Ancient Dalton in Furness

Ancient Dalton in Furness:

Dalton was historically the capital of Furness and is mentioned in the Domesday Book as Daltune.

Dalton Castle is a 14th-century peel tower situated at the top of the hill in the town.

It is a Grade I listed building and is in the ownership of the National Trust.

The castle was built by the monks of Furness Abbey for the protection of the nearby market town.

It was a rectangular tower, measuring 30 feet by 45 feet, with walls 6 feet thick. It stood three storeys tall and was surmounted by a simple parapet.

Within the thick stone walls were a courtroom, two administration rooms, a dismal dungeon, storerooms, and guardrooms. After the threat of Scottish invasion diminished, the castle served as a courthouse and a prison.

In 1965, the castle was given to the National Trust by the 8th Duke of Buccleuch. It was restored and reopened to the public in 1969.

The castle is open 2pm to 5pm on Saturday afternoon during spring and summer. Admission is free.

Today it’s almost enclosed with residential cottages.

Additionally, you can enjoy a walk around the historic buildings near the Market Place.

Look out for the unique cast-iron shop front at No51 Market Place.

Further up the hill, is an elegant drinking fountain with fluted columns supporting a domed top. It was installed to commemorate Queen Victoria’s jubilee in 1897. Nearby is the market cross and slabs of stone used for fish drying in the 19th-Century.

Ancient Dalton in Furness

Dalton also boasts the home to the earliest recorded book club in the world established in 1764.

Another interesting fact is that the portrait artist, George Romney, was born at Beckside, Dalton-in Furness in 1734.

He developed a passion for the arts and was apprenticed in Kendal to a portrait painter, Christopher Steele.

Eventually, he set up on his own and scratched out a meagre living until his twenties when he raised fifty pounds and moved to London where he began to achieve success.

He travelled the continent improving his style and became an accepted and talented artist.

One of his important commissions was to paint the Gower family, a painting which is held in the Abbot Hall art gallery in Kendal.

He also made violins and played one in his studio to gain inspiration for his paintings.

He eventually became senile and, with his health fading fast, was left in the care of his faithful and long-suffering wife

Dalton Churchyard

He died in Kendal in 1802 and is buried in the churchyard here in Dalton. His stone is marked simply ‘Pictor Celeberrimus’.at

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June 3rd
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