Aldingham

Grid Ref : SD 283710
 

The beach at Aldingham

Aldingham is a village on the east coast of the Furness peninsula, facing into Morecambe Bay, and is about eight miles east from Barrow-in-Furness, and six miles south of Ulverston.

 

Said to once be a mile long, legend claims that storms and tidal waves washed away many of the early cottages and that the church was once the centre of the village. Never large, only about 600 persons lived here in 1800, the village was the site of a settlement in Saxon times and is recorded in the Domesday Book.

 

Aldingham was once the manorial seat of the Lords of Aldingham and Muchland and two medieval sites near to the present village were both the sites of manor houses. The first and most visible is Aldingham Motte, which was begun as a ringwork around 1102 by Roger the Poitevin and was later enlarged into a motte and bailey castle by the le Fleming family.

 

The Flemings raised the height of the motte in the 12th century, but abandoned it in the 13th century, probably moving to the moated site of Aldingham Grange manor house that lies to the rear of the motte. This is still a well preserved mound in the middle of a water filled moat. This would have been built in the early 13th century, although whether it was ever used is uncertain as the Lords soon moved further inland as the sea eroded the coastline and the threat of pirates became severe.

 

The motte can still be clearly seen atop a sandy cliff overlooking Morecambe Bay.

 

Aldingham Castle

At the centre of the present village, now on the shores of the Bay, is Saint Cuthbert’s Church. An inscription in Durham Cathedral gives the names of several places in the area, including Aldingham, where the body of Saint Cuthbert rested when the Saxons were fleeing from the Danes. It is known that during his life, Cuthbert held lands around Cartmel, on the neighbouring peninsula across the Leven Estuary, although it is not known if those possessions extended this far west.

 

The building dates from the mid 12th century, with extensions being made to the chancel in the 13th century, the addition of the tower in 1350 and extensive restoration taking place in the 19th century and again in 1932. In the Eastern Wall of the chancel a hole about 5×3 inches wide goes right through the wall: it is believed this would once have been a place for local lepers to view the church services without having to enter the building.

 

The beach at Aldingham

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