The village has a local History Group which meets regularly at Slyne-with-Hest Memorial Hall during the Autumn and Winter to hear talks and have discussions on all matters relevant to the history of our village and the district. For more information regarding meeting dates and contact details please contact Janet Westwell - firstname.lastname@example.org
The History Group has collated an abundance of artefacts and information over the years relating to the history of the village. A selection of material can be found by scrolling through this page. Please feel free to have a browse through and find out some interesting history you may not have known:
1. General History and Introduction
2. Hest Bank Wharf
3. Tour of Slyne Village and Conservation Area
4. Tour of Old Hest
5. Booklet - 'Old Houses'
The township of Slyne-with-Hest is located three miles north of Lancaster and three miles east of Morecambe. To the North lie Bolton-le-Sands and Carnforth. All are included within the City of Lancaster district.
Slyne-with-Hest consists, as the name suggests, of two villages; Slyne to the East and Hest to the West. The main A6 road (London to Carlisle) runs through Slyne and the main "West Coast" railway line from London to Glasgow touches the coast of Morecambe bay at Hest Bank beach.
Between the A6 and the railway line lies the bulk of our peaceful community. The Lancaster canal, opened in 1795, passes through the centre of the village and provides an attractive resource to both locals and tourists.
To the West the splendid expanse of Morecambe Bay gives way in the distance to the panoramic view of the Lake District mountains. Morecambe Bay sunsets are unrivalled anywhere in the world!
The first time we hear the place-names Slyne and Hest their unusual sound gives us the feeling of great antiquity. For people who have just arrived from other parts of the country, to settle in the village, there is the same feeling and curiosity about the names. This is because they are unique, and people instinctively recognize that.
The village of Slyne-with-Hest is very old. The spelling of the place-name Slyne appears in various guises throughout the middle-ages. From 1500 to 1750 it is most commonly written as "Sline", only becoming "Slyne" after this time. Here are some extracts from "The Place Names of Lancashire":
There is every reason to believe that the Lune valley became English some time before 670. Certain place-names suggest very early colonisation of the districts in question. Some names in Lonsdale contain elements hardly or extremely rarely found as living words in historic times, and not, to my knowledge, evidenced in other Northern English place-names. Hest, Slyne.
Slyne: First appears as Sline, Domesday Book, Asselinas 1094, Slynes 1190. Then as Slina 1177, Slin 1185, Sline 1203, .Slyne, Slynedale 1200-10,. Slyne 1246, Slene 1248-51, de Slen 1250,.de Slene 1332, de Sleen 1200 and 1240.
Slyne stands on a ridge. Near Slyne Hall is a small, prominent hill. Related names are perhaps Slynhead, and Slindon, (Staffs).
I believe Slyne goes back to Old English, Slinu or the like, related to Norw. slien "gently and evenly sloping terrain". Old English slind, Irish sliss "side" by the side of, Latin clino. The Old English slinu may have meant 'a slope' this seems a suitable meaning here, a meaning "hill" is also possible.
The place-name Hest with its simple construction had settled down by 1650 to the spelling as we know it. Again from "The Place Names of Lancashire":
Hest.: Hest 1177, Heste 1327, Heest 1246, Heast 1557.
This is apparently another interesting old name containing an otherwise lost word. The form Heest points to a word with a long vowel, Old English, Hoest or Hest, the meaning seems to be "brushwood" or "underwood". Old English, hoes, is often used in names of swine-pastures, this seems to tell us that at least its original meaning was "beach" or "oakwood".
The third area I am including is Hatlex, which appeared to be considered as an area in its own right. I have come across almost thirty different spellings of Hatlex, some of which are quite amusing e.g. "Hatcklets" and "Acklets". This name took quite a long time to settle down to the word as we now know it. For a long period up to the1800s it was commonly known as "Hatlocks" and was still being written as such on the maps of 1792, only becoming "Hatlex" in the mid 1800s.
Hatlex: Written as Hakelakes,1230-5, Mekelhakelakes 1246-67, de Hakelakes 1250-70, Haclex 1586, Hakles 1526, Hackleek 1557.
Hatlex farms are on a brook called Hatlex Beck. The second element of the name is no doubt lake "a small stream". The first may be a person Old English e.g.. Hacca or Old Norse Haki, or possibly "hackle" "stickleback". The plural form is probably due to the fact that there are or were two farms of the name.
As we can see from the above, Slyne and Hest are perhaps the oldest settlements in this area, predating the Viking invasion by as much as two to three hundred years.
One of the numerous stories of St Patrick (377-460) tells us that he was supposed to have been ship wrecked on a skeer at Heysham and on his way northward, when thirsty, to have thrust his staff into the ground at Slyne and thus originated a permanent local water supply. On the copy of the 1845 Tithe Map of Slyne-with-Hest the field numbered 71, north-west of Belmount, is named Well Hill and three adjoining fields contain "Patrick Well" and "Part of Patrick Wells". The water of St. Patrick's well was said to have remarkable curative powers in affections of the eyes. Now that we know how ancient Slyne and Hest appear to be, the story of St. Patrick may well have some truth in it.
Mavis Foster (1996)T
1848 Map of Slyne with Hest
The recent dramatic shift in the course of the Keer channel to within about 200 m of the shore at Hest Bank has revealed a long lost relic. In fact we had no idea that the old Hest Bank Wharf, presumably built in the early days of the canal, was such a substantial object. We are used to seeing the odd wooden stump rising from the sand but now you can visit the remains of the wharf where the boats would tie up to load and unload goods transshipped to the canal at the warehouse opposite the HB hotel. The wharf was constructed from huge dressed sandstone blocks with wooden beams still strapped to the walls. It is an amazing site and ought to be properly surveyed by experts. Does anyone have pictures of the wharf as it was when in use?
If you go down there please check the tide table and be very careful of quicksand. The bay is a dangerous place.
Here is a transcript of the report sent to us by Peter Iles of Lancashire County Archeology Department:
Further to our notes about the Hest Bank jetty last week, I visited the site on Sunday and took a lot of photographs. The structure is in the form of an inverted 'V', very similar to the edge of the shading marked by the word 'Breakwater' on the OS first edition 1:10,560 map of 1848 (sheet Lancs 31, surveyed 1845). I have taken a few rough measurements and compass readings and will try and get them to line up on a modern map tomorrow.
The wooden baulks attached to the north-eastern face of the stonework certainly look like rubbing strips or fenders. These can be followed up into the salt marsh, but I was not able to tell if the ones closer to the shore were also fixed to stone blocks. This suggests that the boats tied up to this side, and thus the probable railing (the rusty iron strips and the regular line of holes in the stonework, some with lead still in them) along the sloping western side of the stonework would not have been in the way of loading. I am not sure quite what is going on with the wooden baulks high up on this western side, they look a little like a later alteration or adjustment to the structure using material scavenged from another part of the jetty, but I don't know what for - it may be significant that there appears to be a step or other incut in the upper stonework here.
The round post in the middle of the structure clamped between two blocks, looks like it might be the base of a davit or crane, given that they have gone to so much trouble to clamp the blocks together, but it could have held a pole with a light, flag or other marker on it, as an aid to navigation.
Also discovered (not by me but by the other people there at the same time) was a large number of spent bullets at the southern end of the sloping western masonry, fairly well concentrated in one place. I recovered some, and was given a few, and have taken them to the County Museum Service where Dr Steven Bull (who is an expert in this field) has identified them as small-arms ammunition of the 1850s-1880s. A large bullet with a hollow base was most probably a Martini-Henry 0.577/0.450 caliber rifle bullet of the later 1870's (think Michael Caine in 'Zulu'), whilst the many small bullets with the very flat front 'splashes' may well be revolver ammunition of 0.350-0.370 caliber perhaps of a similar or slightly later date. Some of these smaller bullets have letters or numbers on their bases - presumably maker's information. Dr Bull suggested that someone could have set up a steel or iron plate target just off the end of the jetty so they could shoot from the beach or marsh, without risking hitting anyone behind the target, and used the abandoned jetty as a convenient spot to site it. They MAY have been related to a formal practice range of the county militias of the
period, or just an individual improving their marksmanship. I have digital photographs of my recovered examples and the find- spot if anyone would like copies - Dr Ashworth, would you like the bullets for the City Museum and/or
would you like to send them off for further examination?
A short walk up Hanging Green Lane and Manor Lane brings us to the junction with the A6 road.
The road was part of the Garstang to Heron Syke turnpike, itself part of the 18th C England to Scotland highway.
Manor House Farm has a date stone 1681 dedicated to Cornelius and Mary Greene. The Greene family owned much of the land and property in Slyne during the 18th and 19th centuries.
These old cottages lie on the A6.
One of the original turnpike milestones is prominent in the foreground
This cottage is known locally as "The Old Malt House".
It dates from 1650.
A few yards further south are several interesting buildings including this one..."The Old Post Office". It must have been tricky crossing the road before the M6 was built!
Slyne Grange dates from at least 1799. It was owned in 1845 by William Sparling who was tried for murder of Edward Grayson in a duel, but acquitted at Lancaster Assizes in 1804.
One of the oldest houses in the village is "Little Grange" next door to Slyne Grange. It dates from 1575 and was used to house the servants from the big house.
Our tour of Old Hest starts naturally at the "Hest Bank", a popular pub and restaurant. This rear view from the canal side shows two interesting features of the old coaching inn. To the right is the old Elizabethan section first known in 1554. It was originally known as "The Sandes Inn".
To the left facing Morecambe bay is the many windowed "Lantern Room" built in the late 18th C. Illuminated at ni
Behind the Hest Bank pub is the old Hest Bank Farm, much modified but dating from well before 1802 when it was part of the estate of Thomas Toulmin of Ingleton'
The Old Hall, now converted into flats, stands across the road from the Hest Bank. A building on this site was known in the reign of Henry VIII . In the 1800s it was variously a working farm, a beer house and a boarding house.
The Canal Warehouse is one of the most picturesque buildings in Hest Bank, it has been photographed by many people and has even been the subject of a painting. It was built by the Hest Bank Canal Company and completed in 1819 and bears the date stone of 1820. The company intended it should be the basis of a thriving business, goods were to be brought by sea to Hest Bank and then transferred to bar
It is a short walk North along the canal towpath to Hatlex Bridge close to the site of the ancient settlement of Hatlex. Hatlex House was once the popular Whitewalls restaurant. William Stout, in old age, wrote his autobiography and it is from this amazing book that we can trace the beginnings of Hatlex House. William was the elder brother of Leonard Stout who built Hatlex House on land their fath
A short detour up Hanging Green Lane (they hung people on Gallows Meadow, not here!) you will this pair of cottages opposite to the entrance of St Luke's Church. It is designated a grade II listed building. Recently sensitive modernisation has resulted in an award winning building.
The History Group have produced a booklet which tells the stories of the old houses in Hest Bank which existed on the 1840 Tythe Map.
The history and backgrounds of their occupants is also traced up to the early years of the 20th century.
For convenience the work is split into sections below and each can be accessed as separate PDFs.
Interested people are welcome to download pages solely for their own use.