button to main menu  Capper's Topographical Dictionary 1808

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     WHITEHAVEN, a sea port and market town situated in the parish of St. Bees, Allerdale ward, above Derwent, Cumberland, lying on a bay of the Irish sea, 5 miles from Egremont, and 307 from London; containing 1776 houses and 8742 inhabitants, viz. 3348 males and 5394 females, of whom 1650 were returned as being employed in various trades. The town is well built, but in 1566 is recorded to have contained only 6 houses. It owes its present thriving situation, to the improvements in its harbour, during the reign of queen Anne, when several strong and substantial moles and bulwarks were erected, which completely secured vessels from the Corfe rocks. There are 3 churches, St. James, the Trinity and Hold Church: several meeting houses for various sectaries, a public dispensary, charity schools, &c. Besides the extensive coal mines in the neighbourhood, extending 130 fathoms deep, and in many places a considerable way under the sea, there are several copperas works. On the old quay is erected a light house; and the entrance of the harbour is defended by a fort and half moon battery. This port has a Custom-house, with regular officers attached to it, and in the coal trade is reckoned the most eminent in England, next to Newcastle. In March 1793, this town suffered by a storm, when the tide rose 6 feet above its usual height. In the American war, the pirate, Paul Jones, landed here, burnt two small ships on the stocks, and spiked the guns on the battery. The market on Tuesday is well supplied with all kinds of provisions, and it has a fair the 12th August; here are two public banks. The churches are curacies, in the patronage of the Lowther family. - Hutchinson's Cumberland.
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