From 1292 the Abbot of Furness was entitled to erect gallows, a pillory and a ducking stool in Dalton, all as a means of punishment for the various misdeeds of the local community, although perhaps the Abbot should have been watching his own flock more carefully!
In a manuscript dating from between 1399 and 1413 is a detailed and grisly account of a murder, taking place not in the local community, but within the Abbey itself.
It states that 3 monks plotted together to create a lethal poison, which one would add to his wine during Mass. If this didn’t work then the second monk would use a sword to stab the Abbot during his private mass, and failing this, the third monk would poison the Abbot’s evening broth!
In the end, the three monks needn’t have made such a complex plan as the Abbot was killed with poison mixed with the holy wine, from the holy chalice during Mass.
For a more detailed account please visit Furness Abbey
However, it was not only the monks who needed to be punished. The local people completed their fair share of misdemeanours.
For example, in 1350 records show that Thomas Bardsey was imprisoned in the dungeon of Dalton Castle by Roger Belle, for attacking and wounding him. Thomas attempted to avoid punishment by running to his Father’s house in Ulverston and placing bars up at the doors and windows. However, he could not escape judgement for his crime, and a great crowd of people, including Roger Belle (who was the Abbot’s Bailiff at the time) and the Abbot himself, broke down the door and Thomas was forcibly taken to Dalton Castle.
But the misdemeanours did not end with the local people, it even extended to the local animals! It is recorded that sometime after the suppression, that a dog notorious as a sheep worrier had been sentenced to be hanged!