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 :-
The townships marked thus * are not strictly speaking in the city.
Braithwaite and Middlesceugh are in Leath Ward, but all the other Townships are in Cumberland Ward.
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
1. Trinity Church and Christ Church no
2. Blackhall is now rendered Blackwell, and pronounced "Bleckell"
19 June 2015
© Steve Bulman