Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for CARLISLE

CARLISLE, a city and a district in Cumberland; and a diocese in Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Lancashire The city stands on the river Eden, at the influx of the Petterill and the Caldew, on the great western line of communication from England to Scotland, within a mile of the Roman wall, 9½ miles SSE of Gretna, and 301 NNW of London. Railways go from it in six directions, toward Hawick, Annandale, Silloth, Maryport, Lancaster, and Newcastle-upon-Tyne; and give it communication with all parts of Great Britain; and all of them meet in one central station.

History.—A Roman station stood on the city's site; and bore the name of Lugnvallum, signifying the "tower by the wall." This was shortened by the Britons into Luel, and prefixed with Caer, their word for a fort; and the name Caer-Luel passed, in course of time, into Carleol and Carlisle. Roman altars, inscriptions, vases, coins, and other relics have been found within the city; and Roman roads went from it to Longtown, Ellenborough, and Lancaster. A native fortress succeeded the Roman station; was maintained by both the Saxons and the Normans; and made resistance to the Picts and the Scots. A city wall was constructed at an early period, perhaps in the 7th century; was reconstructed at subsequent periods; enclosed a triangular space of 2,000, 650, and 460 yards; and had three gates. The Cumbrian king Arthur figures in two famous ancient ballads -the one on the marriage of his knight Sir Gawaine, the other entitled the "Boy and the Mantle"-as having held his court at Carlisle. The Northumbrian king Egfred founded here a religions house, and placed it under his establishment at Lindesfarne. The Danes took and wasted the town in 875. William Rufus revived it, and gave it a new fortress. Stephen resided some time in it, and greatly improved its defences. The Scots besieged it under their kings David I., Malcolm IV., William the Lion, and Alexander II.; and held possession of it during an aggregate of eighteen years. Edward I. retreated to it from Falkirk in 1298; convoked his barons and knights at it in 1300; and held his last parliament in it in 1307. It suffered much and often in the subsequent wars; resisted a siege, in 1315, by Bruce; and both then and afterwards endured great disaster. It also figured in the raid, in 1388, which led to the battle of Otterburn; and served for ages as the main bulwark, in the west, against the Scottish forays. Mary, queen of Scots, was here taken into custody; Kinmont Willie, the notable Border trooper, celebrated in song and story, was rescued from durance here by a bold exploit of Scott of Buccleuch; and "Hughie the Graeme," Hobbie Noble, and other famous Scottish reivers, were here put to death. The city shared much in the troubles which followed the Reformation; sustained a siege of six months, in 1645, from General Leslie's army, and was held by Prince Charles Edward, in 1745, from the time of his advance into England till after the retreat of his main force to Scotland. Executions in it, during about two centuries, were more numerous than in any other provincial town in the kingdom; and those which followed the affair of Prince Charles Edward were rendered memorable and ghastly by the fixing of the heads of the victims on the city gates. Hence says a poetical fragment preserved in Scott's Border Antiquities-

When I first cam by merry Carlisle,
Was ne'er a town sae sweetly seeming;
The white rose flaunted o'er the wall,
The thistled banners far were streaming!
When I cam next by merry Carlisle,
O sad sad seem'd the town an' eerie!
The auld auld men cam out and wept
'O maiden come ye to seek yere dearie?'

* * *

His lang lang hair in yellow hanks
Waved o'er his cheeks sae sweet and ruddie;
But now they wave o'er Carlisle yetts
In dripping ringlets clotting bloodie.

Site and Streets.—The city occupies a swell or gentle eminence, in the midst of an extensive, fertile, wellwooded plain. The environs are all rich low country, profusely adorned with water, culture, parks, and mansions. The higher points both within the city and around it command a brilliant panorama, away to the Northumberland hills, the Scottish mountains, Criffel beyond the Solway, and the group of Skiddaw. The exterior of the city, as seen from various approaches, presents a striking appearance, and looks as if combining modern elegance with remains of antiquity. The interior, as entered from the railway station, seems entirely, neatly, and briskly modern. The castle, which most prominently links it with the past, does not come immediately into view; and the cathedral, which also speaks largely of the past, has been so outwardly renovated as to appear almost new. The three principal streets, English street, Scotch-street, and Castle-street, diverge from the market-place, adjacent to the central railway station, and are wide and handsome. Other streets are straight, airy, and well built; and the city, as a whole, seems little different from a well planned, lively, thriving, modern town.

Public Buildings.—The court houses and the county jail form a grand suite of buildings; and were erected, after designs by Smirke, at a cost of about £100,000. The court houses stand partly on the site of what was called the citadel, comprising two very strong circular towers for defending the city gates; and they themselves form two circular Gothic towers, on opposite sides of the upper end of English-street. The county jail stands on the site of a black friary; was partly remodelled, and principally rebuilt, in 1869; and now has capacity for 112 male and 56 female prisoners. An elegant bridge, of five elliptical arches, spans the Eden on the great road to the north; was erected by Smirke, at a cost of upwards of £70,000; and is connected with the city by an arched causeway, nearly ¼ of a mile long. Two small bridges span the Petterill and the Caldew. The central railway station stands partly on the site of the citadel; presents a neat front to the head of English-street; is a long, spacious, well contrived arcade; and contains handsome refreshment and waiting rooms. The news room, reading and coffee rooms, are a beautiful recent structure, erected by subscription, from a design by Rickman. An octagonal chimney stalk, 305 feet high, connected with a large cotton factory, is a conspicuous object. Other noticeable things are a market cross of 1682; an old town hall, where the mayor's court and the city sessions are held; a newer ha l, where the city council and other corporate bodies meet; a statue of the late Earl of Lonsdale, on a pedestal, in Court square; a statue of Mr. Steele, in Market square; a theatre; assembly rooms; new water works, formed in 1868; and the great public buildings to be noticed in subsequent paragraphs.

The Castle.—The fortress built by William Rufus probably occupied the site of the previous Saxon fortress and Roman station. Buildings were added to it, or erected adjacent, by several kings, forming fortifications, prison, and palace; and all were called the castle; but they have, in recent times, been greatly altered. The site is a bold but not high eminence, overlooking the Eden; and commands one of the best prospects which the city or the environs afford, over the great rich surrounding country. The chief existing structures are a very thick enclosing wall, and buildings used as barracks. The entrance is an embattled gateway, with the ancient portcullis, and a defaced sculpture, believed to represent the arms of Henry II. A half-moon battery formerly defended the inner court, but is now dismantled. The great keep still stands; and is a lofty massive tower; but has been converted into an armory The hall of the palace was destroyed in 1827; the chapel of it was turned into barracks in 1835; and a small staircase is the only other part of it that remains. Sir William Wallace rested a night under the castle gate; and Waverley, in Sir Walter Scott's novel, watched from the gatehouse Fergus MacIvor going out to execution.

The Cathedral.—This was originally the church of an Augustinian priory, built, in 1011, by Walter the Norman, and endowed by Henry I.; but it has undergone sweeping changes, and great recent restorations. "The cloisters of the priory have disappeared; but the entrancegateway and the fratry or refectory remains. The gateway has a circular arch, with an inscription recording it to have been built by the prior, Christopher Slee. The fratry is lighted on the south side by a row of well proportioned Tudor windows, and adorned on the opposite wall with three niches, surmounted by elegant crocketted canopies; and it contains a curious stone chair, with impanelled foliated ceiling, called the confessional. This is the place in which Edward I. held his parliament, and it is now used as the chapter room. The cathedral is cruciform, and has a square embattled tower, 127 feet high, rising over the intersection of the cross. The nave and the transepts are Norman, narrow and without aisles. Their columns are very massive, each 17½ feet in circumference, and 14 feet 2 inches high. The nave was deprived of about 90 feet of its length in the time of Cromwell, to yield material for the erection of guardhouses and batteries; and the rest of it was afterwards closed with a wall, and fitted up as a parish church. The transepts measure 124 feet in length and 28 feet in width; and the north one is now used as the consistory court. The choir was built at great expense, with vast effort, by aid of money obtained through sale of indulgences and remissions, in the reign of Edward III. Most of it is early English; but the east end is the decorated. Its length is 137 feet; its width, 71 feet; its height, 75 feet. The north side makes a fine appearance to the street, and is divided from the thoroughfare by a new enclosure wall and elegant iron railing, and by a belt of ground with a row of trees. The east end shows rich grandeur of design, with a most magnificent central window, with other windows to correspond, and with bold buttresses, crocketted pinnacles, and gable crosses. The interior is arranged in side aisles and central aisle, with triforium and clerestory. The columns are clustered, and the capitals are adorned with carved figures and flowers. The clerestory has a rich parapet pierced with foliated circles. The great east window, as seen in the interior, has been pronounced by many competent judges the finest decorated window in the kingdom. It measures 60 feet by 30, contains nine lights, and is filled in the head with surpassingly rich flowing tracery. The windows of the side aisles have a corresponding character. A row of beautiful niches appears below them, and is continued all round the walls. A very fine organ, erected in 1856, stands above the entrance to the choir. The stalls are embellished with tabernacle work, in carved oak, black with age. The bishop s throne and the pulpit are modern, and not so rich in design, yet elegant and stately. The screens in the aisles show some curious legendary paintings from the histories of St. Augustine, St. Anthony, and St. Cuthbert. A fine mural monument to Dr. Paley. simply recording his name and age, appears in the north aisle; and monuments to Bishops Bell, Law, Smith, Robinson, Barrow, and other distinguished men, are in other parts. A small chapel, dedicated to St. Catherine, founded and endowed by John de Capella, a citizen of Carlisle, stands in the south aisle, adjoining the transept. The deanery stands within the precincts of the cathedral. It was built by Prior Senhouse, in 1507, and contains a fine apartment used as a drawing room, with a remarkably ornate ceiling in carved emblazoned oak."

Churches.—St. Mary's church is part of the cathedral nave. St. Cuthbert's church is a plain structure of 1778, on the site of a previous very old one; and has a monument of Dean Carlyle. Trinity church, in Caldewgate, and Christ church, in Botchergate, are handsome structures of 1830, the former in the Tudor style, the latter in the early English, each with a tower and spire. St. Stephen's and St. John's are beautiful edifices of 1865, the former in early and decorated English, the latter in pure early English. The first five are vicarages, and the last a p. curacy, in the dio. ofValue of each, £300. Patrons of the first four, the Dean and Chapter; of St. Stephen's, the Bishop; of St. John, Five Trustees. The places of worship, in 1851, were 5 of the Ch. of England, with 4,039 sittings; 1 of the Ch. of Scotland, with 750 s.; 1 of U. Presbyterians, with 470 s.; 3 of Independents, with 1,370 s.; 1 of Baptists, with 1,000 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 360 s.; 2 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 1,000 s.; 1 of the Wesleyan Association, with 1,000 s.; 1 of Latter Day Saints, with 89 s.; and one of Roman Catholics, with 1,000 s. Four other churches are in the rural parts of the parish; a new church of St. Mary-Without, to cost £4,000, was projected in 1869; a new Presbyterian church, in plain Gothic, was built in 1863; and an Evangelical Union chapel also is recent.

Schools, &c.—The grammar school was founded in 1546, by Henry VIII.; has two exhibitions to Queen's college, Oxford; and numbers among its pupils Bishop Thomas and Dean Carlyle. A girls' school has an endowed income of £37. There are an academy of arts, and a literary, philosophical, and mechanical institution. The infirmary is a recent edifice, built by subscription; and has a tetrastyle Doric portico. The dispensary is notable for a child born in 1788 without a brain, who lived six days. Alms-houses and other charities have an endowed income of £85.

Trade, &c.—Manufactures of cotton thread, ginghams, checks, hats, whips, hooks, and other articles are carried on. The large factory, with the lofty chimney stalk, employs about 550 hands. There are also iron-foundries, tan-yards, and breweries. Vast stir and much business arise from the traffic on the railways. Markets are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays; and fairs on 26 Aug., 19 Sept., and the first and second Saturday after 10 Oct. The city was formerly connected with the Solway by a ship canal, now superseded by the Silloth railway; and it ranks as a seaport, with Allonby and Port-Carlisle as subports. The vessels registered at it in 1868 were 8 sailing-vessels, of aggregately 288 tons, 14 sailing-vessels, of aggregately 1,883 tons, and 6 steam-vessels, of aggregately 1,202 tons; and the vessels which entered in that year were 8 from British colonies, of aggregately 3,705 tons, 7 from foreign countries, of aggregately 1,812 tons, 36 sailing-vessels coastwise, of aggregately 2,757 tons, and 343 steam-vessels coastwise, of aggregately 53,013 tons. The vessels registered at the end of 1862 were 28 sailing-vessels of aggregately 2,370 tons, and 5 steam-vessels of aggregately 806 tons; and the commerce in that year, with foreign and colonial ports, comprised 13 vessels inwards of aggregately 3,301 tons, and 8 vessels outwards of aggregately 2,095 tons. The customs amounted, in 1858, to £28,535; in 1867, to £21,067. The city has a head post office,‡ a telegraph office, three banking offices, and seven chief inns; and publishes several newspapers. Races are run, in the immediate neighbourhood, on a fine course of 1 mile 90 yards, in July.

The Borough.—The city is a borough by prescription; was chartered by Henry II.; is governed by a mayor, 10 aldermen, and thirty councillors; and sends two members to parliament. Its borough limits, both for government and for representation, comprise the townships of Botchergate and English-street in St. Cuthbert parish; the townships of Scotch-street, Fisher-street, Castle-street, Abbey-street, and part of Caldewgate, in St. Mary parish; and the extra-parochial place of Eaglesfield-Abbey. Assizes are held at both circuits of the judges; and quarter sessions on 1 Jan., 9 April, 2 July, and 15 Oct. Real property, £96,723; of which £7,119 are in railways, and £2,734 in gas works. Direct taxes, £14,348. Electors in 1868, 1,506. Pop. in 1841, 20,815; in 1861, 29,417. Houses, 5,140. The city gives the title of Earl to a branch of the Howard family.

The District.—The registration district comprehends the subdistrict of St. Mary, containing all the borough parts of St. Mary parish, with the rest of Caldewgate township; the subdistrict of St. Cuthbert, containing all the townships of St. Cuthbert parish, and Wreay chapelry in St. Mary; the subdistrict of Stanwix, containing the parishes of Stanwix and Rockliffe, and the extra-parochial tract of King-Moor; the subdistrict of Burgh, containing the parishes of Burgh-by-Sands, Kirkandrews-upon-Eden, Beaumont, and Grinsdale; the subdistrict of Dalston, containing the parishes of Dalston and Orton, and the Cummersdale township of St. Mary; and the subdistrict of Wetheral, containing the parishes of Crosby-upon-Eden, Warwick, and five townships of Wetheral. Acres, 70,810. Poor-rates in 1866, £17,364. Pop. in 1861, 44,820. Houses, 8,299. Marriages in 1866, 421; births, 1,412,-of which 153 were illegitimate; deaths, 977,-of which 321 were at ages under 5 years, and 20 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 2,644; births, 14,681; deaths, 9,988. The places of worship in 1851 were 21 of the Church of England, with 8,464 sittings; 1 of the Church of Scotland, with 750 s.; 1 of the United Presbyterian church, with 470 s.; 3 of Independents, with 1,370 s.; 1 of Baptists, with 1,000 s.; 3 of Quakers, with 710 s.; 5 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 1,260 s.; 12 of the Wesleyan Methodist Association, with 1,430 s.; 2 of Primitive Methodists with 100 s.; 1 undefined, with 100 s.; 2 of Latter Day Saints, with 141 s.; and 2 of Roman Catholics, with 1,130 s. The schools were 35 public day schools, with 3,640 scholars; 64 private day schools, with 1,830 s.; 35 Sunday schools, with 3,913 s.; and 6 evening schools for adults, with 251 s. There are two workhouses, both in the city.

The Diocese.—The see was founded, in 1132, by Henry I. The first bishop was Athelwold, the king's confessor; and among his successors have been De Everdon, De Kirkby, Merks, Oglethorpe, Usher, Nicholson, and Sterne. The bishop's income is £4,500; and his residence is Rose Castle. The chapter comprises a dean, two archdeacons, four canons, four honorary canons, and a chancellor. The diocese comprehends all Cumberland, except Alston parish, all Westmoreland, and the Lancashire deaneries of Cartmel and Ulverstone; and is divided into the archdeaconries of Carlisle and Westmoreland. Pop. in 1861, 266,591. Some livings have recently been raised in status, as named in our articles on them; but all will be named here as they stood in 1861

The archdeaconry of Carlisle comprises the rural deaneries of Appleby, Brampton, Carlisle, Greystoke, Keswick, Kirkby-Stephen, Lowther, Penrith, and Wigton. The deanery of Appleby includes the rectories of Asby, Dufton, Kirkby-Thore, Long Marton, Newbiggin, and Ormside; the vicarages of Appleby-St. Lawrence and Appleby-St. Michael; and the p. curacies of Milburn and Temple-Sowerby. The deanery of Brampton includes the rectories of Bewcastle, Castlecarrock, Nether Denton, and Stapleton; the vicarages of Brampton and Irthington; and the p. curacies of Cumrew, Cumwhitton, Over Denton, Farlam, Hayton, Lanercost, Gilsland, Nichol-Forest, and Walton. The deanery of Carlisle includes the rectories of Arthuret, Kirkandrews-upon-Eden, Beaumont, Kirkandrews-upon-Esk, Kirkhampton, Kirklinton, Orton, and Scaleby; the vicarages of Burgh-by-Sands, Crosby-upon-Eden, and Stanwix; and the p. curacies of Carlisle-St. Mary, Carlisle-St. Cuthbert, Carlisle-Trinity, Carlisle-Christchurch, Upperby, Wreay, Grinsdale, Hesket-in-the-Forest, Armathwaite, Rockliffe, Houghton, Wetheral, Warwick, Holm-Eden, and Scotby. The deanery of Greystoke includes the rectories of Greystoke, Skelton, and Hutton-in-the-Forest: the vicarages of Castle-Sowerby and Dacre; and the p. curacies of Raughton-Head, Matterdale, Mungrisedale, Watermillock, Patterdale, and Sebergham. The deanery of Keswick includes the vicarage of Crosthwaite, and the p. curacies of Keswick-St. John, Borrowdale, Grange, Newlands, St. John-in-the-Vale, Thornthwaite, Wythburn, Bassenthwaite, Buttermere, Lorton, Threlkeld, and Wythop. The deanery of Kirkby-Stephen includes the rectories of Crosby-Garret and Great Musgrave; the vicarages of Brough-under-Stainmore, Kirkby-Stephen, and Warcop; and the p. curacies of Stainmore. Mallerstang, Soulby, and Ravenstonedale. The deanery of Lowther includes the rectories of Cliburn, Clifton, and Lowther; the vicarages of Askham, Bampton, Crosby-Ravensworth, Morland, Orton, and Shap; and the p. curacies of Martindale, Bolton, Thrimby, Mardale, and Swindale. The deanery of Penrith includes the rectories of Brougham, Melmerby, Ousby, and Great Salkeld; the vicarages of Addingham, Ainstable, Barton, Edenhall, Kirkland, Kirkoswald, Lazonby, and Penrith; and the p. curacies of Langwathby, Culgaith, Skirwith, Plumpton, Newton-Regny, Renwick, and Christchurch-Penrith. The deanery of Wigton includes the rectories of Aikton, Bolton, Bowness, Caldbeck, Kirkbride, and Uldale; the vicarages of Bromfield, Dalston, Thursby, and Wigton; and the p. curacies of Allonby, West Newton, Highet, Holme-Cultram, St. Cuthbert, St. Paul, Newton-Arlosh, Ireby, and Westward.

The archdeaconry of Westmoreland comprises the rural deaneries of Aldingham, Ambleside, Cartmel, Cockermouth, Gosforth, Kendal, Kirkby-Lonsdale, Ulverstone, and Whitehaven. The deanery of Aldingham includes the rectory of Aldingham; the vicarages of Daltonin-Furness, Pennington, and Urswick; and the p. curacies of Dendron, Lindale, Staveley, Kirkby-Ireleth, Rampside, Walney, and Bardsea. The deanery of Ambleside includes the rectories of Grasmere and Windermere; the vicarage of Hawkshead; and the p. curacies of Ambleside, Langdale, Rydal, Brathay, Low Wray, Satterthwaite, Applethwaite, and Troutheck. The deanery of Cartmel includes the p. curacies of Cartmel, CartmelFell, Field-Broughton, Flookburgh, Grange, Lindale, Staveley, Colton, Finsthwaite, Haverthwaite, and Rusland. The deanery of Cockermouth includes the rectory of Plumbland; the vicarages of Aspatria, Bridekirk, Brigham, Dearham, Gilcrux, Isell, and Torpenhow; and the p. curacies of Allhallows, Great Broughton, Cockermouth, Embleton, Mosser, Setmurthy, Camerton, Clifton, Crosscanonby, Maryport, and Flimby. The deanery of Gosforth includes the rectories of Bootle, Corney, Gosforth, Waberthwaite, and Whicham; the vicarage of Millom; and the p. curacies of Drigg, Eskdale, Irton, Thwaites, Muncaster, Ponsonby, Wastdale-Head, NetherWastdale, and Whitheck. The deanery of Kendal includes the vicarage of Kendal; and the p. curacies of Kendal St. George, Kendal-St. Thomas, Burneyside, Crook, Grayrigg, Helsington, Hugil, New Hutton, Old Hutton, Kentmere, Long Sleddale, Natland, Selside, Staveley, Underbarrow, and Winster. The deanery of Kirkby-Lonsdale includes the vicarages of Beetham, Burton-in-Kendal, Heversham, and Kirkby-Lonsdale; and the p. curacies of Witherslack, Holme, Preston-Patrick, Crosthwaite, Crosscrayke, Levens, Milnthorpe, Barbon, Casterton, Firbank, Hutton-Roof, Killington, Mansergh, and Middleton. The deanery of Ulverstone includes the vicarage of Kirkby-Ireleth; and the p. curacies of Broughton-in-Furness, Seathwaite, Woodland, Ulpha, Ulverstone, Ulverstone-Trinity, Blawith, Coniston, Egtoncum-Newland, Lowick, and Torver. The deanery of Whitehaven includes the rectories of Dean, Dissington, Egremont, Harrington, Lamplugh, Moresby, and Workington; and the p. curacies of Arlecdon, Beckermet-St. Bridget, Beckermet-St. John, St. Bees, Ennerdale, Hensingham, Loweswater, Whitehaven-St. James, Whitehaven St. Nicholas, Whitehaven-Trinity, Whitehaven-Christchurch, Workington-St. John, Cleator, and Hayle.

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

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a city and a district"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Carlisle CP       Carlisle RegD/PLU       Cumberland AncC
Place: Carlisle

Go to the linked place page for a location map, and for access to other historical writing about the place. Pages for linked administrative units may contain historical statistics and information on boundaries.