This interactive map is the main portal for accessing current information on the histories of individual places within Cumbria.
The map above shows the pre-1974 counties of Cumberland and Westmorland, divided into their "Wards" - and those parts of the former counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire now included within the county of Cumbria.
Click anywhere within a ward's boundaries, and a pop-up will appear with a list of townships/parishes. These are the Civil Parishes as they existed around 1900. A separate VCH article will be written for each of these places. Click on a name, and you will be taken to a new page containing the "Jubilee Digest" of basic historical material for that place. Other source material and 'work in progress' towards the full Victoria County History of the parish or township will be added from time to time.
Alternatively, you can find infomation about a place through this alphabetical TOWNSHIP LIST.
If you would like to embark on researching the history of a particular place for the project, please get in touch with Volunteer Co-ordinator Dr Sarah Rose via the Contact Us page. Full training and support will be given.
If you spot something that you think is wrong in one of the Digests, and have evidence to back up what you say, please let us know via the Contact Us page.
Design and development of this map and its associated content was made possible through the assistance of grants from the Marc Fitch Fund and from E H Booth & Co Ltd.
In celebration of the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the Queen has re-dedicated the VCH. To mark this occasion, the VCH Cumbria project aims has produced a set of historical data for every community in Cumbria. The core data presented in the Digests is as follows:
Name of place: status (i.e. whether ancient parish, township or chapelry); parish, ward and historic county in which it lay; modern local government boundary changes
Acreage of administrative unit and extent of common moor or fell, with date of enclosure
Population: overview of number of inhabitants from 1801 to 2001
Landownership: summary of manorial descent (if known); other major estates (if known)
Economic activity other than farming (i.e. mines, quarries, manufacturing, markets etc)
Places of worship both Established Church and nonconformist
Schools and other institutions, such as libraries, almshouses, village halls
So that the information is standardised, the same set of sources have been used for all digests.
1. Ordnance Survey 6" maps (1:10,560) County Series maps, First and Second Editions
2. Census data
3. Trade Directories: Parson & White’s History, Gazetteer and Directory of Cumberland and Westmorland (1829); Mannix & Whellan’s Directory of Cumberland (1847) OR Mannex & Co’s Directory of Westmorland with Lonsdale and Amounderness (1851); Bulmer’s History and Directory of Cumberland (1901) OR Directory of Westmorland (1906); Kelly’s Directory of Cumberland & Westmorland (1938)
4. 1851 Religious Census
5. Handlist of enclosure awards
6. Thomas Denton: a Perambulation of Cumberland 1687-1688, Surtees Society Vol. 207 (2003).
7. 1818 returns of schools
8. M. Hyde and N. Pevsner, Cumbria (Buildings of England series, Yale UP, 2010)
9. Local directories, guides etc for information on economic activity since 1939.
Digests for places formerly in Lancashire north of the sands have also drawn on VCH Lancs., Vol 8 (1914) and William Yates’s, Map of Lancashire, 1786.
PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THESE DIGESTS ARE CONCEIVED AS A QUICK COUNTY-WIDE SURVEY: THEY ARE NOT COMPREHENSIVE HISTORIES AND WILL BE SUPERSEDED IN DUE COURSE BY FULL VCH PARISH OR TOWNSHIP HISTORIES.
Cary's Map 1816
Unless otherwise indicated, the Jubilee Digests are illustrated by extracts from Cary's New Map of England and Wales, with Part of Scotland, Second Edition 1816. This map was printed at the scale of one inch to five miles, and was based on the surveys of Westmorland by Thomas Jefferys (surveyed 1768, published 1770) and Cumberland by Thomas Donald (surveyed 1770/1, published 1774), carried out at the scale of one inch to the mile. Privately produced maps such as these, and Christopher Greenwood's one inch to the mile resurvey of Cumberland (published 1823) and Westmorland (1824), were eventually superseded by those of the Ordnance Survey, which reached Westmorland in 1856.