The Victoria history of the county of Cumberland, England


For a long time workers in scientific and archaeological research have been waiting for a History of Cumberland which would cover the whole field of local investigation, and aim at a more complete and accurate account of the north-western county than it was possible to give when the older histories were compiled. Valuable additions have been made to our knowledge of the natural history and archaeology of the district by the labors during the past thirty years of the Cumberland Association for the Advancement of Literature and Science and the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society. But the scientific observations and antiquarian researches of the various workers remain scattered throughout the numerous publications of these societies. Before the materials thus collected could be used, they required to be sifted and arranged by experienced specialists with a view to supervising the work of the local student and of centring interest on the characteristic features of the district. For the first volume of this History the editors have had the co-operation of men who are well acquainted with the county and have taken a prominent part in the work of these societies in the several departments with which their names are identified.

In former histories of Cumberland no systematic effort worthy of the name has been made to examine the physical features of the county or to treat it as a floral or faunal area. With the exception of Hutchinson, who has recorded the results of some excavations undertaken in the eighteenth century, the archaeology of the district has been a sealed book to the older historians of the county. Attempts to reduce to order the confused evidences of prehistoric Man, or to classify the earthworks and early lapidary remains with which Cumberland abounds, have been of a very meagre description. Even now our knowledge must not be considered complete either in the flora and fauna or in the archeology. The less popular orders in the fauna are here as in other counties inadequately studied and recorded ; and great as has been the activity in recent years in the field of archaeological research, much has been lost through carelessness in the past, and the spade has not been used with the frequency and thoroughness that the importance of the subject requires.

The editors regret that in one particular the chronological sequence of the contributions to this volume has been broken. The section on Romano-British Cumberland has had to be held over for the second volume. It is believed that the value of the section will be enhanced by the postponement.

No attempt has been made to disturb popular usage in the spelling of place-names. A reasonable liberty has been allowed to contributors to adopt the methods with which they were familiar. Local nomenclature as it was employed at different periods of history will be discussed in the Topographical section of this work.

Since the present work was undertaken the promoters have had to deplore the removal by death of two valued contributors, from one of whom much was expected and whose loss to the History is almost irreparable. Richard Saul Ferguson, chancellor of the diocese of Carlisle, who held for a quarter of a century the hegemonic place in all matters of local knowledge, died before his first contribution was set in type. His unrivaled knowledge of the county, as well as his genial and helpful sympathy, have been greatly missed by the colleagues engaged with him in the production of this work. William Hodgson, a man of another type, the venerable botanist, who loved nature in all its moods, passed away after he had given the final touches to his catalogue of the flora of the county. In their respective spheres both men were distinguished, both were Cumbrians by birth and descent, and both deserve an honored place in the dictionary of Cumbrian biography.

The nature and scope of the Victoria History of Cumberland may best be gathered from a perusal of the General Advertisement which is prefixed to this volume. The main section of the work will consist of the history of the parishes and manors in the county, to which the greater portion of the succeeding volumes will be devoted. The work which has already been done in this field of research will be duly considered in the later volumes.


Table of Contents

Dedication v
The Advisory Council of the Victoria History vii
General Advertisement vii
The Cumberland County Committee xiii
List of Errata xiv
Contents xv
List of Illustrations xvii
Preface xix
Natural History

Introduction to Natural History xxiii
Geology 1
Climate 65
Palaeontology 71
Introduction 73
Summary of Orders 76
The Botanical Districts 78
Musci (Mosses) 94
Mollusca (Snails, etc.) 99
Insecta (Insects)
Orthoptera (Earwigs, etc.) 101
Neuroptera (Dragonflies) 102
Hymenoptera (Bees, etc.) 103
Coleoptera (Beetles) 105
Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths) 117
Diptera (Flies) 140
Hemiptera (Bugs, etc.) 141
Myriapoda (Centipedes) 143
Arachnida (Spiders) 144
Crustacea (Crabs, etc.) 158
Pisces (Fishes) 169
Reptilia (Reptiles) and Batrachia (Batrachians) 177
Aves (Birds) 179
Mammalia (Mammals) 218
Early Man 225
Pre-Norman Remains 253
Introduction to the Cumberland, Domesday, Early Pipe Rolls, and Testa de Nevill 295
The Text of the Cumberland Domesday 336
The Text of the Early Pipe Rolls 338
The Text of the Testa de Nevill 419


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The mountains of eastern Cumberland form part of the Pennine range. In beauty of outline they are inferior to the more celebrated Cumbrian group, but they are perhaps superior in the variety of their bird-life. The dunlin has never nested to our knowledge among the lake hills proper, but it is one of the most characteristic birds of Cross- fell and neighboring summits. The snow-bunting is seldom present in any numbers among the Keswick mountains even in winter, but like the twite it assembles in large flocks upon the fell lands of our eastern border.

The Eden valley is a fine, well-watered region, containing the remains of Inglewood Forest, which was formerly the home of many wild red deer. This tract is enriched with very extensive woodlands, which are often visited by crossbills, as well as by some rarer birds. Among typical woodland moths may here be mentioned the great emerald, occurring where birch wood is plentiful, together with the barred red and the tawny-barred angle, both characteristic of fir plantations.