Businesses in Beetham Towns and Villages of Cumbria


(See also St Michael and All Angels Church , Heron Corn Mill)

Beetham post office and shop by Graeme DougalBeetham sits on the 15-mile long Bela (Beela) river with its three-arched bridge. To the west of the village are hills blocking the sea, two miles distant. The village is mentioned in the Domesday book as Biedun. It has also gone under the names of Bethome and Betham, derived from the Norse word for table. A charter for a fair was granted to the village around 1480. The market was held in the churchyard.

Heron Corn Mill exterior courtesy Graeme DougalThe Bela river, famous for its brown trout, once formed a lake with an island in the centre on the villages doorstep. The island was removed by a villager, but the lake remained until the 1900s. The river heads into two channels before reaching falls and the Heron corn mill. Corn was ground here by Conishead priory as early as 1220. In the barn by the mill is a museum of papermaking.

Beetham The Wheatsheaf Hotel by Graeme DougalIn the village, which has retained its historic appeal with its grey limestone cottages and cobbled forecourts, is the historic Wheatsheaf Inn, an 1881 post office with a black and white studded door and Pear Tree cottage (the site of a 17th century school). A grammar school was built in 1663 and rebuilt in 1827. It is now the Heron theatre. The C of E school incorporates the fa├žade of an old tollhouse in its entrance. Ashton house is Georgian. Beetham House was built in 1762 by William Hutton. It is now modernized into flats.

Beetham St Michaels and All Saints church exterior by Graeme DougalThe outstanding feature of the village is its church, St Michael and All Angels. Parts of the church are late 12th century including the off-centre west tower. The north arcade and the two bay arcades of the north and south chapels date from the 15th century. Above the door of the west tower is a window that contains medieval glass. Other medieval glass windows are found in the Lady Chapel.

Beetham cottages by Graeme DougalSouth of the village are the remains of Beetham Hall, a 14th century fortified house. A curtain wall surrounded a court with a gate in its east side. The west wings upper floor contained a solar, while a two-storey block had a chapel. The hall was owned by the Beethams until passing to the Stanleys in 1485; in 1644, it was taken over by a Thomas Fairfax. Eventually it came into the hands of the Clifford family; then in 1767 the Wilsons of Dallam took it over. A farmhouse with the date 1653 on its door lintel now occupies the western side of the site. Part of it was a wing of the old priests house.

Beetham village street by Graeme DougalFrom the village a path climbs to Beetham fell and leads to the fairy steps. The second of two flights of stone steps is so named because of a legend. Supposedly, if you climb the steps without touching the limestone sides of the narrow gully, the fairies will grant your wish. On the same path is Hazelslack Tower, a ruined 14th century building by a farmhouse.

Photos courtesy Graeme Dougal

Beetham is 1.5 miles south of Milnthorpe on the A6.

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