A brief history of Cumbria
is located in the North West of England. The County boundary is naturally defined
by the Irish Sea to the West, from the Solway Firth to Morecambe Bay, with the
Scottish border to the north and the Pennine hills to the east.
In it's history Cumbria has been a fortified and disputed land.
The Romans used Cumbria as a military mustering area for incursions into Scotland, and also to protect more southerly settlements. Roman fortification culminated in the construction of Hadrian's Wall, an 80 mile long defensive structure with forts, ditches, encampments and watch towers. Hadrian's Wall runs from Newcastle upon Tyne in the East to Bowness on Solway in the west, effectively connecting these two coasts, separating England from Scotland and was built between AD122 and AD138.
The Romans left England and Cumbria in the 5th Century, leaving the county to an influx of Anglo-Saxon immigrants which in the end drove the indigenous population of Celts out of the fertile lowland plains.
The 7th to 10th centuries saw rival claims from Scottish and Anglo-Saxon kings for sovereignty over much of the county. These battles saw the end of the last of the Celtic Kings, Dunmail in 945. During this time the region was also being colonised by immigrants from Ireland and Scandinavia. This mixture of Celts, Anglo-Saxons and Scandinavians, as well as the previous Roman population gives Cumbria it's diverse array of place names.
The disputed ownership of Cumbria and the frequently military assaults that took place in the region between the 11th and 14th centuries meant that the purely civil system of administration that developed in the rest of the country did not happen. Instead a series of military based baronies formed, at the heart of which was a string of Castles. Political control of the area by the English was strengthened by religion and the establishment of the diocese of Carlise in the 12th century, even so sporadic raids still continued over the next few hundred years.
These turbulent times for Cumbria left it somewhat isolated from the rest of the country both economically and culturally. The mountainous terrain further isolated the region from industrial development as building canals was difficult, and road transportation was poor relying for a long time on pack animals. However the western sea ports offered a means of transporting goods to the rest of England and the World. Cumbria being rich in minerals attracted, coal, copper, tin and iron mining.
The arrival of the railway was arguably the greatest factor in ending the social and economic isolation of Cumbria. The first line in the county linked Carlise and Newcastle in the 1830's. Not only did the railways allow the easy export of goods and create jobs, but they also allowed people to visit.
Cumbria has a population of approximately 500,000
Useful phone numbers and codes
UK country code: 00 44
(fire, police, medical)
Dial : 999