( ; formerly also spelt
, an even older spelling is
) is an area of
North West England
and one of the
39 historic counties of
. It formed an administrative county from 1889 to
1974 and now forms part of Cumbria.
time of the Domesday Book in 1086
parts of the county were considered to either form part of Yorkshire or be within the separate kingdom of Scotland, having historically been
associated with the Kingdom of
The Normans conquered the area that is
today Cumbria in 1092 during the reign of William II
and created the baronies of
Kendal and Westmorland which were originally distinct jurisdictions
with separate sheriffs, but were formed into a single county of
Westmorland in 1226/7.. Before 1226 the Barony of Kendal was
connected to the Earldom or Honour of
while that of Westmorland was part of the Earldom of Carlisle
historic county boundaries are with Cumberland to the north, County
Durham and Yorkshire to the east, and Lancashire to the south and west. Windermere forms part of the western border with Lancashire north of the sands, and Ullswater part of the border with Cumberland.
highest point of the county is Helvellyn at 950m (3,117 ft).
According to the 1831
census it covered an area of .
Appleby, the historic county town, formed a historic
borough and was unreformed by the Municipal Corporations Act
1835; although reform came later in 1885. Kendal was reformed
as a municipal borough in 1835.
Division into wards
than being divided into hundred,
Westmorland was subdivided into two baronies of Westmorland (or sometimes Appleby) and Kendal.
The baronies were further subdivided into two wards each:
In 1889, under the Local
Government Act 1888
, a county council was created for
Westmorland, taking functions from the Quarter Sessions
. Westmorland did not
contain any county boroughs
throughout its history so the administrative county
, or area under
the control of the county council, was coterminous with the
geographic county. The county council was based at Kendal, instead of
the historic county town of Appleby.
Aside from the two municipal boroughs of Kendal and Appleby, the
Local Government Act 1894
divided the county into urban
and rural districts
In 1905 a
new Shap urban
district was formed, while Windermere absorbed the neighbouring
A County Review Order
1935 reduced the number of districts in the county:
- A new Lakes Urban District was formed by the merger of
Ambleside and Grasmere UDs and adjacent parishes in West Ward and
South Westmorland RDs
- East Westmorland RD, most of West Ward RD and Shap UD were
merged to form North Westmorland Rural District
- South Westmorland RD absorbed Kirkby Lonsdale UD, at the same
time losing an area to Lakes UD.
Despite the title many of Westmorland's urban districts eg: Lakes,
Grasmere, Shap were quite rural.
These divisions lasted until 1974.According to the 1971 census, Westmorland
was the second least populated administrative county in England,
The distribution of population was as
under the Local Government Act
1972, the county council was abolished and its former area was
combined with Cumberland and parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire to form the new county of Cumbria.
former administrative county now forms part of the districts of
Since Westmorland existed before the Westmorland County Council, it
is unaffected by administrative changes.
Coat of arms
Westmorland County Council was granted a
coat of arms by the College of
Arms in 1926.
The design of the shield referred
to the two components of the county: on two red bars (from the arms
of the de Lancaster family, Barons of Kendal) was placed a gold
apple tree (from the seal of the borough of Appleby, for the Barony
of Westmorland). The crest above the shield was the head of a ram
of the local Herdwick
breed. On the
ram's forehead was a shearman's hook, a tool used in the handling
of wool. The hook was part of the insignia of the borough of
Kendal, the administrative centre of the county council.
- Thomas Strickland Esq carried
the Flag of St. George at the
battle of Agincourt.
- St. John Boste Roman Catholic priest
- The Claybourn family (with some variations in the name)
originated in Westmorland and share their name with the small
Westmorland village of Cliburn, which is located six miles
(10 km) southeast of the town of Penrith. Some have estimated
that this family which originated in Westmorland now numbers in the
Map of Westmorland, 1824
Westmorland is still used as a place name by organisations and
businesses in the area such as:
southern part of the county, the former Barony of Kendal or that
part of Westmorland that is part of South Lakeland, is included in the Westmorland and Lonsdale parliamentary constituency.
- The Westmorland Gazette (founded 1818)
- The Westmorland County Agricultural Society (founded 1799),
which organises the annual Westmorland County Agricultural Society
- The Westmorland Geological Society (formed 1973)
- The Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquanarian and Archaeological
Society (founded 1866)
- The Westmorland Youth Orchestra
- The Westmorland Shopping Centre, Kendal
- The Westmorland Cricket League
- Westmorland services,
better known as Tebay services, on
the M6 motorway.
- In 1974 the successor parish
council formed for the former borough of Appleby adopted the name
- Westmorland General Hospital in Kendal
- Westmorland croquet club
In June 1994, during the 1990s UK local government
, the Local Government Commission published draft
recommendations suggesting that Westmorland's border with Yorkshire
and Lancashire be restored for ceremonial purposes
final recommendations, published in October 1994, did not include
such recommendations, apparently due to lack of expression of
support for the proposal to the commission.
- F.A. Youngs, Guide to the Local Administrative units of
England, Vol.II, Northern England, London, 1991
- Vision of Britain - History of East ward
- Vision of Britain - History of West ward
- Vision of Britain - History of Kendal ward
- Vision of Britain - History of Lonsdale
- 1971 Census; Small Area Statistics
- W.C. Scott-Giles, Civic Heraldry of England and Wales,
2nd edition, London, 1953
- Bissell, Lolita Hannah. "Cliborn-Claiborne Records" (Nashville,
1986). See also "The Descendants of James Monroe Sills, James
Cliburn & Allied Pitman Family" by Isom L. Stephens (1972),
wherein the author estimates that 'John of Dale Parish' had upward
of a million descendants living in the United States in 1972.