Roman Catholics

  Catholicism has made rapid strides in this county during the last twelve years, for in 1834 there were only four catholic chapels in Cumberland; there are now eight, as will be seen in the topographical part of this volume. Dr. Thomas Watson, of Lincoln, who was the last catholic bishop ordained in England previous to the reign of Elizabeth, died in prison in 1584, when the catholic church in this country was reduced to the state of a foreign mission under the Holy see, which placed the secular clergy under an archpriest, (the Rev. G. Blackwell) with episcopal authority, which continued till 1623, when Dr. Bishop was consecrated bishop of Chalcedon, and placed at the head of the English catholics. He was succeeded in 1626, by Dr. Richard Smith, President of the English College, at Rome, who died in 1665. The Roman chapter exercised episcopal jurisdiction from this period till 1685, when Dr. Leyburn was appointed vicar apostolic; and in the following year, England was divided into four districts, viz., London, Western, Midland, and Northern, the latter of which included Cumberland, Westmorland, Northumberland, Durham, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cheshire, and the Isle Of Man. This division continued until 1840, when it was found necessary, from the great increase of catholics in all parts of the kingdom, to subdivide England into eight districts, viz., London, Eastern, Western, Central, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Wales, and Northern, the latter of which now includes only Cumberland, Westmorland, Northumberland, and Durham, and is under the presidency of the Right Rev. Dr. Mostyn, bishop of Abydos; who resides at Durham, and of a coadjutor bishop, the Right Rev. Dr. Riddell, who resides at Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

The vicars apostolic are appointed by the Pope, being first recommended by the clergy of the district; and they retain the titles of ancient sees in Asia, now extinct.  

The Presbyterians, Methodist, Independents, Baptists, Society of Friends, and various other religious denominations, are numerous in Cumberland, and some of them have large and commodious chapels or meeting houses in the county, all of which will be noticed at subsequent pages.


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



29 April 2008

Steve Bulman