Magna Britannia: Volume 4, Cumberland. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1816.
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CUMBERLAND - GENERAL HISTORY.
Ancient Inhabitants and Government.
This county formed part of the territory of the Brigantes; and it is probable that its inhabitants were from a very early period called Cumbri, and the district Cumberland. Some of the old historians call it Caerleylschire or Caerlielleshirc, from its chief town, Caerleyl or Carlisle. During the Roman government this county was part of Britannia Inferior, and was afterwards comprised within the Northern district, to which they gave the name of Valentia. Cumberland, during the Saxon Heptarchy, formed part of the Kingdom of Northumberland. About the middle of the tenth century, it was given to the King of Scots, and was sometimes under the dominion of the Kings of Scotland, and sometimes under that of the Kings of England, (as will be more particularly shewn hereafter,) till the year 1237, when it was by King Henry III. finally annexed to the crown of England.
We have but few particulars of the military transactions of Cumberland at a very early period, although there is no doubt that it was conquered by the Romans, and that during their possession of it this county was frequently the scene of active warfare between their legions and the invading armies of the Picts and Scots, against whose inroads the celebrated wall which crosses the northern part of the county was constructed. We are told by two of the Scottish historians (fn. n1), that Carlisle was burnt by the Scots during the absence of the Romans, in the reign of the Emperor Nero. It was probably after this event, and most likely by Agricola, that Carlisle was rebuilt as a strong frontier town, and surrounded with a wall (fn. n2). The Scottish historians mention an invasion of Cumberland, by Mogal, King of the Scots, and Uniparus, King of the Picts, in the reign of the Emperor Hadrian, in the early part of the second century (fn. n3). One of these writers carries the claims of his nation to this county up to the time of Carausius, by whom Cumberland and Westmorland, he says, were given to King Crathlynt for his seasonable aid, and confirmed to his successor Fincormak, by Octavius, King of the Britons. It is not, however, pretended that the Scots continued in possession under this grant. We are told, that after the death of the Emperor Honorius, King Fergus asserted his claim, and invaded these counties; but that the Scots were defeated by Maximian, Valentinian's general, and driven beyond Antonine's wall (fn. n4).
It is certain, that during the Saxon Heptarchy, Cumberland formed part of the kingdom of Northumberland. The Scottish historians mention an invasion of Cumberland in the reign of King Ethelred, in the latter part of the eighth century. In the year 875, the whole of the kingdom of Northumberland was conquered by Halfden, the Dane, who the next year divided it amongst his followers (fn. n5). It is most probable that the destruction of Carlisle happened during this invasion: the exact time we do not find mentioned by any of our historians, although they all speak of it as having happened about two hundred years before, when they mention its restoration by William Rufus. We are told by the Scottish writers, that Gregory, who succeeded to the crown of that kingdom in 876, assisted the Britons in expelling the Danes from Northumberland and the adjacent counties; that the Britons having afterwards quarrelled with their allies, invaded Scotland, but were defeated by Gregory; that a peace ensued, by which the Britons ceded Cumberland and Westmorland to the Scots, and retired to Wales; and that Gregory held an assembly of his nobles at Carlisle about the year 880.
The Scottish and English historians are somewhat at variance as to the history of this county in the tenth century. The English historians (fn. n6) tell us that Cumberland was among the provinces which submitted to Edward the Elder, and continued under the dominion of his son Athelstan. Fordun, on the contrary, and other Scottish writers, inform us, that Constantine King of the Scots possessed the sovereignty of Cumberland, and that in the sixteenth year of his reign (919) he gave it to Eugenius, his presumptive heir, and decreed, that thenceforward Cumberland should be held by the heir apparent to the crown of Scotland. William of Malmesbury mentions a meeting of Constantine and Eugenius with King Athelstan at Dacre, when they did homage for their kingdoms to that monarch. Fordun relates, that in 937, after the battle of Bruningfield or Brunford, in which Constantine and Malcolm (then his heir apparent and Prince of Cumberland), with their ally Analaphus, son of Sitric, King of Northumberland, were defeated by King Athelstan, that monarch possessed himself of Cumberland and Westmorland. By a subsequent treaty, in the reign of his successor Edmund, they were ceded to the Scottish King, and it was settled that the heir apparent of Scotland should possess Cumberland as before, doing homage for it to the King of England; Indulph, son of Malcolm, then King, was proclaimed Prince of Cumberland and heir to the crown of Scotland. Not long after this, Cumberland being in a state of rebellion, and having set up a King of the name of Dunmaile, Edmund marched with an army against him, in the year 945, laid waste and conquered the country, put out the eyes of Dunmaile's two sons, and restored Cumberland to King Malcolm, on his promise of being a faithful ally by sea and land, and Indulph was reinstated in the principality. (fn. n7)
In the year 1000, or, as some writers say, 1001, King (fn. n8) Ethelred invaded and laid waste the county of Cumberland, because Malcolm its Prince (son of King Kenneth) had refused to pay his quota of a tribute for the wars against the Danes (fn. n8). Henry of Huntingdon however tells us, that the Danes themselves, whose principal abode was then in Cumberland, were the objects of this expedition, and that they were defeated by Ethelred with great slaughter. Not long before the assumption of the crown of England by Canute the Dane, Othred or Uchtred, Earl of Northumberland, in alliance with the Danes, began to commit depredations in Cumberland, but was defeated, after a sharp combat, near Burgh upon the sands, by Malcolm above mentioned, then King of Scotland (fn. n9). After this, the Danes and Northumbrians, being in alliance, invaded Cumberland, where they were defeated by Duncan, grandson of King Malcolm, who had been before invested with that principality (fn. n10). After Canute had mounted the English throne, he repeatedly summoned Duncan to do his homage, but he refused, not acknowledging him as the lawful sovereign of England. Canute, in consequence, marched with his army towards Scotland, in the year 1033. Fordun relates, that as the hostile armies were on the point of engaging, an accommodation was brought about by the mediation of the prelates and other great persons, and that Cumberland was confirmed to Duncan and his successors, as heirs apparent to the crown of Scotland, they doing homage as before. The author of the Saxon Chronicle says, that an engagement took place, and that Malcolm and two Kings, his allies, were defeated. Duncan succeeded to the throne of Scotland in 1034: After his murder, and the unsuccessful attempt of his heir, Malcolm, to resist the usurper Macbeth, that Prince, with his brother Donald Bain, retired for a while to his principality of Cumberland: the latter went thence to Ireland; Malcolm remained till Edward had recovered England from the power of the Danes, and then repaired to the English court (fn. n11). In the year 1053, King Edward (the Confessor) granted Cumberland and the other northern counties to Siward, Earl of Northumberland (fn. n12). Not long after, Siward invaded Scotland, defeated Macbeth, and placed Duncan's heir, Malcolm Prince of Cumberland, on the throne (fn. n13).
Soon after the conquest a war ensued between King William and Malcolm of Scotland, who had granted an asylum to the English refugees. In the year 1069, or as some say, 1070, Malcolm passed through Cumberland, then under his dominion, and ravaged Teasdale; meanwhile Gospatric, Earl of Northumberland, severely retaliated in Cumberland, and his soldiers by his encouragement, are said to have committed the most wanton cruelties (fn. n14). About this time the conqueror gave the county of Cumberland to Ranulph de Meschines, ancestor of the Earls of Chester, who parcelled the lands out amongst his followers, and is said by Matthew of Westminster, to have begun to rebuild Carlisle. That author relates that William returning from Scotland, by way of Carlisle, in 1072, repented of his gift, and resuming it, granted Ranulph the Earldom of Chester in its stead, and gave orders for fortifying the town. A peace had just then been concluded between William and the Scottish King, to whom a certain tract of land, between Cumberland, Stanmore, and the Tweed, is said to have been given in lieu of this county (fn. n15). Whilst William Rufus was at Carlisle, on his return from Scotland in 1092, he gave orders for rebuilding the city, which had lain in ruins from the time of its destruction by the Danes (fn. n16), and erecting a castle (fn. n17). The King turned out Dolphin, who was sheriff of the county, and left a strong garrison at Carlisle. It seems that the buildings were not completed for several years, for we are told by some of our historians (fn. n18), that King Henry I. being at Carlisle in 1122, disbursed money for the building of the castle and the walls.
The Scottish writers say, that Stephen on his assumption of the throne, summoned David, King of Scotland, to do homage for Cumberland, Northumberland, and Huntingdon (fn. n19). This does not seem very probable, as we have heard nothing of the Scottish claim to the northern counties since the peace with William the Conqueror. Most of our writers relate, that David, passing through Cumberland, under pretence of a peaceable visit, in the year 1135, took possession of Carlisle. This was reported to Stephen, then at Oxford, who is said to have made answer, "what he has taken treacherously I will by the grace of God recover victoriously (fn. n20)." John, Prior of Hexham, who probably had the best means of being informed of the transactions of that period and country, says, that David mindful of his oath to King Henry I. openly invaded England, and took possession of all the fortresses in Cumberland and Northumberland, except Bamborough (fn. n21); and received fealty of the nobles. Stephen, upon this intelligence, marched with his army towards the north. At the commencement of a treaty, which shortly afterwards took place, Carlisle was ceded to David (fn. n22), and in the event the county of Cumberland (fn. n23). It is said that David went afterwards to Carlisle and repaired the walls and ditches. This probably was in the year 1138, at which time David occupied Carlisle with a strong garrison (fn. n24). It was in this year that Alberic, the Pope's legate, arrived at Carlisle on the 25th of September, and found David attended by the bishops, priors, and barons of Scotland. The legate, who remained there three days, obtained from the Scots a promise, that all their female captives should be brought to Carlisle before St. Martin's day, and there released, and that in their future warfare they would abstain from the violation of churches, and from those cruelties which spared neither age nor sex (fn. n25). Adulf, the bishop, was by the legate's mediation, reconciled to the King, and reinstated in his see. These circumstances are related by John, and Richard, successively priors of Hexham; the latter mentions his having been present at the conferences. The following year happened the battle of the Standard, in which David was defeated near York. After the battle he fled to Carlisle, where he remained two days in the utmost anxiety for his son, whom he had left making an ineffectual stand against a victorious enemy. The Prince joined him in safety on the third day.
In 1142 we read of a quarrel between Prince Henry of Scotland, who had been invested with the principality of Cumberland, and Ralph, Earl of Chester, who claimed that county as his inheritance under King William's grant to Ralph de Meschines. This matter is said to have been compromised by an agreement, that the Earl of Chester should have the honor of Lancaster in lieu, and marry one of Prince Henry's daughters (fn. n26). In 1149 we find the English and Scottish monarchs again in hostile array against each other, David being at Carlisle and Stephen at York; but we are told that each party being afraid of the other, they both retired homewards (fn. n27). The following year David, Prince Henry, (afterwards Henry II. of England,) and Ralph, Earl of Chester, entered into a league against Stephen, at Carlisle; Prince Henry was then knighted by David, and swore that when he came to the throne he would confirm to David and his heirs his English territories. In 1152 David and his son Prince Henry, (who died that year,) met John, the pope's legate, at Carlisle (fn. n28). David died at that city in 1153 (fn. n29) or 115¾, and was succeeded by his grandson, Malcolm IV.
After Henry II. had ascended the English throne, he disregarded the oath which he had made to David, and demanded the counties of Cumberland and Northumberland of his successor (fn. n30). Malcolm feeling that he was unequal to cope with Henry in arms, ceded them in the year 1157, and received a confirmation of the county of Huntingdon (fn. n31). The two monarchs met at Carlisle the next year, as some historians relate, but parted without being able to adjust their differences, in consequence of which Malcolm was not made a knight (fn. n32). Others say that the meeting was at a place near Carlisle, and that it was agreed that Malcolm should possess Cumberland and Huntingdon, and make a final release of Northumberland to King Henry. (fn. n33)
During the civil war between Henry II. and his son, William (surnamed the Lion,) then King of Scotland, did not neglect so good an opportunity of attempting to recover the possession of Cumberland; he invaded that county, in the year 1173, (Henry being then in France,) and besieged Carlisle, but on hearing that Richard de Lucy, the justiciary and regent during the King's absence, was advancing with a great army, he raised the siege (fn. n34). The next year William again invaded Cumberland, in the month of April, and regularly invested the city of Carlisle, of which Robert de Vaux was then governor. During the siege, which lasted some months, William, with part of his army, took Liddell castle and other fortresses (fn. n35). The garrison of Carlisle reduced to great straights, agreed to surrender the castle at Michaelmas, if not previously relieved (fn. n36). Before the time stipulated William was taken prisoner at Alnwick. The Scottish historians say, that at the peace which some time after ensued, Cumberland was ceded to the Scots (fn. n37); if so they certainly were not put in possession. In the year 1186, King Henry appears to have been with a great army at Carlisle, for the purpose of assisting the King of Scots in subduing Roland, a rebellious subject in Galloway, who was afterwards brought by the King of Scots and his brother David, to Henry at Carlisle. (fn. n38)
In the year 1194, the Scottish King (William) demanded of Richard I. Cumberland and the other English possessions which had been held by his ancestors (fn. n39). Holinshed, in his History of Scotland, says that Richard ceded the county, on condition that the fortresses should continue in the hands of English governors. Hoveden tells us, that the demand was refused on the accession of King John, who delayed giving an answer, and meanwhile gave the government of Carlisle, which had been in the hands of Hugh Bardolf, to William D'Estoteville (fn. n40). The Scottish historians say that William King of Scots did homage for Cumberland; and that being at York on the occasion of a peace being concluded between the two nations, he surrendered it to King John, to the intent that it should be assigned to his son Alexander (fn. n41). This prince succeeded to the throne of Scotland in 1214, at the age of fifteen; the young monarch, during John's war with the Barons, in the year 1216, invaded Cumberland, pillaged the abbey of Holme Cultram, and besieged Carlisle. The city was surrendered to him on the 8th of August, by order of the barons (fn. n42); but the Melrose Chronicler observes, that he did not then take the castle (fn. n43). That writer, after describing the sacrilegious conduct of the Scots at Holme Cultram, adds, that more than 1,900 of them were, by the judgment of heaven, drowned in the Eden, as they were returning with their booty. Alexander after this repaired to Louis the Dauphin, then in possession of the greater part of the kingdom, and doing homage to him, received from him and the barons of his party, a recognition of his claims to the counties of Cumberland, Northumberland, and Westmorland. (fn. n44)
A general pacification took place soon after the accession of Henry III., in consequence of which Carlisle was surrendered to the English, and Walter de Gray, archbishop of York, was sent to take possession of the castle in 1217 (fn. n45). The dominion of Cumberland was to remain with Alexander (fn. n46). It does not appear, however, that he was put in possession, for in 1235, and again in 1237, we find him making a peremptory demand of the counties of Cumberland, Northumberland, and Westmorland, as his inheritance (fn. n47). The Scottish King was at length induced, at the conference holden at York in the last-mentioned year, to give up his claim, accepting in lieu lands of the yearly value of 200l. (fn. n48) to be holden of the King of England by the annual render of a falcon to the constable of the castle of Carlisle on the festival of the Assumption. The formidable power of the Pope, whose legate was present at the conference, is supposed to have had considerable weight on Alexander's mind in deciding him to accept of so small a compensation.
This agreement finally terminated the Scottish dominion in the northern counties of England; but the feuds between the two kingdoms continued with unabated violence for more than three centuries: the resumption of the manors which had been granted to Alexander, at no very distant period, added fresh fuel to the flame. This county was seldom long exempt from the horrors of invasion, or the cruelties and depredations of raids and forays. The only means by which any thing like security for life or property could be obtained, were a most vigilant system of watching and the construction of numerous fortresses. Almost every gentleman's house, particularly on the sea-side or near the borders, had its fortified tower, sufficiently capacious to afford refuge to its inhabitants. In some parishes the church-towers were so constructed as to answer this purpose (fn. n49). It was not till the happy union of the kingdoms by the accession of James I. to the English throne, that the inhabitants of both borders (for the Cumbrians were not remiss in retaliating upon their Scottish neighbours) were relieved from the miseries of hostile inroads (fn. n50). The regular border-service and the border-laws were instituted in the reign of Edward I.: the former for the purpose of keeping a strict watch (fn. n51), appointing beacons (fn. n52), regulating the musters, &c. in time of war; the laws for the punishment of private rapine, murders, &c. committed by individuals of each nation on the other in time of peace. An officer of high rank, called the Lord Warden, whose authority was partly military and partly civil, was appointed on each side of the borders. Robert de Clifford, the first English lord warden (fn. n53), was appointed in 1296.
To return to the annals, in the year 1293 John Baliol's title as King of Scotland, having been recognized, he had livery of the manors in Cumberland, which had been granted as before mentioned, in lieu of the Scottish claim to the three northern counties, but scarcely two years had elapsed when a fresh war broke out, in consequence of Baliol's attempt to shake off the English yoke, and Edward seised upon Penrith, Salkeld, and the other manors belonging to the King of Scotland, which were never restored: this circumstance in subsequent wars rendered the county of Cumberland, particularly Penrith and its neighbourhood, the frequent objects of attack and depredation.
On Easter Monday 1296, King Edward being then at Werk, the Scottish army, led by John Comyn, Earl of Buchan, with six other earls (fn. n54), made an inroad into Cumberland, and besieged Carlisle for four days. The suburbs were burnt, but the citizens, aided by the women, who annoyed the enemy with showers of stones and boiling water, made so obstinate a resistance that they were induced to raise the siege and retire to their own country (fn. n55). The same army having marched along the borders as far as Jedburgh, a few days after entered Northumberland, destroyed several towns and monasteries, and on the 8th of April came to Lanercost, where they burnt down the priory, but alarmed at a report of King Edward's forces being in pursuit, they fled by way of Nichol forest, and returned to Scotland with a great booty. (fn. n56)
It was in 1296 that John Baliol resigned the crown of Scotland to the English monarch; the following year the celebrated William Wallace became the successful champion of his country's independence, and defeated the English at Stirling. In the month of October this year, Wallace with his victorious army entered Cumberland and summoned Carlisle, but finding that the garrison were determined to defend it to the last extremity, they marched forwards and laid waste the forest of Inglewood, and the whole of Allerdale, as far as Cockermouth. (fn. n57)
Not long after the battle of Falkirk, in which the Scots under Wallace were defeated in 1298, King Edward came with his army to Carlisle (fn. n58), where he is said to have held a parliament on the 15th of September (fn. n59): in the year 1300 he set forward on a new expedition against Scotland about midsummer (fn. n60), and marched with his army to the western borders, by way of Carlisle. In the year 1306, Robert Brus, Earl of Carrick (fn. n61), having started up as a new asserter of the independence of his country, and having been crowned King of Scotland, King Edward appointed a general rendezvous of his army at Carlisle (fn. n62) on Midsummer day, to accompany his son Prince Edward to Scotland.
The king with his queen, having been some time in Northumberland, arrived at Carlisle about the 28th of August, and staid there till the 10th of September. The remainder of that month they spent in Northumberland, and about the 1st of October arrived at Lanercost, where, after another short visit to Carlisle, they continued, on account of the infirm (fn. n63) state of the king's health, till the 28th of February following. On the 1st of March the king and queen removed to Kirk Cambock, and thence on the 4th to Linstock Castle, where they were entertained with their whole court for six days, by John Halton, then Bishop of Carlisle (fn. n64). On the 12th of March the court removed to Carlisle, where the parliament was then sitting.
In the Easter week, John Wallace having been taken, was brought before the king at Carlisle, whence he was sent to London to suffer the same sentence which had been executed on his more celebrated brother William Wallace. The King, though daily declining in health, resolved to prosecute his expedition against Scotland, and summoned all who owed fealty or service, to a general rendezvous at Carlisle on the 8th of July. On the 28th of June the king left Carlisle, and being then in so weak a state that he was unable to travel more than two miles a day, halted that night at Caldecote, a hamlet in the parish of St. Mary (fn. n65). He reached Burgh on the Sands on the 5th of July, and there closed his life and glorious reign on the 7th (fn. n66). At this place is a pillar commemorative of the event. (fn. n67)
An express having been sent to Prince Edward, he reached Carlisle on the 11th, and the next day went, accompanied by a great number of the nobles and prelates, then assembled at Carlisle, to Burgh, to mourn over his father's remains. On the 13th he received the homage and fealty of almost all the great men of the kingdom, in the castle at Carlisle (fn. n68). The weak and dissolute young monarch then returned into Scotland, but soon abandoned his father's favourite measure of vigorously prosecuting the war with that nation. He came to Carlisle on his return from Scotland in the month of September, and then restored Anthony Bec, who had been under his father's displeasure, to the Bishoprick of Durham. (fn. n69)
In the year 1311, Robert Brus twice made an inroad into Cumberland, and ravaged Gilsland; during the second inroad the Scottish king stayed three days at Lanercost with his army, and imprisoned several of the monks, but set them at liberty before his departure. (fn. n70) In 1314, after the disastrous battle of Bannockburn, Edward Brus, brother of the Scottish King, and Sir James Douglas, advanced into England as far as Richmond in Yorkshire, and on their return burnt Kirkoswald, and passed by Lanercost into Scotland (fn. n71): this was in the autumn. About the Christmas following the Scots made another inroad into Gilsland, in all their expeditions exacting large tributes from the inhabitants (fn. n72). The following year Robert Brus again laid waste the county of Cumberland, and besieged Carlisle, which was ably defended by its governor, Andrew de Hercla. The siege was raised on the 11th day, the garrison pursued the besiegers, and took John de Murray and other prisoners (fn. n73). Walsingham says that the whole country was at this time ravaged from Carlisle to York, and that there was no safety for the English, except in the principal garrison towns. The western part of Cumberland also was ravaged during this invasion, the monastery of St. Bees spoiled, and their manor places of Cleator and Stainborn destroyed (fn. n74). In 1319, the Scots under James Douglas and Thomas Randolf, laid waste Gilsland and other parts of Cumberland (fn. n75). In 1322 Robert Brus again invaded England, burnt Rose Castle, spoiled the abbey of Holme-Cultram, where his father lay buried, wasted all the western side of Cumberland to Duddon Sands, and entered Lancashire; on his return he encamped with his army for five days near Carlisle (fn. n76). King Edward II. in return invaded Scotland, but was forced to abandon his expedition in consequence of the want of provisions, and the dysentery raging in his army. After his return to England, Robert Brus again entered Cumberland, and lay with his army for five days at Beaumont, about three miles from Carlisle, sending detachments to lay waste the country on every side (fn. n77). This year Sir Andrew de Hercla, in recompence of his meritorious services, was created Earl of Carlisle, and Lord Warden of the Marches, but being accused the next year of a treasonable correspondence with the Scots, he was degraded from all his honours, and executed at Carlisle.
Soon after the accession of Edward III. Lord Ufford and Lord Moubray were sent with a reinforcement to Anthony Lord Lucy, then governor of Carlisle: in the month of July following (1327) the Earl of Murray and Lord Douglas, with a large army, entered England near Carlisle, and marched through Cumberland, laying waste the country as they went, towards the Bishopric of Durham (fn. n78). Edward Baliol, who in 1332, made an attempt, which at first promised success, to recover his father's crown, after narrowly escaping assassination at Annan, fled to Carlisle, where he was hospitably received by Lord Dacre, then its governor (fn. n79). The following year Lord Dacre's demesnes in Gilsland were ravaged by Lord Archibald Douglas, who staid four days with his army in Cumberland (fn. n80). About Christmas, in the year 1334, Edward III. being in Scotland, sent Edward Baliol with the Earls of Warwick and Oxford, to Carlisle, to defend those parts against the Scots. Thence, large reinforcements having joined them from the northern counties, they made a successful incursion into Scotland, under the command of Baliol, and returned to Carlisle (fn. n81).
In 1335, King Edward III. having determined on an expedition against Scotland, marched with his army from Carlisle on the 11th day of July (fn. n82). In the year 1337 the Scots entered England at Arthuret, and marching eastward, destroyed about 20 villages, and carried off a great booty (fn. n83). During a subsequent invasion the same year, they surrounded Carlisle, and burnt the suburbs, with the hospital of St. Nicholas. They burnt Rose Castle also a second time, and wasted the surrounding country (fn. n84). This was most probably in the absence of the Bishop, John Kirby, who was much distinguished for his military prowess, and had twice invaded Scotland that year, with several English nobles in the interest of Edward Baliol. In the year 1342, a large army of Scots invaded Gilsland, and having penetrated as far as Penrith, burnt that town, with several neighbouring villages.
In the autumn of 1345, the Scots, under the command of Sir William Douglas, burnt Carlisle and Penrith, and returned through Gilsland, with a great booty. They were much annoyed during their incursion by a small force collected by Bishop Kirby and Sir Thomas Lucy. The Bishop and Sir Robert Ogle had a sharp skirmish with the enemy: the prelate was unhorsed during the encounter, but having recovered his saddle, continued to fight valiantly, and contributed greatly to the victory (fn. n85). The next year David Brus in person invaded Cumberland, and besieged Liddell Castle, which was taken by assault: Sir Walter Selby, the governor, was beheaded. It is said that he begged for time to make his confession, but that it was refused (fn. n86). The Scots then plundered the monks of Lanercost of their treasure and jewels, and after committing great destruction, marched by way of Naworth Castle to Ridpath (fn. n87).
In the year 1380, although there was at that time a truce subsisting between the two nations, the borderers continued to make mutual inroads upon each other. In the summer of that year the Scots laid waste the forest of Inglewood, and having surprised the town of Penrith, which was very full, it being the time of the fair, they put great numbers of the inhabitants to the sword, and carried off many prisoners and a great booty (fn. n88), but paid dearly for it, taking home with them the infection of a pestilence then raging, of which a third part of the inhabitants of Scotland are said to have died (fn. n89). The Scots, on their return, made an attempt on Carlisle, and are said to have set fire to one of the streets by shooting burning arrows into the town (fn. n90). They were deterred from continuing the siege by a report that a numerous army was coming to its relief (fn. n91). In or about the year 1383, we find the abbot of Holme-Cultram paying a large sum of money to the Earl of Douglas to save that monastery from being burned by his army. (fn. n92)
In 1385 the Scots, assisted by the French, invaded Cumberland, ravaged the estates of the Baron of Greystock and the Musgraves, and made an ineffectual attack upon Carlisle (fn. n93). In the year 1387, the Earl of Douglas, the Earl of Fife, and other Scottish nobles, invaded Cumberland, wasted the country with fire and sword, surprised Cockermouth, where they remained three days, and carried off Peter Tilliol, the sheriff of the county (fn. n94). During this inroad another attack was made on Carlisle, and the suburbs burnt. Sir William Douglas (a natural son of Archibald Lord Douglas) is said to have performed prodigies of valour on this occasion; particularly in an encounter on a drawbridge in the outworks, two feet wide, with three armed citizens, one of whom he killed and overcame the others (fn. n95). It seems to have been the same year that a battle is said to have happened near Carlisle, in which the Scots lost 1,100 men; and their whole army, consisting of 30,000, were driven across the river, a few days before the festival of St. Lawrence (fn. n96). In 1388, the Scots, making an inroad into Gilsland, are said to have conducted themselves with the greatest barbarity on Lord Dacre's demesne, having set fire to some houses in which they had shut up more than 200 decrepid persons, women, and children. (fn. n97)
Except that Cockermouth Castle is said by John Hardyng to have been yielded to King Henry IV., we find no further mention of the city of Carlisle or this county till the year 1461, when an army of Scots, in the interest of Henry VI. besieged Carlisle and burnt the suburbs (fn. n98). This is the only circumstance concerning the wars between the houses of York and Lancaster (connected with Cumberland) spoken of by any of our historians. There is a family tradition that King Henry VI. was for some time entertained at Muncaster, then the seat of Sir John Pennington, and that, at parting with his host, he presented him with a small glass vessel, which is called the "Luck of Muncaster."
In the year 1522, the Duke of Albany having mustered a large army, marched to the borders, and approached within four miles of Carlisle, with intention to besiege it; but having intelligence that it was defended by 45 pieces of brass artillery, 1,000 harquebusses, great plenty of hand-guns, and in every respect well provided for a siege, he retreated, and made overtures to Lord Dacre for a truce (fn. n99). In the year 1523, Lord Maxwell made an inroad into Cumberland, "and began to harrie the countrey, and brente divers places." A skirmish ensued in which he was in some danger, but having rallied his men, he at last got the better of his opponents, and returned with above 300 prisoners to Scotland (fn. n100). In a letter to Cardinal Wolsey, without date (fn. n101), Lord Dacre gives an account of an inroad of the Elwards, Nixons, Armstrongs, and Crosers, inhabiting the debatable ground, to the number of 300, who slew eleven of his servants, and took others prisoners; and complains, that neither the garrison at Bewcastle nor that at Carlisle, although warned, contributed any aid.
In the year 1537, Nicholas Musgrave and others being in rebellion against King Henry VIII. besieged Carlisle, but were repulsed by the citizens. The Duke of Norfolk having afterwards met and defeated them, ordered 74 of their officers to be hanged on the walls of Carlisle. Musgrave escaped (fn. n102). Lord Maxwell being Lord Warden of the Marches in 1542, passed over the Eske, and burnt certain houses of the Græmes, upon the borders. This was immediately before the well-known battle of Solway Moss, which was fought within the limits of this county, in the parish of Kirk-Andrews. The English army was commanded by Sir Thomas Dacre and Jack Musgrave. The Scots, who greatly surpassed their enemies in number, were easily defeated, in consequence of dissentions among their officers. The English took above a thousand prisoners, among whom were two hundred lords, esquires, and gentlemen. (fn. n103)
In the year 1569, Lord Scrope, Lord Warden of the Marches, occupied Carlisle against the Earls of Northumberland and Westmorland, then in rebellion. The rebel Lords advanced from Northumberland as far as Naworth; but finding, on a conference with Leonard Dacre, that their cause was hopeless, they dispersed their army (fn. n104). This was in December; in the early part of the following year, Leonard Dacre, claimant of the baronies of Gilsland and Greystock, having appeared in arms, with a force of 2,000 foot and 600 horse, raised from among the tenants of those baronies, garrisoned Naworth and Rockliffe Castles. Lord Hunsdon, who was sent against him, approached Naworth, then possessed by Dacre, on the 20th of February; but instead of attacking that castle, as was expected, passed on towards Carlisle; which Dacre observing, sallied out of the castle with 1,500 foot and 600 horse, and having drawn up his force on a high moor near the Gelt, attempted to stop Lord Hunsdon's progress to Carlisle. Dacre was defeated, and fled with his horsemen to Scotland. Lord Hunsdon marched on to Carlisle, and the next morning sent to take possession of Naworth, Rockcliffe, and Greystock Castles, which were put in safe custody for the Queen. (fn. n105)
The last hostile inroad before the union of the Kingdoms, happened immediately after the accession of James I. when a party of Scots, between two and three hundred, entered Cumberland, and committed various depredations as far as Penrith. James, who was then at Berwick on his way to London, sent Sir William Selby, governor of that place, with a detachment of the garrison, who soon dispersed the invaders, and sent those who fell into his hands to the castle at Carlisle (fn. n106). The two countries being now united under the government of one monarch, and frontier towns no longer necessary, King James reduced the garrisons at Carlisle and Berwick. (fn. n107)
Soon after his accession, King James took active measures for settling the peace of the borders, and appointed George Clifford Earl of Cumberland Lord Warden of the Marches. With a view of doing away as much as possible the distinction between the two kingdoms, the King determined that the counties of England and Scotland which had been called "the Borders," should be denominated the Middle Shires, and in his proclamations he described them by that name. One of his first measures was to banish the Grames or Grahams, a numerous clan, occupying what was called the debatable ground (fn. n108) near the river Eske. This clan had long been an annoyance to his own subjects, and not less so, as it appears, to their Cumberland neighbours (fn. n109), who made bitter complaints against them, in the latter end of Queen Elizabeth's reign, at which time Walter Grame of Netherby, the head of the clan, (being the same person whom Camden speaks of as distinguished for his valour among the borderers,) with about 400 of his friends and their dependents, most of them of the name of Grame, bound themselves to Lord Scrope, then Lord Warden, to be answerable for their good conduct (fn. n100). The King, in his proclamation, states it to have been the Grames' own desire that they should be removed.
In 1606 there was an assessment on the county of Cumberland, to defray the expences of "the transplantation of the Grames." They embarked at Workington: most of them were sent to Ireland; others to the Netherlands. We do not find any mention, during the whole of these proceedings, of "Old Mr. Fergus Grame of Plumpe," the father of Sir Richard, the first baronet, and ancestor of the present Netherby family, who, as appears by the parish register, was buried at Arthuret, in 1625. We may conclude, therefore, that he was a more peaceably disposed person than others of his family, and was suffered to remain quietly at home. It is a pleasing reflection to contrast the prosperity of this district under its late and present owner, (in whom has centered the whole of the property which belonged to the once numerous clan of the Grahams) with the scenes of rapine and bloodshed that prevailed in it during the times of their remote ancestors. Some of the banished Grames having returned to England, King James issued a proclamation for apprehending them in 1614.
For some time after King James's accession, outrages and plunders (fn. n111) on the borders, notwithstanding his proclamations, continued unremitted. As a further check to them, the King issued sundry special commissions; under which, various regulations were adopted. All persons "saving noblemen and gentlemen unsuspected of felony or theft, and not being of broken clans," in the counties lately called the Borders, were forbidden to wear any armour or weapons, offensive or defensive, or to keep any horse above the value of 50s., on pain of imprisonment. Slough dogs or bloodhounds (fn. n112), for pursuing the offenders, who acquired the name of mosstroopers, through the mosses, sloughs, or bogs, were ordered to be kept at the charge of the inhabitants of certain districts.
Lord William Howard is said to have kept a little garrison at Naworth, employed in checking the marauding of the moss-troopers, against whom he put the laws in force with the utmost severity. Fuller says, that "when at their greatest height, the moss-troopers had two enemies, the laws of the land and Lord William Howard of Naworth. He sent many of them to Carlisle, to that place where the officer always does his work by day-light." Fuller, however, attributes their decay and ruin to the wisdom, valour, and diligence of his great grandson Charles, the first Earl of Carlisle, "who routed these English tories with his regiment. His severity to them," saith he, "will not only be excused but commended by the judicious. Such was the success of this noble Lord's severity, that he made a thorough reformation among them, and the ring leaders being destroyed, the rest were reduced to legal obedience, and so, I trust, will continue." It was not, however, till some time after the union in Queen Anne's reign that the inhabitants of the borders had attained to a state of perfect security. (fn. n113)
Carlisle and Bewcastle were garrisoned in the year 1639, on account of the commotions in Scotland; in the month of June 1640, there being an immediate expectation of the Scottish army entering Cumberland, orders were given for a strict watch, for preparing the beacons, and all other precautions against an invasion. The garrison at Carlisle was kept up till the month of October 1641, when pursuant to a treaty with the Scots, it was disbanded. (fn. n114)
Not long after the commencement of the civil war between King Charles and his parliament, (in the latter end of 1642) the northern counties associated and raised forces for the King. This county does not appear to have been much the scene of hostilities during the contest. The Cumberland forces distinguished themselves in Lancashire, under the command of Colonel Hudleston in 1643. It appears that the King had an army in Cumberland and Westmorland in 1644, which was joined by Prince Rupert after the battle at Marston-moor (fn. n115). During that year (fn. n116) a force was first raised in Cumberland for the parliament, which approached Carlisle; but being pursued by the posse comitatus, toward Abbey Holme, fled and dispersed in all directions (fn. n117). We are told that the Marquis of Montrose having been pursued by the Earl of Calendar out of Scotland retreated to Carlisle; that they had a skirmish in the town on the 17th of May 1644, and that Montrose was obliged to seek shelter in the castle, where he was straightly besieged (fn. n118). It is probable the Earl soon abandoned the siege, as we find nothing of the capture of the castle, and on the 22d, Lord Calendar was employed in the siege of Morpeth. (fn. n119)
After the taking of York in July, Sir Thomas Glenham with the garrison from that place retired to Carlisle, where he took the command. About the latter end of September, Sir Philip Musgrave and Sir Henry Fletcher were defeated near Great-Salkeld (fn. n120), by the Scottish army under General Lesley, and with difficulty escaped to Carlisle (fn. n121). Lesley did not then stay to besiege Carlisle, which gave the townsmen an opportunity to lay in a stock of provisions, and fill their granaries with the produce of the harvest then getting in. After the storming of Newcastle in October, General Lesley returned with part of the Scottish army into Cumberland and besieged Carlisle. The garrison and the townsmen were put on short allowance about the end of February, but although they suffered almost unexampled distresses, they held out till all hopes of relief had vanished by the fatal issue of the battle of Naseby, and did not surrender till the 25th of June 1645, when they obtained the most honourable terms. Scaleby castle had been surrendered in the month of February. In the month of October the same year, Lord Digby and Sir Marmaduke Langdale were defeated by Sir John Brown, then Governor of Carlisle, at Carlisle sands: their small army was dispersed and themselves obliged to fly to the Isle of Man. (fn. n122)
From the time of the capture of Carlisle by General Lesley's army, it had been garrisoned by the Scots, of whom the parliament, ere long, grew jealous. In May 1646, it was resolved that they had no further occasion for their services. A sum of money was voted them, one half to be paid when they had evacuated all the English garrisons, the other half when the whole of their army had returned to Scotland. Carlisle was not evacuated till the month of December; Whitelock speaks of the castle as being "upon slighting," in the month of February following.
About the time that an army was raised in Scotland, under the Duke of Hamilton, for the purpose of restoring the power of the fallen Monarch, in 1648, Sir Thomas Glenham and Sir Philip Musgrave took possession of Carlisle by surprise, on or about the 28th of April. Soon after this, about 3000 foot and 700 horse raised in Cumberland and Westmorland, under the command of Sir Marmaduke Langdale, held a rendezvous upon a heath five miles from Carlisle; where two days afterwards, they were joined by 500 horse from the bishopric of Durham. General Lambert having the command of the parliamentary army in the North, took Penrith on the 15th of June, and made that place his head-quarters for a month. Sir Marmaduke Langdale retired upon Carlisle. The citizens are said to have petitioned Sir Philip Musgrave, that his army might not be received within the walls, dreading the recurrence of another famine. (fn. n123) Detachments of Lambert's army took Greystock, Rose, and Scaleby castles. (fn. n124)
The beginning of July, the Duke of Hamilton arrived at Carlisle, superseded Sir Philip Musgrave, and gave the command of that garrison to Sir William Levingston. The Duke's forces, which were quartered about Wigton and Carlisle, formed a junction with Sir Marmaduke Langdale at Rose Castle, making altogether about 12,000, and marching southward, General Lambert quitted Penrith at their approach on the 15th of July, and retreated to Westmorland.
Cumberland is said to have been much harrassed and plundered by Major General Munroe, who followed the Duke of Hamilton out of Scotland with 6000 men, both in his march southward, and on his retreat after the unfortunate battle of Preston. Sir Philip Musgrave, about this time, returned with his forces to Carlisle; but the governor was unwilling to admit him. Cockermouth Castle being held for the Parliament by Lieutenant Bird, was besieged by a body of 500 Cumberland royalists in the month of August 1648; the siege continued till the 29th of September (fn. n125), when it was relieved by Lieutenant Colonel Ashton, sent out of Lancashire by Cromwell for that purpose.
On the first of October, Carlisle was surrendered to Cromwell, pursuant to a treaty made some time before, between the Marquis of Argyle and General Munroe. A garrison of 800 foot and a regiment of horse were left there; the garrison was afterwards made to consist of 600 foot and two regiments of horse of 600 each, for the purpose of suppressing the insurrections of the Moss-troopers. The county, in consequence petitioned parliament, that this garrison might be maintained by the kingdom at large, and that they might only contribute their quota. In this and subsequent petitions, the state of the county is described as most lamentable: it is said that families of the first quality had scarcely bread sufficient for their consumption, and no beverage but water; that many died in highways for want of sustenance; and that there were 30,000 families, who had neither seed nor bread corn, nor money to buy any. A collection was ordered for their relief by parliament, but it proved very inefficient (fn. n126). It appears that a large garrison was kept up at Carlisle for a considerable time. The governor sent a detachment of 1000 men into Scotland, who took some small forts there in December 1650: in June 1651, upon a party of Scots approaching Carlisle, Major General Harrison sent 2000 men in pursuit of them. (fn. n127)
In the month of November 1715, a body of the rebels under the command of Mr. Forster, who had a general's commission from the Pretender, entered England from the Scottish borders, and marched to Brampton, where they proclaimed the Pretender; thence they continued their march to Penrith, and took possession of that town, the Posse Comitatus, amounting to 12,000 men, flying at their approach. (fn. n128)
The last time that this county was the scene of military operations, was during the rebellion in 1745, when Charles Stuart put in execution his rash project of invading England. The advanced post of his army entered Cumberland on the 8th of November, near Longtown, and encamped the next day on a moor within four miles of Carlisle, where the militia of Cumberland and Westmorland were in garrison. The main army having joined them on the 10th, they approached Carlisle, and summoned the town. Before they commenced any serious attack, the army removed to Brampton on the 11th, and staid there till the 13th. Charles Stuart himself slept on the 9th at Mr. Murray's, in a village three miles south of Carlisle; on the 10th at Black-hall, in St. Mary's parish, and on the 11th went to Warwick Hall. On the 13th his army commenced the siege of Carlisle, which, being weakly garrisoned, surrendered on the 15th. On the 21st the van of the rebel army having left a garrison in Carlisle, marched to Penrith, on their route southward; Charles himself arrived at Penrith with the remainder of his army on the 22d. It is well known that they advanced as far as Derby, from which place, after holding a council of war, they made a hasty retreat towards Scotland, followed by the Duke of Cumberland. The main body of their army reached Penrith on their return the 17th of December, and a skirmish happened on the 18th, between their rear and a part of the Duke of Cumberland's forces, at Clifton. On the 20th the rebels quitted Carlisle, having left a garrison in the castle, and made a hasty retreat into Scotland. The Duke of Cumberland arrived at Carlisle on the 21st, but having been obliged to wait for some cannon which was to come from Whitehaven, did not erect his batteries till the 28th, and on the 30th the city was surrendered to him at discretion. (fn. n129)
During the American war, in the year 1778, a daring attempt was made on the port of Whitehaven, by the noted pirate, Paul Jones. It was rendered harmless in consequence of one of his men having deserted and given the alarm to the inhabitants.