Life in North Lancashire in the 1600s was hard, especially if you were poor.
The old parish of Warton, which included Silverdale, the Yealands, Borwick, Priest Hutton and Carnforth, supported a population of 1200. By examining hundreds of seventeenth century documents members of the Mourholme Local Historic Society have patiently pieced together the evidence that shows how these people lived. Almost everyone was engaged in farming, even if they had other occupations as well. But farmers had to cope with low yielding crops, unimproved livestock, and the vagaries of the Little Ice Age climate. In bad years the poorest went short of food and were vulnerable to disease, including plague. Woodlands were less extensive than they are today and houses were heated with peat dug from the local mosses. The staple diet was oats. Hemp was grown for its fibre which was used to make course working clothes, sacks and rope. These were turbulent times politically and in religious life, and Catholics and Quakers were liable to suffer for their religious beliefs.