Dalton in Furness – a brief history
· Probable origin of the Anglian name is descriptive of its situation i.e. Daletun,clearly meaning the tun or town in a dale, and possibly dating from the 7th century A.D.
· 1127. Work started on the building of the monastery dedicated to St. Mary of Furness in the secluded Vale of Nightshade, or as it was then known, bekansgill.This abbey was destined to become the second largest and wealthiest in the country.
· 1306, and again in 1322, Dalton, and much of Furness was devastated by marauding Scottish warriors.
· 1348. The Black Death arrived in Furness bringing even more misery to those inhabitants who had survived the Scottish raids.
· 1537. With the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Furness Abbey was reduced to a ruin, thus bringing about the steady decline in Dalton′s status as The Ancient Capital of Furness.
· May 1565. Dalton′s first parish register was started. It listed Baptisms, not births, Weddings and Burials.
· 1622. Daltons first School opened on Goose Green.
· July 1631. The beginning of a severe epidemic of plague which claimed a total of 360 deaths out of a population of 612. It appears that the disease was brought to the town by a Mr. Lancaster and his wife who had travelled here from London. Later, with the assistance of a Mr Noble, he buried the dead, robbed the now empty houses and barns, and committed an act of mass murder by administering poison to a gullible and terrified public who were told it was medicine. The epidemic lasted until Easter 1632.
· 1643 Civil War. 1 October, the “battle” at Lindal Close between Cromwell′s army and the Royalists resulted in defeat for the Royalists who were hotly pursued through Dalton as they headed for their homes in and around Millom where most of them had come from. Dalton was then pillaged and plundered by the victorious army.
· 1764. The foundation of the Dalton Book Club, destined to become the oldest surviving book club in the world. It is still in existence.
· Although iron ore mining had been carried on in Furness for centuries, by the 18th century it became much more intensive, and by the middle of the 19th century Dalton was almost surrounded by mines. With the arrival in the town of large numbers of immigrant miners, the demand for housing also increased and this result in many rows of terraced houses on what had previously been green fields.
· 1846 saw the arrival of the railway in the town.
· Late 19th century. One side effect of this increase in population was a corresponding increase in the number of pupils, shops and chapels. It also fostered the demand for more impressive parish church to replace the existing medieval church. The Demolition and rebuilding took place between 1883 and 1885.