Bewcastle

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Coordinates: 55°03′47″N 2°40′57″W / 55.06306°N 2.68261°W / 55.06306; -2.68261

Bewcastle
Bewcastle is located in Cumbria
Bewcastle
Bewcastle
 Bewcastle shown within Cumbria
Population 411 (2001 census)
OS grid reference NY565745
Civil parish Bewcastle
District City of Carlisle
Shire county Cumbria
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Carlisle
Postcode district CA6
Post town Newcastleton
Postcode district TD9
Dialling code 016977
Police Cumbria
Fire Cumbria
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament Penrith and The Border
Website http://www.bewcastle.com/
List of places
UK
England
Cumbria

Bewcastle is a large civil parish in the City of Carlisle district of Cumbria, England.

According to the 2001 census the parish had a population of 411. The parish is large and includes the settlements of Roadhead, Shopford, Blackpool Gate, Roughsike and The Flatt. To the north the parish extends to the border with Scotland. As well as Bewcastle Castle this border area includes Askerton Castle.

Etymology[edit]

The origin of the name Bewcastle can be traced accurately from its spelling in ancient documents. These show that it was originally "bothy/booth caster", which translates as "the Roman fort where there were bothies or shielings". 'Cæster' is "an Anglican side-form of OE 'ceaster', referring to the defences of the Roman camp...a medieval fortress was built within these defences..." The original form of the first element "was clearly 'Buth-' from ON búð, 'booth." [1] (OE=Old English; ON=Old Norse).

Antiquarians, who did not have our access to well-catalogued and studied ancient documents, leapt at the chance to link the place name with a semi-mythological figure named Bueth, due to his romantic links with the prestigious Barony of Gilsland. The well-respected book "The Place-names of Cumberland" [2] states that it is impossible for Bewcastle to be named after Bueth.

Church and cross[edit]

St Cuthbert's churchyard contains the famous 7th Century Bewcastle Cross. The sundial on its surface is the oldest in Britain[citation needed], divided into the four 'tides' which governed the working day in medieval times. Its importance has been described by Nikolaus Pevsner thus; "The crosses of Bewcastle and Ruthwell....are the greatest achievement of their date in the whole of Europe."[3] A reconstruction of the whole cross is located in the churchyard of St Mary's neo-Romanesque Church at Wreay near Carlisle, but this differs in style and detail from the original. Stephen Matthews[4] calls the Wreay cross a "reinvention".

Roman Fort[edit]

Bewcastle is also known for its unusual hexagonal Roman fort, which has been identified as Fanum Cocidi. It was originally built from turf and timber and garrisoned by the First Nervan Cohort of Germans. It was later rebuilt in stone. Much of the stone was subsequently used to build a Norman castle. [5]

People[edit]

Two brothers born in Bewcastle, Joseph Armstrong (1816–1877) and George Armstrong (1822–1901), became noted steam locomotive engineers; their careers were spent mainly on the Great Western Railway.[6]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Armstrong, A. M.; Mawer, A.; Stenton, F. M.; Dickens, B. (1950). The place-names of Cumberland. English Place-Name Society, vol.xx. Part 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 60–61. 
  2. ^ Armstrong, 1950, p..60-61
  3. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus (1967) The buildings of England - Cumberland and Westmorland. Penguin Books.
  4. ^ Matthews, S. 2007. Sarah Losh and Wreay Church; Bookcase, Carlisle
  5. ^ 'Bewcastle' in The Cumberland News supplement 6 June 2014.
  6. ^ Marshall 1978, pp. 13–14

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]