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Tall Georgian houses lining its streets, an attractive memorial fountain gracing the old market place and an elegant Georgian church all suggest that Wigton was a market town of some importance in days gone by, with its jumble of streets, narrow lanes and alleyways somehow earning it the nickname ‘The Throstle's Nest'.

While some well-known literary figures have passed through the town, notably Charles Dickens in 1857, one notable writer and broadcaster was actually born here; Melvin Bragg later honoured as Lord Bragg of Wigton.

Surrounding Wigton is a pastoral landscape of neat fields and hedges, dotted with the rural villages of Great Orton, Wiggonby, Aikton, Oulton, Waverton, Bolton Low Houses, Rosley and Thursby.

Book Your Stay

Wallace Lane Farm guest lounge

Wallace Lane Farm

Farmhouse with 3 rooms, £75-£85 prpn

Heated showers and toilets

Wallace Lane Farm Campsite

Holiday & Camping Park with 12 pitches, £15-£16 ptpn

Wallace Lane Farm Glamping Caravans

Wallace Lane Farm Glamping Cabins

Alternative Accommodation with 5 units, £100-£160 pppn sleeps 4-6 , £75-£100 pupn sleeps 4 , £75-£100 pupw sleeps 1-4

Lane Head Apartment

Lane Head Apartment

Self-catering with 1 unit, £235-£340 pupw sleeps 1-4

Things to do

What's on

 April 2017>
There are a variety of events taking place in Wigton and the surrounding areas over the year. Why dont you check out the calendar and see what's on while you're here?

For events happening around the county, click below for our What's On page.

Browse All Events

Surrounding Areas

Caldbeck Village
Allonby Beach

Culture and Heritage

St Mary's Church, Wigton
Wigton Town Centre
In the 7th century, Anglian settlers were spreading across the Solway Plain. The name Wigton is derived from ‘Wicga’s tun’ or the settlement of Wicga (in all likelihood an Anglo-Saxon chieftain). The Normans established a Barony of Wigton and created one of the largest hunting reserves in England – Inglewood Forest – which stretched from the edge of Wigton to Penrith. Wigton’s position in the centre of the Solway Plain together with the commercial influence of Holm Cultram Abbey fostered a thriving trade in commerce. In 1262, the town acquired the right to hold a weekly market and annual fair. All manner of goods were brought for sale, with the various commodities assigned to different parts of the town. Fish, vegetables, butter and poultry were sold in the Market Place, livestock at Market Hill, meat from the shambles beside the Market Cross and grain from outside St Mary’s Church.
Look out for the letters ‘O’, ‘B’ and ‘W’ marked out in white cobblestones – they indicate where oats, barley and wheat could be sold. Wigton still honours its ancient charter by hosting weekly indoor and outdoor markets.

Wigton’s early industries included cotton and linen manufacture, dyeing, printing and tanning. The cloth manufacturers employed hundreds of hand-loom weavers who carried out their trade in small weavers’ cottages mainly located to the east of the town centre. The area known as Tenters is named after the tenterhooks on which the finished cloth was stretched to be bleached by the sun. Wigton’s two becks supplied enough water and power to operate three corn mills, two breweries, a dye works, tannery and saw mill.

Industrial prosperity was accompanied by the building of several grand houses, the most famous of which was Highmoor House, built in 1810 by Joseph Hodge, a cotton and linen manufacturer. On his death the house passed to his business partner, William Banks, who enlarged the house and landscaped its grounds. In the 1870s, a huge tower was added in the style of an Italian campanile. It was fitted with a large bell (called ‘Big Joe’ with a range of 12 miles) and a carillon of smaller bells that played from a repertoire of ’36 tunes every three hours … and sacred music on Sundays.’ The lilting tunes could be heard for miles, even as far as Carlisle. Sadly, the tower is now silent and surrounded by a large housing estate.


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