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Heysham Historians

The History of Heysham is a subject  addressed by many authors including some local ‘amateur’ historians as well as professionals in the field. Here are some notable contributions.

 The Victoria History of the Counties of England : Volume 8 :1914: Reprinted 1993 contains a detailed illustrated section on Heysham. The huge Victoria County Histories project started in 1899 by Arthur Doubleday became known as ’the big red books’. As well as the website link at the beginning of this paragraph, a pdf version is available on request; contact  sales@heyshamheritage.org.uk

A more reader friendly illustrated article on Heysham’s history  Heysham Village and Churches was published in 1984 by Lancaster City Council.  Click here.
The text is by Marion McClintock of the University of Lancaster Centre for North West Regional Studies, and the illustrations by Ian Ward.
Copies are also available in the Heritage Centre.

 Miss E S A Tomlinson’s Guide (16 pages) is mainly concerned with St Peter’s Church and  St Patrick’s Chapel and the rock-cut graves. It contains some fine pen and ink drawings by Rev J S B Wallis. (see St Patrick’s Chapel, right)

The version illustrated is a revised one from about 1960. The original edition would have been some fifty years earlier.

Miss Ellen Sarah Ann Tomlinson (1838-1919) lived at Heysham House in Middleton Road and was the twin sister of  William Edward Murray Tomlinson (1838-1912) MP for Preston (1882-1906).

Miss E M Grafton eldest daughter of the Grafton family of  Heysham Hall (the third) wrote  an article in 1903/4 entitled Notes of Heysham Church and Parish, reproduced here from the Journal of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire.


A History of Heysham.
[64 pages with Illustrations.].

Frederick Whewell HOGARTH

Printed at the Office of the "Morecambe Visitor", 1934

Dr Fred Hogarth was a Moreambe GP. The portrait of him (right) was reproduced in the Morecambe Guardian Souvenir Supplement 1967 on the occasion of the Millenary Celebration of St Peter’s Church,

In the archive at Heysham Heritage Centre there is also a handwritten copy made by Eileen Dent of  A History of Heysham by Frank Casson. Frank was born in 1896 and so would be contemporary with Fred Hogarth. There are other copies around because some historical accounts are clearly taken from his work (though not acknowledged).

An earlier writer (in the early 19th century) about Heysham is Roman Catholic Bishop  Robert Gradwell who was born on the Fylde.. He wrote
Heysham: A Story of North Lancashire in the 13th century.   He spent at least ten years working in Rome as Rector of the English College.

The work for which he is chiefly known is  The story of sixty years of the life of St. Patrick, A.D. 373-433 ; this is available in reproductron form..
Maybe his interest in St Patrick led to him writing about Heysham
.. It is possibly significant that he uses the word ’story’ and not ‘history’.  He writes what he thinks might have happened, but it is not necessarily fact. The danger is that some writers treat it as fact.

Two 20th century archaeological ‘digs’


Excavation and Survey at St Patrick’s Chapel and St Peter’s Church, Heysham 1977-8
T W Potter and R D Andrews

The Antiquaries Journal 1994 Vol. LXXIV
pp 55-134

A comprehensive and detailed account of the survey with numerous illustrations (e.g. left).

The mesolithic survey (right) was in the spring of 1992 when the ‘diggers’ camped out on the headland and encountered some rather unpleasant weather with north-west wind and periods or rain.
The account of their survey was written up in the Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society 87: 141-149 and is available as a download,
click here