Cumbria's Pearl Fishery- Background Drigg

Camden 1637 edn p.765

There was a pearl fishery at Drigg in the 17th century, in the mussel beds of the Irt Estuary

William Camden wrote in Britannia (1586) about the famous black pearls of the River Irt - which he called baccas concheas (in Latin), or Shell-berries (the above extract is from the English editon of 1637).

The pearls were found in fresh water mussels in the estuary of the River Irt, near Drigg, and were exploited commercially (as well as by poachers) up to the nineteenth century.

The Irt Pearl Mussel project is seeking to stablise the remaining population and prevent their extinction.


Posted by Bill Shannon