Thursday, 21 June 2012

Thursday Tour - Heysham

Heysham is a village on the southern side of Morecambe Bay. We’ll ignore the two nuclear power stations nearby, and also the port from which ferries leave for the Isle of Man and Ireland.

Instead, we’ll concentrate on the village itself  whose origins lie somewhere in Neolithic times, as stone axes and hammer heads have been found in the area. Some of these artefacts suggest that this area might have been an ancient burial ground or ‘barrow’. The cliff top area is still known as the ‘Barrows’.

Tradition says that St. Patrick visited Heysham about 445A.D. and built a small chapel on the edge of the cliff. Later, around the 8th or 9th century, this was replaced by another chapel, the remains of which can still be seen. It was known as St Patrick’s Chapel, and six rock-cut tombs have been found nearby. These graves appear on the cover of the CD ‘The Best of Black Sabbath.’

The present church, St Peter’s, was built in Saxon times, and fragments of this church can still be seen in the present church was built about 1340-50, with later extensions in the 15th and 19th centuries. The grounds of this church contain several Saxon and Viking remains, including a Hog Back stone, which was probably a Viking gravestone. It is carved with several grotesque animal figures.

The village itself has attractive old cottages , some dating to the 17th century, and Victorian houses. When I used to visit Heysham as a child, it was famous for its ‘Nettle Beer’, a non-alcoholic ‘beer’ brewed originally by Granny Hutchinson in a small cottage on the main street. I remember tasting it once – but not liking it very much!


  1. Fascinating as always, Paula - and another area I've not seen before.

  2. I really must revisited this area. Just another gem of hidden Lancashire. The last time I was there was just to take visitors to the Isle of Man Ferry. I need to go back to the village.

  3. Yes, fascinating. So cool you have a photo of the woman who made the nettle beer.

  4. Rosemary - I remember going to Heysham first when I was about 8 or 9 and being fascinated by those rock tombs!

    Margaret - last time I was there was about 10 years ago, to catch the IoM ferry! The village itself seemed a lot quieter than I remembered form when I was a kid.

    Em - the photo of Granny Hutchinson is quite a famous 'archive' photo.

    Claudia - yes, a fascinating little place.

  5. Wonderful! I have an award for you!: