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!

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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.

When Humphrey Senhouse of Netherhall decided in 1749 to develop a new town and port at Ellenfoot, he named it after his wife Mary.

A body found in 1845 at Scaleby, north of Carlisle turned out to be possibly a woman who had been deliberately killed and buried in the bog, more than 2000 years before.

The two nunneries in Cumbria together had less income in a year than Furness Abbey alone had in a fortnight

in the southern part of Derwentwater, there was once a floating island, which appeared for a few days at a time when the lake was high.

In the 18th century tourists used to fire pistols, or even cannon, across Ullswater – just to hear the echo

On 18 December 1745 what has been described as the last battle on English soil took place at Clifton Moor, Westmorland. 

In November 1771, Solway Moss burst, and flowed over the surrounding area, destroying houses and livestock. The land has never recovered.

James Robert Phillips, son of the vicar of Ivegill, had a key role in the events that led to the Benin Expedition of 1897

Joe Biden was sworn in as President of the US on a family Bible translated and annotated by a Penrith Parish Priest, George Leo Haydock.

Carlisle Castle would look very different today if a plan to build a massive defensive bastion facing the town had gone ahead in 1746.

"The Monocled Mutineer" was shot dead by police at Plumpton near Penrith in 1920

Frances Richards, later of Glassonby Lodge, painted the portrait which may have inspired “The Picture of Dorian Gray

The first recorded African community in Britain was based at Burgh by Sands some 1800 years ago

Cumbrian eccentric William Henry Mounsey carved an inscription into the walls of Wetheral Cave - in Welsh!

Two Kings died in or near Carlisle. David I of Scotland (d. 1153) and Edward I of England (d. 1307 at Burgh by Sands).