Ancient parish in Lonsdale hundred, Lancashire North of the Sands, including mining village of Swarthmoor.


2,845 acres [1,151 ha], including 1,163 acres [471 ha] of common land on Pennington Moor and Swarthmoor, enclosed 1827


rising from 273 in 1801 to 489 by 1851, then rapid increase to 1,698 by 1881 as a result of expansion of iron mining. Declined from 1,501 in 1901, to 1,333 in 1961 but recovered to 1,794 by 2001.


manor of Pennington held by Pennington family from 12th century, descending through that family to present (see Muncaster).


farming; small-scale slate quarrying; lime-burning; gravel digging in 19th century. Iron ore mining at Lindal Moor and Carkettle by 1799; rapid expansion in mid-19th century; all mines had closed by 1914. Reservoirs supplying water to Barrow-in-Furness constructed 1879 (now used for fishing).

Places of worship:

medieval parish church of St Michael (deemed chapel under Urswick in 12th century); rebuilt 1826-7; heavily restored 1924-6. St Leonard’s mission chapel, Swarthmoor, opened 1883; lower floor used as working men’s institute and reading room; mission church no longer in use. Bethel Primitive Methodist chapel at Swarthmoor, built 1864; now Swarthmoor Methodist Church. Bible Christian chapel by 1888; closed (building later used as garage).

Schools and other institutions:

parish school recorded 1675. Replaced by public elementary school at Row Head, opened 1876; enlarged 1885; now Pennington CE Primary School. Parish poor house acquired under bequest from James Fell 1743; sold 1866 and inmates transferred to Ulverston Workhouse. Hospital for infectious diseases established at High Carley 1884; County Sanatorium added 1916; closed 1984. Pennington Memorial Hall built c.1947.