2016 Festival Showcase

In 2016 we hosted the Life in the Past Living History Festival which consisted of several living history event days alongside a selection of heritage talks and a host of online content.

It was a great success and this page will showcase all that took place!


First off you can watch this special video then scroll down to find more:



Event Days   |   Heritage Talks   |   Online Content


Event Days:

Monks Life

at Furness Abbey

13th Century Cistercian monks were found as they spoke of life inside the abbey and displayed medicine, cooking, farming and more. Also tours were taken of the ruins led by a monk who lives there.

Medieval Law and Order

at Dalton Castle

A chance to discover how law and order was kept in Furness by the monks of the local abbey of St Mary. The trial of a wrong doer was undertaken and common folk of the area could be met inside the castle.

Tudor Dissolvers

at Furness Abbey

The men who dissolved Furness Abbey were to be found amongst the ruins. Visitors found out what the men did to make the site unfit for worshiped and what treasures they reeped from the monastic site.

Victorian Fun and Games

at Furness Abbey

A truly Victorian day out! Victorian tourists visiting the picturesque ruins of Furness Abbey could be found amongst the ruins,toys and games of the period could be played with and you could even go on a tour with a Victorian guide!

Victorian Social History

at The Dock Museum

Men and women who lived and worked in Furness during the Victorian age could be found inside the museum. You could discover the work they had to do and the different aspects of social life in the 1800s.

1920's Workmen

at Furness Abbey

Tours of the ruins were taken by 1920s workmen to tell of the work they carried out to underpin and secure the building. Tours took place 3 times throughout the day and there was even the chance to see inside the old Ticket/Custodian's Hut.

Heritage Talks:

Prehistoric communities and the changing face of the Furness Peninsula

by Dr. Craig Appley


Dr Craig Appley spoke about the dramatic changes in climate and coastline which shaped the modern Furness Peninsula, and how these changes impacted the Neolithic and Bronze Age inhabitants of the area.

The Development of Medieval Ulverston

by Daniel Elsworth


Like many similar towns Ulverston has an ancient history, and while there is fleeting evidence for activity from the Prehistoric to Roman periods and its name indicates that it certainly existed as a settlement in the centuries before the Norman Conquest, it is during the medieval period proper that it began to grow and take on its present form.

Using evidence from a number of sources, including documentary history, maps, and archaeology, this talk examined the manner in which the town grew following the Norman Conquest and up to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

Sea-kings and saints: the Furness Peninsula in the Viking Age

by Dr. Fiona Edmonds


The Vikings inspired both fear and fascination in medieval times, and they still have a powerful hold on the modern imagination. The term 'Viking' strictly refers to the activity of raiders and pirates, but Scandinavians also became settlers, traders and churchmen. This lecture traces Scandinavian influence in the Furness peninsula from c. 900 to the twelfth century.

Dr Fiona Edmonds, Senior Lecturer in Celtic History at the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic, Cambridge University delivered this excellent talk.

Online Content:

Blog Posts

We released several blog posts to tie into the events taking place, these aimed to give some wider information around what each event would be tackling.


The following posts were released across the festival:

  • The Timetable of a Monk
  • The Dissolution of the Monasteries
  • Victorian Tourism in Furness
  • Making a Thaumatrope (Victorian optical illusion toy)
  • Victorian Industry in Furness

  • You can find the Iron Shepherds blog by clicking here.

    Furness Hidden Heritage

    Furness Hidden Heritage also released a couple of blog posts on local history as part of the festival.


    These were as follows:

  • An Enchanting Medieval Fortification, Piel Castle | 6th June
  • A Hidden Manor House and Medieval Tower, Broughton Tower | 5th July

  • Find Furness Hidden Heritage here - furnesshiddenheritage.blogspot.co.uk