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

Other places in the parish include: Stainburn and Winscales.

Alternative names:

Parish church: St. Michael

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1670
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1676

Nonconformists include: Baptist, Independent/Congregational, Presbyterian, Primitive Methodist, Roman Catholic, and Wesleyan Methodist.

Table of Contents

Adjacent Parishes

Parish History

Workington Hagg Hill Market

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

WORKINGTON, a town, a parish, and a sub-district, in Cockermouth district, Cumberland. The town stands on the coast, at the mouth of the river Derwent, and on the Maryport and Whitehaven railway, at the junction of the railway to Cockermouth, 7 miles N by E of Whitehaven.

It was only a fishing-village in the time of Henry VIII.; underwent change, from the opening of coal-mines, in the time of Elizabeth; grew thence to consequence, by mining, manufacture, and commerce; was fostered, in its prosperity, by the family of Curwen, whose seat, called W. Castle, stands at its E side, and gave shelter to Mary Queen of Scots, on her flight from Scotland.

It is a seat of petty sessions and a head-port; presents an appearance partly irregular and dingy, partly well built, modern, and pleasant; extends nearly a mile along the Derwent; carries on ship-building, iron-working, tin-plate-working, and straw-plait-making: exports much coal from mines immediately contiguous, and extending beneath the sea; possesses a harbour for vessels of 400 tons and under, with two fixed lights, and with a tidal basin and railway connexions formed in 1862-8.

It has a head post-office, a r. station with telegraph, a banking office in the Italian style built in 1866, three chief inns, a three-arched bridge, public offices, a corn-market, a custom-house, assembly-rooms, a theatre, a subscription-library and newsroom, a mechanics’ institute, a church rebuilt in 1770, another church built in 1823, four dissenting chapels, a Roman Catholic chapel, national and British schools, a dispensary, charities £36, markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and fairs on the Wednesday before Holy Thursday and 18 Oct.

The vessels belonging to the port, at the beginning of 1868, were 79 sailing-vessels of aggregately 19,807 tons, and 1 steam-vessel of 17 tons. The vessels which cleared in 1867 were 1 sailing-vessel of 118 tons, to British colonies; 10 sailing-vessels, of aggregately 1,131 tons, to foreign countries; 1,034 sailing-vessels, of aggregately 102,104 tons, coastwise; and 27 steam vessels, of aggregately 1,621 tons, coastwise.

The amount of customs, in 1862, was £2,241. Real property, in 1860, £18,303; of which £60 were in quarries, £100 in iron-works, and £100 in gasworks. Pop. in 1851, 6,280: in 1861, 6,467. Houses, 1,530.

The parish includes Little Clifton, Great Clifton, Stainburn, and Winscales townships; and comprises 7,630 acres of land , and 580 of water. Pop. in 1851, 7,159; in 1861, 7,834. Houses, 1,794.

The head living is a rectory, and that of St. John is a vicarage, in the diocese of Carlisle. Value of the former, £966; of the latter, not reported. Patron of the former, H. Curwen, Esq.; of the latter, the Rector of W. The p. curacy of Clifton is a separate benefice.

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

A Topographical Dictionary of England 1848

WORKINGTON (St. Michael), a market-town, sea-port, and parish, in the union of Cockermouth, Allerdale ward above Derwent, W. division of Cumberland; containing, with the chapelry of Great Clifton, and the townships of Little Clifton, Stainburn, and Winscales, 6994 inhabitants, of whom 6045 are in the town, 34 miles (S. W. by W.) from Carlisle, and 310 (N. W. by N.) from London.

The only historical circumstance of interest connected with this place is the landing here, in 1568, of Mary, Queen of Scots, when she sought an asylum in England, after her escape from the field of Langside. She was hospitably entertained at Workington Hall (the apartment she occupied being still called the Queen’s chamber), until Elizabeth gave directions for her removal to Carlisle Castle.

The town is situated on the southern bank of the Derwent, near its influx into the sea, and, in addition to the older part, which is narrow and irregular, contains some modern streets, in which are many handsome and well built houses. It is supplied with water from the Derwent, and in 1840 an act was passed for paving, watching, and otherwise improving the town. There are a small theatre in Christian-street, and an assembly and news room in the Square.

The Hall, the ancient seat of the Curwens, occupies an eminence on the south side of the river, commanding beautiful views of the surrounding country, the sea, and part of Scotland. Upon the Cloffocks, an extra-parochial meadow or island north-east of the town, on the banks of the Derwent, races are held annually in August. A handsome stone bridge of three arches crosses the river, at the entrance into the town from Maryport; it was erected in 1763, at the expense of the county.

Workington Harbour Mouth

The trade principally arises from the exportation of coal to Ireland, in which more than 100 vessels are employed. The harbour, being secured by a breakwater, is one of the safest on the coast: the entrance is lighted with gas. Great improvement was effected in enlarging the quays, by the late Mr. Curwen; and in 1840, an act was passed for the preservation and regulation of the harbour.

About 500 persons are engaged in the collieries; and there are three ship-builders’ yards, in which vessels of from 300 to 400 tons’ burthen are constructed; also two patent-slips.

The manufacture of cordage and other articles connected with the shipping is carried on, though not so extensively as formerly; and a factory for imitation Leghorn hats gives employment to upwards of 400 men, women, and children, during the summer months, in the preparation of the straw, which is grown in the neighbourhood. The salmon-fishery, for which Camden mentions the place to be famous, although not so productive as in his time, is still pursued in the Derwent and along the coast.

The Whitehaven and Maryport railway passes by the town, and has a station here, 7 miles distant from Whitehaven, and 5 from Maryport. In 1845, an act was obtained for a railway from the harbour to Cockermouth: this line, 8¾ miles in length, was completed April 28th, 1847.

The markets are on Wednesday and Saturday, of which the former, a large corn-market lately removed to Washington-street, is the principal: there is another market-place, for butter, poultry, &c, which is connected with convenient shambles for butchers’ meat. The fairs, on the 18th of May and October, have nearly fallen into disuse. Manor courts occur occasionally; and the county magistrates hold petty-sessions every Wednesday, at the public office in Udale-street.

The living is a rectory, valued in the king’s books at £33. 5.; net income, £966; patron, Henry Curwen, Esq.: the tithes were commuted for land in 1809. The church, situated at the west end of the town, and rebuilt in 1770, is a handsome structure in the later English style, with a square tower.

St. John’s district church was erected under the auspices of Her Majesty’s Commissioners, the first stone being laid on April 15th, 2822; it is a fine building of the Tuscan order, with a portico and cupola, and the cost of its erection was upwards of £10,000. The living is in the gift of the Rector, who also presents to the chapel at Clifton.

There are places of worship for Independents, Primitive Methodists, Wesleyans, Presbyterians, and Roman Catholics. A school was founded in 1808, by the late Mr. Curwen, when the free grammar school was broken up; a school of industry was established in 1816, for thirty girls, and several benevolent institutions are maintained by voluntary contributions.

On an eminence near the sea, a short distance hence, are the remains of an ancient dilapidated building called the Old Chapel, which, as it commanded an extensive view of Solway Firth and the Scottish coast, was probably used as a watch-tower, to guard against the incursions of the Scots.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis 1848

Parish Records

FamilySearch Catalog

Register of burials

Census returns for Workington, 1841-1891

United Reformed Church, South William Street, Workington : bi-centennial 1780 services 1980 Author: Forster, F.

Births and baptisms, 1745-1836 and burials, 1789-1836 Author: Independent Church (Workington)

Births and baptisms, 1745-1837 Author: Presbyterian Church (Workington, England)

Bishop’s transcripts for Great Clifton and Little Clifton, 1822-1880 Author: Church of England. Chapelry of Great Clifton

Bishop’s transcripts for Workington, 1855-1861 Author: Church of England. St. John’s Church (Workington, Cumberland)

Bishop’s transcripts St. Michael’s Church, Workington, 1856-1863 Author: Church of England. St. Michael’s Church (Workington, Cumberland)

Bishop’s transcripts Workington, 1689-1855 Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Workington (Cumberland)

Church records, 1799-1876 Author: Church of England. St. John’s Church (Workington, Cumberland)

Church records, 1835-1854 Author: Wesleyan Methodist Chapel (South William Street, Workington, Cumberland)

Church records, 1841-1889 Author: Wesleyan Methodist Chapel. Workington Circuit (Workington, Cumberland)

Church records, 1891-1934 Author: United Methodist Free Church (Victoria Road, Workington, Cumberland)

Church records, 1893-1950 Author: Wesleyan Methodist Chapel (Westfield, Cumberland)

Church records, 1893-1964 Author: Wesleyan Methodist Chapel (Bridgefoot, Cumberland)

Church records, 1894-1964 Author: Wesleyan Methodist Chapel (Great Clifton, Cumberland)

Church records, 1896-1973 Author: Wesleyan Methodist Chapel (Queen Street, Workington, Cumberland)

Marriages at Workington, 1670-1837 Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Workington (Cumberland)

Parish register transcripts, christenings & marriages [abt. 1670-1812] Author: Norman, Bertram William Tuff, 1880-1959

Parish registers for St. John’s Church, Workington, 1824-1889 Author: Church of England. St. John’s Church (Workington, Cumberland)

Parish registers for Workington, 1663-1904 Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Workington (Cumberland)

Workington BT’s, baptisms, 1752-1837, burials, 1676-1837 Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Workington (Cumberland); Sykes, Audrey M. M.

Allerdale burial index

Computer printout of Great and Little Clifton, Cumb., Eng

Computer printout of Workington, Presbyterian, Cumb., Eng

Computer printout of Workington, Priestgate Low Meeting House Independent, Cumb., Eng

Computer printout of Workington, St. Michael, Cumberland, England

Parish register printouts of Workington, Cumberland, England (Presbyterian Church) ; christenings, 1745-1837

Parish register printouts of Workington, Cumberland, England Independent Church, Priestgate Low Meeting House) ; christenings, 1745-1837

Church records, 1799-1876 Author: Church of England. St. John’s Church (Workington, Cumberland)

The crown register of admission, progress & withdrawal, 1888-1897 Author: Lawrence Street School. Infants Department (Workington, Cumberland)

The national school register of admission, progress & withdrawal, 1881-1897 Author: St. Michael’s Board School. Boy’s Department (Workington, Cumberland)


Kelly’s Directory of the Leather Trades 1880

Market day Thursday

Boot & Shoe Makers Warehouses & Dealers
Bird James 14 Pow street
Birkitt William 36 Wilson street & 49 Church street
Coultham Thomas 48 Pow st
Cowen Thomas 35 Pow street
Crone John 15 Wilson street
Elliot Thomas 22 Wilson street
Hewitson Joseph 3 Derwent & 10 Curwen street
Hodgson Thomas 14 Church st
McAleer Henry 29 Pow street
Martin John Jane street
Moncrieff Robert 2 Brow top
Muldram Joseph 57 Church st
Pearson Brothers 53 Derwent st
Pears Miss Mary Ann 16 Wilson st
Robinson Christian Pow street
Taylor William & Chambers 39 Pow street
Taylor Charles Ratcliff 27 Washington street
Wood Joseph 8 Washington st

Clog & Patten Makers
Crone John 15 Wilson street
Harrison Thomas 59 Church st
Hewitson Joseph 3 Derwent street & 10 Curwen street
Madine Hugh Market place
Pearson Brothers 53 Derwent st
Robinson Christian Pow street

Coach & Carriage Builder
Allan George 45 High street

Currier Grindery Dealer & Leather Merchant
Bayliff Wm 12 Washington st

Fellmonger Leather Dresser & Tanner
Fawcett Jsph Stainburn tannery

Leather Cutters & Sellers
Bayliff Wm 12 Washington st
Birket William 36 Wilson street & 29 Church street

Saddler & Harness Maker
Elwood Richard 30 Washington street


  • 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

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