Heysham (i// HEE-shəm) is a large coastal village near Lancaster in the county of Lancashire, England. Overlooking Morecambe Bay, it is a ferry port with services to the Isle of Man and Ireland. Heysham is the site of two nuclear power stations which are landmarks visible from hills in the surrounding area. Heysham has been identified as one potential location for the next generation of nuclear power stations.
Administratively, Heysham is part of the City of Lancaster district, with three wards: Heysham Central (with a population of 4,397), Heysham North (5,477), and Heysham South (6,262); together they have a population of 16,136 (2001 census), although these extend into areas beyond the village of Heysham itself, which has a population of approximately 6,500.
Of historical interest are the stone graves in the ruins of the ancient St. Patrick's Chapel, close to St. Peter's Church. They are thought to date from the 11th century, and are hewn from solid rock. Local legend has it that St. Patrick landed here after crossing from Ireland and established the chapel. However it has been established that the chapel was built around 300 years after Patrick's death. These stone graves appear on the cover of the Black Sabbath CD, 'The Best of Black Sabbath'.
The grounds of St. Peter's Church contain many Saxon and Viking remains, and the church itself contains a Viking hogback stone. The purpose of these strange stone sculptures is the subject of much debate; they are found mainly in the north of England, and also in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and a few areas of southern England with Viking links. Heysham also contains one of only three sites in Britain and Ireland that contain a pre-roman labyrinth, the others being located at Tintagel, Cornwall and Hollywood, Co. Wicklow, Ireland
Lancaster Museum holds artefacts from the area such as stone axe and hammer heads (some weighing up to 4 kilograms (9 lb)) dating back to the New Stone Age. Many of these artefacts and their original location suggest that this was an ancient burial ground, or barrow; the area is still known locally as "The Barrows". The Barrows are the only sea-cliffs in Lancashire and contain, in a relatively small area, woodland, open grassland, sandy beaches, and deep rock pools.
Heysham won Britain in Bloom Gold Small Village awards in both 2005 and 2007.
Heysham also had a large outdoor karting track on Heysham Head where racing legend Nigel Mansell used to race in his teenage years.
Heysham Harbour was built in 1900, and there is a ferry service to the Isle of Man, as well as freight to Ireland and services for the eastern Irish Sea and Morecambe Bay gas fields. A SeaCat service to Belfast started in 1999. Some ferries connect with trains from Heysham Port railway station to Lancaster via the Morecambe Branch Line.
The artist J. M. W. Turner visited Heysham in the 1790s when travelling throughout Britain. His paintings show the village with the spectacular Lakeland backdrop.
- Nash, George (2008). "The Heysham labyrinth, Morecambe Bay, northern England". Rock Art Research 25 (2).
- "The Labyrinth". Retrieved 12 August 2012.
- "United Kingdom and Ireland Pipelines map". Retrieved 16 August 2011.
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