- Egremont, Cumbria
infobox UK place
country = England
population = 3,707
region= North West England
postcode_district = CA22
Egremont is a town in the county of
Cumbria, England, on the A595 roadsouth of Whitehavenand on the River Ehen.
Egremont is a small historical town which is known for its
gurningcompetition. The town has one secondary school, West Lakes Academy, and three primary schools, which are Bookwell Primary School, Orgill Primary School and St Bridget's Primary School. It has a castle, several churches, two supermarkets, and a market selling a variety of goods held every Friday.
Egremont is a traditional
market townwith a long historical and industrial heritage. The town is nestled at the foot of UldaleValley and Dent Fell. The town's layout today is much the same as it was envisaged by Richard de Lucyin c.1200 with its wide Main Street opening out into the Market Place.
It is home to an annual Crab Fair originating in 1267, and as a town it has over 1000 years of history. The remains of the Norman Castle, built in the 12th century, are situated at the southern end of Main Street near the Market Place. Egremont was granted its Market
Charterby King Henry III.
In bygone days dyeing and weaving were traditional industries based around the River Ehen.
Iron oremining and quarrying has been established in Egremont for more than 800 years, and it is home to Florence Mine, the last deep iron ore mine in Western Europe.
The determined mining of iron ore started around 1830 with many mines being opened. Egremont’s Florence Mine is the last working deep iron ore mine left in Western Europe and produces ore, products for the cosmetics industry and high quality
haematitefor jewellery. Florence Mine can be found just south of Egremont town.
Around the early 1600s agricultural lime was mined at Clints quarry with more heavy duty mining being undertaken to supply the iron and ore industry in the mid 1800s, finally ending in 1930.
Clints Quarry now a
Site of Special Scientific Interestcan be found just north of Egremont town.
Rowntreesbuilt a chocolate crumb factory near Christie Bridge and the nuclear industry became established at Sellafield.
The Rowntrees site has become a new housing estate, York Place, which is located at the northern end of Main Street.
Sellafieldsite (now Sellafield Limited) is still operating while undergoing major change.
Manufacturing industries have declined but service, new media and tourism industries have taken their place.
Egremont has many unique and interesting places to enjoy including the Castle, Florence Mine, Hartleys Ice cream, Lowes Court Gallery, various walks, Clints Quarry (SSSI), cycle paths and an active public and community arts programme called Creative Egremont.
Egremont pre-dates the Norman conquest of England. The
Danesfirst established a fort on the site of Egremont castle around the end of the first millennium.
Egremont formerly had a station on the
Whitehaven, Cleator and Egremont Railwaybut it closed in 1947. Bus services 6 and X6 link Egremont to Whitehaven and Seascale[http://www.stagecoachbus.com/timetables/Service6X6from31August2008.pdf] .
History of Barony of Copeland
Norman ConquestRanulph de Briquessart ( Ranulph le Meschines) was given a large part of Cumberlandand Westmorlandby William Rufus. On his becoming the Earl of Chesterhis estates were returned to the Crown. Around 1120 Henry I gave the Barony of Copeland to Ranulph’s brother William le Meschineswho made his home at Egremont and began to build the castle which took approximately 150 years to complete. The Barony was inherited by William’s son Ranulph le Meschines. Ranulph having no male heir the Barony passed to his sister Alice who married William Fitzduncan; they had a child who after his untimely death became known as “the Boy of Egremont”, again with no living male heir William Fitzduncan’s estates passed to his three daughters Annabel, Cecily and Alice.
The estates passed down to Annabel’s son Richard de Lucy. Richard’s daughters both married into the de Multon family, Alice (now called de Morville) married Alan de Multon and Annabel (now called de Morville) married Lambert de Multon. Annabel and Lambert de Multon inherited the Barony of Copeland and again the castle had a Lord in residence. Richard de Lucy sued his relatives for these estates and obtained his inheritance in 1200.
Around 1205 the tale of Grunwilda was told; she was the wife of Richard de Lucy and was killed by a wolf on a hunting trip, this tale is recounted in the poem “The Woeful Chase”. Again leaving no male heir Richard died and the superstition began that no male heir should inherit Egremont castle because of the conduct of the forefathers. Egremont was granted its royal charter by Henry III in 1267.
In about 1300 the town was established much as it is seen today, surrounded by agricultural lands. In 1322
Robert Bruceattacked the town with a huge death toll. For the next 100 years or so an uneasy peace followed and the castle fell into ruins.
In 1565 a stone bridge was built over the river Ehen to access the town which was now smaller because of frequent Scottish raids. Little changed for a century, until new stone buildings appeared on the Main Street, probably built with stone from the castle. In 1683
Edward Bennand his heirs were given land with the provision that they rebuild the stone bridge and maintain it for ever.
In 1748 another bridge was built at Briscoe Mill at a cost of £28-15-0d, paid for by John Pearson, a local hatter. Soon Egremont began to service the Port of
Whitehavenand in 1830 iron ore was mined over several sites.
Over the next 60 years new schools, churches and the Town Hall were built. New housing estates were also built to accommodate the growing town with many old parts of the town being demolished in 1968. In 1964
Wyndham Schoolwas built, it was the first Comprehensive Schoolto be built in the British Isles. 1970 saw a large increase in workers moving into the town to work on the new nuclear site.
1990 saw the opening of the Egremont
by-pass, at this time Florence Mine was the only remaining working mine and in the year 2004 we saw the running down of the nuclear industry and the growth of the nuclear decommissioningindustry.
Egremont still has a Lord, he is John Max Henry Scawen Wyndham,
Baron Egremontand Baron Leconfield, he lives in the family home, Petworth Housein West Sussex.
Former "It Bites" front man Francis Dunnery was born and brought up in Egremont.
* [http://www.egremontcrabfair.org.uk/ Egremont Crab Fair] , with info on the gurning championships
* [http://www.creative-egremont.org/ Creative Egremont] , with info on public & community arts in the town
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