Walney, Lancashire Genealogy
Walney St Mary Vickerstown was created a chapel of ease in 1742 from, and lying within the boundaries of Dalton in Furness, Lancashire Ancient Parish.
Other places in the parish include: Barrow, Barrow Island, Biggar, Walney Island, Peel, Piel Island, and Hawcoat Division.
The name Walney comes from the Old Norse valna ey, which means "Isle of the British". This name would have been given when Norse settlers were present in the area during the Viking Age. One of the main areas of settlement, Biggar Village has been inhabited since at least the 11th century. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book as Hougenai, or "island of Hougun" from the Old Norse word haugr meaning mound or hill.
The island is around eleven miles long and less than a mile wide at its widest point.
The island lies in the Irish Sea to the west of the Furness peninsula in north-west England. Until 1974 both the island and the peninsula were a detached part of the county of Lancashire but is now in Cumbria, the island being part of the borough of Barrow-in-Furness to which it has been connected by bridge (Jubilee Bridge) since 1908. Jubilee Bridge spans Walney Channel and until its commission, a ferry was used in order to cross the channel.
The church is situated in Vickerstown which was an estate for worker housing constructed for workers at the Barrow shipyards and docks owned at the time by the Vickers company.
"WALNEY, ISLE OF, a chapelry, in the parish of Dalton-in-Furness, union of Ulverston, hundred of Lonsdale north of the Sands, N. division of the county of Lancaster, 5 miles (S. W.) from Dalton; containing 921 inhabitants. This district, which is insular only at high water, is ten miles in length, and about one in breadth; and has a lighthouse on its southern extremity, a short distance from which is a rocky islet termed the Pile of Fouldrey, i. e. the island of fowls, where are the venerable ruins of a strong castle. There are several other small isles adjacent, the principal of which is Old Barrow, lying between this and the main land, opposite the small village and port of Barrow. Walney, which is stated to have been once covered with wood, is described by West, in his Antiquities of Furness, as lying on a bed of moss, which is found by digging through a layer of sand and clay, and in which trees have been met with. On the western side of the island were lately discovered a number of guns of various calibre, stone balls of from eight to twelve pounds' weight, balls of hammered iron, old swords, and other articles, supposed to have belonged to a wrecked vessel, of which a tradition has existed for several centuries. One of the guns measured ten feet in length; all were of wrought or hammered iron, and were provided with rings to allow them to be slung with ropes when fired, which shows that gun-carriages were not in use when they were made. The relics all lay imbedded in the sand and clay, at a place only accessible at low water. There are some remarkable intermitting springs of fresh water in the island. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £94; patron, the Vicar of Dalton."
From: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis (1848), pp. 444-449. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=51372 Date accessed: 03 August 2010.
Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.
Lancashire Online Parish Clerks
An extremely useful resource for research in Lancashire Parishes http://www.lan-opc.org.uk/
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http://www.1881pubs.com/ for details of public houses in the 1881 census
Poor Law Unions
Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Lancashire Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.
Maps and Gazetteers
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