Cumbria, county (1991 pop. 486,900), 2,635 sq mi (6,826 sq km), extreme NW England. The county stretches from the Morecambe Bay to Soloway Firth along the Irish Sea coast. It includes the Lake District, comprised of a series of volcanic rock and slate mountain peaks and lake-filled valleys. It also includes the Carlisle plain and the Eden and Kent river valleys. The county is divided into six districts: Allerdale, Barrow-in-Furness, Carlisle, Coplenad, Eden, and South Lakeland. Tourism, sheep farming, salmon fishing, and mineral extraction are the primary industries. The area has been occupied by humans since the Neolithic Period. Northern Cumbria vacillated between Scottish and English rule until the mid-10th cent., when it was wrested from the Scots in 1157. The Lake District was home to poets such as William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Robert Southey. The Lake District National Park is located in Cumbria.
colspan=2 style="text-align: center; background: white;" - Geography
County Town
(Admin HQ)
Status Ceremonial & Non-metropolitan county
Origin 1974
Local Government Act 1972
Region North West England
- Total
- Admin. council
Ranked 3rd
6,768 km²
Ranked 2nd
North Yorkshire
County Durham
Dumfries and Galloway
ONS code 16
NUTS 3 UKD11/12
- Total ()
- Density
- Admin. Council

/ km²
96.7% White British
1.7% White Other
0.6% S.Asian
0.5% Mixed Race
0.2% Chinese
0.2% Afro-Carib.
0.1% Other

Cumbria County Council
Members of Parliament


  1. Barrow-in-Furness
  2. South Lakeland
  3. Copeland
  4. Allerdale
  5. Eden
  6. Carlisle

Cumbria is a shire county in the extreme North West of England. Cumbria came into existence as a county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972. The county consists of six districts, and has a total population of 498,800.

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.

Parts of Hadrian's Wall can be found in the northernmost reaches of the county, in and around Carlisle.

Boundaries and divisions

Cumbria is neighboured by Northumberland, County Durham, North Yorkshire, Lancashire, and the Lieutenancy areas of Dumfries and Roxburgh, Ettrick and Lauderdale in Scotland.

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.


Cumbria as an English county on the border with Scotland has faced repeated invasion. Resisting such attacks and many attempts by the Kingdom of Scotland to annex it has given Cumbria a strong sense of pride and a very strong Northern English culture, shared with its neighboring counties, particularly Lancashire and Northumberland.

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 Cumbrian dialect is spoken throughout the region. There is quite a large variation in accent and words, especially between north and south and west coast.

Many of the traditional dialect words are remnants of Norse settlement, with Norwegian settlers probably arriving in Cumbria in the 10th century via Ireland and the Isle of Man.

County emblems

The arms of Cumbria County Council were granted by the College of Arms on 10th October 1974. The arms represent the areas from which the new county council's area was put together; the shield's green border has Parnassus flowers representing Cumberland interspersed with roses; red for Lancashire (the Furness district) on white for Yorkshire (Sedbergh is from the West Riding). The crest is a ram's head crest, found in the arms both of Westmorland County Council and Barrow County Borough, with Cumberland's Parnassus flowers again. The supporters are the legendary Dacre Bull (Cumberland) and a red dragon (Appleby in Westmorland), with a hint of the Welsh Kingdom of Rheged. They stand on a base compartment representing Hadrian's Wall (in Cumberland), crossed with two red bars (from the Westmorland arms).

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.


Carlisle United are the only professional football team in Cumbria and currently play in League One (3rd Tier in the English football pyramid). They attract support from across Cumbria and beyond, with many Cumbrian "ex-pats" travelling to see their games, both home and away. Whilst home attendances are usually 7,000 to 10,000, the away support is often 1,000 to 2,000. This is one of the highest proportions of away-home support in England.

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.


This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added (GVA) of East 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
1995 2,679 148 902 1,629
2000 2,843 120 809 1,914
2003 3,388 129 924 2,335

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
1995 2,246 63 1,294 888
2000 2,415 53 1,212 1,150
2003 2,870 60 1,420 1,390


Although Cumbria has a comprehensive system almost in toto, it has one state grammar school in Penrith. There are 42 state secondary schools and 10 independent schools. The more rural secondary schools tend to have sixth forms though in Barrow-in-Furness district no school except Chetwynde School (Independent) has a sixth form, and this is the same for three schools in Allerdale and South Lakeland, and one in the other districts.


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.

People of interest

Places of interest

See also: List of castles in Cumbria
See also: List of historic houses in Cumbria
See also: List of Museums in Cumbria

Adam Furness

See also


External links

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