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Cockermouth Post Article June 2010

The following will hopefully give a flavour of life in Cockermouth in Georgian times. Below are extracts from an excellent little book produced by the Cumbria Family History Society – ‘What Happened in Great Grandmama’s Time’:

1756: A convicted horse thief was sentenced at Cockermouth to be ‘publickly whipped until his body be bloody, at the post in the publick market.’ (‘Register and Records of Holm Cultram’ – 1929, Grainger & Collingwood)

1757: When Joseph Wilson, the Carlisle Hangman, died he was buried at Brigham near Cockermouth, and a hangman’s noose was depicted on his grave. Many people were upset at this and within three years all trace of the headstone had disappeared. According to tradition, he was said to haunt the Churchyard for many years.

1760: For a time during March there was a Dromedary Camel at the Globe Inn, Cockermouth. People could see this strange animal if they could afford to pay the 9d demanded for a view. (‘Diary of Isaac Fletcher of Underwood 1756-81’)

1761: The first improved Turnpike road from Keswick was the one over Dunmail Raise to Ambleside. Many people grumbled about the cost of the new roads, but for the first time goods could be carried in carts and wagons, instead of on packhorses. Before long the Turnpike road was extended to Braithwaite, and over Whinlatter Pass to Cockermouth (‘Cumberland Heritage’ – Molly Lefebure)

1777: A peal of six Bells was placed in Cockermouth Church, and a Clock was put on the outside of the Church (‘Cockermouth – History and Guide’). N.B. This was the old All Saints’ Church (see picture).

1785: Money raised locally enabled a Dispensary to be opened in Cockermouth. A Physician and three Surgeons were available to provide medical aid (Parson & White, 1829)

1800: R Woods’s ‘Royal Waxworks’ were exhibited at Cockermouth in the ‘largest caravan in the Kingdom’. The waxworks included: ‘The King and Queen of England’, ‘Lord Nelson’, ‘The Unfortunate Royal Family of France’, ‘Adam and Eve in Paradise’, ‘The Four Seasons of the Year in their Proper Attitudes’, ‘A Striking Likeness of Mary Calder’, ‘A Dwarf, only 32 inches high’, and many others. Entrance was: Ladies & Gentlemen -1 shilling, Tradesmen, etc – 6d. (‘The Cumberland Pacquet’)

Gloria Edwards

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