Heysham History   Timeline     Images of Heysham     Visiting Heysham
HHA    Heysham Heritage Centre    Notes and Queries    Events    Publications    The Cottage    
 Contact us

Notes and Queries on matters to do with Heysham’s Heritage

Hardware shop at Strawberry Gardens?

We've recently received a query about a hardware shop on Heysham Road (possibly no 372) which was trading from the mid 60s to mid 80s. If anyone has any information or photographs, please email enquire@heyshamheritage.org.uk

Farms in Heysham
Central Farm

Central Farm image reproduced by kind permission of Carol Crossley (nee Clarke)

There are still farms in Heysham but whether they are part of larger establishments today we are not certiaai Fanny House on Oxcliffe Road still exists as it has not been overtaken by housing developments.
In 1920 there were still many farms and they are mentioned in   this extract from David Flaxington’s ,History of Heysham. Most of them can be located on the Tithe Map of 1838 (if they existed then) or later old Ordnance Maps but so far we have not been able to locate Town End Farm or Central Farm and possibly Stanley Farm on the list in the extract.

Our correspondent Amy L Grew mentions that she is having problems investigatinmg Mossgate Park farm/Clarke’s Farm.
Recent correspondence from Brian Lund informs us that Central Farm was located off Middleton Road and was farmed by John Clarke. Brian believes that John moved to develop the farm at Mossgate (we're hoping to have permission to publish some images shortly). The name Mossgate in Heysham Mossgate is old but Mossgate Park is a recent term used to describe the housing development down  Heysham Mossgate . There are certainly no buildings in Heysham Mossgate on the Tithe Map.
Census records for 1911 unfortunately do not name John Clarke’s farm but the mention of Heaton district might be a clue. Heaton is not part of Heysham parish.

If any reader has more information on this farm we would be glad to receive it. Thank you.

Have you any information on these two houses?

Contact us


Both houses will be currently privately owned and we wish to respect that. We would like to know more about their past.
4 Main Street is a well known listed house and often referred to as Manor House (Illustration ® Google Earth)
Not much is known about it other than in the listing. As far as we know it had nothing to do with the Manor of Heysham. For a  short period in the late 1850s it was occupied by Rev John Royds (Rector) whilst the Rectory was being much refurbished.


Duke Street (left) faces west overlooking the car park.. The street is present in the early 19th century and is shown on the Tithe Map (1836). Whether all the present buildings date from then we do not know. 

The illustration is one that appears on several house buying websites and its origin is unknown
A recent correspondent W A Quigley has an idea that the second house was at some time a public house.(not quite clear which is the second.) Can anyone confirm this please

Rock art/graffiti

The Heysham ‘labyrinth’ is mentioned by Richard Withers in his recent HHA publication The Legacy of tfe Celts;  he first visited the site in 1996. Several similar images of it to the one on the right  can be found on the internet and in particular it is extensively examined in an article by George Nash.
There is no reference to it in the archives of the Lancashire and Cheshire Historic Scoiety   but there are many other sources about rock art to explore e.g. click here.More recently our correspondent Jon Swimmer sent us the photograph below right probably fairly close to where the labyrinth was found. He writes

A few times whilst on Heysham Barrows I have climbed down a rock face to find a quiet little hollow where it is possible to sit on the rock, Three times is carved the word 'sanctus' in what looks like roman-esque characters. There is also a cross etched into the wall but this looks a later addition. 
Have you seen this and if so what is it? I don't know if it’s an old or modern thing, though the carving of the words in the rocks looks pretty deep”.


The answer to Jon’s question is almost certainly that we have not seen it.

Neither are we qualified to judge the age of such an inscription. How exposed is the site ; this would affect the amount of weathering due to the elements.  The grooves on the labyrinth look much more worn.
How often does the use of text characters occur in rock art?


1934 Rolls Royce

This fine vehicle has recently been acquired by Real Car Co Ltd of Bethesda nr Bangor, North Wales.
 The papework on the car shows that it was owned by  a G H Widdop of 2 Middleton Street, Heysham,. Sue Jones of Real Car Ltd goes on to say:

I have tried various searches and so far have found out there was a H Widdop (engines) and a Mrs M Widdop of Hunters Lodge, Middleton Rd, Heysham, a breeder.

Since 1968  Hunter Lodge, 2 Middleton Road, Heysham has been the site of Aex Willis Funeral Home. See extract from their website.n  
Hunter Lodge is an early to mid 20th century building. In the early19th house there was a previous building on the site owned by a Simon Masheter.

Sue would be very pleased to  learn if anyone has further information  about the Widdop family in Heysham.


Missing persons/records and transcription errors

Many people research their family history using the internet

Margaret Irvine of Western Australia and Pam Firth believe that they have common ancestors in Heysham’s past,   Christopher and Mary Stephenson (nee Edmundson) who were married in Heysham in 1714/15
On the Old Hall owners and tenants page it is already mentioned that Margaret thinks Mary is her many times grandmother but she cannot find any record of her birth/baptism.
Pam Firth has another problem with  Mary and Christopher’s son Richard baptized at St Peter’s in 1718..  Richard married Elizabeth Dodgson in 1741 and they had four children all baptized at St Peter’s
She writes:

An Elizabeth Stephenson was buried at Heysham on 15th October 1769, but there is no information to confirm if this is Richard's wife (although I  tend to believe it is). Nothing further was known about Richard until Margaret lrvine located an  Administration Bond dated 10th November 1813. This refers to Richard Stephenson, yeoman late of Heysham. The text of the Bond says that Richard  Stephenson of Stainton Gap in Ulverston is the son and next of kin and administrator of the goods and chattels of Richard Stephenson who died in December 1769.
No burial has been found for Richard and I have not located a newspaper article that throws any light on this

She goes to add that both she and Margaret would  be very interested in anyone's thoughts from others who have connections with the Stephenson and Edmundson families.

Transcription errors

These can occur in at least two ways. In a census the recorder can enter persons names or other information incorrectly due to unfamiliarity with what is heard, particularly where a person is illiterate which was often the case in the 19th century.
At the stage when a genealogy program is copying from  church, census and other records which are handwritten, errors of interpretation often occur. If the initial letter of a word is incorrect this throws a big spanner in the works. Recently in the case of Frank Wyton who was the purchaser of Strawberry Gardens in 1905 his marriage record is found as Nyton which causes quite a problem in searching. The first downstroke of W had not been seen in the record.

Three new  Jumbo postcards on sale in the Centre

1. Fairy frolics around Greese Cottage

2. Poster for Heysham Head Circus

3. Heysham Head Pleasure Gardens :Official Guide


This new book published by the Midland Railway Society has been brougfht to our attention:
Midland Retrospective by John Earl & Steve Huson: Cloth Bound - Hard Back
212 pages  245 x 220 mm - ISBN 978-0-9955142-1-8 :  Price £27.50 (plus £2.50 P+P)

From the beginning the authors set out to make Midland Retrospective different. Different in that it has much of new significance for railway historians and enthusiasts but also is a valuable introduction for the general reader. Different in that it looks at eight different aspects of the Midland Railway Company, using new maps and the resources of a specialist designer to shed a clear light on the subject. The book is copiously illustrated with many photographs that are being published for the first time and the authors have made full use of the remarkable resources of the Midland Railway Study Centre at the historic Silk Mill in Derby.
Steve Huson (co-author) writes to us:  “Of particular interest to Heysham residents is the chapter on Midland Railway’s Hotels which includes a section on Heysham Tower (for which I received help from David Collins) and also the Midland Hotel at Morecambe – that’s the first one (on early old maps appears as North Western Hotel) - not the present magnificent Art Deco building.   Our reviews so far have all been very positive, but what better an endorsement than the review in the doyen of all railway magazines, the ‘Railway  Magazine’ itself? Part of the review in their  October issue reads:”
“A high quality publication that is lavishly illustrated with high quality black and white and colour illustrations which have been chosen for their relevance, many being published for the first time. Those with an enduring fascination for the Midland Railway will find much to delight them. This is an excellent publication and very strongly recommended.”
To order a copy contact: Andrew Cholerton  booksales@midlandrailwaysociety.org.uk


Edward Eccles, last home weaver in Darwen,
This picture appears on a BBC Local history page

Historically the Heysham peninsula is frequently described as a farming and fishing community which are very visible activities.  Equally important for living are the occupations of weaving and spinning  and in church records where the occupation of a person is sometimes listed there are many occurrences of ‘weaver’.
HHA member Kate Schofield is looking for information  on the following

(i) 18th century cotton handspinning Overton

(ii) 19th century  Fishermens Gansies from Lancashire coastal villages,

(iii) pre-industrial revolution handloom weaving in the Heysham area..

If you think you can help in any way please contact her at  schofield316@btinternet.com

Katherine Gregson, one of Heysham Heritage Association’s first members is interviewed on a YouTbe video by members of Morecambe High School:

“Katherine Gregson describes a happy childhood playing with friends in the fields of Heysham village; how the war took her and her family to Plymouth; and how she is passionate about preserving the history and archaeology of Heysham.”  Click here to play video



We have just received this 1870s vintage postcard from correspondent Darren Foster. He says he has been to Heysham recently and as far as this photograph is concerned little has changed .

Aerial photographs of all Heysham’s Grade 1 listed buildings


In conjunction with Phantom Films of Morecambe (http://www.phantomfilms.co.uk) Canvas prints of these photographs  can be viewed and ordered by visiting the Heritage Centre. St Peter’s Church below and St Patrick’s Chapel and rock graves to the right. There is no copyright watermarking on the prints.
There are also jumbo (A5) postcards  (captioned with names of buildings) available of two of the images at £1 each, The reverse side is blank.


New Publication: The Legacy of the Celts and other Antiquities

The idea for this short (12 pages) A5 guide to St Patrick’s Chapel and other antiquities was conceived and written by long time Heysham Heritage member and local historian, Richard Withers. His friend, Helier Hibbs, prepared it for publication and organized the printing by Pagefast.  We congratulate them both on the care and thinking that has gone into the production of this attractive and colourful guide. The Association helped a little with suggestions and advice and it is a significant and welcome addition to the list of HHA publications.

It is now on sale in the Heritage Centre (£2) and all proceeds  go to the upkeep of the Centre. The author and his colleague have met the cost of publication and we are much appreciative  of this  generous gesture.


Large Heath butterfly

Heysham Moss nature reserve hit the  BBC headlines recently because of the successful reintroduction of this butterfly which has been missing from the site for over 100 years.

The butterfly only lives in boggy areas and the main larval(caterpillar) foodplant is Harestail Cotton grass. Before the Moss was acquired by Lancashire Wildlife Trust it suffered from drying out due to drainage for agricultural purposes. By various means this is now being reversed and the foodplant is presumably now thriving enough to create the right conditions for the butterfly to maintain a sustainable population.


Barnacled structure on Heysham shore

Our correspondent Mike Bywater has sent us this photo taken last year at Heysham.  Please can anyone tell us what its origins are?

The buildings behind along the shore line run from Grosvenor flats to about the children’s play park in the Village Bay. So it seems the structure is in the vicinity of Throbshaw Point, Heysham Head. It is not the wreck of the Vanadis; that is in Half Moon Bay.


A new ‘giant’ postcard, A5 size (standard letter rate) has been designed by Graham Dean  © and will be on sale in the Heritage Centre from Easter onwards priced £1.

On the back is the standard postcard layout for message and address and message.


The new National Trust trail leaflet has now been published

The trail covers the village and the National Trust headland. It is copiously illustrated with old photographs of places in Heysham, supplied by Heysham residents John & Doreen Reid and Ian & Val Millar, which are still recognisable though some aspects will have changed over time. Reminiscences and anecdotes of  HHA members and other Heysham  residents about the photographs are also a feature of the leaflet

Some of the old photographs can be seen  here

Nancy Burditt (NT) conducted the recorded interviews  and has generally overseen the production of the leaflet. Alan Ferguson  (NT) i started the whole project going before he retired. Our thanks to them both.

A copy of the leaflet can be downloaded from the National Trust site  Heysham Pager