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Cumberland, England

Historical Description

Cumberland, a maritime and border county, bounded on the N by the Solway Firth and Scotland, on the E by Northumberland and Durham, on the SE and S by Westmorland and Lancashire, on the W by the Irish Sea. Its greatest length north-eastward is 80 miles, and its mean length about 60 miles; its greatest breadth south-eastward is 35 miles, its circuit is about 215 miles. Its area is 970,161 acres, of which about 342,000 comprise the mountainous district, and 8000 the lakes and waters. The surface is very much diversified. A range of mountains, commencing in the Crossfell ridge at the boundary with Durham and Wesmorland, extends along all these borders to the boundary with Scotland, and degenerates in many parts, especially toward the N, into wild expanses of heath. A broad tract of low land, at first tumulated, afterwards rich valley, afterwards morass more or less reclaimed, extends parallel with this range along the course of the Eden river, and onward thence to the boundary with Scotland. Another great tract of low land, prevailingly flat, and variously poor and rich, strikes westward from the middle and lower part of the Eden's valley to the Irish Sea, and lines all the shore of the Solway Firth. A great upland tract, with the Skiddaw group of mountains on the N, the Helvellyn group in the centre, and the Scaw Fell group in the S, including many summits from 2000 to 3229 feet high, enclosing numerous picturesque vales, and forming the main part of the famous Lake country, occupies most of the remaining area of the comity, measuring about 39 miles by 17, and gives scenic character to all the rest. The chief rivers are the Eden, the Croglin, the Irthing, the Petteril, the Caldew, the Line, the Esk, the Wampool, the Waver, the Ellen, the Derwent, the Ellen, the South Esk, and the Duddon. Rivulets of picturesque character, many of them with fine waterfalls, are numerous. The chief lakes are Derwent Water, Bassenthwaite, Thirlmere, Lowes, Crummock, Buttermere, Ennerdale, Wastwater, and part of Ulleswater. Picturesque lakelets and mountain tarns also are numerous. The rocks range from granite and trap through slaty formations, both without and with fossils, and through sedimentary deposits of old red sandstone, mountain limestone, millstone grit, and coal, up to new red sandstone. The igneous and the Silurian rocks occupy most of the Lake country, and the newer ones extend thence to the eastern and northern boundaries, the Solway Firth, and the sea. Bare and curious minerals occur in great variety; plumbago, and silver, lead, copper, and iron ores are found; coarse marble, limestone, and building stone are plentiful, and iron and coal are produced in considerable quantities. The native flora is surprisingly rich, and moor game abounds.

The soils are variously strong fertile loam, heavy wet loam, light dry loam, and poor peaty mould. About one-third of the entire area is waste. The crops and culture are much controlled by the character of the soils, but extensively include good rotations. Husbandry in all departments has undergone much recent improvement.

The dairy commands considerable attention, and produces excellent butter. The cattle are variously long horns, short horns, Galloways, and crosses. The sheep are partly Cheviots, partly a black-faced, mixed, hardy breed. Manufactures in cotton, woollens, linens, paper, earthenware, and other matters are carried on. The lines of six railway companies radiate from Carlisle. The L. & N.W.R. and the M.R. run south; the N.E.R. runs eastward to Newcastle; the Caledonian and the North British railways run northwards to Glasgow and Edinburgh; the Glasgow and South-Western runs northwards over the Caledonian track, which it leaves near Gretna; the North British also runs westwards to the Solway Firth; while the Maryport and Carlisle railway runs SW to Maryport. From the latter place, the L. & N.W.R. has a line to White-haven, whence the Furness railway continues southwards along the coast. The Cockermouth, Keswick, and Penrith railway crosses the county from E to W, while inland between Maryport and Whitehaven there is quite a network of lines.

The county contains 206 entire civil parishes and 162 entire ecclesiastical parishes or districts. It is almost entirely in the diocese of Carlisle. It is in the northern circuit, and the assizes and quarter sessions are held at Carlisle. It has 1 court of quarter sessions and 10 petty sessional divisions. The borough of Carlisle has a separate court of quarter sessions and a separate commission of the peace. For parliamentary purposes it is divided into 4 divisions:—Northern, or Eskdale; Mid, or Penrith; Cockermouth; and Western, or Egremont. The parliamentary boroughs are Carlisle and Whitehaven.

The county is governed by a lord-lieutenant, a high sheriff, and a county council of 20 aldermen and 60 councillors. Population (1801) 117,230, (1821) 156,124, (1841) 178,038, (1861) 205,276, (1881) 250,647, (1891) 266,549.

According to the census returns issued in 1893, the chief occupations of the people of the county were;—Professional, 4018 males and 2419 females; domestic, 521 males and 15,411 females; commercial, 8998 males and 116 females; agricultural, 16,983 males and 1251 females; fishing, 320 males; industrial, 49,602 males and 10,891 females; and "unoccupied," including retired business men, pensioners, those living on their own means, and others not specified, 17,586 males and 71,125 females; or a total in the county of 98,088 males and 101,263 females. The largest number of men employed in any one industry was, agricultural labourers, 7749; coal miners, 7199; general labourers, 5881; farmers, 4710; ironstone miners, 4609; and iron and steel manufacturers, 4011. The chief occupations of women are, domestic service, with a total of 13,374; millinery and dressmaking, 4160; cotton manufacture, 1272; and teaching, 1252. There were also in the county 206 blind persons, 51 deaf, 104 deaf and dumb, and 798 mentally deranged.

Caledonian Celts, coming in from the north, and penetrating to the centre of the Lake country, seem to have been the first inhabitants of Cumberland; and took here the name of Cistuntii or Voluntii. Other Celts came afterwards from Wales, and peopled some of the southern parts of the Lake country. The Romans entered in the second century, overcame the Celts only so far as not to deprive them of their own customs, and annexed their territory to the province of Maxima Cæsariensis. The Celts, after the withdrawal of the Romans, maintained for some time a sturdy independence, and became included in the kingdom of Cumbria. The Angles and the Saxons did not enter in any considerable number till near the end of the seventh century, and entered even then not as invaders, but in the way of stealthiness and conciliation. Danes came soon after the Saxons, but chiefly as fugitives from defeat, were strengthened by a few Norwegians arriving on the seaboard, and eventually acquired so much force as to have greater influence and larger numbers than the Angles and the Saxons. Little intestine commotion occurred, but the peace was broken by the inroads of Athelstane in 937, Edmund I. in 945, Ethelred in 1001, William the Conqueror in 1069, and the Scots in 1135, 1216, 1297, 1311, 1319, 1322, 1327, 1337, 1342, 1380, 1387, 1524, and 1542. Several of the Scottish inroads, particularly under William the Lion, Bruce, and Douglas, were extensive and devastating, but others swept only low tracts near the frontier, and did little harm. The army of the Pretender traversed and retraversed the county in 1745, and was followed, in its retreat, by the royal forces under the Duke of Cumberland. Celtic monuments occur in a great Druidical circle near Keswick, the great Druidical circle called Long Meg and her Daughters, and small circles or standing stones on Black Combe and four other places. Roman relies are found in remains or traces of the Roman wall, Watling Street, and the Maiden Way, and of stations at Netherby, Bewcastle, Old Carlisle, Moresby, Old Penrith, Ellenborough, Papcastle, and three or four other places. Monuments of various ages, from the Celtic to the Scandinavian, occur in numerous small tumuli, called variously how, raise, barrow, and hill. Relics of the Anglo-Saxons and the Danes are found in a few monumental runic stones. Traces of a time of tall strong heroes occur in the contents of cairns and in numerous traditions. Remains of abbeys or other religious houses of ancient date, are at Calder, Wetherall, Lanercost, St Bees, Holme-Cultram, and Bridekirkj castles at Rockcliffe, Naworth, Scaleby, Carlisle, Kirkoswald, Penrith, Cockermouth, Egremont, Castle-Hewin, Sowerby, Millom, High-head, Wulstey, and Dacre; and numerous towers or peel-houses on the Border. Cumberland gave the title of Earl to the ancient family of Clifford; and, since the time of Charles I., has given the title of Duke to some member of the Royal family.


Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5

Archives and Libraries

Cumbria Record Office and Local Studies Library, Barrow
140 Duke Street
Barrow-in-Furness
LA14 1XW
Tel:01229 407377
Fax:01229 894364
Email:Barrow Office

Cumbria Record Office, Carlisle (closed)
The Castle
Carlisle
CA3 8UR
Tel:01228 227285/227284
Fax:01228 607270
Email: Carlisle Office

Cumbria Record Office, Kendal
Kendal County Offices
Kendal
LA9 4RQ
Tel:01539 713540 or 713539
Fax:01539 773538
Email:Kendal Office

Cumbria Record Office and Local Studies Library, Whitehaven
Scotch Street
Whitehaven
CA28 7NL
Tel:01946 506420
Fax:01946 852919
Email:Whitehaven Office


Civil Registration

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

List of Registration Districts in Cumberland from 1837 to 1974.


Directories & Gazetteers

The Historical Directories web site have a number of directories relating to Cumberland online for the period 1833-1915, including:
Kelly's, Pigot, Slater, Harrod.

We have transcribed the entry for Cumberland from the following:


Historical Geography

A listing of the Hundreds and Wards in Cumberland, with the parishes contained in them.


Land and Property

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


Maps

Old map of Cumberland circa 1848 (Samuel Lewis)

Old map of Cumberland circa 1895 (Gazetteer of England and Wales)


Parishes & places

Abbey Holme
Addingham
Aikton
Ainstable
Allerdale
Allhallows
Allithwaite
Alston
Arlecdon
Armathwaite Hall
Armboth Fells
Arthuret
Ashness
Aspatria
Baggrow
Barf
Barnscar
Bassenthwaite
Beaumont
Beckermet St Bridget
Beckermet St John
Bewcastle
Bigrigg
Black Combe
Black Sail
Blackburn River
Blackford
Blake Fell
Blea Tarn
Bleaberry Fell
Bleabery Tarn
Bolton
Boot
Bootle
Borrowdale
Bout
Bow Fell
Bowderdale
Bowness
Bowness (Bassenthwaite)
Bowness (Ennerdale)
Braithwaite
Brampton
Bridekirk
Bridgefoot
Brigham
Broadwater
Bromfield
Broughton Cross
Bull Gill
Burgh by Sands
Burnmoor Tarn
Caldbeck
Calder Bridge
Caldewgate
Camerton
Carlatton
Carleton
Carlisle
Carrock Fell
Castle Carrock
Castle Hewin
Castle Rigg
Castle Sowerby
Castlesteads or Old Penrith
Cat Bells
Causey Pike
Cleator
Cloffocks
Cockermouth
Cockermouth, Keswick, and Penrith Railway
Cockley
Cockshot
Cold Fell
Copeland Forest
Corney
Croglin
Crosby upon Eden
Cross Fell
Crosscanonby
Crossdale
Crosthwaite
Crummock Water
Culgaith
Cumberland
Cumbersdale or Cummersdale
Cumrew
Cumwhitton
Dacre
Dalegarth
Dalehead
Dalemain
Dalston
Dean
Dearham
Derwent Water or Keswick Lake
Devock or Devoke Water
Distington
Dockwray
Dolly
Downhall
Dowthwaite Head
Drigg
Druid
Dubinin
Dumnail Raise
Dunmallet
Eaglesfield Abbey
Easton
Edenhall
Egremont
Eskdale Parliamentary Division
Eskett
Eskmeals
Farlam
Flimby
Floriston
Floutern Tarn
Foxfield
Friar
Furness
Gable
Gatescarth
Gavel Fell
Geltsdale Forest
Gilcrux
Gilsland
Glencoin
Glenderamakin
Glenderaterra
Goldrill Crag
Goldscalp
Gosforth
Gowbarrow Park
Grasmoor
Great Broughton
Great Langdale
Great Salkeld
Green Road
Greendale Tarn
Greenhead Gill
Greenup
Greta Hall
Greystoke
Griesdale or Grisedale Pike
Grinsdale
Grisedale
Haile or Hale
Hallsteads
Hard Knot
Harker
Harrington
Harrop Tarn
Hawl Gill
Haycock
Haystacks
Hayton
Helvellyn
Herberts Isle or St Herberts Isle
Herdhouse
Hesket in the Forest
High Pike
High Stile
Hindscarth
Holborn Hill
Holm Rook
Holme Cultram
How Mill
Hurtleton
Hutton in the Forest
Inglewood Forest
Irthington
Irton, Santon, and Melthwaite
Isell
Keppel Cove Tarn
Keskadale
Keswick
Kirk Andrews upon Eden
Kirk Andrews upon Esk
Kirk Fell
Kirkbride
Kirkcambeck
Kirkland
Kirklinton
Kirkoswald
Ladhouse
Lamplugh
Lanercost or Lanercost Abbey
Langstrath
Langwathby
Latrigg
Lazonby
Leath
Lee Scar Rocks
Leegate
Legberthwaite
Lingholms
Lingmell
Lodore
Lorton
Low and High Ireby
Low Man
Lowes Water
Manesty
Marron Junction
Maryport
Maryport and Carlisle Railway
Mayborough
Meals
Mell Fell
Mellbreak
Melmerby
Middle Fell
Middlesceugh and Braithwaite
Midgeholme
Millom
Mimcaster
Miterdale
Moresby
Moricambe Bay
Mosedale (Ennerdale)
Mosedale (Lowes Water)
Mosedale (Seathwaite Valley)
Moss Side (Longtown)
Naddle Fell
Nether and Upper Welton
Nether Beck
Nether Denton
Netherhall
Newby Cross
Newfield
Newton Regny or Newton Reigny
North Eastern Railway
Old Carlisle
Old Penrith
Ormathwaite
Orton
Ousby or Ulfsby
Ouse Bridge
Over Beck
Over Water or Ovenneer
Parkgate
Penrith
Pillar
Plumbland
Plumpton
Ponsonby
Port Carlisle
Rampsholm
Red Pike
Renwick
Rickergate
Robinson
Rockcliff
Rose Castle
Saddleback
Salter
Scale Force
Scaleby
Scales
Scarf Gap
Scarness
Scaw Fell
Screes
Seascale
Seat Sandal
Seathwaite
Sebergham
Skelton
Skiddaw
Smaithwaite
Smithy Beck
Solway Frith
Sour Milk Force
Sprinkling Tarn
St Bees
St Cuthbert
Stainton (Dacre)
Stake
Stanley Gill
Stanwix
Stapleton
Strands
Sty Head
Tarn Crag
The Aira or Airey
The Barrow
The Bleng
The Calder
The Caldew
The Cambeck
The Canda
The Cocker
The Croglin
The Dacre
The Derwent
The Duddon
The Eamont
The Ehen
The Ellen
The Esk (N)
The Esk (SW)
The Gelt
The Greta
The Irt
The Liddel
The Line or Leven
The Liza
The Marron
The Mite
The Nent
The Petteril
The Sark
The South Tyne
The Tees
The Waver
Thirlmere
Thornthwaite
Threlkeld
Thursby
Torpenhow
Troutbeck
Uldale
Ulleswater
Upper Denton
Upperby
Waberthwaite
Walla Crag
Walton
Warwick
Wasdale
Watendlath
Watermillock
Westward
Wetheral
Whicham
Whinlatter
Whitbeck
Whitehaven
Wigton cum Woodside
Workington
Wreay
Wrynose Pass
Yew Crag
Yewbarrow

Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of Cumberland, 1615, is available to browse from the Heraldry page.

Map of Cumberland