Magna Britannia: Volume 4, Cumberland. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1816.
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The City of Carlisle
The ancient city of Carlisle is situated in Cumberland ward, nearly surrounded by the rivers Eden, Pettrell, and Caldew, 305 miles from London on the great western road to Glasgow, and not more than 13 from the borders of Scotland.
There is no doubt that this city, called by the Britons Caerleyl or Caer-leol, was the Luguvallum of the Romans mentioned in the Itinerary of Antoninus. We are told by two of the Scottish historians (fn. n1) that Carlisle, one of the strongest of the British towns was burnt by the Scots during the absence of the Romans in the reign of the Emperor Nero. It must have been after this event, and probably in the time of Agricola, that Carlisle was fortified with walls by the Romans as a strong frontier town, against the invasions of the Picts and Scots. So durable was their structure, that notwithstanding the recorded desolation of this town by the Danes, and the many subsequent repairs of the walls after its sundry sieges, much Roman masonry remained till of late years in different parts, particularly on the east side. When St. Cuthbert was at Carlisle in 685, we are told by Bede, that the citizens took him to see the walls and a well of curious workmanship made by the Romans. (fn. n2)
It was about the year 875, that Carlisle was destroyed by the Danes; and from that time, according to all our historians, it lay desolate till after the Norman conquest (fn. n3). None of the historians speak of any thing being done towards restoring the city before the time of William Rufus, except Matthew of Westminster, who says, that Ranulph de Meschines began it as soon as he had received the grant of Cumberland from the conqueror; and that William himself, on his return from Scotland in 1072, gave orders for fortifying Carlisle. If this account is to be credited, it seems clear that little progress was made at that time in the work; for the same author, in common with all the other historians, attributes the restoring of Carlisle and the building of the castle to William Rufus, who was at this city, and garrisoned it in 1092. That monarch sent a colony from the south of England to inhabit the city, and to cultivate the neighbouring lands. It is probable that the fortifications were some years in finishing, for it appears, that King Henry I. being at Carlisle in the year 1122, disbursed money for the building of the walls and castle: it is possible that they might have been then completed, although it is not improbable that both the castle and the walls were finished by David King of Scots, who, during several years possessed, and occasionally resided at this city. Fordun attributes the building of the castle, and the heightening of the walls to this monarch, and makes the date 1138: it is probable that he then gave orders for the latter, and for completing the buildings of the castle.
This city being a most important frontier town was frequently besieged during the wars between the English and the Scots, by which this county was particularly harrassed, in consequence of the contested claim to its dominion already spoken of. In the year 1135 Carlisle was taken possession of by David King of Scots, either by stratagem or a coup de main: in 1173, it was ineffectually besieged by William, King of Scotland; who returning the next year, regularly invested the city and continued the siege for several months. The garrison reduced to great straits and on the point of surrendering, was relieved by the capture of the Scottish king at Alnwick. His successor, Alexander, took the city in 1216; and as Fordun relates, afterwards the castle, which had held out during a protracted siege. Carlisle was surrendered to the English in 1217, and Walter de Grey Archbishop of York, sent to take possession of the castle. The writer of the Chronicle of Lanercost says, that the canons of Carlisle were banished by Gualo the Pope's legate, because, through fear of death, they had said mass for the Scottish king, when under sentence of excommunication.
In 1296, Carlisle was besieged for four days by the Earls of Buchan, Menteth, and other Scottish nobles; but was so bravely defended by its inhabitants, both men and women, that the siege was abandoned after three days. William Wallace, passing that way with his army, summoned Carlisle the following year, but finding the garrison prepared, did not stay to besiege it.
In 1315, Robert Brus then King of Scotland, besieged Carlisle for ten or eleven days (fn. n4); it was bravely and successfully defended by its governor, Andrew de Hercla, afterwards Earl of Carlisle, who, in 1322, having been accused of a treasonable correspondence with the Scots, was arrested on the 20th of September by Lord Lucy, in the castle of Carlisle, of which he was then governor (fn. n5), degraded from all his honours, and executed. This city is said to have been besieged and its suburbs burnt by the Scots in 1337, and again (Sir William Douglas being then their leader) in 1345. In 1380 an attempt was made on Carlisle, and one of its streets set on fire, by a party of borderers; and another ineffectual attack was made on it in 1385.
An army of Scots in the interest of King Henry VI. besieged this city without any other effect than burning the suburbs in 1461. In 1537 it was besieged by Nicholas Musgrave and other rebels, who were repulsed by the inhabitants. The attack on Carlisle Castle by William Scott, Lord of Buccleugh, in 1596, was not the least remarkable for its boldness and success. William Armstrong, a noted borderer, celebrated in ballads by the name of "Kinmont Willie," having been taken and carried prisoner to Carlisle on a day of truce, his release was demanded without effect. While redress was delayed, William Scott came with a party of 200 horse before break of day, made a breach in the castle, and carried off the prisoner in triumph before the garrison was prepared for defence. (fn. n6)
The garrison of Carlisle was reduced on the accession of King James in 1603. In consequence of the commotions in Scotland in 1639, a garrison of 500 Irish soldiers was placed in it. The Earl of Strafford, in a letter dated May 30, recommends that it should be increased to 1500 (fn. n7). It was reported to parliament, Oct. 20, 1641, that the garrison of Carlisle was disbanded and the soldiers sent to Ireland; the arms and ammunition were ordered to be kept and well laid up till the next spring (fn. n8). During the civil war which so soon afterwards ensued, Carlisle being occupied by the Royalists, and the Marquis of Montrose having retreated thither, was attacked in the month of May 1644 by the Earl of Calendar, who appears to have soon abandoned the siege (fn. n9). In the month of July following, Sir Thomas Glenham, who was the commander-in-chief in the North, after the capture of Newcastle, threw himself with his forces into Carlisle, where, in the month of October, he was besieged by General Lesley, with a detachment of the Scottish army; he defended the place, as Lord Clarendon observes, with very remarkable circumstances of courage, industry, and patience. Their provisions having been some time exhausted, and the inhabitants having been driven to subsist on the flesh of horses, dogs, and other animals, the city was at length surrendered to General Lesley, who then lay before it with the Scottish army, on the most honourable terms, the 25th of June 1645 (fn. n10). A coinage of shillings and three shilling pieces took place towards the latter end of the siege, specimens of which are to be found in the cabinets of collectors. The shillings are rather uncommon; the three shilling pieces extremely rare.
In the year 1648, when some of the last efforts were made to restore the power of the captive monarch; Sir Philip Musgrave, a zealous royalist, about the end of April took possession of Carlisle by surprise: the beginning of July he gave it up to the Duke of Hamilton, who garrisoned it with Scots, and appointed Sir William Levingston the governor: on the first of October it was surrendered to Cromwell, pursuant to a treaty made some time before, between the Marquis of Argyle and General Munroe. A large garrison was kept up at Carlisle two or three years after this; we find mention of Major General Harrison having sent 2000 horse from the garrison in pursuit of a party of Scots, in the month of June 1651 (fn. n11). Sir Philip Musgrave, who had been so active a royalist during the civil war, and was in consequence proscribed by the parliament, was made governor of Carlisle after the restoration.
During the rebellion of 1745, Charles Stuart having determined on the rash step of an invasion of this kingdom, entered Cumberland with the Duke of Perth, and an army of Highlanders; they laid siege to Carlisle, which was but ill defended with a garrison of militia, and two small companies of invalids, under the command of Colonel Durand, in the castle. The city was summoned on the 9th. The rebels approached in three divisions; the Duke of Perth approaching from Stanwix, the Marquis of Tullibarden towards Caldewgate, and Charles Stuart towards the Englishgate. The latter had his head quarters at Blackhall and Moorhouse. The Duke of Perth was generalissimo of the army. The rebels lay before it till the eleventh, on which day they marched to Brampton, where, according to Smollet, the keys of the city were delivered to Charles Stuart, by the mayor and corporation on their knees. He returned to the siege on the 13th, and the town and castle being but ill-defended, were both surrendered on the 15th. The Pretender was immediately proclaimed King of Great Britain, and his son regent, by the corporation in their robes.
The rebels, when they marched southward, left a small garrison in Carlisle. This, when they returned on their retreat to Scotland, on the 19th of December, was augmented, and the garrison was joined by several English, attached to the Pretender's interest. The Duke of Cumberland having pursued the rebels in their retreat, appeared with his army before Carlisle on the 21st of that month, but did not erect his batteries till the 28th, having waited for the arrival of cannon from Whitehaven. The garrison surrendered on the 30th, without having been able to obtain any better terms, than that they should not be put to the sword, but reserved to be dealt with according to the King's pleasure (fn. n12). Among the prisoners taken was the Rev. James Cappock, who had been made Bishop of Carlisle by Charles Stuart on his first entering the city. (fn. n13)
It is not only on account of the sieges it has sustained, that Carlisle is noted in history; it has been the scene of many important transactions; and the residence or occasional resort of many royal and illustrious personages. The visits of William the Conqueror, William Rufus, and Henry I. have been already mentioned. In 1137 Walter Espec and other English nobles, repaired to Carlisle to aid David Brus, King of Scotland, against Malcolm, a traitor (fn. n14). The following year David, attended by the bishops, priors, and peers of Scotland, received Alberic, the pope's legate, at Carlisle (fn. n15). After the disastrous battle of the Standard, in 1139, David fled to Carlisle, where he was joined by his son Henry: this city seems to have been frequently the place of his residence; here it was, that in the year 1150 Prince Henry, son of the Empress Maud, (afterwards King Henry II.) received the honour of knighthood at his hands, and an alliance was entered into between those princes and Ralph, Earl of Chester, against Stephen. David, and his son Prince Henry of Scotland, who died that year, met John, the pope's legate, here in 1152. David died at Carlisle in 1153. His succesor William, surnamed the Lion, had an interview with King Henry II. at this city in 1158, but parted without accommodating the differences then subsisting between them, in consequence of which the Scottish King did not receive the honour of knighthood, as had been intended. In the year 1186, King Henry II. was with a great army at Carlisle; the Scottish King also, and his brother David, appear to have been there at the same time, they being then on terms of amity with Henry.
After the battle of Falkirk, in the year 1298, the brave and victorious Edward I. marched with his army to Carlisle, where a parliament is said to have been holden on the 15th of September; the same monarch was at Carlisle again with his army in the year 1300. In 1306 a general rendezvous of the army destined for the expedition against Scotland, under Prince Edward, was appointed at Carlisle. His royal father arrived at this city with his queen and court, on the 28th of August, and remained here till the 10th of September: after a short progress in Northumberland, he was at Carlisle again for a few days in October. The parliament met at Carlisle on the 20th of January following; but did not proceed to business till the 25th; the King, who had been detained by illness all the winter at Lanercost, was not himself present at it before the 28th of February, but sent his lord treasurer Walter Langton, Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, and Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, to act as his commissioners (fn. n16). This parliament was called together for the purpose of considering the affairs of Scotland, and the exactions made upon the church by the pope's agents, and ordinances were made against these exactions, writs were issued also to bring the offenders to justice, but they were quashed at the intercession of the pope's legate, Peter D'Espagna, who attended that parliament for the purpose of settling the business of the marriage between Prince Edward and Isabel of France. The Cardinal is said to have preached in the cathedral on the subject of peace, and to have excommunicated Robert Brus (fn. n17). The King celebrated his last birth day at Carlisle, in June, and appointed a general rendezvous of his army there on the 8th of July. He himself being in the last stage of decline, left Carlisle on the 28th of June, and with much difficulty having reached Burgh on the Sands, died there after a glorious and prosperous reign, on the 7th of July. An express having been sent to Prince Edward, he arrived at Carlisle on the 11th; after having been to Burgh to perform his father's obsequies, he received the fealty and homage of the nobility and prelates in the castle at Carlisle on the 13th (fn. n18). This prince, who did not inherit either the courage or success of his father, returned to Scotland, but after a short stay, having abandoned his father's views with respect to that kingdom, quitted the Scottish borders, and was at Carlisle again in the month of September following.
Edward Baliol, the fugitive King of Scotland, was hospitably received at Carlisle by Lord Dacre, then governor, in 1332. King Edward III. was at Carlisle with his army in 1335. In the year 1537 the Bishop of Orkney and Bishop Tonstall, met at Carlisle as Commissioners, for settling a treaty of peace between England and Scotland.
In the year 1568, the unfortunate Mary, Queen of Scots, sought this place as an asylum from her enemies; but it proved to be the first scene of that tedious captivity which ended not but with her death. On the 15th of May, being some days after Mary's escape from Loughlevin, Lord Herries wrote by her command to Mr. (afterwards Sir Richard Lowther) then deputy of Carlisle, requiring to know whether if the Queen of Scots, his sovereign, should be compelled to take refuge in England, she might come safely to Carlisle. Mr. Lowther answered, that Lord Scrope, the Lord Warden, being then absent, he had no authority in such a case, pertaining to the state of a Queen, to assure any thing; but he would send by post to the court to know the Queen's pleasure; meantime, if any necessity should force the Queen of Scots to come to Carlisle, he would gladly meet her and receive her into his rule, and save her from all her enemies, till the Queen's pleasure should be known. On Sunday, the 16th, before the messenger from Carlisle could return with Mr. Lowther's answer, the Queen and Lord Herries embarked with about eighteen or twenty persons in a fishing boat, and arrived the same day at Workington. At first she endeavoured to conceal her rank, but certain gentlemen of the county hearing of her landing, and understanding that she was the Queen of Scots, brought her to Cockermouth. There she remained until Mr. Lowther, who was informed on the Monday night of her landing, had assembled the gentry of the county to escort her to Carlisle (fn. n19). The Earl of Northumberland, (who was in rebellion the next year against the Queen,) on hearing from his officers of Mary's arrival at Cockermouth hastened thither, with the intention of getting possession of her person, and followed her to Carlisle; but his attempt was frustrated by the judicious conduct of Mr. Lowther, who would not suffer him to visit the fugitive Queen with more than one attendant (fn. n20). The Queen having been informed, on the 20th, of Mary's arrival, sent express to the Deputy, requiring him to treat her with all honour and favour, and commanded Lady Scrope, the Duke of Norfolk's sister, with other ladies and gentlewomen, speedily to repair to Carlisle, and attend upon her. Lord Scrope and Sir Francis Knolles (her lord chamberlain) were at the same time ordered to repair to Carlisle, to watch the motions of the Queen of Scots, and report of her conduct. Mr. Henry Middlemore was employed also as an agent from the Queen to confer with Mary concerning her reception, and the crimes laid to her charge.
In a letter to his royal mistress, dated the 29th of May, Sir Francis gives an account of the first interview which he and Lord Scrope, the Lord Warden, had with Mary: he describes her chagrin at not being admitted into the Queen's presence, and recommends to her Majesty's consideration whether it would not be more honourable in sight of her own subjects and of foreign princes, to suffer Mary to return to her own country, if such was her choice. In the event of its being determined to detain her, he observes, "She cannot be kept so rigorously as a prysoner with your hyghnes honor (in myn opynyon) but that wth devyces of towels or toyes at hyr chamber wyndow or elsewhere in the nyght, a bodye of hyr agylyty and spyryte may escape soone beyng so near the border (fn. n21)." It having been determined to make Mary a prisoner, Sir Francis, though much against his inclination obliged to be her keeper, appears to have executed his trust with great fidelity. In a letter, dated June 15, he recommends Naworth Castle as a much safer place for her detention than Carlisle; he assures the Queen that every precaution should be taken to prevent her escape, which was possible, considering the small number of guards he had to look to every place, and that semblance of liberty which it was thought advisable to allow her. It was for the purpose of giving such a semblance, as appears by this letter, that she was allowed to attend divine service at the cathedral church. It does not appear, however, that she had much indulgence with respect to air or exercise. "Yesterday," says Sir Francis, in his letter of June 15, "hyr grace went owte at a posterne to walke on a playing-greene toward Skotland, and we with 24 halberders of Mastr Read's band wth divers gentlemen and other servants wayted on hyr. Where aboute 20 of hyr retinue played at footeball before hyr the space of two howers very stronglye, nymbylly, and skilfullye, without any fowle playe offerd, the smalness of theyr balls occasyonyng theyr fayr playe. And before yesterdaye since our comyng she went but twyse owte of the towne, once to the lyke playe at footeball in the same place, and once roode owte a huntyng the hare, she galopyng so fast uppon everye occasyon, and hyr hool retinue beyng so well horsyd, that we uppon experyence theroff, dowtyng that uppon a sett cowrse some of hyr frendes owt of Skotland myght invade and assaulte us uppon the sodayne to reskue and take hyr from us, we mean hereafter yff any sotche rydyng pastymes be reqwyred that waye, so motche to feare the indangeryng of hyr parson by some sodayne invasyon of hyr enemyes, that she must hold us excused in that behalfe (fn. n22)."
In answer to inquiries from the Queen and her ministers as to Mary's character, Sir Francis observes, "This Ladie and Prynces is a notable woman, she semethe to regard no ceremonious honor beside the acknolegyng of hyr estate regalle, she shoethe a disposition to speake motche, to be bold, to be pleasant, and to be very familyare; she shoeth a great desyer to be avenged of hyr enemyes; she shoeth a rediness to expose hyrselfe to all perylls in hoope of victorie; she delytethe motche to here of hardines and valiancye, comendyng by name all approved hardyemen of hyr countrye, althoe they be hyr enemyes, and she concealeth no cowardnes (fn. n23)."
In answer to inquiries about her attendants, and where they were disposed, Sir Francis signifies, that the number of her servants was about thirty or forty, including gentlemen sewers, and waiters, carvers and cup-bearers; but that not more than three or four of these were lodged in the castle; that the Lord Claude and the Lord Skarling, and the young Mr. Maxwell, with divers other gentlemen and their servants, lay in the town at their own charge, to the number of thirty or forty more, and between her meals these lords and gentlemen did visit the Queen (fn. n24). Lord Herries came afterwards to Carlisle. In a subsequent letter Sir Francis Knolles says, "as touchyng ye faulte that is fownd with me for not wrytyng what cumpanye this Queen hathe abowte her, of all sortes of men, women, and of the degrees of the parsons aboute hyr, what furniture she hath of anie stuffe of hyr owne for hyr parson, what horses and sotche lyke; I thought I had wrytten suffycyently in my letter of the second of this monethe," he then adds, that he had left out the Lord of Leveston among those that were in Carlisle at their own charges, and also "since the wrytynge of my sayd letter, Mistress Marye Ceaton, beyng the Lord Ceaton's daughter, ys come hether, and the Master Cookes wyffe, so that nowe here are 6 waityng women, althoe noone of reputation but Mystres Marye Ceaton, whoe is praysed by this Queen to be ye fynest busker, that is to saye, the fynest dresser of a woman's heade and heare, that is to be seen in any contreye, wheroff we have seen divers experiences since hyr coming hether, and among other pretty devices yesterday and this daye, she dyd sett sotche a curled heare uppon the Queen, that was sayd to be a perwyke, that shoed very delicately, and every other day-lighte she hath a new devyce of head dressyng withowte any coste, and yet setteth forthe a woman gaylye well. As towchyng hyr graces apparell besydes divers sutes of black coulor that she hath here, accordyng to hyr desyre we have agayne sent to Edenborogh to my Lord of Murraye for divers other sutes of apparyll, and we look tomorowe for retorne of the messenger. But she semeth to esteme of none other apparyll than of hyr owne (fn. n25)."
In a letter of the 7th of July, Sir Francis says, "My Lord of Murraye hath sent by owne messenger to this Queen three coffers of apparyl, but because her grace sayth that never a gowne is sent hyr hereby but one of taffyta, and that the rest is but klookes and coverynges for saddles, and sleeves and partlets and qwyffes, and sotch lyke trynkets, therefore she hath sent to my Lord of Murraye agayne for her desyred apparyll remaynyng in Lochlevin, but she doth offer our messengers nothyng at all for their pains and charges wherfore hyr hyghnes is lyke to bere the charges thereof also."
It appears that the chamberlain and lord warden had much difficulty in bringing the Queen of Scots to consent to being removed further inland. In his letter of the 28th of June, he states that she had positively refused to remove without letters of signet under the Queen's own hand to them directed. These, he says, he announced to her that night after supper, told her that the Queen had sent her own litter and horses, and used every argument to persuade her to remove "with contentation and good wylle" "we looke not," says he, "to have hyr remove wyth very good wyll for all this." In his letter of the 14th of July, dated from Lowther, Sir Francis says, "yesterdaye we removed the Queen hither to Mr. Loders house, he beyng deputie warden to my Lord Scrope. The cawse whye we chose thys howse for hyr fyrst remove towards Bolton Castle was, for that this howse is 20 mylles into the land from Carlysle, and standeth furder thereby from the reskue of the Skotts, than any other howse that we could have chosen, and we had none other choyse but a howse of Symon Musgraves, (that standethe neer to Skotland than Perithe towne) unless we shold have taken Perythe towne, the which we refused, not only becawse it standeth 4 myles neer Skotland than this house, but also bycawse there is more shyftes for escape in a towne lodgyng than there is in a gentlemans howse in the countrye. It chawnced Mr. Loder hymselfe so to come home that he mett wth the Queen five myles before she came to his howse; who declared in messuage to this Queen from hyr Hyghnes, that hyr Matie had prepared not only Bolton Castle, for hyr remove, but also 3 or 4 other howses; surely if I shold declare the difficulties that we have passed before we cowld get hyr to remove, in stede of a letter I shold wryte a storye, and that sumwhat tragicall; but this I must saye for hyr, that after she dyd see that nether hyr stowte thretenynge nor hyr exclamations, nor her lamentations cowlde dissuade us from our preparation and constant seming to have awthoritie and determynacyon to remove hyr (althoe we never sayd expressly that we had awthoritie to remove hyr nolens volens); then lyke a very wyse woman she sowght to understand whether yf she dyd remove she myght send some of hyr noblemen into Skotland to confer with her partie there, &c." (fn. n26)
Carlisle Castle is pleasantly situated at the north-west corner of the ancient walls of the city, on a steep bank, overlooking the Eden. The tower commands a rich and extensive prospect. This castle was probably the residence of the several royal personages, whose visits to Carlisle have been already spoken of. It was built, or rather begun to be built, as before stated, in the reign of William Rufus; in the reign of Henry III. it was in a very dilapidated state, in consequence of the damage done to it when besieged by Alexander, the Scottish King, in 1216, and which had not been repaired in the year 1256, as appears by the return to a commission of inquiry, directed to Sir Thomas de Lascelles and others (fn. n27). In this return the queen's chamber, Maunsell's turrett, the turrett of William de Ireby, the chapel, great hall, kitchen, and other offices, are represented as in a state of great decay. Having been in the mean time the object of frequent attack, when an estimate of its repairs was made in the year 1344, the expence of repairing the stone work was stated at 200l.; the wood work in the great tower, the great hall, and other buildings, at 100 marks; the repairs of the stone work of the walls, turrets, kernels, and gates, was estimated at 200l. the wood work at 100l. (fn. n28) In the reign of Queen Elizabeth the castle appears to have been in a very ruinous condition. It is stated in a survey, made in consequence of a commission of inquiry in 1563, that the dungeon tower, (which should be the principal defence of the castle) was in a state of great decay; and although the walls were twelve feet thick, was in daily danger of falling; that there was a breach in the outer ward (made by a fall of the wall in 1557) sixty-nine feet and a half in length, which wall had been nine feet thick and eighteen in height; the captain's tower also, and the gates, were much decayed. The great chamber and hall are spoken of in this survey. Upon this report the castle was ordered to be put in a state of repair. It appears that it was of sufficient strength in the middle of the following century to stand a siege of several months.
Among the governors of Carlisle in the reigns of Henry III. and the three Edwards, we find John Baliol and Robert Bruce, the younger, both afterwards Kings of Scotland, William de Fortibus, Earl of Albemarle, Peter de Gaveston, the favourite of King Edward II. Andrew de Hercla, Earl of Carlisle, and John Halton and John Kirkby, successively Bishops of Carlisle (fn. n29). A small garrison is still kept in the castle; the present governor is Major General R. Burne.
The castle is the site of the ancient royal manor of the socage of Carlisle, partly within the city, and extending over 500 acres of land in its immediate vicinity. This manor was demised by Queen Elizabeth, at the beginning of her reign, to Henry Lord Scrope, Lord Warden of the Marches; and after his death to George Clifford, Earl of Cumberland. The lease was subsequently vested for several generations in the noble family of Howard, Earl of Carlisle, but the Duke of Portland having succeeded in his claim to this manor under King William's grant, as parcel of the forest of Inglewood, it was included in the late Duke of Devonshire's purchase in 1787, and is now the property of the present duke. During the interregnum the inheritance of this manor was sold to Mr. Craister of Carlisle, but of course it was resumed by the crown at the restoration.
Capgrave says, that St. Cuthbert founded a nunnery at Carlisle, and placed an abbess in it, when he visited that city; but this is erroneous, for it appears by Bede's Life of Cuthbert, that the nunnery was of older date; that author, who was his contemporary, relates, that the object of his journey was to obtain an audience of Queen Ermengard, (wife of Egfrid King of Northumberland,) who was then on a visit to her sister, the abbess of that house. We have no other record or memorial of this nunnery, which was destroyed by the Danes, and very slender notices of a nunnery said to have been founded by David, King of Scotland (fn. n30), and of the convents of black and grey friers; both these were established in the year 1233, as appears from the chronicle of Lanercost. The black friers took up their abode without the walls, the grey friers within the walls of the city. It appears by an ancient bird's eye view of Carlisle in the British Museum (fn. n31), that they were afterwards both within the walls; the black friers was on the south side of the citadel, between the English gate and St. Cuthbert's church. The county goal was part of the conventual buildings. The grey friers stood on the east side of English Street.
In the reign of William Rufus, Walter, a Norman priest, began a monastery at Carlisle: it was completed and endowed in 1101 by King Henry I. who placed in it regular canons of the order of St. Augustine, and made his confessor, Adeluph or Athelwald, the first prior. The same monarch (in 1133) founded the bishopric of Carlisle, and made Athelwald bishop. From its foundation to the present time, there have been 54 bishops of this see, among whom may be particularized as distinguished characters, John Kirkby, the martial prelate already spoken of; Roger Whelpdale, a learned writer on logic, mathematics, and divinity; John Kyte, much employed in embassies by King Henry VII. and Henry VIII.; Archbishop Usher; Dr. William Nicolson, author of the Historical Library; Dr. Edmund Law; and Dr. John Douglas. The present bishop, Dr. Goodenough, one of the vice-presidents of the Royal and Linnean Societies, succeeded Dr. Vernon, now Archbishop of York, in 1807.
Linstock Castle, in the parish of Stanwix, was for many years the only residence of the Bishops of Carlisle. The manor of Dalston, to which RoseCastle is appertinent, was not granted to the see till the year 1229. It does not appear that they ever had a palace at Carlisle, although Bishop Halton, in the parliament holden at Carlisle, petitioned for a waste piece of ground, without the precincts of the castle, but within the city-walls, on which to build a house for himself and his successors. (fn. n32)
The priory was resigned into the hands of King Henry VIII. on the 9th of January 1540, by Launcelot Salkeld, the last prior, who, upon the establishment of the present chapter, in 1542, was appointed dean. The greater part of the lands and revenues of the priory, which had been valued at 418l. 3s. 4¾d. clear yearly income, was granted to the dean and chapter, together with the endowments of the dissolved priory of Wetheral. The establishment of the church of Carlisle under King Henry's charter, consists of a dean, four prebendaries, eight minor canons, a grammar-master, singing-men, &c. &c. The advowson of the prebends was given to the Bishop by Philip and Mary, in the year 1557. Sir Thomas Smith, Queen Elizabeth's secretary, was the second dean. Among the more eminent persons who have since filled that situation may be enumerated, Bishop Atterbury; Bishop Smallridge; Dr. Bolton, author of a popular essay on the Employment of Time, and other works of a similar nature; and Dr. Percy, the late Bishop of Dromore. The present dean is the Rev. Isaac Milner, D.D. who succeeded the Rev. Dr. Jeffery Ekins, the translator of Apollonius Rhodius, in 1792. The deanery formed part of the monastic buildings: the cloisters, except a very small part now remaining, were destroyed in Cromwell's time. The refectory of the convent, called the fratry, is now made use of as the chapter-house.
It is probable that the cathedral was begun before the foundation of the bishopric, being intended as the conventual church. A church is mentioned by some writers among the buildings of William Rufus. That part of the structure which has withstood the devastation of fire and spoilers, exhibits the Saxon style of architecture. It appears that the cathedral church was destroyed by fire in 1292. We do not find any authority for its having been involved in the conflagration of 1390. The choir is said to have been rebuilt by contribution in the reign of Edward III. and the tower by Bishop Strickland in 1401. The greater part of the nave of the cathedral, and most of the conventual buildings, were taken down during the Interregnum, and the materials used for repairing the walls and citadels. The remainder of the nave was walled up at the west end, and is now used as the parish church of St. Mary. The architecture of the cathedral, and the legendary paintings and inscriptions in the aisles, have been already spoken of.
The bowels of Richard Cœur de Lion are said to have been buried at Carlisle. Among the unknown ancient tombs in the cathedral are two which are supposed to be those of Bishop Welton, who died in 1362, and his successor, Bishop Appleby, who died in 1395. In the north aisle is the tomb of Bishop Strickland, who died in 1419. In the choir are the gravestones of Bishop Bell (with his effigies on a brass plate, as hath been already described), and Bishop Smith, who died in 1702. Against one of the pillars on the north side of the choir, is a monument of white marble, by Banks, in memory of Bishop Law (fn. n33), who died in 1787. At the east end of the cathedral are monuments in memory of Sir George Fleming, Bart. Bishop of Carlisle, who died in 1747, aged 81; his son William Fleming, LL.D. archdeacon of the diocese (1742); Mildred his daughter, wife of Edward Stanley, Esq. of Ponsonby, (1789); Gustavus Thompson, Esq. of Arcleby Hall, 1756; John Thomlinson, Esq. 1765; John Johnson, Esq. of Walton-House, 1800; and Cromwell Ward, Esq. deputy-governor of Carlisle (without date). Hutchinson mentions a brass plate for Bishop Robinson, who died in 1616, having been found in making some repairs behind the hangings at the high altar.
In St. Catherine's chapel, is the tomb of Bishop Barrow, without any inscription. In the south aisle is the monument of Dean Wilson, who died in 1778; and on the floor, the gravestone of Jane, wife of Dr. William Paley, Archdeacon of Carlisle, who died in 1791. This distinguished and popular Theologian, whose works are too well known to need enumeration here, was himself buried in the cathedral in 1805; but there is no inscription to his memory. He was several years archdeacon, and one of the prebendaries of this church, and at the time of his decease, enjoyed the subdeanery of Lincoln, a prebend of St. Paul's cathedral, and the valuable living of Bishop's-Wearmouth, severally given to him by Dr. Prettyman, Bishop of Lincoln, Dr. Porteus, Bishop of London, and Dr. Barrington, Bishop of Durham, in consideration of the great and deserved reputation of his theological writings. Bishop Vernon, his own diocesan, who had been the first patron of his distinguished merit, continued to show his friendship, and the high sense he entertained of his deserts by facilitating the arrangements for his subsequent promotions. Dr. Paley during his residence at Carlisle, published his Moral and Political Philosophy, his Horæ Paulinæ, Reasons for Contentment; View of the Evidences of Christianity, and Occasional Sermons.
The citizens of Carlisle in the year 1193, gave 10 marks for their liberties and privileges (fn. n34). It appears that they held the city in fee farm, in the year 1201 (fn. n35); in 1231 they obtained a confirmation of former grants (fn. n36). In 1292, they gave 10 marks for the privilege of having coroners of their own (fn. n37). In the reign of Edward I., the citizens pleaded to a quo warranto, that they were entitled to murage for all goods exposed to sale in the town; a free guild, a market and fair, &c. They claimed the free guild under Richard the First's charter, and pleaded that the town had been originally demised to them in farm by King Henry I., but not being able to make good their claims in consequence of the records of the town having been destroyed by fire, they were not allowed. The fire here alluded to, was a dreadful conflagration which had then recently happened, on the 19th of May 1292. The whole city appears to have been consumed, with the priory, the convent of Grey Friers, and their churches; the convent of Black Friers, being near the eastern wall, alone escaped. This dreadful conflagration is said to have been occasioned by an incendiary, who, from motives of resentment, set fire to his father's house, and was executed for the fact (fn. n38). The King, in consideration of this calamity, remitted the citizens a moiety of their fee farm rent, due the preceding year, and restored to them the city which had been taken into the King's hands by the justices of assize, by reason of the charters having been consumed as before mentioned, by the flames (fn. n39).
In the year 1352, King Edward III. in consideration of the importance of Carlisle as a frontier town, and the calamities the citizens had suffered by the plague, and by the assaults of besieging armies, granted them an ample confirmation of all the privileges they had before enjoyed by prescription; markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays; a fair for 16 days, to commence on the assumption of the Virgin Mary; the election of a Mayor, bailiffs, and coroners; assize of bread, &c.; pleas of the crown; trial of felons (fn. n40); goods of felons and fugitives; the place called Battle-Holme, for holding their markets and fairs; the city mill, the King's fishery in the river Eden, &c. &c. King Charles I., in the year 1637, confirmed all the former charters, and incorporated the citizens. The corporation consists of 12 aldermen, one of whom is annually elected mayor, two bailiffs or sheriffs, two coroners, and 24 common-council-men, with power to elect a recorder and town clerk.
There are eight fraternities or companies in this city, each of which has a hall, or rather, room, for they are all under one roof, in Fisher-Street. They hold a general meeting once a year, on Ascension day.
This city has sent two members to parliament ever since the reign of Edward I. The members are elected by the free burgesses, about 750 in number. (fn. n41)
The markets at Carlisle are still held on Wednesday and Saturday, and abundantly supplied with corn, cattle, and provisions of all sorts. The principal market day is Saturday (fn. n42). There was formerly a horse fair, the first Monday in June, for three days (fn. n43), which has been many years discontinued; there is a considerable cattle fair on the 26th of August; but the principal fair both for horses and cattle, is on the 19th of September. During these fairs, all persons are free from arrest in the city. A series of fairs or great markets for horses and cattle, commences on the Saturday after Oct. 10, and continues till Christmas.
In the reign of Henry VI. in consequence, as it appears, of the assizes having been removed to other places, by occasion of the wars with Scotland, an act of parliament passed, by which it was ordained, that in time of peace or truce the assizes for the county should be holden at Carlisle, as had of old been accustomed, and not elsewhere.
In the year 1810, in pursuance of an act of parliament obtained three years before, for the purpose of "enabling His Majesty to grant the citadel and walls of the city of Carlisle, &c. to the justices of the peace for the county of Cumberland, for building courts of justice for the said county," &c. the courts were begun to be built, in the Gothic style, from designs of Robert Smirke, Esq. Jun. R. A., and under his direction, within the walls of the ancient citadel, which consisted of two very large low round towers, flanking the English gate, and is said to have been erected in the reign of King Henry the Eighth. The courts were so far completed, as to be made use of for the assizes in the summer of the following year. A new county-gaol is about to be erected, under the same act of parliament, on the site of the Black Friers, adjoining the English gate.
Carlisle races, held in the month of October, on the Swift, are well frequented by the principal families of the county; they first commenced about the middle of the last century: the first King's plate was given in 1763. (fn. n44)
Our evidence respecting the population of Carlisle in the fourteenth century appears rather contradictory. We find, from the subsidy-roll of Edward III., that there were then 678 lay persons in Carlisle upwards of fourteen years of age, besides paupers. This was soon after a very destructive pestilence. Nevertheless, in the year 1390, though a second pestilence had in the mean time occurred, Carlisle, if we may judge from the number of its houses, appears to have been even more populous than it now is (fn. n45); for it is on record, that by a fire which had then recently happened, 1,500 houses were consumed in three of the principal streets, Castle-gate, Richard-gate, and Botchard-gate. (fn. n46)
We are told, that in the years 1597 and 1598 about 1,196 persons died of the plague at Carlisle, being a third of the whole number of inhabitants (fn. n47), which will give a total of about 6,000. Mr. Denton computes the number at 5,060 in 1688 (fn. n48). Browne Willis states them to have been about 2,000 only in 1716. The manufactures began to increase considerably about 1760. In 1763 the inhabitants were numbered, at the request of Bishop Lyttelton, and found to be 4,158. In 1780 they were again numbered, under the inspection of Dr. Heysham, and found to have increased to 7,677. According to the returns made to parliament in 1801 and 1811, the city and suburbs of Carlisle contained, at the former period, 1,338 houses (fn. n49) and 10,221 inhabitants; and at the latter, 1,709 houses (fn. n50) and 12,531 inhabitants.
Fuller mentions a manufacture of fustians established at Carlisle just before the Restoration, and expresses his wish that the undertakers might not be disheartened by their small encouragement. Carlisle first began to be of some importance as a manufacturing town about the year 1745 (fn. n51), when a large woollen manufactory was set up by some Hamburgh merchants, but after a few years it was discontinued. About 1750 a manufactory of coarse linen, and a new woollen manufactory, were set up. Soon after this, the cotton manufactory was introduced, and both that and the linen manufactory rapidly increased. Calico-printing was introduced about 1761. The principal articles of manufacture about that period were linen, checks, calicoes, and fustians.
A great change in the trade of Carlisle has taken place within the last fifteen years; it now consists almost entirely of the manufacture of cotton goods upon a very extensive scale. About 1,200 looms are employed in this manufacture in the town, and a still greater number in the neighbouring towns and villages. The principal articles made are ginghams for the West India market. The spinning of cotton is carried on also to a considerable extent; there being eleven cotton-mills in the town and immediate vicinity, containing about 80,000 spindles. There are three print-works, where the printing of cotton is carried on very extensively, and various other concerns connected with the cotton trade, such as dying, bleaching, &c. A small mill for weaving calicoes, a manufactory of carpets, and three iron founderies, have been lately established; and there are four public breweries.
It appears that there was a mint at Carlisle in the twelfth century, which seems to have been supplied with silver from mines in the county. (fn. n52)
The two bridges over the Eden at Carlisle, called Eden Bridge and Prestbeck Bridge, were of wood in the reign of Queen Elizabeth; when one of them having fallen down, and the other being in a state of great decay, an act of parliament passed for rebuilding them at the expence of the county in 1600, (43 Eliz.) It is probable that they were then first constructed of stone.
The above-mentioned act of parliament, passed in 1807, having empowered the county to rebuild Prestbeck Bridge; a new bridge was begun in the autumn of the year 1812, from the designs and under the direction of Robert Smirke, Esq. junr, R. A. and is now (1815) nearly completed: it is built of white freestone from the neighbourhood of Gretna, in Scotland; and consists of five elliptical arches, each sixty-five feet in diameter. Government advanced the sum of 10,000l. towards the building of this bridge, on account of its being in the direction of the intended new northern road to Port Patrick. Eden Bridge is to be removed, and a raised and partly arched causeway to be formed, connecting the town with the new bridge.
Carlisle is divided into two parishes, St. Mary's and St. Cuthbert's. The parish of St. Mary comprises the most populous part of the city; the townships of Caldewgate and Richardgate, or Richergate, in the suburbs; the township of Cumbersdale or Comersdale, about two miles south-west of the city; the chapelry of Wreay, and the distant and detached townships or hamlets of Middlesceugh and Braithwaite, not far from Hutton, in the forest of Inglewood, and in Leath ward. The commons of these townships have been inclosed under the act of 1803, for inclosing the forest of Inglewood. The manor of Middlesceugh belongs to Sir Frederic Fletcher Vane, Bart.; that of Braithwaite to Henry Brougham, Esq. The dean and chapter's manor of John le Chapple, or de Capella, extends over the greater part of this parish. Hutchinson, quoting from Milbourn's additions to John Denton's MS. gives an account of the manor of Caldcoates, alias Harrington House, afterwards called Coldale Hall, which belonged successively to the families of Canterelle, Semen, Coldale, Briscoe, Sibson, Dacre, and Forster. The Coldale-Hall estate, in Caldecote, held under the dean and chapter's manor of John le Chapple, now belongs to Henry Fawcett, Esq. M. P. for Carlisle.
The manors of Caldcoates or Calcottys, Newbiggin, New-Laithes, and Botchard-gate, were granted by Henry VIII. to the dean and chapter, among others, as parcel of the possessions of the suppressed priory. The three former seem to have merged into what is now called the manor of John le Chappie, or de Capella, so called probably from John de Capella, the founder of a chantry in the cathedral church. This name does not appear in the grant, but in some old court-rolls it is called the manor of John de Chapple alias Caldcoats. Newbiggin and New-Laithes are now called Granges.
The Socage manor of Carlisle, as before mentioned, extends over part of this parish. The bishop's manor of Low-Dalston extends into this parish; within which also was formerly a manor of Shaddon-gate, given by King Henry I. to one Morvin, whose son Harvey, gave it in marriage with his daughter, to Gwercius Flandrensis; it was afterwards in the Dentons. The demesne, called Denton's Holme, was sold by George Denton, Esq. of Cardew, towards the latter end of the seventeenth century, to Mr. Norman, and it is now the property of Mr. —— Dixon; the tenements held under this manor were about the same time enfranchised (fn. n53). Most of the lands at Shaddon-gate are now held under the bishop's manor of LowDalston, or the dean and chapter's manor of John Le Chapple.
The parish church of St. Mary, is as already stated, within what remains of the nave of the cathedral; the benefice is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the dean and chapter, to whom the great tithes are appropriated.
There was formerly a free chapel in Carlisle within this parish, with a cemetery, dedicated to St. Alban; in 1356 all persons were forbidden to officiate in it, because it had not been consecrated; it is probable that it afterwards received consecration, for we find that it continued till the reformation, and was suppressed with other chantries and free chapels in the reign of Edward VI.; it was then granted to Thomas Dalston, Esq. and William Denton. The site, which was near the town hall, is now divided into several tenements, held under the dean and chapter.
In the parish of St. Mary are meeting-houses for the Presbyterians, Independents, Baptists, Quakers, and Methodists, and a Roman Catholic chapel. Robert Milne, many years pastor of one of the Presbyterian congregations, who died at an advanced age in the year 1800, was author of Physico-Theological Lectures, &c. The Quakers have had a congregation here almost from the time of their first establishment: George Fox, their founder, was imprisoned in the dungeon at Carlisle, and suffered great hardships there in 1653.
The grammar school, in this parish, was founded by King Henry VIII. being coeval with the establishment of the dean and chapter; the endowment is now 190l. per annum, of which the dean and chapter, who are patrons, pay 20l., and the corporation of Carlisle 20l.; the remainder arises from the produce of an estate in the parish of Addingham, purchased with the sum of 500l. given by Dr. Smith, Bishop of Carlisle, who died in 1702. It is expected that the value of this estate will be considerably increased, in consequence of an inclosure which is about to take place.
The girls charity school, founded in 1717, was at first supported by subscription; Mr. Nicholas Robinson in 1719, gave the sum of 40l. to this school, Mr. Samuel How in 1722, the sum of 320l.; with these sums, lands were purchased, now let at 32l. per annum. The dean and chapter give 5l. per annum to this school, and the corporation 2l.; with these funds twentyone girls are clothed and educated.
The chapelry of Wrea or Wreay (fn. n54), in this parish, comprises the villages of Wreay and Newbiggin; the chapel of Wreay existed at least as early as the reign of Edward II.; it had no other endowment than the interest of a chapel stock of 200l. till augmented, in 1737, by Queen Anne's bounty (fn. n55). The present chapel was consecrated in 1739, when the nomination of the minister was reserved to the dean and chapter. The school here has an endowment of about 16l. per annum (fn. n56) : a school-house was built about the year 1760, before which time the chapel was used for that purpose. Woodside, in this chapelry, the seat of the late John Losh, Esq. has been for several generations in that family; it is now vested in his executors.
Newbiggin, formerly a manor belonging to the priory, has now merged into one of the other manors of the dean and chapter, the demesne was after the reformation divided into two estates, which are held on lease under the church. The hall was probably an occasional residence of the prior, who built there a tower of defence against the inroads of the Scots (fn. n57). The walls of this mansion are nearly eight feet thick, and the whole of the first floor has a plain vaulted roof (fn. n58). In 1688, Newbiggin hall, and a moiety of the demesne, were on lease to William Graham, Esq. from whose family the lease passed by purchase to the Lowthians. This estate is now in the occupation, and the hall the residence of the Rev. S. Bateman, who married one of the coheiresses of Christopher Aglionby, Esq. Mrs. Bateman's interest in it, is under the will of her aunt, the late Mrs. Lowthian.
The parish of St. Cuthbert comprises the district about English Street, the suburb called Botchard-gate, and the townships of High-Blackhall, or Blackwell, Low-Blackwell, Carleton, Harraby, and Uprightby, or Upperby. The six last, not included in the population of Carlisle, contain collectively 156 houses, and 855 inhabitants.
The manor of Botchard-gate, formerly belonging to the priory, and now to the dean and chapter, extends over the greater part of this parish; this township and the hamlet of Botchardby are said to have taken their name from one Botchard, a Fleming, who possessed, as Mr. Denton relates, a manor here, which passed in marriage with his daughter Isolda, to Guy the Forester. King Henry I. confirmed it to the latter, to be held by the sum of 6s. 2d. cornage money. The posterity of Guy took the name of Botchardby, and after four or five generations the family ended in females; after this it seems to have been in severalties; the whole or a part became the property of the Parvings, passed to the Stapletons, and by descent to the Musgraves; a younger branch of the Musgraves had a freehold estate at Botchardby in 1688. (fn. n59)
In the suburbs of the city, at the south end of Botchard-gate, was a hospital for twelve poor men and a master, dedicated to St. Nicholas, said to have been of royal foundation. A moiety of the tithes of Little-Bampton, was given to this hospital before the year 1180, on condition that two of the almsmen should always be of the parish of Bampton. This hospital was burnt and totally destroyed when the Earl of Buchan besieged Carlisle in 1296, and experienced a similar fate in a subsequent siege (fn. n60). In the year 1477, the hospital of St. Nicholas, with its lands, was granted to the prior and convent of Carlisle, and with other possessions of that priory, passed to the dean and chapter at the reformation; among the payments charged on the dean and chapter by King Henry's grant are 2l. 6s. 8d. to the chaplain of St. Nicholas's Hospital, and 5l. 17s. to three poor bedesmen there. The ordinances and statutes of the hospital of St. Nicholas are exemplified on the Patent Roll of the 15th of Edward III. On the site of this hospital is now a private dwelling house, the property and residence of Mr. Joseph Studholme. There are three almsmen, called St. Nicholas Almsmen, who receive 40s, per annum each from the dean and chapter; six other almsmen belonging to the cathedral establishment, have 5l. per annum each.
Harraby-grange, in this parish, formerly called the manor of Henderbye, belonged to the prior and convent of Carlisle, now to the dean and chapter.
The manor of Blackhall, anciently parcel of the forest of Inglewood, was given by King Henry I. to Odard de Logis, Baron of Wigton; Margaret de Wigton, heiress of this baronial house, in the reign of Edward III. gave this manor to Sir Robert Parvinge, the King's serjeant at law, for his care and pains in managing her cause, her title to the barony having been impugned by the heir at law, Sir Robert de Kirkbride, on the ground of her mother's incontinency. Sir Robert Parvinge, who by rapid strides attained the situation of lord chancellor and lord high treasurer, had a licence to inclose his woods at this place in 1339 (fn. n61). His representatives sold Blackhall to Sir William Stapleton, of whom it was purchased by Lord Dacre. In 1716 the coheiresses of Thomas Earl of Sussex, conveyed this estate to Sir Christopher Musgrave, ancestor of Sir Philip Musgrave, Bart. the present proprietor. Thomas Lowry, Esq. who died in 1779, left the interest of 100l. to the schoolmaster of this township, and 100l. to poor widows.
The parish church of St. Cuthbert was rebuilt the beginning of the seventeenth century; it contains no monuments of note. The Rev. Joseph Dacre Carlyle, chancellor of the diocese, and professor of Arabic in the university of Cambridge, who died in 1804, aged 45, lies buried at St. Cuthbert. This gentleman having previously made oriental literature his particular study, accompanied the Earl of Elgin to Constantinople, and at his return published specimens of Arabic poetry, and other translations from that language. He was at the time of his death engaged in the publication of an Arabic bible, and left behind him in MS. a dissertation on the Troas, and a Journal of his Travels.