General history
Religious houses, boroughs, markets and fairs


Institute of Historical Research



Daniel and Samuel Lysons

Year published




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'General history: Religious houses, boroughs, markets and fairs', Magna Britannia: volume 4: Cumberland (1816), pp. XXXI-XXXIV. URL: Date accessed: 26 November 2014.


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Monasteries, Colleges, and ancient Hospitals.

The Austin monks had a priory at Carlisle; and it is observed, that when the church was made a Bishop's see, it was the only episcopal chapter of that order in England. The same order had a priory at Lanercost. The Benedictines had a priory of monks at St. Bees, and another at Wetheral, both cells to the abbey of St. Mary in York. The same order had a nunnery at Armathwaite, in the Parish of Croglin, the site of which is now called Nunnery, and another at Seaton alias Lekelay, in the parish of Bootle. The Cistertians had an abbey at Calder, and another at Holme-Cultram. The Black friers and Grey friers had each a convent in Carlisle, and the Grey friers another at Penrith. There is said to have been a religious house of ancient foundation at Carlisle, another at St. Bees, and a third at Dacre, destroyed by the Danes: David, King of Scotland, is said to have founded a nunnery at Carlisle: of these monasteries we have no further particulars. The churches of Greystock and Kirk-Oswald were collegiate. At Carlisle was an Hospital for 13 lepers, dedicated to St. Nicholas, and at Wigton an hospital and free chapel dedicated to St. Leonard.

Boroughs and Market-Towns.

This county returns only six members to parliament; two knights of the shire: two burgesses for Carlisle, and two for Cockermouth. Both Cockermouth and Egremont sent burgesses to the parliament at Westminster, in the 23d year of Edward I. It does not appear that Egremont ever received another summons. Cockermouth was restored in the year 1640, and has ever since returned two members.

Mr. T. Denton enumerates 15 market-towns in this county in 1688. He has omitted Hesket: probably the market was established, and the place acquired its present name of Hesket-Newmarket, since that time. The market is now very inconsiderable. Maryport market is of course of later date, the town having been long since built. The markets at Workington also have been established within the last century. The market at Allonby is quite of modern date.

The following is a table of the Cumberland markets, according to their present state:—

Market Towns.Market Days.Commodities.
Abbey-Holme, or Holme-CultramSaturday (in the summer only)Butchers'-meat, &c.
AllonbySaturdayButchers'-meat, &c.
Alston-MoorSaturdayButchers'-meat, oatmeal, potatoes, &c.
BootleWednesdayButchers'-meat, &c.
BramptonWednesdayCorn, potatoes, butter, &c. &c.
CarlisleWednesday and Saturday (which is the chief market)Corn, cattle, provisions of all sorts.
CockermouthMondayCorn and provisions.
EgremontSaturdayCorn and provisions.
HesketFridayButchers'-meat and other provisions.
KeswickSaturdayCorn and provisions.
LongtownThursdayButchers'-meat, &c. (famous for cranberries in the season.)
MaryportTuesday and Friday (the latter the principal market)Butchers'-meat and other provisions.
PenrithTuesdayCorn, and all sorts of provisions.
RavenglassFriday (fn. 1) Butchers'-meat.
WhitehavenTuesday, Thursday, and SaturdayButchers'-meat, fish, flour, oatmeal, &c.
WigtonTuesdayCorn and provisions.
WorkingtonWednesdayCorn and provisions.
SaturdayButchers'-meat and other provisions.

The following places had formerly charters for markets, which have been long ago discontinued; Greystock, Hayton, Kirk-Cambock, Kirklinton, Melmerby, Millom, Seaton, and Skinburness. The market at Skinburness, two or three years after the grant, was removed to Kirkby-Johan alias NewtonArlosh.

Fairs and Great Markets.

Towns, &c.On what day held.Description.
Abbey-Holme, or Holme-CultramThursday before Whitsuntide, and October 29.Horses and cattle.
Alston-MoorLast Thursday in MayBlack cattle, horses, and pigs.
Friday before Sept. 27.Black cattle, horses, and sheep.
First Thursday in NovemberBlack cattle and horses.
ArlochdenApril 24, the first Friday in June, and Sept. 17.Cattle.
Boonwood in GosforthApril 25.Cattle.
Oct. 18.Foals and cattle.
BootleApril 5. and Sept. 25.Cattle, &c.
BorrowdaleThe first Wednesday in SeptemberSheep.
BramptonThe second Wednesday after Whitsunday, and the second Wednesday in Sept.Young cattle, milch cows, sheep, and lambs.
April 15. and Oct. 23.Shew of cattle previously to the great markets at Penrith and Newcastle.
CarlisleAugust 26.Cattle.
Sept. 19.A great fair for horses and cattle.
Great markets on Saturday from October 10. to ChristmasHorses and cattle.
CockermouthWhit-monday and Martinmas MondayStatute fairs for hiring servants.
Great markets every Wednesday fortnight from the beginning of May till Michael masCattle, &c.
EgremontThe third Friday in May, and Sept. 18.Cattle, &c.
EnnerdaleThe second Tuesday in SeptemberSheep.
IrebyFeb. 24.Horses.
Oct. 18.Sheep.
KeswickThe first Thursday in May, and every Thursday fortnight for six weeks; the Saturday before Whitsunday, and on the Saturday nearest to the festivals of St. Michael and St. Martin, or on the festivals if they happen on SaturdayCattle. The Martinmas fair is noted also for the sale of rams and cheese.
Kirk-OswaldThursday before Whitsuntide, and Aug. 1.Inconsiderable fairs.
LongtownThursday before WhitsuntideHorses.
Thursday in Whitsun-week, and Thursday after MartinmasStatute fairs for hiring servants.
LoweswaterThe second Friday in SeptemberSheep.
NewlandsThe last Friday in SeptemberSheep.
RosleyWhitmonday, continued every Monday fortnight till MichaelmasA great fair for horses, cattle, sheep, cloth, &c.
ThrelkeldThe first Thursday in SeptemberSheep.
UldaleAugust 29.A great sheep fair.
Nether WasdaleThe first Monday in SeptemberSheep.
WhitehavenAugust 12.Yorkshire cloth, Irish linen, hardware, &c. &c.
WigtonSt. ThomasGreat markets for butchers'-meat, apples, honey, &c.
Feb. 20.A noted horse-fair.
April 5.Black cattle, stallions, Yorkshire cloth, hardware, &c. &c.
WorkingtonMay 18, and Oct. 18.Cattle.


1 There is a charter also for a market on Wednesday.