The VCH in Cumbria

History of the VCH in Cumbria

You can  read more about the history of the VCH in Cumbria in John Beckett's article, 'The Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society and the Victoria County History', originally published in CW3, XI (2011).

 

Townships and Parishes

The VCH Cumbria project is using the Civil Parishes as they existed around 1900 as the basis for dividing the counties of Cumberland and Westmorland into units for the preparation of articles. This is a break with VCH conventions, as separate articles are written for each ancient ecclesiastical parish in other counties.

In Cumbria the ancient ecclesiastical parishes often covered vast areas, embracing numerous ‘townships’ or ‘constablewicks’, the civil administrative divisions (please view the map showing the relationship between parishes and townships in part of Cumbria). Civil Parishes are often reincarnations of former townships, rather than ancient parishes. We are using them because it was often the township, rather than the parish, which functioned as the basic local administrative entity and many townships formed separate manors or estates. Some of the largest ancient parishes were notional, even for ecclesiastical purposes, as they were divided into chapelries, each of which functioned as a separate parish.

So, the Civil Parishes, set up under the Poor Law Amendment Act 1866, will provide the basic structure. We are using the Civil Parishes as they existed at the end of the 19th century, as later amalgamations and boundary changes, particularly those resulting from the Cumberland Review order of 1934, have disrupted the historic administrative pattern.

There are 344 places in cumbria for which separate VCH townhsip/parish articles will be written. Follow the links to view a list of these places.

Cumberland (200 places)

Westmorland (110)

Furness (31)

West Riding (Sedbergh, Garsdale & Dent)