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Ambleside, Westmorland

Historical Description

Ambleside, a small town, a township, and a parish in Westmoreland. The town stands on a central spot of the Lake country, at the mouths of Stockgill Glen and Rothay Vale, between Wansfell and Loughrigg Hills, 1 mile above the head of Windermere Lake, and 4½ NNW of Windermere railway station, and is a splendid centre for visitors to the Lake district. It presents an irregular appearance, but it has of late years been much extended and improved; and it contains several hotels with good accommodation, some comfortable lodging-houses, and many good shops. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office, a town-hall, a bank, a library, a mechanics' institute, and Kelsick Endowed School, and is a seat of petty sessions. Coaches run from it daily to Windermere and Grasmere, and in summer to Keswick, Coniston, and Patterdale; and frequent steamers on the lake from Waterhead to Low-Wood Hotel, Bowness, and Lakeside. Fairs are held on Whit-Wednesday, and on 13 and 29 Oct. A church, built in 1812, stands within the town, and is still used; and a new church, built in 1854, in the Decorated style, with a memorial window to Wordsworth and a handsome lofty spire, stands in the vale to the west. There is also a Wesleyan chapel. The Roman station Dictis was in the neighbourhood, near the head of Windermere, and can still be faintly traced. Many Roman coins and other Roman relics have been found there, and some of them have been preserved at Oxford. Ambleside dates from remote times; and was called first Amelsate, and afterwards Hamelside. A peculiar ceremony, which originated in the time of Pope Gregory IV., and includes a procession of school children bearing flower-garlands to the church, is observed annually on the eve of the last Sunday in July. Hence the lines of Wordsworth-" Forth by rustic music led, The village children, while the sky is red "With evening light, advance in long array Through the still churchyard, each with garland gay, That, carried sceptre-like, o'ertops the head Of the proud wearer." The township of Ambleside is partly in the parish of Winder-mere, partly in that of Grasmere. The Earl of Lonsdale is lord of the manor. Acreage, 4366, with 18 of water; population, 2360. Many parts are adorned with fine residences, and with gardens, lawns, or woods. The chapelry is co-extensive with the township, and is a vicarage in the diocese of Carlisle; gross value, £126. There are several charities.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyWestmorland 
Civil parishGrasmere 
Poor Law unionKendal 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Ambleside from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Westmorland is available to browse.

DistrictSouth Lakeland
RegionNorth West
Postal districtLA22
Post TownAmbleside