATKINSON of Coniston, 47-49, 57, 66, 67, 74.

  BAINBRIDGE of Coniston, 77.

  Bank ground, 9, 34, 77.

  Banniside, 2, 6, 7, 18, 19.

  Baptist chapels, 56, 57.

  BARRATT of Coniston, 1, 60, 80.

  BARROW of Coniston, 49, 74, 77.

  Basalt, 1.

  Beacons, 4, 12, 15.

  "Beck, brook, burn," 26.

  Beck Leven, 10, 62.

  BEEVER of Coniston, 8, 52, 53, 79.

  BELL of Coniston, 42, 68, 74, 76, 77.

  Bethecar, 17.

  BIRKETT, Rev. J., 49, 54.

  Black Bull, 1, 60, 72, 73, 77.

  Blawith, 15, 17, 62, 63.

  Bleaberry haws, 19.

  Bloomeries, 10, 11, 17, 62-65.

  Bloomsmithy rent, 64.

  Boathouses, 8, 9, 10.

  Bobbin mills, 17, 69.

  Bonfires, 4.

  Booth crag and tarn, 7.

  Bounding of pasture, 35.

  Bowmansteads, 38, 48, 76.

  BOWNASS of Coniston, 47, 50, 55, 56, 60, 65, 66, 68, 74-76.

  Brantwood, 10, 81-84.

  Brasses in church, 52, 78.

  British village, 15.

  Brow, 47, 48, 77.

  Brown How, 12.

  BUCCLEUGH, duke of, 12.

  Burnmoor, 20.

  BURNS of Coniston, 77.

  Bursting-stone quarry, 7.

  BYWATER, Dr., 80.

  Carnarvon, Cumberland, 37.

  Carrs, 5, 23.

  Catbank, 47, 48, 75, 77.

  Chapels at Coniston, 57.

  Chapel Syke, 75.

  CHAPMAN, Rev. C, 51, 54.

  Char, 13.

  Charcoal-burning, 18, 36, 63, 68.

  Church Coniston, 29, 32.

  Church of Coniston, 46-54.

  Circles, stone, 16-21.

  Clergy of Coniston, 54.

  Colwith, 27.

  Comet, 41.

  Conishead Priory land, 63, 65.

  Coniston Bank, 10, 17, 81, _and see_ Townend.

  Coniston, the name, 24.

  COPLEY of Brantwood, 81.

  Coppermines, 2, 13, 22, 58-62.

  COWERD of Coniston, 47, 48.

  COWPER, Mr. H. S., 14, 19, 20, 22, 27, 32, 33, 35, 65, 80.

  CREIGHTON of Coniston, 73, 77, 80.

  Crowberry Haws, 2, 3.

  Crown Hotel, 74, 75.

  "Currock," 16.

  DAWSON of Coniston, 76, 77.

  Deer-parks, 10, 33, 44, 64.

  Deer-traps, 20.

  DEMETRIUS of Tarsus, 22.

  DENISON of Coniston, 48.

  DE QUINCEY at Coniston, 73.

  Devil's footprints, 34-35.

  DIXON of Coniston, 47-49, 74-77;
    Dickson, 51.

  Dixon ground, 2, 48, 76, 77.

  DOUGLAS, Rev. J., 49, 54.

  DOVER of Coniston, 47, 48.

  Dow crags, 5, 6, 23.

  Dykes, ancient, 19, 20.

  EDRINGTON of Coniston, 77.

  ELLWOOD, Rev. T., 25, 28, 61.

  EVANS, Rev. F., 15.

  Far end, 5, 47, 48, 77.

  "Feet, fit," 27;
    Fittess, 45.

  Fellfoot, 27.

  Fir island, 11.

  Fir point, 9.

  FLEMING, Fletcher, 27.

  ---- Lady le, 53-55, 67, 77.

  ---- of Coniston, 47-49, 51, 66, 75, 76.

  ---- of Coniston Hall, 37-44, 50, 52.

  ---- Sir Daniel, 13, 27, 41, 42, 44, 59, 64.

  ---- Sir Daniel (in 1819), 79.

  ---- Thomas le, 63.

  Floating island, 13.

  FORD of Monk Coniston, 68, 80.

  Forge, 1, 62, 69.

  Furness abbey, 29, 31-36, 63, 65.

  Furness fells, 29, 34, 35.

  Gaits water, 6, 45;
    Goat's tarn, 71.

  GASKERTH of Coniston, 69;
    GASKETH, 77;
    GASGARTH, 78;
    GASKARTH, 81.

  Gateside, 47.

  GELDERD of Coniston, 75, 76;
    GELDART, 77.

  German miners, 58-60, 64.

  Ghosts, 17.

  Giant's grave, 15.

  Giants of Troutbeck, 40.

  GIBSON, Dr., 3, 19, 27, 34, 40, 42, 49-51, 55, 58, 60, 61, 75.

  Gill, 48, 69.

  Gillhead bridge, 1, 2.

  Glacial action, 1, 2, 11.

  Glen Mary, 26.

  Goldscope quarries, 66, 67.

  Gondola, 8.

  GREEN, Wm., 66, 67, 73.

  GRESLEY'S novel, _Coniston Hall_, 43.

  Gridiron, 12.

  Grisedale, 33.

  "Grounds," 34.

  Guards, 8, 26.

  Half-penny alehouse, 72, 74, 80.

  Hall, Coniston, 3, 10, 38-44, 71, 77.

  Hallgarth, 48.

  Hare crags, 19.

  HARRISON of Coniston, 47-49, 77, 81.

  "Hause," 2.

  Hawkshead, 26, 31-33.

  ---- hill, 57.

  Haws bank, 42, 74;
    Hows bank, 47, 48.

  Heald, 11, 18.

  Heathwaite, 76.

  High cross, 18.

  HILLIARD, Mr. L. J., 78.

  Hoathwaite, 10;
    Huthwait, 47;
    Outhwaite, 77.

  HOBSON of Coniston, 47, 48.

  Hodge close, 66, 77.

  HODGSON of Coniston, 47.

  Hollin bank, 77.

  Holly how, 80.

  Holme ground, 45, 77.

  HOLMS of Coniston, 47.

  Holywath, 1, 2, 47, 80.

  How head, 77.

  HUDSON of Brantwood, 81.

  HUERTSON of Coniston, 77.

  Hut-circles, 18, 19.

  Institute, 53, 55, 56;
    _and see_ Museum.

  ION of Coniston, 76.

  Iron industries, 32, 62-65;
    _and see_ Bloomeries.

  JACKSON of Tilberthwaite, 66-69, 74-77.

  Jenkin syke, 22.

  JOHNSON of Coniston, 66, 77.

  Kendal, barons of, 29, 32, 37.

  KENDALL, Dr., 20, 44, 55, 56.

  Kernel crag, 3.

  Kirkby quay, 9, 66.

  KIRKBY of Coniston, 76, 77.

  "Kirk Sinkings," 16.

  KITCHIN, Dean, 82.

  KNOTT of Monk Coniston, 42, 77, 80.

  Lakebank hotel, 12.

  Lake of Coniston, 8-13, 29, 32.

  Lanehead, 9, 74, 80.

  Lang crags, 1.

  Lawson park, 18, 33, 35, 64, 77.

  Levers hause, 5,6.

  Levers water, 2-6;
    Lever water, 71

  Limestone, 2, 7.

  Line or Lang gards, 44.

  LINTON of Brantwood, 81, 82, 84.

  Little Arrow, 38, 47, 48, 76, 77.

  Low Bank ground, 9.

  Low house, 48.

  Low water, 2, 3, 5;
    Lowwater fall, 3.

  MACKRETH of Coniston, 69.

  "Man, maen," 4, 23;
    High Man, 18.

  Manor of Coniston, 38, 44;
    of Monk Coniston, 36.

  MARSHALL of Monk Coniston, 5, 9, 26, 35, 68, 74, 77, 78, 80.

  Meerstone, inscribed, 18.

  MASACKS, MASSICKS of Coniston, 66, 74.

  MASSEY, Gerald, 82.

  Mills, 69, 72.

  Mines, _see_ Copper.

  Model of Coniston, 7.

  Monk Coniston, 29, 31-36.

  ---- ---- hall, 35, 80.

  ---- ---- moor, 18.

  ---- ---- tarns, 4, 26.

  Montague island, 12, 36.

  Moors and their antiquities, 14-20.

  Museum, 7, 12, 53, 55, 56, 67, 78.

  Nibthwaite, 12, 13, 17, 62;
    Neburthwaite, 33.

  Nook, 48.

  Norman settlement, 28-30, 37.

  Norse settlement, 26-28, 30, 37.

  NORTH of Coniston Bank, 81.

  OLDFIELD, Lieut., 74.

  Old Man, 1-7, 23.

  Otters, 13.

  Outlaws, 33, 34, 38.

  Outrake, 48.

  Oxenfell, 27, 77.

  Oxness, 11.

  Parkamoor, 17, 33, 35, 62, 64.

  PARK, PARKE of Coniston, 48, 76, 77.

  Park Yeat, 47, 48.

  "Parrocks, parks," 33, 63, 64.

  Partition of Furness, 29.

  Peel island, 11, 12, 62, 65, 68.

  Pennyrigg quarries, 5, 66.

  Pilgrim's badge, 35.

  Population, 69, 70.

  Prehistoric antiquities, 15-21.

  Priest stile, 46.

  Priory, none at Coniston, 72.

  Pudding-stone, 3.

  Quarries, _see_ Slate.

  RADCLIFFE, Mrs., at Coniston, 71.

  Railway, 61.

  Raven crag (Yewdale), 5.

  Raven tor (Old Man), 3.

  Rear or Ray crag, 45.

  RIGBYE, Miss, 80.

  Ring mounds, 16-19.

  ROBINSON of Coniston, 47, 69, 72, 74, 76.

  Roman Catholics, 40, 57.

  Roman roads, 22.

  ROULE, Sir R., 46.

  Ruskin cross, 53.

  RUSKIN, John, 4, 7, 10, 56, 57, 74, 83-85.

  Saddlestones quarry, 3, 66.

  SANDERS of Coniston, 77.

  Satterthwaite, 33.

  SAWREY of Coniston, 77.

  Schools, 46, 54, 55.

  Scrow, 2, 7.

  Selside, 12, 17, 62.

  SEVERN of Brantwood, 11, 55, 56, 81.

  Ship inn, 74.

  SIDNEY, Sir Philip, 40.

  Silverbank, 1, 47, 48.

  Simon Nick, 60.

  Slate quarries, 2, 4, 5, 7, 65-68.

  SLY of Coniston, 74.

  Smartfield, 48.

  SMITH, Elizabeth, 78.

  Smithies, 64.

  SMITH of Coniston Bank, 81.

  SPEDDING of Coniston, 66, 75, 77.

  Spoon hall, 76, 77.

  Springs bloomery, 10, 62, 65.

  Stable Harvey, 62, 65.

  Statesmen, 74-77.

  Stone rings, Burney, 16.

  SUERT of Coniston, 77.

  Sun hotel, 2, 74.

  Sunnybank, 11, 57.

  Swinside circle, 16, 21.

  Tanneries, 68.

  Tarn hows, Tarnhouse, 77.

  Tarns, _see_ Monk Coniston, Gaitswater, Levers, Lowwater.

  TENNYSON at Coniston, 78.

  Tent cottage, 9, 35, 78.

  Tent lodge, 9, 78.

  Thingmounts, 27-29.

  THOMPSON of Coniston, 66, 80.

  Thurston water, 8, 13, 29, 32, 44, 72.

  "Thwaite," 26.

  Thwaite cottage, 80.

  Thwaite house, 8, 79.

  Tilberthwaite, 47, 48, 67, 77.

  ---- gill, 5; Micklegill, 45.

  TODD, Mr. E., 56.

  Tom or Tarn gill, 26, 62.

  TOWERS of Coniston, 47, 48, 77.

  Townend, 71, 72, 77, 81; _and see_ Coniston bank.

  TOWNSON of Coniston, 49, 69, 78.

  TUBMAN of Coniston, 76.

  TURNER the painter at Coniston, 72.

  TYSON of Coniston, 47, 48, 64, 66, 74, 77.

  VICKERS of Coniston, 47, 66.

  Volcanic rock, 2, 7.

  WALKER of Coniston, 48, 66, 67, 77.

  Walna scar, 20, 21.

  WARSOP, Mr., 61, 62.

  Waterhead, 35, 77, 80.

  ---- hotel, 8, 9.

  ---- old inn, 9, 74.

  Waterpark (Coniston), 62, 64.

  ---- (Nibthwaite), 12, 33, 64; Watsyde park, 35.

  Weatherlam, 2, 5, 26.

  Welsh survivals, 23.

  WEST, Father, 38, 39, 66, 71.

  "Whittlegate," 46.

  WILL O' T' TARNS, 40.

  WILSON of Coniston, 66, 77.


  Wonwaldremere, 24.

  Wood industries, 68, 69.

  Woods, 36, 64.

  WOODVILLE, Mr. T., 79, 81.

  Woollen, burials in, 51.

  WORDSWORTH at Coniston, 72, 80.

  Yewdale, 5, 62, 77;
    Udale, 48.

  ---- beck, 26, 44.

  ---- crag, 5, 10.

  ---- grove, 79.

  Yewtree, 27;
    Utree, 77.

  YOUDALE of Coniston, 66.


    Telegraphic Address:--


    Postal Address:--








    Boarding Terms from 6/6 inclusive.

    Hot and Cold Baths.

    Separate Drawing Room for Ladies.

    Public and Private Sitting Rooms.

    Large or small Parties catered for.



    Waterhead Hotel,


    Headquarters "Automobile Club" of Great Britain & Ireland.

    THIS FIRST-CLASS ESTABLISHMENT is the most delightfully situated
    of any Hotel in the Lake District. It is surrounded with beautiful
    pleasure grounds and select walks, from which excellent views
    of Brantwood, the home of the late Professor Ruskin, and Tent
    Lodge, for some time the residence of the late Lord Tennyson, are
    obtained; and embraces most interesting Lake and Mountain Views.

    Coniston Churchyard, the burial place of the late John Ruskin, and
    the Ruskin Museum, are within a few minutes walk of the Hotel.

    =Billiards. Lawn Tennis. Private Boats.=


    A Steam Gondola runs daily on the Lake during the Season.

    _Char a Banc. Open and Close Carriages and Post Horses._



    =J. TYSON, Proprietor.=

    Painter and Decorator,

    Dealer in Paperhangings,
    Glass, Oils, Colours, &c.


    All Papers edged by Machine Free of Charge



    Post Free to any Address.

    28, Highgate, Kendal.

    _'Fairfield' Temperance Hotel_,


    _Opposite the Church._

    Also a FANCY REPOSITORY with a fine selection of Pictorial Post
    Cards, Crest and View China. _Dark Room._


    Joiner, Builder,
    English timber
    and Slate Merchant.

    Complete Undertaker.

    Plans made & Estimates given


    every description of Building.



    _Titus Wilson, Printer, Kendal._

  Transcriber's Notes

  Very few changes have been made to the published text.

  Obvious inconsistencies of punctuation have been resolved.

  Inconsistencies of hyphenation have been retained except those
  between text and index which have been resolved. Words in italics
  are represented thus; _italic_ while words in bold are represented
  thus; =bold=. Many abbreviations are shown with the (usually)
  final character superscripted. These are represented by ^.

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