Richard Saul Ferguson.

A history of Cumberland online

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HISTORY OF CUMBERLAND.



POPULAR COUNTT HISTORIES.



HISTORY OF CUMBERLAND,



RICHARD S. FERGUSON , M.A., LL.M., F.S.A.

"chancellor of CARLISLE,

PRESIDENT CUMBERLAND AND WESTMORLAND ANTIQUARIAN

AND ARCH/EOLOGICAL SOCIETY, AND AUTHOR OF

SEVERAL LOCAL WORKS.



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ELLIOT STOCK, 62, PATERNOSTER ROW, E.G.

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1267335

CONTENTS.



CHAPTER

PREFACE - - ■-*
I. INTRODUCTORY. — THE EARLY INHABITANTS -
II. THE ROMAN CONQUEST - - " " "

III. THE ROMAN ROADS - - " " "

IV. THE ROMAN FORTS AND TOWNS

V. THE GREAT BARRIER OF HADRIAN : THE TRAIL OF

THE ROMAN WALL - - " " "

VI. LUGUVALLIUM - - ""

Vn. STRATHCLYDE - - -

VIII. CUMBRIA - - - "

IX. THE LAND OF CARLISLE - - " "

X. CUMBERLAND
XI. THE NORMAN SETTLEMENT
XII. THE NORMAN SETTLEMENT : II.— THE FOREST OF CUM-
BERLAND - - -

Xin. THE NORMAN SETTLEMENT: III. — THE CITY OF
CARLISLE - - -'

XIV. THE NORMAN SETTLEMENT : IV.— THE CHURCH
XV. THE SCOTTISH WARS - - " " "

XVI. THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY - - " "

XVII. THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY : BORDER WARFARE.— THE
REFORMATION - . - - -

XVin. THE TROUBLES, THE RESTORATION, AND THE REVOLU-
TION - - - -

XIX. THE '15 AND THE '45 '

XX. MISCELLANEOUS - -"-"

A CLASSIFIED LIST OF BOOKS, ETC., RELATING TO

CUMBERLAND - - -

INDEX - - - -



I.— THE BARONIES



PAGE

vii
I

19

28

59

78
98
102
120

139
148

157
180

191
220
223

237

242

252
269

277



299



PREFACE



The time has gone past for writing a history of Cumber-
land, or of any county, on the old-fashioned lines and
scale. The work is now subdivided ; the fauna and the
flora, the pedigrees and the geology, the ecclesiology, and
the everything else, are dealt with b}^ specialists in little
books devoted exclusively to one subject. A few years
ago one or two ponderous tomes supplied a country
gentleman with all that was in print concerning his
county, whereas nowadays a whole bookcase is required
to house the more portable and numerous volumes that
are in vogue. A guide to these volumes is required, and
that the writer has endeavoured to supply for Cumber-
land in the classified list of books relating to that county
which precedes the index.

As to this volume itself, it is an attempt to discharge
the functions of the " General Introduction " to an old-
fashioned county history in two or three quarto volumes.
How far the writer has succeeded it is not for him to say.
Many monastic chartularies and other documents relating
to Cumberland are still unprinted and unindexed. These
the writer has done his best to consult, but until they are
printed and indexed, he, or any other local writer, must
expect in course of time to be set right on many points.



The writer has made liberal use of papers in the Transactions of the
Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and ArchEeological Society,
and thanks the authors thereof for much assistance and advice, parti-
cularly his old friends W. Jackson, F.S.A., the Rev. T. Lees, F.S.A.,
the Rev. W. S. Calverley, F.S.A., the Rev. H. Whitehead, and others.
Dr. Prescott's pamphlets have been of much service, and suggested
many important points. Mr. Robert Ferguson's works have been a
great help ; but it would occupy too much space to enumerate all the
authors from whom the writer has derived information. The Classi-
fied List of Books must be turned to.



HISTORY OF CUMBERLAND.



CHAPTER I.



INTRODUCTORY. — THE EARLY INHABITANTS.



The most northerly point of the county of Cumberland
is niched into an angle between the English county of
Northumberland and the Scotch one of Roxburgh, at a
place in the Cheviots situate on the Kershope Water or
Burn, and called on the six-inch Ordnance Map Scotch
Knowe, but called by the older writers on local history
Lamyford.

From Scotch Knowe the western boundary of the
county runs down the Kershope Water to Kershope Foot,
the junction of the Kershope and Liddell Waters, then
down Liddell Water to its junction with the river Esk,
and then down the Esk a short distance to a point called
Scotsdike : hence the boundary line runs due west to the
river Sark, a distance of four miles, defined by an earthen
bank, known as the Scotsdike ; the boundary next runs
down the Sark to its junction with the Esk, and down
the Esk into the Solway Firth. So far the direction of
the boundary has been generally south-west. The Solway
Firth now becomes the boundary of Cumberland, and
runs westerly as far as Skinburness, where it turns to the



History of Cumberland.



southward to St. Bees, whose North Head is the most
westernly point of Cumberland, and marks the Hmit of
the Solway Firth. From St. Bees the Irish Sea forms
the boundaiy, until the mouth of the river Duddon is
reached, where Hodbarrow Point marks the most southerly
point of the county.

From Scotch Knowe to Hodbarrow the western
boundary of Cumberland is defined by water, fresh and
salt, with the exception of the four-mile bank of earth
cutting off the angle between Esk and Sark. This angle
was added to Cumberland on the division between
England and Scotland, in 1552, of the Debateable Lands,
which, from being a common pasture to both countries,
had degenerated into a lawless harbour of ruffians.

To return to the Scotch Knowe, the eastern boundary
of the county of Cumberland runs from thence in a
south-easterly direction over the fells, keeping to the
eastward of Christenbury Crag, by a line defined, more
or less, by piles of stones and mounds of earth, until it
runs into a little affluent of the river Irthing, called
variously the Troutbeck and the Gair Beck ; it continues
down this affluent to the Irthing, and down Irthing until
it meets the Poltross Burn, near Gilsland Railway Station.
It next ascends the Poltross and goes up the fells, and
after running south for a time it turns due east and makes
a great detour to the east side of the watershed to in-
clude the mining district of Alston, running up or down
one or other burn, over or along one or other watershed,
to the most easterly point of the county at Knoutberry
Hill : hence over the fells to the river Tees, which it
ascends in a westerly direction to its head ; thence over
the Watershed, and by the Crowdundle Beck to the river
Eden, and down the Eden to its junction with the
Eamont. It then ascends that river to its source in
Ullswater, which lake, for two-thirds of its length, forms
the boundary between Cumberland and Westmorland.



Introductory. 3

The boundary leaves the lake at the west end of Gow-
barrow Park, and by Glencoin Beck ascends Helvellyn,
from which it descends over Dolly Waggon Pike to
Dunmail Raise on the coach-road between Ambleside
and Keswick. From Dunmail Raise it proceeds over
Bow Fell to the Shire Stones on Wrynose, where the
three counties of Cumberland, Westmorland, and
Lancashire meet in a point. From thence it runs to
Blackball above Ulpha, and then down the Duddon to
the sea.

The area thus enclosed is irregular in outline, and the
mining district of Alston is separated from the rest of the
county, with which it has little in common, by a lofty
range of fells, rising in Crossfell to a height of 2,930 feet
above the sea-level. These fells extend along the whole
east side of the county from Scotch Knowe to close upon
Penrith, and are part of the great range which runs from
the Tweed to Derbyshire, losing itself in the Midlands ;
they include, beside Alston Moor in the extreme east of
the county, the bleak expanses of Spadeadam Waste and
Bewcastle Fells in the extreme north. The south-west
angle of Cumberland is occupied by mountains and fells,
and forms part of what is well known as the Lake
District ; these mountains and fells extend eastward
nearly as far as Penrith, and northward to Caldbeck and
Binsey : on the west a narrow strip of plain, widening as
it goes to the north, separates them from the sea. They
include such famous heights as Scawfell, Helvellyn,
Skiddaw, Bow Fell, the Pillar, Saddleback, etc. ; and the
lakes of Ullswater, Bassenthwaite, Derwentwater, Crum-
mock, Wastwater, Thirlmere, Ennerdale, Buttermere,
and Loweswater, as well as many smaller lakes and tarns.
The eastern and the western fells approach each other
somewhat narrowly at Penrith, from whence they widen
out to the north, including between them a plain, the
great central plain of Cumberland, afterwards familiar as

I — 2



History of Cumberland.



Inglewood Forest, which has in its centre, rising like the
umbo of a shield, the conspicuous hill known as Barrock
Fell; this plain sweeps round to the westward by the
alluvial flats south of the Solway to join the strip of
plain between the Lake Hills and the sea.

The Lake District of Cumberland sends its waters
mainly westward to the sea. At the south, Duddon
gathers the waters from Wrynose, and, running between
Cumberland and Lancashire, expands into an estuary
some nine miles long, over whose sands, bared at low
water, somewhat dangerous fords exist. A little to the
north, Esk, Mite and Irt drain Eskdale, Miterdale, and
Wasdale, and unite in the land-locked harbour of Raven-
glass, now so silted up and shallow on the bar as to be
almost useless. Calder and Ehen drain the Ennerdale
District, the latter issuing out of Ennerdale Lake,
The Derwent, rising in Borrowdale, flows through
Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite Lake, and falls into
the sea at Workington. Its affluents are the Greta,,
which drains Thirlmere, and the Cocker, which performs
the same office for Buttermere and Crummock Lakes ;
while the Elne, or Ellen, rises in Caldbeck Fells, and
drains a range of plain between those fells and the sea at
Maryport.

From the eastern side of the Lake Fells issue the rivers
Eamont, Petteril, and Caldew, all of which empty them-
selves into Eden : the first issues from Ullswater, and
runs due east ; the second from Greystoke Park, Hutton,
and Skelton, and turning to the north drains the centre
of the plain of Cumberland, and falls into the Eden
close to the east of Carlisle ; the third rises on Caldbeck
Fells, and, running north, drains a portion of the plain
of Cumberland, and falls into the Eden just west of
Carlisle.

The Eden itself, the most important river in the
county, rises in the eastern fells in Westmorland, and.



Introductory. 5

entering Cumberland near Penrith, runs north through
the eastern side of the plain of Cumberland, until it
receives the Irthing ; then, turning westward, it flows
past Carlisle to the Solway. The eastern fells in Cumber-
land are drained by the Croglin, another tributary of the
Eden, and by the Irthing and its tributaries, the Gelt,
Kingwater, and Cammock. The two Lynes, Black and
White, rise in the Bewcastle Fells, and, coalescing into
one, run into the Esk, which with its tributaries, the
Liddell and Sark, fall into the Solway. Waver, Wiza,
and Wampool drain the alluvial flats south of the Solway
into that Firth. With exception of the three last, the
rivers of Cumberland are rapid, bright, and clear :
shallows and deep pools alternate ; they are not navig-
able, with the exception of the Eden, and that only for
small craft to a place called Sandsfield, below Carlisle.
Fords or waths abound on most of them, even in the
lower reaches of the Eden between Carlisle and the sea.
Tees and South Tyne rise in a swamp on Crossfell, and
Nent in Alston, but can hardly be reckoned among the
rivers of Cumberland.

The Eden runs from east to west immediately to the
north of Carlisle, while its tributaries — the Petteril and
the Caldew — flow into it from the south immediately
to east and west. About a mile south of Carlisle their
courses approach one another so nearly as to almost
make the site on which Carlisle stands a triangular
island. In this quasi island a long hill of New Red Sand-
stone rises gently from the south to a head on which now
stands the Cathedral of Carlisle. A deep valley then
intervenes (or once did intervene, for it is now filled up),
and then the hill rises again to a second and higher head,
whose slopes to east, and north, and west, are steep
towards the meads through which the three rivers flow.
Some sixty feet above their level the castle - hill of
Carlisle looks out towards Scotland Hke a lion — a natural



History of Cumberland.



fortress to guard the waths over Eden. Under the west
of this castle-hill runs an ancient British track. Entering
Cumberland at the south, it follows a line west of, and
parallel to, the river Petteril, and crosses the neck where
that river and Caldew so nearly join. By a line now
represented by back-streets called Collier Lane and Back-
house's Walk, and by lanes in the Willow Holm, it sneaks
under the west side of the hill on which Carlisle and its
castle now stand, and, fording Caldew and Eden, runs,
parallel to the latter river, to Willie o' the Boats on the
marshes between it and Esk, fords the Esk, and passes
away into Scotland. That this track is older than the
Roman rule is proved by the fact of its crossing the Eden
by the dangerous wath of Etterby, which is just about a
mile below the site of the Roman bridge over that river
at Carlisle, to which the track could easily have been
conducted had the bridge existed when the track was
first traced out. From the south of Cumberland this
track passes southwards over the bleak heights of Shap
Fell, and through the Tebay Gorge. Another ancient
access into Cumberland from the south is from the great
plain of York, over the pass of Stainmoor, down the
valley of the Eden, into the plain of Cumberland. A
third ancient road into Cumberland from the south is by
the sea-coast, crossing the estuaries of Morecambe Bay
and the Duddon. To these roads we will recur when we
come to deal with the Roman settlement.

Up to the present time no implements of the Palaeo-
lithic period have been found, either in caves or river-
drift, within the area of Cumberland, or, indeed, in the
North of England ; and the views of Professor Boyd
Dawkins that their absence is due to the presence of
glaciers are considered by Dr. Evans to be well founded.*
A stone celt found near Keswick, and two in the Carlisle
Museum, have, indeed, been assigned to the Palaeolithic
* ArchcEological Journal, vol. xxxix., p. 441.



Introductory. 7

period ; but the better opinion is that they are unfinished
implements of the NeoUthic or PoHshed Stone period.
Dr. Evans, the President of the Society of Antiquaries of
London, however, suggests the possibihty that there may
be gravels along the valley of the Eden in which drift-
implements might eventually be found. Stone imple-
ments of the Neolithic period have been found at many
places in Cumberland. Those of most common occur-
rence are large celts or hatchets, the greater part of them
made of felstone, and some of them of a shape almost
peculiar to Cumberland. Perforated hammers and heavy
stone axes are also very common. Of the three known
examples of celts which have been found attached to
their original handles two are from Cumberland — namely,
one from Solway Moss, and the other from Ehenside
Tarn in West Cumberland. Stones for sharpening celts
have also been found, one at Lazonby having seventy
grooves in it.* Several of the long barrows of the
dolicho-cephalic, or long-headed, race, who used these
stone implements, are to be found in Cumberland. There
is a fine one near the Shaws, Gilsland ; another, called
Sampson's Bratful, is on Stockdale Moor in Copeland
Forest. Many relics of the brachy-cephalic, or round-
headed, race, who intruded themselves upon the dolicho-
cephalic race, have been found in Cumberland ; but the
bronze celts, spear-heads, and palstaves of the brach}^-
cephalic men too readily found their way into the melting-
pot of the brass-founder, and so are of rarer occurrence
in the local museums and collections than the relics of
their predecessors. A stone mould for casting bronze
spear-heads of remarkable size was found at Croglin in
1883, and is in the Penrith Museum. f The round barrows
of the brachy-cephalic men are more frequent; and

* Arch(Bological Joiir7ial, vol. xxxix., pp. 441. 442.
f Transactions^ Ctanberlafid and Westmorland Antiquarian and
Archceological Society, vol. vii., p. 272.



History of Ctimberland.



Canon Greenwell has opened them on Castle Carrock in
the east of the county, and Lord Muncaster at Barnscar
in the south-west. Many remain, still untouched so far
as known, on Burnsmoor, on Ulpha Fell, Seatallan,
Bewcastle, and other places. But it must not be supposed
that every mound is a barrow. There are many mounds
near Brampton which were supposed to be barrows, until
the spade proved them to be knolls of gravel — the remains
of a great sheet which had perished by denudation. The
Ordnance Map marks two tumuli near Dalston Hall as
barrows — one long, the other round ; but again the spade
proved them to be mere natural knobs on an esker of
gravel.*

The glaciers that at some time or other — most probably
after the Palaeolithic period — covered the area of Cum-
berland must have completely changed the surface of the
country ; but the men of the Polished Stone period and
of the Bronze period saw the country in its main
features much as we see it now, though it is possible
that three lakes, or meres, at Lazonby, Langanby, and
Appleby, occupied the valley of the Eden, and that the
Petteril ran into that river at Great Salkeld, and not near
Carlisle, and perhaps that both joined the Caldew south
of Carlisle instead of north, while Waver, Wiza, and
Wampool sought the sea by old channels, to which very-
little change of level would make them even now revert.f
We will venture here to give a picture of Britain as the
Romans found it, drawn by a master hand — a picture
which we have already utilized in another little work :

* Transactions^ Ctunberland and IVestfnorland Antiquarian and
ArchcEological Society, vol. ix., p. 117.

t See " Ice-work in Edenside," Transactioiis , Ctwiberland and West-
morlattd Association, part xiii. ; "The Physical History of Greystoke
Park and the Valley of the Petteril" ; and " The Old Lakes of Eden,"
ibid., part xiv., all by J. G. Goodchild, F.G.S., F.Z.S. ; " Notes on
Physical Geography of Noith-West Cumberland," ibid., part vi,, by
T. V. Holmes, F.G.S.



Introductory. g

It was a land of uncleared forests, with a climate as yet not mitigated
by the organized labours of mankind. ... It is certain that the island,
when it fell under the Roman power, was little better in most parts than
a cold and watery desert. According to all the accounts of the early
travellers, the sky was stormy and obscured by continual rain, the air
chilly even in summer, and the sun during the finest weather had little
power to disperse the steaming mists. The trees gathered and con-
densed the rain ; the crops grew rankly, but ripened slowly ; and the
ground and the atmosphere were alike overloaded with moisture. The
fallen timber obstructed the streams, the rivers were squandered in the
reedy morasses, and only the downs and hilltops rose above the per-
petual tracts of wood.*

Of the truth of this description as applied to what was
afterwards the county of Cumberland there is no difficulty
in adducing proofs. The country was covered with forest
and with dense scrub of oak, ash, thorn, hazel, and birch,
whose stools are frequently found buried beneath the peat
at Alston and other places, while the scrub itself remains
in many places in the low bottoms. The great hill near
St. Bees, known as Tomline, was, even within this
century, covered with scrub high enough to hide a horse.
The frequent occurrence of the antlers of red deer, many
much larger than any of the present day, shows that the
deer must have had abundance of " browse " — that is,
^* scrub " — for their support in times past, extending over
a wide range of country. Edmund Sandford, who wrote,
in the time of Charles II., a gossiping account of the
county, still remaining in manuscript, tells us that great
part of it was then forest. The bogs and mosses of the
present day are the puny and degenerate survivals of vast
morasses which once covered the alluvial flats bordering
on the Solway, and stretched eastward from the vicinity
of Rockcliffe along the north of Carlisle for many miles.
This last has dwindled down to Scaleby Moss, while

* " Origins of English History," by C. Elton : London, Quaritch,
1882, p. 222, cited by the writer in " Diocesan Histories — Carlisle,"
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1889, p. 15.



I



lo History of Cumberland.

Solway Moss, Bowness Moss, and Wedholm Flow record
others.

We have already divided the early inhabitants of the
land, whose appearance we have been discussing, into
two races — the one, the earlier, dolicho-cephalic of the
Polished Stone period ; the other, the later, brachy-
cephalic of the Bronze period — a Celtic race — a branch of
that great Aryan family which has peopled nearly all
Europe and great part of Asia, and which appears always
to have possessed a knowledge of the use of metal.
This Celtic race was, compared with their non-Aryan
predecessors, a set of very ugly customers ; their bones,
as dug up, prove them to have been bigger (their average
stature over 5 feet 8 inches), thicker, and more muscular;
they had broad jaws, turned- up noses, high cheek-bones,
wide mouths, and eyes deep sunk under beetling brows
that overhung them like pent-houses — the superciliary
ridges on their skulls tell that — characteristics in striking
contrast to the short stature and mild and pleasant
countenances which their bones show the dolicho-
cephalic men to have possessed. Armed with the
superior weapon, the round-heads soon asserted their
superiority over the long-heads. They did not annihilate
them ; in the round barrows of the round-heads both long
and round skulls appear, and in the later round barrows
the skulls begin occasionally to appear of an intermediate
shape ; this shows that the round-headed men of the
bronze weapons probably enslaved the long-headed men
with the stone weapons, and took the long-headed women
for their wives. The language of the round-headed men
swallowed up the language of the long-headed, and the
land was in the possession of the Celts. These Celts
have been written about under many names ; they have
been called Gauls, as being a tribe of the Gauls, who
inhabited the neighbouring continent ; Welsh, as being
the progenitors of the present inhabitants of Wales;



The Early Inhabitants. 1 1

Irish, for a similar reason ; and Britons, or British, as
being found in Britain. That the Celts arrived in this
country in two waves of migration appears certain : to
the earlier wave belonged the ancestors of the people
who speak Erse, or Irish, in Ireland ; Gaelic in the High-
lands of the North, and who are called by Professor Rhys
Goidals ; to the later wave belonged the ancestors of the
people who speak Welsh in Wales, and Breton in
Brittany, and are called by Professor Rhys Brythons.*
They are called Hiberno-Celts and Cambro-Celts by a
local writer, Mr. Sullivan. How far the traces of the
language spoken by these people survive in the place-
names and dialect of the district is a moot question :
that they do survive is undoubted, but the question is as
to the degree ; both Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Robert Fergu-
son, F.S.A., have written on the subjectt The latter
writer says :

We find no vestiges of a Celtic origin in the characteristics, physical
and moral, of the present inhabitants of the district. Nor does their
dialect present any but the faintest traces of the language of the
ancient Britons. And though a more considerable number of Celtic
names of places exists than in most other parts of England, yet, taking
the district of the mountains, where ancient names usually linger much
longer than elsewhere, the number of such names is in point of fact



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