Austwick and Lawkland walk

6 February 2005
Leader - Michael Southworth
 North Craven 
 Heritage Trust 

The walk started at the Gamecock Inn and went down the Pant, across Austwick beck following the lane which leads across the fields to the A65. After crossing the main road we followed the footpath heading due south to Lawkland Cottages, passing Lawkland and Austwick mosses to the west. At the Cottages we headed north east to Crow Nest, crossing the A65 again and passing through Rawlinshaw farm to the bridleway leading to Medlings Barn and thence back to Austwick.

Lawkland Moss (along with all Austwick Moss) is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is of particular interest to botanists. Part of the Moss used to be divided into ‘dales’, which were strips of land with dykes on either side. These dales were rented by local farmers and a hay crop taken from them each summer. At least one local also used his dale for growing potatoes! The last time hay was made on the Moss was in the 1950s.

The line of cottages, now known as The Cottages, was the site of the Lawkland Poor House. The exact date of the opening of the House is not known, but we do know that it was up and running in April 1823 and closed at the end of 1837. On 28th April 1823 there were 14 paupers in residence - 4 from Lawkland, 7 from Horton and 3 from Austwick. During the period 1823 to 1837 some 357 different paupers were in residence for periods ranging from one day to several years. Of this total 167 were male and 190 female. During the same period 36 paupers are recorded as having died within its walls. At the height of its occupancy, in 1826, the average nightly occupancy was just over 35 souls. The closure of the Poor House in 1837 seems to have been brought about by the building of a larger establishment in Settle in 1835.

Very nearby is Chapel House which is the site of a Roman Catholic Chapel and there was a Franciscan convent adjoining, used as a home for aged and infirm priests. The Chapel was probably built sometime around 1756 by the Ingleby family of Lawkland Hall and was in use until 1930. It was dedicated to St. Oswald. Prior to the building of the Chapel the local Catholics had worshipped, often in secret, at a small chapel in the Hall itself.

Keith Bolger

Keith Bolger