Thursday, August 25, 2016

Dalton DMV, Cumbria

Dalton DMV
Burton In Kendal

I've finally found some more information regarding the deserted Medieval village of Dalton, situated just to the South West of Burton in Kendal, so thought it would be a good idea to update the site with some more detail regarding these earthworks.

Documentary evidence exists relating to Dalton, in the Lay Subsidy Roles, dating from 1334 to 1336. These documents are records of taxation, and were kept between the 12th and 17th centuries. It appears that Dalton was occupied and flourished until its abandonment sometime between 1820, when it first appeared on the tithe map, and 1891, when it appeared on the OS first edition 25" map. 

The manor of Dalton is recorded in Domesday Book (1086) and is at this point, under Crown control. Sometime between the 11th and 12th centuries, the lands around Dalton passed to the de Croft family. By 1489 it had found its way into the control of Piers Legh. For the next three hundred years, until 1797, it remained a possession of the Legh family, with the last male heir being Thomas Legh in 1797. After Thomas' death, the estates passed to his sisters who sold it to the Rev. Geoffrey Hornby. From Geoffrey, the estates then passed down to Francis Mason-Hornby. 

It's possible that the caput, or the centre of Dalton was at one time Dalton Old Hall....possibly based around the tower (now in ruins) that's lies next to the modern (18th century) hall house. The village, North of the hall, would have been a collection of farmsteads built to take advantage of woodland, arable land and pasture. There is evidence here today of track-ways, building platforms, field boundaries, enclosures and ridge and furrow....all pointing towards a rich and successful farming community. 

To the South of Dalton, as photographed here, and the old hall, another settlement can still be seen in the landscape. A map of 1694 seems to suggest that these settlements had already been abandoned, possibly due to the establishment of a deer park associated with Dalton Hall. The park was granted a licence in 1372, to the de Croft family, and gave the family permissions to enclose some five hundred acres. Part of the park, some two hundred acres, encroached on land that had been used as arable and pasture for the settlements here. It's not clear if the creation of the park forced the inhabitants from their homes, or if the settlements here were already deserted. 

Some records make mention of a serious episode\episodes of plague that resulted in the area being depopulated, specifically mentioning village\s near Dalton old Hall. Whether a 14th century plague outbreak was responsible for the abandonment of some of these farmsteads is certainly not clear however.

The Southern portion of the settlements at Dalton, not shown here, were still occupied to some extent between the 17th and 19th centuries. It was still a thriving community as late as 1820, as it is prominently documented on the tithe map for that year. Between the production of this map, and 1891 however, when the settlement was shown as deserted, something happened, either as a 'big bang' event, or a slow decline, with the result that it was totally abandoned. The last buildings to be erected in this general area, date from 1837 and 1865, now in ruins.

Dalton still provides us with a great set of intriguing remains, seen as earthworks, standing and laying stones, boundary mounds, walls and building platforms. Open field systems can still be seen, ruffled with the lines of ploughing. 

There are also a number of lime kilns scattered within the landscape, evidence of later industrial use of the area. Limestone outcrops are in abundance and would have offered easy picking for workers looking to process lime stone for domestic or small scale industrial use. 

Above. 1694 map of Dalton.

This is a great site, with numerous remains, and it's fairly accessible from Dalton Lane which leads West out of the Southern end of Burton in Kendal.

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