Ancient parish in Eskdale ward, Cumberland, containing townships of Brackenhill, Longtown, Lineside and Netherby.
Acreage: 12,955 acres [5,243 ha], divided between constituent townships thus: 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]. Common moorlands enclosed by Grahams of Netherby in later 18th century.
Population: parish population, estimated at 600 in 1688, fluctuated around 2,500-3,000 for much of 19th and 20th centuries. Bulk of inhabitants lived in Longtown, which contained 2,049 of parish’s 2,903 inhabitants in 1831, remainder being divided between other townships as follows: Brackenhil: 391; Lineside: 137; Netherby: 326. Longtown’s population reached peak of 2,863 in 1861, numbers swollen by recently-founded bobbin mill and temporary presence of railway workers. Parish population fell back from 3,714 in 1861 to 2,145 in 1931, before rising during second half of 20th century to stand at 2,434 in 2001.
Landownership: part of barony of Liddel or Esk (see Kirkandrews Moat).
Economy: 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 market town, probably originating in grant of market and fair at Arthuret 1307 (though market and fairs held by William de Stutevill in Cumberland 1200 might have been at Longtown). Described by Thomas Denton in 1688 as containing only a dozen houses, mostly built of clay, except ‘courthouse or townhall’, which was stone-built and slated. Market was then ‘of more benefit to Scotland then to this countrey’. Town laid out afresh from 1757 by Robert Graham of Netherby; by early 19th century principal occupation was weaving. Bobbin mill established 1851; by c.1900 it employed 70-100 people; closed 1936. Market had ceased by 1900. Livestock auction mart established 1926 by Cumberland & Dumfriesshire Auction Mart Ltd.
Places of worship: medieval parish church of St Michael; rebuilt 1609; restored 1868. Former medieval church at Easton (separate parish in 13th century). Scottish Presbyterian chapel, Netherby Street, Longtown, built 1799. United Presbyterian chapel, Bridgend, Longtown (now St Andrew, Church of Scotland), built 1834. United Methodist Free church, Longtown, built 1865. Roman Catholic church of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Longtown.
Schools and other institutions: free school at Longtown, founded 1754; endowed school at Easton; replaced by new school 1872 (now 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 survives. Longtown Union Workhouse, built 1847 on site of 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. Arthuret Parish Memorial Hall built at Longtown 1924; extended 1981; now Longtown Community Hall.
Papers in CWAAS Transactions
For more papers on this place, or papers about other places in Cumbria, search the CWAAS Transactions Index http://cumbriapast.com/cgi-bin/ms/main.pl?action=transactions
Images and maps (from Portsmouth University) on Old Cumbria Gazetteer
Arthuret on Vision of Britain
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