Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Carlisle (1.)

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CARLISLE, a parliamentary and municipal borough, the capital of Cumberland, 301 miles N.N.W. from London ; 54 54 N. lat., 2 55 W. long. It is situated on an eminence enclosed by the three streams the Eden, the Caldew, and the Petteril. The Eden, which is the principal river, is joined by the Petteril on the east side of the city; about a mile further west, as it flows through fertile holms, it is joined by the Caldew, and about six miles further on it falls into the Solway Firth. A handsome stone bridge, built in 1812-15, at a cost of 70,000, spans the Eden, midway between the mouths of the Petteril and the Caldew. All the three streams are unnavigable. In the Eden there is good salmon fishing. Before the Romans invaded Great Britain a Celtic town was erected on the site of Carlisle ; and when the Romans came they occupied and improved it. Archaeologists consider it doubtful whether the Romans made it a military station to aid in the defence of their newly-acquired colony against the incursions of the Picts , but Roman coins, pottery, inscribed tablets, and other re mains have been found in such abundance that there can be no doubt Carlisle was, if not a military post, a town of considerable importance in those days. The great wall of Severus, extending from the Solway Firth to the German Ocean, crossed the River Eden at Carlisle ; and remains of this great barrier may still be seen on the outskirts of the city. The Solway end of the wall, traces of which are still to be seen, was about twelve miles from Carlisle, at Bowness ; and there was an important Roman camp, the Amboglana of the Notitiæ, about fifteen miles eastward of the city, called Birdoswald, of which interesting remains are still in existence.


Plan of Carlisle.

Carlisle was the Luguvallum of the Romans. This name was afterwards abbreviated to Luell, and with the prefix Caer (a city), became Caer-Luell, and afterwards by easy transition, Carliol and Carlisle. After the departure of the Romans in the 5th century the Picts laid the city in ruins ; but in the 7th century it was rebuilt by Egfrid, king of Northumberland. In 875 the town was attacked by the Danes, who burned the houses, pulled down the wall, and massacred the inhabitants. In this state of desolation it was left for 200 years, with no inhabitants but some few Celts who lodged themselves among the ruins. In 1092 William Rufus, impressed with the importance of Carlisle as a Border military station, ordered the town to be rebuilt and fortified, and left a garrison there. It was not, however, until after the capture of the town in the reign of Stephen, by David, king of Scots (who died within its walls in 1153), that the castle, the walls, and the citadel were completed.

After undergoing two sieges the town was surrendered to the English Crown in 1217. Edward I. held three parliaments in Carlisle. In 1298, after the battle of Falkirk, he marched to Carlisle; and nine years later it was while crossing Burgh Marsh, about four miles from that city, with his army, to quell the third revolt which had occurred in Scotland during his reign, that he sickened and died. A monument has been erected on the spot to commemorate the event. With his last breath he enjoined his son to prosecute the enterprise, and never desist until he had completed the subjugation of Scotland. The nobles hastened to Carlisle to pay homage to the new king, Edward II., to whom, however, the legacy of vengeance against the Scots proved but a “heritage of woe.” In 1315, after the independence of Scotland had been won by the decisive battle of Bannockburn, Robert Bruce, following up his success by ravaging the north of England, besieged Carlisle Castle. There he met with determined resistance on the part of the garrison and the inhabitants, under Sir Andrew Harcla, governor. Bruce, who had his headquarters at the cathedral, made a general assault on all the gates of the town on the ninth clay ; but the citizens defended their position with such valour that the besiegers soon beat a retreat, having only killed two of the besieged. Sir Andrew Harcla was created earl of Carlisle and Lord Warden of the Marches for this gallant defence of the city r but he was afterwards found guilty of treason and executed at Harraby Hill. In 1345 the Scots burned Carlisle and Penrith. " They were very much annoyed," says Lysons, " by small forces collected by Bishop Kirkby and Sir Thomas Lacy. The bishop and Sir Robert Ogle had a sharp skirmish with the enemy ; the prelate was unhorsed during the encounter, but having recovered his saddle continued to fight valiantly, and contrived greatly to win the victory." Nor was it only the " church militant " which did the state much service in those days. In one of the sieges the women of Carlisle helped in the defence of tho city by pouring boiling water and rolling heavy stones from the walls upon the heads of the beleaguering Scots below. ln the 15th century Richard, duke of Gloucester, was governor of Carlisle Castle, and during his governorship extensive repairs were made in the old fortress, and in the course of time, during the reigns of Henry VIII. (who built the citadel) and Elizabeth, it was adapted to artillery. In 1568 Mary Queen of Scots, having fled from Lochleven, arrived in a fishing boat at Workington, a Cumberland seaport 132 miles from Carlisle, and was there met by the deputy-governor of Carlisle, and conducted to Carlisle Castle, where she was lodged nominally as a guest but actually as a prisoner. She remained there for two months. A little later in the same year a daring exploit was per formed by the duke of Buccleuch. William Armstrong, a redoubtable Borderer, better known as " Kinmont Willie," having been taken prisoner in disregard of a truce or understanding which facilitated his capture, the " Bold Buccleuch/ with 200 followers, attacked Carlisle Castle, and rescued the prisoner, an achievement which gave dire offence to Queen Elizabeth.

During the civil wars Carlisle was harassed by frequent troubles ; but the next event of importance occurred in 1644, when the city and castle were besieged by the Parliamentary forces under General Leslie for eight months. Sir Thomas Glemham, the commander-in-chief of the royal troops, was in charge of the garrison, who were reduced to great extremities before they surrendered on 25th June 1645. Their valiant resistance was recognized by the besiegers, who alluwed them to march out " with their arms, flying colours, drums beating, matches lighted at both ends, bullets in their mouths, and twelve charges of powder a-piece." The Parliamentary anny pulled down some important portions of the cathedral buildings, and out of the materials erected a guard-house in the market-place. In 1648 Sir Philip Musgrave and Sir Thomas Glemham elfected the capture of Carlisle by surprise ; but in October it was again surrendered to Cromwell, according to treaty. At this time great distress prevailed in the county, con siderable families having barely the necessaries of life, while numbers of the poor died on the highways.

In the Scottish rebellion of 1745 Carlisle again figured in history. The Pretender, Prince Charles Edward, laid siege to it, the three divisions of the army with which he marched from Edinburgh having converged at the city. The castle was at that time garrisoned by only two com panies of invalids and some disaffected militia, and Colonel Durand, who was in command, found it necessary, with great reluctance, to surrender. " Bonnie Prince Charlie " rode into the town on a white charger, with a hundred Highland pipers playing a triumphal march in front, and made a house in English Street, which is still in existence, his headquarters. But in December of the same year the duke of Cumberland arrived and bombarded the castle, which his grace described as " an old hencoop, which he would speedily bring down about their ears," and on the 30th the garrison surrendered. The duke quartered his soldiers in the cathedral, and thirty-one of the rebels were subsequently executed at Harraby Hill. The tower in which Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned was pulled down in 1835 ; but a considerable portion of the ancient castle still remains, and it is used as a garrison for the 2d Brigade Depot. Only a small portion of the old city walls now exists, and the city gates have entirely disappeared.

Carlisle suffered in 1380 from a great fire, which destroyed 1500 houses in three of the principal streets ; and the plague in 1598 carried off 1076 persons, one-third of the inhabitants.

Carlisle is the see of a bishop. The cathedral was founded by William Rufus, and completed by Henry I. The original proportions of the building have been very much curtailed. A disastrous fire, in 1292, destroyed the nave, only a small part of which now remains. The most interesting architectural feature of the cathedral is the east window, which has been pronounced by archaeologists to be one of the finest in the kingdom, the harmony of its parts and the easy flow of its lines being particularly remarkable. The remains of Dr Paley are interred in one of its aisles, and a stone pulpit, richly carved in Caen-stone and ornamented with white alabaster, has been erected to his memory. The window in the north transept has been filled with stained glass in memory of the five children of Dr Tail, archbishop of Canterbury, who died of scarlet fever while his grace was dean of Carlisle. The cathedral possesses many memorials of interest. A large portion of the adjacent priory, founded by William Rufus, was destroyed during the civil wars, but the remains may still be traced on the south side of the cathedral. A convent of grey friars which existed in the city was destroyed by the fire in 1292. There was also at one time a convent of black friars, and a hospital founded at St Nicholas for lepers; the latter was destroyed in the 17th century. According to Lyson's History, the bowels of Richard Cœur de Lion were buried in Carlisle cathedral.

In addition to the cathedral and the castle, the chief buildings in Carlisle are tbe court-houses two large round towers built upon the site of the old citadel ; the county jail, contiguous thereto ; the news-room, the post-office, the railway station, the infirmary, and two of the joint- stock banks. There is a market-cross in the centre of the market-place, and two marble statues adorn the principal streets. One of these, between the two court-houses (by Musgrave L. Watson), is of William, earl of Lonsdale; the other, in the market-place (by Woodington), is of James Steel, editor and proprietor of the Carlisle Journal, a citizen who during his lifetime took a prominent part in local public affairs. In addition to the cathedral there are eight established churches in Carlisle, and several places of worship for Independents. Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, and Roman Catholics. Its literary and scientific institutions include a mechanics institution, a young men s Christian association, and several working men s reading rooms, managed entirely by working men themselves. Its charities consist of an infirmary with 1 00 beds, a dispensary, and a fever hospital ; and in connection with the infirmary there is a convalescent institution at the seaside at Silloth, to which patients are admitted- upon payment of a small weekly sum. There is a school-board, of nine members; a school of art ; and a cathedral grammar school.

Carlisle is a great railway centre. The London and North-Western, the Midland, the Caledonian, the North British, and the Glasgow and South-Western Railways have each a terminus there ; while the North-Eastern Company have access to the city by their Newcastle and Carlisle section. In 1876 more than sixty passenger trains left Carlisle Citadel station every week-day, and as many more entered the city.

The principal business of Carlisle is the manufacture of cotton goods, the finishing of silesias, the printing of calicoes, and the manufacture of biscuits. There are also within the city two or three large iron-works, and the manufacture of felt hats is carried on upon a large scale. A dock at and railway to Silloth, on the Solway Frith, 2 1 miles from Carlisle, were constructed in 1855 to facilitate the transit of the commerce of the district, and this gradually superseded Port Carlisle, which is no longer used as a harbour.

Carlisle returns two members of parliament. Its municipal government is vested in a mayor (unpaid), ten aldermen, and thirty councillors, who also constitute the Urban Sanitary Authority. To them belong the gas-works and water-works, and by them a system of sewerage was carried out in 1854 at a cost of about 30,000. The city has a recorder and separate court of quarter sessions.

The market is held on Saturdays and Wednesdays, the former being the principal market. The grain is sold in the open street in bulk. Population in 1871, 31,074.