The early prosperity of Ambleside as a market town was founded upon sheep and the woollen industry serviced by a network of pack horse tracks. For many hundred of years this was an open site with views across fields and meadows to Loughrigg. Flax was also grown nearby and spun and woven into linen cloth. Later Ambleside was known for its linsey-woolsey cloth combining a strong linen warp with a warm woollen weft to produce a coarse hard wearing material. Here were the village tenter fields where a newly manufactured woollen cloth was hung to stretch and dry, and woven linen laid to bleach. What had begun as a cottage industry died out in the 19th century as fashions changed. The site became allotment gardens until a bus station was built in the 1930's. The Market Cross Shopping Centre was completed in 1997.

Market Cross, Ambleside, United Kingdom

Stock High Bridge. For centuries the water of Stock Ghyll made this the busy industrial centre of Ambleside. By the 10th century Irish-Norse settlers had established small farmsteads on the rocky knoll beyond the old lake-side Roman settlement. From the 14th century their descendants used the beck's water power to work simple mills grinding grain; later washing, fulling and weaving wool. The first mill was established in 1335; the last in 1793. Much later, from local coppiced wood, these mills crushed bark to make tannin for the curing of skins and produced millions of bobbins for the Lancashire cotton industry. The ancient Hallicar ford over the Stock Ghyll was probably nearby. North Road was the coaching road through Ambleside before the turnpike road was built in 1833.

North Road, Ambleside, United Kingdom

HARRIET MARTINEAU 1802 - 1876 Writer and social reformer lectured here.

Rydal Road, Ambleside, United Kingdom

A Brief History of the former Chapel of St Anne, Ambleside There is evidence that a Chapel existed on this site from about 1550 when the manorial and parish boundary, running along Stock Ghyll, divided inhabitants of the settlements between those 'above Stock' and those 'below Stock'. Rights to register baptisms, solemnise marriages and bury the dead were held, for the former, by the Church of St Oswald at Grasmere and, for the latter, by the church of St Martin at Bowness - both, despite resting stones along the 'coffin road', a fair walk especially in winter conditions. However, on the 10th July 1676, after objections were overcome and payment of fees agreed, St Anne's was granted the right to maintain its own registers. The present building, larger than the wooden one which it replaced, was erected in 1812 following a public subscription. However, the opening of the railway line to Windermere on 20th April1847 led to such an increase in the number of visitors attending services as to render St Anne's inadequate. A new and even larger building, which included a spire (doubted by many at the time to be appropriate in Westmorland), was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott and consecrated on 10th June 1854 as St. Mary's (daughter of St. Anne) and, in 1865 it became the parish church of the separate benefice of Ambleside. Thus, only forty three years after its construction, the Chapel became redundant and was seldom used. On 19th December 1940 His Majesty the King, in court at Buckingham Palace, was pleased to affirm the request of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners that the building be de-consecrated. The registers, various tablets and the font were subsequently moved to St Mary's. On 1st August 1945 the Bishop of Carlisle appointed the Parochial Church Council as Trustees to administer St Anne's as a church hall for spiritual, moral, intellectual and social purposes. In pursuit of these worthy aims, it served the local community as the venue for jumble sales, amateur dramatic productions, vegetable and flower shows and as a student lecture and examination hall. A fire in the tower in 1953 caused the loss of the clock and bell as well as the need to reset the roof slates. The Trustees decided in 1984 that part of the cost of essential strengthening of St Mary's spire should be raised by the sale of St Anne's - perhaps those doubts expressed earlier were justified. The conversion of the building into five private dwellings won a Civic Trust commendation for sensitive treatment of the exterior of a Grade 2 listed building. The graveyard remains consecrated ground. Headstones of note are those of John Kelsick (1699 - 1723) a local benefactor who, inter alia, founded a free Grammar School which bore his name and that of Reverend John Dawes who was a pupil at the Kelsick School. He became a private tutor and the names of some of his subsequently famous scholars are inscribed on a plate at the foot of his tomb. He was also the curate of St Anne's from 1811-1845.

Fair View Road, Ambleside, United Kingdom

How Head. People have lived here for over a thousand years. Behind you is How Head, the oldest lived-in building in Ambleside. Once the lodge of the Master Forester of the Barony of Kendal, parts date back to the 16th century. In front of you is the rebuilt pre-Tudor St. Anne's Chapel, formerly Ambleside's only place of worship. For many years, it was not registered to record marriages and deaths. This part of town was "Above Stock" and in the parish of Grasmere for burial. In the 19th century many small schools were sited here. Kelsick Cottages from the 18th century housed the ancient Kelsick Free School endowed in the 1723 will of local grocer's son John Kelsick.

Fair View Road, Ambleside, United Kingdom

The Market Place. In the 16th century Ambleside was a centre of the woollen industry and was granted a Market Charter as a town in 1650. Here was the original site of the Market Cross and Bedlam (Bethlehem), the 17th century Poor House. The Market Hall was a low timbered building with an open ground floor and an upper gallery supported on columns. In front was the village pump. Behind was Cheapside with market stalls and the Shambles where butchers worked. These buildings were swept away in the 18th century and replaced by the handsome Victorian buildings of the Market Hall and Mechanics Institute on the site of the original Cross House, and by the Court House rebuilt in 1868.

Market Place, Ambleside, United Kingdom