Westmorland 

 

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HISTORY OF THE COUNTY

At the time of Domesday Book in 1086, parts of the county were considered either to form part of Yorkshire or to be within the separate kingdom of Scotland, having historically been associated with the Kingdom of Strathclyde. The Normans conquered the area that is now Cumbria in 1092 during the reign of William II and created the baronies of Kendal and Westmorland. These 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.

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.

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

In 1889, under the Local Government Act 1888, a county council was created for Westmorland, taking functions from the Quarter Sessions. Westmorland had no county boroughs throughout its history, so the administrative county, the area under the control of the county council, was coterminous with the geographic county. The county council was based at Kendal, rather than the historic county town of Appleby-in-Westmorland.

Aside from the two municipal boroughs of Kendal and Appleby, the Local Government Act 1894 divided the county into urban districts and rural districts.

  • 5 Urban districts: Ambleside, Bowness on Windermere, Grasmere, Kirkby Lonsdale, Windermere
  • 3 Rural districts: West Ward, East Westmorland, South Westmorland

In 1905 a new Shap urban district was formed, while Windermere absorbed the neighbouring Bowness UD.

A County Review Order in 1935 reduced the number of districts in the county:

  • A new Lakes Urban District was formed by the merger of Ambleside and Grasmere UDs and adjacent parishes in West Ward and South Westmorland RDs
  • East Westmorland RD, most of West Ward RD and Shap UD were merged to form North Westmorland Rural District
  • South Westmorland RD absorbed Kirkby Lonsdale UD, at the same time losing an area to Lakes UD.

Despite their title, many of Westmorland's urban districts, such as Lakes, Grasmere, and Shap, were quite rural in character.

Transcribed from: http://en.wikipedia.org