Holker, Lower

Township in Cartmel parish, Lonsdale hundred, Lancashire North of the Sands, containing villages of Cark, Flookburgh and Holker.


2,387 acres [966 ha]. Commons enclosed 1809 under Cartmel enclosure award.


in range 1,000-1,200 across 19th century, with peak of 1,225 in 1851. Rose to 1,835 in 1921, with development of Ravenstown in 1917 as proposed airship station (which was never built); fell back to 1,425 in 1931, remaining at that level across mid-20th century; rose again to stand at 1,808 in 2001.


part of manor of Cartmel (see Lower Alllithwaite). Preston family acquired estate at Holker after Dissolution, building Holker Hall as their seat. Passed by marriage successively to Lowther and Cavendish families; Holker Hall was rebuilt by 7th duke of Devonshire 1838-41 and again (after a fire) 1871-3.


farming (Holker estate providing employment especially from 19th century); fishing since medieval period: inter-tidal fish traps; cockle fishing, shrimping. Fishing industry benefitted from wider access to markets after arrival of railway and opening of Cark-in-Cartmel station 1857. Fish processing plant (Youngs) in Cark from 1950; closed 1970s. Flookburgh granted market charter 1412; attempts to found borough there failed, though village provided accommodation and other services as mid-point between two sections of over-sands route across Morecambe Bay. Cotton mill in Cark village established c.1782; had closed by mid-19th century but Cark remained commercial centre. Tourism increasingly important across later 20th century; several caravan parks.

Places of worship:

chapel of ease at Flookburgh, recorded 1520; rebuilt 1778; demolished 1900 and replaced by church of St John the Baptist at Flookburgh, built 1897-1900. Wesleyan Methodist chapel at Cark built 1904; closed 2005. St Cuthbert’s Roman Catholic Church, Flookburgh, built 1935; closed c.2015.

Schools and other institutions:

curate served as schoolmaster at Flookburgh in 1670s and 1680s, but no school recorded in 18th century. Holker School opened 1865 and Flookburgh School 1875; both closed when new school (Flookburgh CE Primary School) was built 1971. Village halls at Flookburgh, built 1887, and Cark (Lower Holker Village Hall), built 1908.