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Windermere, Westmorland

Historical Description

Windermere, a town and a parish in Westmorland, and a lake partly also in Lancashire. The town stands near the E side of the lake, at the terminus of the Kendal and Windermere railway, 4½ miles SSE of Ambleside, 7½ from Kendal, and 259 from London. It superseded and absorbed the hamlet of Birthwaite, after the opening of the railway in 1847; is built of dark grey schistose stone, with limestone or sandstone facings, contains a number of villas, and has a head post office, a railway station, two banks, two churches, Congregational and Roman Catholic chapels, a parish library, a large upper class school, called the Old College, and a grammar school with £215 from endowment. The town is a seat of petty sessions, and is governed by an urban district council. The parish comprises Undermilbeck, Applethwaite, and Trontbeck townships, and part of Ambleside, and includes Bowness village and Lindeth, Storrs, and Winster hamlets. The manor belongs to the Right Hon. James Lowther. Good residences are numerous, and the scenery is diversified and richly picturesque. There are two ecclesiastical parishes, viz.,Windermere St Martin (population, 1781) and Windermere St John (constituted in 1888; population, 622), both in the diocese of Carlisle. The living of St John is a perpetual curacy; gross value, £55. Patron, the Bishop of Carlisle. The living of St Martin is a rectory; gross value, £579 with residence. The church of St Martin stands at Bowness, and is ancient, low, and long, and consists of chancel, nave, aisles, and a western tower with eight bells. It contains several stained windows, and was restored in 1871-73. The Congregational chapel was erected in 1880, in memory of the late Mr William Carver of Manchester, and the Roman Catholic church is a building in the Gothic style, opened in 1884, standing on a beautiful site overlooking the lake. The vicarages of Applethwaite and Troutbeck are separate benefices. The lake gave name to the parish; is properly, but not popularly, called Winandermere; was known to the Saxons as Wonwaldremere; and figures in record as the scene in 7 91 of Ethred's slaughter of the sons of Elfwald. It extends 11 miles in length in nearly a straight line from N to S; begins at Waterhead, about a mile S of Ambleside, and goes to Fellfoot, about a mile NE of Newby Bridge; and is nowhere more than about a mile in breadth. From many a vantage-ground it appears like a reach of a great continental river; has a surface elevation of 116 feet above sea-level, and a maxin mum depth of 240 feet; receives the waters of Brathay ap-Rothay river, and Stockgill, Cunseybeck, and Troutbeck streams; and discharges its surplus waters by the river Leven. It abounds with perch, pike, trout, and char; is studded with numerous islets and islands; contains several charming bays; and combines with diversified foregrounds and grandly mountainous backgrounds, as seen from many points of view, to form a series of most magnificent landscapes. It is traversed round all its circuit several times a day by steamers starting from Bowness and calling at several stations.

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 parishWindermere St. Martin 
Poor Law unionKendal 

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

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Windermere from the following:

Land and Property

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