100 Interesting Facts

OK, so there aren't 100 Interesting Facts here yet, but bear with us, we're getting there!  These Facts have been submitted by our volunteers and friends.  Click on a 'fact' for more Backgound information.  If YOU have a Fact you'd like to share, please Contact Us , giving us references so we can check - as before posting anything, our team of historians have to be sure it REALLY IS a fact, not a myth!

Reveal Facts by:

That mountain chain to the east of Cumbria was given the fake name of The Pennines by Charles Bertram,  an Anglo-Danish student, in the mid-18th century. He claimed to have found the name on a copy of a Roman map, made in the 14th century by the monk Richard of Cirencester.  It wasn't true

In 1672 Thomas Lancaster, of High Wray, was hanged, then ‘hunge oopp in Iron Chaynes on a Gibbet … until such tyme as he rotted away bone for bone”

For centuries, street performers have filled our streets with music. Few, though, found fame like Carlisle’s itinerant fiddler, Jimmy Dyer.

The sound of six-shooters, war drums and stampeding bison once echoed around Cumbria. That was when Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show came to visit, in September 1904 - taking in Carlisle, Penrith, Maryport, Workington, Whitehaven, Barrow and Kendal. 

A wall in Plumpton bears a memorial to an heroic policeman, Constable Joseph Byrnes, who was murdered by jewel thieves in 1885.

A deadly storm rocked Cumbria before Christmas 1894. Temperatures plummeted afterwards, until even Windermere froze. Then the skaters arrived…

Gunpowder from Low Wood and Sedgwick, in South Cumbria, was shipped out to West Africa, to be traded for slaves.

Freshwater Biological Association scientists spent the war years in Wray Castle, helping to feed the country.

Cumbria played its part in providing a safe haven for children from the Basque region of Spain from 1937 -1939.   

The first Turnpike Road in Cumbria was built under the Whitehaven Harbour Act of 1739.  It joined St Bees to Whitehaven

Without Wray Castle we might not have had the National Trust – or Peter Rabbit           

A number of old churches in Cumbria have slots in an outside wall, which were used by walled-up anchorites, to witness the mass.

With Carlisle’s pubs in mind, David Lloyd George declared in 1915 ‘We are fighting Germany, Austria and drink, and so far as I can see the greatest of these deadly foes is drink’.


Conishead, once a priory of Augustinian Monks, founded in the 1180s, has since 1976 been home to a community of Buddhist monks

It is claimed (but it can’t be proved) that the last wolf in England was killed at Humphrey Head in the fourteenth century

In medieval times, leprosy was endemic in Cumbria – but everything changed with the Black Death


In 1559 Nicholas Bardsey of Bardsea murdered William Sandys of Conishead and fled to Scotland. Seven years later he returned home – and no-one seem to have mentioned the murder again.

Prior to the Dissolution, the sons of the tenants of Furness Abbey not only had free schooling at the abbey, they had free school meals too!

Hugh de Morville, Lord of Westmorland, with three other knights, murdered Thomas à Beckett on 29 December 1170.  They afterwards fled to Scotland, and then to Jerusalem.

A thousand years ago, Cumbria was in Scotland.  It did not become part of England until 1157 – but the border was not finally fixed until 1552.