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Brough, Westmorland

Historical Description

Brough, a small old town, a township, and a parish in Westmoreland. The town stands on Watling Street and on the rivulet Swindale, in the valley of the Eden, 3½ miles from Warcop on the N.E.R., and 5 miles NNE of Kirkby-Stephen. It occupies the site of the Roman station Veterra, was very early a place of importance, but now consists chiefly of one long street. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Kirkby-Stephen, remains of an ancient castle, a parish church, three other places of worship, and a free school on the foundation of an hospital founded in 1506, now turned into a parish room or public hall. The castle dates prior to the Conquest, was sacked in 1175 by William the Lion of Scotland, belonged for a time to the Veteriponts, and passed to the Cliffords, suffered severe injury in 1521 by accidental fire, and was repaired in 1660 by the celebrated Countess Anne Clifford. The parish church is an ancient edifice with a tower of 1513 or earlier, and contains a monolithic stone pulpit and some old monuments. The great Westmoreland horse and cattle fair is held on a hill near the town on 30 Sept. and 1 Oct. The township includes the town, and is divided by the Hellbeck rivulet into Market-Brough and Church-Brough. The parish contains also the townships of Hellbeck, Stainmore, and Brough-Sowerby, and is sometimes called Brough-under-Stainmore. Area of civil parish, 21,650 acres; population, 656; of ecclesiastical, 984. Some doubt exists as to the precise boundary between the ecclesiastical parish and that of South Stainmore. Hellbeck Hall, once the seat of the De Hilbecks, afterwards of the Blenkinsops, stands on high ground, commanding an extensive view. An ancient cross, erected by William the Conqueror and Malcolm of Scotland to mark the boundary between England and Scotland, stood in Stainmore forest. The parish is hilly, and contains mines of coal, limestone, and lead. A chalybeate spring is near the church, and some Roman coins and other Roman relics have been found. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Carlisle; net value, £500 with residence. Patron, the Bishop of Carlisle. Lord Mayor Buckle was a native. There are Baptist, Wesleyan, and Primitive Methodist chapels. In 1880, when the parish church was restored, a stone with an ancient Greek inscription was found under the old porch. The stone is now in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

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 
Ecclesiastical parishBrough St. Michael 
Poor Law unionEast ward 

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

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Brough from the following:

Land and Property

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