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Maryport

Maryport has always had a close affinity with the sea, from its earliest fishing days to the busy docks and sea-faring ships of the Georgian and Victorian eras.

Even the Romans utilised the presence of the sea and its shoreline as added defence in the building of Hadrian's Wall, their great frontier sweeping along the Solway Firth and down the west coast as far as Ravenglass.

The west-facing Solway coast affords expansive views and glorious sunsets over the Irish Sea, which can be enjoyed from the promenade walks.

To the north of Maryport is evidence of the salt-panning industry of Crosscanonby (the village was named after the Augustinian canons of Carlisle cathedral). Inland are the coal mining towns of Crosby, Dearham and Broughton Moor. To the south is the coastal village of Flimby, also a coal mining area but formerly a monastic holding of Holm Cultram Abbey. Towards Cockermouth is Great Broughton on the banks of the Derwent, and lastly Tallentire, its name suitably meaning ‘end of the land’.

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Armidale Cottages Bed & Breakfast

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Things to do

What's on

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There are a variety of events taking place in Maryport 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.


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Surrounding Areas

Allonby Beach
St Kentigern's Church, Aspatria

CULTURE AND HERITAGE

Maryport Harbour
Senhouse Museum, Maryport
Maryport
Maryport Harbour
The area around Maryport was largely uninhabited until the arrival of the Romans circa AD 70. Hadrian’s Wall was begun in AD 122 to secure the northern frontier of the Roman Empire. It started as a turf wall, stretching from across from the mouth of the Tyne to the Solway Firth, it was later converted to stone. The section fronting the western edge of the Solway Firth did not feature a curtain wall but had a series of forts, milefortlets and signal turrets placed at strategic intervals to secure the coastal defences and supply lines. Near Maryport, the Romans built a major fort (Alauna) at a junction with the Roman road that led to Papcastle (near Cockermouth).

The Romans stayed for around 250 years before being recalled to Rome around AD 410. Thereafter, the area was left to Romano-British tribes, later colonisation by Viking settlers who infiltrated rivers along the coast and founded settlements such as Flimby and Crosscanonby, and the Normans, who built the beautiful churches at Dearham and Crosscanonby. Both churches display stone carvings that portray the transition from pagan cults to Christian worship.

The town of Maryport owes its existence to the mining of coal and the foresighted patronage of Humphrey Senhouse of Netherhall. In the early 18th century, the area was little more than a fishing hamlet at the mouth of the river Ellen, known as Ellenfoot (owned by the Senhouse family). In 1749, Humphrey Senhouse obtained an Act of Parliament to develop a new town and harbour (to rival Whitehaven), which he named ‘Maryport’ after his wife. The town expanded rapidly in a planned way that incorporated elegant features such as cobbled Fleming Square surrounded by graceful Georgian architecture. By 1800 the town had 3000 inhabitants and 90 ships.

Maryport was built to capitalise on the discovery of nearby coal deposits. Initially the coal was brought in by packhorses to be loaded onto ships for export. The 19th century saw completion of the Maryport to Carlisle railway and new ship docks (Elizabeth and Senhouse Docks), which enabled large quantities of coal, iron ore, steel rails, timber, cotton, cattle and other goods to be brought in and out of the port. In the peak year of 1845, over 300,000 tons of coal were shipped out of Maryport. Shipping and shipbuilding were primary industries, and many master mariners lived in palatial Georgian houses near to the docks. Between 1765 and 1914, over 280 ships were built in Maryport’s shipyards. The town was the birthplace of Thomas Henry Ismay, one of the great shipping magnates of the time and owner of the White Star Line (which built the ill-fated Titanic). Other local shipping names include the Hine Brothers (who founded the Holme Shipping Line in 1873) and the Ritsons who constructed the first iron ships at Maryport.
Maryport Harbour

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