||The following is a "List of eminent men, natives of
the county of Cumberland, or who have been nearly connected with it," and also
includes figures of notoriety. Commentary from myself is in square brackets. Source
indicated by (J) - Jollies Cumberland Guide & Directory 1811, (MW) - Mannix
& Whellan, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Cumberland, 1847, (M) - Mannix
& Co., History, Topography and Directory of Westmorland, 1851, (B) - T. Bulmer, History, Topography, and Directory of
Cumberland, 1901. Other entries are © Steve Bulman, unless indicated otherwise.
There are frequent references to "the city", or similar; in every case this
refers to Carlisle.
Addison - Armstrong,
Bacon - Burn, Calvin - Dykes,
Grindal, Hall - Irton,
Jackson - Lowther,
Marlowe - Potter,
Ray - Routh, Salkeld - Swift,
Taylor - Troughton,
Vipont - Wordsworth
Vipont, Thomas, Bishop of Carlisle 1255-6, was a
native of Appleby or its neighbourhood. (M). See also Annals
of the Bishops.
Walker, George, preacher to Parliament during the
Commonwealth, see Hawkshead parish.
Walker, John. M.D., - see Cockermouth.
Wallace, James, Esq., a native of this [Brampton]
parish, raised himself by his talents and industry, from very humble circumstances, to the
office of attorney-general, but died at the age of 53, in the zenith of his reputation,
and "when the highest honours his profession could offer, or his country could
bestow, were within his grasp." (B)
Wallis, Rev. John, A.M., late of Billington, was
born in the neighbourhood of Ireby. He published the History of Northumberland: the first
volume, containing the natural history, is reckoned very valuable. He also published a
volume of Letters to a Pupil. (J)
Watson, Musgrave Lewthwaite, - born near Dalston in 1804. A sculptor, one of
the four panels at the base of Nelson's Column is largely his work. Died 1847. Link.
Whelpdale, Roger, - see the Annals of the Bishops.
Wilkinson, John - a native of Clifton, he was born in 1728, and died in 1808. A pioneer and industrialist in
iron-working, he built the worlds first iron boat, and was involved in the building of the Iron Bridge at Coalbrookdale in Shropshire.
Wilkinson, Rev. Joseph, was born at Carlisle, and
published, in 1812, "Select Views in Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire, with
appropriate description." (MW)
Williamson, Rev. David, - see Whitehaven.
Williamson, Sir Joseph, - see Bridekirk parish.
Wise, Rev. Joseph, - see Holme Cultram parish.
Wood, Francis Derwent, - 1871 - 1926. Keswick-born sculptor, he lectured at the Glasgow School of Art, and was later Professor of Sculpture at
the Royal College of Art. Link.
Wordsworth, William. Of the many eminent men whom
Cumberland claims as her own not one has achieved a more world-wide reputation, or whose
name will live longer in the memory of future generations than Wordsworth. Wherever the
English language is spoken, from "torrid zone to icy pole," there the poetry of
Wordsworth is known and read. The poet was born at Cockermouth on the 7th
April, 1770. His father was an attorney, and law agent to Sir James Lowther, afterwards
Earl of Lonsdale. His early school life was spent at Cockermouth, or with his mother's
relations at Penrith. In his ninth year he was sent to Hawkshead School, where, he tells
us in his autobiography, "one of the ushers taught me more Latin in a fortnight than
he had learnt the two preceding years at Cockermouth." Let us hope for the
reputation's sake of his early teachers, that when the poet wrote the above he was but
using the license which everyone concedes to poetry. It was while at this school he wrote
his first verses, in obedience to a task imposed upon him by his master.
In 1787 he entered St. John's College, Cambridge, of which his uncle, Dr. Cookson, had
been a fellow, and in 1791 he obtained his B.A. degree. He was at this period an
enthusiastic republican; and whilst on a tour through France, about the time of the
Revolution, he was only prevented from precipitating himself into the struggle by his
speedy return to England in 1792, just before the execution of Louis XVI. He took up his
abode in the south of England, and, in conjunction with his friend, Raisley Calvert, a
Cumberland gentleman, he commenced elaborating a scheme for the publication of a
periodical, The Philanthropist, devoted to the advocacy of republican opinions. The
scheme came to nought. Wordsworth's pecuniary resources at this time were very limited,
and it was necessary that he should qualify for some profession which would render him
independent of the charity of his relatives. He purposed studying for the law, proposing
to support himself in the interim by writing political articles for the newspaper press.
At this time his friend, Raisley Calvert, died, bequeathing to him £900, that he might
cultivate his poetical talents. He relinquished the idea of studying for the law, and
devoted himself entirely to poetry. He removed to a rural retreat in Dorsetshire, and soon
produced his poem "Salisbury Plain; or, Guilt and Sorrow." His next work was a
tragedy, called "The Borderers," which the managers of Covent Garden Theatre
In 1797 he made the acquaintance of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The two became fast friends,
and in 1798 "Lyrical Ballads," the work of their joint pens, was published, for
the copyright of which Wordsworth received 30 guineas. The poems made no impression on the
public, though the first piece was Coleridge's "Ancient Mariner." The publisher
lost by the work, and presented the copyright to the authors.
After a tour in Germany, Wordsworth took up his residence at Grasmere. Here also lived, or
visited, Coleridge, Southey, De Quincey, Professor Wilson, and other kindred spirits, and
to this congregation of poetic talent, Jeffrey, in the Edinburgh Review, applied in
derision the epithet "Lake School." Wordsworth and his friends struggled on
against the adverse criticisms of the Review, and the indifference of an apathetic
public, until 1813, when the genius of the Lake poets began to be recognised. In this year
he received the appointment of Distributor of Stamps in the County of Westmorland. The
duties of the office were light, and could be discharged by deputy, and the salary £500 a
His first elaborate work, the "Excursion," was published in 1814, of which
Jeffrey wrote "This will never do." "The White Doe of Rylstone,"
founded on a tradition of Bolton Abbey, followed. "Peter Bell," the
"Waggoner," "Sonnets on the River Duddon," "Ecclesiastical
Sonnets," and "Memorials of a Tour on the Continent," were next published.
In 1844 he received a pension of £300, and the following year was appointed poet laureate
on the death of Southey. He died on the 23rd April, 1850, at Rydal Mount, where
he had resided for many years. His mortal remains lie in the churchyard of Grasmere, near
those of his children, and his friend Hartley Coleridge. After his death, was published
"The Prelude," an autobiographical poem, written forty-five years previously.
Various and contradictory are the opinions of writers, as to the place Wordsworth shall
hold in the roll of fame. By his admiring friends he has been unduly lauded and placed in
the topmost storey of the poetic temple, along with Shakespeare and Milton; by others his
poems have been unjustly criticised, and depreciated below their true worth. "He
lived for the art of poesy, and that art was entire mistress of his thoughts, ever centred
upon nature, recognising from time to time the tiniest and tenderest forms of life, or the
ministrations and dispositions of men, or dwelling with a seer's eye on the everlasting
hills, and the great heavenward of the universe. Probably his forte lay in investing the
minutest details of nature with an atmosphere of sentiment peculiarly his own." (B),
quoting Dr. Lonsdale Worthies of Cumberland, at the end.