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Keswick, Cumberland

Historical Description

Keswick, a market-town and a township in Crosthwaite parish, Cumberland. The town stands near the confluence of the rivers Derwent and Greta, to the NE of Derwentwater, and has a station on the Cockermouth and Penrith railway, and a head post office. Keswick has long been a chief centre for lake tourists, and it is excelled by no other in Britain for its richly picturesque and diversified scenery. It consists chiefly of one long street, with houses well built, and generally of stone; it has claim to considerable antiquity, and was a place of some note at the beginning of the 14th century; is a seat of petty sessions and county courts, and a polling-place. The town is lighted by electricity generated by water-power, and is governed by a local board. There are several good hotels, many comfortable lodging-houses, a town-hall, a public library and lecture-hall, a museum, three banks, a cottage hospital, a police station, and a weekly newspaper. The town-hall was built in 1813 on the site of the old court-house, and has a clock-bell of the year 1601, said to have been brought from the seat of the Rat-cliffes on Lords' Island in Derwent Water. The church of St Kentigern, who set up the cross in the Thwaite about 553, is the mother church of the whole district, and is famous for the marble effigy of Robert Southey, poet laureate. It lies outside the town to the N. The late Bishop of Carlisle, Dr. Harvey Gardiner, is buried in the churchyard. The church-of St John the Evangelist stands at the S end of the town, was built in 1839 at a cost of fully £12, 000, including the parsonage, and has a tower and spire. Aisles were added in 1882, and a chancel built in 1889. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Carlisle; net value, £390 with residence. Tliere are also Congregational, Wesleyan, and Primitive Methodist chapels. The living of St John-in-the-Vale is a separate benefice. The public library was formed by bequest of the late Mr Marshall of Halsteads. The museum contains antiquities, foreign curiosities, and objects of natural history, particularly those of the surrounding country. An interesting model of the lake region, from Sebergham to Rampside, and from Shap to Egremont, is exhibited in the museum. There is a very interesting school of industrial art, with show-room attached, beyond the Greta bridge, and near the pencil works. Facilities of every kind abound for boating on the neighbouring lakes and for excursions into the country. A weekly market is held on Saturday and various fairs during the year. The chief industry is the making of lead pencils. Fitz Park, 28 acres in extent, opened in 1887, is used partly as a recreation ground. The cottage hospital was erected in 1892 in memory of Mary Hewitson by members of the family, and adjoins Fitz Park. Numerous villas and mansions are in the neighbourhood. Lord Chief-Justice Bankes was a native, and the poets Southey and Coleridge, and Jonathan Otley, the original guide to the lakes, were residents. The town and the township have been lately extended; they are in the parish of Crosthwaite, and they form part of Derwentwater manor, which belonged to the Earls of Derwentwater, passed to Greenwich Hospital, and was purchased by the uncle of the late Mr John Marshall. Acreage of the township, 718; population, 3760. The population of the ecclesiastical parish of St John and St John-in-the-Vale is 3570.

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 
Civil parishCrosthwaite 
Poor Law unionCockermouth 
WardAllerdale below Derwent 

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

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Keswick from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Keswick are available from a number of sites:

Villages, Hamlets, &c


Visitations Heraldic

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

RegionNorth West
Postal districtCA12
Post TownKeswick