button to main menu  Capper's Topographical Dictionary 1808

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     KESWICK, a market-town in the parish of Crosthwait, in Allerdale ward, below Derwent, Cumberland, 11 miles from Cockermouth, and 291 from London, it is pleasantly situated in a deep valley under vast mountains full of mines and minerals, near the rapid river Greta. The town contains 290 houses and 1350 inhabitants, of whom 318 were returned employed in various trades, particularly in the manufacture of coarse woollens and linen. A few years ago an establishment was formed for the spinning of twist. Formerly copper-mines were wrought in this neighbourhood, but were given up as unprofitable. It consists of one long street, protected from the north winds by the lofty mountain of Skiddaw. Its chief trade is from the influx of travellers on visits to the lakes. The lake of Keswick, or as it is more generally called, Derwent water, is a most romantic piece of scenery; on the north stands Skiddaw, rising more than a 1000 yards perpendicular above the level of the lake; the haunt of numerous birds of prey. Notwithstanding its height, it is not difficult to ascend. At the top the atmosphere is so cold as to prevent vegetation, and the mountain is covered with a loose brown slaty stone. The lake is subject to violent agitations, and often without any apparent cause. It has five islands, which being covered with verdure, add greatly to its beauty. On one is an elegant modern house. Its extent is about 3 miles by 1½ broad. It abounds with excellent trout, pike, eels, and perch. A little to the north is the lake of Bassenthwaite, and a few miles to the east Ulswater, being about 9 miles long in the shape of an S, and above 1 mile wide. About 2 miles from the town is a druidical monument, on a plain on the summit of a hill; it is composed of stones of various forms, rough and unhewn, for the most part granite. They are 50 in number, and form a circle of about 30 paces in diameter, within which are 10 stones placed in an oblong square, supposed to have been used as an altar. The stones are of various sizes, some of the largest being near 8 feet high, and 15 in circumference. In the neighbourhood are some trifling manufactures of coarse woolens and flannels. The market is on Saturday. Fairs 1st Thursday in May, which continues every fortnight for cattle, till 11th October, when it ends with a horse and cow fair; and 2d August chiefly for woollen yarn. - Houseman's Cumberland, and Guide to the Lakes.
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