Cumberland Family History Guide

Historical Descriptions

Cumberland is bounded North by Scotland and part of Northumberland, East by Westmorland and Durham, South by Lancashire, and West by the Irish Sea. It is 80 miles long, and about 40 broad. It is divided into 5 Wards; it has one City, one Borough, and 14 Market Towns. Rivers, the Eden and the Derwent. It is in the Province of York, in the Dioceses of Carlisle, Durham, and Chester, and in the Northern Circuit. It contains 1478 square miles, or 945,920 acres. Population, 178,038.

Source: Leonard’s Gazetteer of England and Wales; Second Edition; C. W. Leonard, London; 1850.

Parishes in Cumberland











  • Keswick, Cumberland
  • Kirkandrews on Eden with Beaumont, Cumberland
  • Kirkandrews on Esk, Cumberland
  • Kirkbampton, Cumberland
  • Kirkbride, Cumberland
  • Kirkland, Cumberland
  • Kirklinton, Cumberland
  • Kirkoswald, Cumberland


  • Lamplugh, Cumberland
  • Lanercost with Kirkcambeck, Cumberland
  • Langwathby, Cumberland
  • Lazonby, Cumberland
  • Lorton, Cumberland
  • Low Keekle, Cumberland
  • Loweswater, Cumberland



  • Nenthead, Cumberland
  • Nether Denton, Cumberland
  • Nether Wasdale, Cumberland
  • Newlands, Cumberland
  • Newton Arlosh, Cumberland
  • Newton Reigny, Cumberland
  • Nicholforest, Cumberland





  • Salter and Eskett, Cumberland
  • Scaleby, Cumberland
  • Sebergham, Cumberland
  • Setmurthy, Cumberland
  • Silloth Christ Church, Cumberland
  • Skelton, Cumberland
  • Skiddaw, Cumberland
  • St Bees, Cumberland
  • St John’s in the Vale, Cumberland
  • Stanwix, Cumberland
  • Stapleton, Cumberland




  • Waberthwaite, Cumberland
  • Walton, Cumberland
  • Wasdale Head, Cumberland
  • Watermillock, Cumberland
  • Westward, Cumberland
  • Wetheral with Warwick, Cumberland
  • Whicham, Cumberland
  • Whitbeck, Cumberland
  • Whitehaven Holy Trinity, Cumberland
  • Whitehaven St James, Cumberland
  • Whitehaven St Nicholas, Cumberland
  • Wigton, Cumberland
  • Workington, Cumberland
  • Workington St John, Cumberland
  • Wreay, Cumberland
  • Wythburn, Cumberland
  • Wythop, Cumberland

Wards of Cumberland

Division into Wards

The Earldom of Carlisle was divided into baronies, but on the creation of the county these were replaced by wards. These took the place of hundreds found in most other English counties, and originated in military subdivisions organised for the defence of the county from incursions by Scottish troops. Each ward was composed of a number of parishes, areas originally formed for ecclesiastical administration. In common with other counties of northern England, many parishes in Cumberland were very large, often consisting of a number of distinct townships and hamlets. Many of these subdivisions were eventually to become civil parishes and form the lowest level of local government. The wards and their constituent parishes in 1821 were:

The Wards of Cumberland

  • Allerdale above Derwent Ward
  • Allerdale below Derwent Ward
  • Cumberland Ward
  • Eskdale Ward
  • Leath Ward

Poor Law Unions in Cumberland

The Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 provided for the grouping of parishes into poor law unions, each with a central workhouse and an elected board of guardians. Cumberland was divided into nine unions: Alston with Garrigill, Bootle, Brampton, Carlisle, Cockermouth, Longtown, Penrith, Whitehaven and Wigton.

  • Alston with Garrigill Poor Law Union
  • Bootle Poor Law Union
  • Brampton Poor Law Union
  • Carlisle Poor Law Union
  • Cockermouth Poor Law Union
  • Longtown Poor Law Union
  • Penrith Poor Law Union
  • Whitehaven Poor Law Union
  • Wigton Poor Law Union

Maps of Cumberland

Benjamin Pitts Capper - A topographical dictionary of the United Kingdom (1808)

Map of Cumberland from the Atlas to the Topographical Dictionary of England', edited by Samuel Lewis 1845. Drawn by R. Creighton, engraved by T. Starling.


W L Warren (1984). “The Myth of Norman Administrative Efficiency: The Prothero Lecture”. Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 5th Ser., Vol. 34. Royal Historical Society. Retrieved 2009-06-19.

Youngs, Frederic A, Jr. (1991). Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England, Vol.2: Northern England. London: Royal Historical Society. pp. 648–649. ISBN 0-86193-127-0.Whillier, Thomas (1825). A General Directory to all the Counties, Hundreds, Ridings, Wapentakes, Divisions, Cities, Boroughs, Liberties, Parishes, Townships, Tythings, Hamlets, Precincts, Chapelries &c. &c. in England. London:
Joseph Butterworth & Son. pp. 28–31.