Veronica and Alan are the proud Owners of Bank House Cottage and Cosy Nook Static Caravan in Thurnham, Lancashire... over ten years of renovation work has been put into both Holiday Homes to reach the impeccable standard now offered for their Holiday Rental service.
Here's their story, in their own words:
We bought Bank House Cottage as a total ruin in 2004. It consisted of a "two up, two down" cottage - of which the gable end and a third of the front and back walls had completely fallen down. There was also a derelict stable attached to the house, some pig sties and a derelict storeroom. The only thing holding the cottage together was a huge covering of ivy!
The property had not been lived in since 1962, prior to that it had been a Fishermans Cottage for over 200 years.
Our local historian “Bob” soon heard what we were doing and came along to introduce himself. It turned out that he was the nephew of the last fisherman to work from our cottage. He brought some photographs of his uncle and some of the other fishermen.
He told us of years in the second world war helping his uncle fish: they use to go out five miles on the beach with a horse and cart and set up their nets. Everything they caught had to be logged and sold to The Fisheries Department, but one day a “toff” from Manchester called and told the uncle that he would buy every fish they could catch that weekend from Friday evening till Monday morning. They caught a ton of fish, which was promptly smuggled to Manchester and sold on the “black market!”
The beach was also used for gunnery practice by aircraft to strafe targets on the beach. There is still a “lookout tower" to this day in the field behind our cottage where the officers would watch the progress of the aircraft gunners.
Bob also told us that they were not supposed to fish whilst the Red Flag was flying, indicating that gunnery practice was on-going, but his uncle ignored the flag - saying that he had a living to earn. Bob would regularly pick up ammunition from the beach which was still hot from being fired from the aircraft.
While we were renovating the cottage we came across a lot of items used by the fishermen, things such as “Hemp Nets”, hand carved oars, reed baskets and lots of ornate bottles with glass stoppers. We also found a cannonball, which we believe could be from Cromwell's era, as we believe he was in our area.
Cocker Sands Abbey ruins are just a couple of hundred meters along the coastal path from our cottage. The Abbey was dissolved in 1539 and the Chapeter House is the only remaining building. This was used by the “Dalton” family as a “Mausoleum” during the 18th and 19th century. Two Roman silver statuettes were found on Cockerham Moss in 1718 possibly indicating the presence of a “Roman / British” shrine nearby.
When the abbey was knocked down the locals used a lot of the stone to build their own houses. This is evident on two of the local houses in the area that each have tall arched top stained glass windows in their gable end walls.
Thurnham Hall at the top of our lane was the home of the Dalton family who reclaimed a lot of Cockerham Moss from marshland by constructing “Dykes” to drain the land. They acquired the hall in 1556. The Dalton family kept faithful to the Catholic Church and there is some rumour that our cottage, along with others on this coast could have been used to smuggle priests between Ireland and England.
We are across the Bay from Fleetwood which had a thriving fishing industry till around the 1960’s. Three miles up the coast and into the Lune Estuary is Glasson Dock built in 1782. Ships still use Glasson Dock today, delivering coal to the Isle of Man and the Western Isles of Scotland. Incoming cargo is mainly animal feeds and fertilisers.
We finally completed the renovation of our cottage two years ago after ten years of living on site in a caravan at weekends and working every hour we could. It was a real labour of love and worth every bit of it to live in such a peaceful and tranquil area surrounded by farm animals, an abundant of wild life, birds and wild fowl which burst into a wonderful chorus at dusk every night. Our sunsets are truly amazing.
From our cottage we can see the Lake District Mountains, the Forest of Bowland and Blackpool Tower in the distance. Not to mention the ships sailing in and out. Although this is a quiet, tranquil, rural area there is always something going on. Kite-Surfers and Wind–Surfers out at sea. Micro-lights and other magnificent flying machines of all types up and down the coast. We even have the “Black Knights Parachute Club” only half a mile down the beach and sometimes they look like they might drop in for a “Cuppa!” Walkers, birdwatchers and cyclists all enjoy our area. We are on a seven mile coastal walkway and close to the Lancashire Cycleway. There are also “Fly and Coarse” fishing venues close by.
We hope you will enjoy your holiday at Bank House Cottage or Cosy Nook Caravan
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