Lytham St.Annes Coat of Arms
Lytham St.Annes, Lancashire, England


Saltcotes, Lytham

Shell Hill Cottages, Saltcotes, Lytham.


Tracing Lytham's history back to the salt mines!

A fascinating insight  into part of Lytham's lesser known “salty” past  has been brought to light  by a local historian.  Retired County Fire  Brigade Officer, Mr Roy Singleton of Myra Road,  Lytham, has delved into the  record books to discover a  long-lost and forgotten  local industry - "salt-making.

Born and bred on the  Fylde Coast Roy, aged 71,  first became alerted to  Lytham’s links with salt when secretary of the Lions Club Housing Association.  With an allotment on  Mythop Road and a growing  interest in the surrounding  land, Roy wondered why the area was called Saltcotes. Then began weeks of  research, gleaning snippets of information from local  folk and the county records office in Preston as well as  learning the art of early salt making from Hampshire County Council.  Salt in the Middle Ages  was a vital ingredient of  everyday life, needed most importantly to preserve meat when fresh supplies  were not available.

Being in short supply, each area had to provide its own salt until Cheshire salt was discovered in the 17th century.  The first hint of a salt-making industry in Lytham  comes during the reign of  King John when in 1201 he gave permission for the  foundation of Lytham  priory, naming one of the  boundaries “Suartesalte” - suarte being a corruption of the old English word  sweart meaning “dark in colour".  Records are also in existance of a small building for  the refining of salt “at a  place called Saltcotes near the Lytham pool” in the  1780’s.

Delving still deeper Roy unearthed an account of  producing “salt from sea  water in Amounderness" 1.  - the Fylde Coast’s ancient  name. Men known as “wellers”  dropped sand into wooden  troughs, perforated with  holes and lined with peat  and straw.    Sea water, already partly  evaporated, was then  poured over the sand and the sieved brine would then drip into barrels. The used sand was then  cast onto a mound known as  a “saltcoat hill”. The salt-makers cottages  called, not surprisingly,  “salt houses” usually held  up up four boiling pans  where the salt was  extracted from the brine.    The fuel used to heat the pans was peat - once plentiful in the Lytham area.

After the scum was removed from the final wet salt, the solids were put into a wicker basket to dry. The drips from the baskets were usually thrown away but their richness in magnesium was appreciated in some area and in Hampshire became “Epsom Salts".

 As for the men themselves who toiled at the  Lytham saltcoats, records  belonging to the Clifton  family mention payments in  the early 1500s “to John  Crokan of Lethm for salt"  and "to John Fysher at Lethom for salt." Men who paid rent at  Saltcotes in 1589 were John  Saltus, (later changed to  Salthouse), John Crookhall, and William Waltche.  These three families were still paying rent in  1662, eight years before the  discovery of Cheshire salt spelt the decline of sea salt  making on the Fylde. 

But although no surface clues remain as to the location of Lytham’s ancient  saltworks, Roy has used  18th and 19th century maps  to place it either side of  Liggard Brook near Lorne  Street. “The Coat Hill and  Nearer Coat .Hill fields  together with the Coat Hill  Pasture were on the edge of the marsh leading to the sandbanks,” said Roy. “It must be significant that the largest bank is still called Salter‘s bank to this  day”.  The records also show  John Salthouse as a “smith”  - probably the occupant of  Saltcotes blacksmith which  stood on the site now occupied by Mythop Road  garden centre. 

Lytham St Annes Express 15 May 1986


1. Taylor, R. (1975) 'The coastal salt industry at Amounderness', Trans. Lanes, and Ches. Antiq. Soc, 78, 14-21 (Taylor, R; Coastal salt industry of Amounderness)


Saltcotes Farm in 1938.

"Saltcotes" is sometimes spelled as "Saltcoats" or "Saltcoates".



Marriages. Lately, Mr. John Moon, of Greenhalgh, yeoman, to Miss S. Crookhall, of Saltcoats, Lytham.

Lancaster Gazette - Saturday 19 December 1807



Deaths. On Wednesday last, at Saltcoats, near Lytham, aged 28, Jane, the wife of Mr. John Ascroft, of Oldham, and daughter of Mr. Cornelius Crookhall, sincerely regretted by a numerous circle of friends.

Preston Chronicle - Saturday 30 April 1842


Mr. Cornelius Crookall, farmer, of Saltcoats, is a loser to a considerable amount by the irruption of the sea over the embankment on his land. A great part of his farm was completely covered with water, and produce of various kinds, including five stacks of grain, were irretrievably lost, and about fourteen acres of sown corn were washed away, the loss being quite £300.

Preston Chronicle - Saturday 01 January 1853 p.4


Saltcotes railway bridge during widening in the 1930s.