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Burgh by Sands, Cumberland

Historical Description

Burgh-by-Sands, a village, a township, and a parish in Cumberland. The township lies on the Roman wall and on the Carlisle and Silloth railway, 2 miles S of the influx of the Eden to the Solway Firth, and 5½ NW by W of Carlisle, and has a station of the name of Burgh on the railway, and a post, money order, and telegraph office (R.S.O.) The Roman station Axelodunum is believed by many antiquaries to have been here; some traces either of that station or of the Roman wall can still be seen, and a number of Roman urns, altars, and inscribed stones have been found. A castle also was erected here soon after the Conquest; captured, in 1174, by William the Lion of Scotland, and committed, in 1253, to the keeping of Stephen Longespee, but has disappeared. Acreage, 6170; population, 857. The parish contains also the townships of Longburgh, Boustead Hill, Dykesfield, Thurstonfield, and Moor-House. The manor-belonged anciently to the De Morvilles, was given to the Abbey of Holme-Cultram; passed to the Multores, the Dacres, and the Howards, and belongs now to the Earl of Lonsdale. The tract upon the Solway has, in recent times, been encroached on by the sea, and is protected by embankments. The parish was the scene in old times, especially in 1216 and 1520, of many encounters between the English and the Scots; and a spot in it, about a mile N of the village, was the deathplace of Edward I. An obelisk, commemorative of this event, was built on the spot in 1685 by the Duke of Norfolk; fell down in 1795, and was rebuilt in 1805 by the Earl of Lonsdale. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Carlisle; gross value, £283 with residence. The church has a Norman door and a castellated tower, was constructed as much for military defence as for public worship, and is still in good condition.

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 CountyCumberland 
Ecclesiastical parishBurgh-upon-The-Sands St. Michael 
Poor Law unionCarlisle 

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

Church Records

The register dates from 1653.


Church of England

St. Michael (parish church)

The church of St. Michael, which stands in the southeast angle of the site of the Roman station, is an ancient structure, the earliest portion, constructed chiefly with Roman materials, being of late Norman date, and including a doorway of that period on the north side, considerable additions were made in the 13th century: the building displays evidence of its having been constructed like some others on the border, as a place of retreat and defence, but some of its features show that defence was not at that time the only object considered by those who erected it: the church consists of chancel, nave of three bays, north aisle and a western tower containing 2 bells, bearing the inscription: Sancte Michaelis Oro pro Nobis: the tower, a work of the 14th century, has walls from 6 to 7 feet thick, and was evidently built for the purpose of protection: the base of the tower consists of a vaulted chamber, about 9 by 8 feet, to which access is obtained from the nave by a small doorway, strongly guarded by a ponderous Iron-framed and boarded door, 6 ft. 8 in. in height: at the south-west angle is a stone newel-staircase leading to the upper chamber, measuring 10 ft. 9 in. by 11 ft. 7 in., and lighted by three openings, one of which commands a view of the interior of the church. At the east end, adjoining the chancel, is a square building of considerable strength, with an entrance on the north side, and a priest's chamber, now used as a vestry: the three stained windows in the chancel are in memory of the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Victoria: the church has been restored since 1881 at a cost of £700, and affords 250 sittings.

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 Burgh by Sands from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Burgh by Sands are available from a number of sites:

Villages, Hamlets, &c

Bousted Hill

Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of Cumberland, 1615 is available on the Heraldry page.

RegionNorth West
Postal districtCA5
Post TownCarlisle