Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Sunderland Point

Following our return from the Emerald Isle and wishing to make the most of good weather, we set off to Glasson Dock, a pleasant run of around 14 miles, on normally quiet roads, with some very naughty fast sections.

Having enjoyed a lovely pint of local ale at the Stork at Conder Green, we pootled into Glasson and found an excellent spot to while away an hour opposite the ancient port of Sunderland Point.

It was developed as an out port for Lancaster by Robert Lawson, a Quaker, at the beginning of the 18th century. Reportedly, stonework from the ruined Cockersand Abbey just across the river, another quiet picnic spot, was used in the construction of the quay and buildings. Lawson finally went bankrupt in 1728, which began a steady decline until it was totally surpassed by Glasson Dock which opened in 1787. Ships could unload here, or wait for the tide, before moving up to the main docks at St. Georges Quay in Lancaster and registering at the Customs House.

The Port of Lancaster, once the third largest port in the country, was part of the slavery triangle. The master of a slave called Sambo left him at Sunderland Point whilst he travelled on to Lancaster to undertake his business in the rest of Britain. Sambo died in 1736 in the old brewery at Sunderland Point, which still stands on the corner of a pathway that leads to his grave. Sambo's grave on the windswept shoreline is unconsecrated as he was not a Christian and is still a local attraction. It almost always bears flowers or stones painted by the local children.

In the photograph, Sunderland Point is the promontory in the distance. We haven't ventured there in the Morgan yet, as the road to the Point is covered at high tide and there is always a substantial amount of mud remaining on the road after the sea withdraws.

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