OS Grid ref:- NY 122308
The ancient market town of Cockermouth, situated on the rivers of Cocker and Derwent, lies in an area of attractive countryside on the western verges of the Lake District National Park. Founded in the twelfth century, the town was granted its market charter in 1221. The ill-fated Mary Queen of Scots stayed at Cockermouth after her flight to England to solicit aid from her cousin Elizabeth I, following her defeat by the Scottish lords at the Battle of Langside.
Cockermouth's main street and the Mayo Statue
There is a town trail with markers to guide the visitor around the town's most interesting features.
The Printing Museum, on Main Street has has a varied collection of printing presses brought together from all over Britain. The building in which the museum is housed dates back to the sixteenth century. In the courtyard, an intersting display of Cumbrian shops is being created - a chemists shop and a General Store packed with goods from yesteryear.
Cockermouth Castle is a grade I listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument. It stands on a defensible position above the meeting of the rivers Cocker and Derwent,
The first castle to occupy this site was built by the Normans in 1134, as a defence against Scots incurrsions, a common feature of life in the north of England during the Middle Ages. This building was replaced in 1225 with a more substantial stone building. Various magnates held the castle, the most prominent being the Percy family, Earls of Northumberland, who acquired the castle through the marriage of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, to the widow of Gilbert de Umfraville. The Percy family then held it until the 1600s. Significant additions were made in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
The castle has a long and violent history. Part of its structure was destroyed by the famous Scottish king, Robert the Bruce in 1315. The castle played a significant role in the Wars of the Roses, and in the Civil War, it was badly damaged when it was besieged in 1648, holding out for Parliament against King Charles I. Parliamentary forces damaged 'slighted' the castle ro prevent it from being used by the Royalists advancing from Scotland under Charles I son, Charles, Prince of Wales.
Cockermouth Castle was owned by Lady Egremont until her death in 2013.
The Creighton Mineral and Fossil Museum covers mineral mining in the area, which took place as early as Roman times. It houses some of the best mineral specimens in the north of England.
All Saints Church, dating from 1854, is the oldest of the four parish churches in Cockermouth, and stands beside the Market Square. It boasts an 180 ' spire and a memorial window to Wordsworth.
Some of Cockermouth's most famous sons include the poet Wordsworth, who was born in the town, Fletcher Christian, of mutiny on the Bounty fame and John Dalton, the discoverer of the atomic theory and of colour blindness.
Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy were born in their father's large imposing Georgian house in Cockermouth's main street. The house, which overlooks the River Derwent, is now owned by the National Trust and furnished in appropriate regency style, it contains many personal effects of the poet.
The house dates from 1745 and was built by Joshua Lucock, High Sheriff of Cumberland. The poet's father, John Wordsworth, acquired the house due to his position as agent to Sir James Lowther. It was occupied by the Wordsworth family from 1766 - 1784.
Wood Hall Gardens, restored and rescued from demolition in 1970 are spectacular. The gardens are open for charity on specified days.
The Jennings Brewery Tour is a different experience that is well worth seeing. Jennings Brewery have been brewing traditional beers since 1828 and is the last remaining independent brewing company in Cumbria. The company was founded in the small village of Lorton between Keswick and Cockermouth, before moving to its current position on the banks of the River Cocker in 1874. The Brewery still uses the same methods using the finest raw materials, including British malt, English hops, sugar and yeast. The duration of the tour is about one and half hours. At the end of the tour, visitors can sample the beers.
Jenning's Brewery on the banks of the Rivers Cocker and Derwent and the Old Court House, now an Antiques Market
The Lakeland Sheep and Wool Centre in Egremont Road is a Shearings Holiday Award Winner and an indoor attraction, making it popular whatever the weather. The centre has many farm animals, with farm show times, sheep dog displays and a licensed restaurant.
Cockermouth has many tourist facilities with ample car parks, accommodation, a wide range of shops and a tourist information centre. There are a variety of restaraunts and pubs, offering the visitor a wide choice of food.
Events in Cockermouth
*The Cockermouth Festival is held during the third week in August and includes concerts and art and craft exhibitions.
Cattle auctions and sheep fairs are also held within the town.