1902 Encyclopedia > Cumberland (county), England

Cumberland (county), England




CUMBERLAND, a county of England, at its north- Plate XL west extremity, situated between 54" 6' and 55° 7|' N. lat. and 2° 13' and 3° 30' W. long., and bounded on the N. by the Solway Firth and Scotland, on the E. by Northumberland and Durham, on the S. by Westmoreland and North Lancashire, and on the W. for about 70 miles by the Irish Sea. It is at a medium about 50 miles long and 30 miles broad, within a bounding line of 215 miles, of which 75 are sea coast; and it contains an area of 1516 square miles, or 970,161 acres, of which the mountainous district comprises more than a third, and the lakes and waters 8000 acres, the remainder consisting of inclosed and cultivated land with a few commons still uninclosed, but capable of great improvement. The principal divisions are locally termed " wards." These wards are five in number, viz., Cumberland ward, Eskdale, Leath, Allerdale-above-Derwent, and Allerdale-below-Derwent. The ward of Allerdale-above-Derwent was formerly included in the diocese of Chester ; but since 1856 it has been joined to the rest of the county for ecclesiastical purposes, and all the county is now in the diocese of Carlisle, with the exception of the parish of Alston, in the extreme east, which belongs to the diocese of Durham. The county is embraced in the northern circuit, the assizes being held at Carlisle, and there is a court of quarter sessions. Cumberland contains the city of Carlisle, 19 market-towns, and 112 parishes. The population in 1871 was found to be 220,253 (males, 109,079 ; females, 111,174), having increased during the preceding ten years to the extent of 14,969 souls, or 7'2 per cent. The number of inhabitants to a square mile is exceptionally small, being 145, while that of all England is 3891.
Cumberland presents every variety of surface. The south-western district is generally mountainous, rugged, and sterile, yet contains several rich though narrow valleys, with numerous fine lakes, islands, rivers., cascades, and

woodlands, which, combined or contrasted with the gigantic masses around them, exhibit many remarkable scenes of grandeur, desolation, and beauty. Scawfell, Skiddaw, and Helvellyn, rising to the height of more than 3000 feet, belong to this quarter. The highest part of that immense ridge known as the Pennine chain, and not inaptly termed the "backbone" of England, which, rising in Derbyshire, extends in a continuous chain into the Lothians of Scotland, forms the eastern boundary; the culminating point of this ridge is Crossfell, nearly 3000 feet high ; it is surrounded with other lofty and bleak eminences, which retain the snow upon them for more than half the year.
Feet.
Bowfell 2960
Great Gable 2949
Pillar 2927
Blencathra 2847
Grisdale Pike 2593
The following are the loftiest heights, with their respec-tive elevations :—
Feet.
Scawfell Pike 3210
Scawfell 3162
Helvellyn 3118
Skiddaw 3058
Great End 2984
The north and north-eastern part of the county consists of the vale of the Eden, which separates the Pennine chain from the mountainous system of the south-west, and gradually expands into the great Cumbrian plain, extend-ing north and north-west to the shores of the Solway. A tract of low land, varying from two to five miles in breadth, and consisting generally of a gravelly or sandy soil, extends along the coast-line.
[Geology.-—The oldest rocks known in this county are the Skiddaw slates, representing ancient marine deposits of clay and sand formed during a long period of subsidence and containing a few fossils (graptolites, trilobites, phyllopod Crustacea, &c). These old mud rocks have been much contorted, cleaved, and metamorphosed, the metamorphosed portions, including chiastolite slate, spotted schist, and mica .schist (rarely gneissic), being specially developed around the granite of Skiddaw Forest. The quiet marine condi-tions under which these slates were formed seem to have given way to a long series of volcanic outbursts, at first sub-marine in character, but soon becoming sub-aerial. Thus, above the Skiddaw slates are piled up great thicknesses of volcanic ashes and lavas—the volcanic series of Borrowdale (or green slates and porphyries). Then must have followed a renewed period of depression beneath the waters of the sea, and upon the denuded sur-face of volcanic rocks the great series of sedimentary strata known as the Coniston limestone and the overlying Upper Silurian (Westmoreland, about Windermere and Kendal) was deposited.
The next geological epoch (the Devonian or Old Bed) is unrepresented in Cumberland by any sedimentary deposi tion, except quite towards it close; but during the long lapse of time between the Upper Silurian and the commencement of the Carboniferous, that mighty but pro-bably slow elevation and denudation of all the previously formed rock-groups took place, which resulted in the first appearance of the Cumberland mountain district, the rough-hewn block out of which, during long succeeding ages, mountain and valley were carved. Around this early nucleus was formed the conglomerate so well shown in Mell Fell and at the foot of Ullswater, and then the thick series of Carboniferous rocks, the limestones, sandstones, shales, and coal-seams, which form so admirable a framework to the mountain country.
In Carboniferous times there must have been frequent alternations of marine and low-lying land conditions over large parts of Cumberland. At the close of this period the conditions around the mountain nucleus, whether marine or partly fresh-water, allowed of the deposition of great thicknesses of sandstones (mostly red) and marls, together with some breccias and magnesian limestone, which make up the geological formations known as the Permian and New Red (or Trias). With the exception of a small area occupied by Liassic rocks, near Carlisle, no newer formations are known in Cumberland ; but during that great length of time represented by the Secondary and Tertiary rocks of the rest of England, the area which is now our lake district seems to have been dry land, and to have been sculptured and moulded by atmospheric denudation into its present form. Within comparatively recent times this district has been the home of glaciers, which have left abundant traces of their former existence in the ice-scratched and rounded rocks, perched blocks, and glacial moraines.
Besides these various rock-groups, there are several large masses of granite and granitoid rocks in the area of the mountain district. Granite occurs in Skiddaw Forest and in Eskdale. Syenitic and quartz-felsitic rocks occur in Buttermere and Ennerdale (closely associated with the Eskdale granite), in St John's Vale, and in other smaller masses. Bosses and dykes of diorite and dolerite are of frequent occurrence among the older Silurian rocks, but the basalt known as the Whin Sill is the only instance of intrusive igneous rocks yet recognized among the post-Silurian strata.
The mineral resources are extensive. Among the Lower Silurian rocks (Skiddaw slates and volcanic series) are veins of iron (but little worked), lead, and copper, while the cele-brated plumbago mine occurs in the midst of some intrusive dioritic and diabasic masses among the volcanic rocks of Borrowdale. The valuable deposits of hematite are found in connection with the Carboniferous limestone, and the Whitehaven coal-field furnishes a large supply of valuable fuel. Lead veins of much value occur in the limestone area in the east of the county, and specially in the neigh-bourhood of Alston.
Slates are worked in the volcanic series, in which case
they consist of cleaved ash-beds, and flags are largely
wrought among the Coniston series in the Upper Silurian.
Building stone of more or less value is found in the various
formations developed in the county. (J. c. WA.)]
The climate necessarily corresponds with the variety of surface. Along the shore-level it is mild and temperate, though subject to an excess of moisture compared with the eastern part of the country; among the mountains the winters are sometimes very rigorous, but more frequently subject to heavy and almost incessant rain for days at a time. The average yearly rainfall, as shown by careful observation for several years back, is as follows :—Carlisle, 30 inches ; Wigton, 34 ; Whitehaven, 50; Keswick, 59 ; while at Seathwaite, in Borrowdale, 420 feet above the sea-level, it amounts to about 140 cubic inches. On the Sty-Head Pass, at an elevation of 1077 feet, the rain-guage showed in the year 1872 the enormous fall of 243-98 cubic inches, which, as far as has yet been ascertained, marks this region as the wettest spot in Europe. Black peaty earth is the most prevalent soil in the mountainous districts, and is found, too, in the moors and commons of the eastern parts of the county. About one-half the cultivated land consists of dry loams, excellently adapted for the growth of turnips, potatoes, grain, and herbage. Fertile clays occupy only a small portion, but clay, wet and sterile, forms the subsoil in many parts. The principal rivers are the Eden, Irthing, Derwent, Greta, Caldew, and Esk. The Eden has its source in Westmoreland, near the borders of Yorkshire, and, pursuing a north-westerly direction through Cumber-land, passes Kirkoswald and Carlisle, falling into the Solway Firth near Rockliffe Marsh, where it forms a fine estuary. The land on its banks is for the most part very narrow, and in some places the high grounds approach to the water's edge. On this river there are several valuable*

salmon-fisheries belonging to different owners. The Derwent rises among the picturesque crags at the head of Borrowdale, in the south-west group of mountains, whence it dashes from rock to rock until it reaches Derwentwater Lake, from which it again flows onward through the vale of Keswick, thence through Bassenthwaite Lake, and, after being joined by the Cocker, near Cockermouth, falls into the sea at Workington. The basin of the Derwent includes within its area six lakes and about a dozen mountain tarns, all of which lie embosomed in the midst of scenery unsur-passed in loveliness and grandeur in Great Britain. The Caldew rises on the south-east side of the Skiddaw and enters the Eden near Carlisle after a course of 24 miles, in which it gives motion to many corn and cotton mills. The vale through which it flows in its lower part is very beautiful and well-wooded. The Esk enters Cumberland from Scotland near a place called the Moat, and, flowing westerly by Longtown, falls into the Solway Firth. The Liddel, another Scottish river, which in one part separates Cumberland from Scotland, joins the Esk after the latter has passed into England.
Landed property is much divided in this county, and the smaller holdings were formerly generally occupied by their owners, who were known as " statesmen," i.e., " estates-men," a class of men long noted for their sturdy indepen-dence and attachment to routine husbandry. Most of these estates were held of the lords of manors under customary tenure, which subjected them to the payments of fines and heriots on alienation as well as on the death of the lord or tenant. According to the Agricultural Survey printed in 1794, about two-thirds of the county was held by this tenure, in parcels worth from £15 to £30 rental. On large estates, also, the farms were in general rather small, few then reaching £200 a year, held on verbal con-tracts, or very short leases, and burdened like the small estates with payments or services over and above a money rent; but a great change has taken place in all these respects within the last forty years. The " statesmen " have been gradually becoming extinct as a class, and many of the small holdings have fallen into the hands of the larger landed proprietors. According to the Owners of Land Return, 1873, the county was divided among 15,513 separate proprietors, the total value of the land being estimated at £1,201,980. There were 9617 owners of properties which did not exceed 1 acre in extent, 1764 owners of properties from 1 to 10 acres, 1061 owners of 10 to 50 acres, and 3071 owners of 50 acres and upwards, the largest possessing 47,730 acres. From the above-mentioned return it appears that 62 per cent, of the total proprietors in Cumberland hold less than 1 acre; while in the neigh-bouring county of Westmoreland only 39 per cent, belonged to this class, and in all England the average is 71 per cent. The average extent of the properties in Cumberland was 47 acres against 34 acres in all England, and the value per acre was £1,12s. 1 Id. as against £3, 0s. 2d. throughout the whole country. There were five proprietors in the county owning more than 10,000 acres, viz., the earl of Carlisle (Castle Howard), 47,730 acres ; earl of Lonsdale (Lowther Castle), 28,228 ; Sir F. IT. Graham (Netherby) 25,270; Henry Howard (Greystoke Castle), 13,008; and Lord Leconfield (Cockermouth Castle), 11,147.
Farms are commonly let upon leases of seven or fourteen years, and the farmers can compare favourably with those of neighbouring counties in intelligence and skill in husbandry. The live stock consists of horses of rather a small size; the longhorned breed of cattle, for which Cumberland was noted, has been entirely supplanted by the improved shorthorns, of which the stocks of several of the large proprietors include animals from the best blood in the kingdom; Galloways, Ayrshires, and cross-breeds are also kept on dairy-farms. The sheep on the lowland farms are generally of the Leicester class or cross-bred between the Leicester and Herdwick, with a few South-downs. Throughout the mountainous districts the Herdwick has taken the place of the smaller black-faced heath variety of sheep once so commonly met with on the sheep farms. They are peculiar to this part of England ; the ewes and wethers and many of the rams are polled, the faces and legs are speckled, and the wool is finer and heavier in fleece than that of the heath breed. They originally came from the neighbourhood of Muncaster in the Duddon and Esk district, and are said to be sprung from parents that escaped from a wrecked ship of the Spanish Armada. In general they belong to the proprietors of the sheep-walks, and have been farmed out with them from time immemorial in herds of from 300 to 1000, and from this circumstance it is said they have obtained the name of " Herdwicks." From the agricultural returns for the years 1873 and 1876 it will be seen that the numbers of live stock remain pretty stationary, with the exception of sheep, which have apparently decreased latterly—these returns, however, are not so-complete as they might be.
Cattle. Sheep. Pigs. Horses.
1873 128,538 561,513 28,229 19,071
1876 128,409 516,305 27,178 19,838
Grain is not so much grown as formerly, a great propor-tion of the land being laid down in grass for the breeding and rearing of cattle ; butter and bacon are largely exported to the populous districts of Lancashire and Yorkshire.
Acreage Under Grass Under all Percentage
Under Pvoon rmiw under rota- kinds of of area
Cora Crops. «Ieenwops. tion cultivation, of county
1873...100,704 50,676 99,958 541,681 55| 1876... 94,794 48,207 96,317 549,590 561
Nearly three-fourths of the corn crops consist of oats, and about one-fifth wheat, while two-thirds of the green crops are turnips, and a fifth potatoes. That excellent variety of oats called the potato-oat was first dis-covered in Cumberland in 1788, whence it has now spread over every part of the United Kingdom. Among the farm implements the single-horse cart deserves to be noticed, as being almost exclusively used, and with great advantage, as it is not only the most convenient and economical carriage for the farmer, but is much less in-jurious to the public roads than the waggons and heavily-loaded carts used in many other English counties, which could not easily travel the hilly roads of many parts of Cumberland.
The principal manufactures of this county are calicoes, ginghams, corduroys, and other cotton fabrics, established at Dalston, Carlisle, Warwick Bridge, and a few other places. Cotton printing is carried on to some extent in Carlisle. Cockermouth possesses a large new mill for the manufacture of tweeds, and also an old-established thread manufactory. A manufactory of coarse earthenware near Dearham, pencil mills at Keswick, and paper mills at Egremont, with breweries, tanneries, soap and biscuit manufactories at Carlisle, comprise all the other chief manufacturing establishments of any note in Cumberland, Coal is found at different places in the eastern mountains, and also near Brampton in the northern part of the county, but in greatest abundance on the west of the Calder, and thence through the Maryport, Workington, and Whitehaven districts ; in 1871, 4596 persons were employed in the pits. Owing to the development of the iron trade in the west of the county the consumption, of coal is very considerable; but a large export trade is still carried on from the Cumber-land seaports to Ireland. Mining operations have taken a new direction in recent years. The discovery and opening out of immense beds of iron ore in the Cleator district have given increased employment to the population. This ore is of

the quality known as hematite ; and, being exceedingly rich and well adapted for the manufacture of Bessemer steel, it is largely exported to the Cleveland and other districts to mix with ore of an inferior quality. In 1871 thirty-three iron mines were registered for Cumberland in the Mining Record Office, employing 3771 miners ; but since that date many new mines have been opened, and all the mines have been worked on a more extensive scale than before. Furnaces for smelting the ore are established at Working-ton, Maryport, Seaton, Parton, and Harrington; and at Workington are established large works for the manufac-ture of iron and Bessemer steel.
The famous black-lead mines are situated at the head of Borrowdale, in the south-west range of mountains. The mineral is found in the green slate, generally lying in nodules or irregular granular kidney-shaped masses. These masses are as a rule small; but early in the present cen-tury an extraordinary mass was found which, it is said, yielded 70,000 ft of pure plumbago. With the exception of a couple of trials made at an interval of twenty years by different companies, this " wad-mine " has been practi-cally closed for more than thirty years. The lead now used for pencils is an imitation of the plumbago, made chiefly from Mexican lead mixed with antimony and other ingredients.
The principal lead-mines are at Alston Moor, on the south-east border of the county, in the Caldbeck fells, and in the mountains around Keswick. The ore is found in veins nearly perpendicular, and not unfrequently contains a con-siderable proportion of silver. Copper was formerly raised from the mines of Caldbeck, Hesket-New-Market, and Newlands near Keswick, but these mines have not been wrought for many years. The ore is a sulphuret, and usually contains both iron and arsenic. In 1871, 1082 persons were employed in lead-mining.
The most considerable towns in Cumberland are Carlisle (population, 31,074), Penrith (8317), Whitehaven (13,298), Workington (7979), Maryport (6938), Wigton (3425), Cockermouth (5115), Keswick (2777), Brampton (2617), and Egremont (2377). The seaports are Whitehaven, Workington, Maryport, Harrington, and Silloth. White-haven was among the first ports in the kingdom to embark in the East India trade after it was thrown open, and possessed a fair share of the trade with America and the West Indies long before the Mersey and the Clyde ; the first Clyde ventures to the West Indies were made in Whitehaven bottoms.
The lakes and mountains of Cumberland have long attracted the admirers of the wild and beautiful in natural scenery. The lakes, including the mountain tarns, are thirty-four in number ; of these Ullswater is the largest, and Derwentwater the most beautiful. Ullswater is partly situated in Cumberland, and partly in Westmoreland; it is 9 miles in length and from \ mile to f mile in breadth. Winding round the base of vast rocky mountains in its upper part, it is only seen in the successive portions,—the scenery on its margin presenting new and striking objects at every successive stretch. Derwentwater is of an irregular figure, approaching to an oval, about 3 miles in length and from | mile to miles in breath. It is seen at one view, expanding within an amphitheatre of mountains, rocky but not vast, broken into many fantastic shapes, opening by narrow valleys the view of rocks which rise immediately beyond and which are again overlooked by others. Its shores are well wooded, and its bosom spotted by well-wooded islands, of which Lord's Island, Derwent Isle, and St Herbert's are the principal. Lord's Island was the residence of the ill-fated Derwentwater family, the last earl of which was beheaded for participation in the rebellion of 1715. St Herbert's Isle receives its name from the fact of its having been the abode of a holy man of that name mentioned by Bede, as contemporary with St Cuthbert of Fame Island in the 7th century. Derwent Isle, about 6 acres in extent, contains a handsome summer residence surrounded by tastefully 1 aid-out lawns, gardens, and timber of large growth. The celebrated Falls of Lodore, at the upper end of the lake, consist of a series of cascades which rush over an enormous pile of protruding crags from the height of nearly 200 feet. What is called the " Floating Island " appears occasionally at intervals of from two to five years, on the upper portion of the lake in front of the Lodore Falls. This somewhat singular phenomenon is supposed to owe its appearance to an accumulation of gas, formed by the decay of vegetable matter, detaching and raising to the surface the matted weeds which con-stitute the floor of the lake at this point.
Length.
Breadth.
The following table shows the extent of the lakes and their elevation above the sea-level, &c. :—
Feet. 477 2'2(5 238 321 204 533 369 331 429
Greatest Depth.
Feet. 218
81 132
4 3
3 3
2J
1.1
1
Ullswater
3
IDS
Bassenthwaite Derwentwater, Crummock.
Wastwater
Thirlmere
Ennerdale
Buttermere.... Loweswater...
93 60
The present county of Cumberland was formed by the addition of a portion of the old English kingdom of York-shire to the southern part of the old British kingdom of Strathclyde. It first became a portion of the kingdom of England in the reign of William Rufus, who rebuilt Carlisle which the Danes had destroyed 200 years before. At a conference held at York, Henry III., in full satisfaction of the claims of the Scots, who considered Strathclyde to be a tributary kingdom to Scotland, agreed to assign lands to them of the yearly value of £200 within the counties of Northumberland and Cumberland, if lands of that value could be found therein, without the limits of the towns where castles were erected. But after this arrangement there still remained a tract between the two kingdoms called the" debateable ground," the resort of the worst characters of both, who continued to disturb the borders, down to the union of the two crowns. Of the ancient British antiquities of Cumberland the most re-markable is a circle of stones, about three miles from Kirkoswald, called Long Meg and her Daughters ; and there is a unique little circle of 48 stones between Threlkeld and Keswick, called the Druid's Temple, scarcely two miles from the latter place—the stones are porphyritic greenstone. The Roman wall may still be traced across the country from the Solway to Northumberland. A great many coins, altars, and other vestiges of antiquity have been discovered from time to time at the Roman stations on its line. In the mountainous parts the manners of the people were down to a recent period somewhat peculiar, and in some of the secluded dales the native inhabitants still lead a primitive kind of existence ; but increased intercourse with the outside world, induced by the extension of railways and the spread of education, is doing much to bring them on a level with the peasantry of more favoured parts of the kingdom.
Cumberland sends eight members to Parliament:—two
for the Eastern Division, two for the Western Division,
two for Carlisle, one for Whitehaven, and one for Cocker-
mouth. It is governed by a lord-lieutenant, high-sheriff,
deputy lieutenant, and magistrates. (H. I. J.)










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