HOME

TheInfoList



OR:

Westmorland (, formerly also spelt ''Westmoreland'';R. Wilkinson The British Isles, Sheet The British Isles
Vision of Britain
/ref> is a historic county in North West
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. It is separa ...
spanning the southern
Lake District The Lake District, also known as the Lakes or Lakeland, is a mountainous region in North West England. A popular holiday destination, it is famous for its lakes, forests, and mountains (or '' fells''), and its associations with William Wordsw ...
and the northern Dales. It had an administrative function from the 12th century until 1974. Between 1974 and 2023 Westmorland lay within the administrative county of
Cumbria Cumbria ( ) is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in North West England, bordering Scotland. The county and Cumbria County Council, its local government, came into existence in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972. ...
. In April 2023, Cumbria County Council will be abolished and replaced with two unitary authorities, one of which, Westmorland and Furness, will cover all of Westmorland (as well as other areas), thereby restoring the Westmorland name to a top-tier administrative entity. The people of Westmorland are known as Westmerians.


Early history


Background

At the beginning of the
10th century The 10th century was the period from 901 ( CMI) through 1000 ( M) in accordance with the Julian calendar, and the last century of the 1st millennium. In China the Song dynasty was established. The Muslim World experienced a cultural zenith ...
a large part of modern day
Cumbria Cumbria ( ) is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in North West England, bordering Scotland. The county and Cumbria County Council, its local government, came into existence in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972. ...
was part of the
Kingdom of Strathclyde Strathclyde (lit. "Strath of the River Clyde", and Strað-Clota in Old English), was a Brittonic successor state of the Roman Empire and one of the early medieval kingdoms of the Britons, located in the region the Welsh tribes referred to as ...
, and was known as '' "Scottish Cumberland" ''. The Rere Cross was ordered by Edmund I (r.939-946) to serve as a boundary marker between England and Scotland ('' "Scottish Cumberland" '').


County of Westmorland

At the time of
Domesday Book Domesday Book () – the Middle English spelling of "Doomsday Book" – is a manuscript record of the "Great Survey" of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086 by order of King William I, known as William the Conqueror. The manus ...
in 1086, the county did not exist; half was considered to form part of
Yorkshire Yorkshire ( ; abbreviated Yorks), formally known as the County of York, is a historic county in northern England and by far the largest in the United Kingdom. Because of its large area in comparison with other English counties, functions hav ...
and the other half as part of
Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a Anglo-Scottish border, border with England to the southeast ...
. Before 1226, the Barony of Kendal was part of the
Honour of Lancaster The Honour of Lancaster was a medieval English honour (a large estate) located primarily in the north-west of England, between 1066 and the 15th century. Details The Honour of Lancaster was established after the Norman conquest of England aft ...
while the Barony of Westmorland was part of the Earldom of Carlisle, the latter became Cumberland and was part of Scotland at times. Both baronies became a single county of Westmorland in 1226/7. Neighbouring
Lancashire Lancashire ( , ; abbreviated Lancs) is the name of a historic county, ceremonial county, and non-metropolitan county in North West England. The boundaries of these three areas differ significantly. The non-metropolitan county of Lancashi ...
was also formed at this time.F.A. Youngs, ''Guide to the Local Administrative units of England, Vol.II, Northern England'', London, 1991 Appleby was the historic county town, having been chartered in 1179. It was a parliamentary borough from 1295-1832, and incorporated by letters patent in 1574.


Geography

The historic county boundaries are with Cumberland to the north,
County Durham County Durham ( ), officially simply Durham,UK General Acts 1997 c. 23Lieutenancies Act 1997 Schedule 1(3). From legislation.gov.uk, retrieved 6 April 2022. is a ceremonial county in North East England.North East Assembly About North East Eng ...
and
Yorkshire Yorkshire ( ; abbreviated Yorks), formally known as the County of York, is a historic county in northern England and by far the largest in the United Kingdom. Because of its large area in comparison with other English counties, functions hav ...
to the east, and
Lancashire Lancashire ( , ; abbreviated Lancs) is the name of a historic county, ceremonial county, and non-metropolitan county in North West England. The boundaries of these three areas differ significantly. The non-metropolitan county of Lancashi ...
to the south and west.
Windermere Windermere (sometimes tautologically called Windermere Lake to distinguish it from the nearby town of Windermere) is the largest natural lake in England. More than 11 miles (18 km) in length, and almost 1 mile (1.5 km) at its wides ...
forms part of the western border with Lancashire north of the sands, and
Ullswater Ullswater is the second largest lake in the English Lake District, being about long and wide, with a maximum depth a little over . It was scooped out by a glacier in the Last Ice Age. Geography It is a typical Lake District " ribbon lake" ...
part of the border with Cumberland. The highest point of the county is
Helvellyn Helvellyn (; possible meaning: ''pale yellow moorland'') is a mountain in the English Lake District, the highest point of the Helvellyn range, a north–south line of mountains to the north of Ambleside, between the lakes of Thirlmere and Ul ...
at . According to the 1831 census the county covered an area of .


Division into wards

Westmorland was subdivided into the two baronies of Westmorland (or sometimes Appleby) and Kendal. As with Cumberland, Durham and Northumberland it was divided into wards. The baronies were each further subdivided into two wards: *Westmorland **East ward – Appleby, Brough, Kirkby Stephen, Orton, Tebay **West ward – Askham, Bampton, Barton,
Patterdale Patterdale (Saint Patrick's Dale) is a small village and civil parish in the eastern part of the English Lake District in the Eden District of Cumbria, in the traditional county of Westmorland, and the long valley in which they are found, al ...
, Shap, Yanwath *Kendal **Kendal ward – Ambleside, Burton-in-Kendal, Grasmere, Grayrigg, Kentmere, Kendal,
Windermere Windermere (sometimes tautologically called Windermere Lake to distinguish it from the nearby town of Windermere) is the largest natural lake in England. More than 11 miles (18 km) in length, and almost 1 mile (1.5 km) at its wides ...
**Lonsdale ward – Kirkby Lonsdale


Modern history

In 1889, under the
Local Government Act 1888 Local may refer to: Geography and transportation * Local (train), a train serving local traffic demand * Local, Missouri, a community in the United States * Local government, a form of public administration, usually the lowest tier of administ ...
, a
county council A county council is the elected administrative body governing an area known as a county. This term has slightly different meanings in different countries. Ireland The county councils created under British rule in 1899 continue to exist in Irel ...
was created for Westmorland, taking functions from the
quarter sessions The courts of quarter sessions or quarter sessions were local courts traditionally held at four set times each year in the Kingdom of England from 1388 (extending also to Wales following the Laws in Wales Act 1535). They were also established ...
. The county council was based at Kendal, rather than the historic county town of Appleby. Kendal had been chartered as a municipal borough in 1835, Appleby in 1885. The county had no
county borough County borough is a term introduced in 1889 in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, to refer to a borough or a city independent of county council control, similar to the unitary authorities created since the 1990s. An equivalent ...
s throughout its history, so the administrative county, the area under the control of the county council, was coterminous with the geographic county. Aside from the two municipal boroughs of Kendal and Appleby, the Local Government Act 1894 divided the county into urban districts and rural districts: *Five urban districts: Ambleside, Bowness on Windermere, Grasmere, Kirkby Lonsdale,
Windermere Windermere (sometimes tautologically called Windermere Lake to distinguish it from the nearby town of Windermere) is the largest natural lake in England. More than 11 miles (18 km) in length, and almost 1 mile (1.5 km) at its wides ...
*Three rural districts: West Ward, East Westmorland, South Westmorland In 1905 a new Shap urban district was formed, while Windermere absorbed the neighbouring Bowness UD. A County Review Order in 1935 reduced the number of districts in the county: *A new Lakes Urban District was formed by the merger of Ambleside and Grasmere UDs and adjacent parishes in West Ward and South Westmorland RDs *East Westmorland RD, most of West Ward RD and Shap UD were merged to form North Westmorland Rural District *South Westmorland RD absorbed Kirkby Lonsdale UD, at the same time losing an area to Lakes UD. Despite their title, many of Westmorland's urban districts, such as Lakes, Grasmere, and Shap, were quite rural in character. According to the 1971 census, Westmorland was the second least populated administrative county in England, after Rutland. The distribution of population was as follows: In 1974, under the
Local Government Act 1972 The Local Government Act 1972 (c. 70) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that reformed local government in England and Wales on 1 April 1974. It was one of the most significant Acts of Parliament to be passed by the Heath Go ...
, the county council was abolished and its former area was combined with Cumberland and parts of
Lancashire Lancashire ( , ; abbreviated Lancs) is the name of a historic county, ceremonial county, and non-metropolitan county in North West England. The boundaries of these three areas differ significantly. The non-metropolitan county of Lancashi ...
and
Yorkshire Yorkshire ( ; abbreviated Yorks), formally known as the County of York, is a historic county in northern England and by far the largest in the United Kingdom. Because of its large area in comparison with other English counties, functions hav ...
to form the new county of
Cumbria Cumbria ( ) is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in North West England, bordering Scotland. The county and Cumbria County Council, its local government, came into existence in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972. ...
, administered by a new Cumbria County Council. The area forms parts of the districts of
South Lakeland South Lakeland is a local government district in Cumbria, England. The population of the non-metropolitan district was 102,301 according to the 2001 census, increasing to 103,658 at the 2011 Census. Its council is based in Kendal. It includes ...
and Eden. In July 2021 Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government announced the dissolution of Cumbria County Council and its six district councils and their replacement in April 2023 by two unitary authorities: Cumberland, and Westmorland and Furness. The latter will re-unite and re-establish historic Westmorland within a single administrative unit, along with the Furness (Lancs), Penrith (Cumberland) and Sedbergh (Yorks) areas.


Naming

J. E. Marr explains the name "Westmorland" thus:
The name applied to the district by the
Anglo-Saxons The Anglo-Saxons were a Cultural identity, cultural group who inhabited England in the Early Middle Ages. They traced their origins to settlers who came to Britain from mainland Europe in the 5th century. However, the ethnogenesis of the Anglo- ...
was originally Westmoringaland, 'the land of the people of the western moors,' in distinction from that of the people of the eastern moors, on the east side of the Pennine chain. The present name has not, however, been derived from that of Westmoringaland, but from Westmarieland or Westmerieland, used in the twelfth century, hence Westmerland. The meaning of this is land of the western ''meres'', and not ''moors''. Mere means boundary as well as a lake, and it is doubtful whether the word as used here refers to lakes or boundaries. There is no doubt that Westmerland is the more correct spelling ..


Coat of arms

The College of Arms granted the Westmorland County Council a
coat of arms A coat of arms is a heraldry, heraldic communication design, visual design on an escutcheon (heraldry), escutcheon (i.e., shield), surcoat, or tabard (the latter two being outer garments). The coat of arms on an escutcheon forms the central ele ...
in 1926. The design of the shield referred to the two components of the county: on two red bars (from the arms of the de Lancaster family, Barons of Kendal) was placed a gold apple tree (from the seal of the borough of Appleby, for the Barony of Westmorland). The crest above the shield was the head of a ram of the local Herdwick breed. On the ram's forehead was a shearman's hook, a tool used in the handling of wool. The hook was part of the insignia of the borough of Kendal, the administrative centre of the county council.


Legacy

From April 2023, Westmorland will reappear on national maps as part of Westmorland and Furness unitary authority. During the intervening period, Westmorland has still been used as a place name by organisations and businesses in the area such as: *''
The Westmorland Gazette ''The Westmorland Gazette'' is a weekly newspaper published in Kendal, England, covering " South Lakeland and surrounding areas", including Barrow and North Lancashire. Its name refers to the historic county of Westmorland. The paper is now owned ...
'' (founded 1818) *The Westmorland County Agricultural Society (founded 1799), which organises the annual Westmorland County Agricultural Society Show *The Westmorland County Football Association, the regional division of the Football Association that administers many football leagues including the Westmorland Association Football League. *The Westmorland Geological Society (formed 1973) *The
Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Cumberland ( ) is a historic county in the far North West England. It covers part of the Lake District as well as the north Pennines and Solway Firth coast. Cumberland had an administrative function from the 12th century until 1974. From 1974 ...
(founded 1866) *The Westmorland Youth Orchestra *The Westmorland Shopping Centre, Kendal *The Westmorland Cricket League * Westmorland Motorway Services, the company behind Tebay services in Westmorland and Gloucester Services. *In 1974 the
successor parish Successor parishes are civil parishes with a parish council, created in England in 1974. They replaced, with the same boundaries, a selected group of urban districts and municipal boroughs: a total of 300 successor parishes were formed from the ...
council formed for the former borough of Appleby adopted the name Appleby-in-Westmorland. * Westmorland General Hospital in Kendal *Westmorland croquet club The southern part of the county, the former Barony of Kendal or that part of Westmorland that is part of
South Lakeland South Lakeland is a local government district in Cumbria, England. The population of the non-metropolitan district was 102,301 according to the 2001 census, increasing to 103,658 at the 2011 Census. Its council is based in Kendal. It includes ...
, is included in the Westmorland and Lonsdale parliamentary constituency. In June 1994, during the 1990s UK local government reform, the Local Government Commission published draft recommendations suggesting that Westmorland's border with Yorkshire and Lancashire be restored for ceremonial purposes. The final recommendations, published in October 1994, did not include such recommendations, apparently due to lack of expression of support for the proposal to the commission. In September 2011, the Westmorland Association, a local society which promotes the county's identity, successfully registered the Flag of Westmorland with the
Flag Institute The Flag Institute is a UK membership organisation headquartered in Kingston upon Hull, England, concerned with researching and promoting the use and design of flags. It documents flags in the UK and internationally, maintains a UK Flag Registr ...
. In 2013, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, formally recognised and acknowledged the continued existence of England's 39 historic counties, including Westmorland. In April 2023, local government in Cumbria will be reorganised into two unitary authorities, one of which is to be named Westmorland and Furness and would cover all of the historic county along with parts of historic Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumberland.


Notable people

* Sir Thomas Strickland carried the
Flag of St. George The flag of England is the national flag of England, a constituent country of the United Kingdom. It is derived from Saint George's Cross (heraldic blazon: ''Argent, a cross gules''). The association of the red cross as an emblem of England ...
at the
battle of Agincourt The Battle of Agincourt ( ; french: Azincourt ) was an English victory in the Hundred Years' War. It took place on 25 October 1415 ( Saint Crispin's Day) near Azincourt, in northern France. The unexpected English victory against the numeric ...
. * St. John Boste, Roman Catholic priest and martyr * Mary Wakefield, patron of music celebrated with annual Mary Wakefield Festival * Nicholas Freeston (1907–1978), award-winning Lancashire poet, born in Kendal * George Romney, portrait painter, many paintings by him at Kendal Town Hall * William Parr, 1st Baron Parr of Kendal, who was father to Sir Thomas Parr of Kendal and thus the grandfather of Queen
Catherine Parr Catherine Parr (sometimes alternatively spelled Katherine, Katheryn, Kateryn, or Katharine; 1512 – 5 September 1548) was Queen of England and Ireland as the last of the six wives of King Henry VIII from their marriage on 12 July 1543 until ...
, Henry VIII's sixth wife. The Parrs' ancestral castle, Kendal Castle, is located in Kendal. * Tom Barker, trade unionist and socialist, born in Crosthwaite * Margaret Cropper, poet * Mary Rolls, poet


See also

* List of Lord Lieutenants for Westmorland * List of High Sheriffs for Westmorland * Custos Rotulorum of Westmorland – List of keepers of the Rolls * Westmorland (UK Parliament constituency) – List of MPs for constituency of Westmorland * Västmanland – Swedish historic county


References


Notes


Citations


Sources

*


External links


The Westmorland AssociationWestmorland County Agricultural SocietyMap of Westmorland
on Wikishire {{Coord, 54, 30, N, 2, 35, W, display=title, region:GB_type:adm2nd_source:GNS-enwiki * History of Cumbria Geography of Cumbria Counties of England established in antiquity Counties of England disestablished in 1974 Former counties of England