THE CITY OF CARLISLE.
THE traveller approaching from the south, has the best view of the city, seat∣ed on a fine eminence, gradually emerging from an extensive plain of rich cultivated land. The waters of the Frith are seen on the one hand, with the ad∣jacent levells; the back ground of the landscape is beautifully variegated by the irregular swells of the whole Scotch promontory, extending towards the Irish sea. The walls strengthened with an arrangement of buttresses at irregular distances, lies upon one angle to the view; in part, concealing the houses of the city, and boldly overtoped by the square tower of the castle, and the august and solemn structure of the cathedral. This view of Carlisle is the more striking, as there is no adjacent eminence; from which cause the city looks more majestic, as it crowns so beautiful a plain.
The city is walled round, the fortifications towards Scotland appearing the most modern; they are formed of better squared stones than several other parts of the works. The east and south sides are supported by a multitude of buttresses, which, we presume, have been built up occasionally, to strengthen the decaying parts of the wall. It is watered by three fine rivers, the Eden on the north, the Peterill on the east, and Caude on the west. There are three gates to the city, which, from their different aspects, are called the English, Irish, and Scotch Gates. On Page 4the approach from Penrith, on the south, you enter the English Gates; on the ap∣proach from Wigton, on the south-west, is the Irish Gate; and the Scotch Gate, to the north, opens upon the bridges. The walls are embrazured, but without any earth-work. The English Gate is guarded by a very strong machicolated gate, flanked by circular towers of great strength; the guns mounted therein in several tiers, would effectually sweep every approach. This gateway, with its towers and other works, is commonly called the Citadel, † and was erected by the order of King Henry VIII. The castle consists of various works, but being kept up as a garrisoned place, we conceive it imprudent to describe them minutely. * The donjon, or great tower, more properly deserves the title of the citadel, being surrounded by the other works; it is square and very lofty, and the walls of vast strength and thickness, being constructed agreeably to the old modes of defence, before the use of cannon: it was strengthened by a draw bridge over a wide ditch, and defended by modern works; a half-moon battery mounted with cannon, and a very large platform also mounted with cannon, under cover of the outward wall. The top of the tower being embrazured and lined with turf, and mounted with large cannon, this part of the fortress could make a good defence, and sustain a formidable attack. By a well of vast depth constructed within the great tower, and said to be of Roman work, the supply of water for the garrison could not be cut off by an enemy. This well is not unlike that in Bambrough Castle in Nor∣thumberland, and has been constructed at the same time the great tower was built. ‡ In the outer castle is a fine grass plot, a garden and governor's house.
But it will be expected by our readers, that we give a more particular descrip∣tion of this city, and collect the historical facts relative to it.
The name of Carlisle has been deduced by several authors, from different ety∣mologies. The British chronicle informs us, this city was built by a British potentate, called Luel. Leland says,
Page 6It has been the opinion of several judicious visitants, that the river Eden has shifted its course and channel since the time of the Romans, and that formerly it passed nearer to the castle; for it should seem an inconsistent task for that wise people, to make their work traverse a rapid and broad river, otherwise than in a direct line. Both Mr. Horsley, and Mr. Warburton join in this opinion.
It may safely be determined, that the Romans found this a place of some im∣portance; but that it was, in their time, rather a place of recess after the toils of warfare were over, than a place of chief strength, appears from the vicinity of Stanwix, the station in course upon the wall. It is not to be doubted, but Caer-Luel was fortified, as it lay too near the borders not to be subject to perils and alarms; but we have no Roman authorities, to denominate it a regular Roman city or station; as we find those nearest to the wall, on the south, were Olenacum, now called Old Carlifle, near Wigton; and Bremetenracum, called old Perith. The words of Camden and his editors are,
We have no authority to determine what was the size or form of this place in distant antiquity. Leland says in his Itinerary, vol. VII. p. 48.
Page 7After the retreat of the Romans, we may naturally conceive, this city would soon be evacuated by the Britons, and destroyed and laid waste by the northern nations, who made constant irruptions, and at length extended their rapine and devastation into the southern, and interior parts of Britain, till repressed by the coming in of the Saxon allies. It would even be a considerable time after their introduction, before they could extend their arms to these western parts. During this period, and in the darkness in which the history of those ages is involved, we are left to conjecture, that this now flourishing city lay in ashes and ruin, till ******* Egfrid possessing the diadem of Northumbria, carried his conquest to the western ocean. The Britons in this mountainous country, long retained their natural ferocity, and supported their uncivilized liberty and independance. Egfrid had Cumberland as a tributary province of his kingdom; and from that period we gain some degree of certainty in the history of this place. *
The first certain account we have of Carlisle, is in the seventh century of the Christian aera. It appears, that in Egfrid's reign, it became a place of consider∣able strength and consequence; he having caused it to be rebuilt, and fortified with a wall. † Camden says,
Page 8After Egfrid's having restored the city, and fortified it with a wall, it became an appendage to the see of Lindisfarn, by the royal gift thereof to St. Cuthbert; and so continued till the year 1130, when King Henry I. constituted it a separate bishoprick. By Dugdales Monasticon, it appears, that in 1082, in the acts of William Carilepho, bishop of Durham, it was stiled part of the diocese of the bishop of Durham. It is asserted, that in 1066, William the Conqueror issued his mandate to the inhabitants of Cumberland at large, and of Carlisle in particular, that they should continue subject to the bishop of Durham as their diocesian, from whose predecessors they had received Christianity.
So far we are allowed to speak of this city from the loose records of antiquity; from the time of the Conquest we have more certainty, and evidence of undenia∣ble authenticity to guide us. Camden's description of the site of Carlisle is to this purport,
King William Rufus † having entertained a perfect idea of the importance of this place, on the western part of the frontier, as he saw Newcastle was on the eastern; and seeing the infant works of Walter proceeding prosperously, he un∣dertook to restore the city, and caused many public buildings to be erected; the whole of which, he directed, should be defended by a complete circumvallation, and a strong fortress: the care of executing his plan he consigned to Walter, and under his inspection, it is alledged, the works were carried on. From the appear∣ance of several parts of the fortifications, one is led to determine, they are the work of that aera; for the Normans brought into this country, some of the best workmen the island ever possessed, as appears by the remains of many of the northern castles, whose dates are well ascertained: and there is so great a simili∣tude of the form and mode of architecture in the great tower of the castle of Car∣lisle, that thence, by a common observer, its date may be ascertained. In the sides of this tower, in several parts, are placed the arms of England, but these seem to denote no more than the reparations made by the several sovereigns. §
It is said he first placed here a colony of Flemings, and most probably they were the artificers who raised the fortifications; for soon after, we read of the city being restored and walled, with the defence of a fortress added thereto: we find the Flemings were removed to North Wales, and the isle of Anglesea, and the king replaced them with a colony of South Britains, men used to husbandry, and Page 10the culture of lands, who should till this part of the forest of Inglewood, which hitherto had lain in its original state; and teach the natives the mode of reaping from the natural fertility of their country, the many comsorts of life; and the progressive treasures to be won by industry; of which they do not, from any thing mentioned by historians, appear to have conceived a previous idea. To this colony all the records existing attribute the first tillage that was known in the fertile plains of Carlisle. Bishop Gibson, in his edition of Camden, speaking of the evidence touching this matter in the Saxon Chronicle, says,
The next person we read of in history, who had the title of Earl of Carlisle, was Andrew de Harcla, whom King Edward II. for his good services against Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, and his adherents, and for subduing those who were Page [unnumbered]
The parts of Carlisle castle are particularly mentioned in the report made of the state of it, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, given in the notes. ‡ The cita∣del, Page 12as it is said, was erected in the reign of King Henry VIII.; and it is surpris∣ing that the whole castle and fortifications should so soon fall into such decay, as to be in the state represented by that report, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. It appears thereby, that the works consisted of a donjon, whose walls are twelve feet Page 13in thickness, an inward and outward ward; the walls of the outward ward, nine feet in thickness, and eighteen feet in height; and the walls of the inner ward, twelve feet, having a half-moon bastion. A tower, called the Captain's Tower. Two gates, one to each ward. In the castle a great chamber and a hall, but no Page 14storehouse for amunition. In the walls of the town, three gate-way towers, a se∣micircular bastion, called Springold Tower: and add to these, the citadel. But besides those mentioned in the report, the walls were garnished with several square towers, particularly a tower at the western sally port, and a tower called the Tile Tower, of particular strength.
Before we quit the subject of the castle, we must remark the beautiful and ex∣tensive prospect which you command from the great tower. The foreground is formed of level meads, washed by Eden; in one part, insulated by a separation of the river. This plot is ornamented by two fine stone bridges, one of four, the other of nine arches, the great passage towards Scotland. The hanging banks are crowded with the village and church of Stanwix, and the distant ground filled with the mountains of Bewcastle. To the south, you command the plains to∣wards Penrith, shut in on either hand by a vast chain of mountains; over which Cross-fell and Skiddaw are distinctly seen, greatly eminent. To the east, a varied tract of cultivated country, scattered over with villages and hamlets, mingling beautifully with woodlands on the extensive landscape: the distant horizon form∣ed by the heights of Northumberland. To the west, the Frith spreads out its Page [unnumbered]
The DEANEY from the CITYWALL..
S.W.VIEW of the FRATRY.
N.W.VIEW of the CATHEDRAL.
N.E.VIEW of the CASTLE.
GATE of the CASTLE.
The parts of the CATHEDRAL now remaining, shew, that the old structure when it was intire, was a noble and solemn edisice.
A Ground Plan of the CATHEDRAL CHURCH of CARLISLE.
- A The Bishop's Throne.
- B The Pulpit.
- C The Governor's Seat.
- D The Mayor's do.
- E The Litany Desk.
- F The Reading Desks.
- G The Bishop's Stall.
- H The Dean's do.
- I The Prebendaries' Stalls.
- K The Entrance, above which is the Organ.
- L The place where the Bells are rung.
- M The place where the Legend of St. Anthony is painted.
- N The place where the Legend of St. Augustine is painted.
- O The Clock.
- P The Doors, the south one of which opened into the Cloisters.
- 1. Bishop Strickland's Tomb.
- 2. Unknown, but supposed to be Bp. Welton's.
- 3. Unknown, but supposed to be Bp. Appleby's.
- 4. Bishop Robinson's Monument.
- 5. Unknown.
- 6. Unknown.
- 7. Bishop Smith's Grave-stone.
- 8. His Lady's.
- 9. Bishop Law's Monument.
- 10. Bishop Bell's Grave-stone.
- 11. Bishop Barrow's Tomb.
- 12. Mr. Tomlinson's Monument.
- 13. Mrs. Benson's Monument.
- 14. Mrs. Saunderson's.
- 15. Rev. Mr. Thompson's.
- 16. Unknown.
- 17. Rev. Archdeacon Fleming's.
- 18. Bishop Fleming's.
- 19. His Lady's.
- 20. Miss Senhouse's.
- 21. Mrs. Dacre's.
- 22. Sir Thos. Skelton's Tomb formerly was here.
- 23. Dean Wilson's Monument.
- 24. Unknown.
- 25. Unknown.
- 26. St. Catharine's Chapel.
The choir is 137 feet in length, and, with the side ailes, 71 feet broad: the cross aile or transept is 28 feet broad, so that the length of the church, when entire, was exactly 300 feet within. The choir is of fine Gothic architecture, with light columns, remarkably beautiful. The stalls are garnished with taber∣nacle work; (the organ is placed at the cross screen, which contains but a narrow and low entrance, and is a great injury to this fine edifice.) By late repairs it is greatly embellished, being wainscotted with oak, from the stalls round the whole east end of the choir, in a simple stile, after the old order. The open gates leading into the side ailes, are old and much broken, but shew excellent light Tracery work, finely ornamented. The bishop's throne is not magnificent, but yet elegant and stately. The breadth of the choir and ailes being 71 feet, corresponds well with the height, which to the center of the ceiling is 75 feet. The roof was originally lined or vaulted with wood, painted and orna∣mented with arms and devices of the several patrons and contributors to the work; with the arms of France and England, were those of the Piercys, Lucys, Warrens, and Mowbrays. The old wood lining remains in the cross aile, and shews what was the former figure, and the ornaments of the choir: but the outward roof and wood ceiling of the choir having gone greatly to decay, when repairs were made, in 1764 the ceiling was stuccoed, in the form of a groined vault, which is a great advantage to its appearance. * The east window is large, being 48 feet in height, and 30 in breadth, ornamented with fine pilasters: but it has no cast of solemnity, by means of a border of coloured glass thrown round it, of yellow, red, and green, which looks gaudy. †
Page 18To give the reader an idea of these strange compositions, we have transcribed the legends of St. Anthony, St. Cuthbert, and St. Austine.*
Legend of St. Anthony.
Legend of St. Austin.
Page 19The cross aile from north to south, is 124 feet; in the center is a tower, in height 127 feet, which originally supported a spire of lead, thirteen or fourteen feet high, which being gone greatly to decay, was totally removed soon after the Restoration.
The pillars of the choir are clustered, and in excellent proportion; the arches are pointed; in the inner mouldings of the capitals, are figures and flowers in pierced work, of light carving, and the inside of the arches are prettily ornamented. Two galleries run above the side ailes, but with windows only in the upper: that in the east end has a magnificent simplicity.
When the choir was rebuilt in the reign of King Edward III. indulgences were issued, the common and most effectual claim of assistance; which were of forty days penance to such laity, as should, by money, materials, or labour, contri∣bute to this pious work: and the bishop's register abounds with letters patent, and orders for the purpose.
Page 20Several parts of the abbey were enlarged or improved by Prior Gondibour, who occurs in 1484; the initial letters of his name appearing in several parts. In the vestry is preserved an old oak aumery or chest, with an inscription in the old English letter.—See the Plate, p. 598.
Prior Senhouse, who occurs in 1507, repaired the square tower within this priory; and on the beams of the middle room are inscribed many sentences, with a moral maxim often used by him, Loth to offend.‡
Prior Slee built the west gate-house, and in a fillet round the arch, in the side towards the court, in an excellent character of raised letters is cut, Grate pro anima Existopheri Slee Prioris, qui primus hoc opus fieri incipit, A. D. 1528.
The door with its ornaments, on the south side of the choir, near the bishop's throne; and also the throne was the work of Prior Haythwaite, about the year 1480, his name having been on the backside of it: and the opposite door with its ornaments, is supposed to have been erected by Prior Senhouse, about the year 1500, by the sentence inscribed thereon, "Vulnera quinque dei sint medicina mei," which was that prior's common adage. The tabernacle work in the quire was done at the expence of Bishop Strickland, who came to the see, A. D. 1400.
There were two chapels, and two chantries, founded within this church; the chapel of St. Catharine was founded by John de Capella, a citizen of Carlisle, which he endowed with certain burgage houses, some lands and rents. In 1366, there being an unjust detention of the rights of this chapel, Bishop Appleby gave notice for restitution in ten days, under pain of excommunication by bell, book, and candle. This chapel was on the south side of the church.
The chapel of St. Alban in 1356, was on inquiry, found not to have been con∣secrated, and thenceforth divine offices and sepulture were prohibited to be longer performed therein: this appears by an entry in Bishop Welton's register. On the dissolution, King Edward VI. granted the lands and tenements appertaining to this chantry, unto Thomas Dalston and William Denton.
Bishop Whelpdale founded a chantry, and endowed it with 200l. for holy offices, for the souls of Sir Thomas Skelton, Knt. and Mr. John Glaston.
There was a chantry of the holy cross, but who was the founder, and when it was endowed, is not known; King Edward VI. granted the lands and tenements thereto belonging, in Carlisle and Kirklinton, to Hen. Tanner and Tho. Bucher. †
In the middle of the choir, is a monument of Bishop Bell, with his effigies in his pontificals in brass; and an inscription on a marginal fillet of brass.—See
Under the engraving,
Bishop Richard Senhouse was interred here.—He died, A. D. 1626, by a fall from his horse.
Bishop Thomas Smith died at Rose-Castle, and was interred in this church: the following inscription is upon his tomb:—
Sir George Fleming, bishop of this diocese, died at Rose-Castle, 1747, and was interred in the south aile. ‡
There is no attempt to explain what person was here interred; it is possible the tomb was made antecedent to the building of the throne.
The whole of this noble edifice is of red freestone, ornamented with pilasters and pointed arches. There have been some statues on the eastern turrets, but they are mutilated, and gone greatly to decay.
No circumstances are come to our knowledge, touching the religious founda∣tions here, before, or in the time of St. Cuthbert, other than the mention made of them by ancient writers; probably they did exist as several persons speaking of St. Cuthbert's life, tell us he founded, A. D. 686, a convent of monks, a school, and an abbey of nuns: but from Bede's Life of that saint, chap. xvii. it appears the nunnery here, to which Queen Emenburga retired, was existing before St. Cuthbert's visiting Carlisle. Mr. Denton's account of these religious foundations is to the following effect:—
- 1 Lancelot Salkeld last prior and first dean. §
- 2 Sir Thomas Smith, A. D. 1547, died 12 Aug. 1571.
- 3 Sir John Wooley, Knt. inst. 11 Octr. 1577, died 1595.
- 4 Christopher Perkins, inst. 1596, died 1622.—So far DENTON.
- 5 Francis White, inst. 1622, made bishop of Carlisle, 1626.
- 6 William Paterson, inst. 1626, made dean of Exeter, 1629.
- 7 Thomas Comber, inst. 1630, died 1653.
- 8 Guy Carleton, inst. 1660, made bishop of Bristol, 1671.
- 9 Thomas Smith, inst. 1671, made bishop of Carlisle, 1684.
- 10 Thomas Musgrave, * inst. 1684, died 1686.
- 11 William Graham, inst. 1686, made dean of Wells, 1704.
- 12 Francis Atterbury, inst. 1704, made dean of C. C. Oxon, 1711.
- 13 George Smalridge, inst. 1711, made dean C. C. Oxon, 1713,
- 14 Thomas Gibbon, inst. 1713, died 1716.
- 15 Thomas Tullie, inst. 1716 died 1726.
- 16 George Fleming, inst. 1727, made bishop of Carlisle, 1734.
- 17 Robert Bolton, inst. 1734, died 1764.
- 18 Charles Tarrent, D. D. inst. 1764, made Dean of Peterborough.
- 19 Thomas Wilson, D. D. inst. 1764, died 1778,
- 20 Thomas Percy, D. D. inst. 1778, made Bishop of Dromore, 1782.
- 21 Jeffrey Ekins, D. D. inst. 1782, died, 1792.
- 22 Isaac Milner, D. D. inst. 1792.
Mr. Denton's account of the money found in rebuilding the sleeple of St. Cuthbert's church, is rendered uncertain by some late discoveries; and it is most Page 25probable it was a concealed treasure, intended to be secured against the Danes, or some other ravagers: for when the foundations were making for the present new edifice, and the workmen had gone below the foundations of the old church, they discovered the remains of a still more ancient erection, and took up several pieces of broken sculpture; among the rest the figure of a nun with her veil or hood, well cut and in good preservation, which we saw in the garden of George Mounsey, Esq. of Carlisle; so that it should seem the old nunnery stood there. ‖ It seems that Walter's foundation was entirely a new one, and not a revival of St. Cuthbert's institution; for, in Tanner we find
Walter, the Norman, laid the foundation of the priory, which he dedicated to the Blessed Virgin: it is said he became the head of the society which he had in∣stituted; but authors of great authenticity, speak of his work as being incomplete at the time of his death; and that King Henry I. in the second year of his reign, took it under his patronage, finished it, and endowed it, A. D. 1101, and therein placed regular canons of the order of St. Augustine, appointing Athelwald his confessor and chaplain the first prior. Notwithstanding Denton's account, we are convinced there was a succession of thirty priors after Athelwald, before the time of the dissolution. Athelwald afterwards being made bishop of this diocese, was succeeded in the priory by Walter, another chaplain of the kings', who had taken upon him the regular habit; and being a rigorous disciplinarian, he banished all Page 26the secular priests from that religious house. § The original possessions of this priory were very considerable; but the foundation of the see succeeding so im∣mediately almost to that of the priory, there is no possibility of distinguishing them Page 27at this time. ‡ The property of the prior and bishop were so blended and mingled, that several contentions and disputes arose, touching them; till Gallo the Pope's legate, at their mutual petition, made partition of their lands. The castle of Lin∣stock, Page 28in the parish of Stanwix, the capital house of the barony of that name, was for a long series of years, the only palace of the bishops of Carlisle; and in 1293. Johannes Romanus, Archbishop of York, was entertained there, whilst he visited this diocese. The priory was dissolved 9th of Jan. 1540, and the revenues were then valued at 418l. 3s. 4d. ob. 9. according to Dugdale; and 481l. 8s. 1d. Speed. There were cloisters appertaining to this religious house, and also a chapter house, which the dissolute mob, under Cromwell, destroyed: part of the seats, or stalls, of the cloister remain.