Pre-amble: Wray to Kirkby Lonsdale

Day Two leads north over rolling country (including ‘drumlins’) slightly west of the River Lune crossing the River Hindburn, the River Wenning at Wennington, fording (hopefully) the River Greta near Cantsfield and leck beck near Cowan Bridge

River names: All seem to be indicative of ‘type’, though not, by origin necessarily easy to explain. Lune may be a British name, pre-Roman, related to words meaning ‘health giving’. Hindburn possibly referring to a stream associated with female deer (‘hind’) Wenning: From the Old English ‘wann’ and meaning ‘dark’ Greta: from the Old Norse meaning ‘stony stream’

Leck: a curiosity which may be from the Old Norse meaning simply ‘brook’ – in which case the full name is simply a repeating term. It is possible that the Roman fort slightly downstream near the Lune was named Calacum because it referred to a noisy stream – the leck.

Routes: Slightly to the west of Wennington the established major Roman road from the south is joined by the less certain route from Lancaster. The road becomes a very clear landscape feature north of the Greta and is still in vehicular use further north. The walking route for this day may (fords and pathways permitting) follow parts of this route.

To the west of the day’s route (or on it if the ford is impassable) near the Lune are Melling and Tunstall.

Ever able to introduce curious aspects of interest, Arthur Mee (Lancashire) notes a Clementine Rumph, a German, bearer of the Iron Cross for nursing wounded during the Franco-Prussian war & who settled at Melling… ‘died here in 1898, wept for by the village children whose great friend she had been, happily passing to her rest before the break up of our Anglo-German peace… little boys she loved are on the peace memorial’.

This he wrote in 1936 and thus provides, given the events that followed, a poignant statement – sharpened in recent times by the varied actions which seem to now continually engage similar British ‘little boys’.

[‘Arthur Mee’ refers to the ‘King’s England’ series initially compiled by Arthur Mee and published by Hodder and Stoughton. See:

Where is the ‘peace’ that his memorial was supposed to support?

As with Mee – so with Pevsner… the personal touch which enlivens accounts:

‘Tunstall. St John Baptist. The only church in North Lancashire which one can praise for never having given in to sweeping suggestions to restore windows and other features. How right Ruskin and Morris were! It creates a human appeal which cannot be otherwise roused.’

The Leck Beck is crossed at Overtown, by Cowan Bridge where the Bronte sisters were schooled:

‘The haunting spell of the Brontes sheds a wistful enchantment over this scene, for Lowood [Cowan Bridge] forms the subject of six chapters of Jan Eyre. The three sisters suffered here intolerably. The building was unhealthy with defective drains and polluted water; their food was insufficient and often bad… we feel that the searing indictment of the school in Jayne Eyre is written by one who had known and suffered much of what she describes’ (Mee)

The day finishes by leaving Lancashire, entering Cumbria (the Westmorland part) and crossing the Lune by the Devil’s Bridge into Kirkby Lonsdale.

The Devil’s Bridge may have been first constructed by St Mary’s Abbey, York – and it has the usual tale of an old woman sending a dog to eternal torment as it chased her thrown bread across the bridge.

‘John Ruskin said of this small town that it had moorland, sweet river, and English forest at their best.’ (Mee ‘Lake Counties’).

The Lune had Turner at its ‘Crook’ (nr Caton) and from here there is the constant background presence of others who have a had a significant part in creating our modern view of ourselves.

Kirkby Lonsdale is a crossing point in various ways… the north – south routes using the Lune and other route-ways linking east and west most easily exemplified by the present A65 (‘Leeds to Kendal’)

‘The site is a significant one, at the head of possible Lune valley navigation…. Much of its revenue came from the tolls. By-passed today, a great hush has fallen on the town, although it is popular with day-trippers’ (Pevsner ‘Cumbria’)

Day – trippers – ah, what an interestingly evocative (and old-fashioned) phrase, one that could have resonance (though with broadly negative meaning) for the post-war children writing ‘pop’ songs in the ‘60s…. But now?

Boundaries and transport routes tend to have very deep histories.

Similarly do many places which lie in or near to boundaries. This immediate area being an example. References in Domesday Book to the various places leading to Kirkby are described as being in Yorkshire and the area was a part of historic ‘Richmondshire’. This district still exists by name in Yorkshire but originally included significant parts of the Lune valley. Ecclesiastically it became part of the Diocese of Chester after the Reformation but on objection (it extended to within 18 miles of York) was returned to the Diocese of York – and later to various newly created Dioceses.

The historic importance of the valley along the Lune is also demonstrated by the number of motte and bailey castles constructed by Norman invaders (the greatest number outside the Welsh Border). Presumably an area requiring ‘careful monitoring and control’ due in part to its strategic position on routes to the North.

April 18th

Wray dep: 08.30

Road 604680, ftpths 612680, 617690, Wennington (4kms), lane 619710, ftpths & ford, Cantsfield 620728, Ftpths 630737, Longriggs barn, 631752, Roman road, Overtown (12kms) Ftpths 627770, Whoop Hall Inn 625774, A65, ftpths, Devil’s bridge

Kirkby Lonsdale (16kms)

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