1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cockermouth

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COCKERMOUTH, a market town in the Cockermouth parliamentary division of Cumberland, England, 27 m. S.W. of Carlisle, on the Cockermouth, Keswick & Penrith, the London & North Western, and the Maryport & Carlisle railways. Pop. of urban district (1901) 5355. It is pleasantly situated on the river Derwent, at the junction of the Cocker, outlying hills of the Lake District sheltering it on the north, east and south. The castle has remains of Norman work in the keep, and other ancient portions (including the gateway) of later date, but is in part modernized as a residence. The grammar school was founded in 1676. The county industrial school is established in the town. The industries include the manufacture of woollens and confectionery, tanning and engineering, and there is a considerable agricultural trade. There are coal mines in the neighbourhood. A statue was erected in 1875 to the sixth earl of Mayo, who represented the borough (abolished in 1885) from 1857 to 1868. There is a Roman fort a mile west of the town, at Papcastle.

Cockermouth (Cokermuth, Cokermue) was made the head of the honour or barony of Allerdale when that barony was created and granted to Waltheof in the early part of the 12th century. At a later date the honour of Allerdale was frequently called the honour of Cockermouth. Waltheof probably built the castle, under the shelter of which the town grew up. Although it never received any royal charter, the earliest records relating to Cockermouth mention it as a borough. In 1295 it returned two members to parliament and then not again until 1640. By the Representation of the People Act of 1867 the representation was reduced to one member, and by the Redistribution Act of 1885 it was disfranchised. In 1221 William de Fortibus, earl of Albemarle, was granted a Saturday market, which later in the year was transferred to Monday, the day on which it has continued to be held ever since. The Michaelmas Fair existed in 1343, and an inquisition dated 1374 mentions two horse-fairs on Whit-Monday and at Michaelmas. In 1638 Algernon Percy, earl of Northumberland, obtained a grant of a fair every Wednesday from the first week in May till Michaelmas. The chief sources of revenue in Norman times were the valuable fisheries and numerous mills.