CARLISLE, Cumberland - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868


[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]

"CARLISLE, comprising the parishes of St. Cuthbert and St. Mary, it is a city, bonding port, municipal and parliamentary borough, locally in Cumberland ward, in the county of Cumberland, 301 miles to the N.N.W. of London, 101 from Edinburgh, 195 from Birmingham, and 261 from Aberdeen. It is an important centre of railway communication on the W. border of Scotland, being the terminus of the Caledonian, Glasgow, and South-Western, and of the Lancaster and Carlisle section of the London and North-Western. The North British railway was completed in 1862, and is a distinct line to Edinburgh, running E. of the Caledonian. The Newcastle and Carlisle railway is now amalgamated with the North-Eastern. Another line of 28 miles runs to Maryport, meeting there the Whitehaven Junction railway, and a short line connects the city with Silloth and Port Carlisle on the Solway Frith. Carlisle is the county town of Cumberland. The name of this ancient city appears to be a corruption of Caer-Leol, the name of a town existing on this site before the Roman invasion. It is believed to have been a Roman station, probably that called Lugovallum, and to have been rebuilt, and fortified by the Romans in the time of Agricola. It was again rebuilt by Egfrid, King of Northumbria, by whom it was united to the see of Lindisfarne. The town was attacked and destroyed by the Danes about 880, and was not restored till 1092, when William Rufus founded the castle. About 1135, David I., King of Scotland, gained possession of the town, which he held for nearly 20 years. It was given up by his successor, Malcolm IV., in 1157, to Henry II., together with the counties of Cumberland and Northumberland. William the Lion made an unsuccessful attempt in 1173 to regain the town. His successor renewed the attempt and retook it, but it was soon given up again. About the end of the 12th century a large part of the city, including the church, was destroyed by a terrible fire. A parliament was held at Carlisle by Edward I. after the battle of Falkirk, and it was the place of assembly for the army collected in 1306 for the invasion of Scotland. In the following year Edward I. kept his last birthday here. The city was besieged in 1315 by Robert Bruce, who, however, failed to take it. In consequence of its important position as a border town, Carlisle was the scene of frequent attacks and conflicts throughout the period of the border wars, and down to the union of the two kingdoms. In 1568 Mary Queen of Scots, after the battle of Langside, sought refuge at the castle, and was imprisoned in it for some time. When the Civil War broke out, Carlisle took the side of the king; but in 1645 the city was besieged and taken by General Lesley for the parliament. The royalists retook it in 1648. In 1745, Charles Stuart, the Pretender, besieged and took it, the keys of the city being presented to him by the mayor and corporation on their knees. They afterwards proclaimed him king of Great Britain. But the Duke of Cumberland having soon after recovered possession of the city, many of the leaders of the rebellion were executed, some here and some at London. Carlisle is situated in a pleasant and fertile district on the S. side of the river Eden, at the confluence of the Caldew and Petteril with it, the former skirting the city on the W. and the latter on the E. side. It stands on rising ground, and contains several good streets, the four principal ones meeting in the market-place. They are well paved and lighted with gas. There are many handsome modern buildings and residences in the town. The Eden, which is the largest river of the northern counties, is crossed by a very fine stone bridge of five arches, erected about 1812 from a design by Smirks, at a cost of £70,000. Each arch has a span of 65 feet. The bridge is just beneath the walls of the old castle, and is connected with the town by an arched causeway. The Petteril is crossed by a bridge of three arches built about 1830, and the Caldew by two bridges of a single arch, built about 1820. The principal public buildings are the following: the courthouses, occupying the site of the ancient citadel, and consisting of two noble circular towers, erected in 1810 at a cost of £100,000; the county gaol, a handsome structure, standing on the site of an ancient monastery of the Black Friars, and built about 1827; the public library and newsroom, a fine stone building in the decorated style, erected from a design by Rickman about 1830; the two spacious railway stations; the custom-house, academy of arts, mechanics' institute, fish-market, old townhall, moot-hall, temperance-hall, including working men's reading-room, and old gaol. There are also a theatre, a temporary wooden structure, and assembly rooms. The Cumberland Infirmary is a handsome building, and stands on an eminence half a mile N.W. of the town, from which an imposing view of the city is obtained. The trade of Carlisle consists chiefly of the manufacture of cotton goods and ginghams, which is carried on to a great extent, cotton spinning and printing, and other branches of industry connected with the cotton trade. There are several large iron foundries, manufactories of hats, carpets, and whips, besides several tanyards and breweries. Some of the inhabitants are employed in the fisheries and in the coasting trade. A ship canal formerly connected the city with Bowness, on the Solway Frith, a distance of 10 miles. The new and rising port Silloth, which has almost destroyed the trade at Port Carlisle, has regular communication by steam with Liverpool twice a week. The city was first incorporated by a charter of Richard I., which was confirmed by Charles I. Under the Municipal Corporation Act of 1835, the limits of the municipal and parliamentary boroughs are the same, comprising an area of 6,700 acres. Besides the old borough, Carlisle includes the townships of Rickergate, Botchergate, and part of Caldewgate, and is divided into five wards. The corporation consists of a mayor, 10 aldermen, and 30 councillors, bearing the style of "mayor, aldermen, and bailiffs of the city of Carlisle". The city received the elective franchise in the reign of Edward I., and has since regularly returned two members to the imperial parliament. The mayor is the returning officer, and the £10 householders, with about 300 freemen, the electors. The borough has a revenue of £3,500, and comprises within its limits 4,878 houses, occupied by a population of 29,436 according to the census of 1861, against 26,310 in 1861, showing an increase of 3,126 in the decennial period. There are eight trading companies or guilds in Carlisle. The assizes for the county are regularly held here, and the quarter sessions at Easter and Midsummer. Carlisle is the place of election for the eastern division of Cumberland. It is the seat of a Poorlaw Union and the head of a County Court district. Three weekly newspapers, called the Carlisle Journal, Carlisle Express, a penny paper, and Carlisle Patriot, are published. The Carlisle Examiner appears twice a week, and the Carlisle Observer and Carlisle Gleaner monthly. Carlisle is the seat of a diocese, and the head of an archdeaconry and a deanery, in the province of York. The see was founded about 1180 by Henry I. Before that time Carlisle was included in the diocese of Lindisfarne. The first bishop was Athelwald, prior of the Augustine monastery. The bishop's seat is Rose Castle, an ancient mansion finely situated in the wooded valley of the Caldew, miles to the S. of Carlisle. It was founded before the 14th century, and having been enlarged by several bishops, forms a complete quadrangle. The only portions remaining of the ancient building are the keep called Strickland's Tower, the gatehouse, and a square tower. This mansion was restored by Bishop Percy, after designs by Rickman. The bishop has a fixed income of £4,500 per annum, and holds the patronage of above 40 livings. The cathedral, dedicated to St. Mary, is an ancient cruciform structure of comparatively small size, originally part of a priory founded in the reign of William Rufus. Standing on some of the highest ground in the city, it forms, like the ancient castle, a conspicuous object in the landscape all round. The western part of the nave was destroyed during the civil war of the 17th century. The remaining part and the S. transept are in the Norman style, with massive pillars and round arches. The early English and decorated styles are exhibited in the choir and aisles. The E. window is the most remarkable feature of the cathedral; it is nearly 50 feet high and 30 wide, presenting an exquisitely beautiful example of the decorated style, and is pronounced by some to surpass even the magnificent W. window of York Minster. The following are the dimensions of the building: length, 242 feet; length of the choir, 135 feet; height, 75 feet; length of the transepts, 124 feet; breadth, 28 feet. The cathedral contains monuments to several bishops, including a fine canopied brass to Bishop Bell, who died in 1496; and another monumental brass to Bishop Robinson, who died in 1616. Here is also a monument to Dr. Paley, the great theologian., who was Archdeacon of Carlisle, and died here in 1805. The deanery, built in 1507, and the refectory, a much older part of the monastic buildings, are within the cathedral precincts. The latter serves as the chapter-house, the original chapterhouse and the cloisters having been destroyed. Carlisle anciently comprised the two parishes of St. Mary and St. Cuthbert, but several new districts have recently been formed. The livings of all are perpetual curacies varying in value from £80 to £170, and in the gift of the dean and chapter, with the exception of Holy Trinity. The parish of St. Mary has for its parish church part of the nave of the cathedral. The church of St. Cuthbert was rebuilt about 1780, and stands on the site of a very ancient one. The churches of Holy Trinity and Christ Church are handsome modern structures in the early English style, each with a tower and spire. There are also two other district churches, one at Upperby, and the other at Wreay. In the town are also places of worship belonging to the Church of Scotland, Free Church of Scotland, United Presbyterians, Independents (who have three), Baptists, Society of Friends, Wesleyan Methodists (two), Wesleyan Association, Primitive Methodists, and Roman Catholics. There is a grammar school founded by Henry VIII., which has an income from endowment of about £100 per annum. Among its pupils were Bishop Thomas, and the distinguished Orientalist, Dean Carlyle, who was a native of the city. The free school for girls was established in 1717, and has a revenue of about £40, derived from several benefactions. The city has also National, British, infant, and industrial schools, besides St. Patrick's schools, founded about 1825, and the Fawcett schools, founded about 1850. Among the charitable institutions of Carlisle are the county infirmary, erected in 1835; the fever hospital, in 1820; and the dispensary, in 1782. There are also almshouses and a savings-bank. The castle, situated on somewhat elevated ground at the N.W. corner of the city, commands an extensive view over the broad fertile valley of the Eden, a large part of the county, the Solway, and part of the coast of Scotland. The keep is still standing, and in very good preservation, forming a striking feature in the landscape. It is used as an armour. The old armoury in the outer ward is now converted into barracks. The greater, part of the present walls and buildings are of later date. Some portions of the old city walls, said to have been erected by the Romans, still remain. There are no traces left of the hospital for lepers, which was founded before the end of the 13th century, and stood near the city. The Newcastle railway passes over its site. Various Roman antiquities have been found here, including an altar, inscriptions, and coins. Carlisle gives the title of earl to the Howards of Naworth. The earldom was created soon after the Conquest. Wednesday and Saturday are the market days. Fairs for the sale of cattle and horses are held on the 26th August and fifteen following days, on the 19th September, and every Saturday between Old Michaelmas and Christmas. Races are held annually in July." "EAGLESFIELD ABBEY, an extra-parochial place in the city of Carlisle, county Cumberland."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]