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St Michael's Church, Bowness-on-Solway.jpeg
St. Michael's Church, Bowness-on-Solway
Bowness-on-Solway is located in Cumbria
Location within Cumbria
Population1,126 (2011)
OS grid referenceNY220623
Civil parish
  • Bowness
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townWIGTON
Postcode districtCA7
Dialling code01697
AmbulanceNorth West
EU ParliamentNorth West England
UK Parliament
List of places
54°57′00″N 3°12′58″W / 54.950°N 3.216°W / 54.950; -3.216Coordinates: 54°57′00″N 3°12′58″W / 54.950°N 3.216°W / 54.950; -3.216

Bowness-on-Solway is a village of fewer than 100 houses on the Solway Firth separating England and Scotland. The civil parish had a population of 1,126 at the 2011 census.[1] It is in northwest Cumbria to the west of Carlisle on the southern English side. The western end of Hadrian's Wall is a notable tourist destination, though the Wall itself is no longer to be seen here above ground. The west end of the Hadrian's Wall Path is marked by a pavilion on the small coastal cliff at Bowness. Other attractions are the beaches and wading birds.

The village is part of the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.


'Bowness' means 'rounded', or bow-shaped headland', from either the Old English 'boga', 'bow', and 'næss', or, more probably, the Old Norse 'bogi' and 'nes'.[2]

Roman era[edit]

The village is situated on the site of the Roman fort called Maia, the second largest on Hadrian's Wall.[3] There was also a small civilian settlement (vicus) outside the south gate of this fort.[3]

St Michael's Church[edit]

Built atop what may be the granary for the Roman fort in the 12th century, the two original bells were stolen by border raiders in 1626, accidentally dropping them in the Solway during their flight. In retaliation, the villagers raided Dornock and Middlebie in Scotland, making off with a new pair of bells. Traditionally, on inception, the vicar of Annan petitions the village's neighbours for the return of his bells.

Solway Viaduct[edit]

In 1869, the Solway Junction Railway was opened, connecting the Maryport and Carlisle Railway to the Scottish railway system more directly than the existing route through Carlisle, by a one-mile (1.6 km), 176-yard (161 m) iron girder viaduct (the remains of which can still be seen) across the Solway between Bowness-on-Solway and Annan in Scotland.[4] The construction of the viaduct prevented ships entering the upper Solway and hence destroyed the trade of Port Carlisle, which had already been largely supplanted by the construction of a wet dock at Silloth. The viaduct suffered minor frost damage in 1875; in 1881 large sections of it were destroyed by ice floes, but the viaduct was rebuilt. The railway never lived up to its promoters' expectations, and in 1914 it was restricted to carrying goods only. In 1921 the railway was closed entirely, and in 1934 the viaduct was demolished.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Parish population 2011". Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  2. ^ 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. p. 123.
  3. ^ a b Maia at Archived 2011-06-07 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^

External links[edit]