Poulton was first recorded in the Domesday Book at Poltune. It means the ‘tun’ (a larger settlement, possibly with an administrative function) with a pool, tidal creek or small stream – occasionally a harbour. Skippool near Poulton-le-Fylde was a harbour, or ‘Ship pool’ – from the Old Norse ‘skip’ meaning ship.
Place-name scholars have not yet worked out where the ‘pool’ part originates. It might be Old English (Anglo-Saxon) or Celtic/British – or perhaps they were inter-changeable, since the words were so similar.
Poulton was named ‘le Sands’ to distinguish it from Poulton-le-Fylde. The Sands of course being those of Morecambe Bay. Until the 1770s Morecambe Bay was not known by one name, there were several different ‘Sands’ such as Lancaster Sands, Kent Sands and Cartmel Sands.
The first person to call it Morecambe Bay seems to have been a man called Whitaker in his History of Manchester in 1771. He decided that this must be the bay named by Ptolemy around 150 AD as ‘Morikambe eischusis’ – which he described as lying between the Solway and the Ribble.
By 1889 the expanding seaside resort was officially re-named as Morecambe.
The photo shows fishermen landing mussels at Poulton (by now Morecambe) around 1900.