Alston is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Cumberland.

Alternative names: Aldstone, Alston with Garrigill, or Alston-Moor.

Other places in the parish include: Garrgill and Garrigill.

Parish church:

Parish registers begin: 1700; Separate registers exist for Garrigill: 1699

Nonconformists include: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Independent/Congregational, Primitive Methodist, Protestant Dissenters, Society of Friends/Quaker, and Wesleyan Methodist.

Parishes adjacent to Alston

Historical Descriptions

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

ALSTON, a town, a parish, a subdistrict, and a district, in Cumberland. The parish is also designated Alston Moor. The town stands on the South Tyne river, a little W of Middlefell, not far from the boundaries with Northumberland, Durham, and Westmoreland, at the terminus of a branch railway of 13 miles from the Haltwhistle station of the Carlisle and Newcastle railway, 26 miles by road and 35 by railway, ESE of Carlisle. Its site is a declivity, near the influx of the Nent to the South Tyne, amid a region of high, moorish uplands; and its appearance is relieved and beautified by the vales of the streams and by the neighbourhood of woods. Its houses are irregular, but consist chiefly of stone. The chief public buildings are a new town hall, the parish church, several dissenting chapels, a grammar school, a workhouse, and a stone bridge. The chief employments are connected with a woollen factory and an extensive mineral traffic. A weekly market is held on Saturday; and fairs on the third Saturday of March, the last Thursday of May, 27 Sept., and the first Thursday of Nov. The town has a post-office under Carlisle, a telegraph station, a banking office, and two hotels; and it is a seat of petty sessions and a polling place.

The parish includes also the chapelries of Garrigill and Nenthead. Acres, 35,060. Real property, £12,573, of which £4,243 are in mines. Pop., 6,404. Houses, 1,282. Much of the property belonged to the Earls of Derwentwater; and, after the attainder and execution of the last earl, was given to Greenwich hospital. The land is chiefly moor and mountain, either utterly sterile or grazed by sheep; but the rocks abound with rich ores; and the hills in some parts are pierced with spar caves. Lead mines began to be worked in the time of Henry III.; they became greatly extended about 1688; they increased to 119 in 1768, with an annual produce of about 167,544 cwt.; and they then began to decrease, but still amounted to 102 in 1814, with an annual produce of about 91,968 cwt. an aqueduct level, 5 miles in length, called Nent Force, was cut from the Nenthead mines to the town for carrying off the water. The lead ore generally contains so much silver as to yield from 8 to 10 ounces per ton; and that of Yadmoss mine, opened in 1828, has yielded 96 ounces per ton. Copper ore has been found in the same mines as the lead. Some of the caves in the hills make both a beautiful and an opulent display of minerals; and one, called Tutman’s Hole, has been explored to the extent of a mile from the entrance. Traces of the Roman Maiden-way are seen about a mile W of the town; and remains of Whitley castle, consisting of earthworks, substructions, and a moat, occur on Hall-Hill. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Durham; and includes the curacy of Garrigill. Value, £210. Patron, Greenwich hospital. The chapelry of Nenthead is a separate benefice. The grammar school in the town has £40 a year from endowment; and other charities have £65.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales 1851

Aldstone, or Alston-Moor, a parish in Leath ward, Cumberland. It is situated near the borders of Northumberland, and consists of a narrow valley surrounded by high lands, and inclosed on the west by the Cross, Hartside, and Thackmoor fells. Distance from London, 272 miles; from Brampton, 20, south-south-east.

Living, a discharged vicarage in connection with the chapelry of Garragill, in the archd. of Northumberland and dio. of Durham; rated at £7 13s., and in the parliamentary returns at £119; gross income £139. Patrons, in 1835, the commissioners of Greenwich hospital. The church was rebuilt in 1770. The chapel-of-ease is situated at Garragill. The whole tithes of this parish, belonging to the commissioners and governors of Greenwich hospital, were commuted in 1803. The relief of the poor in Aldstone and Garragill, comprehending a district of 55 square miles, is managed by a board of guardians. This parish is about 1,000 feet above sea-level, and remarkably sterile; but the mineral productions are rich and abundant, being of greater importance than any others in Cumberland. The mines are believed to have been first worked by the crown in the reign of Henry III. Their importance, however, does not appear to have been fully ascertained till about 1688, when they were in the possession of the earl of Derwentwater. In 1768, there were no less than 119 lead-mines in the parish, the average produce of which was 167,544 cwt. yearly, valued at £70,000. In 1814 there were still about 102 mines, producing yearly, 91,968 cwt. The ore contains much silver, generally yielding from eight to ten ounces per ton; and from that brought from Yadmoss mine, opened in 1828, not less than 96 ounces per ton are extracted. The present average value of the lead is 20s. per cwt. In the same mines copper has been found. For removing the water from the principal mine, a grand aqueduct level has been cut, called Nent Force. By means of this — which is 5 miles in length from the town to the shaft of the mine — a horizontal approach to the mine is obtained. There is one woollen mill in this parish, which, in 1838, employed 23 hands. In the hills there are extensive caverns, one of which, called Tutman’s hole, has been explored to the distance of a mile from the entrance; others, such as that of Dunfell — which is within the limits of Westmoreland — are dangerous, from the number and intricacy of the chambers and passages. These are adorned with spar and pyrites in various forms, and afford many beautiful specimens of minerals — Of the Roman road, called the Maiden way, traces are distinctly visible crossing this parish, about 1 mile west of the township of Aldstone; and about 3 from the town, on Hall-hill, a little below the bridge over the Tyne, are the remains of Whitley-castle, consisting of earth-works and foundation, surrounded by a moat. Pop., in 1821, 5,699, of which 1,288 were in the chapelry of Garragill, and the remainder in the township of Aldstone; in 1831, 6,858. Houses 1,285. Acres 35,060. A. P. £25,590. Poor rates, in 1837, £1,684.

The township of Aldstone, in the above parish, stands on a declivity near the confluence of the rivers Nent and South Tyne; 29 miles east-south-east of Carlisle. The houses are irregularly built, chiefly of stone, and roofed with slate; a supply of water is brought in pipes from a spring at the distance of half-a-mile. Besides the parish-church, there are places of worship belonging to the Independents, Wesleyan Methodists, and Society of Friends. The first Independent church was formed in 1754; the second in 1804; the Wesleyan Methodist church in 1800. There is a grammar-school endowed with £26 per annum, erected in 1828 by subscription; a Lancasterian school for 200 children has recently been instituted. The yearly revenue of other charities connected with this parish is £70 12s. There is a subscription-library, which was founded in 1821. The Newcastle Union Bank have a branch here. The market-day is Saturday; and fairs are held on the last Thursday in May, the Friday before September 27th, and the first Thursday in November for cattle, horses, linen and woollen cloth. There are also races on Easter Monday and Tuesday. The town is within the jurisdiction of the countv-magistrates, who hold petty-sessions every month at the Swan inn. Courts leet and baron are also held in the months after Easter and Michaelmas. The inhabitants are chiefly miners; but the town contains also manufactories of shot, sewing thread and flannel, besides a large brewery. Pop., in 1801, 3.626; in 1831, 5,244. Houses 1,006.— The neighbourhood is the most picturesque and romantic part of Cumberland.

Source: The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales; A Fullarton & Co. Glasgow; 1851.

Crosby’s Complete Pocket Gazetteer of England and Wales 1815

Aldstone Moor, (Cumb.) a market-town, and the most eastern in the county, situate on the declivity of a steep hill near the river Tyne, over which there is an ancient narrow stone bridge of one arch. The town consists ot a number of small houses built of stone, and covered with slate: with few exceptions their general appearance is mean. The church is a neat modern building, beside which there are 5 meeting-houses for Methodists, Quakers, and Independents. This town has a free-school, endowed with 20l. per ann. beside two Sunday schools, and a recently built school house for 200 children, to be educated on the Lancastrian plan. There is a cross post from Penrith 3 times a week, and another from Newcastle and Hexham every Saturday. The parish is very extensive, and the inhabitants are computed at between 5 and 6000. The surrounding country is bleak and desolate, and the vegetable productions are very inadequate to the consumption; but these disadvantages are compensated by the numerous mines of lead, which give employment to about 1100 miners, and are supposed to yield an annual profit of from 16,000l. to 20,000l. The parish itself is very small, but on account of the lead mines very populous: the number of its inhabitants is 5,079. The lands are part of the earl of Derwent water’s forfeited estates, and are held on a lease, granted for 1000 yrs. under the governors of Greenwich Hospital.

Market Days and Fairs. The market is held on Sat, Fairs, last Thurs. in May, and first Thurs. in Sept.

Principal Inns. Golden Lion, Three Crowns, and Crown.

Aldston Moor is distant from London 302½ miles. On the right is a turnpikeroad to Walsingham.

Source: Crosby’s Complete Pocket Gazetteer of England and Wales 1815; Baldwin, Cradock & Joy.

Parish Records

Cumberland Archives & Family History Groups

Cumbria Archives – covers Cumberland and Westmorland

Cumbria Family History Society


England, Cumbria Parish Registers, 1538-1990

Cumbria BMD

Cumberland ~ Births ~ Marriages ~ Deaths

Cumberland & Westmorland Newspaper Archives

Keswick At War Keswick War Memorial Cumberland History Ww1 Ww2 Boer

Cumberland Document Transcriptions

Records for England

Births and Baptism Records

England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975

Great Britain, Births and Baptisms, 1571-1977

England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

Marriage Records

England Marriages, 1538–1973

Great Britain Marriages, 1797-1988

England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

Death Records

England Death Records, 1998-2015

England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991

Great Britain Deaths and Burials, 1778-1988

England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

England and Wales, National Index of Wills and Administrations, 1858-1957

England and Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1640-1660

Non-Conformist Records

England and Wales Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8), 1588-1977



England and Wales Census, 1841

England and Wales Census, 1851

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United Kingdom, Merchant Navy Seamen Records, 1835-1941

War and Conflict

Great Britain, War Office Registers, 1772-1935

United Kingdom, Chelsea Pensioners’ Service Records, 1760-1913

United Kingdom, Royal Hospital Chelsea: Discharge Documents of Pensioners 1760-1887 (WO 122)

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United Kingdom, Militia Service Records, 1806-1915

United Kingdom, World War I Service Records, 1914-1920

United Kingdom, World War I Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps Records, 1917-1920

Newspaper Archives

British Newspaper Archive, Family Notices

British Newspaper Archives, Obituaries


Alston-Moor The Universal British Directory 1791 – Google Books


  • County: Cumberland
  • Civil Registration District: Alston
  • Probate Court: Court of the Bishop of Durham (Episcopal Consistory)
  • Diocese: Durham
  • Rural Deanery: Hexham
  • Poor Law Union: Alston with Garrigill
  • Hundred: Leath Ward
  • Province: York

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