ARTHURET:  a parish in Eskdale ward, Cumberland, containing the four townships of Brackenhill, Longtown, Lineside and Netherby.

Acreage of administrative unit

the ancient parish covered 12,955 acres [5,243 ha], divided between the four townships as follows: Brackenhill: 4,644 acres [1,879 ha]; Longtown: 2,429 acres [983 ha]; Lineside: 1,903 acres [770 ha]; and Netherby: 3,980 acres [1,611 ha].

Date of Enclosure

common moorlands enclosed by the Grahams of Netherby in the later 18th century.


the parish’s population, estimated at 600 in 1688, fluctuated around 2,500-3,000 for much of the 19th and 20th centuries.  The bulk of the inhabitants lived in Longtown: the township contained 2,049 of the parish’s 2,903 inhabitants in 1831, the remainder being divided between the rural townships as follows: Brackenhil: 391; Lineside: 137; Netherby: 326.  Longtown’s population reached a peak of 2,863 in 1861, numbers swollen by the recently-founded bobbin mill and the temporary presence of railway workers.  The parish population fell back from 3,714 in 1861 to 2,145 in 1931, before recovering during the second half of the century.  In 2001 it stood at 2,434.

Land ownership

Arthuret and Kirkandrews parishes formed the barony of Liddel or Esk, which was granted to Turgis Brundos (otherwise Turgis de Rossedale) after the Conquest.  It descended through the Stutevill and Wake families to the Crown through the marriage of Joan Wake (c.1328-1385) to the Black Prince.  The barony remained in Crown hands until 1604, when it was granted to George Clifford, earl of Cumberland, who sold the estate to Richard Graham in 1628.  The bulk of the parish remained within the Netherby estate, held by the Graham family to the present day.

Economic activity

rural parts largely agricultural; several brick and tile works in 19th century, notably Sandysike brick works.  Second World War military airfield at Hallburn (RAF Longtown), from 1941 to 1946.  Haulage industry in later 20th century.

LONGTOWN was a market town, probably originating in the grant of a market and fair at Arthuret in 1307 (though the market and fairs held by William de Stutevill in Cumberland in 1200 might have been at Longtown).  The town was described by Thomas Denton in 1688 as containing only a dozen houses, mostly built of clay, except the ‘courthouse or townhall’, which was stone-built and slated.  The market was then ‘of more benefit to Scotland then to this countrey’.  The town was laid out afresh from 1757 by Robert Graham of Netherby; by the early 19th century the principal occupation was weaving.  A bobbin mill was established in 1851 – by c.1900 it employed 70-100 people; it closed 1936.  The market had ceased by 1900. 

Places of worship

medieval parish church of St Michael, rebuilt 1609; restored 1868.  Former medieval church at Easton (a separate parish in 13th century).  United Presbyterian church (now St Andrew, Church of Scotland) in Longtown, built 1834.  United Methodist Free church in Longtown, built 1865.  Roman Catholic church of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Longtown.


free school at Longtown, founded 1754; endowed school at Easton; replaced by new school 1872 (now a community hall).  British (later Board) school at Longtown, built 1857.  Lady Hermione Graham’s Girls’ School, Longtown, converted into nurses’ home, 1895.  Secondary school (Lochinvar School, Longtown) built 1964; closed 2008. Modern primary school sruvives.

Longtown Union Workhouse, built 1847 on site of a farmhouse, east of the town; demolished 1950s. Isolation Hospital to east of town (now Virginia Lodge care home) by 1950s. Diamond Jubilee Nursing Home, Graham Street, recorded 1901.

Mechanics Hall, Longtown, built 1851; library and reading room, moved to Moot Hall by 1900.