|Colin says: Biggar Village. Biggar, along with North Scale, makes up the only two 'original' villages on Walney. Biggar consists of a handful of houses, a farm, and a pub - the Queen's Arms. The road to Biggar is prone to flooding and in recent years the village has been cut off several times. |
The first recorded use of the name was as "Bigger" in 1292 - believed to be from the Old Norse "bygg" and "geiri" meaning a triangular peice of land were barley grows. Trescathric is of the opinion that the Norsemen arrived in the area during the late 9th century and were probably civil war refugees from settlements in Ireland and the Isle of Man.
Agriculture became increasingly important on the island, as can be seen from the ledgers and documents of Furness Abbey. During the 12th. century, the Manor of Hougun in which Biggar stands was given to the Abbey of Savigny, and remained in their control until 1536 and Henry VIll's Dissolution of the Monasteries. the village of Biggar, (then referred to as a "grange"), is first mentioned in 1292. Trescathric (1984) considers the South End of Walney to have been farmed by Lay Brethren. And indeed, perhaps this accounts for the herbalists' paradise at South Walney, and for the abundance of Henbane, (Hyoscyamus niger), a friend to the monks in more ways than one, having medicinal, narcotic and hallucinogenic properties.
Biggar Bank - more correctly known as "Biggar High Bank" - is located just South East of Tummer Hill Marsh. In the 1870's residents of Barrow in Furness used to make the crossing to Biggar Bank on foot at low tide for recreation purposes. This resulted in the infamous "Biggar Bank Riots", when a large group of steelworkers tore down fencing which had been erected by farmers who did not want them to have access. a partial solution to the problem was found in 1877 when the council leased the area for a period of 21 years. After further pressure however the Biggar Bank Recreation ground was officially opened to the public on a permanent basis in 1883.
Barrow workers saw Walney Island and Biggar Bank in particular as "a lung" to resort to after their arduous working week. the areas popularity further increased with the introduction of a regular ferry service from Barrow. Grandiose plans to turn Walney Isle into a huge holiday resort had been submitted and similar schemes have been promoted ever since, most notably in the years immediately before and after the Second World War. Alderman Ellison favoured a layout akin to Blackpool, with a pleasure park at the south end, entertainment and sporting facilities between Biggar Bank and Earnse Point, and residential buildings in the sand dunes at the north end. the creation of Vickerstown in the early 20th Century effectively put an end to further speculation about Walney Isle being turned into a holiday resort and nothing has been mentioned since.