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.
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).