AD 72 Romans arrive and build a marching fort.

687 St Cuthbert visited Carlisle.

876  The Vikings arrive in Carlisle led by Hafdan.  John of Worcester stated that Carlisle was “deserted for two hundred years after the attack.”

Place names around Carlisle ending in -by and -thwaite indicate Viking settlement.

945 King Edmund of England gave Cumberland to King Malcolm of Scotland (as you do).  This may account for why the North of Cumberland does not appear in the Domesday Book


1092 William Rufus arrives in Carlisle which was at that time ruled by Dolphin (a Saxon) – there was a swift exchange of opinion and William assumed command. He builds a castle to prove his point – well, not him personally.  Ranulf le Meschin was granted the lordship of Carlisle.



Carlisle Castle

1122  Priory (dedicated to St Mary) built for Augustinian Canons. Founded by Henry I who visited Carlisle the same year and gave money for the castle to be faced in red stone.

1122-1200 Town walls rebuilt.

1133 Carlisle becomes an archbishopric – See founded by Henry I.  The Priory of St Mary became the cathedral.  The first bishop of Carlisle  was Henry I’s confessor Aethewulf.

1135 Henry I dies following “a surfeit of lampreys”.  He had forced the nobility of England to recognise his eldest daughter, the Empress Matilda, as his heir following the drowning of his only legitimate son in the sinking of the White Ship.  Following the Norman habit of the person being nearest the crown claiming it – and girls being inferior- Matilda’s cousin Stephen of Blois became King Stephen.  There followed 19 years of civil war.  King David of Scotland claimed Carlisle back from the English – because the Scots had never yielded their claim to the city and because he supported his niece Matilda.

1149 Henry Fitzempress is knighted in Carlisle by King David of Scotland.

May 24, 1153 King David dies in Carlisle castle while at prayer. The following year King Henry II claimed Carlisle back from the Scots.

1158  Henry II visited Carlisle and Carlisle received its first charter.

1163 Henry II visited Carlisle again. He decided that the castle required an outer curtain wall.

1173 King Henry II crowned his eldest son Henry as King of England while he was still very much alive.  Unfortunately  Henry forgot to share the power with his son so the ‘Young King’ along with the rest of his brothers rebelled.  King William of Scotland – known as William the Lion- laid siege to Carlisle.  He desisted when King Henry sent an army north.

1174  William the Lion lays siege to Carlisle again along with 80,000 men. The garrison and people of Carlisle began to starve.  Only William’s capture at Alnwick in July save the city from having to surrender.

1186 Carlisle Grammar School mentioned for the first time.


Guildhall Decoration

Guildhall Decoration

1201 First mention of leper hospital at St Nicholas.  There were 13 inmates.

1216 Alexander II of Scotland arrives in Carlisle with an army.  This was during the reign of King John – who was not terribly popular with the people of Carlisle.  There was no battle.  Carlisle was a Scottish city once more.

1223  Friars arrived in Carlisle.

1233 Greyfriars (Franciscan) Friary established.

1237  The Treaty of York established that Carlisle was an English city.

1251 Carlisle destroyed by fire.

1292  Fire set by an arsonist  called Simon of Orton damaged the town, burned down part of the cathedral and destroyed Carlisle’s charter.  He was hanged for murder – nine people died in the flames and then burned for arson.

26 Mar 1296  The Scots made a surprise attack on Carlisle.

1296  A Scottish spy sets fire to the town while it is being besieged by the Scots.

1297  William Wallace attacked Carlisle but did not have sufficient troops to besiege the city.


1303  There was an accidental fire in Carlisle which destroysedRickergate and part of Botchergate.

Aug 10, 1306  Walter of Guisborough records Edward I’s intent to visit Carlisle.

December 1306 Prince Edward who would later gain notoriety for his friendship with Piers Gaveston arrived in Carlisle.  He and his friends burned Wetheral Priory.

January 1307  Parliament held in Carlisle.

Mar 12, 1307  Edward I arrives in Carlisle having spent several months in Lanercost Priory..

1307  Parliament held in Carlisle.  7 Acts of parliament.

1307  Peter the Spaniard, Papal nuncio to Pope Clement V arrives in Carlisle to complete the marriage negotiations between Prince Edward of England and Princess Isabella of France.  He also assists with the excommunication, in Carlisle Cathedral, of Robert the Bruce.

Capital of King Edward I

Capital of King Edward I

July 7, 1307 Edward I dies on his way to Scotland to campaign against Robert the Bruce.

Sept 1307  Edward II leaves Carlisle for London.

July 1315  Scots besiege Carlisle using siege engines.  Sir Andrew de Harcla withstands the siege for ten/eleven days before the Scots withdraw upon hearing that the Earl of  Pembroke was advancing along with the rumour that Edward Bruce’s army had been routed and killed in Ireland.  The weather also had a part to play.  It was a very wet summer and who wants to besiege anyone when you’re up to your knees in mud?

1 August 1315.  The siege on Carlisle was lifted.  It lasted eleven days.

1322 Sir Andrew De Harcla created Earl of Carlisle.

3 March 1323 Sir Andrew de Harcla was executed for treason on Harraby Hill.

Initial letter of Carlisle Charter showing Sir Andrew de Harcla

Initial letter of Carlisle Charter showing Sir Andrew de Harcla

1328 Edward III signed Treaty of Northampton giving up claims to Scotland.

1345 Scottish attacks on Carlisle and district.

1349  Black Death.           


Border Reiver by JAH

1353  Carlisle charter.

1361 Black Death

1369 Black Death

1377  King Edward III imposed a poll tax on the citizens of Carlisle.

1379 Black Death

1380 Guns included in Carlisle Castle armoury for the first time.

1385  A discussion about the election of Prior got a bit out of hand in the Cathedral which resulted in a riot.

1391 Carlisle burned again! And another outbreak of, yes you’ve guessed it,  the Black Death.


1400 Muniment Chest to hold important civic documents – four locks, fire proof.

1402 12,000 Scots took the opportunity offered by deposition of Richard II to attack Carlisle.

1430s Carlisle received more visits from the plague.

1461 Queen Margaret was trying to keep her husband’s kingdom.  Things weren’t going well for the red rose faction so her majesty offered the Scots Carlisle if they entered the fray on her side.  The Scots destroyed Upperby, the Tithe Barn the city’s mills and its gates.

1465 Priory gateway commissioned by Prior Gondibour and continued by Priors Senhouse and Slee.


1537  The Pilgrimage of Grace.

The Citadel redesigned by Thomas Telford

The Citadel redesigned by Thomas Telford

1540  Henry VIII decreed that Carlisle Castle should be modernised based on a report made by the Duke of Norfolk.

9 January 1541 King’s Commissioners arrive in Carlisle – priory closed. The cathedral refunded by Henry VIII

July 1541 An engineer called Stefan von Haschenperg from Moravia was commissioned to extend the city’s fortifications.  He built the citadel, modernised the castle’s keep and added gun embrasures as well as the half moon battery as an additional protection.


Doorway in Carlisle Castle

Doorway in Carlisle Castle

18 May 1568 Mary Queen of Scots arrived as a guest in Carlisle Castle.  In reality she was a prisoner.  She remained for two months.

13th July 1568 Mary Queen of Scots travelled to Bolton Castle via Lowther Castle and Wharton Hall.

1571 The River Eden flooded to create two channels.  The new channel was called Priestbeck.

1580s prisoners held in Carlisle Castle and also the Citadel.


Carlisle Castle Gatehouse

13 April 1596 Kinmont Willie rescued from Carlisle Castle.

1597  The people of Carlisle begged for the Eden Bridge to be mended and for a ford at Priestbeck to be maintained.  They soon had much more than the watercourse to worry about -plague arrived in Carlisle.  A third of the population died including the Bishop of Carlisle.


1611 Prisoners now all held in the Citadel.

Oct 1644 Carlisle besieged by Parliamentarians under the command of General Leslie.  Some habits take a long time to change – the besieging army was Scottish. St Nicholas Almshouses (previously the leper hospital) destroyed. St Cuthbert’s Church became the Civic Church as a result of the cathedral and St Mary’s being shut by the Parliamentarians.

28 June 1645 The Royalists surrendered the city to the Parliamentarians.

1684 Judge Jefferies fined Carlisle for not having a suitable prison.

st cuth

St Cuthbert’s Church


1717 The Town Hall is rebuilt.

1721 Act to waive coastal duties between Maryport and Bank End on the River Eden. The idea of three Carlisle businessmen.

1722 Margery Jackson, the Carlisle Miser is born.

1724 Daniel Defoe visits Carlisle.

9 November, 1745  Jacobite army sighted at Kingmoor.  Carlisle closes its gates and parlie.  The Jacobites threaten to burn the city to ashes.

15 November, 1745 Lt Col. Durrand surrenders Carlisle to the Jacobites.

17 November, 1745  King James III proclaimed at Carlisle Market Cross.

22 November, 1745  Jacobite army leaves Carlisle for Penrith.  They head toward Derby via Kendal.

19 December, 1745 Bonnie Prince Charlie flees back towards Scotland leaving a garrison of four hundred men to delay the English.

21 December, 1745 The Duke of Cumberland arrives outside Carlisle’s gates with the English army.  He is later known as Butcher Cumberland for his behaviour in Scotland.

1750 Carlisle poorly provided for in terms of transport networks. In part this had been recognised with the building of the Military Road between Newcastle and Carlisle during the Jacobite rebellion. Turnpike Trusts now created to facilitate better communications. 

There was the beginnings of the woollen industry.

R & W Hodgson – striped and checked fabric manufacture.

1758  Turnpike road to Newcastle built.

French prisoners of war sent to Carlisle.

1773 Dr Johnson visits Carlisle where Boswell was the Recorder.  They spent time at the Bush Inn.

1780ish – Carlisle Sunday schools.

1787  Carlisle’s first bank opened.

1787  Robert Burns the poet visits Carlisle and is fined by Carlisle Corporation for allowing his horse to graze on Corporation property.

1790 First reference to a charity school in Carlisle – daughters of poor freemen.

1795 Food riot.

Carlisle Market Cross

Carlisle Market Cross

1798  There were two mail coaches from Carlisle to London a day.

1779  St Cuthbert’s Church is rebuilt.

December 24 1797 Sir Walter Scott marries Charlotte Carpentier in Carlisle Cathedral.

1798 Carlisle Journal published for the first time.

1799 Hudson Scott, printers, established on English Street. It specialised in lithography.


1801 the population of Carlisle was 9,555 but  by 1851 it had a population of more than 25,000.

1804  Carlisle was lit by oil lamps when the Carlisle Corporation is made responsible for street lighting.

1811  Work began to demolish the city walls.  Lancastrian School opens at Watergate.

1812 Food riot.

National School built on West Walls – Called the Central School.  Offered education to 220 boys and 180 girls.


Carlisle hiring fair – part of the Tullie House collection




1813 Bridge spanning River Eden built at the cost of £70,000

Carlisle Patriot published for the first time.

1817 Food riot. 

8 December 1823 Carlisle fears that the body snatchers are at work when the body of a Botchergate blacksmith called Irving is discovered in the churchyard of St Cuthbert’s ready for transportation.

1812 Margery Jackson, the so-called Carlilse Miser  died at the age of 90 having outlived her two brothers.  Her estate was valued at £50,000.

1819 Carlisle’s oil lamps replaced by gas lights.

1820 Weavers riot.

1823- Opening of Carlisle Canal.

1826 Weavers riot.

Catholic Sunday school opens.

1827  New goal built.  

The Railway Inn on London Road, opposite Carlisle's first railway station.

The Railway Inn on London Road, opposite Carlisle’s first railway station.

1830 Public library and newsroom built.

30 November – Captain Swing riots arrive in Carlisle.

1831 New subscription library built.

1832  Cholera

1834 Carlisl’es Lancastrian School moves to Mary Street.  It provides education for 100 boys and 70 girls.

1835 County Infirmary built.

1836 Dixons build Shaddon Mills.  They employed some 8,000 people (Warwick Bridge, Carlisle + home workers).

1840 Athenaeum built on Lowther Street, capable of seating 1,000 people.  Also houses the Mechanics Institute.

1841 Infirmary built.

1842 Chadwick’s report on sanitation.

1843 Building of National Schools – Botchergate (Christchurch) and Caldewgate (Trinity).

1844 Ragged School Union formed.  In Carlisle a ragged school was founded at Shaddongate.

1845 Carlisle and Maryport Railway opened.


The Lancaster and Carlisle Railway arrives in Carlisle. 

Cowans Sheldon and Co, the crane maker, founded at Woodbank Upperby.

Carlisle Waterworks Co formed.

Remnants of Carlisle's first reservoir on Harraby Hill

Remnants of Carlisle’s first reservoir on Harraby Hill

1847  Carlisle is linked to the Caledonian Railway.

The Citadel Railway Station, designed by Sir William Tate, commenced being building work.

1848  Cholera.  Piped water supply.

Carlisle-Glasgow Railway.

Citadel Station built.

1850 Rawlinson report – the health of Carlisle.

1851 census reveals that Carlisle boasted 47 schools of which 37 were privately owned.

1854 Sewers begin to be laid in Carlisle. Before this open drains, culverts and night soil men.

1855 Sewerage system complete – all untreated sewerage deposited in the River Eden at Willowholme (Lovely).

1856  Carlisle-Silloth Railway opened – four years later Silloth was a thriving holiday destination.

Death of Susan Elizabeth, Charlotte, Catherine Anna, Mary Susan and Frances Alice Tait from scarlet fever.  All of them were under fiver years old and are buried together in St Michael’s Church, Stanwix.  Their father went on to become Archbishop of Canterbury whilst his wife Catherine was one of the co-founders of The Girls’ Friendly Society.

1860 Silloth had four hotels and 38 lodging houses.

1861 Census – 7,936 female workers – domestic service, textiles, dress and foot ware, 74 teachers, service industries.

1862 – 15 March William Charlton executed for the murder of Jane Emmerson, a widowed crossing-keeper. His was the last public execution in Carlisle.

1867 The Second Reform Act – vote to male householders and £10 lodgers.

1868 Number of voters in Carlisle’s elections increased by 230% from 1,816 to 6,042.

1872 Smallpx epidemic

Dixon’s bankrupt.

1874- Medical Officer of Health appointed.

1876 – 19 December  execution of James Dalgleish for the murder of Sarah Wright.

Carlisle-Settle Railway opens.

1883 Dixons stop trading.

1885 Carlisle telephone exchange opened

Netherby Hall robbed. PC Joseph Burns killed by the burglars.  Two other policemen shot and one badly beaten.

1886 – 08 Feb execution of Anthony Rudge, John Martin and James Baker for murder of PC Burns.


Carr’s flour mill at Silloth built.

-14 November execution of William Hunter.

1889  Covered market built.

1892- 22 March Execution of Joseph Wilson for the murder of Marion Greaves Crossman

1893  Bitts Park opens.

Carlisle from Stanwix.jpg

Carlisle from Stanwix

1899 Electric Light and Power Station opens at James Street.


1900 Electric trams.

1902 The Education Act transferred School Boards to County and Borough Councils.  Secondary and technical schools seen as necessary.

1904 Carlisle United football team founded.  A team simply known as Carlisle played during the later years of the Nineteenth Century.

1922 Carlisle Prison closed. The Carlisle Branch of the WI moved into part of the old building.

Hudson Scott, printer and biscuit tin maker joins other companies to form Metal Box.

1928  Carlisle United joined the Football League.

1930 Graves largely removed from cathedral grounds for maintenance of the grounds.

1974 Charter confirming Carlisle’s place  in Cumbria.

coat of arms


1980 The Lanes demolished to make way for new covered shopping area.

DSC_00457 January 2005  Severe storms in Carlisle.

8 January 2005  Carlisle severely flooded.

2007 University of Cumbria arrives in Carlisle.

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