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Themes Explorers and Adventurers Nobel Prize Winners
Actors/Actresses and Directors Famous People Places of Interest
Anglo-Saxons and Danes Historic Events Prime Ministers
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty Inventors and Scientists Royal Consorts and Heirs
Artists and Architects Monarchs World Heritage Sites
Composers National Parks Writers and Poets

Cumbria lies in north-western England on the Irish Sea and borders Scotland to the north. It was formed in 1974 from the ancient counties of Cumberland and Westmorland together with the Furness area of neighbouring Lancashire.

Towns include Carlisle, the former county seat of Cumberland and Appleby, the former county seat of Westmorland.

Scafell Pike, at 978 metres England's highest mountain, is found in the county as is Lake Windermere, the country's largest lake.

After centuries alternating between Scottish and English rule, the region finally became part of England in 1157.

Anglo-Saxons and Danes

Cumberland stayed under the control of the Celts during Anglo-Saxon times, whilst Westmorland formed part of the kingdom of Northumbria. Northumbria had been formed from the smaller kingdoms of Bernicia and Deira. Deira reached from the Humber in the south to the river Tees in the north. North of the Tees reaching as far as the Forth of Firth lay the kingdom of Bernicia of which Bamburgh was the capital.

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
The Solway Coast was designated an AONB in 1964 to protect the English coastline of the Solway Firth, the UK's third largest estuary. The AONB runs from Rockcliffe Marsh on the Scottish border down to Maryport. The area has a high ecological value for local wildlife and due to its location near Scotland, has also many sites of historical and cultural importance.

The Arnside and Silverdale AONB was designated in 1972 covering an area running down to the shores of Morecambe Bay and divided between the counties of Cumbria in the north and Lancashire in the south. The landscape includes valleys and woodlands and limestone hills which offer views out to the Kent Estuary and east to the Lake District.

The North Pennines AONB is the second largest in England and Wales (after the Cotswolds) and was designated in 1988. The protected area spreads over the three counties of Northumberland, Cumbria and Durham and was once the location of intensive lead mining, the decline of which has left its mark on the local landscape. The area marks the northern end of the mountain range which runs down the centre of the country to Derbyshire, "the backbone of Britain".

Explorers and Adventurers

Fletcher Christian, the seaman who would instigate the most famous mutiny in British naval history, was born in Cockermouth, Cumberland in 1764.

The ill-fated "Bounty" set sail for the West Indies in 1787 with Christian as first-mate under William Bligh. The two had sailed together previously but by 1789 a breakdown in morale and respect aboard the ship led Christian to mutiny against his Captain. Bligh was set adrift on the Pacific Ocean in a small boat with 18 other crew: they would miraculously survive a 5,800 kilometre journey to land at Timor and return to England.

Christian and the rest of the crew together with some Tahitian natives finally settled on the remote Pitcairn Island where in 1794 he was reputedly killed during an uprising by the Tahitians. His descendants still inhabit Pitcairn.

Inventors and Scientists
Seen as the "father of atomic theory", the chemist John Dalton was born in 1766 in Eaglesfield, Cumberland. His research led him to describe colour blindness or "Daltonism" in 1794 and later to his ground-breaking work in atomic theory.

John Dalton


Scottish House of Atholl
House of Atholl
The Scottish King David I died at Carlisle, Cumberland in 1153. His body was taken back to Scotland and buried at Dunfermline Abbey in Fife.

House of Plantagenet
House of Plantagenet
Edward I died in 1307 at Burgh-on-Sands, Cumberland on his way to fight the Scottish. He had ruled since 1272 and was buried in Westminster Abbey. He was succeeded by his son Edward II.

Edward I
Monarchs buried at Westminster Abbey

National Parks
The Lake District, England's largest National Park, was created in 1951. In 2017 it was designated a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. See World Heritage Sites.

The Yorkshire Dales was designated a National Park in 1954.

Nobel Prize Winners

The physicist William Bragg was born in Westward, Cumberland in 1862. The father of the English physicist Lawrence Bragg they shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1915 for their work on the atomic structure of crystals. They were one of only 5 fathers and sons to have received the award.

William Bragg

Places of Interest

Cathedrals and Abbeys
Carlisle Cathedral

Historic Buildings
Hill Top, Beatrix Potter's cottage

William Wordworth's birthplace, Cockermouth

Rydal Mount, William Wordsworth's cottage

World Heritage Sites
The 118 kilometre long Hadrian's Wall was built by the Romans in 122 A.D. and was designated a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1987.

The Lake District, England's largest National Park, was designated a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 2017. See National Parks.

Writers and Poets

William Wordsworth was born in 1770 at Cockermouth, Cumberland. He lived from 1799-1808 at Dove Cottage in the village of Grasmere. From 1808-13 he lived at nearby Allan Bank and from 1813 until his death in 1850 at Rydal Mount, Ambleside. He was buried at Grasmere. He had succeeded his friend Robert Southey as Poet Laureate in 1843 and in 1850 was succeeded by Alfred Tennyson. Wordsworth's friend and occasional collaborator Samuel Taylor Coleridge lived nearby at Keswick, Cumberland.

William Wordsworth
The Wordsworths
Poets laureate
Wordsworth Trust

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Wordsworth - I wandered lonely as a cloud (1815)

I may not hope from outward forms to win
The passion and the life, whose fountains are within.

Coleridge - Dejection: an Ode (1802)

Wordsworth's friend and Coleridge's brother-in-law, the fellow poet Robert Southey, died in Keswick, Cumberland in 1843. He was buried nearby at Crosthwaite. Southey had been Poet Laureate since succeeding Henry James Pye in 1813 and was himself succeeded by Wordsworth. Inspired by the scenery of the Lake District they were known as the "lake poets".

Robert Southey
Poets laureate

Live as long as you may, the first twenty years are the longest half of your life.
The Doctor (1812)

In 1943 the children's book author and illustrator Beatrix Potter died at her farm Hill Top by the village of Near Sawrey where she had written many of her books.

Beatrix Potter

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