Monday, 17 August 2009


Westmorland (pronounced /ˈwɛstmərlənd/; formerly also spelt Westmoreland, an even older spelling is Westmerland or Westmereland) is an area of North West England and one of the 39 historic counties of England. It formed an administrative county from 1889 to 1974 and now forms part of Cumbria.

Early history
At the time of the Domesday Book in 1086 parts of the county were considered to either form part of Yorkshire or be within the separate kingdom of Scotland, having historically been associated with the Kingdom of Strathclyde.

Map showing Strath Clyde in connection with Northumbria, Cumbria and Scotland

The Normans conquered the area that is today Cumbria in 1092 during the reign of William II and created the baronies of Kendal and Westmorland which were originally distinct jurisdictions with separate sheriffs, but were formed into a single county of Westmorland in 1226/7. Before 1226 the Barony of Kendal was connected to the Earldom or Honour of Lancaster while that of Westmorland was part of the Earldom of Carlisle.
The historic county boundaries are with Cumberland to the north, County Durham and Yorkshire to the east, and Lancashire to the south and west. Windermere forms part of the western border with Lancashire north of the sands, and Ullswater part of the border with Cumberland.
The highest point of the county is Helvellyn at 950m (3,117 ft). According to the 1831 census it covered an area of 485,990 acres (1,966.7 km2).

Appleby, the historic county town, formed a historic borough and was unreformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835; although reform came later in 1885. Kendal was reformed as a municipal borough in 1835.

Division into wards
Rather than being divided into hundreds, Westmorland was subdivided into two baronies of Westmorland (or sometimes Appleby) and Kendal.
The baronies were further subdivided into two wards each:
Westmorland East ward - Appleby, Brough, Kirkby Stephen, Orton, Tebay West ward - Askham, Bampton, Barton, Patterdale, Shap, Yanwath Kendal Kendal ward - Ambleside, Burton-in-Kendal, Grasmere, Grayrigg, Kentmere, Kendal, Windermere Lonsdale ward - Kirkby Lonsdale

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