The Early History of Man's Activities

in the Quernmore Area.


Phil Hudson



This paper hopes to provide a chronological outline of the events which were important in creating the landscape changes in the Quernmore forest area.


There was movement into the area by prehistoric man and some further incursions in the Anglo-Saxon and the Norse periods leading to Saxon estates and settled agricultural villages by the time of the Norman Conquest.  These villages and estates were taken over by the Normans, and were held of the King, as recorded in Domesday.  The Post-Norman conquest new lessees made some dramatic changes and later emparked, assarted and enclosed several areas of the forest.  This resulted in small estates, farms and vaccaries being founded over the next four hundred years until these enclosed areas were sold off by the Crown putting them into private hands.  Finally there was total enclosure of the remaining commons by the 1817 Award. 


The area around Lancaster and Quernmore appears to have been occupied by man for several thousand years, and there is evidence in the forest landscape of prehistoric and Romano-British occupation sites.  These can be seen as relict features and have been mapped as part of my on-going study of the area. (see Maps 1 & 2).  Some of this field evidence can be supported by archaeological excavation work, recorded sites and artifact finds. 


For prehistoric occupation in the district random finds include: mesolithic flints,[1] polished stone axe heads at Heysham;[2] worked flints at Galgate (SD 4827 5526), Catshaw and Haythornthwaite; stone axe and hammer heads found in Quernmore during the construction of the Thirlmere pipeline c1890;[3] a Neolithic bowl, Mortlake type, found in Lancaster,[4] a Bronze Age boat burial,[5] at SD 5423 5735; similar date fragments of cinerary urn on Lancaster Moor,[6] and several others discovered in Lancaster during building works c1840-1900.[7] 


Several Romano-British sites have been mapped along with finds of rotary querns from the same period and associated artifacts.  The area was exploited economically by the Romans and some of the Roman-period tile and pottery kiln sites have been mapped and excavated and are well documented.[8] 


There was probably some occupation of the area during the Dark Ages.  However, there is no definite proof of settlement at this time, though some of the mapped unclassified relict landscape features may date from this period.  In north west Lancashire any Dark Age occupation appears to have carried on through into the Anglo-Norse period, one for which in Quernmore there is no documentary evidence, only unreliable weak relict landscape features and some dated but not site-specific artifact finds. 


However, several upland farm sites could have been of Norse foundation, or possibly used as sheiling sites.  Such sites were then occupied right through into the medieval period and might have formed the nucleus of some upland hamlets, and the later vaccary and demesne farms.  The evidence for this was discussed in an earlier paper[9]

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Map One: Enclosures and relict features in North Quernmore

Click to see full size image (40K)

The name Quernmore with its pure OE elements cweorn (quern)amor (moor) does not appear until the early thirteenth century, in a 1225/8 Metes document.[10]  Other place-name evidence suggests pre-Conquest foundation for some of the surrounding vills and farms.  Many have Anglo-Saxon or Norse name elements, viz: Old English -tun (Caton & Halton), -ham (Cockerham & Bowerham), Old Norse -by (Hornby) and some farm sites as in -thwaite (Haythornthwaite), Carr (Red Car), some sites have elements derived from both OE, -lang, ON -thwaite, as at Langthwaite.  There are also some survivals of Old Norse "sheiling" sites with name elements  -erg  now contracted and decayed to –er  as in Ortner,[11] Winder and Salter.[12]  Uld as in Uldale, is possibly the corruption Ul[d] or Whul[d]thwait (old lands) at the west end of Littledale, and perhaps signifies some old lands or enclosed area.  Shaw suggests that Ortner, which was a named vaccary in the early thirteenth century, was an airghe or sheiling[13] belonging to the vill of Overton, a Norse settlement in the Lune estuary.[14]  For further works which discuss these place name elements and distribution in the landscape of the North West, see Ekwall (1922),[15] Smith (1956),[16] Fellows-Jensen (1978),[17] Higham[18] and Whyte (1985).[19] 


The history in the period before the Norman Conquest is vague, as there was never a named vill or manor of Quernmore,[20] but "The Domesday Book" recorded the lands here as dependant vills of Halton, in the hands of Earl Tostig.[21]  Cunliffe-Shaw disagrees with this; he interprets the lands to have been held in 1065 by Gemot of York, as Tostig had been proclaimed an outlaw in 1065.  By 1086 the area was held by the king, after it had been held by Count Roger of Poitou and then confiscated on account of his misdeeds.[22]  However, Count Roger appears to have been reinstated in these lands later in the century.  Unfortunately, the Domesday record offers no further help as it contains no reference to either the name Quernmore or to woodlands or forests north of the Ribble.[23]


Prior to the Norman Conquest by William I in 1066, the area of Quernmore and its environs was thought to have been a hunting ground and horse rearing-farm of the Saxon Earls, recorded in the mid-eleventh century as held by Tostig,[24] though at the same time being occupied by the surrounding vills within a lordship or estate system, for grazing and other primary economic activities.[25] 


In 1090 the Quernmore lands were held by Count Roger of Poitou who appeared, for a while, to have rigorously enforced the Norman forest laws and extended the Quernmore ‘regard’ as a hunting territory.  The evidence for this can be seen in what little is known about one vill, called "Hotoun"[26] or "Hoton",[27] recorded in The Domesday Book[28] as part of the Manor of Halton.  This vill was situated in the north of the Quernmore Forest area and was thrown into the assize of the forest. 


The general view of the medieval Royal Forests in England as areas where the forest assize laws were strictly enforced with regard to vert and venison, appears to be incorrect[29] when  examining the activities of the forest ministers and the local population within the Quernmore Forest area, particularly in the post-Henrican period (c1154-89).  The description of a Royal Forest area, of which Quernmore was one of the earliest examples, as tracts of land set aside as a royal preserve, used only as royal hunting grounds for sport of the king and his courtiers; areas that were wild, wooded and unpopulated wastes, does not appear to stand up in the light of the documentary and landscape evidence.[30] 


Examination of early land grants, rights and privileges, support the premiss that there was continuous occupation, enclosure and primary economic activity being carried on in the Quernmore Forest area, principally around the demesne lands and near the parks, from the eleventh century onwards.  This was in spite of the forest regard with its imposed fines and penalties which appeared to become regulated as common practice at this date.[31]  For example: in the Charter of Sees, 1094, William II granted adjoining lands in Bulk and rights of underwood in the Quernmore Forest area to St. Mary's Priory, Lancaster.[32] 


In 1102 Count Roger lost favour with Henry I, so the lands he held reverted back to the crown.  Some of this land in the north of the Quernmore forest area was already emparked or assarted when it became part of the estates of John, in 1190, whilst he was still Count of Mortain.  Originally the forest area was thought to have included parts of Bowerham, Bulk, Burrow, Caton, Ellel, Halton, Lancaster, Newton, Roeburndale, and Scotforth, but it contracted after the 1225-8 perambulations when the whole of the North West forest area was disafforested, as per Magna Carta, with the exception of Quernmore and Bleasdale.[33]  Only these last two areas were to remain subject to forest law,[34] while the adjoining areas of Roeburndale and Wyresdale became chases. 


Later, in 1236, by royal gift, the lands passed to the Earls of the Honor of Lancaster.  The Earl controlled the forest through his Master Forester appointed to administer and exploit the area.  The holder of this post appears, in the first instance, to have been hereditary.  It was in the hands of the Gernets until the late thirteenth century, but after this date the post was often held by the sheriff, or sub-let to Crown Lessees and local magnates, who also leased (farmed) the land out to others. 


The Forest Ministerium.

How the management of the parks and demesne lands and the forest ministerium in Quernmore Forest was structured at this time is not known for certain, but it does not appear to have been as complex or extended as the systems seen in other parts of England.[35] 


The work of Taylor[36] and Nicholls[37] in the Needwood forest (land also in the hands of the Earls of Lancaster) both found a complex but well-defined and hierarchical structure of forest administration and management.  Taylor showed that the administration of Needwood in the fifteenth century differed from that of the Forest of Dean in the thirteenth century and that Needwood had changed again by the seventeenth century.  Nicholls researched the same area in Needwood, and also found there was an hierarchical relationship, which covered the five wards within the forest system, between the Crown, the Duchy, the holders of the Lordship, the Courts and the Master Forester and his minions.[38]  In both examples the systems appear to change over time and to accommodate the local situation.


Bowes'[39] work in Weardale, which was not a landscape study but one researching settlement and enclosure, examined a much larger area than Quernmore involving the processes of change from a true hunting forest to a large estate.  Bowes' research and interpretation showed that the crown lessees were the Bishops of Durham, who employed a non-resident Master Forester, initially to preserve the game and deer as a hunting territory.  But by the early thirteenth century the Master Forester's post was one which was more concerned with encouraging economic exploitation and settlement of the area.  Throughout the medieval period the Master Forester of Weardale employed two sub-foresters and two parkers, with their minions, using the Swanimote or Foster Court to impose the Bishops' power and the Foresters’ judiciary. These courts and positions were still maintained even when the need to preserve the deer had lapsed and priorities changed into those for income from managed parks, farms, settlements, mineral mining etc.[40] 


A similar situation on exploitation of resources by the Master Forester, Crown Lessees and the local magnates appears to have occurred in the Quernmore area.  The economic and landscape history of the forest has also to be interpreted and understood through the actions of all members of the local communities whether they are part of the forest ministerium, major landholders, freeholders or just local villagers. 

From the earliest records there are continuing references to income from primary industry, e.g. from the forest pastures, the woodlands which produced timber and charcoal, the quarries and mines which produced local building stone, slates and millstones.  Also there were the iron mines and the bloomeries and forges which wrought the iron ore into a usable product, and the corn and fulling mills which were operated by the water power from the becks and rivers.

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Map Two:  Relict features in South Quernmore

Click to see full size image (53K)


The Forest Ministerium in Quernmore before c1280 was apparently a hierarchical hereditary administration system linked to privilege and land holding through the Gernet family.  However, the day-to-day management of the Forest in the medieval period seems vague, being less structured and complex than the systems of Justices, Wards, Bailiwicks and Feoffs etc., used in other Royal Forest areas.  There were Stewards, Master Foresters, Foresters, Verderers, Agisters, Regarders, Rangers, Bowbearers, Woodwards, Parkers, Keepers and many other posts so created, in other forest areas in England, each with some bearing on the way the forests were run and exploited.


Because of its historical importance to landscape study and its influence on the local economy, some attempt has been made to interpret the Quernmore Forest Ministerium, mainly in the early period through the Gernet family and their heirs, and later on through various references to independent appointments.  The Gernets were hereditary Master Foresters in fee in the Forest of Lancaster from c1097 until c1262, without much interference, and carried on in the post but under more control by the Earl, until 1280, paying between 12 and 20 per year for the farm.  But they were still under the Justicar north of the Trent and subject to proceedings and inquiry of the Eyre Courts.  The Gernets must have employed sub-foresters, agisters, parkers, verderers, regarders, woodwards and keepers etc to manage Quernmore, with most of these posts being given to men of some standing; e.g. shire knight at the top of the system and freeholders at the bottom.  The menial tasks of hedging, ditching, fencing and walling would have been carried out by local hired hands. 


In the late thirteenth century, after the Earls of Lancaster abolished the hereditary nature of the Master Forester, the post was still held by a local or regional magnate.  The immediate successor to the Gernets was Dacre of Gilsland, a close relative of theirs.  It was a Dacre who is presumed to have moved the forest administration from Halton (or perhaps the Park Hall) to Lancaster Castle. 


The records do not provide a clear answer to the structure of forest administration in Quernmore, but the following posts have been identified, listed in hierarchical order:  King's Forester, Master Forester, Chief Forester, Forester at Fee, Parker, Park Keeper, Keeper and Hedge Looker and hired day labourers.  It appears that Quernmore and Wyresdale Forest were administered as one Bailiwick[41] from the beginning of the fourteenth century and that the ministerium hierarchy comprised; the King's Justicar North of the Trent, the Master Forester (or Forester of Fee), a Principal Forester, two Verderers, a Keeper or Warden, a Parker, and under foresters who held various minor posts.  They were responsible for the day-to-day running and management of the forest areas, possibly including the Earl's parks, and were also empowered to police the regard.[42] 


Initially regard (persons who broke the Royal Forest codes) offenders were dealt with at the Sheriff's Court at Lancaster Castle, by the Keeper or Parker, usually presented by the Verderers and mainperned to appear at the next Eyre.[43]  The Keeper in Quernmore received the regard amerciaments, fruits and farm fees, fines for trespass etc., and had to record these by presentation of accounts.  It is from the survivals of these invaluable records that it has been possible to formulate a picture of the economic activity for the period. 


However, the system had been modified over the years to arrive at a very reduced and locally dominated one as the eighteenth-century records show.[44]  At this date there was a panel of two foresters, jurors, a constable, assessors and fire or fore lookers, all local freemen, and the town of Lancaster employed a commons keeper and swineherd.  There was always an appointed Master Forester, the last holder of this post being a Tyldesley of Myerscough in the early nineteenth century. 



The Process of Enclosure.

In the late twelfth century, c.1194, when Count John held all the lands north of the sands, he granted for the sum of 500[45] right of common, access and freedom from forest regard[46] in Quernmore Forest outside the Royal Demesne Lands, to the men of Lonsdale and the Burgesses and Freemen of Lancaster.[47]  This practice was not unusual and there are many other examples where large sums of money were paid for quittance of the regard, for example in Devon and Cornwall.[48]  It has to be assumed, from the way this grant was worded, that John had maintained the original park and, possibly, the Master Forester had enclosed other land in the area, as demesne.  It is also known that Count John granted pastures and other lands, which were soon enclosed, in both Quernmore and Littledale.[49]  In addition John founded priories and granted lands and important privileges to monastic houses in the area.[50]  These grants and rights were to have a lasting effect on the landscape of Quernmore, as they were instrumental in further enclosure and exploiting forest land. 


Atkin[51] takes this point further and is of the opinion that John permitted extensive development in order to raise money to further his political ambitions.  One easy way to obtain this was by accepting large sums of cash for respite of the forest regard.  This could also have been a reason why pressure for development was put on certain areas near growing population sites like Lancaster, Caton and Halton Manor, the latter still being at this time the main seat of both forest and civil administration.  These practices apparently affected the Quernmore Forest area more than lands further east and south in Wyresdale and Bleasdale where, according to both Atkin[52] and Shaw,[53] there was less evidence of forest encroachment. 


In c1200 Theobald Walter, and after him the Earl of Lancaster, held a stud farm in north Quernmore thought to have been a pre-Conquest survival.[54]  An Equicarus was appointed who lived outside the Park and one "Stodherd" was recorded in Caton Vill in the early thirteenth century.[55]  There is a field name survival, "Horse Close"[56] situated in the north-east corner of the later medieval park at SD 523 637.  This could be evidence of a multiple estate[57] as Walter and later the Earls of Lancaster were thought to have operated a Quernmore stud in conjunction with another at their lands in Ightenhill near Burnley.[58] 


Apart from the parks in north Quernmore there were two other pre-thirteenth-century enclosed areas of land, the vaccaries at Rooten Brook[59] and Hare Apple Tree.[60]  These were just two in a system of large enclosures which were part of planned land development taking place in the northern forests.  They were possibly part of earlier vaccary farms which were established from shielings, perhaps illegally, as parts of the forest lands were encroached upon.[61]  These farms were later accounted for in the returns[62] so it would appear that by that date they were accepted, fined as a "farm fee" rent and regularised,[63] becoming permanent features in the landscape.[64] 


There were, in Quernmore, several other phases of early enclosures, outside the parks.  Even though there are no maps and few accurate descriptions of their bounds, many new grants of land appear in the historical records.  These new enclosures were in the hands of the monastic establishments of Cockersands, Lancaster Priory, St Leonardsgate Hospital and the Dominican Friary.  Outside the parks, the other main thirteenth-century enclosures were on the west and east sides of north Quernmore, and these were given to the nearby abbeys and priories by royal gift or grant, or by the freemen of the area. 


The Lancaster Priory held local land by gift, from William II, by the Charter of Sees, 1094.[65]  Several Priors of St. Mary's, Lancaster are recorded having enclosed various pieces of land in part of their local estates[66] and paying fines at the Forest Eyre Courts for offences in Quernmore.  These religious houses were also involved in various land and boundary disputes over the years.  In the thirteenth century the Priory of Lancaster also had several land grants in the areas of Caton, Halton and Ellel. 


Most of the grants given to the Priory of St. Mary's Lancaster were in Bulk Township which abuts the Old and New Quernmore Parks adjoining Denny Beck, and were on the fringes of the then Quernmore Forest in what could have been areas taken out, or taken over, by various means before the Quernmore Forest bounds were fixed by the perambulations of 1225/8.  The priory also held a few scattered woodlands further to the east, presumably in Quernmore.


Some of the Cockersands Abbey lands given in Caton between 1230 and 1280 could have been land which was once within the "Old Quernmore Bounds", or part of the old lands of Hoton Township.  One example is the mention of a man from Hoton, giving lands in c1268.[67]  Hoton was the dispossessed vill thrown into the forest in the twelfth century.  Almost half of these gifts were parcels of land to the west of present-day Artle Beck and east of Eskew Beck; small areas given in various enclosed or open fields by various people.  Examination of the personal names involved show most of the benefactors to be the same names as those found in connection with the forest ministerium.  Most were not Caton villagers, the Gernet family and their relatives being the main benefactors.  This could mean that these are lands that were possibly appropriated from the Quernmore Forest extents before the 1225 perambulations provisionally set not only the Quernmore Forest bounds, but also those of Caton vill.[68]

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Map 3: Postulated Enclosure Dates

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Another change which affected the landscape of the area was the establishment of the peripheral small-holdings and farms.  The foundation of these is undated but it is possible that they were being created right through the period of this study as tenurial conditions changed or current demands were met by enclosing these new parcels of land.


One major area, outside the medieval parks, which was enclosed in the fifteenth century (c1432) was Hollinghead.  The 300 new acres of this extended estate (part of Gresgarth) effectively closed off a large section of the common in the north east of the forest.  This act put into private hands, i.e., the Curwen family, an enclosed area which became permanent and changed the appearance of this part of the forest as it was fenced and walled.[69]  This private but illegal act of enclosure which was sustained, even supported by the Crown and Duchy administrators, may have started a trend.  Later in this century the Duchy officers also began to try to enclose large areas in the south west of the Quernmore common.[70]  At first they met resistance from the Lancaster men, freeholders and others who held pasture and other rights in the forest, and the enclosures were taken down again.  Later, almost at the end of this century, another enclosure attempt was successful[71] and this eventually, it is thought, led to the formation of the copyhold lands which became fully recognised and permanent holdings by 1511.[72] 


The Quernmore Parks and Estate.

The early history of the northern half of the Quernmore area was dominated by the development of the Parks, their ministerium, Park Hall, the early assarts which possibly include Old Parkside Farm, the Priory and other monastic land and the enclosures of Escewbeck, Gresgarth and Hollinhead. 


Though both Farrer[73] and Cunliffe-Shaw[74] postulate that the north of Quernmore did have a relict pre-Conquest park, possibly connected to a "Horse Farm" of the Saxon Earls, there is little evidence of it in the landscape; but there is a ring fenced drumlin-knoll like field in the north west of Quernmore at SD 655 640.  There is only one place name survival, "Horse Close" shown on a 1760 estate map, to which neither of the latter two works refer.  If there was a large enclosure used as a horse farm prior to the Conquest it would have been situated in the north bordering the River Lune, to the west of Caton vill, around the related place name.[75]  This is an area that was subjected to major post-Conquest landscape changes and later became the core of the Quernmore Park Estate after it had all been enclosed.  At the beginning of the fourteenth century there were two enclosed parks, the old and the new, and two associated enclosures named Scarthwaite, one near the River Lune around SD 510 646 and the other in the middle of the forest, now called Narr Lodge located at SD 516 593.  All were within the demesne lands of the Earl of Lancaster, but also within the forest regard, as were the surrounding lands and commons.  So all these lands were, in theory, subject to the forest ministerium with respect to vert and venison.


The recorded history of the Quernmore Parks and Demesne is as follows: the old vill of Hoton is recorded pre-1066 as having been held by Tostig, then by the King at Domesday as the land which later formed the northern part of the Forest of Quernmore and the Old Park of the same.  In 1071 the land was held and afforested by Roger de Poitou[76] and possibly parked in places.  In 1102 the honour and land had been forfeited by Count Roger and reverted into the hands of Henry I.[77]  After this date Henry I created the new fief of Lancaster and the estate passed to his nephew Stephen around 1124.  Later for a while the lands were part of the fief of Ranulph Gernons, Earl of Chester.  They were then possibly held by King David of Scotland and remained in the hands of the Scottish Crown until 1157 but returned to the English when Cumberland was surrendered to Henry I.  Henry II gave them over to William, Count of Warrenne[78] and Mortain until William's death in 1159, when they again reverted to the crown.[79] 



It is through this route that the lands of Quernmore Forest were to pass to Count John of Mortain, given by his brother Richard I in 1189.  In spite of the problems between them the Honour still remained in Count John's hands until he ascended the throne in 1199.  Count John must have maintained the original park and his Master Forester, one of the Gernets, had possibly enclosed other land in the area.  On John's death in 1216, by the King's gift, the lands and Honour passed to the de Lancasters, Barons of  Kendal, who with their relatives the Gernets, were Sheriffs and Master Foresters of Lancaster until the Earldom was created.  In the early thirteenth century the de Lancasters are believed to have had a stud farm in north Quernmore and to have appointed an Equicarus who lived outside the Park in Caton Vill.[80] 


Edmund Crouchback, created 1st Earl of Lancaster in 1266, was given the Honour in 1267 and appears to have taken a firm grip on the management of these estates, and the adjoining forest lands.[81]  He abolished the hereditary post of Master Forester in Quernmore, depriving the Gernets of this position and put it out to farm.  In the mid-thirteenth century the Forest Regard lands were also more strictly controlled by the appointment of a Chief Justice; firstly Roger of Leyburn and then De Neville of Hornby to whom the fief and farm fee holders were accountable.


In 1278 Earl Edmund expanded the Quernmore Parks by license and Letters Patent,[82] which he held in gift from his father Henry III and the Forest Franchise from his brother Edward I.  It is presumed, from the primary and field evidence, that it was this work carried out by Earl Edmund which established the extent of the Quernmore Park enclosures and the general pattern of land use until the end of the century.


Edmund was succeeded by Thomas who was executed for treason in 1322.  Thomas's successor, the 3rd Earl Henry,[83] extended the enclosure in the north west in c1340.[84]  This was possibly the last forest encroachment in the north of Quernmore, and the final extent of the Quernmore Parks until additions were made in the sixteenth century.


Earl Henry became the 1st Duke of Lancaster and the Quernmore Parks and Estate remained in Duchy Lands until sold when Quernmore Park and Park Hall (now Old Hall Farm) were sold by the crown to Roger Downes of Wardley and others in 1630,[85] who was possibly responsible for re-fencing parts of the medieval deer parks.[86]  Later, c1675, these estates passed to Sir Thomas Preston[87] of Furness Manor,[88] then by marriage[89] to Hugh, Lord Clifford of Chudleigh,[90] and later were occupied by Hon. Edward, younger son of the third lord, and his brother Hugh, heir to the title in 1730.  It was at this time that the Cliffords exploited their lands by leasing out quarries and coal mines.  The estate remained as Clifford land until 1792 when the estate was sold to Charles Gibson of Preston.[91] 


Charles Gibson, the elder, of Preston,[92] had the New Park Hall and the north and south park gates with lodges built by Harrison of Lancaster in 1794 and had the area landscaped by a Mr Webb.[93]  He spent a large amount of money and made many improvements and alterations to the estate,[94] including the building of the new model farms[95] and installing water-powered machinery at the Hall Farm.[96]  This water power had an output of about 6 h.p. and ran the threshing mill and other farm machinery.  Unfortunately the mill was demolished in the late nineteenth century and the site now has two cottages called West Mansions built on it. 


Gibson also stopped most of the ancient rights of way across the estate and re-routed the road to Caton on to its present line.  He reorganised the land imposing a new field system to make six new and extended farms of between 40 and 100 acres, for letting at 3 per acre.  He enclosed the new fields by planting hawthorn quicks on banks 2.5 x 3ft broad, with ditches 2.5ft deep each side.[97]  The new farms Gibson built were New Parkside, East New Farm (now Lythe Brow), and the New Hall or Home Farm.  He also improved the holdings of Hill Farm (or Green Lane End, now Askew Hill), Corney Hill and Days Barn (Called Drays Barn in 1669 but then called Colliers' Gate), which he achieved by sweeping away many of the old fields and smallholdings.


Gibson re-built or repaired much of the surviving ancient park boundary wall and fence where it fitted into his new scheme, but removed several stretches where it had become redundant.  Fortunately traces of these foundations can still be seen and have been mapped.  Some smaller parcels of land were purchased and added to the estate, and the acreage was also extended by the apportionment given on the Quernmore Enclosure Award of 1817, when the estate consisted of 1,908 statute acres of enclosed farmland, gardens, orchards, parkland, open sporting water, woodland and roads.  Evidence of these changes can still be found today, seen as relict features in this palimpsest landscape. 


Charles Gibson, the elder, died on sixteenth July 1823,[98] leaving a widow.  His son Charles inherited the estate but he died 29th July 1832, aged 42 years.[99]  The entire estate was put up for auction in 1842[100] but not sold.  It was then sold privately to William Garnett of Salford, with the sitting tenants on existing leases, and Lady Dallas, Charles Gibson the elder's widow, remaining in residence at the Hall until 1st. April 1843. 


The Garnett family also improved the estate and added to the land, buying farms in south Quernmore which had no previous connection with the estate.[101]  After the First World War the family began to sell parts of the estate off to pay death duties, etc.  One of the new holdings built by the Garnetts on a triangular shaped section of land which was added to Quernmore Park in the enclosure award is Knotts Farm.  The Garnett family also built new farmhouses at Old Parkside, Corney Hill and the row of  estate cottages near Postern Gate.  The Garnetts were also responsible for the further landscaping of the Hall and park grounds as seen in the building of some internal estate roads, the Knotts Tower Folly and the Fairy Steps.  There is no surviving evidence that either the Gibsons or Garnetts exploited the primary resources to any extent, other than for use on new estate buildings or maintenance. 


So through a period of over 1000 years the Quernmore area has been completely transformed in both its landscape layout and its ownership pattern, from being open forest and waste to total enclosure under the Parliamentary award.

Footnotes and References


[1]. Salisbury, C.R. Late Pleistocene Human Occupation of the Morecambe Bay Area, Contrebis Vol XVII, (1991-2), 15-23.


[2]. Contrebis. Gazetteer (1974), Vol 2 No.1, 49; & 1975, Vol 3 No. 1, 54.


[3]. Harrison, W. Archaeological Survey of Lancashire, 1896,  19.


[4]. Contrebis, Gazetteer, (1974), Vol 2. No1. 1974, 49.


[5]. White, A.J. The Quernmore Boat Burial, Contrebis Vol.1, No1. 1973, 19-20.


[6]. Contrebis, Gazetteer, (1977) Vol 5, 49.


[7]. Several recorded by Alice Johnson in Penny Street and Queen’s Square, S H Penny (ed.,) Contrebis Vol 3. No 2. Gazetteer, 92, 1975.


[8]. Leather, G.M. Excavations at Low Pleasant, Quernmore, 1972. Contrebis Vol.1 No.1, 9.


[9]. Hudson, P.J.  Two Vaccaries in Quernmore. Lancashire History Quarterly Vol.3.No.1 March 1999. pp.10-13.


[10]. Public Record Office, Close Roll., 1228, p.100; n.38, m.9d, 12 Hen.III.


[11]. Ekwall, E. The Place Names of Lancashire. Manchester U.P. 1922, 172.


[12]. For further information on this place name see Higham M.C. 1992), op.cit., 148-9.


[13]. For further discussion on origins of sheiling-vaccary sites see, Higham, N.J. The Scandinavians in North Cumbria: Raids and Settlement in the later Ninth to Mid Tenth Centuries, in  Baldwin, J.R. and Whyte, I.D. (eds.) The Scandinavians in Cumbria, (The Scottish Society for Northern Studies, Edinburgh, 1985). 43-50.


[14]. Shaw. op.cit., 8. "that all this land which later formed the forest of Quernmore and Wyresdale was in pre-Conquest days common land for the congery of vills of which Lancaster was the principal. In these uplands were built the shielings, to which the cattle were driven for the summer pasturage, as was the custom of the Anglo-Norse people."


[15]. Ekwall, E. The Place Names of Lancashire. Manchester U.P. 1922.


[16]. Smith, A.H. English Place Name Elements, Cambridge U.P. 1956.


[17]. Fellows-Jensen, G. "A Gaelic-Scandinavian loan-word in English place-names", Journal of English Place-Name Society, 10 (1977-8), 18-25.


[18]. Higham, M.C. The Effects of the Norman Conquest on North West England, with particular reference to the honors of Hornby and Burton in Lonsdale. (unpublished PhD thesis University of Lancaster 1992).


[19]. Whyte, I.D. "Shielings and the upland pastoral economy of the Lake District in medieval and early modern times", 103-117 in J.R. Baldwin and I.D. Whyte (eds), The Scandinavians in Cumbria (The Scottish Society for Northern Studies, Edinburgh, 1985).


[20]. Quernmore emerged as a forest township, possibly in the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century. Prior to this time the only other permanent settlement was at Park Hall and the vaccary lands and settlements of Rowton Brook and Hare Appletree, which possibly extended westwards by the late eighteenth century to form the nucleus of the present village at the Quernmore cross-roads, where there are today no buildings which predate 1800. For the rest of the Forest area there are place named sites which pre-date 1700, but these are only smallholdings and isolated farmsteads or copyhold lands.


[21]. Farrer, W. & Brownbill, J. (eds). The Victoria County History of Lancaster (8 Vols) referred to further as "V.C.H.", 1914. Vol 8, 76. and Vol.1, Lancs, 288. Earl Tostig held the bulk of the lands and Vills in Lonsdale, with his capital manor being Halton.


[22]. Shaw (1956) op.cit., 7-8.


[23]. Most of the land around Lancaster and the Lower Lune Valley is found in the Yorkshire Folios 301d, 302, at the end of the return of the land of the king, with some more northern manors entered under Roger de Poitou on Folio 332, discussed further in  Terrett I.B. in The Domesday Geography of Northern England. Darby H.C & Maxwell I.C. (eds) Cambridge University Press 1962, 392-3.


[24]. V.C.H. Vol.8, 288. Earl Tostig held the bulk of the lands and Vills in Lonsdale, with his capital manor being Halton.


[25]. For discussion of possible continuity from the Anglo-Saxon period see, Higham M.C. (1992), op.cit., 18-9, passim.


[26]. V.C.H. Vol.8, 45. In the northern part of Quernmoor was the vill of Hotun Hoton, Hutton, held by Tostig and was assessed as 2 ploughlands.


[27]. Also found variously named Hutton, Hotoun and Hotton.


[28]. The Domesday Survey, Yorkshire north of the Ribble, Folios 301b. Manor in Halton, Earl Tostig had 6 carrucates of land (assessed) to the geld.

V.C.H. Vol 1 DD Map shows vills by name on south bank of Lune from West to east as Loncastre, Cherloncastre, Hoton, Neuton, Catun, Clactun, Farletun. Newton is directly across the Lune from Halton, Caton is west of a major beck, possibly Kirk Beck, Hoton is shown halfway between Newton and Church Lancaster.


[29]. For further discussion on this topic in other areas of England see Williams M, 'Marshland and Waste' in Cantor, L, (ed.) The English Medieval Landscape, Croom Helm 1982, 112-114.


[30]. Atkin, K.B. The Bowland Fells and Foothills of Lancashire, (unpublished M.A. thesis, Sheffield 1960). 17. Atkins Agrees with this statement in principle in relation to Quernmore and the adjoining Wyresdale lands, particularly in the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries. Also see the work of Miss Bazeley (1921) op.cit.,  Shaw (1956) op.cit.,  M. Beresford (1957), op.cit.,  H.L. Edlin (1970) op.cit.,  C.R. Young (1979) The Royal Forests of Medieval England, 1979, 121, 116-124 and passim.  O. Rackham (1980) op.cit., and L.M. Cantor (1982) op.cit.,


[31]. Atkins, K.B. (1960) Op.Cit., 17, refers to this state of affairs, "The fines imposed were thus akin to licences rather than a deliberate attempt to preserve the forest." So does Young who has estimated that large areas of Royal Forest were opened up to colonisation by assart and founding vaccary farms etc.,  in the thirteenth century. Almost one third of forests were disafforested by the mid fourteenth century. Young C.R. The Royal Forests of Medieval England, 1979, 121, 116-124 and passim.


[32]. Farrer, W. Early Lancaster Charters, Chetham Society (1902).  292.


[33]. The Caton-Quernmore bounds appear to have been changed when the course of Escow Beck was re-routed before the eighteenth century, see section elsewhere on bounds.


[34]. Farrer, W. (1902) op.cit., 420-23.


[35]. Taylor, I.T. An Historical Geographical approach to the identification and recording of historical landscapes with special reference to the Forest of Needwood. unpublished M.Phil. Stafford 1982, 15-18. and

Nicholls P.H. An Historical Geography of Need Wood Forest from Domesday to the nineteenth century. unpublished M.A. University of London, 1965, 54-58.


[36]. Taylor I.T. (1982) op.cit.,15-18.


[37]. Nicholls, P.H. (1965) op.cit., 54-58.


[38]. Nicholls, P.H. (1965), op.cit., fig 6. p53.


[39]. Bowes, P.L. Settlement and Economy in the Forest and Park of Weardale, Co Durham. 1100-1800. Unpublished M.A. thesis, University of Durham 1979.


[40]. Bowes, P.L. (1979), op.cit., 1-25. 


[41]. This joint administration is perhaps for convenience of management, as it is at this time we see the expansion of the emparked areas, as well as several other new enclosures, e.g. new assarts, vaccaries and farms etc., discussed elsewhere.


[42]. Shaw (1956) op.cit., 49.


[43]. Shaw (1956) op.cit., 56. Shaw argues for the transgressions of the regard to be assessed as a money fine. There is no doubt that the Eyre Court takes place quite infrequently for Quernmore, but in law the regard should have taken place every three years but in Lancashire there were years when the local magnates and freemen paid a large money fine to avoid the inconvenience of organising it and making appearances to account for their activities in the forest lands.


[44]. Lancashire Record Office. DDX 100/1. Forest of Quernmore Court Book, fragment of, 1740.


[45]. Farrer, W. (1902) op.cit., 419.


[46]. John also grants freedom of suit of his mills, so the men of Lancaster are no longer subject to the mulcture, and a long list of other privileges.


[47]. It must be stated that this refers to the extensive Parish of Lancaster, and not just to the present borough extents.


[48]. Williams, M. Marshland and Waste, in Cantor, L (ed.) The English Medieval Landscape, Croom-Helm 1982, 113.


[49]. Lancashire Inquests,1,92. Charter given to Mathew Gernet confirms a grant of Littledale to hold in fee by the yearly service of half a mark , viz; Charter confirmed at Shoreham eighteenth June (Oct.?),1199, and..

Charter Rolls p.xl.b; 1189, Count John gave the pasturage called Outhwaite, in Littledale, to Mathew Gernet of Caton, viz:

"the whole land of Wluetheit (Ulfthwaite, possibly Outhwaite,) Udale or Ulfdale) up to the forest of Roger de Muntbegum and on the other side of Wluetheit unto Clochoh and from Clochoh ridge unto the forest of Roger of Muntbeun and from Whulthhet across the bounds of Caton." This is more likely to be land in what is now Littledale, viz Ullthwaite, or parts of the old Caton/Gresgarth lands, it is a name not used any more.  The Manor of Outhwaite, in Roeburndale East,  is always outside and apparently independent of the Hornby-Burton Fees.


[50]. Shaw op.cit., 35. Possible foundation by John in 1189-94 period, when Count of Mortain, and …. in 1229 the king gave the monks a piece of land in the forest for their own use and at no rent or fee.


[51]. Atkin, K.B. (1960) op.cit., 18-19.


[52]. Ibid, 18.


[53]. Shaw (1956) op.cit., 58-62.


[54]. Ibid, 355. Does this suggest that there was a park for the stud prior to 1200. It could be a relict of the Saxon Earls horse farm in north Quernmore.


[55]. Farrer, W. The Chartulary of Cockersands Abbey, Chetham Society Part 1 New Series, Vol III Part I, (1900) 840.


[56]. Horse Close field is interesting as it is the only named field in north Quernmore which can be attributed to ancient origin.  It is named and mapped on the 1760 Quernmore Estate map of the park and it has a fenced lane or 'funnel' access to it from the demesne lands further to the west.  On the 1848 estates map this fenced lane has gone , but the field name survives today.


[57]. Jones, G.R.J. Multiple Estates and Early Settlement, in Sawyer P.H. (ed.) Medieval Settlement 1976. Vol 1 pt 2, 15-40. For further current discussion of this topic in northern England see Winchester, A.J.L. (1987), op.cit., 3-5.


[58]. Shaw (1956) op.cit., 383. In 1311 there is evidence of the stud farm owned by the Earl of Lancaster; there is a charge of 11s.4d for taking and leading six foals from Quernmore to Ightenhill (a stud farm near Burnley).


[59]. The place name of this site varies from Routandebrok 1193; Rootenbrook and Routandebrok in 1322; Troughtonbroke 1541; Rowtenbrook 1628; Rowtonbrook 1696; Rawton Brook 1716; Routenbrook 1725; Rooten Brook 1786; Rawston Brook 1814; today the O.S. 6" Map displays three place names Rowton Brook, Rooten Brook and Rowden Brook.


[60]. The place name of this site varies from Hardappuletre in 1193; Apletruethewayt 1259; Apeltreherd 1257; Hardappiltre 1346; Appeltrethwayt 1301 Harapultre 1480; Harpultreehous 1533; Hareappletree and 1541; Holapletree 1650; Wholeappletre 1704; Hareappletree, 1768; but by the nineteenth century the name appears to be standardised and agrees with the present day 6" O.S. Map which only displays Hare Appletree and Appletree Farm.


[61]. Farrer, W. Lancashire Pipe Rolls & Early Charters, 1902, 61. In 1185, Harold of Lancaster fined for vaccaries or cow sheds and for the cattle pasturing in the forest, fined 2 marks." Harolda de Lancastra fine ij marks pro vaccariis in foresta."


[62]. Farrer, W. (1902) Op.cit., 30. 1174 fines imposed on offenders for assarts and enclosing wastes etc., amounted to 93. 13s.4d.


[63]. Shaw (1956) op.cit., 356: Quotes the Lancashire Pipe Rolls 1226/7: Vaccaries in Quernmore and Wyresdale appear to have been let out for rents as early as 1227. viz 30s to vaccaries set to farm.


[64]. Later in the fourteenth century the vaccaries were extended and later broken up into small farm units for rental by the sitting tenants. 


[65]. Farrer, W. (1902) op.cit., 292.


[66]. None of these enclosures are in present-day Quernmore they are in Bulk, Dolphinlee and part of the lands of Aldcliffe.  The Priory of Lancaster was given estates in the vills of Bulk with Dolphinlee and  Aldcliffe by William II, by the Charter of Sees, 1094.  The king granted to the priory of St Mary's, Lancaster, two estates in Aldcliffe and Bulk, plus the forest underwood as far as the Frith Brook. 


[67]. Lancaster Museum Wolstencroft Medieval Charters, CC.3,1. nos.100,101. 1268-80. "John de Hoton, land given in Crimbles and Quicketholm."


[68]. Perhaps some of these gifts were given as an act of conscience, or in some recompense, in the thinking of the day, for past misdeeds and offences. 


[69]. C of L 42/18 1-18 Hen VI, f.20. (c1432).


[70]. Somerville, R. Duchy of Lancaster 1265-1603, (1953).  In 1475 Richard Epsom, officer of D of L, and attourney, enclosed wastes in Quernmore forest for letting, some 520 acres in all; this improved the revenue by some 16.6s.8d, but these were later reopened causing a loss of 11.6s.8d. p308.


[71]. L Pleads Duchy Court, Vol.1,n d l, 3. Hen VII. (c1488). Extracts, viz,....The Mayor and Burgesses of Lancaster v Sir John Bothe, Duchy receiver of Tolls a plaint that...Receiver and Master John Clerk one of his auditors and Sir James Molineux.."to improve for his said highness of certain waste grounds within said duchy..came to Lancaster to enclose a certain pasture called Wheremore (Quernmore) belonging to said Town to yearly value of 17 to 18 pounds in return for which they should assign to said town certain grounds to hold in severalty for ever without agreed to said common being part enclosed in return for confirmation of all previous rights, charters, tolls etc, and to which they have paid to the king 40 marks to whit, 1st year 20 marks and 20 marks in 17th...


[72]. Pape, T. (1952) op.cit., p43.


[73]. Farrer, W. (1902) op.cit., 263.


[74]. Shaw (1956) op.cit., 355.


[75]. There is evidence of a Equicarus (horse Farm) in the north Park in Quernmore, when it was in the hands of the Earls of Lancaster. Earl Edmond’s inquest 1297-8: L Inq,1.290; In the Forest of Quernmore there were two parks able to sustain 12 mares with their offspring of three years, beside the sustenance of deer, worth 2s each mare, = 24s. This could be the origin of the surviving "horse" place name.


[76]. V.C.H. Vol.1, 278.


[77]. Shaw (1956) op.cit., 11.


[78]. Duchy of Lancaster, Ancient deeds, L 342. In 1158 Furness Abbey were given "land in Lancaster which Warine gave .. to hold of the abbey free and quit of secular service", the place is not named .. The charter was dated at Lancaster January 1158 possibly when Earl William was on his way to Carlisle.  William also granted the Furness monks the right to take timber from his forest of Lancaster to make and repair balks and weirs on their Lune Fishery.


[79]. Shaw (1956) op.cit., 12-14.


[80]. Ibid 355. Does this suggest that there was a park for the stud prior to 1200. It could be a relict of the Saxon Earls horse farm in north Quernmore.


[81]. Duchy of Lancaster Ancient Deeds 25/1212. 1280. Benedict Gernet, son of Roger, surrenders all his customs and liberties in the forests and woods to Edmund, Earl of Lancaster.


[82]. Pape, T. (1952), op.cit., 19.


[83]. The third Earl Henry was created 1st Duke of Lancaster and the honour passed to the Royal Duchy Lands in 1351.


[84]. Earl Henry puts in a new extension to the parks in c.1340, located in the north-west, and he had to make an agreement with the Prior of Lancaster whose lands it bounds and encroaches upon in places.


[85]. Patent Roll, Charles I, 5, part ii.


[86]. It was at this time that some smaller parcels of land on the periphery are presumed to have been taken into the ring fence of the Park Hall Estate.


[87]. A survey document "for Sir Thomas Preston, baronett "dated 1669 survives for the Parks which gives some place names and acreages, but bears few clues which can be interpreted well enough to produce a map or assist in elucidating its extents other than in prose. This is held in private hands, contains seven pages of longhand.  It is entitled "Wharmore Parkes Anno Domm: 1669, by me Richard Johnson."  The estate must have included some acquired land outside the medieval park boundary.


[88]. V.C.H. Vol 8, 76.


[89]. Hugh Lord Clifford married Anne, a daughter and co-heir of Sir Thomas Preston.


[90]. Papists Estates, TRS Vol 108, 64. 1717, list under Hugh 2nd Lord Clifford, Baron of Chudley, "A parke and inclosed grounds lying in Quarmore... called Postern Park, and several closes.... called William Bank and the Hagge, with a building there called the New Barne... leased by Sir Thomas Preston late of Mannor in Furnes...Baronet deceased, unto Christofer Carus of Halton Hall.. gentleman," by indenture dated 26th Nov 1670, for the lives of the said Christofer, George his son and William son of John Chambers of Halton, at 80 rent; now in tenure of Mary Walmsley and her son John, "of the reversion wherof and the said rent I am seized in fee."

These were not fully recovered by the Cliffords until 1786. The "New Barne", mentioned in the above document is possibly the northern section of the older building range now standing on the Days Farm site and is recorded in the 1669 survey document.


[91]. Charles Gibson of Preston purchased Myerscough House in 1731 and married a daughter of Ralph Asheton of Laylam (Leyland?), had son Charles, the elder, who bought Quernmore Park in 1792 and died in 1823. He had an only son, Charles, the younger, who died in 1842 and the estate was then put up for sale.


[92]. Charles, the elder, married Charlotte daughter of Edward Wilson of Dallam Tower when he was 63, 16 years after the death of his first wife. Gibson died sixteenth June 1823 and Charlotte outlived both father and son and was still resident in the hall when it was sold to the Garnett's in 1842.


[93]. Fleetwood-Hesketh, P. Murray's Lancashire - An Architectural Guide, London 1955, pIX, page 167.


[94]. There is some evidence suggesting that the Gibsons were either not too wealthy or were too ambitious and over stretched their finances for in 1807 they needed to borrow money on the Estate.  See Lancashire Record Office. DDQ,25. Deed of Settlement dated 1807 between Charles Gibson, Quernmore Park and Richard Lord Bishop of LLandaff and Daniel Wilson of Dallam Tower, one capital messuage recently erected by Charles Gibson called The Park Hall with 476 acres statutory; with Parkside Farm 193a, Park Hall Fm 143a, Collier Gate farm 141a, East New farm 79a, Corney Hill Fm 101a, Hill Farm 93a, ground called Turnpike Close to 4a, Postern Park to 2 roods and 12 pecks, cottage near Parkside, all in Quernmore. A surrender of property as described in an indenture of settlement dated 22.1.1788 and term of 1000 years.


[95]. Dickson, P.H. & Stevenson, K. A General View of the Agriculture of Lancashire: With observation of the means of its improvement, (Shepwood, Newby & Jones, 1815), 98-99.


[96]. Dickson, P.H. & Stevenson, K. (1815) ibid. 171-72.


[97]. Ibid, 215-6.


[98]. The Record Society. Vol. 99, 49. Will of  Charles Gibson, Quernmore Park, Esq., A. 1823.


[99]. Ibid, Will of Charles Gibson, Quernmore Park, Esq,  A. 1832.


[100]. Lancaster City Library. S 34/7, Sale catalogue and 2 maps of 1842, and a full list of lots, field names, farms, woodland and building descriptions and include a water powered set of farm machinery at the Holme Farm.


[101]. Conderside Farm sold to W Garnett of Quernmore Park by Lancaster Corporation on 15.3.1856, was 85 acre, 3r, 24p and rented out at 80 pounds p.a.