The economy of Levens has always been based on agriculture, mainly a subsistence type of farming. This was greatly changed by the enclosure of the commons in 1815. Many inhabitants either owned or rented a strip of moss [a 'moss-end'] for cutting peat and growing oats. The supplementary income obtained from selling peats in Kendal gradually ended after the construction of the Kendal canal in 1819 allowed the import of coal. However, there was still a peat-dealer in the village as late as 1909.
One source of employment was at the Sedgwick Gunpowder Works beside the river Kent near Force Bridge. Accidents and explosions occurred, as illustrated in the following accounts from the Westmorland Gazette
See also: Dunn, Christopher; Lax, Amy and Goodall, Ian (2003) New Sedgwick gunpowder works, Cumbria : an archaeological and architectural survey (Archaeological investigation report series 19). Swindon, English Heritage. 159 pp.
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