When we visited Grange-over-Sands the other week I was intrigued by one particular building. This was a fairly substantial stone-built barn or workshop, on a corner of Hampsfell Road just off the main ‘drag’ of the town centre but still close by.
The building had me puzzled for a number of reasons. It was large enough to be a house, and a carved date stone (reading S. N. 1845) over the top-most window suggested more than just an ‘ancillary building’. However, the construction, though sturdy, was a bit too rough for someone’s home, and the windows looked too industrial. But if it was a barn, where was the associated farm? It wasn’t old enough to pre-date all of the buildings around it, so it was unlikely to be a single survivor from an entire farmyard. And why put a date-stone on a farm building?
I took a photo (above) and posted it on various bits of social media, with a question about what the place had originally been. And thanks to a helpful soul on Instagram, I now have a good working theory. They suggested that it was the town’s slaughter-house, which makes a lot of sense. Apparently the road just around the corner is called Pig Lane, and was thought to be where the animals were brought before they were, er, dispatched. And Hampsfell Road itself leads up through the woods to an old drovers’ road, Spring Bank Lane, which follows the flank of Hampsfell, and could have given easy access for farmers bringing their herds/flocks down from the nearby fells.
So, mystery solved? I’m still not 100% sure, but it’s a good working theory and I’m grateful to the person who was kind enough to get back to me. And keen to ferret out the next unusual building or feature to puzzle about…