Society Projects

Past Projects

During its 25 years the Society has completed many projects and formed many groups. The following is a record of those projects completed to date, 2018.

The Victoria County History Group

The Society is a founder member of the Cumbria County History Trust, which is the charity which seeks to provide the resources and organisation for progressing the Victoria County History for Cumbria. Several members contributed a number of Jubilee Digests to the CCHT website. These digests provided a set of basic historical information about the places in Cumbria for which a VCH history will be written. They were replaced by the Historical Gazeteer .

Digests written by group members were: Above Derwent, Blindbothel, Borrowdale, Brackenthwaite, Brigham, Buttermere, Castlerigg St John's & Wythburn, Cockermouth, Dean (parish), Eaglesfield, Embleton, Great Clifton, Greysouthen, Keswick, Little Clifton, Lorton, Loweswater, Setmurthy, Stainburn, Whinfell, Wythop.

During the process a great deal of material was systematically collected about the history of our VCH places, or civil parishes, including detailed boundary maps. These sources can be found here.

The Landscape History Group

The Landscape History Group was formed in 2008 when the opportunity was taken to participate in a level 1 survey of the historic environment of National Trust owned and covenanted land in Buttermere, Loweswater and Brackenthwaite. In 2009 the group made a similar survey of the industrial remains on the western shores of Derwentwater, reported in Journal 44. Later in 2009 the group participated in an archaeological rescue dig at Peel Place in Brackenthwaite. The image shows members at work with Jamie Lund of the NT on the left.

A photograph of The Landscape History Group with Jamie Lund at Peel Place.
The Landscape History Group at Peel Place

The House History Group

The Society has had two House History Groups since it was formed, made up of members who wish to research the history of their houses in a social manner. The current group has been running for three years. The image shows Low Stanger Farm in Embleton in 1890, which was the subject of a study published in Journal 42.

A photograph of Low Stanger Farm in Embleton, 1890
Low Stanger Farm in Embleton, 1890

The Manorial Records Group

In 2006 a group of six members worked on an exemplar project to demonstrate ways in which manorial records could be used in a variety of local and family history applications. The group worked with Lancaster University, Cumbria Archives Service and The National Archives as a community Group contributing to the Cumbria Manorial Records project - which provides a finding aid for the manorial records of Cumbria.

Guide to Cumbrian manorial records

Group Report

The Lorton Yew Tree, Bicentenary Book and Yew Tree Day

The Lorton yew tree is over 1000 years old, though much reduced in size in the C19th, and has associations with George Fox in 1653, and the visiting poets, Coleridge and Wordsworth, in 1799.

In 2004 the Society led a project to commemorate the visit of William and Dorothy Wordsworth in 1804, in the context of the poem Yew-Trees. The Society published the book Wordsworth and the famous Lorton yew tree containing its history, literary associations and contemporary contributions.

In late 2004 and exhibition was held in the yew tree hall with contributions but the Society and Lorton School and involving a poetry competition. An interpretation board was set up near the tree by Lorton Parsih Council, and a millennium daughter-yew was planted at Crossgates.

Lorton Yew by Haselgrave in Bogg 1898
The Lorton Yew

The Three Valleys Oral History Project

The Society first became involved with Oral History in 1999, when it participated in the Voices of Cumbria millennium project. Society members went on to create over forty oral history recordings on a number of themes, most importantly on the Foot and Mouth outbreak in 2001.

The transcripts of the recordings are available on-line through the Ambleside Oral History Group. Click the image below to go to their site and read the transcripts.

At present the Society is resting its oral history work, but would welcome members' interest in restarting.

Presenting the oral history tapes at Ambleside
The Society's recordings are presented to Ambleside Oral History Group

The Lorton Roman Roads Group

The Lorton Roman Road Group was formed by Society members in 1998 and worked until 2000 to study the historical and archaeological evidence for Roman roads passing through Lorton, principally the Whinlatter Pass route from Keswick to Derventio in Papcastle.

Remains were not found on the Lorton side but the group discovered and excavated an old road in Thornthwaite to Knott Head. This was reported in CWAAS Transaction in 2007 - click the image below to see the report.

In 2008 the Roman fort was discovered at Castlerigg in Keswick: the aligment of our road is consistent with a Whinlatter Roman road from a fort at that location.

A picture of a Roman alter to Brigantia
A Roman alter to Brigantia