Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for WESTMORELAND

WESTMORELAND, an inland county; bounded, on the NW and the N, by Cumberland; on the NE, by Durham; on the E and the SE, by Yorkshire; on the S and the SW, by Lancashire. Its outline is irregular. Its boundaries, to considerable extent, and at intervals, are formed by Windermere, Ulleswater, and the rivers Eamont and Lune. Its greatest length, south-south-westward, is 40 miles; its greatest breadth is 25 miles; its circuit is about 135 miles; and its area is 485,432 acres. The surface is mainly a congeries of high uplands, diversified with moor, studded with mountain summits, and intersected with deep valleys. The heights are generally rugged and irregular; and they rise, in most parts, particularly in the NE and in the W, to altitudes of from 1,098 to 3,055 feet. Much of the scenery is romantic or picturesque; and that in the W forms a main part of the features of the English lake region. The principal rivers are the Eden, the Lune, the Kent, the Eamont, and the Lowther. The principal lakes, besides the two great ones on the boundary, are Haweswater, Grasmere lake, Rydal-water, Elter-water, and seven or eight tarns. Mineral springs are at Clifton, Roundthwaite, and near Shap. The principal tracts consist of silurian rocks, lower and upper; some small tracts are Devonian; a broad belt in the NE, and considerable tracts in the S, are carboniferous, chiefly limestone and shale; a broad belt in the extreme NE, beyond the limestone, is new red sandstone; and interspersed spots, throughout the silurian tracts, are trap and granite. Gypsum is quarried at Acornbank; a grey or greenish limestone, resembling marble, near Kendal, Kirkby-Lonsdale, and Ambleside; roofing-slate, at Kentmere, Whitemoss, Thrang-Crag, and other places; and coarse slate, ragstone, and bluish granite, in many limited localities. A poor coal is worked on Stainmoor and near Mallerstang and Casterton; lead ore, at Dunfell, Eagle-Craig, Greenside, Glenridding, and Staveley; and copper ore, near Ashby, Orton, Raine, Shap, and Kirkby-Lonsdale.

The soils, on a few farms, are clayey or loamy; but, in general, are gravelly and dry. Much of the hill pastures, mainly in consequence of perpetual moisture, is good. The chief crops are oats, barley, wheat, turnips, potatoes, and clover. The cattle are Durham short-horns, Scotch breeds, and a rough long-horn breed; the sheep are chiefly a white-faced Silverdale breed; and goats are numerous. Many farms of from 10 to 300 acres are held as freeholds or copyholds, subject to fines. Manufactures are confined principally to Kendal, Milnthorpe, and their neighbourhoods. The Lancaster and Carlisle railway traverses the county through its centre, a branch goes from it at Oxenholme to Windermere; a line, coming in from Settle, joins it at Low Gill; a line leaves it at Tebay to go eastward into Durhamshire; and a branch leaves that line in the neighbourhood of Kirkby-Stephen, and goes down the valley of the Eden, into a junction with the Lancaster and Carlisle at Clifton. The roads, so long ago as 1814, comprised 194 miles of paved streets and turnpikes, and 738 miles of other highways for wheeled carriages. The county contains 31 parishes and a part; is divided into Kendal borough, and East, West, Kendal, and Lonsdale wards; and sends one member to parliament for Kendal, and two for the four wards. The registration county includes a township of Lancashire; comprises 487,567 acres; and is divided into the districts of East Ward, West Ward, and Kendal. The only town with more than 2,000 inhabitants is Kendal; but there are about 220 smaller towns, villages, and hamlets. The chief seats include Lowther Castle and Brougham Castle, and amount to about 40.

The county is governed by a lord lieutenant and custos, a hereditary high sheriff, 15 deputy lieutenants, and about 105 magistrates; and is in the NE military district, the Northern judiciary circuit, and the diocese of Carlisle. The assizes are held at Appleby; and the quarter sessions are held there and at Kendal. The county jail is at Appleby, and the county house of correction is at Kendal. The police force, in 1864, comprised 29 men, at an annual cost of £2,401. The crimes committed, in 1864, were 54; the persons apprehended, 47; the known depredators and suspected persons at large, 133; the houses of bad character, 41. The electors, in 1832, exclusive of Kendal borough, were 4,392; and, in 1865, were 4,237. The Poor rates of the registration county in 1863, were £24,254. Marriages in 1863, 436, -of which 63 were not according to the rites of the Established church; births, 1,819,-of which 168 were illegitimate; deaths, 1,069,-of which 352 were at ages under 5 years, and 35 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 3,870; births, 17,696; deaths, 10,902. The places of worship within the electoral county, in 1851, were 78 of the Church of England, with 24,411 sittings; 1 of United Presbyterians, with 400 s.; 9 of Independents, with 1,800 s.; 4 of Baptists, the s. of 3 not reported; 4 of Quakers, with 1,156 s.: 1 of Unitarians, with 312 s.; 29 of Wesleyans, with 4,368 s.; 16 of Primitive Methodists, with 1,132 s.; 13 of the Wesleyan Association, with 1,090 s.; 1 of Wesleyan Reformers, with 160 s.; 2 of Sandemanians with 170 s.; 1 of Brethren, with 100 s.; 4 of isolated congregations, with 1,140 s.; and 2 of Roman Catholics, with 700 s. The schools were 119 public day-schools, with 6,594 scholars; 95 private day-schools, with 2,384 s.; 121 Sunday schools, with 7,516 s.; and 5 evening schools for adults, with 157 s. Real property in 1815, £299,582; in 1843, £334,501; in 1860, £363,782,-of which £8,550 were in mines, £626 in quarries, £73 in fisheries, £7,088 in railways, and £1,986 in gasworks. Pop. in 1801, 40,805; in 1821, 51,359; in 1841, 56,454; in 1861, 60,817. Inhabited houses, 11,793; uninhabited, 616; building, 70.

The territory now forming Westmoreland was in- habited by the ancient British Brigantes; was included by the Romans in their Maxima Cæsariensis; and formed part of the Saxon kingdom of Northumbria. The Scots made many devastating incursions into it in the middle ages; the civil wars of Charles I. affected it strongly at Appleby: and the rebel invasion of 1745 induced a skirmish in it at Clifton. The Roman Watling-street, the Maiden way, and another Roman road traverse it in various parts; ancient British, Roman, Danish, and Saxon camps occur in about twelve places; ancient tumuli occur in four or more places; stones of the kind called Druidical occur in six places; old castles, or remains of them, are at sixteen or more places; abbey ruins are at Shap; and interesting old churches are at Askham and Kirkby-Thore. The county gives the title of Earl to the family of Fane.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "an inland county"   (ADL Feature Type: "countries, 2nd order divisions")
Administrative units: Westmorland AncC
Place: Westmorland

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