BOOTLE (St. Michael), a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in Allerdale ward above Derwent, W. division of Cumberland, 5½ miles (S. S. E.) from Ravenglass, and 282 (N. W. by N.) from London; containing 696 inhabitants. The name of this place, formerly written "Bothill," is supposed to be derived from the booths erected on a hill above the town, for the watchmen whose duty it was to light the beacon on its summit, upon the discovery of any ships in the Irish Channel which might appear to threaten a descent upon the coast. A Benedictine nunnery was founded at Seton, in the parish, by Gunild, daughter of Henry de Boyvill, fourth lord of Millorn; to which Henry IV. annexed the hospital of St. Leonard, in Lancaster. Its revenue, at the Dissolution, was £13. 17. 4.: there are still some remains. The town is pleasantly situated within two miles of the sea; the houses are neatly built, and the inhabitants well supplied with water. The land in the neighbourhood is in a high state of cultivation, and the environs abound with pleasing scenery: the Corney and Bootle Fells, eminences in the adjoining forest of Copeland, afford extensive views; and from Black Coombe, which is nearly 2000 feet high, may be seen the coast of Scotland, the Isle of Man, and the mountains of North Wales. The trade is principally in corn, pork, and bacon, which are sent to Liverpool: the market is on Saturday; and fairs are held on April 5th and Sept. 24th, for the sale of corn, and for hiring servants; and April 26th and August 3rd, for horses, horned-cattle, and sheep.
The parish comprises 5800 acres, of which 900 are common or waste. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £19. 17. 3½., and in the patronage of the Earl of Lonsdale: the tithes have been commuted for £436, and there are 14 acres of glebe. The church is a very ancient edifice, much modernised by successive repairs; the interior contains some interesting monuments, among which is an effigy on a brass plate of Sir Hugh Askew, and has been lately enlarged. A place of worship for Independents was built in 1780. A free school was founded in 1713, by Henry Singleton, who endowed it with £200, which sum, with subsequent benefactions, produces about £20 per annum. The poor law union of Bootle comprises 12 parishes or places, and contains a population of 5516. At Selker bay, a small inlet of the sea, are sometimes seen the remains of vessels, which are traditionally said to have been Roman galleys, sunk there at the time of an invasion by that people; and at Esk-Meots are vestiges of an encampment, where Roman coins and fragments of altars have been frequently discovered.