Kirkby Ireleth

CP in Kirkby Ireleth parish, Lonsdale hundred, Lancashire North of the Sands, including villages of Grizebeck, Sandside and Soutergate and townships of Woodland and Heathwaite.


9,702 acres [3,926 ha], of which 3,376 acres [1,366 ha] consists of unenclosed common land on Kirkby Moor. Common land at Sandside (300 acres [121 ha]) enclosed 1867. Settled areas consisted of four townships: Woodland: 1,315 acres [532 ha]; Heathwaite: 1,393 acres [564 ha]; Middle Quarter: 1,047 acres [424 ha] and Low Quarter: 2,571 acres [1,040 ha].


rising from 1,041 in 1801 to peak of 1,809 in 1841; had fallen back to 1,477 by 1901 and continued to decline to 1,247 by 2001.


manor of Kirkby Ireleth held by Kirkby family from 12th century until mortgaged by Roger Kirkby 1689, after which it passed to duchess of Buckingham, who bequeathed it to her grandson Constantine Phipps, later Lord Musgrave, who sold it 1771 to Lord John Cavendish, son of duke of Devonshire. On his death 1796, manor was united with Cavendish family’s Furness Abbey and Holker estates.


farming, estuarine fishing, woodland industries. Medieval bloomeries (forge at Kirkby had ‘gone to decay’ by 1675); woollen textiles (recorded in name Tenter Bank, in Heathwaite). Lime-burning in Low Quarter; bobbin mill in Woodland; sickle smithy at Grizebeck in 19th century. Major industry from mid-19th century was Burlington slate quarries on Kirkby Moor: quarrying recorded from 18th century; major expansion from 1843 (peak output 1850-1880), with slate exported by tramway to flat boats on quay at Sandside until opening of Furness Railway 1847. Quarrying continues today.

Places of worship:

name ‘Kirkby’ (Scandinavian for ‘settlement with a church’) suggests church founded by 10th century. Medieval parish church of St Cuthbert at Beckside; tower rebuilt 1829 and again 1904; rest of church restored 1881, 1884. Chapel of ease at Woodland pre-Reformation; rebuilt 1689; rebuilt again 1822 and 1864-5; now church of St John the Evangelist. Church of Good Shepherd (originally mission church) at Grizebeck built 1898; closed 2012. Baptist chapel by St Mary’s Well opened 1829; closed 1876; replaced by new chapel at Wall End, built 1876, which became Christian Brethren meeting house; now Church of Christ. Methodist chapel at Marshside, built 1870; now Kirkby-in-Furness Methodist Church. Gospel hall, Sandside, built 19th century; closed 2010.

Schools and other institutions:

Endowed schools at Beckside and in Woodland, recorded 1818. School at Grizebeck built c.1829; rebuilt as Board School 1878; closed 1984. Girls’ school recorded at Grizebeck 1849. Burlington School built 1877, replacing school at Beckside; now Burlington CE Primary School. Former Beckside school now village hall (Beckside Rooms). Village hall at Grizebeck built 1928; rebuilt 2010-11. Parish room at Woodland. Community centre at Beckside, built 1970s.