HISTORY OF STORTH

(including Carr Bank, Hazelslack and Sandside)

It is hoped that Westmorland village history may be collected and published in book form in the near future, and for this purpose the County Federation of Womans Institutes has asked all Institutes to write their individual histories. In Storth, a small committee was appointed to do this and the following account is the outcome of its efforts. Much information has been obtained from the Beetham Repository compiled by the Rev. Wm. Hutton, who was Vicar of Beetham from 1762 to 1811, also from many residents of Storth and district to whom thanks are due for their help in gathering material.

March 1956

Storth is an old Norse name signifying a woody place.  The whole surrounding district appears to have gone under the name of Woodland at one time, but this name, in later, years, applied only to Storth and eventually died out. Included with Storth are:

All the above were part of the ancient parish of Beetham, which was bounded "on the north by Heversham, south by Warton, east by Burton and west by the sea and part of Cartmel". It had a circumference of twenty four miles and  included  the surrounding villages of Farlton, Hale, Arnside, Witherslack and Meathop.  Storth remains today a part of the civil parish of Beetham, though for ecclesiastical purposes, most of it has now been placed under Arnside.

In prehistoric times, the whole area must have lain below the sea and some of the limestone on which it lies is rich in fossil shells. Ice pressure, at a later period, must be held to account for the many ups and downs of the district and at Fishcarling Head, half a mile north of "Summerhouse Point", may be seen the last in a line of glacial mounds which can be traced up the valley to Kendal and thence to the summit of Shap. Among the boulders found here, are pink granite, dark porphyry, blue slate and grey limestone. The country around is now largely woodland and pasture, but much more land must formerly have been cultivated, probably up to about 1900, as evidenced by the number of small farmhouses now used only as residences.

Dallam Park was planted about 1720 when the first part of the present house was built.The estuary was once much narrower and deeper and the "Repository" tells us that in 1700 a stone could be thrown from Fishcarling Head to the opposite shore. "Summerhouse Point" was once known as "Bowling Green Point" and near this spot once stood a little house on a rock with a good bowling green near it. Later, there was built a round stone tower which is said to have been an early custom-house. This has been demolished. Between St. John's Cross and Briar Cote lay a small inlet known as "Bummesha" or "Bummesha Bay".

Little is known of the early inhabitants.  After the departure of the Romans in 410, Danes and Norsemen, in turn, held sway in this part of England where the present counties of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire formed a district known as Cumbria. By the time of the Norman Conquest, the Saxons had gained an upper hand and the Saxon word "ham", meaning a village, is found in Heversham, Beetham and Dallham (Dallam). They lived in small self-contained communities, raising cattle and sheep with a few crops. Trade was largely by barter of goods and services.

From the earliest recorded history, we learn that Tostig, Earl of Northumberland, owned land in Beetham at the time of the Conquest. Tostig, however, was in rebellion against his brother Harold, Saxon king of England and was defeated and killed by Harold at the battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066. In the same year, Harold was defeated and killed at the battle of Hastings and William the Conqueror came to the throne. William parcelled out the country amongst his followers and Roger of Poictou became owner of most of Westmorland and Lancashire, taking up his residence at Lancaster Castle. Roger, however, soon fell from favour and his lands were forfeited. A large part of Westmorland and part of Lancashire down to the Lune passed to Ivo de Tailbois, an Angevin, who became first Baron of Kendal. Westmorland, at this time, was divided by the Normans into four wards, one of them being Kendal Ward which included all this part of the country.

In 1076, Ivo of Tailbois gave the Church of Beetham and certain land in Haverbrack to the monks of St. Mary's Abbey, York.  From this time onwards, they were held, in turn, by various  Religious Houses until the Dissolution  of  the Monasteries under Henry VIII, about 1539.William of Haverbrack, to quote the "Repository",  - "granted to Conishead Priory the privilege of grinding corn at his Miln, Multure Free, with as much Sand as they pleased and a House for erecting a Salt Work between the two Roads below the Wood."(This must have been about Dixies). It should, perhaps, be explained that the "Sand" would be required in the recovery of salt from sea water. "Multure Free" means free of all charges. Under Crown ownership, the above properties were dealt with under two headings, - the "Manor", mainly land in Haverbrack; and the "Rectory" with an income derived from tithes, rents and other similar rights and privileges obtained from a much wider area covering the old parish of Beetham. The "Manor" passed through various hands and a large part of it was eventually purchased by Edward Wilson of Nether Levens in whose family it still remains, the present owner being Sir Maurice Bromley Wilson of Dallam Tower.

The "Rectory" was first let by the Crown at £25 per annum in twenty one year leases, but in 1612, it was granted by James the First to Sir Francis Duckett, the said £25 per annum to be paid to the Crown for ever. Later members of the Duckett family seem to have met with financial difficulties and sold many of the tithes to farmers and other land owners of the district. Amongst these were the "tythes of Corn, Grain and Sheaves, Hemp and Line and Hay yearly arising etc. within the Fields, territories and precincts of Helslack and Storth". These were sold in 1646 by Anthony Duckett, a son of Sir Francis, to John Thomlinson of Helslack for £140 and a yearly rent of 10/-. About 1750, what was described as the "skeleton of the Rectory, the once opulent Rectory of Beetham" was sold for £2,500 to Daniel Wilson of Dallam Tower by Thomas Shepherd who had married a great grand-daughter of the above Sir Francis.  In 1756, certain "Small Tythes" were purchased for £120 to augment the salary of the Beetham vicar, the amount being raised by public subscription.  The "Repository" gives the names of fourteen inhabitants of Storth, Arnside and Helslack who gave in all £2.19s. 6d towards the above. It should, perhaps, be stated that the vicar's share of income from the "Rectory" was originally only £13 per annum.As an indication of the value of money at this time, the following items are of interest:-

Butter

3d.per lb.(of 18 ounces).

Eggs

About six a penny.

Young Ducks

4d each.

Chickens

2.5d each

Beef and mutton

2.5d per lb

Salmon

1d to 2d per lb.


A labourer earned 4d. a day with food or 10d. a day without. A carpenter earned 6d. a day with food or 1/- without.As is usual in a limestone area, streams are almost non- existent, and early inhabitants relied for their water supplies upon a number of springs and wells. Among the latter, were School Tarn Well near the site of the present school; a well in Through's Lane described as having many steps down to it and being sixteen feet deep from the road. Kell Well in the garden of "Kellet Cottage" used to give great quantities of water and the Rev. Wm. Hutton relates that he once saw it run up to "Bowling Green Point" and there join the River Bela: the name may be taken from the Saxon word "kell" or "keld" meaning a well, or it may be just an abbreviation of St. Michael's.  Many of these wells dried up in the summer, but there was a never failing source of supply in a well at the foot of Guard Hill at the spot where it joins the main road.

Up to about two hundred years ago, pack horses were used for transport.  There were no roads such as exist today, but numerous rough tracks and pathways, many of which survive in the footpaths of today. From Storth, people went by Throughs Lane over the stile on the right of the Beetham Road across the Fairy Steps and so to Beetham where there was a shop. There was an iron ring in the rock face near the Steps and to this was attached a rope by means of which sacks of flour and other parcels were lowered on the return journey. The old "church path" from Arnside to Beetham passed close to Hazelslack Tower and from there to Underlade Wood and on by Fairy Steps and Windy Scar. The timber for the building of Beetham Church is said to have been taken from Underlade.

Many changes were brought about by the building of the Arnside railway viaduct about 1857.  The railway company undertook to maintain a swing bridge over the Kent Channel but in consideration of not having to fulfil this obligation, it agreed to make and maintain a road from Arnside to the Dixies. The first part of this road was constructed in 1859 from Arnside to St. John's Cross. The second part from Sandy Bank (Storth Road End) to the Dixies followed in 1867. The remaining part was not built until 1880 and agreement had to be reached with Mr. Holden of Arnbarrow, around whose land it lay. The Arnside to Hincaster branch railway line with its station at Sandside was also built about 1867, road and rail thus cutting off what had been part of the estuary. Owing to the development of the bus service, this branch line ceased to carry passengers in May 1942, but still has a considerable goods traffic.

The earlier road from Arnside followed the sands and went by way of Green Lane up to Kellet Close Hill from where it passed through Crow Wood and between Dallam Tower and the kennels to join an old turnpike road which followed the course of the river on its south side and reach Milnthorpe by the old bridge at the entrance to the village. This bridge is almost the only surviving remnant of the old road and still serves as a way into Dallam Park.

The principal roads leading into and out of Storth have nearly all been constructed within the last hundred years.  The one exception is the road passing from north to south through the centre of the village and on past Hazelslack Tower, a road which was much used at one time for the carting of iron ore from the pier at Sandy Bank to the Leighton Furnace.  Along this road, must have passed in 1745 a detachment of the Young Pretender's army which was bound for London but destined to reach only as far as Derby, from where it returned to Scotland in some disorder. They seized a number of horses belonging to Leighton Furnace and, to their credit it must be said, paid a sum of money by way of compensation at a later date.

Some of the roads were quaintly named, the present Shaw Lane being known as "Auld Cockle Loan" and the road from the "Old House" past Thorny Hill was "Jan's Loan".  There were several thatched houses and one of these, "Hazel Bank", has been re-roofed and still stands. Many of the old houses bear the names of former residents, such as "Bouskell Cottage", "Crozier Cottage", and "Dixies". The village pound is said to be behind the cottages which lie alongthe main road near the centre of the village and opposite to the garden of the "Old House". Up to a hundred years ago, the centre of the village was a group of farm buildings with a very few old cottages. The head of Green Lane near where "Green Bank" now stands, was known as "Hatler's Close" and was the site of a farmhouse.

On land to the right of the Post Office, now partly occupied by two houses, was a yard with peat store, barn and stables. Opposite to the Post Office was another large barn now converted to a house. It seems likely that the road here ran through what must have been a farmyard. A considerable piece of land enclosed by the angle formed by Storth Road and Green Lane  was known as "Storth Meadow" and the building here is of recent origin.

As to the population of those days, the Rev. Wm. Walker makes the following interesting comment on that part of his parish:- "In the year 1750 A.D. it contained 164 Houses, 766 Souls and buries its inhabitants in about fifty years. On this Account I make the general Reflection:- Our Parish is far more opulent than formerly, the houses neater and better supported and maintained but 100 Years ago the Parish was far more populous.  In times of Vassalage, there were more Cottages and Beggars".  Included in the above figures were Sandside, Storth and Hazelslack with 36 houses and 156 inhabitants.

It has been found difficult to account for St. John's Cross. Funeral parties, on their way to Beetham may well have forded the estuary here, at some far distant time, and would probably halt at St. John's Cross for rest and refreshment.  It is said that they used to kneel here to give thanks for safe arrival after what must have been, at times, a difficult and dangerous crossing. It seems likely that a cross stood here at one time and also that it had some connection with the old Saxon chapel of St. John's at Beetham. This chapel stood near the River Bela, a few hundred yards south-east of where St. Michael's now stands. That it had a burial ground is evident from the great quantity of bones dug up on the site many years ago. There was another St. John's Cross which stood between the chapel and the river. Little more is known of this old chapel beyond the fact that it fell to ruin about nine hundred years ago. It is known that the dead were, for many years, brought over from Witherslack to Beetham for burial at St. Michael's, but in this case, the crossing would probably be made by ford or boat from Foulshaw to the Dixies at Sandside. Such interments went on until about 1669 when Witherslack obtained its own church burial ground, thus bringing to an end the need for any crossing of the river.

Arnside and Hazelslack Towers, also a former Dallam Tower were described as "military holds". Traditionally, they are said to have been built between 1370 and 1500 by Lucy, Margaret, and Katherine, sisters of Thomas de Throeng, a wealthy family who shared amongst them a fourth part of the Barony of Kendal, Thomas being also at one time "Parson of Beetham". Some modern antiquarians class them with fifteenth and sixteenth century towers, while others believe them to belong to a much earlier time. All that is definitely known about Hazelslack is that it was never completed, and was in ruins by 1811. Dallam is said to have been ruiness in the reign of Henry VIII, that is before 1541, and a manor house was built on its site in front of where the present house stands and looking down the Bela towards Whitbarrow Scar.  These towers were no doubt intended as a protection against the incursions of the Scots and would afford a temporary shelter at such times for the people with their cattle who lived around them.

Storth Sea Bank was built about 1776 along the lower part of the estuary in order to preserve the mosses from the sea and protected a considerable area of land out towards Silverdale. Its first cost of £120 which was paid, in proportion to their holdings, by the owners of "march, moss and turbary grounds within Storth, Arnside and Helslack". Owing to a fall in the level of the estuary, it no longer serves any purpose, but a part of it may still be seen on the left of the bus route from Carr Bank to Arnside.

In 1500, a sum of money was raised for the founding of a school  at Beetham but must have proved  inadequate. A subscription list dated 25 April 1620 gives the names of seventeen inhabitants of Storth and Helslack who contributed the sum of £1. 6s. 3d towards a total of £32. 19s. 1d for the "Building of a school and the use of the master".  The school was eventually built, after some further donations had been acquired, in the year 1663, and must have served a wide area.

Certain "Tythes of Wool and Lamb", including those  from Sandside, Storth and Helslack went to its upkeep. In 1735 Richard Fell of Storth left £20 to the school.  The name survives in "Dick Fell Cottage" at the foot of Guard Hill Road.  It is said that this cottage was occupied by a railway guard who worked on the Ulverston-Carnforth railway when it first opened, and not liking the name "Dick Fell", changed it to "Guard Hill" and thus, unintentionally, gave a name to the road.

The school at Beetham was rebuilt in 1841. Storth itself, in the seventeenth century, was no more than a small fishing village with a few farms lying around it.  The "Repository" gives a fairly good general picture of life in this and the following century. Occupations were fishing and the gathering of cockles and mussels. Salmon was noted for its quality.  We are told "there are shrimps in the sands if they would get proper nets to take them", also that "herrings sometimes visit this coast". Oats were extensively grown, while hemp and flax were raised for cloth, twine and rope making.

Potatoes and other root crops were unknown and hay had to be carefully saved to feed the cattle during the winter, though it is worth noting, in a district where there is so much holly, that the less prickly leaves from the upper part of this tree proved quite a useful source of food for cattle. Most of them, however, had to be slaughtered in the autumn and some of the beef was salted down for use in the winter. Sheep were all important and the spinning and weaving of wool were carried out by the woman who provided all the clothing. Clogs were the universal footwear. Fuel was peat and wood. Main foods were haverbread and poddish (i.e. oatcakes or oatbread and a sort of porridge), whilst home brewed ale was drunk at all meals. Other occupations were quarrying and wood and peat cutting.  Much of the wood was used for charcoal burning and many of the woods around were bought by the owners of the Leighton Furnace which lies a little to the south of Hazelslack.  The furnace site does not show evidence of very ancient origin, but it is thought that there may have been a primitive "bloomery" or charcoal furnace on this spot for some centuries.

To quote again from the "Repository" -  "Near St. John's Cross at the side of the sand, there was an attempt made some years ago to get copper. It was renewed lately and what they did find was very good but it lies in small veins and the shafts go below the level of the tides, so that the expense was great and the scheme frustrated". This place appears to have been below where "Waterdale" now stands in the region of "Bummesha Bay".  The time would probably be between 1700 and 1750.

From the coming of the Normans, ownership of land and property lay in comparatively few hands, including the Crown and various Religious Houses. Wars and political events resulted in it changing hands very frequently, but in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, there evolved a new type of landowner in the yeoman or statesman who became enfranchised by the purchase of the rights of ownership, including titles, etc.  The death roll from the bubonic plague (the Black Death) had caused a great shortage of labour and many owners found themselves obliged to sell their land, having no labour to work it.  These yeomen played an increasingly important part in the affairs of the country, particularly in the north. Much land, however, was still owned by the lord of the manor and continues to be up to the present day.

Among popular pastimes of these days were cockfighting and wrestling.  The site of the old cockpit is believed to be in a field  by  "Kellet Cottage".  This  ground  was  formerly uncultivated and part of the fell. A primitive type of football was also played and card games were enjoyed in the winter evenings.

There was much intermarriage and little communication with the rest of the country, hence the dialect retains a greater number of Saxon words. Though it now appears to be little spoken, a goodly number of dialect words survive in the familiar speech of today. Many old family names still exist, amongst them being:- Burrow, Fell, Hudson, Newsham, Nicholson, Pearson, Wilson, and Woof.

We find in the "Repository" that "Helslack gave to the writer of this book a good wife, Mary the daughter of Mr. John Hutton.  God took her from him in 1768. She and her only Son died Martyrs of Consumption". Mary died at the age of twenty-nine. Her memorial may be seen in Beetham church.

The estuary has been a source of interest from the earliest times and one quaintly worded description of long ago, reads:- "Beetham Sands are well adapted for bathing and though there is only water sufficient for this healthy recreation during three or four of the highest tides of each fortnight, many visitors come hither in summer, the air being remarkably salubrious and the scenery in the neighbourhood beautifully diversified.  The sands are about one mile in length, and are sometimes covered with carriages and pedestrians, though at regular intervals, old Neptune assumes his sway and vessels of varied burthen ride on the flowing tide!".

There was a road over the sands at low tide from Foulshaw to the Dixies Inn which was situated at the end of the road from Milnthorpe and was owned by the Misses Wilson of Dallam Tower. Horses and carts crossed regularly and were sometimes caught by the tide with loss of life. An old saying runs......... "Kentand Keer have parted many a man and his mere". A ferry also ran at this point, probably for some hundreds of years and wedding and funeral parties from Witherslack came by this route on their way to Beetham. A ferry-man was employed by the Wilsons of Dallam Tower and the charge for crossing, when last in regular use, was 3d at low tide and 6d at full tide. In September 1905, a disaster occurred here when the boat carrying ten passengers was swamped, resulting in the loss of six lives. It was heavily loaded and the sea was rough at the time.  The victims were members of a party of holiday makers who had been staying at Low Foulshaw and were returning to Oldham.

There was also a ford at St. John's Cross connecting with Meathop and Ulpha. Presumably, this would be made unusable by the erection of the Arnside Viaduct in 1857.  There was an alternative right of way provided for pedestrians over the viaduct but this right was abolished many years ago owing to the danger from increased rail traffic Sandside, sometimes known as the port of Milnthorpe, was the only seaport that Westmorland ever had. It existed as early as the reign of Queen Elizabeth the First, and there are records of a customs officer, - one Barnabye Bennison, - as early as 1558.

There were two piers, one near the Dixies, the head of which may be seen in the bank which projects from the roadway towards the river and is often used for the parking of cars, whilst the head of the other pier can be seen in the narrow roadway projecting from the front of the little shop at Sandy Bank, Storth Road End. An old building which lies about half way between the piers and now on the quarry road was the custom and warehouse and is now all that remains of the port. In the eighteenth  century, coal was brought here by  sea  from Whitehaven, largely for the use of factories in Kendal.

The first half of the nineteenth century was a busy time and trade with Liverpool and elsewhere was so brisk, that Walter Berry, the carrier of Milnthorpe kept about twenty-five horses to cope with the delivery of goods. Flour was brought from Liverpool and other Lancashire ports.  The outgoing vessels carried agricultural produce, hempen, cloth, ropes, etc., and in the early days, before the salt works of Cheshire absorbed the industry, they also took salt from the "salt steads" at the south end of the estuary, one of which was near Guard Hill.  At Plantation Cottages were a small cottage and barn known as"Powder House" used for storage in connection with the gunpowder works at Sedgewick and Gatebeck. The vessels brought in the saltpetre for its manufacture and took out the finished powder. Iron ore was also brought in considerable quantities from Lindal to be smelted at Leighton Furnace.

Some of the vessels were of fully a hundred tons burthen and among the names long remembered were "Tickler", "Hope", "Old John", "Elizabeth" and "Wild Duck". A description of the port in 1824 tells of three fine vessels containing St. Helens coal coming to Milnthorpe, Sandside near the Dixies Inn.  It also states "there is great competition in the coal trade at Milnthorpe, and coals are selling as low as 7d per cwt". Another paragraph reads, - "From this time forward, for many years, Milnthorpe Regattas were held". The Innkeeper at St. John's Cross was interested in various ways in the trade of that part of the estuary. He made a charge for anchorage and was once found to have a store of contraband in a hiding place in the rock behind his house. The old inn sign, of which Mr. Holden of Arnbarrow took possession, bore the following inscription:-

Pay me down me ankerage,
Or else I'll tell you plain,
You'll never cast your anker down
In Bummeshire Bay again".

It seems likely that this little bay would provide shelter for the smaller boats and fishing vessels. The channel of the Bela was also used at some time by the smaller boats which were moored between the bend in the river, known as Dallam Wheel and the old bridge at Milnthorpe.

It is said to relate that the second half of the nineteenth century brought a decline in all this activity and the end came with the building of the Arnside Viaduct which completely closed the estuary to shipping of all kinds. Since then, there has been much silting up and the sand has taken on a rather muddy appearance.  A further result is that the bore or head of the tide which used to reach a height of three and a half feet now seldom rises to eighteen inches. It may appear that the building of the viaduct had much to do with this decline, but the chief causes were no doubt the development of road and rail traffic and the concentration of industry in bigger centres.  A further cause was the replacement of the small sailing vessels by the larger steamships which could not have used the estuary.

Storth seems to have been, at one time noted, if not notorious for its drinking houses. The Dixies Inn must have been one of the earliest while others were "Swine Cheek" at Storth Road End where "Woodlands" now stands, "The Dutchman" at Carr Bank, and one at St. John's Cross. The "Ship", the only one to survive, has been much modernised in recent years. There were many others which were known as "jerries" and "Crozier Cottage" was one of these. Much ale was brewed locally and at "Rose Hill" there are still indications of the production of home brew. There would be no lack of custom in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with shipping at Sandside and the bringing in of navvies at a later date for the building of the railway.  Many tales have been told of the fights which took place almost nightly in some of these houses.

There are also stories of smuggling, though no records have been traced. "Ivy Cottage" at the upper end of Guard Hill Road is often spoken of as "Smugglers'  Cottage". Poaching, especially for salmon, has gone on continuously for some hundreds of years. In 1699, a man was fined 2/6d for poaching a salmon valued at 2/-d.

Until the end of the first World War, the village was quite a small one. A number of small houses were then erected until the second World War stopped further building. Between 1947 and 1950 the Rural District Council built an estate of eighteen houses which have provided comfortable homes for many young people and their families.

The present population is made up of approximately five hundred adults and one hundred children occupying about two hundred houses. Many of the inhabitants are employed locally in quarrying, lime burning, lorry driving, garaging and repair of motor transport, farming and egg production.  Among other businesses are builders' merchants with yards, warehouse and saw-mill, a small printing works and a workshop for making swills. Weather-worn limestone from the nearby fells is sent to all parts of the country for the making of rock gardens.

This industrial development has taken place very largely within the last fifty years, though quarrying and lime-burning have been carried out for a great number of years.  There are the remains of a number of very old quarries and lime kilns scattered about the district. Mr. Woof of "Crozier Cottage", now aged eighty-five, started quarrying at nine years of age and earned 1/-d a day. All drilling was then done by hand and the rate paid for it was 4d per foot. Mention must be made of one Frederick Burrow, who was an artist in stained glass. he lived and worked at Sandside round about 1875, and one fine window in Chester Cathedral is entirely his work.

Storth Primary School was opened on January 25th 1875, as a Church of England School, the cost being raised by public subscription.  It began with one teacher and with thirty to thirty-five scholars in attendance. Between 1880 and 1890, numbers rose to over sixty and in 1890, an assistant teacher was appointed. There are now two teachers with fourteen juniors in the school and thirteen infants in the Village Hall. The fall in numbers is no doubt due to the lower age limit fixed by the last Education Act, and to the increased travelling facilities permitting a wider choice of school. Owing to the growing difficulty of providing for its upkeep, the school was handed over to the Education Authority in 1953. In the Mission Church of All Saints, there is a brass plaque bearing the following inscription:- This  Building was originally an  Institute provided for Storth by Harry Arnold of Arnbarrow. Ruth Ramsbottom, his daughter, presented the building to the Parish for Church use.  Her sister, Mary Elizabeth Gough Seagrave acted as organist herein for many years.

The Institute was a combined reading and billiard room. So far as can be ascertained, the Church began about 1920 by the holding of services in this room and continued thus until 1929 when the Village Hall took the place of the institute. The building  was then refurnished and has since  been used exclusively as a church. It will seat about fifty.

The Methodist Church was erected and furnished by Joseph Pattison Drewett, who was a member of the Society of Friends and a master at the Quaker School in Kendal. Although intended as a Quaker Chapel, it was conducted as an undenominational church and Mr. Drewett was honorary secretary and treasurer from its commencement in 1884 until his death in 1898.  His successors continued it until 1935, when it was purchased by the Ulverston Methodists to be handed over first to the Lancaster Circuit for a brief period and then to the Kendal Circuit of which it now forms a part. Its seating capacity is about sixty.

The Village Hall was opened in 1929. It has an assembly room with an excellent dance floor which is also used for badminton and it will seat about two hundred people. There is also a billiard room not at present in use and a kitchen which is much used, being part of the feeding centre for the Education Authority.  The hall also provides school accommodation for infant children. The site was given by Mrs. M.E.G. Seagrave of Arnbarrow and the cost of building was raised by public effort.

For a considerable length of time, there has been a lending library available in the schoolroom on one evening each week, maintained by voluntary effort and supplied with books from Kendal Public Library. The War Memorial, a monument in the form of a cross in the centre of the village, gives the names of those who lost their lives in the two great wars. Eight men died in the 1914-1918 war and one woman and six men in that of 1939-1945.

The piped water supply from Lupton reservoirs was brought into the village about 1907 and a balancing tank on the top of Haverbrack was introduced in 1934, and since 1954, there has been public lighting to a very limited extent.

Many types of people have been attracted by the surrounding countryside with its estuary, wooded hillsides and interesting limestone formations. A considerable number of retired people have made their homes here and many visitors have come during the summer months when camping and caravanning are popular.

Before the closing of the railway line to passenger traffic, Kendal people came out here to hold their "Gala Days" and on such occasions, a special train would bring in several hundred people who roamed the shores and scrambled over Haverbrack.

Fishing for fluke has long been popular and on one occasion in the Autumn of 1955, as many as three hundred anglers were counted along the shore of the estuary from the Dixies to the salt marshes opposite Carr Bank.

In 1954, the myxomatosis affecting the whole country reached this district, and, it is believed, wiped out the whole rabbit population, - a very large one. Red squirrels are still seen from time to time, but less frequently as the number of houses grows. For many years, there has been a herd of fallow deer in Dallam Park. The herd at present numbers about twenty.

Ash, yew, hazel and spindle grow well over the limestone and blackthorn often makes a good show in the hedges and elsewhere in the early spring. Perhaps what may be termed the outstanding feature of springtime in Storth is the abundant show of apple and damson blossom which rarely fails to materialise. The small wild daffodil, once plentiful, is unfortunately growing rarer owing to over-gathering. Amongst other rare wild plants to be found in the neighbourhood are - basil, thyme, bird's eye primrose, casline thistle, drop wort (rice flower), green hellebore (felons grass), gromwell and lily-of-the-valley.

One  of the members, Mrs. M.E. Chawner , has kindly contributed the following note on bird life.

One of the delights of living near to an estuary is, to a bird lover, the fact that there are birds to observe all the year round. The Kent Estuary is singularly fortunate in autumn and winter as so many migrants come here, e.g. greenshanks, barred and black tailed godwits, golden plovers, mergansers and goosanders. Huge flocks of curlews, red shanks, oyster catchers, knots, ringed plovers, dunlin and lapwings are seen on the shore when the tide begins to ebb and are a source of unfailing delight.

In the winter of 1947, waxwings were seen in large numbers in the neighbourhood, feeding on berries, and the following year, the great grey shrike stayed for a week in Carr Bank.  Five species of tits are common in this district, the blue, great, marsh and cole are easily attracted to a bird table and thus close observation can be made. The spring visitors are a joy, and it is pleasant to here the dawn chorus in April and May at 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. March brings the missel thrush's song at its best. The "storm cock of March" as it is named, loves to get on to the top of a tree on a windy day and sing so loudly that it can be heard for a long distance. About the 14th February, one listens for the first song of the chaffinch. As spring approaches, summer migrants arrive, cliff-chaff, willow wren, common and lesser whitethroat, and occasionally the red-starts and treepipits song is heard.

In recent years, the green woodpecker has established himself in our neighbourhood and his laughing call is one of the pleasures of spring.  One of the largest heronries in the district is in Dallam Park. A census is taken every year of the number of nests, and the average over a period of years is about fifty.

During the last few years, several rare birds have been seen, e.g. spotted redshanks, little gulls, spoonbills, avocets and black tern. The haw finch, common and pied flycatchers have all been seen in the Storth area".

MARCH 1956


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