Ancient parish in North Lonsdale hundred, Lancashire North of the Sands, comprising townships of Bardsea, Great Urswick and Little Urswick (itself divided into three subdivisions).


3,905 acres [1,561 ha], divided between townships thus: Bardsea: 828 acres [331 ha]; Great Urswick: 1,232 acres [493 ha]; Little Urswick: 1,845 acres [738 ha]. Subdivisions of Little Urswick were: Little Urswick (621 acres [248 ha]); Bolton with Adgarley (688 acres [275 ha]) and Stainton (536 acres [214 ha]). Common land at Skelding Moor (90 acres [36-ha]) in Little Urswick and Scales enclosed by act of 1820. Urswick parish also had rights, in common with neighbouring parish of Aldingham, on Birkrigg Common (276 acres [110 ha]), which was transferred to Urswick CP 1986.


rising from 633 in 1801 to peak at 1,287 in 1881; then remaining fairly stable, standing at 1,128 in 1961 (last census year for which separate figure available).


part of manor of Muchland (see Aldingham). Manor of Bolton with Adgarley, originally part of manor of Muchland, passed by marriage to Coupland family; forfeited by Sir Thomas Broughton 1487; then granted to earl of Derby and descended with earls of Derby to 20th century.


largely agricultural; fishing and coastal trade at Bardsea. Short-lived iron ore mining at Stainton in 19th century. Limestone quarrying and lime-burning; extensive quarries at Stainton, opened 1868 to supply ironworks at Barrow; continue in production.

Places of worship:

medieval parish church of St Mary and St Michael; surviving pre-Conquest sculpture indicates early origin. Site of medieval chapel at Bolton. Holy Trinity church (Anglican), Bardsea, built 1843-53. Congregational chapel (iron building) at Stainton opened 1873; replaced by new building in Long Lane 1902; closed 1951. Mission room at Stainton built 1904 (also used as school, reading room and working men’s club); closed and converted to dwelling. Mission room at Great Urswick in early 20th century. Tarn Close Church of Christ, Great Urswick, a ‘tin tabernacle’ built 1914; became United Reformed Church 1981; still in use.

Schools and other institutions:

Urswick Grammar School founded by bequest of William Marshall 1585; replaced by Low Furness CE Primary School on new site, opened 1994. Endowed school at Bardsea founded 1781; replaced by new school, built 1851; enlarged 1897; closed c.1927. Infants’ school at Stainton opened 1904; closed c.1927. Urswick Recreation Hall, midway between Great and Little Urswick, built 1929. Village hall at Bardsea (former malt kiln) established as memorial hall 1946; refurbished 2003-4. Stainton Recreation Hall (former Congregational chapel) opened 1953.