Grange-over-Sands: The Story of a Gentle Township Find!
Well, I thought it would be nice to finish this amazing project with a final book which tells the story of this 'gentle township' where I live. The author, W. E. Swale, published his book in 1969 and in it he tells the story of this small town on the Cumbrian coast.
It is first mentioned in 1490 when it is recorded as 'Grange-with-Kentisbank'. It is generally believed that the name derived from the old French 'Graunge' meaning 'a barn' where the monks of Cartmel Priory stored some of their grain. The town grew slowly and most of the villagers were likely to have been quite poor although comfortable landowners lived on local estates such as Bigland Hall, Hampsfield Hall, Castle Head and Holker Hall. In 1834 it is recorded that cockles were an abundant food as was salmon which were all caught in the Bay. Groceries were brought from Kendal by the local cart driven by Peggy Keith who was apparently quite formidable and smoked a pipe.
At the same time travellers were starting to be attracted by the beauty of the village's surroundings and in 1826 the Crown Hotel 'offered customers good decent furniture and a daily supply of salt and fresh water'. In 1860 Edwin Waugh describes the location of the village as 'Here, where the rugged selvedge of our native district softens into the fertile beauty of the fitful sea'. A visitor writing in the local newspaper in March 1867 had this recommendation: 'It is in the character of a sanitarium that Grange is growing and will flourish. In the neighbouring woods myrtle, mignonette, laurestinus and mazereon grow wild. It is not fast nor boisterous nor overcrowded like some places one might name; it has neither bathing vans nor donkeys'.
In August 1857 the Furness railway line finally bridged the gap between Lancaster and Ulverston and trains began to run via Grange. More and larger hotels and hydros arose. Piers were built to serve sailing vessels and steamers from across the Bay. With Lancashire and Yorkshire manufacturing centres brought within two hours by rail, rich textile families began to settle in the town. The flow of day trippers and holiday makers steadily increased.
Further chapters in the book describe the buildings of Grange and how the people earned a living as well as who ran the public services and the history of the local schools and churches. There is a fascinating chapter on the walkers and workers of the sands which includes records of frequent deaths by drowning of unfortunate travellers caught out by the treacherous tides and quicksands.
Perhaps my favourite chapter in the book is that entitled 'Jottings from Old Journals'. The entries bring to life the people and history of this small town where I live. It is often said today that one town looks very like any other with a predominence of chains of shops with the same frontage but here in Grange we are fortunate to still have individually owned local shops with their own character and you really can buy almost anything you need without going further afield. Such was the case in the 1800's when W. Stalker in Main Street sold 'Costumes, Polonaises, Skirts, Straw and Leghorn Hats, Umbrellas, Parachutes and Whitby jet goods'. A little later Askew's opened a rival shop with 'Crinolines, French and English stays, hose and bonnets, cloths from Bologne, Rheims and Roubaix, all wool satins and serges and winseys (very cheap) at 6d a yard'. By 1860 Mackereth had his Grange Medical Hall which sold among other things a famous range of Gem perfumes, such as 'Grange Bouquet', 'Queen of the Lakes' and the seductively named 'Lancashire Witch'. He also ran the first circulating library in the town. Mr Birkett, of Lancaster, attended weekly to exercise his 'Painless Dentistry - A single tooth for 5/- and sets from £3.--s.,-d.'. J. Graham was the local plumber and William Riley was demonstrating the Edison Phonograph at his watchmaker's shop in Yewbarrow Terrace.
I hope this has given you a taste of the place where I live and maybe you will come and visit us sometime. Reading Detectives has taken me on a journey around the county of Cumbria. I have discovered people and places, read books old and new, learned to blog and most of all learned to look at the landscape with fresh eyes. It seemed fitting to end my journey back in Grange-over-Sands, my 'gentle township'.
31 October 2009 from Mary Rossall
- On Lindale Hill
- Grange-over-Sands: The Story of a Gentle Township
- The Silent Traveller: A Chinese Artist in Lakeland
- Red Ike
- Cumbrian Privies
- Ethel Fisher's West Cumbrian Dialect titles
- The Embalmer's Book of Recipes by Ann Lingard
- Nella Last's Peace
- Riding the Stang by Dawn Robertson
- Life on the Fell - a pictorial chronicle of a Lakeland community
- About Scout Scar
- William Wilberforce - A Summer Diary 1779
- Beatrix Potter - the unknown years
- Smoke over Shap by Margaret Potter
- Songs of a Cragsman by George Basterfield
- The Grasmere Dialect Plays
- The Grizedale Experience: Sculpture, Art & Theatre in a Lakeland Forest
- An Atlas of The English Lakes
- How Hall. Poetry and Memories. A Passion for Ennerdale by Tom Rawling
- Stumpy, Hero of the Lakes
- The High Places by A. Harry Griffin
- The Highest House in Wathendale
- Kendal by Roger Bingham
- Secrets and Legends of Old Westmorland
- Reminiscences of Wordsworth Among the Peasantry of Westmorland by Canon Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley
- Little Gods by Jacob Polley
- A Lakeland Summer
- Hunter of Harter Fell by Joseph E Chipperfield
- And Nobody Woke Up Dead
- An accessible paradise
- The Fleming Family novels and Graham Sutton
- Excursion to Loweswater. A Lakeland Visit 1865
- Writing on the Wall
- Beyond Scafell by Alan Robinson
- Rogue Herries by Hugh Walpole
- Kendal In The Nineteenth Century by A Wainwright
- In There Somewhere
- The Bondwomen by W G Collingwood
- "Ah'd Gaa Back Tomorra!"
- A Cumbrian Copper by Ray Huddart
- The Arsenic Labyrinth by Martin Edwards
- Old Will Stories by Dudley Hoys
- The Shield Ring by Rosemary Sutcliff
- T'Bacca Queen by Theodora Wilson Wilson
- Furness and the Industrial Revolution
- The Shadow of Black Combe
- The Painted Letters of Percy Kelly
- Ivver Sen
- Lakeland in the 1830s
- Wasdale Climbing Book By Michael Cocker
- Riding High by Barbara Sneyd
- Deborah in Langdale
- Early Recollections of Grange
- Hazard's Way by Roger Hubank
- Yan, Tan, Tethera
- Talk of the Town
- Capturing the Mountains
- Hope On, Hope Ever
- Mildred Edwards: Our City Our People 1889 - 1978 Memories
- Lakeland Limericks
- Surrounding loveliness
- Haweswater by Sarah Hall
- Coast to Coast by Jan Minshull
- Sunshine To The Sunless
- Geese, cattle wallopers and secret Irish paths
- Anarchists, Angels and wet Bank Holiday Mondays
- A more unconventional kind of find...?
- Skiddaw Summit by Kathleen Jones
- Thorstein of the Mere: A Saga of the Northmen in Lakeland
- Wednesday Early Closing
- Smoke Across The Fell
- The Sand Pilot of Morecambe Bay
- The Chronicles of Boggerthwaite
- Carrock Fell
- Feet in the Clouds
- Hercules and the Farmer's Wife
- Shepherd's Warning
- The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices
- I've been so busy reading I haven't had time to blog!
- Reading Detectives film
- Thank you!
- Coffee and books at the Bluebell Bookshop
- Mary learns to blog!
- Lucky 13!
- Grange over Sands get reading
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