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Saturday, 6 April 2013

A-Z Challenge: - F is for Fylde, Fleetwood & Fort George

Join in me on this A-Z Journey into A SENSE OF PLACE  where I will be:

  • Featuring places connected with my own family history.
  • Highlighting places with happy memories.
  • Shining the spotlight on place names that appeal.
  • Linking my interests in history, travel and photography.


FYLDE - My mother' s Danson family came from Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire.  Fylde means  a level green place  and it is broadly the area between the Lancashire rivers of the Ribble at Pre4son and the Wyre at Fleetwood, most famously known for Blackpool and its Tower.

The Anglian settlement in the Fylde.  began in the late sixth century AD and is seen in the study of place names -tun, -ing, ham, meaning dwelling or village as in Poulton, Carleton, Singleton, Marton, Hambleton, Staining, Bispham and Lytham.  The Norse settlement took place from c900AD and was carried out by Norsemen who had emigrated to Ireland and the Isle of Man before crossing the Irish Sea.  They left their mark in such place name elements as -breck, meaning slope.

The Domesday Book of 1086 recorded for the Fylde 61 villages, 16 very sparsely populated and much of the area impassable wasteland.  Three unnamed churches are listed, thought to be at Poulton-le-Fylde, Kirkham and St. Michael’s Over Wyre.

St. Chad's Church, Poulton-le-Fylde
where my Danson family were baptised, married and buried.

In the centuries between the Norman Conquest and the agricultural revolution c1750, the Fylde seems to have led a remote and fairly poor existence.  The vast extent of ill-drained marshland ensured that much of the land remained unproductive.  There was a lack of substantial farmhouses and halls when much of England was experiencing a great rebuilding.  The result of this backwardness was a thinly populated landscape with many of the villages being very small.  It took the agricultural developments of the 18th century, and a hundred years later, the railways, to bring the Fylde into the mainspring of national life. 

As the 19th century progressed, my Danson family life changed from one based around the land.  Instead of yeomen, husbandmen, farmers, carters, cowmen  and agricultural labourers, life became more urban and other occupations began to appear in the records such as railway porter, engine cleaner, pointsman and postmen.


FLEETWOOD  - A beautiful town from the wilderness won”  - so ran a quotation on the town.   Sir Peter Hesketh inherited the Rossall Estate in 1824 and masterminded a plan to create a seaport and a pleasant resort on a site known as Rabbit Warren, where the river was a haven for ships, and  “safe and easy as Wyre Water” a centuries old proverb, The famous architect Decimus Burton created a planned town, with wide thoroughfares radiating from The Mount, the highest point in a chain of sand dunes.  Houses, churches, hotels, shops and a wharf sprang up, and the town of Fleetwood came into existence.  In 1840 the railway was extended from prosperous Preston.  Visitors flocked to the town with the largest Sunday School trip in 1846 of 4200 children and adults arriving on two engines and fifty six carriages.  The dock opened in 1877, with Fleetwood becoming the third largest fishing port in the country. 
 My great grandmother's sisters, Anne, Jane, Jennet and Aliice  all lived in Fleetwood at some point in their lives.   

FORT GEORGE, near Inverness,  has no connection with my family history but it is such a fascinating place with a historic past,   Did you know it was the largest single, costliest  government project when it was completed in 1769.  And it was never used for its intended  purpose - to keep down the rebellious Scots!   

Following the 1746 defeat at Culloden of Bonnie Prince Charlie, George II created 

The uniform of
18th century soldiers
Britain's strongest ever fortification and the ultimate defence against further unrest - Fort George,  the mightiest artillery fortification in Britain, if not Europe, Positioned strategically on a promontory jutting into the Moray Firth, it is surrounded on three sides by water. With its own harbour below the walls, the fort could be supplied by sea in event of a siege. Designed on a monumental scale,  its 40 acre site houses  accommodation for a governor, officers, artillery detachment, a 1600-strong infantry,  a magazine for 2,500 gunpowder barrels, ordnance and provision stores, a brewhouse and a chap/ 

Today Fort George  is a visitor attraction in the care of Historic Scotland but  still functioning as  a working army barracks, home to the Black Watch.

 Source;  Historic Scotland - Fort George.

Continue on my A-Z Journey - with the letter G

Copyright © 2013 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved



  1. Fab pictures! I especially like the one at Fort George. I've been to Inverness and around a few times but I don't think I've been there... not yet anyway.
    Have a great weekend! :-)

    1. Thanks, Ernie for taking the time to comment and I am pleased your liked the photographs.

  2. Do they have re-enactments at Fort George?

    1. Thanks, Linda for your question. I know that Historic Scotland properties often have enactments on special weekends. The 18th century soldiers above were H. S. staff. Keep a look out on the H.S. website www.historic-scotland.gov.uk and search under Fort George. I hope you get there someday.

  3. Here is Derby we managed to get Mr.C.E.Stuart to go home fast by saying "The English are coming to get you mi duk !" and we have lived peacefully ever since. I suppose Fort George was our insurance policy after that.

    I too missed Fort George when I visited Culloden...it looks like I would have found the fort more interesting.

    1. Thanks, Nigel, for your comment. I have never actually been to Culloden, as for some reason it has not appealed. But I would recommend Fort George. Be prepared for a good walk around the extensive site and to brave some windswept moments. I had no idea of its scale before I went.


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