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Gleaston and its Water Mill

Gleaston village

‘On the side of a pleasant vale, about three miles and a half to the south-east of Dalton stand the ruins of Gleaston Castle, the ancient residence of the lords of Aldingham’ notes West in his 1805 Gazette.

‘winding along a narrow vale, and crossing a murmuring stream, which gives motion to a mill for grinding corn, a little to the north-east of the village, it conducts the traveller to a distinct view of the mouldering ruins of Gleaston Castle’

Gleaston MillThe mill at Gleaston gives a clear picture of what a working mill was like. It is now a ‘tourist attraction’ with exhibitions, a shop and a restaurant. Lectures and guided ‘history’ walks are sometimes on offer in the Summer.

Gleaston is variously described as a ‘village’ and a ‘hamlet’; either way it is restful and peacefully steeped in history; local archeologists sponsored by the Mill have revealed Bronze Age artefacts and human remains in a local cave and coinage from the Stuart and Elizabethan period in the surrounding fields; outlines of the feudal ‘stip system’ are clearly visible.
There are some beautiful houses alongside more modern development. The once close-knit rural community is now largely gone, replaced by ‘newcomers’ seeking the country ideal or a second home for holidays.
The Copper Dog pub offers excellent hospitality to the thirsty adventurer!

The remains of the Old Congregational Church and the Mission (now a private house) can be clearly seen.

The greater part of Gleaston, the villages of Leece and Dendron are included in the parochial parish of St.Matthew Dendron.

The village of Leece is built round a tarn. An ancient village, its appears twice in Domesday Book, one ‘Lies’ in the manor of Hougun held by Earl Tostig, and another ‘Lies’ in the same manor; one is said to have been situated on the coast and to have been washed away by the sea.

A mile or so seaward are the remains of an artificial mound called the Moot of Aldingham. Within the same area are the outlines of the residence of the le Fleming family, the original Aldingham Hall. Some conjecture that the mound served the same purpose as Tynwald Hill in the Isle of Man. There is considerable evidence of Viking influences and settlement in the area.

It boasts the grassy remains of a Motte and Bailey castle and probably served as a site for lighting beacons? Certainly it has a commanding view over Morecambe Bay.

The question of its origins is compounded by fact and ‘folk tradition’ that great swathes of former lands are now under the sea, including the major part of Aldingham (some say a whole village) further along the coast.

The air of mystery and the many ‘finds’ relating to ancient peoples make this a ‘magical place’ to visit.