After their mother died, Meta and Julia Gaskell kept house for their father in Manchester until his death in 1884. Free then to do as they chose, they planned to build a permanent home in Silverdale, a favourite place for holidays with their mother Elizabeth, at Lindeth Tower.
Together the conceived and built The Sheiling, which is an old Scottish word meaning a hut constructed for pastoral use. This house is set in 14 acres of land, close to the village and the Railway Station, and very secluded. Today, it is almost impossible to see the house from the lane.
The two sisters lived here contentedly until their deaths, when the house was bought by the dramatist and poet Gordon Bottomley. He lived here all his life.
It was in Silverdale that Bottomley wrote his famous, and very well-received, poem Cartmel Bells:
O, Cartmel bells ring soft tonight
And Cartmel bells ring clear,
But I lie far away tonight,
Listening with my dear;
Listening in a frosty land
Where all the bells are still...
Bottomley received many literary guests including Edward Thomas, J B Priestley and Arthur Ransome.
Bottomley's verse and plays have fallen out of fashion, but it is lovely to think of him living and working in Silverdale, following in the footsteps of Elizabeth Gaskell and playing host to many literary greats.