Friday, 15 June 2012

Thursday Tour - Garstang

Oops, I got my days all wrong this week, and forgot to post my Thursday Tour yesterday, but here it is, a day late!

Garstang is a small market town, about half way between the cities of Preston and Lancaster. It grew up where the main road through Lancashire crossed the River Wyre.

Prehistoric artefacts have been found in the area, and its origins may lie in Anglo-Saxon times. In the 14 century it was granted a Market Charter by Edward II, and the Market Cross stands in what used to be the market place. In the 19th century Garstang was famous for its cheese fairs and cattle fairs. The Old Town Hall and Market Hall were restored in the 20th century following a fire. The town still has a weekly market every Thursday.

In the late 15th century, Thomas Stanley, the 1st Earl of Derby built nearby Greenhalgh Castle. It was constructed in the form of a square with one tower. During the Civil War of the 17th century, the Parliamentarians ordered the castle to be dismantled, and local farmers soon made use of the stones. Only the ruins of one of the four corner towers survive to this day.

The Lancaster Canal, built in 1792, was used to transport coal, slate, timber, food, rope, and limestone. It later offered a passenger service between Preston and Kendal. The canal was prosperous until 1840 when the Lancaster and Preston railway began operating. Now the canal is used by pleasure craft and narrow boats, and there is a small marina. The pub next to the marina, the Old Tithebarn, was originally the barn where the ‘tithes’ payable to the church were stored, originally one tenth of everything people grew, raised or made.  As well as being a pub/restaurant, it also houses an amazing collection of old agricultural machinery. I’ve not been there recently but at one time they used to serve wonderful homemade Lancashire Hotpot.
The Garstang Agricultural and Horticultural Show is held every year, on the first Saturday in August. This was a regular visit for me when I was a child, as my grandfather had a small market garden near to Garstang, and frequently won prizes for his vegetables and tomatoes, and especially for his dahlias, his speciality. My cousin and I used to love visiting the tent with the small animals (rabbits, poultry and birds) and enjoyed the dog show, the shire horses with their old style brewery wagons, and the gymkhana events.


  1. Enjoyed the trip. I especially like the market description - seems like a neat memory.

  2. Many thanks, T.D and Claudia :-)

  3. Normally I am taking others on a journey but today I am on your journey ... Thank you. It was fun, I saw and learned a lot ...

  4. Thank you, Journey of life, so pleased you enjoyed this.