History of Barrow

A short history of Barrow Village, with information for further reading. The following is summarised from information provided by Alice Leach, Barrow-in-Furness Civic & Local History…


A short history of Barrow Village, with information for further reading.

The following is summarised from information provided by Alice Leach, Barrow-in-Furness Civic & Local History Society
(web site: www.barrowhistorysociety.co.uk).

From Barrai to Barrow - By Alice Leach

Like many other Low Furness villages, Barrow was founded as a grange or home farm by the Cistercian monks of Furness Abbey. First mentioned in monastic records in 1190, the grange of Barrai was situated close to the site occupied by William Fisher's 19thcentury farm (see No 7 of Barrow Village plan).

Granges consisted of a normal range of farm buildings albeit on a larger scale. One or possibly more large barns were used for storage and there was often a dovecote. There would have been animal sheds and there may have been fishponds or a mill. Lay brothers from the monastery worked alongside locals on these granges. According to Mick Aston, writing in "Monasteries in the Landscape", the monks' land "was intermixed in common field systems with that of the villagers and the grange was an integral part of the village structure. The historical definition of a grange tends to reflect the former a consolidated block of land from which all common rights have been excluded while the archaeological viewpoint sees granges as groups of buildings from which an estate was worked, regardless of the style of landholding".

For a map of Furness Abbey granges see the English Heritage Furness Abbey guide book 1998, and illuminated slides, displayed at Furness Abbey Museum.

A reconstruction of the grange at Dean Court Farm, Oxfordshire, based on the evidence recovered from recent excavations by Tim Allen and the Oxford Archaeological Unit. The grange belonged to Abingdon Abbey and is reproduced on p130 "Monasteries and the Landscape" by Mick Aston. The illustration is by Harry Lange, amended by Daniel Ray, Oxford Archaeological Unit.

The image is reproduced here by kind permission of Tim Allen and the Oxford Archaeological Unit, and Harry Lange.

Barrow Village, Plan of Owners and Occupiers, 1843 - Summary by W.B. Kendall

The following information relates to the plan of the Village of Barrow, 1843, based on the original surveys by W.B. Kendall C.E.

Until about the year 1780 the village of Barrow consisted of five farm-houses with the usual out-buildings, numbered respectively on the plan 1, 4, 7, 18 and 26. A sixth farm-house, which had stood near the house No 14 on the plan, was pulled down about the middle of the 18th century when Lord Cavendish acquired the estate.

Originally the Monks established eight homesteads at Barrow, two of which occupying sites near the cottages numbered 10 and 21 on the plan respectively, were rebuilt at Hindpool soon after the dissolution of the Monastery.

Besides the five farm-houses there was the house numbered 20, afterwards known as the 'Ship Inn', and two cottages; eight houses in all.

Iron ore was not exported from Barrow till the year 1745 when the Backbarrow Iron Company began occasionally to ship ore here; but no great quantity was shipped till the year 1782 when the Newland Iron Company made Barrow their principal shipping port.

About that time one or two additional cottages were provided for ore-loaders, and before the close of the 18th century, a grocer's shop and general store had been established in the village.

Early in the 19th century a larger grocer's shop was built, and at this period we find also a tailor, tide-waiter, schoolmaster, schoolmistress, and a pilot in the place, while a blacksmith attended from Hawcoat twice a week.

In 1801 the number of dwelling houses in the village was eleven. Twenty-one years later we find that a resident blacksmith, a butcher, and a shoemaker had been added to the population, a malt-kiln had been built, and the number of dwellings had increased to twenty.

In 1843, after the lapse of another twenty-one years, the number of houses was twenty-eight.

In 1842 a lease of the Ore yard was granted to John Schneider and others and in 1845 the site of the Old Railway Station, including the foreshore was acquired by the Furness Railway Company. In 1846 John Paxton sold the field behind Rabbit Hill, afterwards the site of St George's Church and Vicarage, and part of the Schools and schoolyard as far as the back of the 'Queen's Arms' to John Whitwell of Kendal, who sold the site of the Bank and the 'Harbour Hotel' in 1850, and soon afterwards conveyed the rest of the field to R W Lumley by whom it was conveyed to the Furness Railway Company and by them to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

In November, 1854, David Rigby Stables entered upon the 'Harbour Hotel'.

Barrow Harbour, from the east, showing the method of loading iron ore, from a water colour by Mrs. Michaelson. From Barrow in-Furness (1881) its history, development, commerce, industries, and institutions, by J. Richardson. The original Michaelson paintings are stored in the Dock Museum.