Cumbria map

Publications

The Regional Heritage Centre's predecessor organisation, the Centre for North-West Regional Studies, published a broad range of publications covering many of the significant historical, cultural, social and environmental elements within the region.

The Regional Heritage Centre is not commissioning any new titles at present. We continue to publish books that are associated with the Centre's projects and external collaborations. Please visit this page regularly for news of special offers on our backlist.

Our Patrons and Friends receive a 35% discount off the published price of all our publications and will receive a free book from our backlist each year. Patrons also receive a complimentary copy of each new title as it is published. 

Find out how you can support us here.

Latest Publications

The Victoria County History of Cumberland: Kirkoswald and Renwick, by Richard Brockington with Sarah Rose

Kirkoswald and Renwick is the first parish history to be produced for the Victoria County History of Cumberland

Produced by the Cumbria County History Trust in collaboration with Lancaster University and published by the Institute of Historical Research with full colour illustrations, this book covers the modern civil parish of Kirkoswald, which lies nine miles north east of Penrith. Once the seat of the powerful Barons Dacre of the North, Kirkoswald enjoyed a long period as a market and business centre.

 

Dimensions 254 x 178; 106 pages; ISBN 978-1-912702-04-6

Price: £12.00 (plus £3.00 p+p); discounts are available for Friends and Patrons of the Regional Heritage Centre.

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Published by the Regional Heritage Centre, Lancaster University

About the Author

Richard Brockington, a former solicitor, studied history with the Open University in the 1990s.  In 2002 he moved to Renwick and began his own local research. In 2006 he was elected chair of the Cumbria Local History Federation (CLHF); in 2007 he began external studies at Lancaster University for their Diploma in Local and Regional History; in 2008 his first article (The Riders of Renwick) was published in The Local Historian, and he joined a working group to consider restarting VCH studies in Cumbria. When the Cumbria County History Trust (CCHT) was created in 2009, Richard was acting chair for a year, and continued thereafter as secretary for four years (he is still a trustee representing the CLHF). For his work in helping to create the Trust he was awarded a personal achievement award by the British Association of Local History in 2015.

His article on Renwick was posted on the CCHT website in 2012, and was followed by articles on Kirkoswald (2015) and Staffield (2016). During 2017 he worked on amalgamating the three articles into this book; and he has now joined a team researching the adjoining townships of Ainstable and Croglin.

Book cover: VCH Kirkoswald and Renwick

Lake District Field-Names. A guide for local historians

The names of individual fields can help us to understand how the rural landscape has evolved over the centuries. Originally coined to identify a field by capturing what was distinctive about it, field-names often record how a field was used in the past, what it looked like or who owned it. Recorded on old maps and sometimes preserved in the memory of older residents, field-names provide fascinating raw material for local history.

This book is a practical guide and toolkit for anyone interested in exploring field-names in the Lake District. It offers advice on the sources to consult in order to discover the field-names of a local area and on how to interpret the meaning of field-names, with a view to making sense of the history of fields in a chosen locality. It also contains a detailed glossary of obsolete and dialect terms encountered in field-names and a series of local maps, to illustrate field-naming patterns in different parts of the Lake District. It is conceived as a handbook for all who are interested in the local history of Cumbria and adjacent areas.

  • Softback
  • Full colour cover, 8 maps (3 full colour and 5 b/w), 1 b/w figure
  • ISBN: 978-1-86220-338-9
  • 60pp
  • Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Rusland Horizons project

Price: £4.00 (plus p+p); discounts are available for Friends and Patrons of the Regional Heritage Centre.

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Published by the Regional Heritage Centre, Lancaster University

About the Author

Angus Winchester is Emeritus Professor of Local and Landscape History at Lancaster University. He was the Director of the Victoria County History of Cumbria project from its inception in 2010 until his retirement in 2016, and was the Director of the Regional Heritage Centre from 2014 to 2016.

Book cover: Lake District Field-Names. A guide for local historians

Cumbria: an Historical Gazetteer

This book, published in association with the Cumbria County History Trust, contains short, pithy summaries of historical information about every community in Cumbria, large and small. Arranged alphabetically, it provides a digest of facts about population, land ownership, local economic history, places of worship, schools and other community institutions across the centuries.

 

The groundwork for the Gazetteer was carried out for the Victoria County History of Cumbria project by a large team of volunteer local historians who compiled brief historical cameos for the project website, drawn from a checklist of key sources. These have now been substantially rewritten for publication, in an attempt to ensure accuracy and consistency.

Providing comprehensive coverage of the whole of the modern county of Cumbria, the volume contains 348 separate articles, one for each of the Civil Parishes as they existed in the 1890s. The Gazetteer will be an indispensable work of reference for all with an interest in Cumbria’s past, residents and visitors alike.

  • Second impression, 2017.
  • Softback
  • Full colour cover, 7 maps
  • ISBN: 978-1-86220-330-3
  • 339pp

Price: £9.99 (plus p+p); discounts are available for Friends and Patrons of the Regional Heritage Centre and members of the Cumbria County History Trust. A searchable electronic version of the Gazetteer (sold as a PDF file on a USB pen drive) is available for £7.99. Printed and electronic versions may be purchased together as a package for £14.99.

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Published by the Regional Heritage Centre, Lancaster University

About the Author

Angus Winchester is Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at Lancaster University. He was the Director of the Victoria County History of Cumbria project from its inception in 2010 until his retirement in 2016.

Book Cover: Cumbria: an Historical Gazetteer

Recent Books

Breaking the Bonds of Capitalism: the political vision of a Lancashire mill girl

Poet, novelist, journalist and political radical, Ethel Carnie Holdsworth (1886-1962) was born in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire. From the age of thirteen, she worked in cotton mills, but also attended evening classes and read voraciously in a Co-operative Society library. She published her first poetry in 1907, joining the Blackburn Independent Labour Party soon after. As a young woman, Holdsworth wrote regularly, studied at Owens College, Manchester, and taught at Bebel House, London, whilst developing her personal political philosophy – all before she was entitled to vote. Marriage and the responsibilities of family life did little to lessen her literary output: in 1920 alone she published three novels, even though she gave birth to her second daughter in January that year.

 

Holdsworth’s work was published in Russia and the USA, but her star waned in the 1930s and she died in obscurity. The rediscovery of the 1921 film of her novel Helen of Four Gates has led to renewed interest in her life, work and vision.

  • Softback
  • Full colour cover, 27 black and white illustrations
  • ISBN: 978-1-86220-317-4
  • 157pp plus viii

Price: £12.95 (plus p+p)

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Published by the Regional Heritage Centre, Lancaster University

About the Author

Dr Roger Smalley has a special interest in the radical tradition and the history of political dissent in the North West of England; his PhD thesis (UCLan, 2006) was on the life and work of Ethel Carnie Holdsworth.

Printed Maps of Lancashire: the first two hundred years

This beautifully-illustrated book is packed with information about the physical creation of maps from the mid-sixteenth to late eighteenth centuries. It encompasses the entire historic County Palatine of Lancaster, which stretched from the southern Lake District to modern Cheshire, taking in both Manchester and Liverpool. A huge variety of landscape is represented in the maps: bustling cities, small towns and villages, the scenic Western Pennines, verdant plains and beautiful coastline such as Morecambe Bay.

 

Along the way, there are intriguing diversions – maps on playing cards, maps in magazines, maps in atlases – and the author shares many fascinating observations about the men who created maps, those who borrowed (or stole) their work, and some of the people who owned the finished products. Harold Whitaker's seminal work A Descriptive List of the Printed Maps of Lancashire 1577-1900 (Chetham Society, 1938) is fully updated through the text and appendices.

  • A4 landscape format
  • Softback
  • Full colour cover, 60 integrated full colour illustrations of historic maps.
  • ISBN: 978-1-86220-177-4
  • 120pp plus viii

The maps featured in this book are viewable on this Lancashire historic maps website.

Price: £19.95 (plus p+p)

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Published by Centre for North-West Regional Studies, Lancaster University

About the Author

Dr Ian Saunders has researched and collected maps for thirty years. He recently retired after a long career teaching Physics at Lancaster University.

Book cover: Printed Maps of Lancashire

The West Indies and the Arctic in the age of sail: the voyages of Abram (1806-62)

Launched in Lancaster in 1806 and named after Abraham Chalwill Hill, a merchant and planter in the Virgin Islands, the Abram sailed from the port to the West Indies 21 times in the period up to 1818. She called at Tortola, St Thomas and St Croix in what are now the British and American Virgin Islands, and was then refitted as an Arctic whaler. From 1819 she sailed regularly to the Northern Whale Fishery, before being crushed by pack ice in Baffin Bay in 1862.

 

Beautifully illustrated, this book sheds new light on Lancaster and Liverpool’s special relationship with the British and Danish Virgin Islands during and after the Napoleonic Wars. As a whaler sailing from Hull and Kirkcaldy, Abram over-wintered in the Arctic during the disastrous season of 1835-36 and later became involved in the celebrated search for Sir John Franklin and his missing ships and crew. The chance survival of a surgeon’s journal from 1839 allows an exceptional insight into the routines of whaling and the observations of possibly the only educated member of Abram’s company.

  • Softback
  • Full colour cover, illustrated in colour throughout
  • ISBN: 978-1-86220-302-0
  • 198pp plus vi

Price: £14.95 (plus p+p)

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Published by Centre for North-West Regional Studies, Lancaster University

About the Authors

Dr Rob David is a specialist in Arctic history who has written extensively on exploration, representations of the Arctic and whaling. Dr Michael Winstanley is a leading historian of North West England and Lancaster in particular.

Book Cover: The West Indies and the Arctic in the age of sail: the voyages of Abram (1806-62)

The Three-Legged Society. The lives of the Westmorland naturalists George Stabler, James M. Barnes and Joseph A. Martindale

The Lake District and its surrounding countryside was a significant centre of botanical research in the nineteenth century. It is striking that the main explorers were not prominent academics but ordinary individuals with inquiring minds, men who saw opportunities to make significant contributions to botanical knowledge and who were prepared to commit themselves to years of painstaking labour in the cause of science, with little prospect of widespread recognition for their achievements.

Amongst the most notable of these foot-soldiers of science were the three friends George Stabler, James Martindale Barnes and Joseph Anthony Martindale, local botanists whose enthusiasm ranged across the Lake District in all seasons and in all weathers. Although prominent in their day they have been overlooked since – this book tells their remarkable stories and highlights their significance in the history of botany. 

  • Softback
  • Full colour cover, 67 colour figures
  • ISBN: 978-1-86220-297-9
  • 110pp plus viii

Price: £14.95 (plus p+p)

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Published by Centre for North-West Regional Studies, Lancaster University

About the Authors

Ian D. Hodkinson is a retired Professor of Ecology and Entomology at Liverpool John Moores University. Allan Steward is a founding member of Levens Local History Group.

Book Cover: The Three-Legged Society

Country Houses of Lancashire and their builders

Lavishly illustrated with over 150 images – photographs, Victorian prints and specially-drawn plans – this is more than a guide or gazetteer. It is a comprehensive introduction to the rich heritage of Lancashire’s country houses, from the twelfth to the twentieth centuries. John Champness provides a lucid account of how and why the layout and decorative details of these houses evolved, how they reflected the attitudes and ambitions of their owners, and how they were built and financed. 

This book is the product of thirty years’ research; it was completed shortly before the author’s untimely death. Lancashire’s architectural heritage has long been underappreciated – John Champness was one of the foremost experts on the subject. This wonderful book is his legacy.

  • Softback
  • Full colour cover, 150 b/w figures, 6 ground plans, 1 map
  • ISBN: 978-1-86220-292-4
  • 200pp plus xvi

Price: £15.95 (plus p+p)

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Published by Centre for North-West Regional Studies, Lancaster University

About the Author
John Champness, an architectural and buildings historian, was the County Conservation Officer for Lancashire County Council for nearly 25 years. He also taught courses on Country Houses on Lancaster University's Summer Programme for many years. He died in 2011, shortly before this book went to press.

Book Cover: Country Houses of Lancashire

Lancaster's Roman Cemeteries- Now Reduced

The bulk of this book is devoted to two recent excavation-campaigns, which took place on adjacent sites in southern Lancaster. Also included is an assessment of the current state of our knowledge of the Roman fort at Lancaster and its associated civilian settlement, and an attempt to draw together all the reports of funerary material found between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, which are contained in a variety of antiquarian and casual publications. The final chapter of the book presents a discussion of these and other related contextual matters. CNWRS is pleased to acknowledge financial assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Lancashire County Council in support of this publication.

 

  • Softback
  • Full Colour Cover, 34 figures and 32 plates - many in colour
  • ISBN: 978-1-86220-233-7
  • 127pp plus xiii

Price: £18.95 (plus p+p) Now Reduced to £5 (plus p+p)

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Published by Centre for North-West Regional Studies, Lancaster University

About the Editors 
Peter Iles is Specialist Advisor (Archaeology) for Lancashire County Council.
David Shotter is Emeritus Professor of Roman Imperial History at Lancaster University.

Book Cover: Lancaster's Roman Cemeteries

Friends of the Lake District: the early years - Now Reduced

Ever since its ‘discovery’ in the eighteenth century, the English Lake District has been identified as a unique landscape which deserves the highest level of protection. Established in 1934, Friends of the Lake District is one of the most influential conservation groups in England. It played a crucial role in the campaign for the Lake District to be designated as a national park during the 1930s and 1940s; its work to protect and increase knowledge of this area continues to the present day. Friends of the Lake District: the early years is the first detailed study of the inception of this organisation, and was commissioned to celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary of its foundation. 

John Cousins traces the complex history of the Friends of the Lake District in the vitally important period which culminated in the official recognition of the true value of this area. His discussion and analysis of the characters and events which shaped this time are enhanced by a foreword by Lord Judd, President of Friends of the Lake District, and an introductory essay by two noted landscape historians, Dr Alan G. Crosby and Dr Angus J.L. Winchester, which places the work of the Friends of the Lake District in the context of the wider history of the region. Lavishly illustrated, this book draws on a range of original source material, including a unique collection of photographs commissioned by Friends of the Lake District in the mid-1930s, many of which are being published for the first time.

  • Softback
  • Full colour cover, 61 b/w figures
  • ISBN: 978-1-86220-223-8
  • 148pp plus xx
  • Price: £12.95 (plus p+p) Now Reduced  to £5 (plus p+p)

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Published by Centre for North-West Regional Studies, Lancaster University.

Book Cover: Friends of the Lake District

Floods in North West England: a history c. 1600-2008

In an era of environmental change linked to global warming, floods are frequently in the news, whether they are those which affected England in the summer of 2007 or the ones which have devastated other parts of the globe, from New Orleans to Bangladesh. There is growing interest in the severity and chronology of flooding in the past as an indication of possible future scenarios. In Britain regular scientific measurements of streamflow and flood peaks often go back for only 30 years or so. However, historical records can provide details of past floods reaching back to the seventeenth century and sometimes earlier and yet they have rarely been examined in detail. Floods in North West England: a history c. 1600 - 2008 is the first detailed study of flooding in the region and is essential reading for anyone who is interested in the impact of climate change on Britain. It explains why floods happened and what effects they had on the landscape, the buildings, and the people who were affected by them. In the course of this volume the authors tell some dramatic stories, many of which have lain forgotten among the pages of old newspapers and other records.

  • Softback
  • Full Colour Cover
  • 62 Black and White Illustrations
  • ISBN: 978-1-86220-217-7
  • 128 Pages 

Price: £11.95 (plus p+p)

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Published by Centre for North-West Regional Studies, Lancaster University 2009

About the Authors 
Dr Sarah Watkins is a Senior Scientist at the Environment Agency. Her research interests are mainly related to changes in environmental systems as a result of climate change, both past and present. Ian Whyte is Emeritus Professor of Historical Geography in the Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University. His research interests focus on landscape, social and economic change in northern England and Scotland in post-medieval times. He is the author of many books including World Without End? Environmental Disaster and the Collapse of Empires (Tauris 2008), Landscape and History Since 1500 (Reaktion 2002).

Book Cover: Floods in North West England

Backlist

Contact Us

By Post

Regional Heritage Centre
Department of History
Bowland College
Lancaster University
Lancaster
LA1 4YT
United Kingdom

 

 

By Phone

+44 (0)1524 593770

Usually staffed on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9:30-15:30

 

By Email

rhc@lancaster.ac.uk

 

RHC Director:
Dr Fiona Edmonds

Academic Co-ordinator: 
Dr Sam Riches

Administrator
Ann-Marie Michel

For the Victoria County History of Cumbria, please contact Dr Sarah Rose