Administrative county (pop., 2001: 487,607), northwestern England. Extending along the Irish Sea coast from Morecambe Bay to Solway Firth, it includes the famous Lake District. It was established in 1974, with its seat at Carlisle. Human occupation dates from the Neolithic Period. The Romans constructed several roads, a series of forts, and the great complex of Hadrian's Wall. After the mid-10th century, northern Cumbria alternated between Scottish and English rule until it was taken by the English in 1157. Lead, silver, and iron ore have been mined in the district since the 12th century.
Learn more about Cumbria with a free trial on Britannica.com.
|colspan=2 style="text-align: center; background: white;"||-||Geography|
| County Town|
|Status||Ceremonial & Non-metropolitan county|
Local Government Act 1972
|Region||North West England|
- Admin. council
| Ranked 3rd|
Dumfries and Galloway
- Total ()
- Admin. Council
| Ethnicity || 96.7% White British|
1.7% White Other
0.5% Mixed Race
Cumbria County Council
|Members of Parliament|
Cumbria, the third largest ceremonial county in England, is bound to the west by the Irish Sea, to the south by Lancashire, to the southeast by North Yorkshire, and to the east by County Durham and Northumberland. Scotland lies directly to the north.
A predominantly rural county, Cumbria is home to the Lake District National Park, considered one of the most beautiful areas of the United Kingdom. The area has provided inspiration for generations of British and foreign artists, writers and musicians. Much of the county is mountainous, with the highest point of the county (and of England) being Scafell Pike at 978 m (3210 ft). All the territory in England that is over 3,000 feet above sea level is in Cumbria.
The boundaries are along the Irish Sea to Morecambe Bay in the west, and along the Pennines to the east. Cumbria's northern boundary stretches from the Solway Firth from the Solway Plain eastward along the border with Scotland to Northumberland.
It is made up of six districts: Allerdale, Barrow-in-Furness, Carlisle, Copeland, Eden and South Lakeland. For many administrative purposes Cumbria is divided into 3 areas - East, West and South. East being the districts of Carlisle and Eden, West - Allerdale and Copeland and South Lakeland and Barrow making up South Cumbria.
In January 2007, Cumbria County Council voted in favour of an official bid to scrap the current two-tier system of county and district councils in favour of a new unitary Cumbria Council, to be submitted for consideration to the Department for Communities and Local Government.. This was then rejected.
The county returns six Members of Parliament to the House of Commons, representing the constituencies of Carlisle, Penrith & The Border, Workington, Copeland, Westmorland and Lonsdale and Barrow & Furness.
The county of Cumbria was created in 1974 from the areas of the former administrative counties of Cumberland and Westmorland, the Cumberland county borough of Carlisle, along with the North Lonsdale or Furness part of Lancashire (including the county borough of Barrow-in-Furness) and, from the West Riding of Yorkshire, the Sedbergh Rural District. The name "Cumbria" has been used for the territory for centuries.
As a non-metropolitan county, some people, particularly those born or brought up in the area, continue to refer to some parts of Cumbria in terms of the ancient county boundaries; thus the Furness area is referred to as a part of Lancashire, and Kendal and the surrounding area as Westmorland.
Local papers The Westmorland Gazette and Cumberland and Westmorland Herald continue to be named on this pre-1974 county basis. However other publications, such as local government promotional material, describe the area as being in "Cumbria", as do the Lake District National Park Authority and most visitors. A MORI poll in the county found 79% of those polled identified "very strongly" or "strongly" with Cumbria throughout the county, dropping to 55% and 71% in Barrow and South Lakeland districts, which incorporate part of historic Lancashire.
The culture of the area was predominantly Celtic until fairly late after the annexation by the Anglian Kingdom of Northumbria (see Rheged), and the name for the area derives from its name in the Cumbric language. It is etymologically connected to the Welsh term Cymru, meaning "Land of compatriots", which is now used as the Welsh name for Wales itself. The Cumbric language has been extinct since about the 11th century.
Cumbria also had very strong links with Norse culture due to Viking invasions, evidenced particularly by the genetics of the local population. Studies have shown that the county of Cumbria has one of the highest prevalences of Scandinavian genetic traits in England.
The county council motto: "Ad Montes Oculos Levavi" is Latin, from Psalm 121; ("I shall lift up mine eyes unto the hills").
There are two unofficial flags for Cumberland and Westmorland. These are the white cross on a blue background for Cumberland and the red cross on a yellow background for Westmorland. There are also two unofficial Cumbrian flags:
1. Consists of a green upper half with three white roses and a lower half consisting of three white and three blue horizontal stripes.
2. Consists of blue upper third, green lower third, and white middle third with the county heraldic crest in the centre.
Barrow A.F.C. and Workington Reds are well supported non-league teams, having both been relegated from the Football League in the 1970s, with Barrow being one of the best supported non-league football teams in the UK. Recently Workington Reds have made a rapid rise up the non league ladder and in 2007/08 competed with Barrow in the Conference North (Tier 6). Barrow were then promoted to the Blue Square Premier (Tier 5) in 2007/08.
Rugby league is a very popular sport in West Cumbria. Whitehaven RLFC, Workington Town and Barrow Raiders all compete in the National Leagues. Carlisle RLFC played in the national competitions between 1981 and 1997, Carlisle today has Carlisle Centurions in the Rugby League Conference. There are amateur BARLA teams playing in the National Conference, notablely Wath Brow Hornets and Millom as well as a Cumberland League and Barrow & District League.
Rugby union is very popular in the east of the county with teams such as Carlisle RUFC, Kendal RUFC, Kirkby Lonsdale RUFC, Keswick RUFC, Upper Eden RUFC and Penrith RUFC (who have recently been promoted to the National Leagues) competing in many local and national competitions.
Cumberland County Cricket Club is one of the cricket clubs that constitute the Minor Counties in the English domestic cricket structure. The club, based in Carlisle, competes in the Minor Counties Championship and the MCCA Knockout Trophy. The club also play some home matches in Workington, as well as other locations.
Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling is an ancient and well-practised tradition in the county with a strong resemblance to Scottish Backhold.
In the 21st century Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling along with other aspects of Lakeland culture are practised at the Grasmere Sports and Show, an annual meeting held every year since 1852 on the August Bank Holiday.
The origin of this form of wrestling is a matter of debate, with some describing it as having evolved from Norse wrestling brought over by Viking invaders, while other historians associate it with the Cornish and Gouren styles indicating that it may have developed out of a longer-standing Celtic tradition.
|Year||Regional Gross Value Added||Agriculture||Industry||Services|
This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of West Cumbria at current basic prices published (pp.240-253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.
|Year||Regional Gross Value Added||Agriculture||Industry||Services|
Cumbria's largest settlement and only city, in the north of the county, is Carlisle, with the largest town, Barrow-in-Furness being slightly smaller. The county's population is largely rural, being the third least dense county in England and with well only five towns having a population of over 20,000 people. Cumbria is one of the country's least ethnically diverse counties, with 96% of the population being indigenous White British (around 480,000 of the 500,000 Cumbrians), however the larger town's have an ethnic makeup that is closer to national average, and Cumbria's ethnic minority population is increasing twice as fast as England's average. The largest religion in Cumbria by far is Christianity followed by Buddhism and Islam - see here for more information.