History of the City of Carlisle

  > Carlisle is an ancient city, and the capital of the diocese to which it gives name, and of the county of Cumberland. It is pleasantly situated on a slight eminence, in the Cumberland Ward, at the confluence of the rivers Eden, Caldew, and Petteril, in the midst of a fine campaign and fertile country, 56 miles W. of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 71 miles N. of Lancaster, 93 miles S. of Edinburgh, 119 miles N.W. of York, and 300 miles N.N.W. of London, in 54 deg. 52 min. north latitude, and 2 deg. 50 min. west longitude from the meridian of Greenwich.

The approaches to the city on all sides are strikingly picturesque, and its vicinity to a branch of the sea as well as its due distance from the surrounding mountains, render the air salubrious and temperate. The view from Stanwix is extremely beautiful; "the eye can comprehend at a glance - the spires of Trinity and Christ's Churches1, the tower of St Cuthbert's, the infirmary, the embattled towers of the court-houses, the vast body of the cathedral surmounting the luxuriant limes around it, and the keep and massy walls of the castle, its heavy buttresses and embrasured parapets; to these are added a foreground of surpassing beauty - a lovely vale, whose picturesque attractions are enhanced by the meanderings of the limpid Eden, spanned by a noble bridge of five elliptical arches, extending with its approaches, a quarter of a mile."

If population be the great criterion of prosperity, Carlisle can boast of a full share, for it has more than doubled its inhabitants during the last forty years, as will be seen by the following Parliamentary returns :-

Population

 Saint Mary's Parish

1801

1811

1821

1831

Abbey Street Township

837

772

1024

1246

Castle Street do.

1075

890

901

1007

Fisher Street do.

294

369

393

443

Scotch Street do.

1181

1473

1612

1887

Caldewgate *

1990

2669

3915

5104

Rickergate *

801

997

1235

1448

 

 Saint Cuthbert's Parish

1801

1811

1821

1831

English Street Township

2324

2674

3249

3773

Botchergate *

1019

1801

2202

4161

Total

9521

11645

14531

19069

The townships marked thus * are not strictly speaking in the city.

 

 

 Out-Townships In St. Mary's Parish

1801

1811

1821

1831

Braithwaite and Middlesceugh, 11 miles S. †

176

167

221

196

Cummersdale, 2 miles S.S.W.

382

462

512

488

Wreay, (chap.) 5 miles S. By E.

118

104

130

166

Total

676

733

863

850

† Braithwaite and Middlesceugh are in Leath Ward, but all the other Townships are in Cumberland Ward.

 

 

 Out-Townships In St. Cuthbert's Parish

1801

1811

1821

1831

Botcherby, 1 mile E.

94

118

125

144

Brisco, 3 miles S. by E.

224

306

308

305

Blackhall2, (High), 3 miles S.

265

253

283

268

Blackhall, (Low), 2 miles S.

105

149

124

150

Carleton, 3 miles S.S.E.

185

173

201

189

Harraby, 1 miles S.S.E.

47

58

46

66

Upperby, 2 miles S. by E.

119

228

340

393

Total

1039

1285

1427

1515

 

The Census taken on the 6th of June, 1841, was as follows :- St. Mary's, 4,626; Rickergate, 2,379; Caldewgate, 5,533; St. Cuthbert's Within, 3,756; St. Cuthbert's Without, 5,296; Public Institutions, 288. Total 21,878. In 1831 the total population of St. Mary's Parish was 12,184, and of St. Cuthbert's, 9,449.In 1597 and 1598, it is stated that 1,196 persons died of the plague, at Carlisle, being about one-third of the whole of the inhabitants. In 1688, the population was stated by Mr. Denton to be 5,060; though Browne Willis says there were only 2000 inhabitants here in 1716. In 1763, their number amounted to 4,158, and in 1780, to 7,667.

Carlisle possesses high claims on our attention, not only as being an important mercantile and manufacturing town, but also on account of its remote origin - its importance in history, the abode of royalty - the associations connected with it as one of the principal frontier towns on the disturbed borders; its castle, for some time the prison of the persecuted Mary, queen of Scots; the reminiscences clinging to it as the seat of religious houses; - (its nunneries, convents, and richly endowed priory) - and an episcopal see; the seat of courts and parliaments; the rendezvous of mitred abbots and steel-clad barons; in short, we may add, in the language of Sir Walter Scott, that "there are few cities in England which have been the scenes of more momentous and more interesting events than Carlisle."

 

Mannix & Whellan, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Cumberland, 1847

 

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Notes

1. Trinity Church and Christ Church no longer exist.
2. Blackhall is now rendered Blackwell, and pronounced "Bleckell"


19 June 2015

Steve Bulman