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Coordinates: 54°45′48″N 3°19′41″W / 54.7633°N 3.3281°W / 54.7633; -3.3281
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St Kentigern's Church
Aspatria is located in the former Allerdale Borough
Location in Allerdale
Aspatria is located in Cumbria
Location within Cumbria
Population2,834 (2011)[1]
OS grid referenceNY145417
Civil parish
  • Aspatria
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townWIGTON
Postcode districtCA7
Dialling code016973
AmbulanceNorth West
UK Parliament
List of places
54°45′48″N 3°19′41″W / 54.7633°N 3.3281°W / 54.7633; -3.3281

Aspatria /əsˈptriə/[2] is a town and civil parish in Cumberland, Cumbria, England. The town rests on the north side of the Ellen Valley, overlooking a panoramic view of the countryside, with Skiddaw to the South and the Solway Firth to the North. Its developments are aligned approximately east–west along the A596 Carlisle to Workington road and these extend to approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) in length. It lies about 8 miles (13 km) northeast of Maryport, a similar distance to the Southwest of Wigton, about 9 miles (14 km) north of Cockermouth and 5 miles (8.0 km) from the coast and Allonby. It comprises the townships of Aspatria and Brayton, Hayton and Mealo, and Oughterside and Allerby, the united area being 8,345 acres (3,377 ha); while the town takes up an area of 1,600 acres (647 ha). In earlier days a Roman road leading from "Old Carlisle" to Ellenborough passed through the hamlet.

The population has greatly increased since the mid-19 century. In 1801, the village comprised 98 dwellings with a population of 321. By 1851, there were 236 family entities, comprising 1,123 residents; by 1871, the numbers had increased to 1,778; and twenty years later stood at 2,714. By the start of the 20th century, the population had risen to 2,885; twenty years later it peaked at 3,521. Although the population slumped in the 1930s to 3,189, it recovered to 3,500, in 1951; and by 1981, the population appeared stable at 2,745. It is served by Aspatria railway station. Aspatria is located on the fringe of the English Lake District.

The parish church of St Kentigern was completed in 1848. Fragments of masonry and crosses from earlier structures on the same site are preserved there.


Pre Norman[edit]

Aspatria is an ancient settlement and seems to have been home to a group of Norsemen who fled to the area from Ireland around 900. In 1789, a surgeon by the name of Rigg employed a group of labourers to level a mound called Beacon Hill, situated close behind his house at Aspatria. After reaching a depth of about one metre they dug into a cavity walled around with large stones and found the skeleton of a Viking chief. At the head of the skeleton lay a sword almost five feet in length, with a remarkably broad blade, ornamented with a gold and silver handle. The scabbard of the sword was made of wood, lined with cloth. The workmen also unearthed several pieces of armour, a dirk with a silver studded handle, a golden buckled belt, and a breast plate. The artefacts remain the property of the British Museum.[3] Further finds were made on the same site in 1997 when a mobile phone mast was being constructed.[4]

002 Aspatria Viking finds

The Manor[edit]

The manor of Aspatria is part of the ancient barony of Allerdale below Derwent. Awarded by Ranulph de Meschines, grantee of the whole of Cumberland from William the Conqueror, to Waltheof, son of Gospatrick, Earl of Dunbar, from whom the obsolete name of Aspatrick, may have been derived. Upon the division of the estates of William Fitz Duncan, and his wife Alice de Romney, among their three daughters, the manor passed to Alice, the youngest. However, Alice died without issue and the estates passed to an elder sister who had married into the Lucy family. The latter family terminated in a female heir Maud de Lucy. She married Henry Percy, the first Earl of Northumberland, who received the whole of her estates. It remained in this family through eleven generations before passing by the marriage of Lady Elizabeth, sole daughter and heiress of Josceline Percy to Charles Seymour, sixth Earl of Somerset. In recent times it again passed by a female heir to the Wyndham family, from whom it has descended to Lord Leconfield and now Lord Egremont.[5]

The village stands at the northern end of the West Cumberland Coalfield and there have been mines in the area since the 16th century. The opening of the Maryport and Carlisle Railway, in 1842, led to a rapid expansion of the industry. The Brayton Domain Collieries sank five different pits around the town at various times and there were also mines near Mealsgate, Baggrow and Fletchertown. In 1902, a new mine was sunk at Oughterside. The last pit in the town, Brayton Domain No.5, closed in 1940.[6]

In 1870, one of England's first farmers' co-operatives, the Aspatria Agricultural Cooperative Society was established here with offices in the market square, facing the Aspatria Agricultural College which flourished from 1874 until 1925.[7]

Sir Wilfrid Lawson MP (1829–1906) lived at Brayton Hall just outside the town. He was a committed nonconformist and a leader of the Temperance Movement. His memorial stands in the market square, topped by a bronze effigy of St George slaying the dragon – said to represent the demon drink.[7] Brayton Hall was destroyed by fire in 1918.[8]


According to one source, the origins of the name of Aspatria lie in Old Scandinavian and Celtic. It translates as "Ash-tree of St Patrick", and is composed of the elements askr (Old Scandinavian for "ash-tree") and the Celtic saint's name. The order of the elements of the name, with the ash-tree coming before the name of the saint, is particular to Celtic place-names.[9] The following forms of the name have been found in various charters:- Estpatrick in 1224, Asepatrick 1230, Aspatric 1233, Askpatrik 1291, Assepatrick 1303, Aspatrick 1357, Aspatre 1491.[10] The first entry in the parish register referring to the town as Aspatria in preference to the name Aspatrick or Aspatricke appears in 1712. It appears in the handwriting of the then vicar David Bell.[11] For the next fifty years the spelling fluctuated until eventually Aspatria became the dominant name. When Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins passed through the town in 1857 they referred to the name Spatter which is not too dissimilar to 'Speatrie' the name locals prefer.[12] William Brough, a railway porter, discharging third class passengers after their arrival at Aspatria from the Bolton Loop railway connection would cry 'Speatrie Loup Oot'. Second class passengers would detect "Speatrie change ere for Measyat", while first class passengers heard a polite invitation, "Aspatriah, change heah for Mealsgate."[13]

There is a legend that the name comes from the ash tree that grew when St. Patrick's staff, the Bachal Isu, took root in the ground because it took so long for him to manage to convert the people from this area to Christianity.[14]


The town is in the parliamentary constituency of Workington. In the December 2019 general election, the Tory candidate for Workington, Mark Jenkinson, was elected the MP, overturning a 9.4 per cent Labour majority from the 2017 election to eject shadow environment secretary Sue Hayman by a margin of 4,136 votes.[15] Until the December 2019 general election the Labour Party had won the seat in the constituency in every general election since 1979. The Conservative Party had previously only been elected once in Workington since World War II, at the 1976 by-election.[16]

Prior to Brexit for the European Parliament residents in Aspatria voted to elect MEPs for the North West England constituency.

An electoral ward exists with the same name. This ward stretches east to Allhallows with a total population taken at the 2011 Census of 3,380.[17]

Religious worship[edit]

Prior to the opening of the Brayton Domain Collieries the people of Aspatria had two places of worship, the long established Anglican parish church of St. Kentigern's and a non-conformist chapel of the Congregationalist persuasion, built by Sir Wilfrid Lawson, in 1826. The latter is now a café with dwelling behind. However, with the influx of new workers came a demand for new institutions. In 1864, the Primitive Methodists built a chapel in the lower end of Lawson Street. Twenty years later, to cater for their expanding congregation they built a new chapel, with adjoining manse for the minister, at the junction of Queen Street and Brayton Road, while retaining the original building for use as a Sunday school. In the 1980s they sold the property, which the new owner demolished and replaced with a private house. In 1874, a group of Bible Christians, originally from Cornwall built a chapel at the bottom of Richmond Hill. This is also now the site of a private house. The Wesleyan Methodists built their first chapel on the corner of North Road and Queen Street in 1898. This proved too small and was replaced by the existing building in 1921. Although the small numbers of Roman Catholics have had a variety of meeting places over the years, they have never built a church.[18]


There are two primary schools in the town: Oughterside Primary School[19] and Richmond Hill School.[20]

Beacon Hill Community School is a secondary school in Aspatria. The school serves the town and neighbouring villages.[21]

Neighbouring parishes[edit]

The parish is bounded on the North by the parishes of Bromfield and Westnewton; on the West by Gilcrux and Crosscanonby; on the South by Plumbland and Torpenhow; and on the East by Bromfield and Allhallows.


There is a small industrial area next to the railway station where:-


Local news and television programmes are provided by BBC North East and Cumbria and ITV Border. Television signals are received from the Caldbeck TV transmitter. [25] Local radio stations are BBC Radio Cumbria on 94.7 FM and Greatest Hits Radio Cumbria & South West Scotland on 96.4 FM. The town is served by the local newspaper, News and Star. [26]


Aspatria Hornets are the local rugby league team. Aspatria is also home to rugby union club Aspatria RUFC, currently playing in the RFU's North Lancashire/Cumbria Division. The 'Aspatria Eagles' are the club's second team, and the 'Aspatria Sinners' are the women's team. Aspatria FC are the town's football club who compete in the Tesco Cumberland County Premier League.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Parish population 2011". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Northern yet to fix Aspatria mispronunciation". BBC News. 5 February 2024. Retrieved 5 February 2024.
  3. ^ P Abramson: A re-examination of a Viking Age burial at Beacon Hill, Aspatria, Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Transactions 2000, p79-88;
  4. ^ Holme St Cuthbert History Group: Plain People, 2004
  5. ^ Bulmers History and Directory of Cumberland, 1901
  6. ^ Durham Mining Museum Index of Mines
  7. ^ a b J Rose & M Dunglinson: Aspatria, a Cumbrian Town (Phillimore, 1987)
  8. ^ Wigton Advertiser, 28 September 1918
  9. ^ Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names, A D Mills, p. 16, 1998
  10. ^ Bailey page 12
  11. ^ Carlisle Herald and Examiner, 5 February 1887
  12. ^ Collins and Dickens (2011) chapter 3
  13. ^ West Cumberland Times 5 October 1895
  14. ^ "Lurgan Ancestry ~ St. Patrick - First Bishop of Armagh". Lurganancestry.com. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  15. ^ "Workington parliamentary constituency - Election 2019 - BBC News". Bbc.com. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  16. ^ "A vision of Britain website – general elections section". Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  17. ^ "Ward population 2011". Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  18. ^ Rose & Dunglinson page 95
  19. ^ "Home | Oughterside Foundation School". Oughtersideschool.co.uk. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  20. ^ "Home | Richmond Hill School". Richmondhillprimary.co.uk. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  21. ^ "Beacon Hill Community School". Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  22. ^ "Aspatria's Sealy factory closure leads to 267 job losses". BBC News. 4 May 2020.
  23. ^ Cumberland News, 12 August 2011
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 December 2021. Retrieved 21 February 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ "Caldbeck (Cumbria, England) Full Freeview transmitter". May 2004.
  26. ^ "Times & Star". Retrieved 26 February 2024.


  • Rev. William Slater Calverley; W. G. Collingwood M.A. (1899). Early Sculptured Crosses, Shrines and Monuments in the Present Diocese of Carlisle. Kendal: Titus Wilson.
  • A. D. Mills (1998). Oxford Dictionary of Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford.
  • Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens (2011). The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices. London: Hesperus Press Ltd.
  • T. Bulmer (1901). History and Directory of Cumberland. Preston: T. Bulmer & Co. Hesperus Press Ltd.
  • J. B. Bailey (1920). History of the Churches in the Maryport Rural Deanery. Cockermouth: Times Office.
  • J. Rose; M. Dunglinson (1987). Aspatria. Chichester: Phillimore.

External links[edit]