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Carr Garth

Carr Garth is a  listed building in Heysham at the junction of Bailey Lane (once Quarry Lane) and St Mary’s Road. This is a line drawing of Carr Garth made about 1998 by Eileen Dent. In   Heysham Peninsula (HHA 2000) she gives some of the history of the house. This was partly from research by Ann and Brian Patterson who ran it as a guest house from 1970 - 1995. (For a copy of what Eileen wrote click here).

If you read these two links above closely you will see that there is a difference of view about the ages of some parts of the house, though they agree that some parts of the building date back to the 17th century. The 1838 Tithe map gives some clue to the nature of the building. Carr Garth is the square shaped property marked 438 in the top right of the map (left); now look at the Heritage Centre and garden outlined in red. The size of Carr Garth is no bigger than the cottage attached to the Heritage Centre.

The Tithe Schedule tells us that Carr Garth was owned by John Taylor Wilson, but occupied by William Brown. John Taylor Wilson was a Lancaster Solicitor and Mayor no less than three times in 1807, 1816-17 and 1826-27. He died aged 76 in 1839 shortly after the Tithe Schedule was drawn up, and is interred at Over Kellet.

At this point Thomas John Knowlys of  Heysham Tower comes into the story. An 1851 Directory contains the following:

In Heysham are two schools, one called the parish school, having an income of £19. 7s. 6d per annum arising from stock and lands, left by Joseph Banks and RobertThompson; and the other built and chiefly supported by John Knowlys Esq.’

We conclude that T J Knowlys became the next owner of Carr Garth after John Taylor Wilson and turned it into a school, Clearly in its previous size it was far too small and he therefore extended it to become the building we have today. Eileen Dent estimates the school opened c.1840 and lasted for at least 50 years. An 1848 Ordnance Survey map for Heysham confirms that it had become a very much bigger building than it was pre-1838. This is also in line with what English Heritage write in their listing for the building. The full extract from the Directory can be seen here. It shows the name of the first schoolmaster there, James Masheter. The other schoolmaster listed is John Foxcroft of the Parish School in School Road.

By the end of the century the school would appear to have closed. There is no mention of it in the section on Heysham of Kelly’s 1905 Directory of Lancashire, although that section does record two public elementary schools (St Peter’s and Sandylands).

Left is the well known image of one of Heysham’s water pumps. Carr Garth is behind the wall on the extreme left of the picture. David Flaxington takes us further back into the history of the house is his carefully crafted account in  Images of Engand: Heysham. He states that it was once a small coaching house for horses to rest on their way from the Dock at Sunderland Point to various destinations further up or across the Bay. He also tells us that many of the local gentry’s children were pupils at the school including, possibly James Williamson, later Lord Ashton, remembered chiefly for his Park and Monumernt in Lancaster. However this is based solely on the evidence that the initials ‘J.W. 1854’ are scratched on a kitchen window.

For David’s full account  click here.

In Bulmer’s Directory of Lancashire (1913) Robert Clarke is listed as living at Carr Garth but during World War I it was a convalescent home for officers, other ranks being at   Heysham Rectory Auxiliary Hospital. After the war it was acquired by the Church of England as a retirement home for clergy and from 1950 Alice and Norman Walkington operated it as a guest house followed by their daughter and son-in-law.