Hollowforth - background

Several individuals & organizations have added to our knowledge and understanding of Watermills & Kilns. We thank them and include some of the information below:-

Wigan Archaeology have excavated Standish Hall Corn Mill over a number of years. They discovered that the kiln was built into a pit. At the moment we haven't found anything like this.

They have also provided us with an image of a kiln in North Wales. The slate and the kiln tiles look familiar.


Another source of information is Janet Edmunds who lived in the cottage adjacent to Goosnargh Mill for several years and produced a number of articles on the Mill. Extracts and personal communications follow.

After discovering the "French Burr" millstone an article called "Milling through the ages at Goosnargh Mill" by Janet Edmunds was discovered. In it we find:-

There were different types of [mill]stone - top meal stone, bottom meal stone, bottom shilling stone.. and French stone. The wear on the stones in 1836 was charged to the tenent.

10s per inch for wear of the meal & shilling stones £4-10s per inch of wear for the French stone [and the wear on the French stone was much less than the "normal" stone.]

Meal stones were used for oats, shilling stones for husking. The French stones (of French burr stone) were used for grinding wheat as millstone grit though adequate for oats, was too soft for wheat. The equivalent cost of the French stones would be in the order of several thousand pounds today.

Janet Edmunds (personal communication) in response to a query re cellar in Kilns & kiln tiles.

Kilns were on two floors, but I think it most unlikely there was a cellar, it would have been too damp and not enough draught. The fire would have been on the ground floor and the drying floor supported on the first floor. I expect you have either got a collapse of the drying floor, or else where tiles have been discarded. More recent kilns have metal supports for the tiles, but older ones must have had some sort of stone or slate beams. The drying floor is usually wider than the floor with the fire, so there was a sort of 3 dimensional arch from the floor, like a vault in reverse, going to the corners. This allowed the heat to disperse; they needed a gentle heat. The floor was covered with a horse-hair cloth to stop the grain blocking the holes. Kilns are normal in the west of the country, as not only is there more rain, but oats need to be dried as they are a soft grain that absorbs moisture. They are not threshed like wheat, as the husk doesn’t come off easily, but shelled using the mill stones. Sometimes just the normal stones set further apart, otherwise the mill had separate shelling or shilling stones.

Savick Brook

The Cragg family diary contains the following quote "Lancaster canal which was opened on the 22nd of November (1797) and since that time several large loads of coals and cannel have been brought to Lancaster and Galgate from Savok a little below Preston."

The Record Society of Lancashire & Cheshire, in Volume 142 contains an interesting article on the Cragg family (together with a full transcription of the diary). In it the word "Savok" is presumed to mean "Salwick, five miles west of Preston."  This seems unlikely; the old maps and records often give the name "Savick" brook as "Savock/Savok".  

Whatever the meaning, the quote is intriguing. Why not use the wharves in the centre of Preston? In the "The old tram road: Walton Summit to Preston Basin" by Steven Barritt it is obvious that the tram road wasn't completed until 1804 so a different method had to be used to move coal from the Wigan coal fields through to Preston and onwards to Lancaster & Kendal. The traditional method was to to use the Douglas Navigation (ie the River Douglas) and down to the River Ribble.

In "Canals of North West England" by Hadfield & Biddle there is a comment on page 189 stating that coal was "carted down to the Douglas and so taken that way to Preston; there it had to be labouriously carted again up to the North End".  A further comment states "In 1796 and 1797 various proposals were considered for a short branch canal from Salwick or the North End to Savock followed by an inclined plane down to the Ribble or alternatively a tram road a tram road from the canal at Tulketh, the idea being to exchange traffic with the Douglas. The Leeds and Liverpool agreed to improve the Douglas but the Lancaster was unable to finance their work."

The National Canal Museum at Ellesmere has a "mersey flat" dating from the 1850's.  Something similar, and probably smaller, was no doubt used to transport coal down the Douglas.  It could then be transferred to a more stable boat for the journey across or along the Ribble.  In the "Lancashire Local Historian - No 16" there is an article covering the development of the Douglas.  In it there is the comment that flats were hauled by men - not horses - at least in the early days.  They were paid between 8d and 12d a day.  


 The modern view (taken from Mario Maps) shows the changes made when the Millennium link was put in. The northern section was the original line of the brook. There are at least two tracks going to the north towards Back Lane. Goodier bridge has all the features of a canal bridge.

This is the earliest OS map from the late 1840's. The footpath from Goodier bridge still exists but there is quite a steep slope - so not an obvious route for the coal. The two tracks to the west would be more likely as the high tide would reach there earlier.

.This, most detailed map, is from the 1890's. High water mark is shown near Goodier Bridge - anywhere to the west of this point would be possible.


So, at least in the early days of the canal, Savick brook was used as a way of getting coal on to the canal barges for transport up to and beyond Lancaster. The saving in distance between this point and the wharf in Ashton is a couple of kilometres - at least half an hour in time for the coal flats. The difference along the canal between Shelley road and Lea Town would be about 4 miles. More than an hour in time.

The map below has the fieldnames added.  Interestingly 107 is called "Road" with the Owner as John Smith and occupier as Thomas Mitchell.

In this tithe map (from 1838) the track from the brook almost looks like the main track as opposed to the one coming from Back Lane.

The 1840's and 1890's map show slightly different HW marks but the main criteria is that track should be as close to the canal as possible.

The above view shows the track as it reaches Back Lane in Lea Town. From the brook via this route there is a little less than 1 mile to the nearest point on the canal.

Looking from the other side ie Savick Brook side we see something equally fascinating.


Other possibilities include taking the coal on flats further up the Ribble and then transporting the coal to the wharf near Shelley road. In a letter dated March 1798, William Cartwright mentions problems with the Tulketh cut but it should be ready in the next month. This was found in "Transcripts of Reports on Lancaster Canal 1790-1800" by R.W.G. Bryant.

The question that should be asked is "Why is the basin there?". Most basins in the main part of the canal are just a bulge in the waterway; sufficient for turning around a barge. Timings for the construction of the aqueduct section of the canal would help pinpoint a reason.


The above photo shows the entrance to the wharf/basin. Now full of pleasure craft the basin looks like

An obvious track leads up from the Tulketh Brow roundabout. An alternative would be pass underneath the Canal cottages.

DDHO 486 contains, on page 7, the words an agreement for new road between clifton & lea - mentions "indemnified against charges for the purpose of wharfages, landing coal, limestones & other stone slate, timber...".  It is dated 1/5/1781 and needs photographing.  It isn't obvious if the wharfages refers to the Ribble or Savick Brook.







These are just a few or our regularly visited sites. If you have any other suggestions then contact the webmaster.


British Archaeology - http://www.britisharchaeology.org/

Oxford Archaeology - http://thehumanjourney.net/

Festival of British Archaeology - http://festival.britarch.ac.uk/

The Post Hole - http://www.theposthole.org/

CBA Northwest - http://www.archaeologyuk.org/cbanw/CBANW_index.html

Rick Peterson (UCLAN) blog - https://shelteringmemory.wordpress.com/

Lancashire's Roman Roads (David Ratledge) - www.romanroads.org/gazetteer/lancspages.html



Local History

Centre for North West Regional Studies - http://www.lancs.ac.uk/depts/cnwrs/about.html

Lancashire Local History Federation - http://www.lancashirehistory.org/

Poulton Historical Society - http://www.poulton-le-fylde-hcs.co.uk/body_index.html

Victoria County History - http://www.british-history.ac.uk/catalogue.aspx?type=&gid=20

Fylde History Network - http://www.fyldehistorynetwork.co.uk/

Lancashire Past - https://lancashirepast.com/


Wyre & Fylde

Wyre & Fylde Maps - http://members.optuszoo.com.au/aheyes40/KnottEnd/maps_A.html


Other Resources

Fylde & Wyre Antiquarian - http://fyldeantiquarian.freeforums.org/

Wyre Archaeology Blog (defunct) - http://wyrearchaeology.blogspot.co.uk/

Lancashire Archives - http://www.lancashire.gov.uk/corporate/web/?siteid=4528&pageid=30539&e=e

Lancashire Old Maps - http://www.lancashire.gov.uk/environment/oldmap/

Placenames of Lancashire - http://archive.org/stream/placenamesoflanc00ekwauoft/placenamesoflanc00ekwauoft_djvu.txt

Portable Antiquities Scheme - http://finds.org.uk/

Lancashire Historic Maps - http://lancaster.libguides.com/lancashirehistoricmaps



Singleton Thorpe

The "authority" for the Singleton Thorp story is Peter Whittle’s book “Marina, an historical and descriptive account of Southport, Lytham and Blackpool” published in 1831. He wrote:-

“1554. During the days of Mary Queen of England, a sudden irruption of the sea took place at Rossal Grange, — the sea washed in a whole village, called Singleton Thorp. The inhabitants were obliged to flee from the ancient spot, and erected their tents at the place called Singleton to this day”.- Dodsworth.

In the next paragraph Whittle stated: ­

In the year 1792 at low water mark, a number of trunks of trees lay in various directions upon the sands of the sea, which proved that there had been a village near Rossal. The inhabitants it is said fled - when the degradations of their property and homes took place, through the incursions of the tide - and planted themselves as a kind of colony, where Singleton village now is.”

In 1893, A. Halstead, editor of the Blackpool Times, led an expedition to search for Singleton Thorp and published a pamphlet describing its findings. For clues to where they were looking, here are excerpts from it.

“But what about Singleton Thorp? As we mentioned in our article our attention was first directed to it by Mr. Chew, of Albert road, who told us he had, some five years ago, noticed the signs of the buried forest at a low tide.

“We suggested another expedition to see if anything was still to be noticed. On that fine September afternoon we have before mentioned, and with one of the lowest tides of the year, we soon found evidence that we were walking over a buried forest—the site of the old village of Singleton Thorp—destroyed by an irruption of the sea in 1555, or 1588, probably the former date is correct. We saw enough to lead us, like Oliver Twist, to “ask for more.” Accordingly a small party of adventurous spirits, among whom was a well-known Town Councillor, hired a convey­ance, took spades, pickaxes, and other implements, bent on discovery of some good evidence that a village had existed there. We began operations at a point nearly opposite the hulking which slopes to the sea about half a mile from Rossall, and about four miles north of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. We could trace the buried forest in the way of fallen trees with their branches, and even their twigs and leaves, with mosses, ferns, etc., for about a mile along the shore at low water mark, and about half a mile inland. The nearer the sea and the more we saw.

“But our explorations revealed more than the mere forest and field remains. Evidences of the foundations of houses were not wanting. Our attention was first directed to what looked like a log tree. Closer notice revealed that it was quite different in shape from the other trees half buried in the sand. Digging and shovelling the sand from it laid it all bare, and we found it to be a straight and square piece of timber, about 17ft. long, and 13in. square breadth. There were the marks of other pieces of timber being fastened to it. One member of the party suddenly became full of reminiscences of a famous wreck near this place some 40 years ago, and was confident this piece of timber was a remnant of this wreck, but he abandoned this view as soon as the whole log was uncovered. It was, as plain as could be, the rafter of a large room of a house. This was confirmed by the fact that at an angle of 45? we traced the foundations of what was evidently the wall of a house. There was a large trench, with rough lime mixed with large cobble-stones near the bottom of the trench, the stones getting smaller towards the top of the trench. There was no mistaking this rubble-wall foundation. The course of it was in a straight line; it measured about 22ft. in length, though we could not find a clear and unmistakable finish to it at one end, though we could at the seaward end, and the angle of the wall where it joined another was clearly visible. Besides, the clay on each side of the wall was evident enough. There was no antecedent improbability about the matter. That there was a cottage there is admitted on all sides. Therefore, there is every reason to suppose that some remains of the buried village would be found, if a sufficient opportunity presented itself. When Mr. J. Chew told the writer of his visit to the spot five years ago, and of what he had noticed there, the expedition was organised with the above interesting result. We found in another place, about 150 yards from the fallen rafter, the same evidence of some sort of building. The rubble foundation, and the coarse lime and pebble mixture upon it was plainly visible; but it was too near the waves to follow it to the end. That we were on the site of the ruined and wave-swept village, there could be no doubt. Wherever we dug our spades we came upon the forest growths that we have described — not exactly as peat, but the peat in process of its formation.”

Some of our members chose to investigate this site at low tide on the 9th April, 2016.  The various sightings mentioned above fail to pinpoint the exact placing of Singleton Thorpe so the group, starting just south of Rossall school, split into two; one walking approximately 1 mile north of Rossall and the other approximately 1/3rd of a mile south.  The southern group came across a number of wood and stone features.

A discussion on the discoveries took place at our May meeting but without any real consensus.  Another visit to the site is required.