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Maryport, Cumberland

Historical Description

Maryport, a seaport-town and an ecclesiastical parish in Cumberland. The town stands at the influx of the river Ellen to the Irish Sea, and at the junction of the Maryport and Carlisle railway with the railway southward to White-haven and Lancashire, 5 miles NNE of Workington, 28 SW by W of Carlisle, and 315 from London. It took its name from Mary, the wife of the lord of the manor about 1750.

The name (Maryport) was confirmed by Act of Parliament in 1756. It long bore the name of Ellen Foot, and till about 1750 it was a small fishing village. It is now a well-built town with spacious streets, well lighted and well drained, and it occupies a pleasant site on both sides of the river, partly along the shore, and partly on an eminence. It was a sub-port of Whitehaven till 1842, but it then became a head-port, and is now the head of a district with Carlisle, Whitehaven, and Workington as sub-ports. It has a head post office, a railway station, three banks, several inns, a market-house enlarged in 1880, a court-house, a custom-house, two churches, six dissenting chapels, a Roman Catholic chapel, an athenaeum, a county police station, a co-operative hall, Conservative and Liberal clubs formed in 1885 and 1889, and several schools; also a large and commodious town-hall built in 1892. The town is governed by eighteen district councillors, enjoys an excellent supply of water from works formed in 1868, is a seat of petty sessions, and publishes two weekly newspapers. The parish church of St Mary was built in 1760; it was restored and enlarged in 1837 and rebuilt in 1892, with the exception of the tower, which was built in 1847. It is a stone structure in the Early Gothic style, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, and embattled western tower. All the windows are of stained glass, recording various incidents in the life of Christ, &c. Christchurch, built in 1871, is a chapel of ease to the parish church. The dissenting chapels are Congregational, United Presbyterian, Baptist, Wesleyan, and Primitive Methodist, also a Friends' meeting-house. A public cemetery is about a mile to the N. The athenaeum was built in 1856 at a cost of £2500, and includes a large public room, a mechanics' institution, library, and reading-room. A dwelling-house, called an observatory, was built in 1858 on an eminence 140 feet above sea-level. A market is held on Fridays, and fairs on Whit-Friday and on the Friday before 1 Nov. Shipbuilding is carried on, and there are iron-smelting works, an iron and brass foundry, steam sawmills, a tannery, flour mills, and a brewery. The adjacent beaches are favourable for seabathing, and draw some summer visitors. A large coasting commerce is carried on, particularly in coal, and a good import trade exists in iron ore, timber, and general merchandise from the Baltic. The harbour enjoys easy access, has an average depth of 25 feet at springs and 19 at neaps, and includes two capacious docks and good piers and quays. The chief pier is 800 feet long, and has a lighthouse on the S end with a fixed light 51 feet high, visible at a distance of 12 miles. The National Lifeboat Institution has a station here, and Maryport is the headquarters of the Royal Naval Reserve on the Cumberland coast. The Elizabeth Dock, opened in 1857, has an area of 3½ acres; the Senhouse Dock, opened in 1884, has an area of 6 acres, and is capable of accommodating vessels of 25 feet draught, and is approached through a basin 8 acres in extent. The number of vessels registered as belonging to the port in 1895 was 35 (20,000 tons). The entries and clearances each average 2600 (350,000 tons) per annum. Herring fishing is carried on, and extensive coal mines and limestone and red freestone quarries are in the neighbourhood. In 1894 the town was extended so as to include Netherton and Ellenborough. The population included in the town so extended is now 12,500. In the immediate vicinity of Maryport is Netherhall, the seat of Mr H. P. Senhouse, lord of the manor, and also Ewanrigg Hall, which was the ancient seat of the Christian family, hut is, however, fast falling into decay. The Roman station at Maryport was a very important one, probably founded by Agricola or Hadrian-certainly held by M. M. Agrip'pa, the friend of Hadrian, and " Admiral of the Roman ½leet." Many names have been given to the station, but Glanoventa seems best to fit in with all the requirements. The importance of the station is shown by the great quantity of antiquities that have been discovered. Some forty altars-the large majority in excellent preservation-along with a large number of coins, sepulchral slabs, &c., found in or near the camp, are kept at Netherhall. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Carlisle; net value, £278 with residence.

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 parishCross Cannonby 
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 Maryport from the following:

Land and Property

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


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

Visitations Heraldic

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

RegionNorth West
Postal districtCA15
Post TownMaryport