Furness Peninsula Press:
Colthouse: An Historical Account of a Hawkshead Hamlet


ISBN 978-0-9553283-2-9

£7.99 + £1-00 p/p in UK

by Rob McKeever

Comprises of 96 pages with 70 images including maps building dates, field names etc covering the following topics:-


Westmorland Gazette
The book is well researched and should appeal to readers who have lived in or around Hawkshead or indeed anyone interested in the evolution of Lake District hamlets in general. (I use the term Lake District rather than Cumbria as Colthouse was originally in the county of Lancashire as the author reminds us.) The boundaries of the hamlet are defined before the author gives us a wider look at the physical geography of the area. He then describes settlement patterns from the early Bronze Age onwards.

The text is well supported throughout by photographs, maps and diagrams. The main buildings in Colthouse are described in detail. Families with connections to the hamlet provide a wealth of interest that will resonate with readers.

I have no hesitation in recommending the book alongside a sister production: Quakers in Hawkshead and Langdale’.


Evolution of the Landscape and Development of the Hamlet………..

The Colthouse landscape owes much of its development to successive ice ages… Colthouse has been left with two glacial descendants, the two streams or becks that run through the hamlet… The most dramatic effect on the landscape came during parliamentary enclosure of the open fields, wastes and commons… Not until the early 19th century had the landscape and hamlet physically evolved into something that we would easily recognise today.…… A typical example of a 19th century road at Colthouse is Scarhouse Lane. It is shown on a 19th century estate map of equal width and importance as the road through Colthouse to Wray. Both were designated public roads, the latter assuming more importance over the succeeding years as an increasing number of properties were built at Gill Bank, High Wray and in particular at Low Wray with its castle, church and vicarage.

Medieval Colthouse………….

One early reference to the habitants of Claife was in 1315 … the development of the group of farms and cottages that was to form the hamlet of Colthouse was taking place prior to the 15th century. At Colthouse The Abbey Granted to every tenament who paid 6s 8d of yearlie rent , and 4d for bounding shall have one and half acre of such ground as haithe benefit of the common pasture within the tyme of mans mind….to be hedged with dyke or wall.

Buildings and Architectural Details………….

For the charge of an additional building at Colthouse in 1721 getting 240 cartfull of stone £0 10s 0d, For leading the stones to the place £0 7s 0d, For lying the foundations, walling £1 17s 0d…………. Items in the cost of building new cottage belonging to the friends at Colthouse 1865 & 1867 Bownass & Co’s account for walling,£88 1s 4d Slating, Flagging, Plastering etc………A horse engine house is attached to the barn at Town End. The building contained a circular track on which a horse tethered to a shaft walked in a circle, operating a threshing machine.

Trades and Occupations…………..

Farming at Colthouse from the old tenements was in decline by the late 17th century….George Satterthwaite on his death in 1660 was ‘Smyth de Colthouse’, tangible evidence of links to the Colthouse Heights bloomary ……..In Adam Satterthwaite’s will of 1697, his occupation was stated as Weaver of Green End. A trade that was continued over one hundred years………Tanneries were located at Town End and Green End.

Former Inhabitants………….

One surname has dominated Colthouse since recorded history that of Satterthwaite……also a family called Dixon lived at Crofthead for over 200 years…. By tradition Lambs Cottage was at some period during its history a Farmhouse. Inscriptions carved in stone at Croftfoot Barn JG Phillips and initials. WK (William Knipe). EW (Edward Wilkinson). JF (John Farrer)…. Lovina (Christopherson nee Luicas) is an unusual name ….more surprisingly she was the fourth person within a brief period at Colthouse to bear that name.

Colthouse Wills……….

….and it is my mind and will that my sone William shall suffer and allow my daughter a bedroom with liberty to remain into ye house? for her natural life if it turns out that she not be able to work for her living……… and I give unto the two children of Robert Willson of Roger Ridding either of them a gimmer lamb. …. I give unto my daughter Elizabeth wife of Henry Sawrey the sum of ffower pounds and it is my mind and will that she nor her husband shall have nay more of my estate….


We worked all over the district, did all the work for Graythwaite Hall I still know Mrs Sandys. I tell you she doesn’t look any different, she hasn’t changed one bit over the years… one Saturday afternoon and Sunday we got 175 rabbits. We sold them for 1s 6d apiece, they were gone by Monday night. One night after a full day of rain the river was in full flood we got 64 salmon, one took the two of us to haul it onto the bank, it weighed 53lb… After retiring from fell running, one resident turned his interest to Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling and one year at Mungrisdale took the World 10 and a half-stone championship.

Price £7.99 + £1.00 p/p in UK Signed copies on request from FURNESS PENINSULA PRESS. Also available from local (book) shops at Hawkshead, Langdale Coop, and The Tinners Rabbit Ulverston.