The ancient town of Dalton-in-Furness lies in a narrow valley on that part of Furness which extends deep into Morecambe Bay. Once this was the leading town of Furness, and was an important centre for administration and justice.
The 14th-century pele tower, now known as Dalton Castle, stands almost hidden by surrounding buildings. It was built around 1330-36 to provide a place of refuge for the monks of of nearby Furness Abbey against Scottish raiders. Over the centuries it has served as both prison and court, and whilst being extensively altered inside, retains its original features outside. It is now owned by the National Trust.
Not far from Dalton Castle is the red sandstone church of St Mary which was designed by the celebrated Victorian architectsPaley and Austin, and which is one of their most spectacular buildings. In the graveyard lies George Romney (1734-1804), the famous portrait painter who was born in the town. Many examples of his work may be seen at Abbot Hall in Kendal.
There are many interesting buildings in Dalton in and around the Market Place, such as the unique cast-iron shop-front of No 51 Market Place. There is an elegant Victorian drinking fountain, with fluted columns supporting a dome of open iron-work. Nearby is the market cross and slabs of stone used for fish drying in the 19th century.
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