Cockermouth, Cumberland Family History Guide

Cockermouth is an Ecclesiastical Parish and a market town in the county of Cumberland, created in 1806 from chapelry in Brigham Ancient Parish.

Other places in the parish include: Eaglesfield, Papcastle, and Dovenby.

Alternative names:

Parish church:

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1632
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1689

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

Adjacent Parishes

  • Isel
  • Brigham
  • Embleton
  • Setmurthy
  • Bridekirk

Parish History

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

COCKERMOUTH, a town, two chapelries, a sub-district, and a district in Cumberland. The town stands at the confluence of the Cocker and the Derwent rivers, and at the termini of the Cockermouth and Workington and the Cockermouth, Keswick, and Penrith railways, 8½ miles E by N of Workington. Many antiquities, Roman, Saxon, and Scandinavian, have been found in its neighbourhood: but they belong properly to Papcastle, about a mile to the west. A strong castle was built at it, soon after the Conquest, by Waldeof, Lord of Allerdale; and passed to the Umphravilles, the Multons, the Lucys, the Percys, the Nevilles, the Wyndhams. The castle was surprised by Douglas in 1387; it became the prison of Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1568; it stood a siege of about a month, in 1648, for Charles I., but was captured and dismantled; and excepting a small portion fitted up as a private residence, it never was restored. The ruin occupies a bold elevation between the Cocker and the Derwent; comprises two courts within the outer walls; and indicates great military strength of both structure and position. One part of it, including the great tower, stood on the brink of a precipice overhanging the rivers: other parts were defended by moat, drawbridge, and portcullis; the chief parts remaining are clad with ivy and look imposing; and a subterranean chamber, 30 feet square, has a groined roof, upheld in the centre by a single octagonal pillar. Wordsworth, the poet, was a native of the town, and spent much of his boyhood in it; and, in one of his sonnets, he represents the spirit of the castle as thus addressing him:-

Thou look’st on me. Dost fondly think, Poet ! that, stricken as both are by years, We, differing once so much, are now compeers, Prepared, when each has stood his time, to sink Into the dust? Erewhile a sterner link United us-w hen thou, in boyish play, Entering my dungeon, didst become a prey To soul-appalling darkness. Not a blink Of light was there; and thus did I, thy tutor, Make thy young thoughts acquainted with the grave, When thou wert chasing the wing’d butterfly Through my green courts, or climbing, a wild suitor, Up to the flowers whose golden progeny Still round my shatter’d brow in beauty wave.

The town is cut in two by the Cocker; contains two principal streets, besides minor ones; and is irregularly built, but has undergone great recent improvement. A public walk, about a mile in length, extends along the Derwent from the base of the castle to the base of lofty wooded cliffs. A one-arched bridge, erected in 1828, crosses the Cocker; a two-arched one, 270 feet long, crosses the Derwent; and a high level one has been built since 1860. The market-place and the moot-hall are neat recent erections. A fine old church was destroyed by fire in 1850; and the new church, built afterwards, is a handsome edifice, with a memorial window to Wordsworth. Another church, on a site in the lower part of the town, was erected in 1865. There are five dissenting chapels, a grammar school with £24, a mechanics’ institute, a library, a dispensary, a workhouse, a head post office, a railway station, two banking offices, and two chief inns. Thread is largely manufactured; and the old trades have very much declined. Markets are held on Mondays and Saturdays; a horse fair on 18 Feb.; and other fairs on Whit-Monday, the Wednesday after the first Monday of May, and 10 Oct. The town is a seat of petty sessions and a polling-place; and it sent two members to parliament from the time of Charles I. till 1867, but it now sends only one. Its electoral limits include the chapelries of Cockermouth, and the townships of Brigham and Eaglesfield, in the parish of Brigham; and the townships of Bridekirk and Papcastle, with a detached uninhabited part of Dovenby township, in the parish of Bridekirk. Direct taxes in 1857, £3,368. Electors in 1868, 356. Pop. in 1841, 6,420; in 1861, 7,057. Houses, 1,543. The chapelries comprise 2,326 acres. Real property, £22,423; of which £4,019 are in railways, £300 in mines, and £200 in gas-works. Pop., 5,388. All Saints is a p. curacy, Christchurch a vicarage. Value of the former, £132. Patron, the Earl of Lonsdale.

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

Parish Records

FamilySearch Catalog


Census returns for Cockermouth, 1841-1891

Church Records

Births and baptisms Author: Independent Church (Cockermouth)

Bishop’s transcripts for All Saints Church, Cockermouth, 1689-1862 Author: Church of England. All Saints Church (Cockermouth, Cumberland)

Church records, 1841-1910 Author: Wesleyan Methodist Chapel. Cockermouth Circuit (Cumberland); Wesleyan Methodist Chapel. Cockermouth and Keswick Circuit (Cumberland)

Church records, 1893-1956 Author: Primitive Methodist Church. New Street Circuit (Cockermoouth, Cumberland); Primitive Methodist Church. Keswick and Cockermouth Circuit. New Street Section (Cumberland)

Cockermouth miscellanea Author: Cumbria Family History Society

Cockermouth registers, 1632-1742 Author: Church of England. All Saints Church (Cockermouth, Cumberland); Bridgewater, R. D.

Marriages, births and burials, 1687-1797 Author: Society of Friends. Cockermouth Preparative Meeting (Cumberlandshire)

Parish registers for All Saints Church, Cockermouth, 1632-1881 Author: Church of England. All Saints Church (Cockermouth, Cumberland)

Parish registers for Christ Church, Cockermouth, 1865-1883 Author: Church of England. Christ Church (Cockermouth, Cumberland)

Computer printout of Cockermouth, All Saints, Cumb., Eng

Computer printout of Cockermouth, Independent, Cumb., Eng

Parish register printouts of Cockermouth, Cumberland, England (All Saint) ; marriages, 1813-1862 Author: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Genealogical Department

Parish register printouts of Cockermouth, Cumberland, England (All Saints) ; christenings, 1813-1862 Author: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Genealogical Department

Parish register printouts of Cockermouth, Cumberland, England (Independent) ; christenings, 1737-1837 Author: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Genealogical Department


The memorial inscriptions of All Saints’, Cockermouth : first published in 1874 by the West Cumberland Times new[s]paper Author: Smith, D.

Register of Burials, 1857-1859 Author: Cockermouth Cemetery (Cumberland)

Vital records

Coroners’ inquest records for the liberties of Cockermouth and Egremont, 1693-1875 (with some copies from 1610)

Poorhouses & Poor Law

Parish records, 1668-1922 Author: Cockermouth (Cumberland)

Workhouse records, 1842-1922 Author: Cockermouth Union (Cumberland)


Parish records, 1668-1922 Author: Cockermouth (Cumberland)


Cockermouth miscellanea Author: Cumbria Family History Society

History of the Congregational Church, Cockermouth : being selections from its own records Author: Lewis, W

Cockermouth, a history and guide Author: Winter, Horace E.

A history of Cockermouth Author: Bradbury, J. Bernard


Vision of Britain historical maps


  • County: Cumberland
  • Civil Registration District: Cockermouth
  • Probate Court: Court of the Archdeaconry of Richmond Western Deaneries - Copeland
  • Diocese: Carlisle
  • Rural Deanery: Copeland
  • Poor Law Union: Cockermouth
  • Hundred: Allerdale above Derwent Ward
  • Province: York