Place:Ireleth with Askam, Lancashire, England

NameIreleth with Askam
Alt namesAskham-in-Furnesssource: from redirect
Askham and Irelethsource: from redirect
Askam and Irelethsource: common name for the present parish
Above Townsource: name used up until circa 1850
Askamsource: village in parish
Askam in Furnesssource: another name for above
Irelethsource: chapelry in parish
Marton in Furnesssource: hamlet in parish
Mouzellsource: hamlet in parish
Roanheadsource: hamlet in parish
Coordinates54.183°N 3.217°W
Located inLancashire, England     ( - 1974)
See alsoLonsdale Hundred, Lancashire, Englandhundred in which it was located
Dalton in Furness, Lancashire, Englandancient parish of which it was a part
South Lakeland District, Cumbria, Englanddistrict municipality covering the area since 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names

NOTE: There are places that may be confused with both Ireleth and Askam. Always check and verify your sources.

Kirkby Ireleth is another civil parish immediately north of Ireleth. It is very large but sparsely population and was part of the Ulverston Rural District before being transferred to Cumbria in 1974. (There is a map on the page for the rural district.)

Askam can be confused with Askham in the part of Cumbria which was Westmorland before 1974. Askham (with the "h") is located east of Ullswater (the lake) and south of Penrith.

the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Ireleth with Askam is now a civil parish close to Barrow in Furness in the county of Cumbria, in the northwest of England. Until 1974 it was part of Lancashire. Ireleth and Askam were originally two separate villages with different histories. In recent times, they have merged to become one continuous settlement. The population of the civil parish taken at the 2011 Census was 3,632.

Ireleth has its origins as a mediaeval farming village clustered on the hillside overlooking the flat sands of the Duddon Estuary. Askam was established following the discovery of large quantities of iron ore near the village in the middle of the 18th century.

The pair originally fell within the boundaries of the Hundred of Lonsdale 'north of the sands' in the historic county of Lancashire, but following local government reforms in 1974 became part of the county of Cumbria, along with the rest of Furness.

The nearby River Duddon estuary and shallow mudbanks have made the area well known for its wildlife, while the villages' exposed position on the eastern bank facing the Irish Sea have encouraged the establishment of wind energy generation.



Ireleth is the smaller and older of the two villages, with its origins stretching back to the Viking occupation of Britain. It was originally clustered along a stream, named 'Hole Beck', about half a mile up the hill from the estuary below. It was also the junction of four roads passing through the area. Firstly, there was the 'Sands' road, named 'Marsh Lane' in maps of the 1850s, heading down the hill towards the shore, where it met one of the possible routes for crossing the treacherous tidal sands of the Duddon at low tide. Secondly, there was the lane heading north along a ridge towards Kirkby Ireleth. Part of these two roads form today's A595 main road. There was also a road leading up the stream's valley towards the hamlet of Marton, and finally a road east over the hills towards Dalton in Furness.

Image:Dalton ancient parish 50pc.png

It is thought the village was included in the Domesday Book, compiled soon after the Norman Conquest of 1066, but there is debate over which of the entries for the Furness area in William the Conqueror's census actually refers to modern day Ireleth.

During the Middle Ages, the entire area was controlled by the Cistercian monks of Furness Abbey. During this time, Ireleth was little more than one of many farming communities in Furness. The religious history of the village is recorded as starting around the year 1608, when an endowment was created to fund a village school.

Ireleth did not have a parish church at this point, falling into the Above Town area of Dalton in Furness, together with the hamlets of Marton and Lindal in Furness (redirected to the parish of Pennington (near Ulverston). Lacking a place of worship, it was decided the newly built school could also be put to use as a chapel.

In 1860, Ireleth, along with the newly founded Askam, petitioned for the creation of its own ecclesiastical parish following the rapid increase in population. Construction of a parish church began, with the money to build St. Peter's coming from the new-found profits of iron ore mining in Askam, giving rise to the name the 'Iron Church'. It was dedicated for use on St. Peter's Day, 29 June 1865, but approval for a new ecclesiastical parish of Ireleth with Askam did not come until almost ten years later in 1874.


Askam's history starts much more recently. In 1850, iron ore deposits were discovered in the area by Henry Schneider. These turned out to be the second largest iron ore deposits in the country, with over 7 million tons of ore extracted. By 1896, 547 men were employed in the pits by the village and in nearby Roanhead, 347 of them underground. Several hundred others worked in local mines at Mouzell (between Ireleth and Dalton in Furness), Roanhead and Dalton. The Millom and Askam Iron Company built four blast furnaces in the village to smelt the iron ore being brought from mines all over the peninsula by rail. The village continued to grow with terraced houses and allotments erected for the flood of immigrant labour needed to work the mines. They came from all parts of the British Isles, with a large proportion coming from existing mining areas in Cornwall and [[Place:Ireland|Ireland}. The Cornish in particular tended to bring their families and settle, while the Irish often moved on to wherever there was work. Others came from areas where Askam's mine owners had other concerns, such as Scotland and Wales.

Remnants of the steel industry remain in Askam, as evidenced by a pier, consisting of slag from the works, that juts out into the bay toward Millom, Westmorland. Numerous streets are named after the industry and its owners. By 1918, the iron ore had run out and most of the industrial buildings were demolished in 1933. Since then, Askam has grown with commuter homes for workers in Barrow in Furness, exploiting the views over the Duddon Estuary to the Lake District.

Askam and Ireleth

Askam and Ireleth are both part of the Furness peninsula, where the suffix "in Furness" is sometimes added to place names, such as in "Barrow in Furness" and "Dalton in Furness". Askam, when referred to on its own, often uses this but it is rare for Ireleth to be called Ireleth in Furness. A possible explanation for this is that the majority of "in Furness" place names were inventions of the railway that either created the settlements or caused their rapid expansion; Ireleth, untouched by the railway, was not affected by this convention. However, Ireleth is often confused in archival records with 'Kirkby Ireleth', the former name for the community (two miles to the north) now known as Kirkby in Furness.

In administration terms, the civil parish of which they are both part uses the name Askam with Ireleth, but common usage is Askam and Ireleth (redirected here).

Research Tips

  • See the Wikipedia articles on parishes and civil parishes for descriptions of this lowest rung of local administration. The original parishes (known as ancient parishes) were ecclesiastical, under the jurisdiction of the local priest. A parish covered a specific geographical area and was sometimes equivalent to that of a manor. Sometimes, in the case of very large rural parishes, there were chapelries where a "chapel of ease" allowed parishioners to worship closer to their homes. In the 19th century the term civil parish was adopted to define parishes with a secular form of local government. In WeRelate both civil and ecclesiastical parishes are included in the type of place called a "parish". Smaller places within parishes, such as chapelries and hamlets, have been redirected into the parish in which they are located. The names of these smaller places are italicized within the text.
  • Rural districts were groups of geographically close civil parishes in existence between 1894 and 1974. They were formed as a middle layer of administration between the county and the civil parish. Inspecting the archives of a rural district will not be of much help to the genealogist or family historian, unless there is need to study land records in depth.
  • Civil registration or vital statistics and census records will be found within registration districts. To ascertain the registration district to which a parish belongs, see Registration Districts in Lancashire, part of the UK_BMD website.
  • Lancashire Online Parish Clerks provide free online information from the various parishes, along with other data of value to family and local historians conducting research in the County of Lancashire.
  • FamilySearch Lancashire Research Wiki provides a good overview of the county and also articles on most of the individual parishes (very small or short-lived ones may have been missed).
  • Ancestry (international subscription necessary) has a number of county-wide collections of Church of England baptisms, marriages and burials, some from the 1500s, and some providing microfilm copies of the manuscript entries. There are specific collections for Liverpool (including Catholic baptisms and marriages) and for Manchester. Their databases now include electoral registers 1832-1935. Another pay site is FindMyPast.
  • A map of Lancashire circa 1888 supplied by A Vision of Britain through Time includes the boundaries between the parishes and shows the hamlets within them.
  • A map of Lancashire circa 1954 supplied by A Vision of Britain through Time is a similar map for a later timeframe.
  • GENUKI provides a website covering many sources of genealogical information for Lancashire. The organization is gradually updating the website and the volunteer organizers may not have yet picked up all the changes that have come with improving technology.
  • The Victoria County History for Lancashire, provided by British History Online, covers the whole of the county in six volumes (the seventh available volume [numbered Vol 2] covers religious institutions). The county is separated into its original hundreds and the volumes were first published between 1907 and 1914. Most parishes within each hundred are covered in detail. Maps within the text can contain historical information not available elsewhere.
  • A description of the parish of Dalton from British History Online (Victoria County Histories), published 1914
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Askam and Ireleth. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.