Magna Britannica et Hibernia.Volume 6: Westmorland by Thomas Cox (Vicar of Bromfield, Essex) 45 pages, printed in 1731. Transcription by Sarah Reveley, Joan Fisher and Lisl Schoenwald. (Rootsweb Westmorland Listmembers) (c) 2003
"AMBLESIDE, a small Market-Town, situate on the upper End of the Lake, known by the Name of Winandermere, whose Market is weekly on Wednesday, and Fair yearly on (blank). It was antiently a large City, as appears, not only from the many Ruins of the Walls, and from the Rubbish of old Buildings still to be seen without the Walls. The Romans had a Fort here of an oblong Figure, fortified with a Ditch and Rampire, in Length an Hundred and thirty-two Ells, and in Breadth eighty. That it was a work of the Romans, not Saxons or Danes, is evident from the British Bricks and Mortar tempered with small Pieces of Brick. To which, if we add, that little Urns, glass Vials, and Roman Coins are commonly met with here, together with round Stones like Mill stones (of which, being sodered together, they used of old to make Pillars) and paved Ways leading to it, we have Proofs beyond Contradiction. But the old Name is quite lost, unless we may infer from the Name Ambleside, that it was the Amboglana, mentioned in the Notitia, where the Cohers prima Ælia Dacorum had their Quarters; but against that Conjecture it is said,
1. That the Notitia places it ad Lineam Valli, which, if we interpret of the Line or Track of the Picts Wall itself, it is not possible it should be meant of this Place; but if we suppose it to signify (as it may well) the Line of Communication, which several Auxiliaries had with those who were quartered upon the Picts Wall, our Opinion may be reconcilable enough with the Notitia. But some farther object,
2. That it is beyond all Doubt, that the Cohors prima Ælia Dacorum was quartered at Williford in Cumberland, as appears by several Inscriptions, which have been found at a little Distance from it (which see in Cumberland). But to this it may be answered, there was at Williford (or rather at the Bank-End) A Fort assigned for that Cohort, when they were called out upon extraordinary Occasions to defend the Picts Wall; but Ambleside was their chief Station or standing Quarters, of which this is a good Argument, that many Pieces of Roman Antiquities have been found here, about the old Works, viz. several Medals of Gold, Silver, and Copper, some of which are in the Collection, which Mr. Thomas Brathwaite of Ambleside gave by Deed, dated Novemb. 26. 1674, to the Library at the University of Oxford.
A small Mile North of the Town stands Ridal-Hall, a convenient and large, but antient House; and in the Manor is a very high Mountain called Ridal-Head, from the Top of which there is so large a Prospect, that in a clear Day, Lancaster-Castle and much farther may be seen. The Manor antiently belonged to the Family of Lancaster, to whom it defended from the Brus's of Skelton, by the Marriage of Margaret de Brus, one of the Coheirs of Peter de Brus, with Roger de Lancaster; for he & Edw. I procured a Grant and Confirmation of the Forest of Ridal, which his Wife had before made over to him, which proves 'twas her Inheritance. From the Family of Lancaster it passed to that of Plaiz by the female Heir 8 Edw. III. And from them by the Howards to the Flemmings in the Reign of King Hen. IV. Who had seen Lords of it ever since. Sir Daniel Flemming, a Lover of antient Learning, was of this Family, who was very helpful to the late Editors of the Britannia, in giving them several useful Informations in this County and Lancashire."
Records relating to the Barony of Kendale, CWAAS, William Farrer & JF. Curwen (editors) available on British History Online (also Supplementary Records for Ambleside and Troutbeck)
Cumbria County History Trust has published a "Jubilee Digest" for the township of Ambleside