Parish (carved out of Hawkshead parish 1676) in Lonsdale hundred, Lancashire North of the Sands, including the settlements of Bouth, Finsthwaite, Haverthwaite, Nibthwaite and Rusland.


14,322 acres [5,796 ha], embracing seven constituent divisions: Bethecar Moor: 1,392 acres [563 ha]; Colton East: 2,939 acres [1,189 ha]; Colton West: 1,709 acres [692 ha]; Finsthwaite: 2,258 acres [914 ha]; Haverthwaite: 1,256 acres [508 ha]; Nibthwaite: 2,551 acres [1,032 ha]; Rusland: 2,219 acres [898 ha].


rising from 1,516 in 1801 to peak of 2,008 in 1851, then dropping back to 1,648 by 1901 and falling across 20th century to 765 in 2001.

Land ownership:

part of Furness Abbey’s lordship of Furness Fells; thus part of manor of Hawkshead (q.v.).


pastoral farming, woodland industries and ironworking predominated. Furness Abbey had stock farms (some termed ‘herdwicks’) in late-medieval period. Coppice woodland, yielding charcoal for iron smelting and other woodland products, from medieval period to 20th century. Iron-working sites include Backbarrow (bloomery forge c.1685; replaced by blast furnace built 1711, which continued to use charcoal until 1926; furnace ceased production 1967); Nibthwaite (furnace-forge, operating 1736-c.1850); Stony Hazel, Rusland (bloomery forge, operating 1718-43). Bobbin manufacture at Nibthwaite (2 mills, one built 1834) and Stott Park (built 1835; production ceased 1971). Gunpowder making at Bouth from 1862 to 1928. Other industries using woodland products included tanning (at Nibthwaite and Rusland) and basket and hoop-making. Furness railway opened Newby Bridge branch through Haverthwaite 1869; closed 1965. Tourism increasingly important across 20th century: modern attractions include lake cruises from Lakeside; Haverthwaite & Lakeside steam railway (established 1973); Stott Park Bobbin Mill; Lakes Aquarium.

Places of worship:

chapel recorded 1530; consecrated 1578; gained parochial status 1676; extended 1721; restored 1889-90; now parish church of Holy Trinity. St Peter’s church, Finsthwaite, built 1724; rebuilt 1873-4. St Paul’s church, Rusland, built 1745; rebuilt 1866-69. St Anne’s church, Haverthwaite, built 1824-5. Baptist chapel at Tottlebank built c.1750; extended 1864 to accommodate schoolroom. Quaker meeting house at Rookhow built 1725 for monthly business meetings; stable block converted to hostel 1992. Methodist chapel, Backbarrow, built 1850; closed 1991 and rebuilt as Chapelstone Cottages 1999.

Schools and other institutions:

preaching schoolmaster at Colton chapel endowed by Adam Sandys of Bouth 1662; schoolhouse built 1745; closed c.1969. School built at Finsthwaite 1724, at same time as chapel and taught by curate; endowed 1729; rebuilt 1874; closed 1969; building subsequently used as Lakeside & Finsthwaite Village Hall. National school built at Rusland 1840; became Satterthwaite & Rusland CE Primary School; closed 2006. School at Haverthwaite, c.1871 to 1969. Older schools replaced by Leven Valley CE Primary School later 20th century. Reading rooms at Rusland (built 1890; still in use), Bouth (built c.1910 by gunpowder works for their employees; now village hall) and Oxen Park (built by subscription c.1903).