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Kents Bank

Kents Bank.

This Village History is part of the CPLHS Village Histories Project.  It is an historical overview of the village and should be read as a “work in progress”. It is written from the perspective of the influence of landowners and housing development. It will be expanded as research progresses


a,  A History of Kents Bank Landowners by Pat Rowland. 

b, James Simpson Young

Paper 1.

A History of
Kents Bank.

Kents Bank lies to the west of Grange over Sands and until the middle of the 19th century it comprised a few buildings on the shore where the cross bay route across Morecambe Bay met the land. Abbot Hall and Kents Bank House, then known as Kents Bank Hotel which was operating as a lodging house, stood on opposite sides of the road at the base of the hill now known as Kirkhead Road.

A railway station had opened in August 1857 on the "Ulverstone to Lancaster" railway running along the edge of the shore. Part way up the hill on  Kirkhead Road was Laneside Farm. Further along the coast, towards Grange, Guides Farm sat on the shore at the bottom of the road now known as Carter Road. Seawood House was above Guide Farm at the top of the steep hill with access from Carter Road. The two roads climbed northwards up the hill to join the main road linking Grange with Flookburgh.   Kentsford Road, the connecting road between Kirkhead Road and Carter Road, did not exist. The land between Kirkhead Road, Carter Road and Allithwaite Road was farmland.

Mary Lambert – Landowner.Mary Winfield Lambert owned all the land and buildings around Kirkhead Road including Laneside Farm which was the base for the agricultural operations on the land in Kents Bank. On her death in 1857 Mary Winfield Lambert lived at Boarbank House, Allithwaite.Miss Lambert’s estate stretching from Boarbank Hall in Allithwaite to Abbot Hall in Kents Bank was sold by auction in August 1858 to ‘capitalists from Manchester, Bury and Whitehaven’ (Westmorland Gazette Aug 28 1858).  At the auction Mr Tulk of Whitehaven purchased Abbot Hall and 10 acres of land (£1510) and Kirkhead (£1310) with 54 acres of land and James Simpson Young of Salford purchased Laneside Farm (£5000) with 69 acres of agricultural land and Kents Bank Hotel (£1140) with 5 acres of land. 

Boarbank Hall circa 2010

James Young – Landowner & Industrialist.

James Simpson Young was the son of James Simpson I’s sister, Jane (or Jean) who was born in Methven, Perthshire  2.6.1770/1.   She married James Young of Methven on 5 August 1802.   They had at least two children, Mary (Marion?) and James Simpson Young who was born 31.5.1818 at Lennox Town, Stirling.   Lennox Town was home to a large calico printing industry.

Calico is a type of cloth, heavier than linen and made of cotton. A calico printer drew a pattern on paper, as wide as the cloth. The pattern was divided up into squares about 8 inches by 12 inches and cut into wooden blocks. The cloth was laid on a table and the blocks covered in dye and placed on the calico to make the print.

James Simpson I of Foxhill Bank, Oswaldtwistle who had made a large amount of money in the calico printing business retired from Foxhill Bank Printworks in 1830 and let the business to Thomas Coates & Co. of Pendleton.   However by 1838 the business was back with the family and a partnership was formed called Simpson Rostron & Co. calico printers and appears as such in Slater’s Directory.   The partnership consisted of Thomas Simpson (nephew of James Simpson I who is said to have returned from America to where his father, William Simpson, James Simpson I’s elder brother had emigrated), Lawrence Rostron (James Simpson I’s son-in-law), James Simpson Young, and William Gregory Langdon, the last of whom looked after the marketing end of the business in Manchester (Blackburn Standard 30 October 1844).

In 1840 Thomas Simpson of Foxhill Bank became the owner of the Broadfield Colliery in Oswaldtwistle.   James Simpson Young joined him in this enterprise and the firm became known as Simpson and Young.   It became one of the biggest employers in the district with a coal depot at Knuzden Brook and tramways from their collieries at Bank Moor to Knuzden and from Broadfield to the Moscow Mills of the Walmsley family and to the Foxhill Bank Print Works. 

By the 1841 census we find James Simpson Young at New Brighton, Wallasey a fashionable seaside resort on the Wirral, in the company of Edward Phillips, Charles Buchanan (first cousin from America?   He could be the son of Mary Simpson b.1781 who married William Buchanan of New York), Marion Young (probably his sister) and James Simpson (more likely to be his cousin James Simpson II, later first President of the Vegetarian Society than his father, James Simpson I, even though the latter is not at home at Foxhill Bank Hall in the Census).   They are all described as being of independent means and no relationships are given in the census.

James Simpson I died at Foxhill Bank aged 71 in 1847 and left a will in which the legacies and annuities alone amounted to at least £110,000 besides the uncalculated  balance of his estates which passed to his younger son, James II.   James I’s sister Jane Young received £52 plus the income from all his property in Methven for life, and her son James Simpson Young received a legacy of £1,500 payable in 1859 (which was the same as his cousin Thomas Simpson).

James Simpson Young married firstly on 10.2.1846 at Bowden, Cheshire, Betty Rostron (1827-1853) eldest daughter of Richard Rostron, Brazil Merchant, the first cousin of Lawrence Rostron (his partner in the calico printing business and husband of James Simpson Young’s first cousin Mary) and his wife, Susanna nee Riley.   They had five children before she died in childbirth on 22.11.1853 at Bowden.   They appear in the 1851 census living at 10 Leaf Square, Pendleton, Salford (where Betty appears as Rosina?) and he is described as a calico printer/coal miner employing 1000.  

Abbot Hall, Kents Bank circa 1930

The children were: 

1. Richard Rostron b. 25 November 1846 at Pendleton. He became Lieutenant-Colonel of the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Highlanders. He died at Ashton Grange, Annan, Dumfriesshire on 29 May 1908 and was interred in the cemetery there. A plaque is displayed in Allithwaite Church, placed there by his widow and son.  

2. James Henry b.1848 Pendleton 

3. George b.1851 Pendleton 

4. John Edward b.1852 (birth registered in Altrincham, so probably Bowden).   He died suddenly aged 39 at Hampton Court on 20.8.1891. 

5. William Simpson b.19.11.1853 at Bowden, Cheshire.   His mother Betty died three days later. 

James Simpson Young 2nd marriage was to Alice Ann Riley on 10.12.1857 at St. Ann’s, Turton.   She was the only daughter of Richard Riley a cotton spinner of Preston (and probably first cousin to his first wife).   She was baptized 17.12.1828 at St. John’s, Preston, the daughter of Richard Riley and Betsey (probably Betty Rostron b.20.3.1794 at Ramsbottom who married Richard Riley on 30.11.1825 at St. Mary the Virgin, Bury)
James Simpson Young & Alice Ann went on to have twelve children: 

6. Edwin b.1859 at Altrincham (Bowden).   Died 1882 in a night-time boating accident on Morecombe Bay and was buried at Cartmel aged 23 with his friend and neighbour Herbert Elliot.   Both families lived at Lyndock Villas, Kents Bank.  

James Simpson Young and his family then moved to Kents Bank on the Cartmel Peninsula which according to the Westmorland Gazette for 28 August 1858 had been bought by “capitalists from Manchester, Bury and Whitehaven”.   This was the sale of the estate owned by Mary Winfield Lambert and sold after her death in 1857.   One of the capitalists was James Simpson Young of Salford who purchased Laneside Farm for £5,000 with 69 acres and Kents Bank Hotel with 5 acres for £1140.   Within a short period he had bought out his fellow capitalists and so also became the owner of Abbot Hall and the surrounding agricultural land and buildings, giving him all the original estate owned by Mary Winfield Lambert.    By 1861 cousin Laurence Rostron was dead as was James Simpson II.   Cousin Thomas Simpson had retired from the calico printing business to concentrate on the coal mining industry into which he eventually brought his son, William Walmsley Simpson.   It was not surprising that James Simpson Young appears to have also retired at this point.

7. Jane Simpson b.1860 at Kents Bank.

8. Charles Septimus b.1861 at Kents Bank.  He died aged 9 months and is buried at Cartmel. 

In the 1861 census James Simpson Young and Alice Ann were living at Abbot Hall, Kents Bank, he describes himself as a landowner and they have 5 servants with them.   Two of the sons of his first marriage are boarders at Cartmel Grammar School. 

9. Thomas Simpson b.1862 Kents Bank.   He married aged 30 at St. Leonard’s, Balderstone, Lancs on 5 July 1893 when he was a Lt. 3rd Madras Lancers (bachelor of the Fielden Arms Hotel) his second cousin Marion Susannah Simpson aged 41, daughter of the late Thomas Simpson and his wife Ellen (Walmsley) who had been James Simpson Young’s former partner and first cousin.   She was living with her sister, Anna Adelaide Baynes at Salmesbury Old Hall.   The witnesses were Mary Louisa Simpson (bride’s sister), Richard Parker Young (eldest brother of groom although his name is Richard Rostron Young?), Fred Baynes (bride’s brother-in-law), Frank T. Young (groom’s brother, Frank F. Young?).   By 1911 they are living at Broughton Hall in the Cartmel Valley and Thomas is described as a pensioned major, Indian Army.One of the witnesses, Mary Louisa Simpson, settled in Kents Bank. In 1901 census she was registered at Seawood and in 1911 at Kirk Hey, a new detached house on Kirkhead Road built adjacent to the Abbot Hall Estate. 

10. Robert Arthur b.1864 Kents Bank 

11. Alice Marion b.1865 Kents Bank d.aged 4 in 1869 at Abbot Hall bur. Cartmel

12.  Mary Catherine b.1867 Kents Bank

13. Margaret Ellen b.1869 Kents Bank.   Described as Margaret Helen Young she married the Rev. Frederick Marshall, curate-in-charge of St. Michael’s, Crown Point Leeds, at St. Paul’s, Grange-over-Sands on 6 August 1890. 

14. Alice b.1870 Kents Bank.

In the census for 1871 James and Alice and five of the youngest children were living at Abbot Hall and he described himself as a landowner.   They had five servants. 

15. Charles Frederick b.1871 Kents Bank.   He died aged 17 at Two Rivers, Manitoba, Canada on 30.6.1888 

16. Frank Fleming b.1873 Kents Bank 

17. Jessie Elizabeth b.1875 Kents Bank 
On 6 January 1879 James Simpson Young, JP died at Abbot Hall, Kents Bank and was buried at Cartmel, the Westmorland Gazette for 18 January 1879 stating that a “large number of friends attended the obsequies.   The grave was vaulted, and fringed within with ivy.   Some beautiful wreaths of white camellia, and primulas interwoven with maiden hair fern were laid on the coffin”. 
Alice Ann Young died aged 70 at Monklands, Kents Bank on 24.2.1899. 

James Simpson Young was responsible for developing the first plots at Kents Bank.   These included Kents Bank Hotel which became Kents Bank House and at some point Miss Metcalfe’s school for young ladies which advertised “Education by the Sea” in the Manchester Times of 26 December 1868.   He also built Kentsford House around 1870, Lyndock Villas which were a pair of semi-detached houses, the four houses of Kentsford Terrace and Monklands Villa which was where his widow was living when she died. 

In his will James Simpson Young specified that all his property in Cartmel, Silverdale and Arnside was to be sold, but this proved difficult in a poor market.   Advertisements appeared in newspapers in September 1879, May 1880 and July 1883 showing that the market was not good. As the buildings proved slow to sell the family raised money by selling at Christie’s “190 dozens of fine Port of the vintages of 1847, 1851 and 1863 late the property of James Simpson Young, Esq. deceased of Abbot Hall, Grange-over-Sands, Carnforth”.   The four surviving sons of his first marriage were named as beneficiaries in the will.   The family remained in the district, Alice and seven of her children were living in Lyndock Villas in 1881 and Alice with Mary, Jessie and Frank are living at Monklands in 1891 where she died eight years later.   In 1901 Mary and Jessie were at Enfield House, Ilfracombe but had returned by 1911 to The Cottage, Kents Bank.   

Housing Development in Kents Bank.
James was responsible for developing the first plots at Kents Bank. These included
  1. Kents Bank Hotel was built and opened in 1876 to attract tourists to the quiet resort of Kents Bank. The original hotel, by Abbot Hall and the Station, was renamed Kents Bank House. It had been an Inn and Lodging House serving the cross bay route when James purchased it but it became a private school. The opening of the railway in 1857 ended the centuries old tradition of crossing the sands and therefore the trade that the Inn relied on ceased. The Manchester Times contained an advert on Dec 26 1868 for Miss Metcalfe’s school for young ladies under the heading ‘Education by the Sea’. I have not been able to establish when the school opened.
  2. Kentsford House - built in about 1870 and occupied by John and Mary Clegg in 1871 – let to James Garstang Brogden from 1877 to 1884 when he was made bankrupt by the furniture firm John Lamb of Dalton Square, Manchester to whom he owed over £2000 for furniture and furnishings that he had purchased when he and his new wife Elizabeth moved into the house. He owed at least a further £1000 to local businesses. An auction of the contents of the house was advertised to take place in Kendal on Dec 11 1884. James Garstang Brogden was the son of Alexander Brogden and the grandson of John Brogden, the mine owner and railway director who was responsible for building the railway. Alexander’s bankruptcy, owing £800,000, led to his son being declared bankrupt. The private carriage road linking the house with Kirkhead Road and Carter Road eventually became Kentsford Road.
  3. Lyndock Villas - a pair of semi-detached houses situated opposite Moorhurst.
  4. Kentsford Terrace – a terrace of four houses between Kents Bank Hotel and Lyndock Villas
  5. Monklands Villa – facing Kirkhead Road on the edge of the Abbot Hall estate.

David Mycock in his book "Eighty Years Onward 1916-1996" states that just before his death James sold Abbot Hall to Mrs Francis Jane Blair for £7000 but this information is not supported by death notices that state that James died at Abbot Hall,  the will or subsequent advertisements for the sale of James estates. 

See Paper 2 below for a timeline for James Simpson Young and his family.  

Compiled by Pat Rowland of CPLHS and Gillian Hulbert whose husband is a descendant of the Simpson family. She found the information on the Society’s website when she was researching the family history and was able to provide information that filled in the early history of James Simpson Young.Version 3a: April 2012


Sources.Old postcard views. Extracts from The Times and Westmorland Gazette Newspapers.
National Census Records.


The Life Timeline of James Simpson Young and family.

1818 31st May James Simpson Young born at  Lennox Town, Stirling

1841 census at New Brighton, Wallasey, Cheshire

1846 marries Rosina registered at Altringham

1847 Richard(1) born at Pendleton

1848 James Henry(2) born at Pendleton

1851 George(3) born at Pendleton

1851 census living at 10 Leaf Square Pendleton, Salford

1852 John Edward(4) Young birth registered at Altringham Oct-Dec 1852

1853 19 Nov announcement of birth of son at Bowden, Cheshire –William Simpson (5) registered Altrincham Oct-Dec 1853   

1857 marries Alice Ann Riley at Bolton le Moors Lancs

1859 Edwin (6) born in Altringham, Cheshire?

1860 Jane Simpson(7) born at Kents Bank

1861 Charles Septimus(8) born at Kents Bank

1861 census living at Abbot Hall, Kents Bank

1861 Nov Charles Septimus aged 9 months died at Kents Bank; buried at Cartmel

1862 Thomas Simpson(9) born at Kents Bank

1864 Robert Arthur(10) born at Kents Bank

1865 Alice Marion(11) born at Kents Bank

1867 Mary Catherine(12) born at Kents Bank

1869 Margaret Ellen(13) born at Kents Bank

1869 5 Dec Alice Marion Young (aged 4), second daughter of James Simpson Young died at Abbot Hall, buried at Cartmel

1870 Alice(14)   born at Kents Bank

1871 Charles Frederick(15) born at Kents Bank

1871 census living at Abbot Hall, Kents Bank at Kents Bank

1873 Frank Fleming(16) born at Kents Bank

1875 Jessie Elizabeth(17) at Kents Bank

1879 6 Jan James Simpson Young JP dies at Abbot Hall Kents Bank; buried at Cartmel

1882 2 June Edwin Young (aged 23 years) died in a boating accident on Morecambe Bay; buried at Cartmel.

1888 30 June Charles Frederick Young (aged 17) died at Two Rivers, Manitoba

1890 6 Aug Margaret Helen Young married Rev Frederick Marshall, curate in charge of St Michael’s, Crown Point, Leeds at St Paul’s Grange–over-Sands

1891 20 Aug John Edward Young fourth son of James Simpson Young died suddenly at Hampton Court (aged 39)

1893 5 Jul Marriage: St Leonard, Balderstone, Lancashire, England
Thomas Simpson Young - 30 Lieutenant, 3rd Madras Lancers Bachelor of Fielden Arms Hotel, Balderstone Marion Susannah Simpson - 41 Spinster of Samlesbury Old Hall
Witness: Mary Louisa Simpson; Richard Parker Young; Fred Baynes; Frank T. Young Married by Licence by: F.Marshall

1899 24 Feb Alice Anne Young, aged 70, widow of James Simpson Young died at Monklands