button to main menu  Capper's Topographical Dictionary 1808

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     CARLISLE, CI[T]Y OF, in Cumberland ward, Cumberland, 18 miles from Penrith, and 305 from London. It is situated in a forest, near the confluence of the rivers Eden and Caldew. Its name seems to be derived from the Saxon word Caer Lyell, that is, the city near the wall, from its contiguity to the great Roman wall; and it is said to have been founded by Luil, a petty king of the county, long before the Romans came into the isle; and the site of Old Carlisle is some miles to the south-west of the ground upon which the city now stands. Being a frontier town, it is fortified with a wall, a citadel, and a castle. The wall was first built by Egfrid, king of Northumberland, in the seventh century, and the citadel and castle by William Rufus. The wall has three gates or entrances into the city. The English gate to the south, the Scotch gate to the north, and the Irish gate to the west. It has two parishes, containing 1420 houses and 10,875 inhabitants, being 4479 males and 5742 females, of whom 2600 were returned as being employed in trade and manufacture. The buildings are good, and the streets are clean and spacious. There are two churches, St. Cuthbert's and St. Mary's, the latter of which is the cathedral, and is separated from the town by a wall of its own. The eastern part, which is the newest, is a curious piece of workmanship: the western part was destroyed during the civil wars: the east window, 48 feet high and 30 broad, of beautiful stained glass, is one of the chief ornaments; the inside of the church is adorned with sepulchral monuments; the ascent to the tower on the inside is very inconvenient by the extreme narrowness of the stairs; and what remains of this edifice, evinces it to have been once a noble structure. On the screens, in the aisles, are several historic paintings of St. Augustine, St. Anthony, and others, and to each painting is a distich in old Monkish rhyme, in an uncouth language, being neither Scotch nor English. The church of St. Cuthbert's has lately been rebuilt, and is now an ornament to the city. The principal streets are English, Scotch, Fisher, Castle, and Abbey streets, which are spacious and well paved. The guildhall, where the trades meet, is a mean and paltry building. The market-place is adorned with a pillar, on the top of which is a lion, and the bridges over the Eden are old-fashioned and very narrow; and although this city has been much improved within the last 50 years, and the population is greatly increased, yet much more still remains to be done, both for appearance and convenience. The Picts, wall (sic), which was built across the country from Newcastle, terminates near this place. It was once strongly fortified, but the castle and walls are now gone to decay, although it still has a governor, lieutenant-governor, a town-major, store-keeper, master-gunner, &c. but no garrison. It was taken by the rebels in 1745; but it was retaken three weeks afterwards by the duke of Cumberland, and deprived of its gates. In this castle, the unfortunate Mary, queen of Scots, was confined. It is a bishop's see, and was formerly part of the diocese of Durham; but made a distinct bishopric by Henry I. To this cathedral belongs a bishop, a dean, a chancellor, archdeacon, 4 prebendaries, 8 minor canons, &c. It is governed by a mayor, recorder, 12 aldermen, 24 common council-men, &c. The mayor's court is held every Monday, and the town-sessions every quarter. The session of assize for the county is held here once a year, to which there are two judges, one for criminal, and one for civil causes. They arrive in the city the tenth Sunday after Trinity. The Easter and summer quarter sessions are also held here. The manufactures consist of cotton-yarn, cotton and linen checks, osnaburghs, drills, worsted shags, stamped cottons, hats, shamois, tanned leather, lindsays, nails, hardware, dressed flax, ropes, &c. It sends 2 members to parliament, and gives title of earl to a branch of the Howard family. Market on Wednesday and Saturday; fairs, 26th August, and about 3 weeks after, and 2 statute days for hiring servants, the Saturday before Whitsunday and Martinmas. St. Mary's is a curacy, in the patronage of the dean and chapter of Carlisle; and St. Cuthbert's is also a curacy in the same patronage. Lat. 54° 56′ 0″. Lon. 2° 53′ 0″ W. - Hutchinson's Cumberland.
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